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Mid March Camino

I've just recently discovered this forum and have found the information provided to be really useful. I was wondering if anyone could offer me more specific advice about travelling in March. I am planning to travel from SJPP mid March. I would be really grateful if any of you could answer the following questions.

1. Is it safe to walk the Camino alone in March when it is quieter?
2. How dangerous is the SJPP to Roncesvalles crossing? (sorry if I sound paranoid, I'm getting quietly worried about going alone at this time of year!).
3. How easy is it to find a place to stay in SJPP before leaving ? (as the Esprit du Chemin is closed until Easter). I see there is another refuge and a few B&Bs but any further info would be appreciated!

That's all for now. I think I've got everything else covered...

Many thanks.




Staff member
Hi Winuska...and welcome to the Class of 2008.

I just checked the calendar at the end of this thread...you can to...It shows a number of Forum members leaving from Mid-March on: Arlene, Johnnie Walker, Erik...to name a few. If we have several...Plus you...imagine that they probably account for only 10% of those starting at that time. So, you will not be alone.

On the trip up the mountain...local knowledge is the best predictor of the elements and folks in SJPDP will let you know if the tough grind, or the more safe route is the best choice. There's several good books out there with up to date info on opening dates for the many albergues along your route. If you don't have one...consider purchasing one...the CSJ has a number of solid books to consider.

You will do fine!

Buen Camino,

Winuska said:
1. Is it safe to walk the Camino alone in March when it is quieter?
2. How dangerous is the SJPP to Roncesvalles crossing? (sorry if I sound paranoid, I'm getting quietly worried about going alone at this time of year!).
3. How easy is it to find a place to stay in SJPP before leaving ? (as the Esprit du Chemin is closed until Easter). I see there is another refuge and a few B&Bs but any further info would be appreciated!
Hi Winuska

1 Don't assume you are going to walking alone for days or even hours on end on the Camino Frances :) I walked from StJdPP in November and there were signifcant numbers around - say 20 in the albergues. Setting off again on the 4th of January towards Burgos there were at least 10 others walking on the same day.

Even if there was no one else around I think it would still be safe - with all normal precautions taken of course.

2 When you arrive at the Pilgrims Office in StJdPP they will brief you fully about the Route Napoleon and the alternative route. They will also give you a detailed map - the only advice is TAKE THEIR ADVICE - if they advise you not to walk over the moutain but take the alternative route - do so

3 The CSJ guide has the telephone numbers of various accomodations and the Pilgrims' Office can also help.

Buen Camino



Crazy Chicken Lady with the Camino on my Mind!
Camino(s) past & future
Apr-Jun 2009 - I solo walked from Roncesvalles to Santiago. I hope to return as a hospitalera in 2016.
Dealing with things outside our comfort zone is a very large part of many expeiences in life. Whenever you choose to walk, there will be challenges.

Challenges are part of life and cannot be avoided. Part of the joy of such an experience is in meeting the demands of the day...coping...making choices and moving forward. It is normal to feel a bit apprehensive...but ultimately you must decide whether you can step outside your comfort zone or not...No one can confirm your safety.

There is a saying about safety - a ship in port is safe; but ships are not built to remain in port.... each of us must sail our own ship, make our own choices...move forward confidently..

If things were guranteed, B&W, spelled out...wouldn't this just be another walk in the park??? :cool:

Just my opinion.

Good luck with your plans...

Life is good...



Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
The trail from St Jean to Roncesvalles is actually a very good path - not mountaineering at all. It has a steep gradient for about 10km and then a steady climb. The steep descent to Roncesvalles is what most pilgrims remember about it!
Your worst enemy could be the weather and it is natural to be nervous! There have been so many horror stories about March and April in the mountains. But, you will all be in it together so if the weather is bad, you will have to use transport to get to Spain or wait it out.
You can find out a lot about St Jean before you get there. For a map of St Jean: http://www.tourisme.fr/tourist-office/s ... e-port.htm (click on map on the right side)
For maps on the France sections (Click on the box with St Jean - this will give you all the info you need about accommodation, taxis etc. and each one is interactive)
http://www.chemindecompostelle.com/Sele ... rance.html
Tourist office at saint.jean.pied.de.port@wanadoo.fr.
You can get your credential at Accueil des pelerins de St-Jacques, 39 rue de la Citadelle, St Jean. This is the long, narow cobbled street that runs through the old town. The pilgrims office is open from 7h30 to 12h30 and then from 13h30 to 22h.
If you need information, you could call the pilgrims' office :
or E.mail : caminopa@hotmail.com.
You'll be fine! You won't be alone - just look out for all the other nervous, excited faces.
Pilgrim hug,


