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How many days are needed for the Camino Frances ?

Time of past OR future Camino
September 2022
I sure hope you clicked on this because you're set to hike, because the Camino Frances -- which I finished last Sunday -- proved to be one of the most valuable, special experiences of my life.

I looked a bit at this forum before I hiked and got a whole lot of wonderful advice from the kind folks who post here, so I am writing now hoping to share anything I've learned that I might've liked to know before I hiked. A bit about me, before I start listing off thoughts: I am a 23 y/o, physically active man. I hiked from mid-April to mid May and started in St. Jean. Keep all that in mind if you read here -- I am only speaking to my experiences and I'm sure yours will be quite different. I'll also add -- please reach out if there's anything you think I might be able to answer! El Camino provided so much to me, and I'd love to pay it forward if there's any way to help. No question is bad :)

-- How to get to St. Jean --
I spent a few days in Paris before going to St. Jean. I didn't see a ton of super clear and updated advice on this forum describing how to get to SJPP before I got to Paris. I took a TGV train (the French fast train, really your best option) from Paris to Bayonne. It was around $70 when I bought it two days before I left. I could've gone to Biarritz for the same price. From Bayonne, I took a cheap local train that connected with a cheap local bus (those two parts were ~$10, it seemed that plenty of people didn't get tickets ahead of time, and the connections were also possible from Biarritz. All very easy. And if you're on the fence about Paris, I couldn't recommend it more! So different than big Spanish cities and certainly radically different from the experience you'll have on El Camino.

-- How much do you need to plan? --
There is no strict truth on how much you need to plan, and you should do what you are comfortable with and excited about. I chose to plan as little as possible. I didn't buy a guide book and I barely used the planning app I downloaded. I wanted to listen to my body and heart as I hiked and react to the people I walked with and the spaces I walked through. I really think that was the right decision for me. I recognize too that I could do that because I am able-bodied, financially solid and have extremely low standards for food and housing.
The older people I walked with seemed to plan much more, with books and reservations. I think that for many of them that was a great decision. I also loved going to them for advice on which albergues to pick, restaurants to check out, sellos to get, cathedrals to scope out, alternate routes to take, etc. The people who plan hold a wealth of information.
The Buen Camino app was great for scoping out alternative routes and albergues. Gronze was the best site for Albergue reviews, and I had mostly good experiences when I used it. Halfway through, I used the albergue sheet and stage map the officials gave me in SJPP to mark where all of the donativo albergues were -- I strongly preferred staying in them because they had community dinners that I enjoyed and attracted people who, like me, were hoping to talk with others and learn from them. I enjoyed relying on the preferences I developed to do some planning.
The last week I hiked, I stuck with a group. They were calling ahead the night before to book albergues and did so for me. I don't know if it was necessary, but it definitely took stress out -- I didn't think about where I was staying once that week.
I do think that part of the joy of El Camino is that even the plans you have will sometimes fall apart. Love that chaos and learn within it.

-- What gear do you need? --
The answer is less, in my opinion. If you're carrying your pack, pack less. Pack less. Pack less. Pack less. I had three shirts (two athletic tees and one long sleeve cotton shirt), a pair of trail pants, a pair of shorts, a fleece, some disposable plastic ponchos, four underwear and two socks (plus a Kindle, some shower flops, cosmetics, a sleeping bag, and some other odds and ends). I could've done without the compression sack I used for the fleece and sleeping bag. I could've packed one less t-shirt and gone without the kindle. I generally was thought to have a very light bag compared to the people I hiked with. I couldn't really imagine carrying much more -- it would've stunk.
Make sure you bring great ear plugs. The snoring is real.
I would recommend a sleeping bag that isn't too tight / isn't cone-like. I like to move around when I sleep.
I used Brooks Cascadia 16s. I didn't go water proof and heard many complaints from the folks who did (the water can't go out / the shoe can't dry). I only used one pair but they were toast by the end. I went one half size up from my normal size and would have been fine with a full size up too. I really recommend using trail runners instead of hiking boots -- the other trail runner folks seemed to get less blisters (I suspect because the shoes aren't as rigid). I only got two blisters!
I would recommend getting a reusable lightweight plastic poncho. It rained quite a bit (though lightly) when I was in Spain. One day hiking through the snow with a plastic poncho that broke apart in heavy winds stunk.
I used an REI 40L bag. It was more than enough. Anywhere between 35 and 45L is enough. For me, 38 would be perfect. Anything will work. Get a bag that you like the feel of. Doesn't have to be too expensive. Front pockets were a really nice feature, as was a top pocket.
I couldn't recommend hiking sticks more. I got mine in SJPP at 7 am before I started on the day I started. They had clasps, which made them easy to size and also allowed me to pull them apart and put them in my carry-on on the way back home. They cost like $40 total. I recommend cork grips, smooth ties and buying better rubber tips (got some good ones in Pampalona after mine busted in two days).

-- What is it like to be a young person on El Camino? --
If you're a young person and aren't sure if you want to hike or not, I want to be very clear in saying that I think you should do it. The vast majority of the people who hike from St. Jean (and who join the trail further along) were much older than me. Most, I found, were between 50 and 70 (though there were plenty 35+ too). Still, it was easy for me to find plenty of young people to spend time with. There were probably around 15 of us between 20 and 35 in my roving band. I had plenty of opportunities to do young people stuff, (reach out for recommendations on where to go out in Pamplona, Leon, Burgos and Santiago, and how to work around albergue closing times, lol).
All that said, the wisdom of the people older than me, made easily accessible by the unique setting that allowed us to talk so intimately, was surely one of the most valuable parts of El Camino. Age doesn't really matter here because everyone exists in this space in a radically equal way, but if it does matter, it gave me the opportunity to learn about life from people who have lived more life, all while I have the space and time to think about how I want to live and what I want to care about before I get started in my career.
You have a lot of power as a young person to shape your own Camino. You have access to phones and such to plan easily with others (get an AirBnB and stay in a city easily!). You can go out more easily and become friends with locals (one of my favorite things to do!). You can maybe more easily walk ahead a stage or two, or wait for others to come. Lean into those strengths to do whatever you want.
Anyways, get ready to have some great food, open space and unlimited wine at the very least. PS -- donativo and municipal albergues tend to attract more young people, and young people tend to leave last to get on the trail.

-- What to do on your Camino? --
I intended to work on my Spanish and reflect on my spirituality on my Camino. Both happened (woohoo!).
I spent the first week or so generally walking and chatting with other folks about whatever. I found that I had more space to listen to audiobooks on spirituality halfway through on the Meseta. It was somewhat hard for me to find time and energy to journal as much as I wanted to, but I finished with 130 pages written, so it all worked out. I listened to 8 books and walked with dozens upon dozens of people -- you can do everything all at once, there's time, lol. The last week I stuck with a group of three young folks who spoke Spanish, and it was a wonderful opportunity for me to practice language (my Spanish is okay... I lived in Argentina for four months but lost a lot of my Spanish since).
I really recommend having a few things you want to think about. There's space and tons of wonderful minds on El Camino. Take advantage of that and follow whatever thought path emerges.
The one thing you must must do is spend time with other people. Ask people to eat with you. Ask to pull up a chair. Ask how someone's hike is going when you pass them on the trail and try hard to start a conversation. Be attentive and kind and thoughtful and loving. You will learn so much about them and life and yourself. The other people are the best part.

You should definitely hike! I feel so much peace and strength and joy because of my Camino. I am so grateful for this time. Reach out if you have any questions!!! Buen Camino :))))))))
How many days of walking did you take? Pilgrim's Guide by Brierley recommends 33. I am 62 years old and generally do 10-mile training walks. I will increase it to 15 once a week shortly. I will start on August 27. Will not be carrying my pack because of an old rotator cuff injury and will instead use a service. I am trying to figure my return flight. Thanks.

