Search over 55.000 Camino Questions

A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement

Over Christmas/New year on Camino Frances

robertc

Member
I'm not long back from my first assault on the Camino Frances which took me from SJPdP as far as Burgos. It was such a great experience, much more than I dared expect and obviously I have to finish it! Now I'm toying with the idea to walk just after Christmas and into the New Year starting in Burgos. Would be really interested to hear advice from anyone else considering doing the same or who has travelled this part of the camino around this time of year.
Thanks
Robert
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, robertc,
I've never walked in winter, but here are a couple of threads that will give you access to others' blogs and experiences in winter:
http://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/january-february-march.20788/#post-161628
http://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/via-de-la-plata-around-christmas.20679/#post-160542
http://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/walking-in-february.9906/#post-160326
http://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/members/beyourpotential.22118/#profile-post-186
http://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/walk-camino-frances-in-december.19853/#post-148809

Keep an eye out for mspath's blogs and comments -- she has walked in fall or winter 8 times or so. She is just about to start a Camino as I write this, in fact.
Another blog from two winter walks is http://agoodwalkunspoiled.blogspot.com/2013/08/winter-camino-2013-slideshow.html
Our very own Johnnie Walker did a winter camino once: http://www.johnniewalker-santiago.blogspot.com/search/label/Winter Camino

I wish you well and hope you will report back. I'm sure it will be so very different in many ways than your walk into Burgos. Buen camino, Laurie
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Hello robertc,

It could be VERY COLD on the camino in December/January with a frigid wind from the west; BE PREPARED!!

In addition to the essential references Laurie cited above be sure to read also the encyclopedic information Sillydoll /Amawalker, who is a Forum member, has compiled on Winter Walking .

For you going west from Burgos difficult stretches after storms might be the Meseta and the climb west of Castrojeriz to the top of the Mostelares plateau as well as Monte Irago and, of course, O Cebreiro. Even late last November the climb up to O Cebreiro was packed with snow. You can see that snow in my blog account of this memorable storm Luckily the open albergue offered welcoming shelter, HEAT and companionship.

Stay safe and warm and Buen Camino,

Margaret Meredith
 

robertc

Member
Thanks very much to all for your replies and links to other posts and blogs. I couldn't (so far) find any info on travelling late Dec into Jan. Do albergues close for a few days at any stage during Christmas holidays? Will I even find any other polgrims? I would not like to think I will be on my own though I do realise it will be dramatically different to an Autumn or Summer camino
 

lettinggo

Active Member
Hola

If you enter December or New Year in the search tab at top of the page, hundreds of threads will be shown.
Some may answer your questions.
I have not walked a dec/jan but I have done a feb/mar and it was possible to walk from Saint Jean to Santiago, staying only at Albergues Municipals. Many Albergues Municipals were closed along the way, but Albergue Privados are open. So expect to have a bit more expensive Camino.
Some nights were spend alone in the Albergues, but most of the time there were company of fellow pilgrims.

Bring a good sleeping bag, warm cloths, waterproof outer shell/boots, bring a guide to be able to plan ahead.
Many Albergues close the heat at night, so it can get very cold, but almost all Albergues have blankets.
Bring a hat/beanie, to stay warm.

Buen Camino
Lettinggo
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
Hello robertc,

It could be VERY COLD on the camino in December/January with a frigid wind from the west; BE PREPARED!!

In addition to the essential references Laurie cited above be sure to read also the encyclopedic information Sillydoll /Amawalker, who is a Forum member, has compiled on Winter Walking .

For you going west from Burgos difficult stretches after storms might be the Meseta and the climb west of Castrojeriz to the top of the Mostelares plateau as well as Monte Irago and, of course, O Cebreiro. Even late last November the climb up to O Cebreiro was packed with snow. You can see that snow in my blog account of this memorable storm Luckily the open albergue offered welcoming shelter, HEAT and companionship.

Stay safe and warm and Buen Camino,

Margaret Meredith

Hi Margaret

It would be helpful if you could define what you mean by VERY COLD.

