Search 69,459 Camino Questions

LIVE from the Camino Feels Unpleasantly Busy on the Camino Frances (May Day, 2024)

Time of past OR future Camino
Frances ' 22, Madrid '24, Frances '24
I’m on the Camino Frances since April 4. I just finished the Meseta and it feels unpleasantly busy and has since the beginning. No time time to smell the roses or draw much.

There is a sense from most people that it’s extremely busy and you have to book. I’ve often had to contact several places for a bed. I am going off-stage, but the Albergues are almost always full.

I find myself eyeing fellow pilgrims with distaste as they pass me, because they are putting me that much closer to a nighttime taxi ride!👻

Some people have told me the municipals are not full because so many people are booking, but it feels risky.

Also it has been unseasonably cold.

The social aspect is great still. But It’s stressful, and I’m counting the days until it’s over.

Its much busier then it was in April-May 2022 when I did the Frances previously.

If someone has a link to current statistics, that would be great.

P.S. Also I was planning to do the most traditional Camino Frances through Sarria, but would appreciate some thoughts on the alternate routes. For instance, how many days it would add, etc.
(I am leaving Astorga today).
 
Last edited:
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

€83,-
Stephan, I miss seeing your sketches, but totally understand. I am on the Sanabres now and with cold, wettish weather the past two days, I find I am not wanting to explore much, or check the doors of the tiny churches like I usually do to see if they may be open.
I am doing some, and eventually will post everything good here. I have put some things on Instagram and facebook, if you do that. My pages are all public, feel free to friend or follow.
 
How about trying the Invierno. Would add a couple of days approx. I’ve been following some threads on the forum of pilgrims walking now. Wise Pilgrim has an app for this camino. I’m sure other members here will add to this suggestion. You start the Invierno in Ponderrada. Buen camino. Hope the last stages of your camino are safe and enjoyable.
 
How about trying the Invierno. Would add a couple of days approx. I’ve been following some threads on the forum of pilgrims walking now. Wise Pilgrim has an app for this camino. I’m sure other members here will add to this suggestion. You start the Invierno in Ponderrada. Buen camino. Hope the last stages of your camino are safe and enjoyable.

I was about to suggest it too!
Walk it now before it gets too popular :)
 
Very light, comfortable and compressible poncho. Specially designed for protection against water for any activity.

Our Atmospheric H30 poncho offers lightness and waterproofness. Easily compressible and made with our Waterproof fabric, its heat-sealed interior seams guarantee its waterproofness. Includes carrying bag.

€60,-
How about trying the Invierno. Would add a couple of days approx. I’ve been following some threads on the forum of pilgrims walking now. Wise Pilgrim has an app for this camino. I’m sure other members here will add to this suggestion. You start the Invierno in Ponderrada. Buen camino. Hope the last stages of your camino are safe and enjoyable.
I did invierno in Nov 2019 just before Covid. I have never been so wet, continuously! That is beyond control.

But….I’d do it again. 😉

I met no one. And infrastructure was perfectly adequate.
 
Last edited:
Or try the Via Kunig from Las Herrerias to Lugo then camino Verde and onto the Camino Norte. (From Astorga the Camino Manzanal would be extremely quiet!)
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
2022 was still bouncing back from Covid. This year is busy, but the current state has more to do with the May 1st holiday celebrated throughout most of Europe fell on a Wednesday this year, meaning a lot of people took the entire week off and went on Camino. I’d imagine the numbers get back to “normal” (which is still a lot) next week.
 
We are on the CF since 16th April. Our plan is to take a bus south for circa 30k from Sarria to Monteforte de Lemos and do the last 6 days on the Invierno and thereby avoid the busier Sarria to SCD section. Having said that I think the Sarria to SDC has a different but enjoyable vibe to the earlier stages. Lots of very enthused and energetic peregrinos who talk about other issued than knees & blisters.
 
I’m on the Camino Frances since April 4. I just finished the Meseta and it feels unpleasantly busy and has since the beginning. No time time to smell the roses or draw much.

There is a sense from most people that it’s extremely busy and you have to book. I’ve often had to contact several places for a bed. I am going off-stage, but the Albergues are almost always full.

I find myself eyeing fellow pilgrims with distaste as they pass me, because they are putting me that much closer to a nighttime taxi ride!👻

Some people have told me the municipals are not full because so many people are booking, but it feels risky.

