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July 2023 Europe heat wave? How hot is it on the Camino?

Bwarenz

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Portuguese Central August 2023
Hello,
I’m in freezing New Zealand preparing to start my first Camino mid-August and there are a lot of stories about the heatwave, and temperatures of up to 60 degrees c in Spain!
I realise August is not the ideal time to be starting but it’s the only time I can be there.
Please can anyone tell me what the temperatures are like in Porto and on the route from there? Thank you.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
60°C is extraordinarily unlikely.

In 2019 the maximum reached one day was 50° in a pueblo near Lleida in Catalonia (a week after the heat forced me to stop walking, though I continued from there at a later date), and whilst this year is one of the hotter ones, it's still nowhere near as bad as 2019.

In 2019, it was worse than it is now at the end of May and start of June.
 
I walked the VdlP during the above mentioned heatwave in 2019. There were only five of us walking at the time - at least until Salamanca - and we decided pretty early on to start walking at 4am to escape the heat.

Walking in the dark can be a beautiful experience given the deep conversations that are sometimes facilitated by lights-out and the stunning sunrises.

If you want to try this approach, try finding a group of likeminded people to share a room / dorm to allow for very early rising. Aim for arrival at your destination by 1pm. It only gets hotter from there and stays hot until early evening.

Also hydrate well and continuously. Drinking 2l during a stop won’t do you much good. Small amounts of liquid every 15min are much better. Also consider taking rehydration salts. You’ll find them in every pharmacy. Once in the morning, once in the evening. In a pinch mix your own with 1/2 spoon salt, 1/2 sugar and a squeeze of lime in a glass of water.

Nights were the hardest part for me because temperatures still didn’t drop to comfortable levels. So just watch out for signs of continuing exhaustion from the all-day heat and be proactive with hydration.

While this might all sound pretty bad I honestly had a wonderful Camino. Certainly much hotter than I liked but the Camino gives what the Camino wants to give. Just be prepared, start very early (walk in a group for safety, bring a head torch) and drink lots of water.
 
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Hello,
I’m in freezing New Zealand preparing to start my first Camino mid-August and there are a lot of stories about the heatwave, and temperatures of up to 60 degrees c in Spain!
I realise August is not the ideal time to be starting but it’s the only time I can be there.
Please can anyone tell me what the temperatures are like in Porto and on the route from there? Thank you.
The "threat" about 60C is from satelites measuring GROUND temperatures, not in the air. But it is really hot in Spain & much of Europe right now, and it will last for some days/a week at least. It may be the same in August. The temperatures as of current can be life threatening for exposed people (age/illness). Last year, it is estimated that some 61.000 people in Europe died from heat-related issues.

 
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If I had to guess, I would say it is going to be rather hot in August in Spain. I have walked in October and had daily temps in the 20-30C range. I've been to Madrid in June some years back and the temperature just outside the city where we played paintball was so hot the guy wouldn't let us play until it dropped back to 30C ish (it was much higher when we got there), he said we'd all be dead inside an hour. We nevertheless drank about 10x 2L bottles of water in 2 hours, each.

I suggest you pack like you are going to walk across the Sahara. I was reading that these blocked weather patterns can take quite a long time to clear, so it may well still be in the 40s when you walk.

The other thing you might want to consider is a decent mask. With hot temperatures come fires and the area in Spain you are walking was on fire on both the years I walked. Better to not be inhaling lots of smoke. ;) The smell of smoke was quite bad that year, especially annoying when laid in an albergue wanting to sleep.
 
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Hello,
I’m in freezing New Zealand preparing to start my first Camino mid-August and there are a lot of stories about the heatwave, and temperatures of up to 60 degrees c in Spain!
I realise August is not the ideal time to be starting but it’s the only time I can be there.
Please can anyone tell me what the temperatures are like in Porto and on the route from there? Thank you.
Would be a average temperatur off 25°C.
Buen Camino. 🙏
 
Hello,
I’m in freezing New Zealand preparing to start my first Camino mid-August and there are a lot of stories about the heatwave, and temperatures of up to 60 degrees c in Spain!
I realise August is not the ideal time to be starting but it’s the only time I can be there.
Please can anyone tell me what the temperatures are like in Porto and on the route from there? Thank you.
The Spanish and Portuguese meteorological agencies provide excellent information about standard climate conditions.
  • Spain: here is the link to the climate services pages. You can navigate from there to either standard or extreme values through the Climatological data tab. Looking at the extremes for August in Vigo, it has never exceeded about 40 dec C. The average maximum is just under 25 deg C for August.
  • Portugal: here is the link to the IPMA climate services page for Porto. It appears the maximum temperature in August has never exceeded 38 deg C. The average maximum is a much more tolerable 20 dec C.
I'll let you explore other places along the route, but I doubt that along the coast, you will find there will be too much variation.
 
