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I arrived in Santiago and didn't see a single pilgrim.

Mr_Ross_Duncan

Via Gebennensis, Portuguese, Via Francigena, GR65,
Time of past OR future Camino
Via Gebennensis, Portuguese, Via Francigena, GR65,
Sounds implausible, walking into Santiago and not seeing anyone else on the road.
Implausible but true.
I followed the Via Gebennensis from Geneva to Le-Puy, then the Via Podiensis from Le-Puy to Saint Jean then the Camino Frances from Saint Jean to Ponferrada then the Camino Invierno into Santiago.
On my last day, from Ponte Ulla to Santiago, I was neither passed by nor saw a single other walker.
And that's both surprising and a real shame.
The Invierno was a delight, it dips and bobs in and out of historic villages, up and down ancient Roman era roads, across medieval bridges buried deep in chestnut forests, past 11th century churches and ruins, many of the Roman roads have visible wheel ruts from centuries of cart use.
There are river crossings and huge wild views over mountains and forests, much of the path is soft under-foot and gently shaded.
Unlike the Frances, or the section I did, you're in no doubt of the history and pedigree of the walk, it's dripping with historical waymarks and reminders.
And yet almost nobody was on the walk.
A mystery.
In Santiago I met up with friends who had continued on along the Frances after Ponferrada, their tales of the Sarria crowds and the morning rush convincing me I'd made the correct call on turning off the Frances, when I told them I'd seen nobody at all on the last stage, a beauty of a walk through forest most of the way, and at the 5klm mark to Santiago I was still on rural lanes, it had them planning their next Camino.
Needless to say, it's not a repeat visit to the Frances.
 
Be part of the Camino Cleanup team! Help us pick up litter from Ponferrada to Sarria.
Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

€83,-
Part of the reason for the absence of other pilgrims on the Invierno is seasonal. Once people have used their annual holiday allotment, and all the students are back in university, the Camino de Santiago - writ large- settles into the off-season. There will be fewer pilgrims on all routes. But the drop off is most noticed on routes that, even in the peak season months see relatively fewer pilgrims.

The Camino de Invierno is one such route. It was only (IIRC) formally approved as a Camino route in 2016. Hence, it has only been about 7 years, punctuated and broken up by the COVID pandemic, to allow people to consider opening albergues, cafes, tiendas, etc. Had COVID not occurred, I suppose that this route would have become more developed, to support more pilgrims, and attracting more pilgrims.

I believe the reason the Camino Frances and Camino Portugues (at least from Porto) are increasing in popularity so fast is the frequency and predictability of support services for pilgrims.

My recommendation is to enjoy to solitude on the Invierno while you can. Once it gets "improved" and more pilgrims walk this wonderful route, it will lose some of what makes it so special just now.

Hope this helps.

Tom
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
I walked into Santiago in mid May on that route. In what is considered 'high' season.
Fairly much the same.
I met a couple of Pilgrims in a cafe along the way, but saw none on the road during the last day.
Lots in Santiago of course!

As others have said before, the entrance into Santiago on that route is really nice.
The 'city' part of that final section only seems to last a couple of kms.

From Ponferrada to Santiago on the Invierno I never walked 'with' another Pilgrim.
I think only three times I saw other Pilgrims on the path ahead.
Twice there were other Pilgrims staying in the same accomodation.
Once I had breakfast with another Pilgrim.
Otherwise it was a lone Camino in every sense.
Pure Bliss. :)

I'm sure it will get busy in time!
 
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I walked into Santiago in late May on that route. In what is considered 'high' season.
Fairly much the same.
I met a couple of Pilgrims in a cafe along the way, but saw none on the road during the last day.
Lots in Santiago of course!

As others have said before, the entrance into Santiago on that route is really nice.
The 'city' part of that final section only seems to last a couple of kms.

From Ponferrada to Santiago on the Invierno I never walked 'with' another Pilgrim.
I think only three times I saw other Pilgrims on the path ahead.
Twice there were other Pilgrims staying in the same accomodation.
Once I had breakfast with another Pilgrim.
Otherwise it was a lone Camino in every sense.
Pure Bliss. :)

I'm sure it will get busy in time!
Same for me on June 1 this year. Didn’t see any pilgrims on my last day into Santiago until I was actually in the city itself.
 
I agree - of all the ways into Santiago, the Inveirno is the nicest. Those final stages are rural, beautiful and sneaks you into Santiago without the urban sprawl seen on other routes.

Btw, if you like the Invierno - then the lessor known Sanabres is worth considering. Has an amazingly varied landscape for it's length (perhaps more than any other camino?), tiny stone villages w/ friendly locals ( a very immersive experience), excellent albergues/donativos and well marked trails (some w/ wolf tracks no less ; ). And it has the same approach into Santiago as the Invierno.
 
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Sounds implausible, walking into Santiago and not seeing anyone else on the road.
Implausible but true.
I followed the Via Gebennensis from Geneva to Le-Puy, then the Via Podiensis from Le-Puy to Saint Jean then the Camino Frances from Saint Jean to Ponferrada then the Camino Invierno into Santiago.
On my last day, from Ponte Ulla to Santiago, I was neither passed by nor saw a single other walker.
And that's both surprising and a real shame.
The Invierno was a delight, it dips and bobs in and out of historic villages, up and down ancient Roman era roads, across medieval bridges buried deep in chestnut forests, past 11th century churches and ruins, many of the Roman roads have visible wheel ruts from centuries of cart use.
There are river crossings and huge wild views over mountains and forests, much of the path is soft under-foot and gently shaded.
Unlike the Frances, or the section I did, you're in no doubt of the history and pedigree of the walk, it's dripping with historical waymarks and reminders.
And yet almost nobody was on the walk.
A mystery.
In Santiago I met up with friends who had continued on along the Frances after Ponferrada, their tales of the Sarria crowds and the morning rush convincing me I'd made the correct call on turning off the Frances, when I told them I'd seen nobody at all on the last stage, a beauty of a walk through forest most of the way, and at the 5klm mark to Santiago I was still on rural lanes, it had them planning their next Camino.
Needless to say, it's not a repeat visit to the Frances.
So nothing's changed since I did it in June 2017 then !
 