Also it has been unseasonably cold.

The social aspect is great still. But It’s stressful, and I’m counting the days until it’s over.

Its much busier then it was in April-May 2022 when I did the Frances previously.

If someone has a link to current statistics, that would be great.

P.S. Also I was planning to do the most traditional Camino Frances through Sarria, but would appreciate some thoughts on the alternate routes. For instance, how many days it would add, etc.
(I am leaving Astorga today).
As of today the Camino Frances is showing up 13% y/y. Looking only at the month of April and only at the crowds from SJPDP, there have been 1,852 that have arrived in Santiago vs 1,497 in April last year. Those are numbers for people who finished and arrived in Santiago during the month of April. Easter week was in April last year, but most of the Easter walkers are only doing the last 100km. Will have to watch it to see if the current increase in #'s is due to the early Easter this year or if people are trying to get ahead of last year's crowds or if this is simply the new normal. I decided to start at the end of May, so I can sleep outside if necessary. Gonna be a real pilgrimage this year. I did a video yesterday where I suggested that people will begin to walk other routes. The Portuguese is going to increase in popularity.
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
I did a video yesterday where I suggested that people will begin to walk other routes. The Portuguese is going to increase in popularity.
That has been happening for some time. In 2013 the Portugues and the Portugues Costa together only made up about 14% of the Compostela totals. By last year that had risen to 32%. Tui is now in second place to Sarria as the most popular starting point. The days when "the Camino" effectively meant "the Camino Frances" are long past.
 
Last edited:
Tui is now in second place to Sarria as the most popular starting point.
Porto is still a more popular starting point than Tui when combining central/coastal routes, as these are separated in the statistics you have cited. Of course, the point remains re: the growing popularity of the CP.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
I’m on the Camino Frances since April 4. I just finished the Meseta and it feels unpleasantly busy and has since the beginning. No time time to smell the roses or draw much.

There is a sense from most people that it’s extremely busy and you have to book. I’ve often had to contact several places for a bed. I am going off-stage, but the Albergues are almost always full.

I find myself eyeing fellow pilgrims with distaste as they pass me, because they are putting me that much closer to a nighttime taxi ride!👻

Some people have told me the municipals are not full because so many people are booking, but it feels risky.

Also it has been unseasonably cold.

The social aspect is great still. But It’s stressful, and I’m counting the days until it’s over.

Its much busier then it was in April-May 2022 when I did the Frances previously.

If someone has a link to current statistics, that would be great.

P.S. Also I was planning to do the most traditional Camino Frances through Sarria, but would appreciate some thoughts on the alternate routes. For instance, how many days it would add, etc.
(I am leaving Astorga today).
This was our experience on the Meseta. Luckily we had booked ahead.
 
I was about to suggest it too!
Walk it now before it gets too popular :)
I agree. I walked the Invierno last Spring and saw a total of 5 pilgrims until we reached where it joins the Sanabres, and even then there were only and a dozen people in the albergue. A beautiful Camino. So glad I walked it before it becomes too popular.
 
Very light, comfortable and compressible poncho. Specially designed for protection against water for any activity.

Our Atmospheric H30 poncho offers lightness and waterproofness. Easily compressible and made with our Waterproof fabric, its heat-sealed interior seams guarantee its waterproofness. Includes carrying bag.

€60,-
This was our experience on the Meseta. Luckily we had booked ahead.
Hi, I’m a day away from finishing the Camino Frances. Sarria section has been busy as expected but I got the feeling due to the incredible bad weather, people have heads down and no time for talking. Haven’t since being on my Camino trek had a moment to bond with others, or find that Camino Family. Which is a terrible shame. I come across lots of jostling, and folk plugged into iPhones!
 
I would say that most people, including myself found their Camino rather awesome, busy or not!🇳🇿😎🇪🇸

Good for you and thanks for sharing! There's room for everyone's experience (including the OP's, which I was simply agreeing with).
 
