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Requesting some thoughts (re starting point) from experienced pilgrims, please?

Fortyforward

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
September 2023
Hi team. Long story behind our decision (as I’m sure we all have right? 😊), but best-husband-in-the-world and I will walk our first Camino in 2023.

Firstly, we were planning on starting this one in Sarria but for reasons unknown I‘m drawn to starting in Triacastela. I know there’s beauty in every stage, but would love anyone’s feedback about the walk from Triacastela to Sarria, thank you.

And I know it’s a “how long is a piece of string” question, but - when to walk? We are thinking either May/June or September. Any thoughts or recommendations please?

I am grateful to have found this forum and for the generosity, caring, empathy and sympathy within. Many thanks to all and thanks in advance to anyone who would like to offer us the benefit of their knowledge and experience.

Best wishes from the beautiful Bay of Plenty in New Zealand
 
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Anamiri

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
Hi team. Long story behind our decision (as I’m sure we all have right? 😊), but best-husband-in-the-world and I will walk our first Camino in 2023.

Firstly, we were planning on starting this one in Sarria but for reasons unknown I‘m drawn to starting in Triacastela. I know there’s beauty in every stage, but would love anyone’s feedback about the walk from Triacastela to Sarria, thank you.

And I know it’s a “how long is a piece of string” question, but - when to walk? We are thinking either May/June or September. Any thoughts or recommendations please?

I am grateful to have found this forum and for the generosity, caring, empathy and sympathy within. Many thanks to all and thanks in advance to anyone who would like to offer us the benefit of their knowledge and experience.

Best wishes from the beautiful Bay of Plenty in New Zealand
Fellow Kiwi here, and Im biased, but I would pick the route via Samos every time. At the bottom of Triacastela turn left instead of right.
I count it as one of the best days walking on the Camino - its a bit like the land that time forgot. Plus theres that wonderful feeling at the top when you first see the monastery through the hole in the stone wall.
The walk from Samos to Sarria is also much nicer.
You will hit the crowds soon enough when you reach Sarria, so its nice to have these two special days.
(I also like the walk along the ridge then down from Fonfria to Triacastela)
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
Hi team. Long story behind our decision (as I’m sure we all have right? 😊), but best-husband-in-the-world and I will walk our first Camino in 2023.

Firstly, we were planning on starting this one in Sarria but for reasons unknown I‘m drawn to starting in Triacastela. I know there’s beauty in every stage, but would love anyone’s feedback about the walk from Triacastela to Sarria, thank you.

And I know it’s a “how long is a piece of string” question, but - when to walk? We are thinking either May/June or September. Any thoughts or recommendations please?

I am grateful to have found this forum and for the generosity, caring, empathy and sympathy within. Many thanks to all and thanks in advance to anyone who would like to offer us the benefit of their knowledge and experience.

Best wishes from the beautiful Bay of Plenty in New Zealand
As far as when to start, be aware that May and September are busy months, especially the early weeks of those months. The first time I walked I arrived in St Jean on 1st September, without realising it was the biggest day for pilgrims in that year.
Now I plan to avoid the first few weeks of both months,
But its only a weeks walk from Sarria to Santiago so late May into June should be fine.
I find the temperature difference between Spain and NZ less in May than than early September.
After a cold NZ August, the plunge into a Spanish heatwave took me nearly a week to cope with. But then I dont like the heat.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
May 2023: Via Francigena, Lucca to Rome
Firstly, we were planning on starting this one in Sarria but for reasons unknown I‘m drawn to starting in Triacastela. I know there’s beauty in every stage, but would love anyone’s feedback about the walk from Triacastela to Sarria, thank you.
Trust that instinct!

Fellow Kiwi here, and Im biased, but I would pick the route via Samos every time. At the bottom of Triacastela turn left instead of right.
I count it as one of the best days walking on the Camino -
And trust Anamiri! I 100% agree, there was something magical about the walk from Triacastela to Samos.
 