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Sounds implausible, walking into Santiago and not seeing anyone else on the road.
Implausible but true.
I followed the Via Gebennensis from Geneva to Le-Puy, then the Via Podiensis from Le-Puy to Saint Jean then the Camino Frances from Saint Jean to Ponferrada then the Camino Invierno into Santiago.
On my last day, from Ponte Ulla to Santiago, I was neither passed by nor saw a single other walker.
And that's both surprising and a real shame.
The Invierno was a delight, it dips and bobs in and out of historic villages, up and down ancient Roman era roads, across medieval bridges buried deep in chestnut forests, past 11th century churches and ruins, many of the Roman roads have visible wheel ruts from centuries of cart use.
There are river crossings and huge wild views over mountains and forests, much of the path is soft under-foot and gently shaded.
Unlike the Frances, or the section I did, you're in no doubt of the history and pedigree of the walk, it's dripping with historical waymarks and reminders.
And yet almost nobody was on the walk.
A mystery.
In Santiago I met up with friends who had continued on along the Frances after Ponferrada, their tales of the Sarria crowds and the morning rush convincing me I'd made the correct call on turning off the Frances, when I told them I'd seen nobody at all on the last stage, a beauty of a walk through forest most of the way, and at the 5klm mark to Santiago I was still on rural lanes, it had them planning their next Camino.
Needless to say, it's not a repeat visit to the Frances.
Glad you enjoyed it! There are so many good trails throughout Europe to explore
 
Sounds implausible, walking into Santiago and not seeing anyone else on the road.
Implausible but true.
I followed the Via Gebennensis from Geneva to Le-Puy, then the Via Podiensis from Le-Puy to Saint Jean then the Camino Frances from Saint Jean to Ponferrada then the Camino Invierno into Santiago.
On my last day, from Ponte Ulla to Santiago, I was neither passed by nor saw a single other walker.
And that's both surprising and a real shame.
The Invierno was a delight, it dips and bobs in and out of historic villages, up and down ancient Roman era roads, across medieval bridges buried deep in chestnut forests, past 11th century churches and ruins, many of the Roman roads have visible wheel ruts from centuries of cart use.
There are river crossings and huge wild views over mountains and forests, much of the path is soft under-foot and gently shaded.
Unlike the Frances, or the section I did, you're in no doubt of the history and pedigree of the walk, it's dripping with historical waymarks and reminders.
And yet almost nobody was on the walk.
A mystery.
In Santiago I met up with friends who had continued on along the Frances after Ponferrada, their tales of the Sarria crowds and the morning rush convincing me I'd made the correct call on turning off the Frances, when I told them I'd seen nobody at all on the last stage, a beauty of a walk through forest most of the way, and at the 5klm mark to Santiago I was still on rural lanes, it had them planning their next Camino.
Needless to say, it's not a repeat visit to the Frances.
This is inspiring! I plan now to take the Invierno when I get to the junction in two days. How many days did you take from Ponferrada to Santiago?
 
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This is inspiring! I plan now to take the Invierno when I get to the junction in two days. How many days did you take from Ponferrada to Santiago?
Hi Sarah, I did it in 11 days, the final few were pretty short, I was in no hurry and wanted to enjoy the experience. I did..
I think it could be done in 10 without any breaks and if you're happy to push along a bit.
Have a good walk.
 
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Sounds implausible, walking into Santiago and not seeing anyone else on the road.
Implausible but true.
I followed the Via Gebennensis from Geneva to Le-Puy, then the Via Podiensis from Le-Puy to Saint Jean then the Camino Frances from Saint Jean to Ponferrada then the Camino Invierno into Santiago.
On my last day, from Ponte Ulla to Santiago, I was neither passed by nor saw a single other walker.
And that's both surprising and a real shame.
The Invierno was a delight, it dips and bobs in and out of historic villages, up and down ancient Roman era roads, across medieval bridges buried deep in chestnut forests, past 11th century churches and ruins, many of the Roman roads have visible wheel ruts from centuries of cart use.
There are river crossings and huge wild views over mountains and forests, much of the path is soft under-foot and gently shaded.
Unlike the Frances, or the section I did, you're in no doubt of the history and pedigree of the walk, it's dripping with historical waymarks and reminders.
And yet almost nobody was on the walk.
A mystery.
In Santiago I met up with friends who had continued on along the Frances after Ponferrada, their tales of the Sarria crowds and the morning rush convincing me I'd made the correct call on turning off the Frances, when I told them I'd seen nobody at all on the last stage, a beauty of a walk through forest most of the way, and at the 5klm mark to Santiago I was still on rural lanes, it had them planning their next Camino.
Needless to say, it's not a repeat visit to the Frances.


In 2014 I walked the Frances. The last two days from Sarria I saw only one other pilgrim. Raining most of the way. When I walked through the archway into the square there was only one person in the whole square, a local. Still raining. The cathedral front was covered in scaffolding. The road went down the hill into a suburban area and there was still an arrow or two pointing that way. But first I thought I’d better ask the local. “ Donde esta el catedral?”. He pointed to the building covered in scaffolding and we both burst out laughing.