Started Camino Frances on April 17, taking it easy and just entering the Meseta. Finding it very difficult to get lodging. Everybody is talking about it, which actually seems to be making it worse…as then everybody books days in advance. Today an albergue recommended I call an accommodation 8km off the Camino route for a bed! We’re rolling the dice the next few days and hoping “the Camino will provide”. Fingers crossed!!
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
I had originally planned to the CF, as it’s my first Camino. I read the all the post about the first stages being horribly over booked, so starting on Wednesday I decided to change to Norte at the last minute since I flew into Biarritz. It’s been nice, I’m loving the food and the seaside towns, but it’s defiantly a little more isolated from what I’ve read about the Frances, which isn’t entirely a negative

my plan was to go to Pamplona starting tomorrow and switch back to the CF, but I’m still hearing reports that you have to book an advanced and things are pretty crowded. I’m just curious is this overcrowding due to weeklong holiday goers from Europe or will this maintain and should I just stick along the Norte? It’s not likely I’ll get another chance to come back
 
Because I’m not there, on the ground, I can’t really answer the busy/ booking questions.

I guess the answer depends in part on why you are walking. Religious grounds or the destination? Doesn’t change. A personal challenge ? The Norte is harder, but roughly the same length. Or simply because, like many of us, you feel a pull ( some say desire, even called) to do so? The list goes on.

Both are beautiful, what is it about the Frances that makes you want to walk it?
 
Because I’m not there, on the ground, I can’t really answer the busy/ booking questions.

I guess the answer depends in part on why you are walking. Religious grounds or the destination? Doesn’t change. A personal challenge ? The Norte is harder, but roughly the same length. Or simply because, like many of us, you feel a pull ( some say desire, even called) to do so? The list goes on.

Both are beautiful, what is it about the Frances that makes you want to walk it?
I think I have just been swayed by many of the posts that say if it’s your first one or you’re only one then the Camino Francis is the most traditional Camino experience. I do like the idea of the more communal experience, but to be honest, the first three or four days in the north they have been some of the best traveling experiences of my life so maybe I should just stop optimizing LOL.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
I think I have just been swayed by many of the posts that say if it’s your first one or you’re only one then the Camino Francis is the most traditional Camino experience.
There is a problem right there. What is "the most traditional Camino experience"? I have walked the Camino Frances in 1990, 2002, 2016 and 2023. Each of them a very different journey. I would say the most traditional experience was my first Camino: mostly solitary, sometimes going two or three days without seeing another pilgrim, often sleeping alone in tiny refugios and eating regular Spanish meals at Spanish hours in bars and restaurants. Occasionally invited to sit with local families or groups of friends. An experience which I can recapture in part now only on the quieter routes and out of season. But I suspect what is meant by "most traditional Camino experience" now is almost the opposite: large numbers of pilgrims, Camino families, communal meals in albergues and so on. I think it would be better not to get hung up on someone else's definitions and to decide on the type of experience you would prefer. More solitude or more company? What daily distances would suit you? What landscapes do you want to see? Any particular places of interest? Build a journey which suits you and your own preferences rather than buying into someone else's notion of "most traditional".
 
There is a problem right there. What is "the most traditional Camino experience"? I have walked the Camino Frances in 1990, 2002, 2016 and 2023. Each of them a very different journey. I would say the most traditional experience was my first Camino: mostly solitary, sometimes going two or three days without seeing another pilgrim, often sleeping alone in tiny refugios and eating regular Spanish meals at Spanish hours in bars and restaurants. Occasionally invited to sit with local families or groups of friends. An experience which I can recapture in part now only on the quieter routes and out of season. But I suspect what is meant by "most traditional Camino experience" now is almost the opposite: large numbers of pilgrims, Camino families, communal meals in albergues and so on. I think it would be better not to get hung up on someone else's definitions and to decide on the type of experience you would prefer. More solitude or more company? What daily distances would suit you? What landscapes do you want to see? Any particular places of interest? Build a journey which suits you and your own preferences rather than buying into someone else's notion of "most traditional".
Thank your for this. I think I like the idea of pushing myself physically and experience some of the local basque culture first and then secondly, I’d love to meet some folks and have some great communal experiences. But most importantly I don’t want to fell like I have to be booking stuff to advance, I like having the spontaneity to plan my routes
 
Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

€83,-
I am doing some, and eventually will post everything good here. I have put some things on Instagram and facebook, if you do that. My pages are all public, feel free to friend or follow.
Instagram account name please? I couldn't find "Stephan the painter" Lots of Stephens!
 