I was on my way towards Los Arcos @38°C in 2019 and made 43k that day. Nothing really enjoyable on the last 10k, but doable!
Last year I sat on the beach of Saint Marie de la Mer on the coast of the Camargue and enjoyed bathing and swimming @41°C.

For me, it all depends on preparation and understanding and the accessability of water and shade. You have to adapt. You will not see me walking in short trousers and without sunscreen and get a sunburn on my upcoming CP.

If you ignore, you may imagine what will happen!
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
TELEMMGLPICT000342605503_16893256312660_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqDJ3PqNMSgzkGE3UgDARrdlTmGTZwRSZcqbDiPNar8DA.jpeg


It's definitely worse than it was last year, but still nothing like 2019 , when that red covered basically the whole of Western Europe except the extreme North of Spain, Northern Britain, and a thin crescent on the southern flank of the Alps. Oh !! and parts of Scandinavia and the Baltics.

But for the OP -- see that Western Portugal and Galicia are spared.

VDLP and Sureste look nasty though !!
 
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Hello,
I’m in freezing New Zealand preparing to start my first Camino mid-August and there are a lot of stories about the heatwave, and temperatures of up to 60 degrees c in Spain!
I realise August is not the ideal time to be starting but it’s the only time I can be there.
Please can anyone tell me what the temperatures are like in Porto and on the route from there? Thank you.
Hi BewareNZ
I to am from NZ Dunedin. It is very hot on the French Camino at the moment, I began 4th July. Most temps each day get to 38C. I have begun leaving at 5am to beat the midday heat. Two days ago past Pamplona I was suffering severely from heat stroke, vomiting, dizzy etc. A fellow pilgrim walked with me the last 5km which I thought would never end.
Water fountains became my best friend. Even though I had 2 litres of H20 it was too hot. Walking before dawn is a good idea.
 
Hello,
I’m in freezing New Zealand preparing to start my first Camino mid-August and there are a lot of stories about the heatwave, and temperatures of up to 60 degrees c in Spain!
I realise August is not the ideal time to be starting but it’s the only time I can be there.
Please can anyone tell me what the temperatures are like in Porto and on the route from there? Thank you.
Im on the Norte in Santander right now and it’s 28deg. It’s 5pm. That said, my husband and I have been starting our walking between 6&7am and are generally at our destination by 1pm. Highly recommended. This heatwave has just arrived in the last day or two. You would be unlucky if there was another one while you were here. Mānātakia a Matariki :)
 
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On the worst forcasted days in 2019 I started on 4:30am in total darkness @ 20-24°C.
On 10:30-11:30am it will be 30°C, time to look for your bed for siesta.

The best days were around Burgos, the nights only 9-10°C and the start on 6:30 it was 15°C.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Hello,
I’m in freezing New Zealand preparing to start my first Camino mid-August and there are a lot of stories about the heatwave, and temperatures of up to 60 degrees c in Spain!
I realise August is not the ideal time to be starting but it’s the only time I can be there.
Please can anyone tell me what the temperatures are like in Porto and on the route from there? Thank you.
After you check meteorological data on links recommended in this post, keep in mind that sun shining on your skin and clothes can raise the temperature significantly above the air temperature. Also the ground temperature can get very hot and radiate up to you.
 
Having just completed VDLP and San Salvador a week ago with variable days and temps, just go and adapt your day as it comes. If it gets too hot, spend a day resting up or walk shorter distances on the day. That is how we managed over the last two months. You dont have to be a slave to guide book daily stages which often dont account for variables. Porto route is coastal so you can gauge from that. As we say in NZ, She'll be right mate. Just do it.
 