De Colores

Bogong
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
Sounds implausible, walking into Santiago and not seeing anyone else on the road.
Implausible but true.
I followed the Via Gebennensis from Geneva to Le-Puy, then the Via Podiensis from Le-Puy to Saint Jean then the Camino Frances from Saint Jean to Ponferrada then the Camino Invierno into Santiago.
On my last day, from Ponte Ulla to Santiago, I was neither passed by nor saw a single other walker.
And that's both surprising and a real shame.
The Invierno was a delight, it dips and bobs in and out of historic villages, up and down ancient Roman era roads, across medieval bridges buried deep in chestnut forests, past 11th century churches and ruins, many of the Roman roads have visible wheel ruts from centuries of cart use.
There are river crossings and huge wild views over mountains and forests, much of the path is soft under-foot and gently shaded.
Unlike the Frances, or the section I did, you're in no doubt of the history and pedigree of the walk, it's dripping with historical waymarks and reminders.
And yet almost nobody was on the walk.
A mystery.
In Santiago I met up with friends who had continued on along the Frances after Ponferrada, their tales of the Sarria crowds and the morning rush convincing me I'd made the correct call on turning off the Frances, when I told them I'd seen nobody at all on the last stage, a beauty of a walk through forest most of the way, and at the 5klm mark to Santiago I was still on rural lanes, it had them planning their next Camino.
Needless to say, it's not a repeat visit to the Frances.
Would love to read what your stages were, and your accommodation along that way.
 
Sounds implausible, walking into Santiago and not seeing anyone else on the road.
Implausible but true.
I can easily believe it. I have walked that way three times - each in winter - and met very few other pilgrims. But even the Frances can be very quiet in winter. In early February I walked my last day of the Frances from Santa Irene to the cathedral and did not see another pilgrim until I reached the Obradoiro.
 
Sounds implausible, walking into Santiago and not seeing anyone else on the road.
Implausible but true.
I followed the Via Gebennensis from Geneva to Le-Puy, then the Via Podiensis from Le-Puy to Saint Jean then the Camino Frances from Saint Jean to Ponferrada then the Camino Invierno into Santiago.
On my last day, from Ponte Ulla to Santiago, I was neither passed by nor saw a single other walker.
And that's both surprising and a real shame.
The Invierno was a delight, it dips and bobs in and out of historic villages, up and down ancient Roman era roads, across medieval bridges buried deep in chestnut forests, past 11th century churches and ruins, many of the Roman roads have visible wheel ruts from centuries of cart use.
There are river crossings and huge wild views over mountains and forests, much of the path is soft under-foot and gently shaded.
Unlike the Frances, or the section I did, you're in no doubt of the history and pedigree of the walk, it's dripping with historical waymarks and reminders.
And yet almost nobody was on the walk.
A mystery.
In Santiago I met up with friends who had continued on along the Frances after Ponferrada, their tales of the Sarria crowds and the morning rush convincing me I'd made the correct call on turning off the Frances, when I told them I'd seen nobody at all on the last stage, a beauty of a walk through forest most of the way, and at the 5klm mark to Santiago I was still on rural lanes, it had them planning their next Camino.
Needless to say, it's not a repeat visit to the Frances.
Added to my list Camino friend. Thank you soooooooooo much!
 
Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

€83,-
Sounds implausible, walking into Santiago and not seeing anyone else on the road.
Implausible but true.
I followed the Via Gebennensis from Geneva to Le-Puy, then the Via Podiensis from Le-Puy to Saint Jean then the Camino Frances from Saint Jean to Ponferrada then the Camino Invierno into Santiago.
On my last day, from Ponte Ulla to Santiago, I was neither passed by nor saw a single other walker.
And that's both surprising and a real shame.
The Invierno was a delight, it dips and bobs in and out of historic villages, up and down ancient Roman era roads, across medieval bridges buried deep in chestnut forests, past 11th century churches and ruins, many of the Roman roads have visible wheel ruts from centuries of cart use.
There are river crossings and huge wild views over mountains and forests, much of the path is soft under-foot and gently shaded.
Unlike the Frances, or the section I did, you're in no doubt of the history and pedigree of the walk, it's dripping with historical waymarks and reminders.
And yet almost nobody was on the walk.
A mystery.
In Santiago I met up with friends who had continued on along the Frances after Ponferrada, their tales of the Sarria crowds and the morning rush convincing me I'd made the correct call on turning off the Frances, when I told them I'd seen nobody at all on the last stage, a beauty of a walk through forest most of the way, and at the 5klm mark to Santiago I was still on rural lanes, it had them planning their next Camino.
Needless to say, it's not a repeat visit to the Frances.
How long was your walk Pilgrim??? Wow, to be able to do that all at once!!!
 
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Our Atmospheric H30 poncho offers lightness and waterproofness. Easily compressible and made with our Waterproof fabric, its heat-sealed interior seams guarantee its waterproofness. Includes carrying bag.