Instagram account name please? I couldn't find "Stephan the painter" Lots of Stephens!
@stephan_giannini_art

 
I had originally planned to the CF, as it’s my first Camino. I read the all the post about the first stages being horribly over booked, so starting on Wednesday I decided to change to Norte at the last minute since I flew into Biarritz. It’s been nice, I’m loving the food and the seaside towns, but it’s defiantly a little more isolated from what I’ve read about the Frances, which isn’t entirely a negative

my plan was to go to Pamplona starting tomorrow and switch back to the CF, but I’m still hearing reports that you have to book an advanced and things are pretty crowded. I’m just curious is this overcrowding due to weeklong holiday goers from Europe or will this maintain and should I just stick along the Norte? It’s not likely I’ll get another chance to come back

Reports go both ways. This was also posted yesterday, from the middle of the meseta on the Frances:
I haven't booked ahead at all and have gotten a bed everytime I've walked into town. There is a lot of panic happening concerning beds though. Ive listened to people at the albergues and many are spending their time calling ahead. I think, in my case anyway, it's been unnecessary.
On the one hand, my advice would be not to be scared off the Frances. But it may be a bit late for that advice. I also tend to advise people not to hop on a bus and head somewhere else, mid-Camino, if they can avoid it. If the Norte is working for you, maybe stick with it.

You can always try the Frances another time.
 
Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

€83,-
I think I have just been swayed by many of the posts that say if it’s your first one or you’re only one then the Camino Francis is the most traditional Camino experience. I do like the idea of the more communal experience, but to be honest, the first three or four days in the north they have been some of the best traveling experiences of my life so maybe I should just stop optimizing LOL.
There’s a theory that the release of THE WAY started the rise in popularity of the CF, especially with Americans. If that theory is correct then the release of THE WAY 2 may have a similar effect on the Norte. In which case you will then be like all us pre-2011 CF walkers and able to claim you walked the Camino del Norte before Emilio Estévez and Martin Sheen spoiled it all! 😀
 
There’s a theory that the release of THE WAY started the rise in popularity of the CF, especially with Americans.
The number of Americans walking the Frances (and to a lesser extent other routes) has certainly risen since the film came out. But the growth in popularity of the Frances has been pretty consistent way back to revival of the Camino in the 1980s. The influence of the film in the overall picture of the Caminos is easily exaggerated.
 
We are on the CF since 16th April. Our plan is to take a bus south for circa 30k from Sarria to Monteforte de Lemos and do the last 6 days on the Invierno and thereby avoid the busier Sarria to SCD section. Having said that I think the Sarria to SDC has a different but enjoyable vibe to the earlier stages. Lots of very enthused and energetic peregrinos who talk about other issued than knees & blisters.
Can you provide some detail on the bus line/number for this option, please? I am going to CF and may take this option to avoid crowds.
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
I had originally planned to the CF, as it’s my first Camino. I read the all the post about the first stages being horribly over booked, so starting on Wednesday I decided to change to Norte at the last minute since I flew into Biarritz. It’s been nice, I’m loving the food and the seaside towns, but it’s defiantly a little more isolated from what I’ve read about the Frances, which isn’t entirely a negative

my plan was to go to Pamplona starting tomorrow and switch back to the CF, but I’m still hearing reports that you have to book an advanced and things are pretty crowded. I’m just curious is this overcrowding due to weeklong holiday goers from Europe or will this maintain and should I just stick along the Norte? It’s not likely I’ll get another chance to come back
Having walked both, I still feel the Frances is a better experience. It was my first and it felt more pilgramey for me than the Norte did. I also found there were more milestones on the Frances to look forward to and keep me motivated when the walking got boring. There is also, of course, much more Camino history/lore associated with the Frances.

Not sure where you are on the Norte now but after you walk past Bilbao expect the pavement walking to Increase significantly.

Buen Camino!
 
Can you provide some detail on the bus line/number for this option, please? I am going to CF and may take this option to avoid crowds.
Monbus is the company. Here is the schedules, bus numbers, and times for Sarria and M. de Lemos.
 

Attachments

  • Schedules Sarria - Monforte de Lemos.pdf
    29.9 KB · Views: 10
Can you provide some detail on the bus line/number for this option, please? I am going to CF and may take this option to avoid crowds.
Instead of waiting until Sarria You could switch to the Camino Invierno at Ponferrada.