[Post moved from another thread]
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
Frances/SJPP '15,'16,'18,'19,('20)
Way of St. Francis, Italy 2017
Portuguese/Finisterre 2018, 2019
How many days of walking did you take? Pilgrim's Guide by Brierley recommends 33. I am 62 years old and generally do 10-mile training walks. I will increase it to 15 once a week shortly. I will start on August 27. Will not be carrying my pack because of an old rotator cuff injury and will instead use a service. I am trying to figure my return flight. Thanks.
Ignore Brierleys recommendations. I have walked many Camino's and I met so many people who used this recommendation and were having to take buses and taxi's to keep up with their planned scheduled days. It sounds like you are training well, but our 62 year old (me too) bodies sometimes get cranky with the everyday walking up and down hills. You want flexibility if possible to deal with jet lag, injury, sickness, weather, rest and just the desire to take a short day, spend more time in a place or walk with a new friend. Some only buy a one way ticket, but the extra cost isn't feasible for me. When walking the Frances I usually plan for 50 days, although I've always walked 38-40 days. If I need the extra days they are there, if not I walk to Finisterre or take a bus to Porto.
I'm currently home from my summer Camino nursing a hip injured while dancing with a cuban in an albergue.....
 
Time of past OR future Camino
September 2022
If you want to do the complete Frances Route, does it take 33 - 34 walking days? Do some people do it in less time? Just wondering as my schedule is tight. Need to finish in 30 days if possible with 4 rest days worked in.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
Hi @SantaMonicaPeregrina - Welcome to the forum! I have moved a few posts from other threads so that people can focus on answering your question.

I don't know that Brierley uses the word "recommendation" for the stages that are presented in that guide. They should be treated as possible and convenient stages, that fit nicely on a page! :) In fact, many people recommend that you NOT stay in those start/end points because they tend to be more crowded. You might have better luck finding a bed in in-between towns. Brierley gives information on accommodation there, as well.

No, everyone does not walk from SJPP to Santiago in 33 days. But I would guess that it is more common to take longer. However, I see that you are hoping to do it in 30 days. Do you mean 26 + 4 rest days, or 30 + 4 rest days. Either way seems like too much pressure to me. You don't need to start in SJPP. Maybe your Camino would be happier if you started in Roncesvalles or Pamplona or Burgos. There is nothing "incomplete" about starting closer to Santiago. If you start too far away, and then find you need to skip ahead, you will lose the continuity of walking and the people you meet along the way.

I would prefer to start closer to Santiago in order to keep that continuity and be able to relax about the timing.

Don't forget to build in adequate travel time - to SJPP and from Santiago to wherever you are flying home from. Also, it is wise to allow at least one free day in Santiago at the end, in case of delays or line-ups to get your Compostela.
 

andycohn

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
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That's an impossible question to answer. Nobody can tell you how long YOU will need. Brierley breaks it into 33 stages, as you note. So, too, does gronze.com. But neither Brierley or Gronze knows YOUR capabilities, and their divisions are pretty arbitrary, corresponding only to the more important towns.. I've read on this forum about people who have done it in 25 days and people who have done it in 50. We took 34, not including days off. We were in our mid-60's at the time. (For what that's worth).

There's no "shoulds" or "oughts" here. As C Clearly says, above, maybe you should start a little further on, if you want to reach Santiago. But only you know how capable you are, and whether it's important to reach Santiago. Maybe the journey is more important to you than the goal -- in which case you just walk at whatever pace and for as long as you want. And maybe not.

But we can't tell you what's important to you, and how capable you are. Only you know that.

In any case, you're gonna have a helluva time. Welcome to the forum and Buen Camino.
 
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NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
Roughly 800 km divided by how many km per day YOU are able to walk equals how long you need.

I find starting out with shorter days, allowing myself to adjust to the daily grind, means by the last week or two, I’m going longer days. I think I took 44 days on my last Frances from SJPDP. I walk slowly and I took no rest days, but many short days.
 

Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Time of past OR future Camino
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
Also consider where to start.
starting in Pamplona is quite as representative as starting in SJPdP and taking the slog over the Pyrenees as a first timer...
Or even further down the line like Burgos, like I did when first starting out so as to be guaranteed to reach SdC.
If you have any doubt how you will fare on long stretches, this could be a good starter model...

PS from Burgos to SdC is 21 days...
 
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hunsta

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances May 2015
Camino Portuguese May 2023
I took 35 days with 3 1/2 rest days on top of that. As C clearly said. Breileys book is just a guide. I stayed in many in-between section stops. And as has already been said. Start in Pamploma or Burgos. It will still be a great walk. And closer to your time frame.
 

FourSeasons

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2013, 2016, 2019 ---- the next is a mystery.
It took me 34 days from SJPdP this includes the one rest day I took on day 21. I was 50 at the time. I didn’t do too much training beforehand as it seems you are. I consider myself an average walker at 20 minute miles and averaged 15 miles a day. You won’t be carrying your pack so that will help a lot. It’s such a hard gauge but I’d say 40/45 days. I think I had 5 additional days in Santiago and one night in finisterra then to Muxia. I hope you give yourself plenty of time to explore. Buen Camino. 😎
 
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gerardcarey

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CFx2, CPx1
It takes what it takes.
You never quite know til the end.
So you guestimate.
I reckoned, after guestimating my daily mileage, it would take 35 days to walk the CF.
I guestimated I would need/want one day off every week.
I figured to have a day off in Pamplona, Logrono, Burgos, Leon, Astorga.
Pamplona was too early for the first rest day altho it deserves a good look around. Maybe a half rest day, then walk on.
As an overview I now think I need 10 straight days walking initially to get my walking legs.
Whatever it worked out pretty well spot on.
SJPdP to Santiago -- 42 days.
I then spent a couple of days enjoying Santiago, Muxia and Finisterre.
Regards
Gerard
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
Norte
We took 45 days. No rest days, but shorter days of 16 km or so.
26 days with 1 rest day. 55 years old of average fitness. Slow but good stamina...bad knees. No training but i walk a lot every day as part of my life. Went far quicker than planned as was July/Aug 2020 and rumours of regional locks downs so got across as quick as i could and it gave me major league motivation. 30 days ish seemed the norm for the folks I met...younger demographic than this forum though. Chap I met ran the whole way!!

I started with 20-25km days then moved on to 35-40km days and to be honest didn't feel that much tougher. Long days though as very slow!!! i have very poor upper body strength so that's the key thing for me to manage a small pack.

It all felt fine and civilised with a good breakfast, a longish lunch and a nice dinner with plenty of vino.

Purely my view but i reckon 80% of folks can do this in 33 days or less, and maybe 60% plus can do it is 30 days or less but that is guesswork based on the three caminos I have done.

But if you have extra time I would take it......some great cities to spend time in (I took a rest day in Leon) and taking time out is great psychologically as well as physically!

Also i think it is nice to spend time in SdC, and 'drink in' the satisfaction of making it and speaking to others. You always bump into folks you have met along the way.
 
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NYSE

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances & Camino Finisterre/Muxia April 2019
How many days of walking did you take? Pilgrim's Guide by Brierley recommends 33. I am 62 years old and generally do 10-mile training walks. I will increase it to 15 once a week shortly. I will start on August 27. Will not be carrying my pack because of an old rotator cuff injury and will instead use a service. I am trying to figure my return flight. Thanks.