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Anamya

Keeping it simple
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
Aussie here. We started the "non-gap" (not skipping any bits) part of our Camino Frances in Vilafranca. Those first days, going up Cebreiro and down to Triscastela were very beautiful. Personally, the walk to Triacastela was challenging: my husband has a sunstroke and I had to bounce back and forth between carrying him and 2 backpacks into Triacastela looking for help. But even with that medical stress, I did feel it was a beautiful place, and people were just angels, ready to help.

I didn´t go to Samos, as I was running the shortest route possible into the city, but I will choose that route if walking the Frances again.

If you have the time to walk one extra day, just do it. The route is very well marked, there are places to get water and food. And there is a sudden change in the "camino mood" once you reach Sarria - if you start before that, you will notice.

May/June tend to be be hotter than September, but they are both times of good weather. Choose the one that fits your schedule better. And buen camino!

EDIT: I just re-read hat you asked from thoughts of experienced pilgrims. We were clearly not experienced when we walked the Frances! But we did learn a thing or two since then... :)
 

Harland2019

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF April/May 2019, CF May 2022
I leave the route from Triacastella to others to compare as I have only turned right out of the village rather than left to Samos, I chose this on both my Caminos as it is the shorter distance but I can't compare the two. However I love Triacastella, it is basically a one-street village so everyone walks along it. There is a nice bar/cafe about halfway along on the left-hand side. You can sit outside in the sun (or shade if you prefer) with a beer and/or a meal and see/chat/wave to all the fellow pilgrims you have met along the way.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
I did the straight run from Triacastela to Sarria and while it was fine, it was nothing at all like the walk from Triacastela to Samos-- an Australian I met said that it was like Middle Earth on a good day.

I would also stop in Samos. While the abbey is interesting with some astonishing and singular 1950s Spanish frescos (I wonde if the artists' rendition of angels were made with celestial thoughts...), it is a good end to a first day, and a dinner taken with the sounds of the river nearby will cap it all. Taking a slow second day to Sarria gives you another day of walking before you hit the pilgrim autobahn, and perhaps enables you to stay a few km beyond Sarria, should you wish to have another quiet evening-- as so many start in Sarria, it can be a shock even when you're expecting it.
 
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Jodean

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
22 Sept. to 21 Oct. 2015, Pamplona to Santiago
6-23.04 Porto to Santiago 2018
17.09-30.09 CF 2018
When you leave Samos, instead of stopping in Sarria, keep on and stop in Barbedelo instead. You will have the Camino all to yourself the next morning, without the crowds that start in Sarria every day.
I was walking this part the middle of May this year, and it was lovely and green, and not too hot.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
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Way of St. Francis, Italy 2017
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When you leave Samos, instead of stopping in Sarria, keep on and stop in Barbedelo instead. You will have the Camino all to yourself the next morning, without the crowds that start in Sarria every day.
I was walking this part the middle of May this year, and it was lovely and green, and not too hot.
Great advice!
Yes, start in Triacastela. Take the route to Samos and stay there. Take a tour of the monastery and go to mass. It’s the only way to see the inside of the church.
The next day stop for lunch in Sarria. There is a wonderful Italian restaurant on the left as you head up the historical street. Have lunch and then head to Barbedelo.
 

KimR

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés ‘18
Portuguese(costa,cent) ‘19
Norte ‘21
Hi team. Long story behind our decision (as I’m sure we all have right? 😊), but best-husband-in-the-world and I will walk our first Camino in 2023.

Firstly, we were planning on starting this one in Sarria but for reasons unknown I‘m drawn to starting in Triacastela. I know there’s beauty in every stage, but would love anyone’s feedback about the walk from Triacastela to Sarria, thank you.

And I know it’s a “how long is a piece of string” question, but - when to walk? We are thinking either May/June or September. Any thoughts or recommendations please?

I am grateful to have found this forum and for the generosity, caring, empathy and sympathy within. Many thanks to all and thanks in advance to anyone who would like to offer us the benefit of their knowledge and experience.