If you take the Senda Litoral (not the Coastal) from Porto you should have sea breezes to help keep you cooler.
 
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Hi all - I'm planning again for next year, likely starting from Toulouse to continue the Chemin d'Arles - hope its not as hot in France...!

BTW - I'm MOST surprised at the NZers who are 'en chemin' at the moment - must be a record to have several posts on the same thread from Kiwis...!! (- no longer quite as flightless..!)
Buen camino
Stephen in (wintry) NZ
 
Has it reached the point when people are walking through the night and sleeping through the day? I remember some threads years back when people posted about walking through the night because it was cooler than walking in the day.
 
Stay as North as possible if you can to avoid the heat. I am on the Norte at the moment, have been walking for a week so far, you can see from the map posted above that we have escaped the worst of the heat thankfully. Today was the hottest at around 33 degrees, we started early. Quite a lot of shade along route through trees most days which also helps.
 
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Hi all,
With so much worldwide news on extreme ttemperatures seemingly everwhere, I am curious as to the temperature on various parts of the Camino.
I will not be walking the Camino this year but am interested on how the heat may have affected your decision on which Camino you are now on.
Thanks
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Hello,
I’m in freezing New Zealand preparing to start my first Camino mid-August and there are a lot of stories about the heatwave, and temperatures of up to 60 degrees c in Spain!
I realise August is not the ideal time to be starting but it’s the only time I can be there.
Please can anyone tell me what the temperatures are like in Porto and on the route from there? Thank you.
Hi I walked the VDLP from Seville in the April/May heatwave. Daily temps were 30 to 36 degrees after 2pm. But those are readings in the shade. Often there is no useful shade and the temperature is somewhat higher. On one day I had to walk between 2 and 4 pm and it was no joke. The heat just sucked the life out of me.. I shortened the distances where possible and started 1 hour before daybreak. Regular hydration from a bladder with tube is good but the plasticy taste was annoying. Also get a head torch and use a downloadable tracker app such as Buen Camino to avoid missing your route. Enjoy it but avoid risks. ULTREIA!
 
For what it's worth, when we set off at about 7:30 this morning I think it was about 10°. If my jacket hadn't been in the very bottom of my backpack, I might have put it on. Walking until 2 pm, it never got uncomfortably warm. But I am in Galicia now, over 40 days into my Camino and very close to Santiago. It may be somewhat different on the VDLP. Looking at the map that was posted, it looks okay for you heading north from Porto.
 
Three days into my Camino, temperatures have been very mixed. St Jean was scorching on Friday at about 37 degrees. Yesterday, it was very cold, wet and blowing strong winds all afternoon after a lovely start to the day. Today, Roncesvalles is a very pleasant 24 or so. Looks like we could get everything on the Camino this Summer
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
In your research, beware of relying on historical averages. I was just listening to a Times Radio broadcast that described temps in southern Italy at 49C, for example -- the warmest ever on record. Greece closed the Acropolis due to fear of heat-induced deaths. This summer's average forecast is hotter than the 2003 heat wave. The yearly average is steadily increasing.

This is due to the melting of the Arctic ice cap and consequent disruption to the jet stream, which used to do a good job of separating cold air masses from hot air masses. Europe is now getting warm air coming up from Africa.
 
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In your research, beware of relying on historical averages. I was just listening to a Times Radio broadcast that described temps in southern Italy at 49C, for example -- the warmest ever on record.
Hottest I've ever heard of in a normal location (i.e. not an airport etc) was ~50°C in a pueblo near Lleida in 2019. I had been walking very close to there a week or so previously, before being forced to return home because the heat was getting frankly dangerous, and every day was in the sometimes low but usually mid 40s in the early afternoon.

4-5 AM every day it was at least 30°C, and that was about the temperature it never got lower than during the final week or so of my walking that year in Catalonia.

That ~50°C temp was what I heard about a week after I was back home, and it told me that pausing my Camino was the right choice.

This is due to the melting of the Arctic ice cap and consequent disruption to the jet stream, which used to do a good job of separating cold air masses from hot air masses. Europe is now getting warm air coming up from Africa.
The primary factor is that we're exiting a so-called "mini ice age" -- 3,000 years ago and earlier, mean temperatures were seemingly several degrees higher, and we seem to be heading back to that norm ; which was a lot more stable than what we have experienced over the past 2,000 to 3,000 years.
 