[Post moved from another thread]
30 days @ 62.8 years old with 1.5 days rest carrying full pack the entire way.....I walk fast naturally.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
We were in our mid-sixties. It took us 58 days but 2 were tourist days and 8 were recovery days from illness and injury. So 48 walking days. The illness and injury didn't have much effect on our daily distance once we got walking again.

There are two main factors I think for the amount of time we took. 1) Peg is a slow walker. In our backpacking days though this was compensated for by the number of hours she would walk. 2) Peg needs a lot of sleep. When camping it was early to bed, early to rise. Using albergues mainly it was late to bed and late to rise. So we might not get walking until 8 (or sometimes 9) in the morning but have to quit around 2 because of the heat without having put much distance behind us.

Another thing that might affect your time on the trail is your affability. Would you like to talk to other pilgrims along the way? You may slow your pace while walking to be more comfortable while talking or spend a bit more time conversing in a bar over a beer. Maybe you might stop a bit earlier than you planned when companions do.

Consider extra time taken in exploring a town you pass though or in photography. Or how comfortable you are in the sun and heat.

So, think of how things like this might affect your daily distance.
 
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staucher

Camino junky
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances
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Portuguese
Primitivo
I walked the French Camino from SJPP to Santiago in 28 days, averaging something like 28 km per day overall. If you're averaging 15 miles (24 km) per day, it will take you roughly 33 days to get there. If you have a few extra days at the end of your journey, you can always take a side trip to Porto.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
None
How many days of walking did you take? Pilgrim's Guide by Brierley recommends 33. I am 62 years old and generally do 10-mile training walks. I will increase it to 15 once a week shortly. I will start on August 27. Will not be carrying my pack because of an old rotator cuff injury and will instead use a service. I am trying to figure my return flight. Thanks.

[Post moved from another thread]
In 2016 I was 65 and 4 of us , my wife and another couple, decided to do the Camino. We started in St John and it took us 48 days. I planned it so we would end up in the large cities on a Friday and walk out on the following Monday, staying in a nice hotel. We took a bus across the Meseta, being from the Southwest of US, we new it could be brutal in September. We didn’t have a timetable to finish, just wanted to enjoy it all along the way. After finishing the Camino we stayed in Madrid for a week. ( My wife said I owed it to her)
I agree with those who say buy a one way ticket and let the Camino and the beautiful country of Spain tell you how long and when to go home
John
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances/SJPP '15,'16,'18,'19,('20)
Way of St. Francis, Italy 2017
Portuguese/Finisterre 2018, 2019
If you want to do the complete Frances Route, does it take 33 - 34 walking days? Do some people do it in less time? Just wondering as my schedule is tight. Need to finish in 30 days if possible with 4 rest days worked in.
Yes, there are those that do it faster, but keep in mind you would be doing around 20 miles every walking day. You're chances of completing the Camino go down when you combine age and those distances. I would also say that you need to ask yourself what it is that you want out of the Camino. If it's a physical challenge then you would get one. If it's a spiritual journey, then you wouldn't have much time to visit churches. If you hope to meet a lot of people and make a Camino family like in "The Way" you will be unlikely to do so going 20 miles a day. Of course there are those who race through the Camino, but after nine Camino's, it would not be my recommendation. You also would be walking long days in the heat.
Personally, after seeing many pilgrims out of the game trying to do long distances I would recommend you start in Burgos and enjoy the journey.
 

Rmarkob

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 21 Sep/22 Oct 2021
I walked it from SJPP in 32 days in Sep/Oct 2021 at age 66, no rest days. I had done extensive training with backpack on the Appalachian Trail near my house in Pennsylvania. After getting my "trail legs" (or more likely my confidence) a week or two into my Camino, I used godesalco.com and gronze.com to plan for 25-30km days that would put me in a town with some albergue options, as many were still closed or at 50 or 75 percent occupancy due to COVID restrictions. I made a new plan every day, and booked one day ahead once I determined where I wanted to stop the next day. I booked my last several days even earlier, as I knew it would be more crowded between Sarria and SdC. My shortest day was 15km and the longest was 38km. I shipped my pack ahead the first three days I attempted 30k+, but carried it thereafter (that confidence thing again).
 
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Ignore Brierleys recommendations. I have walked many Camino's and I met so many people who used this recommendation and were having to take buses and taxi's to keep up with their planned scheduled days. It sounds like you are training well, but our 62 year old (me too) bodies sometimes get cranky with the everyday walking up and down hills. You want flexibility if possible to deal with jet lag, injury, sickness, weather, rest and just the desire to take a short day, spend more time in a place or walk with a new friend. Some only buy a one way ticket, but the extra cost isn't feasible for me. When walking the Frances I usually plan for 50 days, although I've always walked 38-40 days. If I need the extra days they are there, if not I walk to Finisterre or take a bus to Porto.
I'm currently home from my summer Camino nursing a hip injured while dancing with a cuban in an albergue.....
Yes. Dancing with a Cuban will do it every time! The brain and 'mature' body are not always in sync. BTW 32 days for me, in answer to the original question. Give yourself 40 plus days as advised earlier and remember it is NOT a race. I thoroughly enjoyed the extra days at the end. Brierley's stages are a good guide but always bear in mind this is YOUR Camino, not Brierley's. IMHO.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
How many days of walking did you take? Pilgrim's Guide by Brierley recommends 33. I am 62 years old and generally do 10-mile training walks. I will increase it to 15 once a week shortly. I will start on August 27. Will not be carrying my pack because of an old rotator cuff injury and will instead use a service. I am trying to figure my return flight. Thanks.

[Post moved from another thread]
I don't know that Brierley uses the word "recommendation" for the stages that are presented in that guide. They should be treated as possible and convenient stages, that fit nicely on a page! :) In fact, many people recommend that you NOT stay in those start/end points because they tend to be more crowded. You might have better luck finding a bed in in-between towns. Brierley gives information on accommodation there, as well.
That's an impossible question to answer. Nobody can tell you how long YOU will need. Brierley breaks it into 33 stages, as you note. So, too, does gronze.com. But neither Brierley or Gronze knows YOUR capabilities, and their divisions are pretty arbitrary, corresponding only to the more important towns.. I've read on this forum about people who have done it in 25 days and people who have done it in 50. We took 34, not including days off. We were in our mid-60's at the time. (For what that's worth).
I could not agree more with the moderator and with andycohn. It is absolutely impossible to know. I walked longer distances before my first camino than you are planning every day and I was still near death after the first day. But it was wonderful. You can't recreate what you do in training with the camino. You need to learn to walk in your own rhythm, you need to learn to listen to your body not follow your head or the distances new found pilgrims friend want to walk. You do not know if you will have a minor injury that you need to rest immediately before you make it worse. You do not know if you will have blisters that need more than tending but need rest. You do not know when and how many rest days you will want or need to take. I am 68 now and have walked 6 caminos and the last 3 were all over 1,000k. I plan to walk my next camino in October. I train less far less now than when I was younger because I know how to walk. My camino is only 5k at a time maximum. I know when 5k is after so many months walking. I stop, take off my pack, rest for about 15 minutes or so, eat a little snack and go again. I try to keep my caminos under 20k and then make them longer. I will probably go close to 1,100K this year too. I have given myself 2 full months. I always give myself far more cushion then I need. If I have alot more time I walk leisurely to Muxia and FInisterre. Walk your own camino, take your time, rest when your body tells you. If you finish early and you probably will what is the problem? You are in Europe!!!!! I am sure you can find some places to go before you need to go home .
 

Scott Sweeney

Veteran Member
When we walked the Frances our first time we went for five weeks of walking. We had built in extra days here and there . That five weeks did not include extra days to acclamate to the time extra days in Paris and Pamplona. Fifty days and I would have never gone home. Forget the guide book.
 

