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How busy are July and August usually?

camster

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés 2023
I'm reading all sorts of things about the Francés being super busy right now and the high season being in May.
I was wondering how quiet does it usually get in July and August, compared to May, or the high season, as I will be walking from beginning of July to end of August.
What's the usual high season (what months)? Thanks!
 
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Depends on which Camino you are walking and where you start. From SJPDP and Roncesvalles May and September are the peak months for starting. July and August are usually quieter. But July and August are the busiest months on the final 100km - especially on the Frances from Sarria.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
If you start from SJPdP in July you should have no problem getting beds at least until you get to Galicia, at which point you may want to book a day or two ahead.

You might find this thread informative.

I start walking July 2nd.
SJPP, Orisson, and Roncesvalles are booked. After that, if I gather from comments here that it's not the high season, I'll choose my albergue when I arrive in town. Thank you for the link, I will check it out.
 
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I start walking July 2nd.
SJPP, Orisson, and Roncesvalles are booked. After that, if I gather from comments here that it's not the high season, I'll choose my albergue when I arrive in town. Thank you for the link, I will check it out.
One issue with starting on July 2nd - San Fermín, aka the running of the bulls in Pamplona starts July 6. All accommodation in Pamplona and surrounding areas will be very tight. You may want to consider reserving up through Pamplona, and perhaps stay on either side of Pamplona.
 
I'm reading all sorts of things about the Francés being super busy right now and the high season being in May.
All sorts of things are true, but incomplete.
  • From SJPP for 100 km, the high season is May and September and the accommodation becomes saturated.
  • From Sarria for 100 km, the high season is July and August, plus the Easter week, and the accommodation becomes saturated. BUT there is a lot more accommodation to handle the many more walkers in absolute numbers on this route, so the rest of the year has plenty of beds.
 
Quiet. I have walked 12 Caminos in the Summer months. (job holiday times)
It's an amazing time to walk, particularly if you live in a place that has 365 days of heat with temps of 24 degrees at night considered as cool. You will really love the long mornings of cold / cool, comfortable fresh walking. After about 12, there's almost nobody walking as that is when it 'may' get hot. it's just you and the Camino. Though be prepared for a couple of wet and cold days somewhere in those months as every Camino I've walked has had at least a couple of cold days and my Primitivo Camino was freezing in July.
 
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One issue with starting on July 2nd - San Fermín, aka the running of the bulls in Pamplona starts July 6. All accommodation in Pamplona and surrounding areas will be very tight. You may want to consider reserving up through Pamplona, and perhaps stay on either side of Pamplona.
Agreed. I was think about Arre the night before, then going through Pamplona and seeing the festivities and sleeping at Puente la Reina.
 
Quiet. I have walked 12 Caminos in the Summer months. (job holiday times)
It's an amazing time to walk, particularly if you live in a place that has 365 days of heat with temps of 24 degrees at night considered as cool. You will really love the long mornings of cold / cool, comfortable fresh walking. After about 12, there's almost nobody walking as that is when it 'may' get hot. it's just you and the Camino. Though be prepared for a couple of wet and cold days somewhere in those months as every Camino I've walked has had at least a couple of cold days and my Primitivo Camino was freezing in July.
So a jacket is a good thing to have even in July and August, then?
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
A light fleece or lightweight down jacket that packs down small. I had a really cold night up at O Cebreiro in August! I hadn't brought gloves that year so I wore socks as mittens.
Oh no! Thank you for the heads up!
 
So a jacket is a good thing to have even in July and August, then?
Yes. As @trecile says, a light jacket would be wise. I have always taken a light windcheater and have been thankful for it. Almost always I needed it at some point in July / August, especially at O Cebreiro to Fronfria (a very short stretch on the Frances), but also at other points - even in Pamplona in July 14, but when I walked another Camino over Summer - the Primitivo, it was, literally, a lifesaver on the Hospitales variant.
 
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Yes. As @trecile says, a light jacket would be wise. I have always taken a light windcheater and have been thankful for it. Almost always I needed it at some point in July / August, especially at O Cebreiro to Fronfria (a very short stretch on the Frances), but also at other points - even in Pamplona in July 14, but when I walked another Camino over Summer - the Primitivo, it was, literally, a lifesaver on the Hospitales variant.
I never imagined it would be so useful that time of year. I'm going to pack it, then!
 
I walked in July 2019, the last "peak" year before the bug happened.
It was calm, even after Sarria. Yes, there were some bigger groups, mainly spaniards (students, commemorational walkers, etc.) but it was very relaxed.
The week prior to the 25th of July (Day of St. James) may be a bit more crowded, but nothing to worry about.

Even in July I would recommend a lightweight rainjacket (bike-jacket).
 
I have generally walked all of my Caminos during summer months. The sun is up early enough to get a start for the day when it is still cool and I only wall about 25 k a day so my day is finished by noon when it starts to warm up. Finding a bed at that time usually involves lining my backpack up in queue at the albergue, sitting back and relaxing with a cold beer and waiting for the doors to open. It gives me time to shower, rinse my clothes off and get them dry by the evening, find the best menu del dia in town and then take a nap. I have only encountered San Fermin once and it is a disgusting drunken mosh pit of an affair that goes on 24/7 for a week. I am afraid you will even have a problem finding a place in Arres because it is short bus ride to Pamplona.
 
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The summertime is the best time to walk the Camino Frances before Sarria. I try to do some of it every summer.
If you hit Sarria mid-week you avoid most of the crowds on the last 100km.
 