€60,-
I'd believe it too. I walked it in midsummer the year before covid and only encountered two other pilgrims that day, in Outeiro, and the same couple again in the Restaurante Bar Rosende.

of all the ways into Santiago, the Inveirno is the nicest.
Agree entirely, but shhhhhhhh....
Not to say that too loudly. 🙃
 
Be part of the Camino Cleanup team! Help us pick up litter from Ponferrada to Sarria.
@Mr_Ross_Duncan, we are planning to walk from Geneva to Santiago and would love to hear about your experience - did you write a blog by any chance or have you posted about it on the forum? Would love to hear all about it!! Are you currently living in the EU? As Australians we will need to be in and out within 90 days - do you think it is plausible? We have walked CFx2 and pretty much walked the Brierly stages. thanks
 
Would love to read what your stages were, and your accommodation along that way.
Hi E
Would love to read what your stages were, and your accommodation along that way.
Hi Ellann,
Here's a list of the stages and hotels for you.
All contacts etc can be found on Gronze.com I seem to remember.
Cheers
Ross
---------------------------
Ponferrada - Las Médulas.
Hotel Medulio
Calle REAL, 1, 24442
Las Médulas
Las Médulas - O Barco de Valdeorras
Hotel Malecon
Pescadores 3, O Barco,
O Barco de Valdeorras
O Barco de Valdeorras - A Rúa de Valdeorras
Pension Fabio Sanchez
Rua Progreso, 202 1ºD 32350
A Rúa de Valdeorras
A Rúa de Valdeorras - Quiroga

Hostal Quiper
Travesia Real 62, Quiroga 27320
Quiroga - Salcedo

Hotel O Forno, Salcedo
Lgar Salcedo, Salcedo
Salcedo - Monforte de Lemos

MON ComeySuena Guesthouse Pension
Rua Roberto Baamonde 30, Monforte de Lemos 27400
Monforte de Lemos - Torre Vilarino

Torre Vilarino
Lugar de Vilariño 47, 27548 - Fión - O Saviñao - Lugo
Torre Vilarino - Hotel Vilaseco Penasillas

Hotel Vilaseco Penasillas
Carretera de Penasillás S/N, Chantada 27512
Hotel Vilaseco Penasillas - Rodeiro

Hostal y Albergue Carpinteiras
Av. Lalín-Monforte, 59, 36537 Rodeiro, Pontevedra.
Rodeiro - Lalín
Hotel Restaurante Pontiñas, Lalín
Rúa da Ponte, 82, 36500 Lalín
c/ Del Puente 82, Lalín
Lalín - Silleda

Hotel Ramos
Antón Alonso Ríos 24, Silleda 36540
Silleda - Ponte Ulla

O Çruceiro Da Ulla Hostal y Restaurante Cruceiro
Lugar Puente Ulla, 0 S N Zona, 15885 Vedra.
Ponte Ulla - Santiago

 
@Mr_Ross_Duncan, we are planning to walk from Geneva to Santiago and would love to hear about your experience - did you write a blog by any chance or have you posted about it on the forum? Would love to hear all about it!! Are you currently living in the EU? As Australians we will need to be in and out within 90 days - do you think it is plausible? We have walked CFx2 and pretty much walked the Brierly stages. thanks
Hi Gumba,
I'm from Adelaide so I understand the 90-day issue.
It's possible to do but it would be a pretty big challenge. It's a long way and you'd have to do it over a couple of seasons which would mean either a winter or a summer, both not ideal times to walk.
My walk was somewhat more complicated than just going from Geneva to Santiago because I actually walked the Via Francigena from Geneva as well, but that's heading in the other direction, away from Santiago, and it's too complicated to explain to people that route.
So, I had to break mine up after the 90 day's expired, by then I'd essentially gone from Geneva to Rome then back to Geneva and headed down to Le-Puy.
Picking up from again Le-Puy to Santiago, that would be my suggestion for an ideal walk in a 90 day stay.
Le-Puy to Santiago.
Comfortable distances, time for a few rest days, enjoy the scenery and good food (in France anyway).
Cheers and good walking.
 
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Sounds implausible, walking into Santiago and not seeing anyone else on the road.
Implausible but true.
I followed the Via Gebennensis from Geneva to Le-Puy, then the Via Podiensis from Le-Puy to Saint Jean then the Camino Frances from Saint Jean to Ponferrada then the Camino Invierno into Santiago.
On my last day, from Ponte Ulla to Santiago, I was neither passed by nor saw a single other walker.
And that's both surprising and a real shame.
The Invierno was a delight, it dips and bobs in and out of historic villages, up and down ancient Roman era roads, across medieval bridges buried deep in chestnut forests, past 11th century churches and ruins, many of the Roman roads have visible wheel ruts from centuries of cart use.
There are river crossings and huge wild views over mountains and forests, much of the path is soft under-foot and gently shaded.
Unlike the Frances, or the section I did, you're in no doubt of the history and pedigree of the walk, it's dripping with historical waymarks and reminders.
And yet almost nobody was on the walk.
A mystery.
In Santiago I met up with friends who had continued on along the Frances after Ponferrada, their tales of the Sarria crowds and the morning rush convincing me I'd made the correct call on turning off the Frances, when I told them I'd seen nobody at all on the last stage, a beauty of a walk through forest most of the way, and at the 5klm mark to Santiago I was still on rural lanes, it had them planning their next Camino.
Needless to say, it's not a repeat visit to the Frances.
We walked the Invierno in March/April this year. We loved it, and after the crowds of the Frances the year before, it was a delight.
 
I took to the Invierno (my second time to walk this beautiful path) this morning, after a week on the still quite busy CF. Almost nobody I spoke to in recent days was even aware of it. I chatted briefly with a local man out walking with his dog just now. He says he sees a few pilgrims at this time of year, 9 or 10 a day. I really can't see this camino getting over-run anytime soon.

Edit: I've noticed, as before.. locals do seem genuinely curious and interested in pilgrims, a rare thing on the other, busier paths nowadays..
 