Cubbietax

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Pilgrimage begins May 18
My son and I completed the French Camino in May/June 2022 in 21 days As that was all the time that we had. I am 54 by the way but I live at altitude and I am fairly active. I will be the first to admit that is too quick. If you were doing 15 mile training days coming up and you’re not carrying your pack I would see no reason why you couldn’t do it in 28 days. Four off days he’s going to add to your time however
 

Mananath

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
July 2022
I started from Pamplona with 30 days and I think I will do it in 28, with a rest day. A friend of mine did the whole route in 21 days earlier this year but he is a big runner...so sure it's possible!
 
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Rick M

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
April ('16,'18, '19, 22)
Sept 21
Looking at this from strictly a flight booking viewpoint, six weeks is the minimum time for your return flight home for a pilgrim from outside Europe. If you have the time, make it seven weeks. As others have posted, nobody knows what your sustained walking pace will be. With a "flight home on xxx", you are forced into a certain pace. With seven weeks total, you can take your time getting started, stop and smell the roses along the way, take some unplanned rest days to let your feet heal, or simply decide to spend an extra week at the end as a tourist. Who know how it will unfold for you? I walk the Frances in five weeks. Give yourself a chance to find out your natural pace, not your driven/competitive pace if you can afford it. If you don't have that much time or money, plan to start part way along the trail.....
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
Looking at this from strictly a flight booking viewpoint, six weeks is the minimum time for your return flight home for a pilgrim from outside Europe.
If you mean that 6 weeks is a nice amount of time to walk from SJPP to Santiago without pressure, and then do the travel to and from Spain, I agree with you. However, many people travel to Spain, walk the Camino Frances (from whatever starting point they choose), and return home in less that 6 weeks.

The OP doesn't have that much time - she has 30 days, which is still enough time for a shorter route.
 

darealdeal77

Member Since 2018
Time of past OR future Camino
2014 Camino Frances
My wife and I did it in 42 days, in 2014, I was 56, but if I have to do it again I will do it in 50 days. You always have to count with weather, injuries and rest days. The books always give you a guide, but you have to make it was comfortable for you! I met an Italian who was doing 33 miles a day, but he was also 23, and in tremendous shape. Camino is a pilgrimage a meeting place for all walks of life and Cultures. It’s not a race, enjoy your walk, take in the sites, visit monasteries, museums, etc. Get immersed in the Spanish culture that has several customs and dialects! I know sometimes is hard to take a lot of time off, but if time is not a problem 50-60 would be awesome! Hope this helps, oh, and by the way August 27 is a great time; we starte August 30, only saw rain twice, and the weather and crowds were great!
Buen Camino!
 
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Katherine Radeka

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés (2022 after failed attempt in 2018)
The main thing I'm hoping that you'll take away from this is to "walk your own Camino."

If you *only* have 30 days because of work or family obligations, and you want to ENJOY the Camino (as opposed to just blitz through it) then strongly suggest starting somewhere a bit closer, and giving yourself plenty of extra time to respond to your body's needs.

If you're comfortable doing 10 miles, that's 16 km. If you can extend that to 12.5 miles / 20km, you'd need 40 days to do the entire thing — or you could do only 600km and start from Nájera or Navarrete (which is off-stage and one of my favorite places) or be even more relaxed and start from Santo Domingo de la Calzada or even Burgos.

Or you could do a shorter Camino route, such as one of the Portuguese routes, which are also well-serviced and lovely (so I've heard anyway).

Or you could start earlier but skip the Meseta, or bike it! Or intentionally take taxis into and out of major cities so that you can enjoy them without taking up rest days.

Or you could start walking in SJPP with the idea that you'll get as far as you get, and then finish on another trip.

I hope you get the idea. And you may start with one plan then switch to another as you learn about how your body and the Camino work together.

So the one thing I'd avoid doing is to pre-book all your accommodations and baggage transfers. It's a good idea to book out the first few days, if for no other reason than to minimize the number of things you'll need to deal with during your first week — but as others have said, find places to stay that are not the start/end of Brierly / Gronze stages.
 

Yoyo

Se hace el camino al andar.
Time of past OR future Camino
2022 Caminho Português
It took me 40 days (38 days walking and two rest days) to get from SJPP to SdC.
I averaged only 21 km instead of the 25 km I had anticipated.
I was in my mid-fifties and reasonably fit, but developed bad blisters that slowed me down.
Nevertheless, I loved every day of it!
Buen camino!
 

Mickblack

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2000 - 2004
Just read some of the comments, comments that are alien to the Camino. ‘Finish’ - the Camino never ends. ‘Training’ - make it sound like a sports event. ‘Schedule’ - just go as far as u want each day. In practical terms most folks take 4 or 5 weeks but the idea is not to think about the time it will take. Buen Camino my friends
 

Håkan Wiik

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Plan to walk in September this year
How many days of walking did you take? Pilgrim's Guide by Brierley recommends 33. I am 62 years old and generally do 10-mile training walks. I will increase it to 15 once a week shortly. I will start on August 27. Will not be carrying my pack because of an old rotator cuff injury and will instead use a service. I am trying to figure my return flight. Thanks.

[Post moved from another thread]
Hello,
I was 67,when I did my walk. I also started August 27. I finished in 28 days but I regret that I didn't take it a little bit slower and stayed and enjoyed more of the surroundings and rested a day more in a interesting place and they are many along the Camino.Buen Camino.
 
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AZperegrino

Getting ready for the next Camino...
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2019
CP 2022
Walking from SJPP to SdC took us 35 days, including 2 rest days, so avg 25 km (16 mi) per day. We're mid-60's, in decent shape, and walked at what we considered a comfortable pace.

From your description it sounds like you're in similar shape as we were when we started. If so, I would not advise trying to do it in 26 days, unless you see this strictly as an 800 km hike. I think that you'll get more out of your Camino experience if you set a pace that allows you to enjoy the walk, interact with other pilgrims, and stop and see some really cool things along the way. By now you already know your comfortable walking pace and distance, so use that in your planning.

The next time we're doing it, we'll go at a slower pace, maybe 20 km or even less. And have more rest/stop days. I found out afterward that I had missed quite a few things along the way, and should have done more sightseeing. It's so easy to get into a 'got-to-get-there' mindset that you forget why you're walking the Camino in the first place. We had completely missed that in our trip planning and booked our return flight based on 35 days. Next time we'll probably plan 45+.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
please see signature
I will increase training walks to 25 kilometres (15 miles) once a week.

I will start on August 27.

I am trying to figure my return flight

Need to finish in 30 days ... with 4 rest days worked in

@SantaMonicaPeregrina, the maths are straightforward:
25 days available to walk - 30 less 4 at rest and less 1 at Compostela to wind down/make connections
25 km per day day after day
625 kilometres to walk

That distance suggests a start at Logrono, or Burgos to be more certain.

Without an understanding of YOUR levels of fitness and stamina, anything else is just kicking into the rough.

What is not certain for anyone, until they start, is how the repeated daily cycle of arriving at a hostel, clothes washing and drying, finding a meal, sleeping, breakfast, starting, finding lunch, finding that nights hostel will work for them. You only mention a once a week training walk. Nothing wrong with that and more than I am doing at present. But each day you go out, many of the things I list are done in very familiar surroundings.

Of course it depends on your motivation for this journey. If you are not fixed on arriving at Compostela this year, you may care to start at Saint-Jean or Pamplona and get as far as you feel comfortable. And come back in another season and continue to Compostela.

To you I say kia kaha, kia māia, kia manawanui (take care, be strong, patient and confident).
 

