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How to pick a route?

Zena

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Unsure (2021)
Wow there are so many options when it comes to walking the camino de santiago. How do you pick an option or where to start? I am from Australia and looking to come for my 40th birthday November 2021 for around 30 days. I want to have time to explore villages, have rest days or short days walking if wanted. I definitely don't want to feel rushed. I will be a female walking on my own. I have just started researching, but I am finding all the different routes confusing. Is there somewhere to go that compares the different routes in regard to scenery, distance etc? Thank you in advance.
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
A good place to start is www.gronze.com.
You can see distances, suggested stages, stage profiles and lodging options for many Caminos. There is also an indication of difficulty and "scenery" per stage.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2022)
It's very hard to suggest a Route, there are so many variables.
  1. How fit you are
  2. How far you want to walk each day
  3. What type of accommodation you want to use
  4. How much 'solitude' you want, if any
  5. If sightseeing, history, religious sites are important or not.
  6. If you want to get a Compostela
  7. and so it goes on.
I think that's why most first timers (and repeat offenders) walk the Frances route.
There are lots of options, of everything........
 
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martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018; Munich to Lindau (Germany) Sep 2020
If you like statistics, you can look here:
If you look by month, you can see that there are very few pilgrims in November.

Not all albergues are open in the winter. You can start looking for "winter camino" here:
winter albergues open daily updates

There is no real starting point for a camino if you do not start at your house door. So you can start on any camino in the town where you like the distance to Santiago and it is easy to get there. If you arrive in Santiago "too early", you can e.g. go on to Finisterre.

November and first timer I would think of Camino Frances first.
But you can just read a little bit here and there... and probably you will know what Camino you want choose before you need to book everything... you have still so much time until November 2021 .
 
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lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
Remember that 2021 is a holy year. There will be a lot more pilgrims on every route. I imagine that a good majority of them will be on theFrances and Portuguese. If you are in pretty good shape, don’t want crowds, want great scenery and food, great if you can speak some French, I can’t but it was still awesome try one of the Camino’s in France. I did Le Puy and loved it. It is a bout 25% more than the Frances (I walked it in 2014 so I am not sure how much more today). You could do it in 30 days. https://godesalco.com has good planners to check out distances. Also check out different sub forums here to get an idea. But as the previous post by Robo suggested answer those questions first. There is a camino for everyone.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
November 2021 for around 30 days. I want to have time to explore villages, have rest days or short days walking if wanted.
there are so many options
I don't think the decision is so hard - you can probably narrow down your choices very easily.

First, do you want to end in Santiago? If you don't care about that, then the whole world of walking routes is available, and the decision will be hard. However, if you want to plan to walk to Santiago in about 30 days, you are limited to starting in Spain at a distance of not more than (approximately) 600 km.

Are you happy to walk alone, eat alone and be alone in many albergues? Are you comfortable enough in Spanish (or comfortable doing it without) to interact with people to the extent you need? Are you willing to figure things out on your own to work out appropriate distances to handle possible long days without options? If not, and if you want to walk a continuous route, your choices in November are reduced to:
  • Camino Frances - from Pamplona, Logrono, or Burgos
  • Camino Portugues
  • Camino Sanabres (starting on the Via de la Plata from about Salamanca, and then joining Sanabres)
The route with the most facilities, pilgrims and camino spirit will be the Frances. In November, the numbers would be quite nice, with enough pilgrims around so that any logistical issues will easily be solved. You need to prepare for any weather (as you do on any of those routes).

If you decide to do the Camino Frances, there are lots of threads discussing what it is like during November, to help you with the next steps in planning.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Wow there are so many options when it comes to walking the camino de santiago. How do you pick an option or where to start? I am from Australia and looking to come for my 40th birthday November 2021 for around 30 days. I want to have time to explore villages, have rest days or short days walking if wanted. I definitely don't want to feel rushed. I will be a female walking on my own. I have just started researching, but I am finding all the different routes confusing. Is there somewhere to go that compares the different routes in regard to scenery, distance etc? Thank you in advance.
As others have said, it all depends on what is important to you and how much time you have. You have given us some information. You are walking in November. You have 30 days and don't want to feel rushed but have lots of time with the option of taking rest days or short days. You will be a female walking on your own.

I'm going to make some assumptions here and provide a bit of advice based on those assumptions. If my assumptions are off, feel free to adjust the recommendations (or, of course, you are always free to ignore them!).

I'm going to assume that this is your first Camino and that, as a solo peregrina, you'd rather be in the company of other pilgrims rather than walking truly by yourself for great stretches. (Sure, you may want the opportunity to walk by yourself when desired, but you don't want to be forced into it.) Also, that you don't want to be forced into longer days because places to stay are 30+ km apart.

Right away, this eliminates a lot of options. You probably don't want to start on the Camino Levante or Mozarabe or the Ruta de la Lana, etc.

In general, for a first time pilgrim, I would recommend the Camino Frances or the Camino Portugues. These have the best infrastructure. If you are walking in November (post season) and want the flexibility to do shorter days, these might be your best bets.

I'm also assuming that you want to get to Santiago (and perhaps beyond to Finisterre). Both of these routes can be done from "the beginning", in theory, in 30 days. You will note that "the beginning" is in quotes. Any starting place for a pilgrimage other than your front door is something of an artificial construct. There is no rule that says you have to start the Frances in St. Jean Pied de Port or the Portugues in Lisbon. Actually, the minority of pilgrims on both those routes start in both those places. And I don't think starting in either with 30 days for a first time pilgrim is going to make you feel like you have plenty of time.

So I would be looking at something like the Frances from Logroño or even Burgos or the Portugues from somewhere between Lisbon and Porto (maybe Coimbra?).

The Frances will give you a more "traditional" pilgrimage, through places that may be familiar from books and movies. You will get a variety of regions in Spain including the wide high plains of the meseta where much wheat is grown, wine regions, mountainous regions and the wet, green, cattle region of Galicia.

The Portugues will give you the option of seeing another country (Portugal) with its unique history and architecture, its own farming regions. You won't get much in the way of mountains but you will get the option of seeing seashores. You also get to walk up through Galicia, but coming from the south rather than the east, you get to see wine regions there rather than cattle regions, so the smell is better. :)

Both routes have a solid history, with many documented pilgrims back to the middle ages. Both have good systems of albergues and charming villages and towns and fellow pilgrims to form community with (although somewhat fewer fellow pilgrims on the Portugues between Lisbon and Porto, I'm told).

To get a better idea of the scenery, distances, etc. there are good guidebooks and apps (the apps are cheaper) or you could look at some YouTube vlogs of people who have walked them.
 

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