Where I live COLD means -10 Celcius. It doesn't get VERY COLD until its -30C.

Regards
 

Kialoa3

Active Member
robertc,

You will find that the albergues in the smaller towns and villages will mostly be closed. The larger towns and cities (major stage breaks) will always have some accommodation available, and usually an albergue can be found. Keep in mind that the period from just before Christmas to Jan 6th (Feast of the Epiphany) is a major holiday period in Spain. Many businesses will be closed. Having received the same caution myself, I was on the alert, but in truth I never walked a day where I could not find a bar, market or tienda, and an albergue. The key is to call ahead and confirm that the albergue where you plan to spend the night is in fact open. There are many lists of albergues that state certain ones are open all year, when in fact some were closed. Plan ahead and verify. If your Spanish isn't that good, the hospitaleros will gladly place the call for you. They also have the most current information as to what is open in their area. Weather wise, the temperatures can swing from 20F to 70F. You never know. Snow and rain should be expected, but you will not need heavy winter gear. I only wore a t shirt and mid-weight turtle neck 90 percent of the time (your body throws off lot of heat while walking). If it was raining, snowing or windy then a jacket or poncho went on. A wool beanie, gloves, a light down or fleece jacket (mostly for evenings), a fleece buff, a light waterproof shell and waterproof pants, and I was in heaven. No worries! More and more pilgrims are choosing to walk the CF in winter. You will not be a solitary figure on the camino. Be flexible, watch the weather (especially in the higher elevations), verify your lodging, and all be well. Oh, a final caution about road walking. Be sure to wear some bright or reflective clothing so you can be seen on the shoulder of the road in periods of reduced visibility. Have a great camino.

John
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
Before I get to your questions, one very important bit of advice: Be aware that freshly fallen snow can cover arrows that are painted on the ground / on trees and that it is therefore very easy to lose the way! Happened to me one time in the Montes de Oca and it was no fun!

1. Some of the private ones might do, but there should be always one albergue be open nearby. Best thing is to ask the hospitaleros about the situation further ahead. If you don't speak Spanish well, you can make up a sentence like this "Albergue en (insert place you want to go to) abierto (open) o cerrado (closed)?" and smile ;-)

2. Yes, but very few, see the statistics of this year: http://peregrinossantiago.es/esp/oficina-del-peregrino/estadisticas/?anio=2013&mes=2 That is the total of pilgrims that got their Compostela in February aka were, roughly said, in January on the way.

3. Very, very different! But, on the plus side, the people along the way have mostly a really positive attitude to winter pilgrims as they see them often automatically as "real pilgrims" - whatever that may be ;-)

Buen Camino! SY

1. Do albergues close for a few days at any stage during Christmas holidays?
2. Will I even find any other polgrims?
3. I would not like to think I will be on my own though I do realise it will be dramatically different to an Autumn or Summer camino
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Hi Margaret

It would be helpful if you could define what you mean by VERY COLD.

Where I live COLD means -10 Celcius. It doesn't get VERY COLD until its -30C.

Regards

whariwharangi,

I, too, know what cold is. Half a lifetime ago I worked in Canada; if I remember correctly the average temperature for my last February, circa 1975, was - 40 Celsius. ... Walking across the Meseta in February with the wind from the west blowing into your face can feel VERY BITTER. Here's my blog for February 26, 2006. "Back on the Camino the sun shone and sky was cobalt blue, but the temperature was below freezing and bitter cold. Although the path was flat the wind was fierce. Treeless this immense Castilian plateau known as the Meseta must be hot as hell in summer, but it felt like the Klondike. Trudged 20 k across frozen mud and snowdrifts to Hornillos del Camino. Unheated, the municipal albergue was frigid, dismal and empty; at least there were blankets. An old farmer who lived nearby and served as hospitalero brought cocoa powder and milk. Cooked pasta in the basement kitchen and crawled into my sleeping bags piled with blankets. Never in my life including the Canadian years have I spent the night in a colder interior space! Breath hung suspended in the air! "

By the way that municipal albergue in Hornillos now has HEAT and a working fireplace; pure luxury!!