CWBuff

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances May-June/2022
Finisterre June-July/2022
Having just completed my 1st Camino and that being the Frances, IMHO - 20km\day is a very doable distance without putting oneself through headaches, if youo will (and perhaps other aches)
Thus roughly 800km\20 = 40 days
Add any more that you can for rest, playing tourist in big cities, or just to shorten the distance on some days...

Good Luck and Buen Camino!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2014
I am 75 years old, although my ankle is fused and I am quite slow. but reasonably fit. I took 35 days to complete the Camino Frances from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela with 2 rest days in Burgos and Leon. But, a critical thing is the timing of flights home. My flight was cancelled so I had to plan again to get home which meant an extra night in Santiago after I had finished. Well worth it! The Camino was tough! But, I did the walk over the Pyrenees ( the section from Ronscevalles to Zubiri is difficult, so it doesn't let up when you have done the Pyrenees! So, check flights home to coincide with your arrival on the the next day. Incidentally, I was not the oldest person doing the Camino - I met a guy from Denmark who was 82 year old but he was in front of me! Take your time, it is not a race. Buen Camino!
 

Grousedoctor

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
How fast you can do it versus how fast you want to do it seems the important distinction in this thread. Having trained a great deal for my first Camino, at the age of 65, I walked it in 31 days with no rest days. Although I was quite up to the physical challenge, crystal clear hindsight, and almost immediately, told me that I should have taken longer for my pilgrimage to Santiago. Had it not been for financial reasons, having my flight already booked back to the States, I could have certainly enjoyed some rest days as well as shorter stages. I now feel as though I rushed this Camino, but part of this was due to my inexperience. I am guilty of not smelling the roses as often as I could have. On consequent Caminos, I’ve built in rest days and walked shorter stages. Again, it’s not as much from the perspective of my capabilities as these changes resulted in wanting a different enjoyment and appreciation of what The Way offers. In short order, you will figure out what a good walking day is for you. Unfortunately, I think some of us have taken the Brierley guide as a prescription rather than as just recommendations. However, by following the “prescription” I also walked across Spain with a group of people many who started from SJPP the same day I did. I am very grateful for those friendships some which continue to this day. There are always some tradeoffs.

My recommendation? Build in extra time. Arrange that return flight home later than what you initially considered. If you do arrive in Santiago ahead of schedule, you have a chance to spend some extra time in a great city or bus over to Finisterre or Muxía to cap off your journey. With the extra time available, you can figure out how to walk “your” Camino.
 
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mattythedog

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
How many days of walking did you take? Pilgrim's Guide by Brierley recommends 33. I am 62 years old and generally do 10-mile training walks. I will increase it to 15 once a week shortly. I will start on August 27. Will not be carrying my pack because of an old rotator cuff injury and will instead use a service. I am trying to figure my return flight. Thanks.

[Post moved from another thread]
How many days of walking did you take? For five CF's SJPP to Santiago I took 22 to 25 days. Sounds like we are about the same physical condition; I do train quite hard in the 2 months prior to starting a Camino. I will be 62 next month, and April/May this year I took 24 days. My pack base weight is 10 lbs and I use trekking poles (your rotator may preclude them). I stopped for coffee and snacks at least 3 times in the mornings and about 3 times in afternoons for lunch and drinks. I interacted with hundreds of extraordinary people all along the way in a non-rushed manner. Did a couple short 20-25 km days in order to stay in different albergues from past Caminos. By now I know the albergues/fountains/cafes/long stretches/hills so I can optimize my walking speed and rest breaks. My advice: book as many days as you can (I assume your 34 day limit does not include flights, etc). Start wherever YOU want (I personally recommend St Jean for its beautiful French town and the fantastic hike over the Pyrenees) and just walk at YOUR comfortable pace as long as YOU want each day. If you come up short on time (which you will know a few weeks into the trek), you can get a bike/bus/etc to finish, or return another year. You are very likely to be able to walk the whole CF and continue on to Finisterre. On my first Camino I booked 40 days take-off to landing in USA because I did not know how my body would react to the long treks. It was Sept/Oct with late sunrise, so I usually started between 8 and 9 am because I don't like to walk in the dark. Sometimes I would leave later so I could spend time in town. Sometimes I would walk late (7pm) just because. Stopped an extra day in Leon to hang out with friends I'd met along the way. I never felt like I was rushing or pressured, and that first trek took 25 days. It left me plenty of time to continue on to Muxia and Finisterre, and then I bussed to Ferrol and walked Camino Ingles. Since 2017 I always book 33-36 days depending on flights and have always had plenty of time to walk to the west coast. I generally go end of April to take advantage of the much earlier sunrises and cooler weather. You will have August heat to contend with, and that might cause earlier stops in the day....but you can always leave early in the mornings which will be cool. I have always met dozens of pilgrims traveling at my same daily pace, although I walk mostly alone. Plenty of time for me to have long conversations with people in cafes and albergues or during the walks if we are at the exact same pace. Some people like to form Camino family groups which tend to travel at the pace of the slowest in the group. I have met lots of groups banging out 30+ km/day.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Finisterra 2022
At 73, it took me 34 days walking from SJPDP to Santiago, plus one rest day in Logorno and one rest day in Leon=36 days.
I had allowed 40 days for my flight home. It worked out fine and allowed me to spend a little time in Santiago with friends, a leisurely trip to Madrid and flight home. Don’t rush it…especially at the start.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Norte
How many days of walking did you take? For five CF's SJPP to Santiago I took 22 to 25 days. Sounds like we are about the same physical condition; I do train quite hard in the 2 months prior to starting a Camino. I will be 62 next month, and April/May this year I took 24 days. My pack base weight is 10 lbs and I use trekking poles (your rotator may preclude them). I stopped for coffee and snacks at least 3 times in the mornings and about 3 times in afternoons for lunch and drinks. I interacted with hundreds of extraordinary people all along the way in a non-rushed manner. Did a couple short 20-25 km days in order to stay in different albergues from past Caminos. By now I know the albergues/fountains/cafes/long stretches/hills so I can optimize my walking speed and rest breaks. My advice: book as many days as you can (I assume your 34 day limit does not include flights, etc). Start wherever YOU want (I personally recommend St Jean for its beautiful French town and the fantastic hike over the Pyrenees) and just walk at YOUR comfortable pace as long as YOU want each day. If you come up short on time (which you will know a few weeks into the trek), you can get a bike/bus/etc to finish, or return another year. You are very likely to be able to walk the whole CF and continue on to Finisterre. On my first Camino I booked 40 days take-off to landing in USA because I did not know how my body would react to the long treks. It was Sept/Oct with late sunrise, so I usually started between 8 and 9 am because I don't like to walk in the dark. Sometimes I would leave later so I could spend time in town. Sometimes I would walk late (7pm) just because. Stopped an extra day in Leon to hang out with friends I'd met along the way. I never felt like I was rushing or pressured, and that first trek took 25 days. It left me plenty of time to continue on to Muxia and Finisterre, and then I bussed to Ferrol and walked Camino Ingles. Since 2017 I always book 33-36 days depending on flights and have always had plenty of time to walk to the west coast. I generally go end of April to take advantage of the much earlier sunrises and cooler weather. You will have August heat to contend with, and that might cause earlier stops in the day....but you can always leave early in the mornings which will be cool. I have always met dozens of pilgrims traveling at my same daily pace, although I walk mostly alone. Plenty of time for me to have long conversations with people in cafes and albergues or during the walks if we are at the exact same pace. Some people like to form Camino family groups which tend to travel at the pace of the slowest in the group. I have met lots of groups banging out 30+ km/day.
Great post which sums up my thoughts! . I tend to agree the more time the better, but I have noticed in a few threads that many folks think that anything less than, say 30-33 days is rushing it and leads to a ‘inferior experience’ and that people ‘miss out’.

