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May/June or September/October on the Camino Frances?

JustJack

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
I've been carefully planning my camino for May 2023. There is a small possibility that I could instead go this year, in September/October, which I'm now considering.

Reasons I chose spring rather than fall:
- spring flowers along the route.
- it will be summer when I finish and return to the real world

Reasons I didn't choose the fall:
- vegetation is drying out and dying in the countryside. Still beautiful in it's own way, but autumn has always felt melancholy to me. Probably a product of growing up in a cold northern climate.
- it will be late fall when I finish and return to the real world. As per the point above, fall/winter can be dark and gloomy in Canada, and might not be conducive to my post-camino hangover...

So those are pretty much the only two pieces of criteria I've used to make my decision - flora and the following season, which has me wondering if I'm not considering something I should be.

Any other important considerations I should be aware of when deciding between spring and fall? Crowds I'm guessing will be similar. Any other factors? Any differences in food and drink? I assume fresh-sqeezed orange juice is not widely and cheaply available in the spring?

I appreciate your comments, especially if you've walked the CF during both of these time periods and can compare them.
 
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Tim Floyd

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2022
TDMB 2016
Cotswold Way 2018
I've been carefully planning my camino for May 2023. There is a small possibility that I could instead go this year, in September/October, which I'm now considering.

Reasons I chose spring rather than fall:
- spring flowers along the route.
- it will be summer when I finish and return to the real world

Reasons I didn't choose the fall:
- vegetation is drying out and dying in the countryside. Still beautiful in it's own way, but autumn has always felt melancholy to me. Probably a product of growing up in a cold northern climate.
- it will be late fall when I finish and return to the real world. As per the point above, fall/winter can be dark and gloomy in Canada, and might not be conducive to my post-camino hangover...

So those are pretty much the only two pieces of criteria I've used to make my decision - flora and the following season, which has me wondering if I'm not considering something I should be.

Any other important considerations I should be aware of when deciding between spring and fall? Crowds I'm guessing will be similar. Any other factors? Any differences in food and drink? I assume fresh-sqeezed orange juice is not widely and cheaply available in the spring?

I appreciate your comments, especially if you've walked the CF during both of these time periods and can compare them.
All I can tell you is we went early Sept through mid Oct. SJPP to Santiago. Had a blast. One day of rain. Meseta was gorgeous in the morning and late in the day, and not super hot. We missed the wildflowers but the grapes were at harvest. Nothing like eating a bunch of grapes fresh off the vines. Mornings could be cool near the end but days and evenings very comfortable. Days did clearly get shorter as we went. I get your point - I’m from Minnesota and our winter days are short. But my Camino experience was wonderful.
 

JustJack

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
All I can tell you is we went early Sept through mid Oct. SJPP to Santiago. Had a blast. One day of rain. Meseta was gorgeous in the morning and late in the day, and not super hot. We missed the wildflowers but the grapes were at harvest. Nothing like eating a bunch of grapes fresh off the vines. Mornings could be cool near the end but days and evenings very comfortable. Days did clearly get shorter as we went. I get your point - I’m from Minnesota and our winter days are short. But my Camino experience was wonderful.
Ah yes the grapes. A definite advantage to walking in the fall! I'd also love to see the fields of sunflowers, but I suspect I would have to be walking mid-summer to see them in their full glory.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
I've walked the Frances in May/June, July/August, and August/September.

I had the most rain in May, but the wildflowers and a gorgeous green Meseta made up for it.

However, I had beautiful clear skies when crossing the Pyrenees in both July and August, and cold, mist, and rain in May.

If you can, go this fall, then again next Spring!

I would probably do two different routes though. Perhaps the Portuguese in the Fall, and the Frances in the Spring.
 

JustJack

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023
If you can, go this fall, then again next Spring!
Love that idea. My bank account however, not so much... But fully agree that each season/route has its own special qualities, and my hope/dream is to experience them all eventually.

I have a variety of camino photos displaying in a slideshow on my desktop computer. No idea who they belong to - I got them via a Google search. This photo, clearly taken in the fall, takes my breath away. It's scenes like this that keep me anxiously awaiting my time to go. There's something about the wide open spaces and road that seems to go on forever that really attracts me. I suspect the meseta will be my favourite part of the CF.

PXL_20220711_092121998~3.jpg
 
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trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
Love that idea. My bank account however, not so much... But fully agree that each season/route has its own special qualities, and my hope/dream is to experience them all eventually.

I have a variety of camino photos displaying in a slideshow on my desktop computer. No idea who they belong to - I got them via a Google search. This photo, clearly taken in the fall, takes my breath away. It's scenes like this that keep me anxiously awaiting my time to go. There's something about the wide open spaces and road that seems to go on forever that really attracts me. I suspect the meseta will be my favourite part of the CF.