Last edited:
@Mr_Ross_Duncan, we are planning to walk from Geneva to Santiago and would love to hear about your experience - did you write a blog by any chance or have you posted about it on the forum? Would love to hear all about it!! Are you currently living in the EU? As Australians we will need to be in and out within 90 days - do you think it is plausible? We have walked CFx2 and pretty much walked the Brierly stages. thanks
That is of course true of the 90 day visa-free status of New Zealanders and Australian's, however you could of course potentially apply for a longer term stay for Spain. If explained your reasons and asked for a 6 month religious visa one would assume that Spain would be approachable. Cost €80. Timed to start once you had entered Spain of course.
I'd enquire directly at the embassy if I were you. May be a no - go ( didn't look at the specific requirements of this visa), but if you're really keen, possibly worth considering. Beats leaving and flying back next year!
 
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@Gumba - 2027! And I thought I was a long term planner, looking at things a year out !
Good luck.

I greatly appreciate the appeal of such a walk - I started from Potsdam (just outside Berlin) recently, so far I've done 100 kilometers and hope to do more this weekend. I'm doing mine piece by piece - at least for the next year, after that I hope to hit it for real. I'll probably have to stop soon for the winter anyway - I hate the cold and it doesn't like me much either.
 
Sounds implausible, walking into Santiago and not seeing anyone else on the road.
Implausible but true.
I followed the Via Gebennensis from Geneva to Le-Puy, then the Via Podiensis from Le-Puy to Saint Jean then the Camino Frances from Saint Jean to Ponferrada then the Camino Invierno into Santiago.
On my last day, from Ponte Ulla to Santiago, I was neither passed by nor saw a single other walker.
And that's both surprising and a real shame.
The Invierno was a delight, it dips and bobs in and out of historic villages, up and down ancient Roman era roads, across medieval bridges buried deep in chestnut forests, past 11th century churches and ruins, many of the Roman roads have visible wheel ruts from centuries of cart use.
There are river crossings and huge wild views over mountains and forests, much of the path is soft under-foot and gently shaded.
Unlike the Frances, or the section I did, you're in no doubt of the history and pedigree of the walk, it's dripping with historical waymarks and reminders.
And yet almost nobody was on the walk.
A mystery.
In Santiago I met up with friends who had continued on along the Frances after Ponferrada, their tales of the Sarria crowds and the morning rush convincing me I'd made the correct call on turning off the Frances, when I told them I'd seen nobody at all on the last stage, a beauty of a walk through forest most of the way, and at the 5klm mark to Santiago I was still on rural lanes, it had them planning their next Camino.
Needless to say, it's not a repeat visit to the Frances.
Thanks for the tip as I’m on the Frances in Pamplona after walking the Podiensis, it’s too busy for my liking right now so if albergues are open on the Invierno I may consider that route to Santiago.
 
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I took to the Invierno (my second time to walk this beautiful path) this morning, after a week on the still quite busy CF. Almost nobody I spoke to in recent days was even aware of it. I chatted briefly with a local man out walking with his dog just now. He says he sees a few pilgrims at this time of year, 9 or 10 a day. I really can't see this camino getting over-run anytime soon.

Edit: I've noticed, as before.. locals do seem genuinely curious and interested in pilgrims, a rare thing on the other, busier paths nowadays..
What’s available for accommodation ? At least municipal still open?
 
Most municipals are open. I've been calling ahead the evening before and it's been ok so far, though it's very quiet, getting colder and I haven't found any heating on anywhere, so be prepared! I spent a few days on the Frances but found it crowded too, even bed races. I'm happy walking in nature and solitude..

20231021_094256.jpg20231021_094007.jpg20231018_132559.jpg
 
Thanks for the tip as I’m on the Frances in Pamplona after walking the Podiensis, it’s too busy for my liking right now so if albergues are open on the Invierno I may consider that route to Santiago.
Hi Collette, I think most should still be open, perhaps check using their contact details, I think most are on the Gronze website. I know of a couple who walked in January, they were the only ones on the walk and had no trouble but had to advise in advance for the fires to be lit and power to be on.
 
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Thanks for the tip as I’m on the Frances in Pamplona after walking the Podiensis, it’s too busy for my liking right now so if albergues are open on the Invierno I may consider that route to Santiago.
Just a heads up on the albergue at A Laxe, make sure to have some mosquito repellent. I’m not sure of their numbers now with lower temperatures but in May this place was full of them. I am hoping to walk Le Puy to Santiago September/ October ‘24. It will be my first time on either the CF or Podiensis. I am interested in what you consider too busy.
 
Hi Collette, I think most should still be open, perhaps check using their contact details, I think most are on the Gronze website. I know of a couple who walked in January, they were the only ones on the walk and had no trouble but had to advise in advance for the fires to be lit and power to be on.
Great yes check out gronze and looks good alternative to the busy Frances and a chance to
dip into a new part of Galicia. Thanks!
 
Most municipals are open. I've been calling ahead the evening before and it's been ok so far, though it's very quiet, getting colder and I haven't found any heating on anywhere, so be prepared! I spent a few days on the Frances but found it crowded too, even bed races. I'm happy walking in nature and solitude..

