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Frances or Portuguese?

2020 Camino Guides

ParrisPair

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Fraces
My husband and I have been walking the Camino Frances in stages since May 2018. SJ to Logroño in May. Logroño to Castrojeriz in October. Planned Castrojeriz to Pontferrada in April. We have enjoyed every step (almost!) and have had the most amazing time. We have placed all our trust that the Camino will provide and have therefore not made plans for accommodation or had any expectations of distances. This has thrown up a few surprises (mostly good). We would love to finish the final part of the journey with our 3 daughters, all in their early 20’s, in July and celebrate the finale of this amazing journey together in Santiago. However, after reading posts on this board, I am worried that the magic will be lost. Will it be too crowded in July? Will we get by without booking accommodation ahead? I doubt if our daughters will appreciate getting up at an ungodly hour to beat the crowds - it is not their usual idea of a holiday.
Would we therefore be better off doing the Portuguese costal Camino? If so we have 11 days, flying to and from Santiago so where should we start?
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
I sympathise about the hordes now on the CF and the mania to get up at "ungodly" hours. I walked the Portuguese twice and I noticed a big difference on the second one...it was more crowded but really only from Porto and Tui. Unless you want to reach Santiago I'd go Lisbon to Porto
 
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia (May 2016)
C. Frances (Sept 2017)
Camino Portugues (June 2019)
I walked the CF in Spring 2016 and again in the Fall 2017. Yes, there are larger groups of walkers the last 100K, but I just stopped and let them past. I had many enjoyable times walking alone in that last segment. It is beautiful and varied, in nature and villages. I think you should go and finish it. From what I have heard, it's less crowded in the summer than in the spring and fall.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia (May 2016)
C. Frances (Sept 2017)
Camino Portugues (June 2019)
I did book a few places a day in advance. But I also found that the likelihood of getting a bed has more to do with when you stop than when you start each day. I walked average 20K and ended around 1 - 2pm. Usually wasn't a problem.

I should add that, being a single pilgrim, it was easier for me to find a bed, too.
 
Last edited:

peregrino_tom

Member
Camino(s) past & future
.
Hi ParrisPair
I haven't walked all of the Portugues coastal stages, but have walked from Porto (1st day coastal) and via Tui etc. and most recently the Frances last November. A couple of observations:
You are probably going to have similar accommodation issues coming in from Tui/Valenca as you are from Sarria.
If there's five of you, you probably should consider booking at least some of the time and therefore approaching this last section of your camino slightly differently. Perhaps one of the daughters is teccy and an organiser and would enjoy arranging all that stuff?
You might pick some small albergues between towns, where you won't feel the pressure of 30 people around you packing at 4.30am-ish and setting off en masse with head torches.
Municipal Xunta albergues in Galicia are often more like a necessary chore than a pleasure - very different to the ones you will have found earlier on your camino. Though last year we enjoyed staying in a couple of obscure village ones at Calvor and Casanova.
Weighing things up I'm in favour of you persevering with the Frances - and making a good adventure of it, whatever happens : - )
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
My husband and I have been walking the Camino Frances in stages since May 2018. SJ to Logroño in May. Logroño to Castrojeriz in October. Planned Castrojeriz to Pontferrada in April. We have enjoyed every step (almost!) and have had the most amazing time. We have placed all our trust that the Camino will provide and have therefore not made plans for accommodation or had any expectations of distances. This has thrown up a few surprises (mostly good). We would love to finish the final part of the journey with our 3 daughters, all in their early 20’s, in July and celebrate the finale of this amazing journey together in Santiago. However, after reading posts on this board, I am worried that the magic will be lost. Will it be too crowded in July? Will we get by without booking accommodation ahead? I doubt if our daughters will appreciate getting up at an ungodly hour to beat the crowds - it is not their usual idea of a holiday.
Would we therefore be better off doing the Portuguese costal Camino? If so we have 11 days, flying to and from Santiago so where should we start?
If it is of any help, the stats tend to show the Camino Frances as more crowded in May than in July. I would finish the camino you started and have already walked so far on. That said, you may find yourself getting up early, not so much in a bed race, but to avoid as much as possible walking in the hottest part of the day. But the Camino Portugues may not be much cooler in July.
 

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