I did it in 26 days with no sense of missing anything. I guess talking of days is misleading anyway, as hours is probably more relevant. So as I am a slow walker, my 26 days was typically 12 hours days at 3ish KMs per hours with a long breakfast, long lunches, and big nights out in the cities.

I sense that the average walking time is less for non forum folks than forum folks maybe as an older demographic, more passion for the Camino, and so on.
 

xin loi

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Walked May 14, 2014 from St Jean France

starting to walk again August 25, 2016 --SJPDP to Finisterre
Walked the Frances from SJPDP to Santiago in 2016 at age 69 carrying 16 kilos in 26 days. Did Sarria to Santiago in two days because of army of tourists! Continued on to Finisterre.
In May 2022 I walked the Primitivo in 12 days at age 74.

Have walked 5 Caminos and every time i plan on rest days but never take one--once i start walking , i find it difficult to stop.
 
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Sean Lad

Member
Walked the Frances from SJPDP to Santiago in 2016 at age 69 carrying 16 kilos in 26 days. Did Sarria to Santiago in two days because of army of tourists! Continued on to Finisterre.
In May 2022 I walked the Primitivo in 12 days at age 74.

Have walked 5 Caminos and every time i plan on rest days but never take one--once i start walking , i find it difficult to stop.
You took words out of my mouth
I never take rest days as I get bored so I walk
To date 33 caminos and counting
25 days 28days 33 days 40 or 50 days does not matter just walk and don't stop
 

AZperegrino

Getting ready for the next Camino...
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2019
CP 2022
Wow... that's pretty impressive, guys. Indeed, I can't imagine walking 12 hour days and/or average 30+ miles a day with a heavy load. But to each his/her own.

However, the OP indicated that she is currently at the 10-mile level, and planning to "increase it to 15 once a week" before she leaves a month from now. I think that she would be better served by advice that is more pertinent to her situation and current capabilities.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2012
I don't usually respond to these "how long is a piece of string" threads. The standard replies; to long, to short, to tangled and it depends on where you start from don't help. Any one with reasonable math or a pocket calculator can scale up their average daily mileage and divide the total distance from Erehwon to Llareggub, add in some disaster time and come up with a number. Whether that number will have any relationship to experienced reality depends on the continuous slow unfolding of the universe.

So I thought I'd try and work out what my answer would be. So far I have walked some 237 days to Santiago but I don't think I've got there yet. So, sorting socks and dusting off the boots and planning another [some] days on the roads.

Meanwhile, if I was trying to pre-book a return flight I quite like the Biblical 40 days though personally I would incline toward Douglas Adams' 42.

 

xin loi

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Walked May 14, 2014 from St Jean France

starting to walk again August 25, 2016 --SJPDP to Finisterre
Wow... that's pretty impressive, guys. Indeed, I can't imagine walking 12 hour days and/or average 30+ miles a day with a heavy load. But to each his/her own.

However, the OP indicated that she is currently at the 10-mile level, and planning to "increase it to 15 once a week" before she leaves a month from now. I think that she would be better served by advice that is more pertinent to her situation and current capabilities.
I only do 12 hours days after Sarria --just to get it done and lose the tourist crowds. On the other hand, i do not understand those who do 4 hour days and have their backpacks lined up outside the albergue doors at 1000 or 1100 every morning.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
2012
i do not understand those who do 4 hour days and have their backpacks lined up outside the albergue doors at 1000 or 1100 every morning.
Maybe thats because you've never tried that walk in someone else's shoes amigo?

Trying to understand is the most worthwhile exercise any of us could undertake no matter how many Km it takes us to reach that understanding
 

xin loi

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Walked May 14, 2014 from St Jean France

starting to walk again August 25, 2016 --SJPDP to Finisterre
Maybe thats because you've never tried that walk in someone else's shoes amigo?

Trying to understand is the most worthwhile exercise any of us could undertake no matter how many Km it takes us to reach that understanding
Those young people dropping their packs at 1000 appear to be in great physical condition! I don't recall seeing any early quitters looking like they needed to stop due to any physical problem. If anything those with obvious physical conditions appear to be the ones you see taking their time, carrying their pack, and walking for hours and hours EVERY day. On five caminos I have not met anyone who said they were finding it too difficult for physical reasons and must stop, but met many who quit due to a change in their mental attitude regarding the experience. On the other hand , one of my favorite fellow hikers was doing the Frances from SJPDP to Finisterre at 6 kilometers per DAY. She had a reason for doing it that way.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
i do not understand those who...
Trying to understand is the most worthwhile exercise any of us could undertake no matter how many Km it takes us to reach that understanding
If one is having difficulty understanding, perhaps acceptance can be reached first!
 

xin loi

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Walked May 14, 2014 from St Jean France

starting to walk again August 25, 2016 --SJPDP to Finisterre
If one is having difficulty understanding, perhaps acceptance can be reached first!
At 74, I learned a long time ago that "Acceptance" gets one no where.
 
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Bristle Boy

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
At 74, I learned a long time ago that "Acceptance" gets one no where.
Perhaps a better word might be realisation. Approaching 74 I accept a lot more things than I used to and do not accept a lot of things i used to when i was younger.
The things we accept differ from person to person.
With realisation comes acceptance...its all part of the same journey.
 
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Eddiebee

Eddiebee
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances SJPDP to SDC May & June 2017
In 2017 I was 70 and allowed 41 days. I spent an extra night in both Burgos and Leon. When I finished I had 3 days in SDC and 3 days in Madrid. That left me with 33 days walking. Some were short days and some were long. I didn't pay much attention to stages and spent many nights off-stage. 31 days walking would not have been a problem, but I could have easily stretched it to 40 days. My suggestion is to allow extra days if you can. You can always find some interesting ways to spend a couple of extra days. This year, I had an extra day in Madrid and walked to Retiro Park. Buen Camino
 

Henry B

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016
My first CF aged 66
Mid September start
33 days No rest days.
Lots of luck... Injury Free...2 rainy days.
I think I was spoilt.
 

marysweeney

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2018
How many days of walking did you take? Pilgrim's Guide by Brierley recommends 33. I am 62 years old and generally do 10-mile training walks. I will increase it to 15 once a week shortly. I will start on August 27. Will not be carrying my pack because of an old rotator cuff injury and will instead use a service. I am trying to figure my return flight. Thanks.

[Post moved from another thread]
I walked it twice, also in my duties…One trip 32 days, One trip 37 days. You will be safe anywhere in between that!
 
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Lupe

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances(2016)
Ignore Brierleys recommendations. I have walked many Camino's and I met so many people who used this recommendation and were having to take buses and taxi's to keep up with their planned scheduled days. It sounds like you are training well, but our 62 year old (me too) bodies sometimes get cranky with the everyday walking up and down hills. You want flexibility if possible to deal with jet lag, injury, sickness, weather, rest and just the desire to take a short day, spend more time in a place or walk with a new friend. Some only buy a one way ticket, but the extra cost isn't feasible for me. When walking the Frances I usually plan for 50 days, although I've always walked 38-40 days. If I need the extra days they are there, if not I walk to Finisterre or take a bus to Porto.
I'm currently home from my summer Camino nursing a hip injured while dancing with a cuban in an albergue.....
How many days of walking did you take? Pilgrim's Guide by Brierley recommends 33. I am 62 years old and generally do 10-mile training walks. I will increase it to 15 once a week shortly. I will start on August 27. Will not be carrying my pack because of an old rotator cuff injury and will instead use a service. I am trying to figure my return flight. Thanks.