View attachment 158933View attachment 158934View attachment 158935
Looks nice and cold is ok for me a Canadian, carrying clothes for that.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
I normally walk mid
Just a heads up on the albergue at A Laxe, make sure to have some mosquito repellent. I’m not sure of their numbers now with lower temperatures but in May this place was full of them. I am hoping to walk Le Puy to Santiago September/ October ‘24. It will be my first time on either the CF or Podiensis. I am interested in what you consider too busy
I normally walk off seasons (mid October to early April). The Podiensis is a totally different story, sept is bush and you really will enjoy the first month if you reserve ahead (September is a peak
season and the French walkers are many). In Roncesvalles 3 nights ago there were over 100 pilgrims 2 nights in a row. Lots of very young pilgrims, a bit too many & rowdy for me after 900 km.
 
I normally walk mid

I normally walk off seasons (mid October to early April). The Podiensis is a totally different story, sept is bush and you really will enjoy the first month if you reserve ahead (September is a peak
season and the French walkers are many). In Roncesvalles 3 nights ago there were over 100 pilgrims 2 nights in a row. Lots of very young pilgrims, a bit too many & rowdy for me after 900 km.
Thanks. My plan is to stay beyond the end of stage towns. Hopefully that will help. If you do take the Invierno just a little past the albergue at Outeiro I can recommend Casa de Casal if you feel like a little pampering on your last night before Santiago. Bon chemin.
 
Sounds implausible, walking into Santiago and not seeing anyone else on the road.
Implausible but true.
I followed the Via Gebennensis from Geneva to Le-Puy, then the Via Podiensis from Le-Puy to Saint Jean then the Camino Frances from Saint Jean to Ponferrada then the Camino Invierno into Santiago.
On my last day, from Ponte Ulla to Santiago, I was neither passed by nor saw a single other walker.
And that's both surprising and a real shame.
The Invierno was a delight, it dips and bobs in and out of historic villages, up and down ancient Roman era roads, across medieval bridges buried deep in chestnut forests, past 11th century churches and ruins, many of the Roman roads have visible wheel ruts from centuries of cart use.
There are river crossings and huge wild views over mountains and forests, much of the path is soft under-foot and gently shaded.
Unlike the Frances, or the section I did, you're in no doubt of the history and pedigree of the walk, it's dripping with historical waymarks and reminders.
And yet almost nobody was on the walk.
A mystery.
In Santiago I met up with friends who had continued on along the Frances after Ponferrada, their tales of the Sarria crowds and the morning rush convincing me I'd made the correct call on turning off the Frances, when I told them I'd seen nobody at all on the last stage, a beauty of a walk through forest most of the way, and at the 5klm mark to Santiago I was still on rural lanes, it had them planning their next Camino.
Needless to say, it's not a repeat visit to the Frances.
Sounds very attractive. Does anyone know if there is a backpack transportation service on Invierno?
Thanks.
 
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@Mr_Ross_Duncan, we are planning to walk from Geneva to Santiago and would love to hear about your experience - did you write a blog by any chance or have you posted about it on the forum? Would love to hear all about it!! Are you currently living in the EU? As Australians we will need to be in and out within 90 days - do you think it is plausible? We have walked CFx2 and pretty much walked the Brierly stages. thanks
Hey! I'm just going to insert myself here because it might be helpful, but I'm an Australian currently on my Geneva to Santiago trip - though I'm probably only going to be of use for the first half - and I wanted to add a second opinion; I think you probably could walk it in 90 (there's reasons it has italics!).

I haven't walked the Frances, but I got from Geneva to Le Puy to Saint-Jean in 48 days - including quite a few (I think five or six? Seven?) rest days, and with my longest day totalling 35.5km (but only because I got lost!!). Most days were between 18-25km, and although I had greater flexibility in time spent walking/sleeping arrangements because I brought a tent, I would say doing it in roughly the same time frame is doable when staying in gîtes and the like :]
(Especially if you happen to be people who walk longer/faster than I do, which is highly likely as I am a late-rising snail with a backpack - though I am younger than most, which I'm told allegedly gives me bonus points in that regard).

If your plan is to go for the Frances again, then you'll know how long that takes you, which, if I'm to believe the most hasty of Googles, is about 33 days with the Brierly, and would put you somewhere around the 80 mark. Given that most finish the Frances (according to The Internet) in about 35-40 days, and most finish the Gebennenis/Podiensis in 40-45 (snail, told you!)), five to ten extra days to act as buffer and rest seems pretty okay! That is, if you're flying in and out of Geneva and Santiago respectively, and didn't have extra travel time (which,,, walking jetlagged is another issue but hey!)

If you're planning to do something different from the Frances then you might be cutting it a little close, mostly because other routes require the getting-there part, which tacks on a few days. I diverted in Saint-Jean and went north up to the coast to follow the Norte, where I am now, and it's not that probable I'll finish in 90 days, considering I'm sitting at around 60, but we'll see! I've got the upside of being a dual-citizen (forgive the bragging), so I don't have the same time constraints you would, but just for reference!

The thing that would sway this, obviously, is that there's not much fuck-up room. If either of you got hurt, even if it was something that just needed a few days rest, it would become improbable you'd finish in time. So, like always, it'd be a plan for the worst but hope for the best type of trip. Maybe you could plan to definitely do Geneva to Saint-Jean, and provided there's nothing Camino-ending, carry on?? No clue, but on the basis that you're smooth sailing, I think 90 days could happen - and with a good three and a bit years to plan, you have more than enough time to hodge-podge a few routes together, which is, even if it takes a little longer, immensely fun, but even if you don't, enjoy the planning !!