Margaret Meredith
 
Last edited:

jl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
Hi Robert, I am hoping to start in St Jean on the 16th Dec. That should put me roughly in the vicinity of Santo Domingo by Christmas / Boxing Day. Who knows, our paths might cross! I will certainly listen to the locals, and if they say not to walk I will take their advice. Likewise (because I have to be back in Aust to start work on the 29th Jan.) I am also prepared, if necessary to catch a bus to a town further along - though of course I am hoping that I won't have to do this. I will notice the cold I am sure, as I will be coming from temperatures in the mid to high 30's possibly, whereas I have always walked from the European summer into the autumn previously, leaving our - by comparison - mild winter! I am getting quite excited to challenge myself in this way. I have got all the layers organised, and collect the warm sleeping bags tomorrow. Buen Camino, Janet
 

robertc

Member
Hi Janet
Great plan-Enjoy the buildup and anticipation!! I haven't committed to doing this yet but I do hope I can make it happen. Christmas is a tricky time of year with family demands but I hope they will release me guilt-free to freedom 27/28 Dec... :)
 

piogaw

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances (05/06 2012) sjpdp-sdc; vdlp/camino sanabrea (02/03 2013) sevilla-sdc; hospitalero sdc june 2013, august-september 2013; caminho portugues (03 2014) lisboa-sdc
Hello janet and robert,

Listen to all the advice given by our veteran experienced peregrinas - laurie, margaret and sy, and i will guarantee that the two of you will have an enjoyable camino.

The most important thing is to keep warm. I have no experience of walking the camino frances in the winter, but i did walked the vdlp this past winter. So i know what they are talking about.

Good luck on your planning. Que tengan un buen camino. May god watch over you and keep you safe.
 

robertc

Member
I originally wanted to restart my camino where I finished last time, Burgos. However, I'm concerned that the weather on the meseta might be particularly unkind, am I likely to spend all my time walking in freezing fog etc...?. Trying to make the right route choice here so greatly appreciate all views. Thanks
 

jl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
Hi Robert, I watched these videos, www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGmQktPxC9I. and though they had some dirty weather, they also had some sunny days too. Luck of the drawer i guess! Buen camino, Janet
 

Thomas1962

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2010/2011/2012/2013: Madrid -Salvador -Primitivo 2014: EPW 2015: Amsterdam - SdC
I haven't walked the camino in wintertime but have been in Spain and other mediterainian countries during wintertime.
My impression is that southern countries are much better equiped for hot temperatures. Houses are built in a way so they keep cool when it is hot outside. Northern countries are more equiped for cold temperatures; better insulation for houses, double glass, good heating systems etc.
The opposite side of it is that when it is really hot, people in northern countries have a difficult time. They are not prepared for hot temperature and....when it is cold people in southern countries do have a difficult time.
For me that fact makes it always difficult to be in southern countries in wintertime and I think it can also make it difficult walking camino in winter. I think Margaret's experience is an example of that.
 

robertc

Member
Should I understand that to mean that albergues and indoor spaces in general will be chilly because they're not really built with Winter in mind? If so its an important point but I guess it can be counteracted by a decent sleeping bag etc... Also there's cold and then there's humid cold which feels much colder even if its the same temperature - any comments on that? I know from Irish weather a cold humid day can chill you to the bone...maybe like walking in fog(?)
 

Busybee

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (March/April 2012)
Hi Janet - I am guessing you are a teacher with those dates :)
I walked from in March and April 2012 with my daughter and would like to walk again but my daughter is in high school
now so we would have to do a winter one....
 

jl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
[QUOTEI am guessing you are a teacher with those dates /QUOTE]

You guessed it - but not for much longer! I have a very big file on the computer called Retirement Project - a year long walk / pilgrimage!!!!!This Camino is a test for both me, and my equipment, ready for the big departure date in June next year.