Quiet. I have walked 12 Caminos in the Summer months. (job holiday times)
It's an amazing time to walk, particularly if you live in a place that has 365 days of heat with temps of 24 degrees at night considered as cool. You will really love the long mornings of cold / cool, comfortable fresh walking. After about 12, there's almost nobody walking as that is when it 'may' get hot. it's just you and the Camino. Though be prepared for a couple of wet and cold days somewhere in those months as every Camino I've walked has had at least a couple of cold days and my Primitivo Camino was freezing in July.
Thanks for the perspective. I'm from California and wonder what everyone means by "hot" as I have spent July in France and never found it to be terribly off-putting. I too am considering July for my Camino Frances, albeit in 2024.
 
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@Ruva2024 You can get an idea of typical July temperatures from websites like Weatherspark. Just enter the name of a town along the route for details. But such sites only give averages based on past records - you might find a freak heatwave or downpour on the particular day you pass through! For Burgos for example daytime temperatures are usually around 25 to 27C. I am Scottish and grew up in a colder and wetter climate. I have walked the CF in July and August - a long time ago - and I found that the direct burning sunlight was more of a hazard than the temperatures though they were often higher than I found comfortable.

 
Thanks for the perspective. I'm from California and wonder what everyone means by "hot" as I have spent July in France and never found it to be terribly off-putting. I too am considering July for my Camino Frances, albeit in 2024.
The temperatures are similar to summer temps in Northern California. Think anywhere between 75 to 105 for high temps. 105 would be extreme, but not entirely unheard of.
 
Please consider Zabaldika, a non-bookable donativo albergue around 8klms before Pamplona. One of my highlights.
Brilliant suggestion because no self respecting bull runner is going to stay there, next day nose around in Pamplona and if it is more than you can handle and you can't find a place to stay, take a taxi to the base of the climb to Alto de Perdon and walk to Uterga.
 
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In mid July of 2019 (pre COVID) I transferred from del Norte to Fromista on the CF. I booked ahead for Fromista because I thought it would be crowded. Come to find out the muni had plenty of beds which was the case in most of the places going forward until, like many have said here, Sarria. It became so crowded and noisy, I decided to book ahead to Santiago to give me some peace of mind. 😊 Hot, yes but leave early 5:30a, finish early noon or 1:00p. I looked for albergues with a swimming pool. By all means bring a lightweight jacket. If you haven’t already, you may want to also consider lightweight long sleeve shirt to protect you from the sun. I’ve walked Fall, Spring and Summer. My favorite is Fall then Summer, thirdly Spring. I’m so excited for you. 😎 Buen Camino
Fromista
IMG_3802.jpeg
After Carrion de los Condes
IMG_3874.jpeg
Ledigos (Plenty of beds) There were only 5 of us staying at the albergue.
IMG_3881.jpeg
Leaving Sarria, they caught up with me. 😱
IMG_4654.jpeg
 
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Agreed. I was think about Arre the night before, then going through Pamplona and seeing the festivities and sleeping at Puente la Reina.
I’m leaving SJPDP on the 2nd and will be in Pamplona on the 4th before the festival begins. Plenty of beds when i was on booking.com and got into the Albergue Plaza Catedral for 15 Euros, but after the 4th the accommodation in the city is very expensive.
 
Thanks for the perspective. I'm from California and wonder what everyone means by "hot" as I have spent July in France and never found it to be terribly off-putting. I too am considering July for my Camino Frances, albeit in 2024.
I was in southern France in August 2022 and we got temperatures rising up to 41°C (106F).
It was bearable on the beach in Ste. Maries de la mer. But my booked ride on Camargue horses was cancelled due to the high temperature.

The maximum I encountered were 38°C (100F) just before Los Arcos in July '19!
 
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I never imagined it would be so useful that time of year. I'm going to pack it, then!
Mind you, the (biggest part of the) Camino Primitivo has a rather different climate than the (biggest part of the) Francés. I have about 5000 kms of Caminos under my belt (from April till October) and don't recall I ever took a jacket with me. If necessary I had 3 layers (T-shirt, longsleeve shirt, fleece vest) and I had my rain poncho. But 3 layers was almost always too warm for walking (sometimes nice in the albergue though). So it is personal, I guess.
 
So a jacket is a good thing to have even in July and August, then?
I did the CF two years ago. Started July 4th and yes, a jacket was very much needed. I was glad I had my rain jacket, got a lot of use in the beginning and end. Also, I recommend once you get closer to the last 100k booking ahead, there was a shortage of beds when I went, it was pretty bad but it was an experience I’ll never forget.
So a jacket is a good thing to have even in July and August,
 
Join our full-service guided tour of the Basque Country and let us pamper you!
I'm reading all sorts of things about the Francés being super busy right now and the high season being in May.
I was wondering how quiet does it usually get in July and August, compared to May, or the high season, as I will be walking from beginning of July to end of August.
What's the usual high season (what months)? Thanks!
I volunteered at the pilgrim’s office last July and there were over 1500 to 2000 people a day coming into the office not including the group counts downstairs.
 
I'm reading all sorts of things about the Francés being super busy right now and the high season being in May.
I was wondering how quiet does it usually get in July and August, compared to May, or the high season, as I will be walking from beginning of July to end of August.
What's the usual high season (what months)? Thanks!
I love August , my wife does not.
Nothing in your back pack , only light clothing.
Start each day early and finish at noon / 1pm latest.
Enjoy lunch and a rest and in the evening sight see
And if in an albergue , sleep near the windows.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Thanks for the perspective. I'm from California and wonder what everyone means by "hot" as I have spent July in France and never found it to be terribly off-putting. I too am considering July for my Camino Frances, albeit in 2024.
Last year I walked in July/August amid 2 heatwaves of about 10 days each - multiple days of walking in +42 degrees.
 
I volunteered at the pilgrim’s office last July and there were over 1500 to 2000 people a day coming into the office not including the group counts downstairs.
How did you organise to volunteer there please? I would love to give something back if I can.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
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