Thanks for all of your advice. I am very willing to move out of my comfort zone but was alarmed when I read that a couple of people had died during March/April in recent years. Just wanted to ask about the weather and safety. I have read many, many times not to ignore the advice of locals and I have no intention of ignoring what they say! If the weather is too bad for the crossing I will ,as you say, arrange transport to Roncesvalles and start from there.

I'm just waiting for my book to arrive; should be here today.

Thanks for putting my mind at rest! I am very excited about going!



Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos in Spain, France, Portugal, Germany since 2003. 2018: Finish Levante + Zamora - Verin
I walked from a small village in France 25.3 in 2007, and passed from St Jean Pied de Port to Ronscevalles 5 days later. It was not possible to walk the mountain-route, the Napoleon-way. We were told that that was forbidden. It was too much snow. So then I followed the road through the Ibaneta-pass. Of course that was not a great walking - along the road, but safe! During the day I got rain, wind and snow and was soooo happy I was not up in the mountains. I`m norwegian, so I actually know that the mountains can be dangerous. Some of my fellow-pilgrims took a bus or a taxi to Ronchevalles when they could not walk the mountain-route, but most people walked the road. So early in spring, be prepared that they tell you not to walk the mountain-route, and then just walk the road through the Ibaneta-pass. It is as simple as that.

It was just one of these days when I was there, that we heared of a man who had died in the mountains - although it was not the weather that killed him.

You will not be alone out there even though it`s early spring! Dont worry about that! I walked alone and was of course a bit worried about that the first days, but I managed well all the way to Santiago. ... And you will get a bed in SJPDP.
Hi Winuska,
I'll be starting out from Roncesvalles on March 27 or 28th, close to when you'll be walking. I can completely relate to the nervousness/concerns about walking alone, weather conditions etc., especially now that the time is getting so close. But more than anything else, I'm just getting so excited about the journey ahead (as I'm sure you are too). I just wanted to tell you that you're not alone. When are you actually starting? Maybe we'll meet up.
Best wishes to you,


Active Member
Winuska said:
2. How dangerous is the SJPP to Roncesvalles crossing? (sorry if I sound paranoid, I'm getting quietly worried about going alone at this time of year!).
3. How easy is it to find a place to stay in SJPP before leaving ?
2. The suggestion to check in with the pilgrim office and take their recommendations is a good one - weather will be the biggest concern, and they'll know the forecast and advise accordingly. In the summer it's not good to start walking the mountain route after 10AM, so departure time will be earlier in March. I walked it in July of 2007, and it was very windy up top, and despite the heat there were muddy roads here and there. I started before sunrise, and I finally staggered into Roncesvalles pretty late in the afternoon. It is not an easy stage, but it is very beautiful. There is an alternate route that is safer, but less visually stimulating.

3. I seem to remember a lot of places to stay in St. Jean - albergues, hotels, rooms for the night in restaurants. I stayed in a hotel vs. an albergue, because I wanted a private room before my first day on the trail. I got into town around 11AM, and after I was done buying food and doing my thing in the pilgrim office, I simply walked into the hotel and registered (well, i waited about a half hour, and they were down to 2 rooms by then). After I booked my room, I saw a restaurant by the old city wall that had rooms for pilgrims - I ate a nice dinner there, and wished that I'd gotten a room as well.

As for safety - there is an element of risk on the Camino (the pilgrim monuments on the trail attest to that). But it's probably a safer and more communal place to be than, say, Madrid or Paris. Buen Camino! :arrow:
Thanks again for your advice Pilgrims, it's really useful. These forums are simply wonderful!

Unfortunately Arlene, I am leaving before you and can only walk for 7 days (this time!). I will be on my way home as you are heading out. Buen Camino!

hi...irish guy thinking of walking for 7 /10 days x france mid march.....need a change of scene,,done marothons but not any walks,,,,like a wee challange,,,,would like to travel light ,,,,any advice

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