 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
I had originally planned to the CF, as it’s my first Camino. I read the all the post about the first stages being horribly over booked, so starting on Wednesday I decided to change to Norte at the last minute since I flew into Biarritz. It’s been nice, I’m loving the food and the seaside towns, but it’s defiantly a little more isolated from what I’ve read about the Frances, which isn’t entirely a negative

my plan was to go to Pamplona starting tomorrow and switch back to the CF, but I’m still hearing reports that you have to book an advanced and things are pretty crowded. I’m just curious is this overcrowding due to weeklong holiday goers from Europe or will this maintain and should I just stick along the Norte? It’s not likely I’ll get another chance to come back
It's probably not as bad as people are saying. A lot of the people who have trouble finding a bed are simply trying to use Booking.com to pre-book and most of the albergues don't list there. Once you reach Pamplona things break up a bit and there are a lot of places to stay between the regular stops. If you insist on staying in the traditional stage endings (Puente la Reina, Estella, Los Arcos, etc...) then it does fill up, but if you stay a short distance before or after these towns, it's not usually a problem. Try starting the day early so you can get to the municipal albergues early before they are full, as they don't usually take reservations and use the BuenCamino app to communicate with albergues to reserve a bed a day or two in advance. Many people pre-book this way, but sometimes don't show up for their reservation as they are not always prepaid. At around 2pm albergues will release these reservations and you can often get one of those if you ask.
 
At around 2pm albergues will release these reservations and you can often get one of those if you ask.
Sadly that is increasingly the case. If you have made a reservation and you expect to arrive later in the day then do confirm that arrival time with the albergue or you may find that someone else has already been given the bed you were expecting.
 
I’m on the Camino Frances since April 4. I just finished the Meseta and it feels unpleasantly busy and has since the beginning. No time time to smell the roses or draw much.

There is a sense from most people that it’s extremely busy and you have to book. I’ve often had to contact several places for a bed. I am going off-stage, but the Albergues are almost always full.

I find myself eyeing fellow pilgrims with distaste as they pass me, because they are putting me that much closer to a nighttime taxi ride!👻

Some people have told me the municipals are not full because so many people are booking, but it feels risky.

Also it has been unseasonably cold.

The social aspect is great still. But It’s stressful, and I’m counting the days until it’s over.

Its much busier then it was in April-May 2022 when I did the Frances previously.

If someone has a link to current statistics, that would be great.

P.S. Also I was planning to do the most traditional Camino Frances through Sarria, but would appreciate some thoughts on the alternate routes. For instance, how many days it would add, etc.
(I am leaving Astorga today).
And you are one more person adding to the crowd, haha! The big packs of tour groups is what puts me off. I actually stop to smell the roses (often literally), draw and take pictures more, waiting for the bolus to pass. Meanwhile, my recent two weeks on Camino Sanabres, I saw not ONE other person on the trail the first ten days. A few marathon walkers who did La Plata up to there were in the albergues, but generally about 9 people in a 40 bed albergue.
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
I’m on the Camino Frances since April 4. I just finished the Meseta and it feels unpleasantly busy and has since the beginning. No time time to smell the roses or draw much.

There is a sense from most people that it’s extremely busy and you have to book. I’ve often had to contact several places for a bed. I am going off-stage, but the Albergues are almost always full.

I find myself eyeing fellow pilgrims with distaste as they pass me, because they are putting me that much closer to a nighttime taxi ride!👻

Some people have told me the municipals are not full because so many people are booking, but it feels risky.

Also it has been unseasonably cold.

The social aspect is great still. But It’s stressful, and I’m counting the days until it’s over.

Its much busier then it was in April-May 2022 when I did the Frances previously.

If someone has a link to current statistics, that would be great.

P.S. Also I was planning to do the most traditional Camino Frances through Sarria, but would appreciate some thoughts on the alternate routes. For instance, how many days it would add, etc.
(I am leaving Astorga today).
Very sorry to hear you are not enjoying it as much as before. The thing is, we often return to a place and expect it to be the same as before. This often isn't the case, as there are so many variables, such as busyness, time of year, weather, our own health, and much more. I started walking from Saint John a week after you and have loved it! Even though it's my first time, I am sure I would have enjoyed it the 2nd time round but probably it would be different.
I have personally not had any issues booking any rooms. Sure, if you don't book in advance, then the options of places to stay are limited, but I simply adapted. I stayed in municipality, booked Albergues a day or 2 in advance, or booked a private room from time to time. The weather was glorious on the first week, and it is this week. I had a week of crap weather and it.made me sick. But I'm not annoyed about it. All my issues are part of the journey! Things go wrong, we feel uncomfortable. This isn't meant to be luxury!! Yes there are many people and I am sure you notice a difference, but this is how it goes with travel. I knew this well before I arrived. Maybe you would prefer a different route next time? I am now in Sarria and yes it is busier, but it's just different and I have adapted. I get to meet so many people, and there are many times to find peace. It's a mindset thing. Turn around from time to time and stop. Forget about the people. We should not be affected by others. Breathe and take in where you are. We are still very lucky. Good luck with the test of your trip!
 