[Post moved from another thread]
At 64 I walked from SJPP to Santiago in 29 days. You sound like you are in better shape than I was. I think 30-36 days is sufficient. I suggest you opt for a flexible flight ticket for your return trip. That may ease your planning concerns and allow you time to linger or sightsee if you choose.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
It's a bit like asking how long is a piece of string, because the answer is different not just for everyone, but also for each different Camino experience.

However, having been both faster than everyone, and also slower than everyone, here are the extremes.

Fastest you can do one if you are super fit and fast is just under 3 weeks ; slowest if you're super slow and need frequent rest days is about 8 weeks. Average pilgrims take about 5-6 weeks.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
If you want to do the complete Frances Route, does it take 33 - 34 walking days? Do some people do it in less time? Just wondering as my schedule is tight. Need to finish in 30 days if possible with 4 rest days worked in.
you will miss sooooo much and you will regret it
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
In 2017 I was 70 and allowed 41 days. I spent an extra night in both Burgos and Leon. When I finished I had 3 days in SDC and 3 days in Madrid. That left me with 33 days walking. Some were short days and some were long. I didn't pay much attention to stages and spent many nights off-stage. 31 days walking would not have been a problem, but I could have easily stretched it to 40 days. My suggestion is to allow extra days if you can. You can always find some interesting ways to spend a couple of extra days. This year, I had an extra day in Madrid and walked to Retiro Park. Buen Camino
We spent 35 / then 42 and now 50 days on the routes to Muxia then Finisterre.
Thats for both The Frances and The Norte
Our experiences with their culture has grown with slowness.
 
Last edited:

Karl Oz

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances
Portuguese
Aragones
Sanabres
+ others
Ignore Brierleys recommendations. I have walked many Camino's and I met so many people who used this recommendation and were having to take buses and taxi's to keep up with their planned scheduled days. It sounds like you are training well, but our 62 year old (me too) bodies sometimes get cranky with the everyday walking up and down hills. You want flexibility if possible to deal with jet lag, injury, sickness, weather, rest and just the desire to take a short day, spend more time in a place or walk with a new friend. Some only buy a one way ticket, but the extra cost isn't feasible for me. When walking the Frances I usually plan for 50 days, although I've always walked 38-40 days. If I need the extra days they are there, if not I walk to Finisterre or take a bus to Porto.
I'm currently home from my summer Camino nursing a hip injured while dancing with a cuban in an albergue.....
Poor Brierley!😕
 
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trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
you will miss sooooo much and you will regret it
Not necessarily. Lots of people enjoy walking longer distances. I've spent lots of afternoons on the Camino in tiny towns that you can walk from end to end in ten minutes. There's not much to do in those places, so why not walk on if you have the energy.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
To add on to my last post - If I had 45 days to walk I wouldn't slow down on the Camino - I would add another route!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Norte
Not necessarily. Lots of people enjoy walking longer distances. I've spent lots of afternoons on the Camino in tiny towns that you can walk from end to end in ten minutes. There's not much to do in those places, so why not walk on if you have the energy.
Totally agree. This view that the quicker you go, or the longer days you walk, means you miss things is a total fallacy, and quite important in my view. Not many folks walk more slowly than me, but I walk long days so get the SdC in relatively few days.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
To add on to my last post - If I had 45 days to walk I wouldn't slow down on the Camino - I would add another route!
After a Frances we went to Caminha and did the Portuguese.
After Frances we went on to Muxia and then took 2 days to Finisterre and there was no Dumbria in the early 2000s
When on The Norte we went onto The Primitivo to Grande then back to Oviedo for Norte.
We commenced on the Baztan ( Bayonne) instead of the normal 3 days to Pamplona.
And we have commenced in Lecture ( GR65) before we hit the Frances.

And we love coming across that room that has the words Comedor in a lane way or small home where the whole village is dining before going back to the field which normally means we have had our meal for the day there and then.
 

henrythedog

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
X
Here, here!

JB comes in for quite a bit of unwarranted criticism IMHO. The spiritual sections are not to everyone’s taste and the stages are as much for clear pagination as they are firm recommendations; but his guides have facilitated an inordinate number of first Caminos; especially amongst those of us not permanently attached to a smartphone.

(He types on his iPhone …)
 
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Pathfinder075

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (Villada to SdC) (2016)
Primitivo (Ribadesella to SdC) (2017)
Use Gronze and build you own stages based on your own fitness level. I walk 15-25 miles per day on camino, and am in my late 40s. My fitness level is average. If you want to walk 15-20 miles a day you need to stay on top of the condition of your feet. You need poles, maybe knee supports if you have weak knees and you need to have experience walking those types of distances. But after a week, it just becomes one foot in front of the other.

On mountain days and big hill days, you won't be doing 25 miles. So Astorga to Foncebadon is a good day, if you want to push it a bit further El Acebo is possible, but you might be arriving at dusk. I think Rabanal to Ponferrada is probably possible, but would be a hard day, but if there was any water in the river at Molinaseca, you might be able to get a swim/bathe/float there, while en route.

The key is to listen to your body.

As others have mentioned, if you get to Santiago early, hit another route. Ourense to Santiago is sweet and the hot therms at Ourense are worth a bus ride and a day of chilling out in those hot waters. :)

Wow... that's pretty impressive, guys. Indeed, I can't imagine walking 12 hour days and/or average 30+ miles a day with a heavy load. But to each his/her own.
It's just a number. I walk 12-14 hours per day on Camino (or off) with a 20kg pack. Physically it's maybe 25-40%, the rest is mental. If you are mentally strong, anything is possible. The first couple of days are hard, but with time comes muscle memory and by the end of week one you don't even consider it particularly hard.

If I walk for 8 hours and have had enough then that's what I do. Some parts of the camino lend themselves more to longer days. Arzua to Santiago is one of them. In fact most of the last 100km can be done as long stages. When I left Sarria I was at Portomarin by 1200 (had a lunch break for an hour at the empty swimming pool) and at Gonzar by 1600, I could have easily made it to Palas de Rei that day if i'd wanted. Next time i'm on Frances, i'll probably try it. I think the last 100 should be easily possible in 3 days.

Similarly on the last 100 of the VdlP, you can easily do Ourense to Dozon in 12 hours, with breaks and a bad level of fitness. Dozon to Bandeira and Bandeira to Santiago. It's just numbers.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Ignore Brierleys recommendations. I have walked many Camino's and I met so many people who used this recommendation and were having to take buses and taxi's to keep up with their planned scheduled days. It sounds like you are training well, but our 62 year old (me too) bodies sometimes get cranky with the everyday walking up and down hills. You want flexibility if possible to deal with jet lag, injury, sickness, weather, rest and just the desire to take a short day, spend more time in a place or walk with a new friend. Some only buy a one way ticket, but the extra cost isn't feasible for me. When walking the Frances I usually plan for 50 days, although I've always walked 38-40 days. If I need the extra days they are there, if not I walk to Finisterre or take a bus to Porto.
I'm currently home from my summer Camino nursing a hip injured while dancing with a cuban in an albergue.....
Sorry to hear about your hip injury and wish you a speedy recovery!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Latest: Rota Vicentina '19; Portuguese '19.
Lots of good input on this lengthy thread.
In 2015 on my first Camino Frances, I spent six weeks in Spain. I chose to skip the Meseta😱 in order to spend more time in Santiago at the end, including some vacay on the coast in Muxia, Lires, and Finesterre. It was the perfect choice for me and I have no regrets. I saw the meseta from the bus window.🙂
In 2017, I repeated the Frances, and walked every single step of the way, including the lovely Meseta. I again allowed six weeks as I am a slow walker, which included extra days to enjoy favorite cities/areas.
My favorite daily distance is 20k, but I have done 30-35k a number of times, however my feet then always tell me they are not happy.

