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Can anyone tell me if the refugios fill up quickly.. I will be doing the Camino (the French route) second week of May.
Do I need to or can I make reservations at the refugios?
My original plan was to sleep at the refugio that was closest at the end of my walking day.. without pre-planning...
I'm hoping that this will be the normal way to proceed on the pilgrimage..

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Hi Rebecca,

I don't think you should worry about this Rebecca. Even last year (holy year) with lots of pilgrims, I don't think anyone was refused at a refuge. Of course, if you come late at night you may not get the best bed, but from what I have heard things went smoothly last year in regards to pilgrims and refuges.

The number of pilgrims will probably start to pick up in May, but I don't think it will be anything close to what it was last year.

I do not think it is possible to make a reservation at a refuge.

Welcome to Santiago,


New Member
Hi ALi,
I'm hoping to start at SJPP, may 10 or may 11. I only have a total of 30 days, and would like to start there but am wondering if i should advance a little in order not to feel rushed .
Hopefully I'll see you...
I'm really excited about starting this journey. Everyone seems so Positive and Supportive.
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Albergue populations

Not to worry.

May is not a really busy period for the Camino Frances.
Now summer, especially August, that's a different story.
Here are the stats for 2004, a very very busy year ...


Buen Camino,
those are the totals for everyone claiming a compostela; 23% were not on the Camino Frances. Plus various caveats: not everyone claiming a compostela stops in the alberghes; not everyone walking the route claims a compostela. Nearly half start in Galicia (70% start W of the meseta), so the further W you get, the more people there are around.


Albergues and all that

Yes, of course. Peter's observations are correct.
There are mitigating factors in how may Peregrinos you could expect to find in any albergue.
Let's add a few more numbers to the mix:

On the stating point, again from 2004:
39,583 in Sarria
20,695 in O Cebreiro
13,108 in Roncesvalles
10,725 in Tui
10,648 in Ponferrada
9,343 in Saint Jean Pied de Port
9,284 in León
6,944 in Astorga
5,616 in Ourense
4,686 in Villafranca del Bierzo
3,253 in Pamplona
3,227 in Burgos

Combine that with Nationalities '04:
Spain 137,163
Italy, 7,670
Germany, 6,816
France, 6,567
Portugal, 3,252
USA, 2,028
Brazil, 1,439
UK, 1,432
Holland, 1,399
Belgium, 1,279
Austria, 1,203
Canada, 1,090
Mexico, 1,001

Putting these two groups of numbers together would lead one to believe the albergue populations would consist mainly of Spaniards from Sarria to Santiago. Add that to the first group of numbers (previous post) and Saria to the finale sounds crowded in August.

Many albergues were stuffed to the gils in 2004. I found one in the middle of the Meseta which was having a slower year than 2003. In Boadilla del Camino there are two albergues: one public, one private. The private albergue "En El Camino" is run by a mother and son, and a lovely oasis in the parched Meseta. Their pilgrim traffic was down from the year before. They believed it could have been from a number of factors, but there it is: you never know.

I have an observation which does not appear in any statistics. Europeans seem to start the Camino on a weekend. The tendency is the weekend closest to the beginning of a month, often their first weekend of holiday. St Jean and Roncesvalles are both popular places to start. If you fancy a larger number of people, start the weekend closest to the beginning of August. I you wish a smaller 'first day' number, a mid-week start in April or May might be to your liking. In any case, there will probably be 'room at the inn' for you. Mainly, have a great Journey, without and within.

Buen Camino,

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