Can you provide some detail on the bus line/number for this option, please? I am going to CF and may take this option to avoid crowds.
I’m not sure yet. I
Can you provide some detail on the bus line/number for this option, please? I am going to CF and may take this option to avoid crowds.
Im not sure of the bus details. I just went into Romet
Can you provide some detail on the bus line/number for this option, please? I am going to CF and may take this option to avoid crowds.
I think I found that there are a number of busses on Rome to Rio. I could be wrong but I think they are Monbus.
 
Ideal pocket guides for during & after your Camino. Each weighs only 1.4 oz (40g)!
I joined the CF from the Primitivo at Melide last Tuesday. After the relative seclusion and camaraderie (not a contradiction) of the Primitivo, the masses came as a bit of a shock. I noticed earlier that the numbers on the Primitivo after Lugo had also increased, presumably because Lugo is 100km from Santiago.

Nevertheless, my couple of hours of lone nighttime hiking on Wednesday through the woods after Arzúa were just magical.
 
OP here:
Overall I had a good time. In the end I just continued along the Camino Frances. I went through Sarria and stayed off-stage a few nights and there was only one day the trail was crazy crowded.

I’m not totally naive. Of course I knew this was likely to be a busy time on the Camino Frances, but I didn't realize how stressful I would find the bed-race.

And of course I was part of the horde. But I carried my pack and walked every kilometer from SJPP to Santiago. The albergues were full of people with rolling luggage that they were transporting.

It seems to me the Camino Frances is now more a vacation destination then a pilgrimage.

As I said, overall I had a good time, but now that I have both a bicycle and walking certificate, I’ll never go anywhere near the Frances again. Nor would I recommend it to anybody. And I think the Caminos Portuguese and Norte will soon be similarly busy.

I did part of the Camino Madrid before easter, and while maybe that was a little too lonely for my tastes, if I do future caminos, I’ll chose the lesser known ones.

Thank for all the suggestions and discussion.
 
Last edited:
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
OP here:
In the end I just continued along the Camino Frances. I went through Sarria and stayed off-stage a few nights and there was only one day the trail was crazy crowded.

Thank for all the suggestions and discussion.

Greatly appreciate the update and sharing your thoughts and feelings. Oftentimes I wonder how the pilgrim fared in the end when posts are about illness, injury or challenges faced along the way. Thank you. 😊
 
I am on the Camino de Sagunto (see my live thread…)
Third day in, have yet to meet a single peregrino. Fab food and accommodation and waymarking is good.
I highly recommend a little adventurousness - there are great alternatives to the Francès but you need resilience and not necessarily require company.
 
OP here:
In the end I just continued along the Camino Frances. I went through Sarria and stayed off-stage a few nights and there was only one day the trail was crazy crowded.

I’m not an idiot. Of course I knew this was likely to be a busy time on the Camino Frances, but I didn't realize how stressful I would find the bedrace.

And of course I was part of the horde. But I carried my pack and walked every kilometer from SJPP to Santiago. The albergues were full of people with rolling luggage that they were transporting.

It seems to me the Camino Frances is now more a vacation destination then a pilgrimage.

Overall, I had a good time, but now that I have both a bicycle and walking certificate, I’ll never go anywhere near the Frances again. Nor would I recommend it to anybody. And I think the Caminos Portuguese and Norte will soon be similarly busy.

I did part of the Camino Madrid before easter, and while maybe that was a little too lonely for my tastes, if I do future caminos, I’ll chose the lesser known ones.

Thank for all the suggestions and discussion.
Been on the Norte for 3 weeks and haven’t had any issues booking day of. If anything, a few more people might liven it up a bit more, but no complaints
 
Down bag (90/10 duvet) of 700 fills with 180 g (6.34 ounces) of filling. Mummy-shaped structure, ideal when you are looking for lightness with great heating performance.

