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Planning to start from Roncevalles at beginning of July

2020 Camino Guides

Brooklynpoet

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (July 2020)
I'm hearing that I will need to book in Roncevalles, where I hope to begin around July 10 2020 - is this true? And do I need to book a meal also? How often will I need to pre-book?

I see people advising a woman starting from SJPP to book in advance. I guess my idea of walking without reservations is not realistic. I was hoping to see how I do and stay at intermediate hostels, especially at the beginning. I'm 61, an experienced hiker, but I've never backpacked or walked 20 plus kilometers a day for days in a row. My provisional start date is July 10. Please let me know anything useful about the need for booking accommodations and meals! (or anything else) I plan to walk for about 13 days, hoping to get to Burgos, but I will walk slower if necessary and cover less ground.

And I will need to keep my pack to 14 pounds/6.5 kilos or so. What will I need, that time of year, in terms of warm clothing? Will a liner be enough for sleeping? Please advise only if you get cold easily, as I do!
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
July is high season, so it is wise to make a reservation at Roncesvalles. The online system offers options for diner and breakfast in a near restaurant (there is another,a bit more expensive). It is not exactly gourmet food, but you will meet other excited and nervous walkers-to-be.:). You can also carry your own diner; there is a modern kitchen in the albergue, with microwaves, sinks, tables etc. I am not sure about dishes and cutlery.
As for breakfast, I would skip it and have a cup of coffee and a "madalena" in Burguete, the first village (just half an hour). Most pilgrims do that.
Making or not making reservations has become a kind of philosophical discussion in the forum. I would reserve the first two days, and see how things are. Anyway, your third day will be in or near Pamplona, where there are many options.
Buen camino!
 
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Lindor

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Starting Camino 02/04/2020
I'm starting on the 3rd April via Valcarlos route, and the only booking I have made is for St Jean Pied de Port on my Camino-eve.
I hadn't planned on booking Rocesvalles alburgue. I understand later in the year (June/July) it may be full, but do people think it will be full in early April?
 

thejoker

Member
Camino(s) past & future
many
I'm hearing that I will need to book in Roncevalles, where I hope to begin around July 10 2020 - is this true? And do I need to book a meal also? How often will I need to pre-book?

I see people advising a woman starting from SJPP to book in advance. I guess my idea of walking without reservations is not realistic. I was hoping to see how I do and stay at intermediate hostels, especially at the beginning. I'm 61, an experienced hiker, but I've never backpacked or walked 20 plus kilometers a day for days in a row. My provisional start date is July 10. Please let me know anything useful about the need for booking accommodations and meals! (or anything else) I plan to walk for about 13 days, hoping to get to Burgos, but I will walk slower if necessary and cover less ground.

And I will need to keep my pack to 14 pounds/6.5 kilos or so. What will I need, that time of year, in terms of warm clothing? Will a liner be enough for sleeping? Please advise only if you get cold easily, as I do!

I'm also walking in July, August and September. I have booked right through as I like to take things easy and know I will always have a bed. However, I prefer a more relaxed Camino and walk shorter stages taking over 60 days to get to Santiago. Definitely book somewhere in St Jean (I receommend my favourite - Les Pyrenees, with its great restaurant), Orisson, Roncesvalles and then places at least in the section before Pamplona (my stops are Viscarret and Akerreta). A great place to stay in Pamplona is just by the wonderful main square, at the lovely La Perla. A built-in rest day there is perfect to take in Pamplona and fortify yourself for the next stages.
As for meals, in Orisson a meal is part of the deal and in Roncesvalles if you are staying at the albergue you can book your meal in advance and hope to see a tasty trout for your second course.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I'm also walking in July, August and September. I have booked right through as I like to take things easy and know I will always have a bed. However, I prefer a more relaxed Camino and walk shorter stages taking over 60 days to get to Santiago. Definitely book somewhere in St Jean (I receommend my favourite - Les Pyrenees, with its great restaurant), Orisson, Roncesvalles and then places at least in the section before Pamplona (my stops are Viscarret and Akerreta). A great place to stay in Pamplona is just by the wonderful main square, at the lovely La Perla. A built-in rest day there is perfect to take in Pamplona and fortify yourself for the next stages.
As for meals, in Orisson a meal is part of the deal and in Roncesvalles if you are staying at the albergue you can book your meal in advance and hope to see a tasty trout for your second course.
Believe it or not, with the exception of the last 100 km to Santiago, the summer months aren't the busiest of the year.
 

thejoker

Member
Camino(s) past & future
many
Believe it or not, with the exception of the last 100 km to Santiago, the summer months aren't the busiest of the year.
You're absolutely right. And if you don't mind the heat in the afternoon the Camino can appear to be completely deserted. I really think it's an under appreciated time for a Camino. I have stayed at albergues and hotels that were almost empty, with just 2 or 3 pilgrims, particulalrly on the meseta, which has a rather unfair reputaion in the Summer as being like the Sahara desert. Hospitaleros have said those albergues were bursting just a few weeks earlier. Though, yes, the latter short 100kms are crazy in Summer, at any time of day.
 

happymarkos

HappyMark
Camino(s) past & future
2013 CF
2014 Le Puy-St Jean. 2014&16 Volunteer St JP
2016 Portuguese
2017 Porto-Santiago
2018
I'm hearing that I will need to book in Roncevalles, where I hope to begin around July 10 2020 - is this true? And do I need to book a meal also? How often will I need to pre-book?