We actually have three members of AFotC departing in mid to late Nov to walk the CF so there will be at least 4 Aussies walking in the winter - and that is only the ones who have requested a credential from us. There could well be more that aren't members of AFotC on the road as well. Will try and do a blog, or post at the very least. Have got a tablet - just have to become more familiar with using it. Janet
 

Leanan-sidhe

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (June, 2012) (Dec/Jan, 2013/14) Camino Portuguese (Summer, 2014)
Hi, I'm planning to start my camino on the 19th December in Astorga and hope to arrive in Santiago for the new year. Thanks for all the people about the advice especially 'phoning ahead' .... and I hope to meet some of you along the way! I really hope I find somewhere to stay each night (and perhaps a warm meal) but fingers crossed it will all go well :)

Andrea
 

VITRIOLVM

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Haremos el Camino desde Roncesvalles, hasta Santiago a partir de Diciembre del (2013)
Queridos Peregrinos todos,


Reciban nuestro saludo y un fraternal abrazo junto a los mayores deseos de éxito en vuestro Camino.

Mi nombre es Vitri SBy 44 años estoy viajando desde Uruguay a España y estare comenzando mi peregrinaje el dia 16 de Diciembre de 2013 desde St Jean Pied De Port hasta Santiago de Compostela.
Estoy leyendo vuestras recomendaciones acerca de los cuidados y previsiones que hay que tener respecto al frio y a algunos tramos del Camino que posiblemente esten cerrados debido a la nieve, la posibilidad de NO encontrar albergues abiertos en algunos lugares y para tal fin me estoy llevando una tienda o carpa pequeña por si la llego a necesitar en alguna noche.

Sera un gran honor poder encontrar a otros peregrinos por esas fechas haciendo el Camino, sin duda alguna que sera la mejor Navidad y el mejor Año Nuevo de toda mi vida, vivirlas haciendo el Camino.

Un gran abrazo a todos y BUEN CAMINO !!!

Vitri SBy


Dear Pilgrims all


Receive our fraternal greeting and a hug with the best wishes for success in your Way.

My name is Vitri SBy 44 years I am traveling from Uruguay to Spain and I will be starting my journey the day December 16, 2013 from St Jean Pied De Port to Santiago de Compostela.
I'm reading your recommendations about care and forecasts must be compared to cold and some stretches of road that are possibly closed due to snow, the possibility of NOT find open shelters in some places and for this purpose I am taking a tent or small tent for if I ever need in one night.

It will be a great honor to meet other pilgrims around that time by the way, no doubt that will be the best Christmas and New Year the best of my life, to live the Way.

A big hug to everyone and GOOD WAY!

Vitri SBy
 

jl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
Vitri, welcome. There is every chance we will meet as I start from SJPdP on either the 15th or 16th of December. I am not taking a tent as it is my intention, if the weather is too bad, to just stay put. I will listen to the locals and take whatever advice they offer. Looking forward to meeting you somewhere on the way. Janet
 

jl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
Last year, when starting the preparations for walking the CF this Christmas Holidays I tried to keep tabs on how many people arrived in Santiago each day (to give me some sort of idea of how many people would be walking). I saved the figures, and though there were lapses when for whatever reason I couldn't get on the website, I post the figures I saved here so that those interested in walking at the same time will have some idea of numbers they might meet. These figures of course are for arrivals - some walk different paths, and not many start in SJPdP. Something strange has happened to the numbers but I think you can figure it out! I hope that thes figures might help those walking at this time to work out when the crowded times will be! Sorry about the gaps - life catches up on one at times!