€149,-
Overall, I had a good time, but now that I have both a bicycle and walking certificate, I’ll never go anywhere near the Frances again. Nor would I recommend it to anybody. And I think the Caminos Portuguese and Norte will soon be similarly busy.
For some years I had the same thoughts about the Frances. But I returned to walk it in January last year and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Totally different from a peak season journey and I found the far smaller numbers of pilgrims I did meet were on the whole much easier to get along with. More kindred spirits. I am walking the Portugues from Valença at the moment and I am finding it pretty busy. At 4pm today I was given one of four remaining beds in the "off-stage" municipal albergue in Briallos. On my previous visit here I had the entire building to myself - an extraordinary difference in atmosphere. I think that those of us with long memories of the Caminos can have problems adjusting to the new reality on the popular routes. I certainly do. I will be returning to the Frances for a week or so this summer to walk with a friend. Mostly looking forward to it but with some reservations as I know my personal preference is for solitude and quiet. In the future I expect to continue to walk mostly less-travelled routes in winter. Numbers continue to grow on the Frances and the Portugues so what they offer obviously appeals to many. I am grateful for the range of options available to us these days.
 
Transport luggage-passengers.
From airports to SJPP
Luggage from SJPP to Roncevalles
I do think that timing plays a big role. It's a busy time with several holidays this month. Lots of people who have the time are on the Camino. There are less busy times to walk and I encourage you to consider coming back at one of those less busy times to see if it changes your mind.
That’s probably true. I did start April 4, so I think April has become as busy as May. And it seemed busy the whole time.

But with so many Camino routes to explore, I don’t think I need the Frances anymore.

For instance, I only did make one close connection out of 3 pilgrims I met on the Camino Madrid, but I’m still in touch. So maybe the quantity of Pilgrims are less, but the quality was high😂!

And the locals are so happy to see you, as opposed to the exhausted jadedness I sometimes observed on the Frances.

Its true that logistics can (and were) be a challenge, but with that awareness, it can be overcome.

And most importantly for me, Spain is a great place to sketch everywhere.
 
Last edited:
OP here:
Overall I had a good time. In the end I just continued along the Camino Frances. I went through Sarria and stayed off-stage a few nights and there was only one day the trail was crazy crowded.

I’m not totally naive. Of course I knew this was likely to be a busy time on the Camino Frances, but I didn't realize how stressful I would find the bed-race.

And of course I was part of the horde. But I carried my pack and walked every kilometer from SJPP to Santiago. The albergues were full of people with rolling luggage that they were transporting.

It seems to me the Camino Frances is now more a vacation destination then a pilgrimage.

As I said, overall I had a good time, but now that I have both a bicycle and walking certificate, I’ll never go anywhere near the Frances again. Nor would I recommend it to anybody. And I think the Caminos Portuguese and Norte will soon be similarly busy.

I did part of the Camino Madrid before easter, and while maybe that was a little too lonely for my tastes, if I do future caminos, I’ll chose the lesser known ones.

Thank for all the suggestions and discussion.
Hi Stephan, I totally understand your disenchantment with the Camino Francés. I felt the same way, especially with the last third. It was surprising to me how difficult it was to find beds if you didn’t book ahead. I was sick the last 3 days so I really wanted a private room. None to be found in Pedrouzo. Fellow pilgrims had to put up with my annoying coughing! However, I was grateful I didn’t have to setup a tent!

With that said, I’m now focusing on the positive sides. It taught me how to be resilient through the adversities. I really enjoyed the flexibility to choose how to walk it my way, alone for the most part. I have no regrets, and I’m proud to have accomplished this without injuries. I was not in a race and I listened to my body and practiced a lot of mindfulness. In my opinion, it is about the journey, not the destination. Going back through my photos, I really enjoyed the diversity of the landscapes. Also, the people I met from all over the world, is something I’ve never experienced.

Now it’s time to create new adventures. Happy trails!
 
Down bag (90/10 duvet) of 700 fills with 180 g (6.34 ounces) of filling. Mummy-shaped structure, ideal when you are looking for lightness with great heating performance.