And of course, it's all personal, yada yada yada, but I saw quite a lot of things that were quite discouraging before I set out, about difficulty and length and fitness and training etc. etc., and most of them, however well-meaning, turned out to be rubbish; plus, unless it's really important to you to finish it in one go, worst comes to worst you can come back and finish it later :] (Even though airfare is a nightmare from Aus, but hey)
No idea how to end things, but I just wanted to offer my unasked-for two cents !! And I'm by no means an expert, so please have copious grains of salt at all times, but there's a different opinion for you just in case <33
 
You could get rid of the jet lag issue by stopping off first in the UK - Brexit mean’s the 90 days doesn’t start until you get into Europe….
Oooh I didn't even think of that - nice loophole !!!
The only downside is you'd be in the UK; I thought the penance wasn't meant to start till you walk ??? ;]
 
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I agree - of all the ways into Santiago, the Inveirno is the nicest. Those final stages are rural, beautiful and sneaks you into Santiago without the urban sprawl seen on other routes.

Btw, if you like the Invierno - then the lessor known Sanabres is worth considering. Has an amazingly varied landscape for it's length (perhaps more than any other camino?), tiny stone villages w/ friendly locals ( a very immersive experience), excellent albergues/donativos and well marked trails (some w/ wolf tracks no less ; ). And it has the same approach into Santiago as the Invierno.
My wife and I walked from Ourense to Santiago on the Sanabres at the end of September, beginning of October 2018. Wonderful walk. Quiet for pilgrims and days filled with multiple bridges, a monastery, glorious vistas and shady vines. Great memories.
 

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Sounds implausible, walking into Santiago and not seeing anyone else on the road.
Implausible but true.
I followed the Via Gebennensis from Geneva to Le-Puy, then the Via Podiensis from Le-Puy to Saint Jean then the Camino Frances from Saint Jean to Ponferrada then the Camino Invierno into Santiago.
On my last day, from Ponte Ulla to Santiago, I was neither passed by nor saw a single other walker.
And that's both surprising and a real shame.
The Invierno was a delight, it dips and bobs in and out of historic villages, up and down ancient Roman era roads, across medieval bridges buried deep in chestnut forests, past 11th century churches and ruins, many of the Roman roads have visible wheel ruts from centuries of cart use.
There are river crossings and huge wild views over mountains and forests, much of the path is soft under-foot and gently shaded.
Unlike the Frances, or the section I did, you're in no doubt of the history and pedigree of the walk, it's dripping with historical waymarks and reminders.
And yet almost nobody was on the walk.
A mystery.
In Santiago I met up with friends who had continued on along the Frances after Ponferrada, their tales of the Sarria crowds and the morning rush convincing me I'd made the correct call on turning off the Frances, when I told them I'd seen nobody at all on the last stage, a beauty of a walk through forest most of the way, and at the 5klm mark to Santiago I was still on rural lanes, it had them planning their next Camino.
Needless to say, it's not a repeat visit to the Frances.
It’s because they all are on the Norte where I am!

BTW I like how you write. Very expressive. And yes I agree with you about the Invierno.
 
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@sunflowerfunk I cant tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to reply. Your numbers are about what I was expecting - 15 for Gebennensis, a rest day in LePuy, say 33 for Le Puy and 35 for Frances - thats 83 days plus 6 rest days. We will leave for Madrid the next day to fly home. We will have some longer days plus some easy 16 km/4 hour days. For us, this is like a rest day. Believe it or not, we will start walking the day we land - Just to Neydens (12km). This will be our last Camino, no chance of coming back so will skip a small handful of days on the Frances if we need to (our camino, our choice!) We also walk at a snails pace, but its our pace and we do like to 'smell the roses' when we walk. I think once we walk Geneva and Le Puy, the Frances will be a skip in the park! Thanks again for the encouragement.

You could get rid of the jet lag issue by stopping off first in the UK - Brexit mean’s the 90 days doesn’t start until you get into Europe….
Yeah/Nah, UK is still counted in the Schengen agreement unfortunately, along with some other non EU countries. The clock starts ticking even in the UK. Otherwise we would have broken our trip up with a holiday in England (where we would have liked to walk the Coast to Coast!!!!).
 
@sunflowerfunk I cant tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to reply. Your numbers are about what I was expecting - 15 for Gebennensis, a rest day in LePuy, say 33 for Le Puy and 35 for Frances - thats 83 days plus 6 rest days. We will leave for Madrid the next day to fly home. We will have some longer days plus some easy 16 km/4 hour days. For us, this is like a rest day. Believe it or not, we will start walking the day we land - Just to Neydens (12km). This will be our last Camino, no chance of coming back so will skip a small handful of days on the Frances if we need to (our camino, our choice!) We also walk at a snails pace, but its our pace and we do like to 'smell the roses' when we walk. I think once we walk Geneva and Le Puy, the Frances will be a skip in the park! Thanks again for the encouragement.


Yeah/Nah, UK is still counted in the Schengen agreement unfortunately, along with some other non EU countries. The clock starts ticking even in the UK. Otherwise we would have broken our trip up with a holiday in England (where we would have liked to walk the Coast to Coast!!!!).
I'm pretty sure (like 100%) that Britain is not now nor never has been part of the Schengen zone, happy to stand corrected but a quick interweb search will tell you it's not. Just last year I exhausted my 90 day allowance and headed to Scotland to walk the West Highland Way without any drama.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
@sunflowerfunk I cant tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to reply. Your numbers are about what I was expecting - 15 for Gebennensis, a rest day in LePuy, say 33 for Le Puy and 35 for Frances - thats 83 days plus 6 rest days. We will leave for Madrid the next day to fly home. We will have some longer days plus some easy 16 km/4 hour days. For us, this is like a rest day. Believe it or not, we will start walking the day we land - Just to Neydens (12km). This will be our last Camino, no chance of coming back so will skip a small handful of days on the Frances if we need to (our camino, our choice!) We also walk at a snails pace, but its our pace and we do like to 'smell the roses' when we walk. I think once we walk Geneva and Le Puy, the Frances will be a skip in the park! Thanks again for the encouragement.