November 28th, 2012 – 41

December, 2012:- 1st – 63, 2nd 42, 3rd 29, 4th 35, 5th 31, 6th 0, 7th 148, 8th, 9th 50, 10th, 11th 29,

12th 22, 13th 18, 14th 36, 15th 15, 16th 25, 17th21st unknown, 22nd 18, 23rd 4, 24th 2, 25th, 26th 3, 27th,

28th 2, 29th 3, 30th 1, 31st 7


January, 2013

1st – 0, 2nd 50, 3rd 33, 4th 39, 5th 40, 6th 26, 7th 19, 8th 23, 9th 11, 10th – 28th – unknown

29th 29, 30th 31
 

robertc

Member
Hi,
For those planning to start before or after Christmas, its getting close now! I've finally decided to go for it-doing my holiday request tomorrow. Aim to start in Burgos Dec 30, so would be delighted to hear from anyone else on the road around that time. Buen camino
 

jl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
We could well meet robert. I should get to Burgos on around the 29th Dec, and Jill from Melbourne is going to meet me there and walk some of the way with me too. Will keep my eyes peeled. Happy planning, Janet
 

robertc

Member
Its done!! Flight booked to Madrid on Dec 29!! Anyone doing or recently returned from a winter camino? Quite concerned with getting my packing right, neither too little stuff nor too much, or else the wrong sort of stuff completely! What's the weather like on the Meseta this year? (I start from Burgos)
 

VITRIOLVM

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Haremos el Camino desde Roncesvalles, hasta Santiago a partir de Diciembre del (2013)
Greetings to all pilgrims,

I'll be starting the road from Saint Joan Pied de Port near the 16th of December.
It will be a great honor to share part of the journey with all of you, from here this Vitri send them a big brotherly hug and wish you a good way.

"Buen Camino"
Vitri.
 

leviro

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
july, 2013
I will start in Sarria on Xmas Day.
Probably stay the night in the convent. Looking forward to be in Santiago on new years eve s mass.
Anyone around?
 

Leanan-sidhe

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (June, 2012) (Dec/Jan, 2013/14) Camino Portuguese (Summer, 2014)
Hi everybody, I'll be leaving Astorga on the 20th and hope to be in Santiago on New Years Eve so I hope I meet some of you long the way! (Leviro / LTfit perhaps ??)

I have only ever done a summer camino and as everybody else are agonising over pack list (it's just a lot heavier than in the summer), hopefully open hostels and/or supermarkets and the fact that I'm a little sick at the moment and I can only hope to fit by the time I fly out! If someone managed to find a reliable list of open albergues would they mind sharing it? I have found 3 differnt lists and every single one is differnt!

Saying all that I'm super excited!


Buen Camino

Andrea
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
Hi everybody, I'll be leaving Astorga on the 20th and hope to be in Santiago on New Years Eve so I hope I meet some of you long the way! (Leviro / LTfit perhaps ??)

I have only ever done a summer camino and as everybody else are agonising over pack list (it's just a lot heavier than in the summer), hopefully open hostels and/or supermarkets and the fact that I'm a little sick at the moment and I can only hope to fit by the time I fly out! If someone managed to find a reliable list of open albergues would they mind sharing it? I have found 3 differnt lists and every single one is differnt!

Saying all that I'm super excited!


Buen Camino

Andrea

Eroski Consumer site has this list:
http://caminodesantiago.consumer.es/albergues/#camino-frances
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
The Meseta in winter is no colder than other parts of the camino. It´s windy, but it is certainly not as snowy and gray as the mountain areas!
During the Christmas to Epiphany break a lot of albergues close seemingly at random, and many either do not have heat or do not switch it on for very long.
Be assured, the Peaceable in Moratinos will have a fire in the stove and a lot of blankets on the beds (last 4 New Years Eves we were supposedly the only open place in 34 km).
 

Advertisement

Booking.com

Similar threads

Camino Conversations

Camino Conversations

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

Most downloaded Resources

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 16 1.2%
  • February

    Votes: 10 0.8%
  • March

    Votes: 56 4.2%
  • April

    Votes: 200 15.2%
  • May

    Votes: 328 24.9%
  • June

    Votes: 95 7.2%
  • July

    Votes: 24 1.8%
  • August

    Votes: 27 2.0%
  • September

    Votes: 381 28.9%
  • October

    Votes: 158 12.0%
  • November

    Votes: 17 1.3%
  • December

    Votes: 7 0.5%

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store
Top