€149,-
How about trying the Invierno. Would add a couple of days approx. I’ve been following some threads on the forum of pilgrims walking now. Wise Pilgrim has an app for this camino. I’m sure other members here will add to this suggestion. You start the Invierno in Ponderrada. Buen camino. Hope the last stages of your camino are safe and enjoyable.
Im planning the Invierno beginning august! Is it beautiful🌺?
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
I didn't read every comment, as a lot of it was about the Invierno, but I am curious about whether municipal albergues will suffice this year? I was on the Camino Frances last September (wasn't able to finish so I'm going back and starting over) and was always able to find a municipal bed. I don't want to book ahead, as my body sometimes doesn't allow me to keep that strict of a schedule. From everything I'm reading right now, it seems it is more crowded this year. Did any of you have problems just showing up at the municipal albergues and finding a bed each night in 2024?
 
I didn't read every comment, as a lot of it was about the Invierno, but I am curious about whether municipal albergues will suffice this year? I was on the Camino Frances last September (wasn't able to finish so I'm going back and starting over) and was always able to find a municipal bed. I don't want to book ahead, as my body sometimes doesn't allow me to keep that strict of a schedule. From everything I'm reading right now, it seems it is more crowded this year. Did any of you have problems just showing up at the municipal albergues and finding a bed each night in 2024?
It's busier in Santiago, and the last 100 km of various routes, but I was on the Francés between Obanos and Ponferrrada from May 25th to June 15th, and there were zero problems getting a bed. I didn't stay in many municipals, but no one that I walked with had an issue getting a bed. There were far fewer pilgrims than I anticipated. In fact, I took a short day after León, and ended up being the only person in the albergue that night.
However, if you will be starting during the first couple of weeks in September, the situation will be very different, as that's one of the most popular times to start from SJPdP.
 
Thank you for the information! I know it was pretty crazy after Sarria last year, so I am considering the Invierno now, but I really liked the walk from O Cebreiro and would like to see it again. (Basically, I skipped the Meseta and only did the beginning and the end of the Camino.) Last year, I had no problems with the municipals, so I was hoping for the same this time.
 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
Thank you for the information! I know it was pretty crazy after Sarria last year, so I am considering the Invierno now, but I really liked the walk from O Cebreiro and would like to see it again. (Basically, I skipped the Meseta and only did the beginning and the end of the Camino.) Last year, I had no problems with the municipals, so I was hoping for the same this time.
Towards the end of my Camino Frances (April 4 through May 14, 2024), I got so sick of worrying and reserving everything all the time, that I just decided to gamble on municipals. There was always a bed, although occasionally they were very crowded. But a few times, they were almost empty, or half full.

My Camino was busy, but it's my sense that June was less busy because I was still on the Camino with a rental car sketching ( but not staying at albergues).
 
Last edited:
Towards the end of my Camino Frances (April 4 through May 14, 2024), I got so sick of worrying and reserving everything all the time, that I just decided to gamble on municipals. There was always a bed, although occasionally they were very crowded. But a few times, they were almost empty, or half full.

My Camino was busy, but it's my sense that June was less busy because I was still on the Camino with a rental car sketching ( but not staying at albergues).
Thanks, that's good to know. I feel that reserving everything takes away the adventurous aspect of the Camino. But, I also don't want the "adventure" of having to sleep outside, haha.
 

Most read last week in this forum

Well, after getting my poles through TSA 15-20 times in my suitcase, they were confiscated in Denver inside a backpack after 2 successes at other airports. I didn’t have time nor inclination to...
If anyone has taken the alternate route from shortly before Villaval to Orbaneja (as depicted in John Brierley's guide) I would appreciate your comments regarding terrain and ease of following...
I'm helping a friend with limited mobility plan a "driving camino" trip. Her husband will drive. They prefer being in the historic center of places and very much like historic buildings. The...
It should be boisterous this evening on all the Spanish Caminos. Euro Cup Finals Spain vs England. One curiosity: these are the first times in 70 years that the English sang their anthem, 'God...
Hello Pilgrim friends. I am preparing to walk the Frances in late September. I had thought of starting on a Sunday, as I hear the church in SJPP has a beautiful morning service. Then I thought of...
Have time to start a couple days before Sarria. Wondering which of the following you would recommend most to start by and not miss — Villafranca del Bierzo or O Cebrero or Herrerias or...

❓How to ask a question

How to post a new question on the Camino Forum.

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Updates on YouTube

Camino Conversations

Most downloaded Resources

This site is run by Ivar at

in Santiago de Compostela.
This site participates in the Amazon Affiliate program, designed to provide a means for Ivar to earn fees by linking to Amazon
Official Camino Passport (Credential) | 2024 Camino Guides
Back
Top