View attachment 130112
Yep. This is one of my favorites.

Meseta road.jpg

But then again, I love this one too!

20190526_173509.jpg
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Anytime you can go will work. More possibility of rain in the spring. Might be hotter in the early fall. Both times can be crowded at certain pinch points, but you will work it out. If you start in SJPDP maybe make reservations for the first couple of nights if starting in May or Sept.
Buen Camino!
 

Gerin

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2018 (SJPDP-Santiago)
I've been carefully planning my camino for May 2023. There is a small possibility that I could instead go this year, in September/October, which I'm now considering.

Reasons I chose spring rather than fall:
- spring flowers along the route.
- it will be summer when I finish and return to the real world

Reasons I didn't choose the fall:
- vegetation is drying out and dying in the countryside. Still beautiful in it's own way, but autumn has always felt melancholy to me. Probably a product of growing up in a cold northern climate.
- it will be late fall when I finish and return to the real world. As per the point above, fall/winter can be dark and gloomy in Canada, and might not be conducive to my post-camino hangover...

So those are pretty much the only two pieces of criteria I've used to make my decision - flora and the following season, which has me wondering if I'm not considering something I should be.

Any other important considerations I should be aware of when deciding between spring and fall? Crowds I'm guessing will be similar. Any other factors? Any differences in food and drink? I assume fresh-sqeezed orange juice is not widely and cheaply available in the spring?

I appreciate your comments, especially if you've walked the CF during both of these time periods and can compare them.
Hi ! I walked the Camino Frances from SJPDP to Santiago from mid April to mid May in 2018. I am planning to walk the same route this Fall from September 21st.

I really enjoyed walking in the Spring back in 2018. A few cold starts in the morning and a few days of rain but nothing too crazy. Was pretty busy for the first few days (until Pamplona) so booking ahead for the first 2-3 nights may be advisable (I did not and was fine but arrived before 2-3 pm each day).

Only (significant) annoying issue for me in Spring 2018 was mud on the trail in many areas for the first couple of weeks. Not sure if conditions will be better in the Fall.

Gérin
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Nothing like eating a bunch of grapes fresh off the vines.
I don’t mean to sound like a finger-wagging schoolmarm here but please don’t take fruit from the fields, traipse across them, etc. unless invited to do so. That’s someone’s livelihood you are messing with. My understanding is that anything hanging over the public right of way, even if the tree or vine itself is on private property, is for the taking. But that’s about it.

@Rebekah Scott has said it much better than I in this post and here again.

But as to the original question, I think the best advice, given the world’s uncetainty, is to go when you can! The natural backdrop is an important part of the camino, I think, but each season has its own unique beauty.
 
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The Austrian

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF Nov 11, 2016
CF Oct 31, 2018
CF Oct 22, 2022
I've been carefully planning my camino for May 2023. There is a small possibility that I could instead go this year, in September/October, which I'm now considering.

Reasons I chose spring rather than fall:
- spring flowers along the route.
- it will be summer when I finish and return to the real world

Reasons I didn't choose the fall:
- vegetation is drying out and dying in the countryside. Still beautiful in it's own way, but autumn has always felt melancholy to me. Probably a product of growing up in a cold northern climate.
- it will be late fall when I finish and return to the real world. As per the point above, fall/winter can be dark and gloomy in Canada, and might not be conducive to my post-camino hangover...

So those are pretty much the only two pieces of criteria I've used to make my decision - flora and the following season, which has me wondering if I'm not considering something I should be.

Any other important considerations I should be aware of when deciding between spring and fall? Crowds I'm guessing will be similar. Any other factors? Any differences in food and drink? I assume fresh-sqeezed orange juice is not widely and cheaply available in the spring?

I appreciate your comments, especially if you've walked the CF during both of these time periods and can compare them.

I walked in November and the Mesetas did remind me of the drive from Calgary to Saskatoon indeed.
But. The experience of the Camino with so few people made up for any fauna/flora shortcomings. Locals had more time to yak it up really, though the selection fo open Albergues decreases at the end of October, I always found a bed and a few times was all alone in an Albergue.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
I think the best advice, given the world’s uncetainty, is to go when you can!
I couldn't agree more. You can never be sure of the heat, cold, rain, sleet flowers, landscapes or crowds. Who knows what will be so just go at the first available opportunity that you can. It will make your wait for the first camino shorter and maybe for your second and third also.
 

AL2

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino St James- Sept 2022
Love that idea. My bank account however, not so much... But fully agree that each season/route has its own special qualities, and my hope/dream is to experience them all eventually.