Yeah/Nah, UK is still counted in the Schengen agreement unfortunately, along with some other non EU countries. The clock starts ticking even in the UK. Otherwise we would have broken our trip up with a holiday in England (where we would have liked to walk the Coast to Coast!!!!).
Perfect !! Then in your scenario I'd say it's definitely possible :))
The only extra consideration I'd add (in terms of time it takes) is that both the Geneva to Le Puy section and the Le Puy to Saint-Jean section contain a lot more up and downs than the Frances, from what I've read off others account, written of my own, and seen from the original Frances guidebook I had from when I'd planned to walk it. If your rest days are 16km, then you're much fitter than I hahah!! But it does make for slower going, especially in the Geneva to Le Puy section when you're still getting used to it - although, with prior experience I imagine it's easier to get back into it than a newbie like I was.
Sorry, I'm starting to ramble; point is, factor in that you're crossing against the grain of the land, and even though it's never unmanageable, it does definitely add on some time !!
All the best for your trip, I'll come back in,,,, three years to check on your progress hahah <33
 
Yeah/Nah, UK is still counted in the Schengen agreement unfortunately, along with some other non EU countries. The clock starts ticking even in the UK. Otherwise we would have broken our trip up with a holiday in England (where we would have liked to walk the Coast to Coast!!!!).
The list I found of Schengen countries included:
Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

United Kingdom doesn't seem to be on the list. What's your source for saying it is? From where I sit, it looks like you unnecessarily missed an opportunity to break up your trip with a holiday in England. Maybe next time.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
The list I found of Schengen countries included:
Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

United Kingdom doesn't seem to be on the list. What's your source for saying it is? From where I sit, it looks like you unnecessarily missed an opportunity to break up your trip with a holiday in England. Maybe next time.
Ireland and the UK have a long standing Common Travel Area that predated the EU. They opted out of the Schengen Area Agreements. All other EU countries without opt outs are obliged to be in the Schengen Area. With Brexit none of this relates to the UK. Travelling through either Ireland or the UK before entering the Schengen Area would allow you to get over the jet lag and not lose any of your 90 days or finish your trip with some rest days.
 
The list I found of Schengen countries included:
Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

United Kingdom doesn't seem to be on the list. What's your source for saying it is? From where I sit, it looks like you unnecessarily missed an opportunity to break up your trip with a holiday in England. Maybe next time.

Thanks to those who have posted comments on UK/Schengen list

David, my source for this was a map I found on the web and a list of countries involved. I did this research around the time of Brexit (or just after). The map and info clearly stated that post Brexit, uk would still be a part of schengen rules and regulations. This info may have changed, it may have been a proposal, or it may have just been wrong and if we can go to the UK then that is an absolute win that I won't even try to disprove hahaha! No worries though, we have not missed an opportunity in the past as we would not have gone to the UK first - our times was limited to being away from Oz for a certain amount of days, well under the 90 days and our rest days in Paris were pretty amaxing. Our next next trip won't have the time constraints, we could go for a couple of rest days in the UK, but I imagine we will just want to get on with it!!! We have flown from Oz-UK/Europe several times and know how jetlag affects us - going over is ok but going back to Australia - now THAT is killer jetlag!!!

Thanks again to everyone who disproved my assumption :)
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
I agree - of all the ways into Santiago, the Inveirno is the nicest. Those final stages are rural, beautiful and sneaks you into Santiago without the urban sprawl seen on other routes.

Btw, if you like the Invierno - then the lessor known Sanabres is worth considering. Has an amazingly varied landscape for it's length (perhaps more than any other camino?), tiny stone villages w/ friendly locals ( a very immersive experience), excellent albergues/donativos and well marked trails (some w/ wolf tracks no less ; ). And it has the same approach into Santiago as the Invierno.
We found the Sanabres from Ourense to be similar. During our whole trip in June this year we met about five fellow pilgrims each day. We had a similar experience in the month before between Le Puy and St Jean PdP. It was such a shock to arrive in Santiago and be confronted by over two thousand pilgrims arriving via the different routes. We are still trying to process it.
 
Thanks to those who have posted comments on UK/Schengen list

David, my source for this was a map I found on the web and a list of countries involved. I did this research around the time of Brexit (or just after). The map and info clearly stated that post Brexit, uk would still be a part of schengen rules and regulations. This info may have changed, it may have been a proposal, or it may have just been wrong and if we can go to the UK then that is an absolute win that I won't even try to disprove hahaha! No worries though, we have not missed an opportunity in the past as we would not have gone to the UK first - our times was limited to being away from Oz for a certain amount of days, well under the 90 days and our rest days in Paris were pretty amaxing. Our next next trip won't have the time constraints, we could go for a couple of rest days in the UK, but I imagine we will just want to get on with it!!! We have flown from Oz-UK/Europe several times and know how jetlag affects us - going over is ok but going back to Australia - now THAT is killer jetlag!!!

Thanks again to everyone who disproved my assumption :)
After the first few times I flew from New Zealand I stopped flying direct. New Zealand is of course a little further than Auz so for me the best stops were always Hong Kong, Singapore, or Bangkok; a cheap hotel for the night (preferably with swimming pool to stretch out my muscles) and a little sightseeing don't add drastically to the overall cost and greatly improve my mood at the other end!
 

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