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Hi BewareNZ
I to am from NZ Dunedin. It is very hot on the French Camino at the moment, I began 4th July. Most temps each day get to 38C. I have begun leaving at 5am to beat the midday heat. Two days ago past Pamplona I was suffering severely from heat stroke, vomiting, dizzy etc. A fellow pilgrim walked with me the last 5km which I thought would never end.
Water fountains became my best friend. Even though I had 2 litres of H20 it was too hot. Walking before dawn is a good idea.
Wow! That is really hot. Good luck for the remainder of your camino.
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
A sobering description of what’s going on. I’ve gifted the article so you won’t get a paywall.
Thank you for gifting us this article. Sobering reading indeed. Unexpected high temperatures disrupted my Chemin d'Arles in May-June last year and now it seems even worse in 2023!
Meanwhile, here in Adelaide, we passed an extremely cold night and awoke to freezing temperatures. The water in my birdbath was frozen solid!
 
Has it reached the point when people are walking through the night and sleeping through the day? I remember some threads years back when people posted about walking through the night because it was cooler than walking in the day.

When I walked last year, I met a few french pilgrims on the via podiensis who did something close to that during a heat wave. We ended up camping in the same places for a while.
They started walking in the late afternoon/early evening, it seemed, and then arrived at 10pm-midnight or so.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Over at this end, on the coastal Provençal/Via Romea Way near the French-Italian border, it's very high 20s to low 30s °C. Hot and sweaty, and I wouldn't like to be out there hiking in it, but not impossible, especially not for someone younger or with a lean enough body type.

In addition to other factors there's the solar cycle - usually about 11 years in which solar activity increases and decreases. The next solar maximum is predicted for July 2025.
I will *definitely* be avoiding the Summer on my Home to Rome 2025 !!
 
Hot and muggy in Pamplona today. Lots of flagging pilgrims and the Guardia Civil handing out water in Burlada I enjoyed a bucket of cold water over my head, kindly donated by a family at the community living a couple of hundred yards before the Magdalene bridge, much to the amusement of some of the children there. Temperatures expected to drop significantly tomorrow.
 
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Look up the various threads mentioning heat index. I'm an ex-Otago girl who now lives in Darwin, Australia with a few years in desert country as well. I feel for anyone on the VDLP at present especially in Extremadura. Get a reflective umbrella if possible and think of it as a portable tree. The shade it provides effectively lowers the temp by a degree or two which can save your sanity. Drink every opportunity you get. I'm acclimatised to tropical heat but found myself drinking 250-500 ml every hour on my June-July camino. The sweat evaporates as soon as it hits the skin so it is very easy to become dehydrated and not realise it.
 
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Now I got curious,checked our locals and its 37 feels like 45 with the heat index and forecast to be 38 most of the week..
I feel more connected to the world out there a little bit more now!
 
It's just 30°C or so here every day, South-East of France by the sea next to Italy and on the coastal Ways to Santiago and Rome, but the humidity is ghastly.

Made the mistake of going down on the 11:30 AM bus instead of waiting until after 3PM, because there had been a short rain shower -- but if you're not in the shade, it's sweltering. Weather apps say "feels like" mid 30s ...

I'm taking about 3-5 cool or cold showers a day (including 1 or 2 in the night), just to try and feel normal -- and I walked through most of the summer in 2021 and all of it in 2022.

I am fantasizing about certain swimming pools in certain Albergues on the Francès -- though seriously, find some way to cool down first before jumping in !! Hydrocution is a real risk in these dog days ...
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Hello All, greetings from Singapore! I planned to start on the Camino Frances on week 2 of Aug 2023. However l’m a bit concerned after hearing news of the heat wave in Spain & Italy. I wonder if perhaps it’s wiser to defer my trip, as I don’t relish the idea of walking in 40 degC weather for 800km. I have the flexibility to push my trip back a week or so, or if necessary till next year. Would appreciate any advice on the current climate on the Camino, especially from pilgrims who are currently on the Camino. Thks & rgds, CH
 