It shouldn't matter how many days a person chooses, or finds the time to walk a Camino. Whether we walk fast, or slow, the only really important thing is that we hopefully enjoy the journey; whether for spiritual reasons, or simply to immerse ourselves in a particular country's culture and its natural beauty.
If our plans do not work out to our liking, there may be an opportunity for a "next time" if life circumstances allow.
 

markie6

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2018, 2019 2022
John B's guide book is just a guide. He cannot know your capabilities, but his suggestions are his way of showing you what he thinks an average peregrino can manage

As others have pointed out, the busy or historical places or some of JB's suggestions will be busy and you may find yourself sometimes doing longer days and shorter ones too .. I often wonder whether I should kick on at Carrion or have an easy day and some rest

There are several places I will always try and stop at regardless of time of day or how I am feeling because there are some wonderful places along the route.

You might find yourself walking with people you like and slow down to stay together or be forced to speed up to avoid others.

Budget and look at a month, it will be less for most people, depending on weather, fitness, traveling companions, time constraints , aims .... (the list is endless)

have fun
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
If you are mentally strong, anything is possible.
Much as one would like this to be true, certain distances per day are dictated by physical ability, and some limitations simply cannot be overcome, which is something that those not living with any disability can have difficulty understanding.

I am walking a VERY long Camino, and much of that is an effort of the will, but it's not by will alone that I would be able to overcome my disability to increase the limitations to my hourly or daily hiking speeds.

Mind over matter only goes so far.
 
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J F Gregory

Camino Frances April 2023
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2016, Portuguese 2021, Frances 2 2023
Our first Camino we did in 33 days die to time constrains. I am retired now and we took 17 days to walk the Portuguese Camino last October longer than most take. We are planning an extended walk next April. In Israel the Jesus trail 8 days and then to Rome for the Via de Fancesco 20 days and to SJPDP to do the Frances again. We plan on walking the last part in about 45 days. I am 71 have learned to walk my own walk.
 

Larry OHeron

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Via De La Plata
How many days of walking did you take? Pilgrim's Guide by Brierley recommends 33. I am 62 years old and generally do 10-mile training walks. I will increase it to 15 once a week shortly. I will start on August 27. Will not be carrying my pack because of an old rotator cuff injury and will instead use a service. I am trying to figure my return flight. Thanks.

[Post moved from another thread]
Altho I train by walking, I really prefer whole body.
Yoga, Pilates, pickleball, swimming and a portion of walking
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2020 Francés
How many days of walking did you take? Pilgrim's Guide by Brierley recommends 33. I am 62 years old and generally do 10-mile training walks. I will increase it to 15 once a week shortly. I will start on August 27. Will not be carrying my pack because of an old rotator cuff injury and will instead use a service. I am trying to figure my return flight. Thanks.

[Post moved from another thread]
Hola, Santa Monica Peregina

We (the "Royal we", my son and I) are scheduled to start in SJPdP on 27 August, and are booked to fly back to Australia (out of Paris) on 2 October. I'm circa the same age as yourself. In brief we're planning on walking 31 days (plus or minus a day) with a couple of rest days to be determined (2 or 3) that get's us to Santiago around 30 September.

We're not locked and loaded on how far we'll walk each day. All depends on how we feel and what we want to see.

For the home travel we have scheduled 1 Day travel to Madrid/Paris (1 October). Then fly out on 2 October. Connecting flights/trains out of Santiago aren't as easy as it may appear. And with the airlines changing departure times and dates on a whim....it's become an interesting shuffle. As a consequence we've allowed 2 days at the back end for travel back to our departure city.

Hope this helps.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
As a consequence we've allowed 2 days at the back end for travel back to our departure city.
Good move. Still traumatised by the strike of French train drivers on the day we were schedule to fly back to Australia from Paris, and had to get there.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
06,CF;13,CP;17,SSal;19,Ingles
How many days of walking did you take? Pilgrim's Guide by Brierley recommends 33. I am 62 years old and generally do 10-mile training walks. I will increase it to 15 once a week shortly. I will start on August 27. Will not be carrying my pack because of an old rotator cuff injury and will instead use a service. I am trying to figure my return flight. Thanks.

[Post moved from another thread]
You asked how many days of walking. I took 29. From Roncesvalles. So call it 30 if you want, from SJPdP. I swore to having 25km maximum on any given day. Then I learned some more!
We budgeted for two days of rest/hotel. They are still in the bank. I was very old then - 58 and a half. 🤣. I gave it 150km practice at home over a few months. It was a totally unknown world to me. I said each day: just one step, and then another. Some people who thought they knew me laughed at the idea. No, I did not smirk, honestly!
From Portomarin we accelerated - because stamina had kicked in, and there were hundreds of young people keeping places for their pals in the albergues, so we had to keep moving that day after a fine salad lunch. That meant in fact we covered 4 days in three. Other important info: I am not thin, nor have long legs, nor am I fit as a fiddle. Yet, I managed. I detest climbing, yet, I managed.
I learned two very important things:
Once you set out, don't look back except to honestly admire the view. There is no way back, on camino...
Also, have a look at a poem called Ithaca. It kind of fits...
My permission to myself to keep going was from my head, not my feet or my legs.
 
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Rick M

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
April ('16,'18, '19, 22)
Sept 21
Also, have a look at a poem called Ithaca. It kind of fits...
Indeed. I saw this for the first time on my last Camino, shared by a fellow pilgrim. She asked me to read it to the table one day since her english was "Not so good". In my mind, it has become one of the anthems of the Camino.
 

Adhemar78

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2014)
Via Francigena (2017)
Kumano Kodo (2018)
Portuguese Coastal Camino (2020)
How many days of walking did you take? Pilgrim's Guide by Brierley recommends 33. I am 62 years old and generally do 10-mile training walks. I will increase it to 15 once a week shortly. I will start on August 27. Will not be carrying my pack because of an old rotator cuff injury and will instead use a service. I am trying to figure my return flight. Thanks.

[Post moved from another thread]
It took me 34 days to walk from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela. I tended to follow the Brierley guide fairly closely but I split the stage from St Jean to Roncesvalles in two, staying at Orisson on the first night. The 34 days, I should note, was 34 consecutive days without a break; I would recommend taking a break for a day in a couple of places to get some rest if you can. If I do the Frances again that’s what I will be doing, and I’ve taken breaks on long distance treks I’ve done since then.
 

Denzil

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Plan (2017)
Ignore Brierleys recommendations. I have walked many Camino's and I met so many people who used this recommendation and were having to take buses and taxi's to keep up with their planned scheduled days. It sounds like you are training well, but our 62 year old (me too) bodies sometimes get cranky with the everyday walking up and down hills. You want flexibility if possible to deal with jet lag, injury, sickness, weather, rest and just the desire to take a short day, spend more time in a place or walk with a new friend. Some only buy a one way ticket, but the extra cost isn't feasible for me. When walking the Frances I usually plan for 50 days, although I've always walked 38-40 days. If I need the extra days they are there, if not I walk to Finisterre or take a bus to Porto.
I'm currently home from my summer Camino nursing a hip injured while dancing with a cuban in an albergue.....
Fantastic advice
Dancing!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
please see signature
The 34 day (from Saint-Jean to Compostela) was without a break; I would recommend taking breaks in a couple of places.
For me breaks are an important part of my pilgrimages.

It might just be an opportunity to lie back, catch up on washing, reading, trip notes, whatever.

Most of my breaks have been mainly to catch the people and things of my stopping place.
 

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