I have a variety of camino photos displaying in a slideshow on my desktop computer. No idea who they belong to - I got them via a Google search. This photo, clearly taken in the fall, takes my breath away. It's scenes like this that keep me anxiously awaiting my time to go. There's something about the wide open spaces and road that seems to go on forever that really attracts me. I suspect the meseta will be my favourite part of the CF.

View attachment 130112
I will be going in Sept. I must admit, I am looking forward to the Meseta as it will remind me of home, Canadian prairies.
 

CPURKS

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
future Camino Frances
I've been carefully planning my camino for May 2023. There is a small possibility that I could instead go this year, in September/October, which I'm now considering.

Reasons I chose spring rather than fall:
- spring flowers along the route.
- it will be summer when I finish and return to the real world

Reasons I didn't choose the fall:
- vegetation is drying out and dying in the countryside. Still beautiful in it's own way, but autumn has always felt melancholy to me. Probably a product of growing up in a cold northern climate.
- it will be late fall when I finish and return to the real world. As per the point above, fall/winter can be dark and gloomy in Canada, and might not be conducive to my post-camino hangover...

So those are pretty much the only two pieces of criteria I've used to make my decision - flora and the following season, which has me wondering if I'm not considering something I should be.

Any other important considerations I should be aware of when deciding between spring and fall? Crowds I'm guessing will be similar. Any other factors? Any differences in food and drink? I assume fresh-sqeezed orange juice is not widely and cheaply available in the spring?

I appreciate your comments, especially if you've walked the CF during both of these time periods and can compare them.
Just returned end of June and one of the many things we loved were the flowers. Flowers everywhere also got hooked on the fresh orange juice zumos. So I definitely understand, however I'm sure the fall will offer different and memorable experiences. I would not hesitate to try either time with hopes of doing it again at a different time of year if possible.
 
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david g

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
camino frances/finistere sept 2012
Frances May 2015
Aragones/Portugese May 2016
Primitivo July 2017
I’ve done both seasons and still prefer Sept/October. The chance of rain is much lower in the fall, it’s not quite as crowded, you have crisp mornings and blue skies with perfect temps for walking. Spring is beautiful (everything is soooo green and vibrant) but more iffy as far as weather goes. We began one Camino on May 1 out of St Jean. The wind blew the glasses off my face, blew my brothers pack cover off his pack and then it began to rain. Not a good day. But, like everything, it comes down to personal preference.
 

Robertorocha

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
September
I had the same doubt when I was planning my trip. As I will the CF in a bike I choose to go next late september to early october as I will spend 13 days riding from SJPP to Finisterre. I hope I won`t experience many days of rain , cause riding a bike in raining and mud conditions is extremely disgusting. I am preparing special thermal clothes to face the Pyrenees , Cruz de Ferro and Cebrero , points where the temperatures go down. As I`m a wine lover I would apreciate the grape harvesting in l Rioja . That was my conclusio. I hope I will have a great time in the Camino. Ultreia!
 

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!
What will the weather be in late October doing the last two mountain passages (Cruz de Ferro and O Cebreiro)? What should I plan for colder weather clothing?

Thanks,

Jim
Who knows for sure on the day you'll walk them.? Averages don’t really matter…Think layers and be prepared for warm,cool cold, still or windy days with sun,clouds, rain or snow! Then your ready for anything that comes your way.
 

DeaconDaveJones

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Hope to go in May/June
Love that idea. My bank account however, not so much... But fully agree that each season/route has its own special qualities, and my hope/dream is to experience them all eventually.

I have a variety of camino photos displaying in a slideshow on my desktop computer. No idea who they belong to - I got them via a Google search. This photo, clearly taken in the fall, takes my breath away. It's scenes like this that keep me anxiously awaiting my time to go. There's something about the wide open spaces and road that seems to go on forever that really attracts me. I suspect the meseta will be my favourite part of the CF.

View attachment 130112
20220515_130217.jpg

same hill ... taken on May 15, 2022...
 