The current heatwave is expected to break before your start date.
If you're going to walk in (northern hemisphere) August, you're going to have to expect heat whether it's in the form of a continuous 'wave' or day to day temperature fluctuations.
If you're concerned, a spring or autumn schedule may suit you better; even then, with worldwide weather unpredictability, there's no guarantees you'll avoid it completely!
Happy trails.
👣🌏
 
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You can check the temperature per location for instance on www.eltiempo.es
Fill in the name in the search engine in the left upper corner.

https://www.eltiempo.es/pamplona.html
https://www.eltiempo.es/burgos.html
https://www.eltiempo.es/santiago-de-compostela.html

None of the alarmist predictions in the press that we checked were anywhere near reality.
Another good source for weather and climate information is the AEMET site. Here is the link to their Climates Services Standard Conditions page: https://www.aemet.es/en/serviciosclimaticos/datosclimatologicos/valoresclimatologicos/contenido. You can search the map and look at various factors like temperature, rainfall, etc for different locations across Spain.
 
I'm currently walking the Camino Frances and it's not too hot. In fact, it's far preferable to Singapore weather as it's lovely still until about 11. Beautiful fresh mornings, clean air, low humidity...perfect walking temperatures. It is hotter from just before midday to late afternoon, but that's lunch time and most pilgrims appear to be getting up early (5.30 is already busy on the Camino) to finnish by lunch time anyway. The only part I felt uncomfortable was between Orrison and Roncesvalles when I felt I would freeze and we had a lot of rain.
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
Cool! - literally.. Thank you all for your prompt response & useful information sources. I’m glad that having check the climate using the links provided that the temperature situation on the Camino is manageable. Coming from the tropics, I’m used to high humidity & am perfectly contended with sub 30 degC weather. So looks like it’s a go for my first Camino in Aug! :) Will keep monitoring the weather conditions the next couple of weeks and hope the heat wave blows over soon for the comfort & relief of our European friends. Thanks everyone for your help!
 
I'm on the Caminho litoral and we got temperatures between 24 and 28°C.
 
Hello,
I’m in freezing New Zealand preparing to start my first Camino mid-August and there are a lot of stories about the heatwave, and temperatures of up to 60 degrees c in Spain!
I realise August is not the ideal time to be starting but it’s the only time I can be there.
Please can anyone tell me what the temperatures are like in Porto and on the route from there? Thank you.
Hi Bwarenz
Having spent a few years travelling around Europe and Turkey during hot summers, I know air conditioning is sometimes needed for a good night's sleep, and it helped us with heat exhaustion. I look forward to reading about your upcoming Camino.
Buen Camino
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
Greetings @CHT
Welcome to the forum
Unfortunately it matters not how hot it is on Camino now - what will matter is how hot will it be when you walk.
As such, your thread falls into category of many similar weather related threads... and NOBODY can give you a decisively correct answer; Mother Nature being unpredictable as she is....
My advice always is Prepare for the worst and be pleasantly surprised if it does not happen 😊
Chances are- you'll walk anyway
Good luck and Buen Camino
 
Look up the various threads mentioning heat index. I'm an ex-Otago girl who now lives in Darwin, Australia with a few years in desert country as well. I feel for anyone on the VDLP at present especially in Extremadura. Get a reflective umbrella if possible and think of it as a portable tree. The shade it provides effectively lowers the temp by a degree or two which can save your sanity. Drink every opportunity you get. I'm acclimatised to tropical heat but found myself drinking 250-500 ml every hour on my June-July camino. The sweat evaporates as soon as it hits the skin so it is very easy to become dehydrated and not realise it.
Donna, good advice regarding the umbrella and hydration. We use one here in NZ due to the harsh sun. You certainly went from ine extreme to another shifting from Dunedin to Darwin 🌞
 
...and ship it to Santiago for storage. You pick it up once in Santiago. Service offered by Casa Ivar (we use DHL for transportation).
Greetings @CHT
Welcome to the forum
Unfortunately it matters not how hot it is on Camino now - what will matter is how hot will it be when you walk.
As such, your thread falls into category of many similar weather related threads... and NOBODY can give you a decisively correct answer; Mother Nature being unpredictable as she is....
My advice always is Prepare for the worst and be pleasantly surprised if it does not happen 😊
Chances are- you'll walk anyway
Good luck and Buen Camino
Hi @CWBuff, you are absolutely right. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst 😬 Thank you & Buen Camino!
 

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