I see people advising a woman starting from SJPP to book in advance. I guess my idea of walking without reservations is not realistic. I was hoping to see how I do and stay at intermediate hostels, especially at the beginning. I'm 61, an experienced hiker, but I've never backpacked or walked 20 plus kilometers a day for days in a row. My provisional start date is July 10. Please let me know anything useful about the need for booking accommodations and meals! (or anything else) I plan to walk for about 13 days, hoping to get to Burgos, but I will walk slower if necessary and cover less ground.

And I will need to keep my pack to 14 pounds/6.5 kilos or so. What will I need, that time of year, in terms of warm clothing? Will a liner be enough for sleeping? Please advise only if you get cold easily, as I do!
You will need to be prepared for hot weather. A sleeping bag liner should be enough. Some albergues also provide blankets if it's cold. If you can achieve 6.5 kgs you will be doing very well. Not sure if this includes water at 1kg per Litre. Fortunately there are many places on the CF where you can get free OK local drinking water. Even crossing the Pyrenees there are 3 free water places, assuming Orison is open as they do turn off the water when they are closed. Yes agree to book where you can as some people get up at 5am to rush to the albergues so they get a bed. Suggest early starts only if its going to be very hot so you can be finished by noon or early afternoon.
Buen Camino
Mark
 

Ianinam

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2013 / CP 2018
Hospitalera at Roncesvalles:
2015/2016/2017/2018/2019/2020
For that period it will not really be necessary to make a reservation at Roncesvalles; the high season starts at the beginning of August.
You can buy your dinner ticket when you check in; the prices for a three course meal including wine in the restaurants are all the same: 11 Euro. (Two restaurants, and another restaurant in the hotel).
You can have dinner at 7 PM (before pilgrims mass in the church) or 8.30 PM (after pilgrims mass).

If you want to leave early in the morning don't buy a ticket for breakfast: this will only be served as of 7 AM. Just walk half an hour to Burguete, the bars there open at 6 AM.

But ..... be aware of the San Fermin festivities (running of the bulls through the streets) at Pamplona, from July 7th till July 14th. Most albergues are closed then (at least the big albergue Jesus y Maria is), hotel rooms will be full and extremely expensive.
So my advice will be: stop before Pamplona and walk the next day through Pamplona (the running of the bulls is at 8 AM and lasts only half an hour, then the roads are open again) and sleep that day after Pamplona. Make reservations for that period!
 

Ianinam

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2013 / CP 2018
Hospitalera at Roncesvalles:
2015/2016/2017/2018/2019/2020
I'm starting on the 3rd April via Valcarlos route, and the only booking I have made is for St Jean Pied de Port on my Camino-eve.
I hadn't planned on booking Rocesvalles alburgue. I understand later in the year (June/July) it may be full, but do people think it will be full in early April?
No, not necessary then; high season will be during the Easter weekend and then by the end of April through May. Will meet you at Roncesvalles, I will be one of the hospitaleros there from 3rd April till 17th April.
 

Brooklynpoet

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (July 2020)
Very very helpful, thanks for all the info. And I remembered about the running of the bulls but then somehow forgot. I'd really like to avoid Pamplona completely during that time, having changed buses there 4 years ago and found the station covered with young drunk people and crowds everywhere. Perhaps I'll start earlier.
 

Ianinam

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2013 / CP 2018
Hospitalera at Roncesvalles:
2015/2016/2017/2018/2019/2020
Yes, if you can, try to avoid Pamplona in that period.
You can try to take a bus from Arre to Cizur Mayor and skip Pamplona.
In Cizur Mayor I can recommend albergue Maribel Roncal, I believe they take reservations.
 

Lindor

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Starting Camino 02/04/2020
No, not necessary then; high season will be during the Easter weekend and then by the end of April through May. Will meet you at Roncesvalles, I will be one of the hospitaleros there from 3rd April till 17th April.
Thankyou for your reply, it really sets my mind at ease. I plan to be there around 1pm, so I will surely get a bed. Look forward to meeting you, and others on my Camino journey
 

Roland49

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2019 July
Hello fellow pilgrim,

I'm hearing that I will need to book in Roncevalles, where I hope to begin around July 10 2020 - is this true? And do I need to book a meal also? How often will I need to pre-book?
I did walk from 1st to 27th July last year. I did not book Roncesvalles ahead. There were plenty beds available. The bunks was filled ~80%. As far as I am informed they now opened another dorm that was in reconstructions at the time I walked.
You will be asked after arrival and offered some options for the meal. I tooks the chance to eat out in the Hotel for 12€ that was very good with some options for vegan and vegetarian.