Last edited by a moderator:
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FourSeasons

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2013, 2016, 2019 ---- the next is a mystery.
I’ve walked the CF, Spring, Summer and Fall. My favorite was the Fall, perhaps because it was my first. 😊 Only one season left to walk, winter. 🥶
Spring was still a bit chilly and wetter than I thought it would be and a good percentage of pilgrims were of college age. The fields were green and there were acres of yellow flowers flooding the landscape. Beautiful 🤩
Summer was hot which made for early starts, not too crowded. Fields of sunflowers, no rain. Majority of pilgrims were Spaniards.
🥰
Fall, ah yes! Cool mornings, warm/hot days, cool evenings. Buzzing with pilgrims of all ages and nationalities. Beautiful fields of earth tones. My favorite time thus far. Perhaps a Winter Camino is in my future. 😍
Spring 2016
50DA8A63-5C9F-4617-9758-9CACED2C5204.jpeg
Summer 2019
F96A8807-3344-40E1-A42F-AE89451B04FE.jpeg
Fall 2013
C63E93C8-564E-4588-AC32-AE080D5E2E20.jpeg
Anytime you choose will be the right time. Trust me you’ll go back for more.
Buen Camino 😎
 
Last edited:
Time of past OR future Camino
September 2022 CF
Who knows for sure on the day you'll walk them.? Averages don’t really matter…Think layers and be prepared for warm,cool cold, still or windy days with sun,clouds, rain or snow! Then your ready for anything that comes your way.
Thanks.

The possibility of snow is my big concern. I know here in New England mountains, once you hit 5000 feet (~1500 meters) you need to be prepared for cold weather.

Jim
 

Barbara Whelan

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2021
Camino Portuguese 2022
I walked the Camino Frances in September/October and the Camino Portuguese in May. I preferred the autumn Camino. The memory of starting to walk in the darkness of the early morning and then watching the breaking of the dawn each day will live with me for ever.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Future Camino Frances (2022)
I've been carefully planning my camino for May 2023. There is a small possibility that I could instead go this year, in September/October, which I'm now considering.

Reasons I chose spring rather than fall:
- spring flowers along the route.
- it will be summer when I finish and return to the real world

Reasons I didn't choose the fall:
- vegetation is drying out and dying in the countryside. Still beautiful in it's own way, but autumn has always felt melancholy to me. Probably a product of growing up in a cold northern climate.
- it will be late fall when I finish and return to the real world. As per the point above, fall/winter can be dark and gloomy in Canada, and might not be conducive to my post-camino hangover...

So those are pretty much the only two pieces of criteria I've used to make my decision - flora and the following season, which has me wondering if I'm not considering something I should be.

Any other important considerations I should be aware of when deciding between spring and fall? Crowds I'm guessing will be similar. Any other factors? Any differences in food and drink? I assume fresh-sqeezed orange juice is not widely and cheaply available in the spring?

I appreciate your comments, especially if you've walked the CF during both of these time periods and can compare them.
I have just done the full route from SJPP from 2nd May to 11th June and the green spring colours were great. Despite all of the “dull and boring” comments that abound about the Meseta, in spring it is a smorgasbord of green shades punctuated by wild flowers.
 

m108

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2011-2016
but please don’t take fruit from the fields, traipse across them, etc. unless invited to do so. That’s someone’s livelihood you are messing with.
Thanks for that @peregrina2000 . I gave myself a few days to write something similar (and not to sound "patronising"). But the fact that 3,500 pilgrims came to Santiago in one day (and all of them passed by some fruit trees and at least half of them will pass by vineyards in the fall... Everyday)
 
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trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
But the fact that 3,500 pilgrims came to Santiago in one day (and all of them passed by some fruit trees and at least half of them will pass by vineyards in the fall... Everyday)
Probably more than the 3500+ pilgrims that collected Compostelas arrived in Santiago today, since many (especially repeat) pilgrims don't take the time to get one.

However, most pilgrims start 100 km from Santiago, so they aren't passing through all of the fields and vineyards along the Camino.

But your point is taken.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
cf (2), de la plata, cp. (2003 -2018)
Love that idea. My bank account however, not so much... But fully agree that each season/route has its own special qualities, and my hope/dream is to experience them all eventually.

I have a variety of camino photos displaying in a slideshow on my desktop computer. No idea who they belong to - I got them via a Google search. This photo, clearly taken in the fall, takes my breath away. It's scenes like this that keep me anxiously awaiting my time to go. There's something about the wide open spaces and road that seems to go on forever that really attracts me. I suspect the meseta will be my favourite part of the CF.

View attachment 130112
nicely said ref wide open spaces etc. :) I loved the Meseta.

Samarkand.
 

Bob Howard

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2016 2018 2022
I don’t mean to sound like a finger-wagging schoolmarm here but please don’t take fruit from the fields, traipse across them, etc. unless invited to do so. That’s someone’s livelihood you are messing with. My understanding is that anything hanging over the public right of way, even if the tree or vine itself is on private property, is for the taking. But that’s about it.

@Rebekah Scott has said it much better than I in this post and here again.

But as to the original question, I think the best advice, given the world’s uncetainty, is to go when you can! The natural backdrop is an important part of the camino, I think, but each season has its own unique beauty.
And besides purloining private property, those grapes have had multiple applications of insecticides.
 

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