I see people advising a woman starting from SJPP to book in advance. I guess my idea of walking without reservations is not realistic. I was hoping to see how I do and stay at intermediate hostels, especially at the beginning. I'm 61, an experienced hiker, but I've never backpacked or walked 20 plus kilometers a day for days in a row.
I was turned away in Triacastela and in Portomarrin. I book ahead in Puente de la Reina for a special Albergue. That's all. There was no problem at all to get a bed for the night. The Camino provides!

And I will need to keep my pack to 14 pounds/6.5 kilos or so. What will I need, that time of year, in terms of warm clothing? Will a liner be enough for sleeping? Please advise only if you get cold easily, as I do!
Try to lower your bp-weight as much as possible. I walked with 5.2kg (w/o water) and was happy with it.
I did bring a silk liner that was on 2 occasions to cold (Burgos / Ponte Campaña). Most albergues hold blankets available, so no need for a warm sleeping-bag.

The CF was my first long walking route in more than 20 years. I was able to walk from Puente de la Reina to Los Arcos in one go. That's 43km on my 5th day of walking. OK, I was at that time 12 years younger than you. But if you are walking regularly that should be ok.

The CF is not a race. Take your time, if possible and let the Camino-Magic happen.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I'm hearing that I will need to book in Roncevalles, where I hope to begin around July 10 2020 - is this true? And do I need to book a meal also? How often will I need to pre-book?

I see people advising a woman starting from SJPP to book in advance. I guess my idea of walking without reservations is not realistic. I was hoping to see how I do and stay at intermediate hostels, especially at the beginning. I'm 61, an experienced hiker, but I've never backpacked or walked 20 plus kilometers a day for days in a row. My provisional start date is July 10. Please let me know anything useful about the need for booking accommodations and meals! (or anything else) I plan to walk for about 13 days, hoping to get to Burgos, but I will walk slower if necessary and cover less ground.

And I will need to keep my pack to 14 pounds/6.5 kilos or so. What will I need, that time of year, in terms of warm clothing? Will a liner be enough for sleeping? Please advise only if you get cold easily, as I do!
In 2016, I started in Roncesvalles on July 7. I booked in Roncesvalles and Zubiri but not after that. Since I had booked, it is hard to say if it was necessary, because I can't be sure what it would have been like if I hadn't booked. I suspect it was necessary in Roncesvalles, because the bus from Pamplona doesn't arrive in Roncesvalles until quite late in the day (we took the first train from Madrid in the morning and then had to wait much of the day for the next bus to Roncesvalles). After Zubiri we didn't need to book, but we were walking short days for the next few and so weren't staying at the usual guidebook stops.

If you are starting in early to mid-July, it is worth noticing when the San Fermines festival will be happening in Pamplona. Accommodations are hard to find in Pamplona at that time, so we stayed 5 km before Pamplona in a medieval albergue in Trinidad de Arre.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Anyway, your third day will be in or near Pamplona, where there are many options.
Buen camino!
Starting from Roncesvalles, Pamplona is more likely to be the stop on the second day. Normally, there are plenty of options. But the OP is starting on July 10, 2020, which would mean arriving in Pamplona on July 12 or 13. The San Fermines in 2020 runs from July 6 to July 14. In this situation, there are likely to be very few options in Pamplona.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Very very helpful, thanks for all the info. And I remembered about the running of the bulls but then somehow forgot. I'd really like to avoid Pamplona completely during that time, having changed buses there 4 years ago and found the station covered with young drunk people and crowds everywhere. Perhaps I'll start earlier.
I was in Pamplona twice during the running of the bulls, 1989 and 2016. My memory of 1989 was much like your memory: crowds, drunks, a pervasive scent of urine, etc. When we got off the train in 2016, it wasn't like that. We spent most of the day there waiting for the bus to Roncesvalles and, while it was plenty crowded, it wasn't dirty or filled with drunks. I thought "What happened to the San Fermines I remember?" Then we walked through a few days later on Camino and there it was. The after effects of a night of hard drinking were very apparent at 6:30 or so in the morning when we walked through. Apparently, they do a great job of cleaning the streets after the encierro and the drunken partiers go home to sleep. So if you time your walk through Pamplona right, it should not be too bad.
 
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katie@camino

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, SJPDP-Finisterre 2016; CPort (Central) from Porto 2017;
CPort (Coastal) from Porto 2018.
Believe it or not, with the exception of the last 100 km to Santiago, the summer months aren't the busiest of the year.
I'm rather excited to hear this! Starting 10th July in SJPdP and was worried it would be really busy the whole way!
 

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