Best wishes from the beautiful Bay of Plenty in New Zealand
Hi team. Long story behind our decision (as I’m sure we all have right? 😊), but best-husband-in-the-world and I will walk our first Camino in 2023.

Firstly, we were planning on starting this one in Sarria but for reasons unknown I‘m drawn to starting in Triacastela. I know there’s beauty in every stage, but would love anyone’s feedback about the walk from Triacastela to Sarria, thank you.

And I know it’s a “how long is a piece of string” question, but - when to walk? We are thinking either May/June or September. Any thoughts or recommendations please?

I am grateful to have found this forum and for the generosity, caring, empathy and sympathy within. Many thanks to all and thanks in advance to anyone who would like to offer us the benefit of their knowledge and experience.

Best wishes from the beautiful Bay of Plenty in New Zealand
Many many pilgrims walk from Sarria to Santiago so they can walk the 100km to obtain their Compostela. Starting before Sarria may provide you a taste of the Camino before the larger number of pilgrims begin walking. Sunrise is earlier in the May/June (6-ish) vs 7:15-7:30-ish in September. Any time has its merits. Planning gets you to the start of your walk and after that let go of all expectations and experience your Camino.
 

jeanineonthecamino

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2021, 2022
So - if you "don't need a piece of paper" (the Compostela) - I highly recommend Triacastela to Sarria. Sarria to SdC is nice - but VERY crowded. It is the only section that I don't enjoy - due to the large crowds. The only reason to do Sarria to SdC instead is if it is important for you to walk into Santiago and get your Compostela. For some people - that is important. And for me - it has been important - but going forward I am not worried about completing that last 100km since I don't enjoy it due to crowds, and I already have 2 Compostelas. If you walk Triacastela to Sarria - you do NOT qualify for the Compostela - but you will have an amazing adventure. I have walked twice and during the months of late May through July. I thoroughly enjoy walking in June. Sometimes it may be hot - but sometimes it may be cool. I got rain - but for a few days at a time and then nothing. I like walking in the rain to some extent (depends on the number of hours and how wet I am and how cold it is lol). I haven't walked in September - but can't comment - other that to say it is my understanding is that is a crowded month to walk.
 

Zordmot

3rd CF in May 2022
Time of past OR future Camino
April-May 2022
Hi team. Long story behind our decision (as I’m sure we all have right? 😊), but best-husband-in-the-world and I will walk our first Camino in 2023.

Firstly, we were planning on starting this one in Sarria but for reasons unknown I‘m drawn to starting in Triacastela. I know there’s beauty in every stage, but would love anyone’s feedback about the walk from Triacastela to Sarria, thank you.

And I know it’s a “how long is a piece of string” question, but - when to walk? We are thinking either May/June or September. Any thoughts or recommendations please?

I am grateful to have found this forum and for the generosity, caring, empathy and sympathy within. Many thanks to all and thanks in advance to anyone who would like to offer us the benefit of their knowledge and experience.

Best wishes from the beautiful Bay of Plenty in New Zealand
I’ve walked twice in May and would recommend that time because it’s beautiful Spring and not too hot or cold. You’re coming to the rainiest part of the Camino and it can-and will-rain hard and long any time of year. Buen Camino you two!
 
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I love the Camino from Tricastela. I have done it twice in June and went through Samos both times - one of the most magical sections of the Camino. Have skipped Sarría both times and continued to Barbedello and then continued to stay off the ‘suggested’ stages. This avoids the masses in the mornings. ¡Buen Camino!
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
To clarify, are you thinking about whether to start in Triacastela vs. Sarria, but in either case you would walk on to Santiago? If you have time, you should certainly add on the extra day before Sarria - it is a very nice walk (assuming you would take the Samos route if you are bothering to add this day). Depending on your timing, and how short you want your stages to be, you could stay overnight in Samos and have a lovely start to your Camino.

Regarding timing of crowds, it is important to understand a bit more detail about the generalized statements about crowds on the Camino. Here is a thread that discusses it. May and September are the busiest months from SJPP, but those people don't get to Sarria until June/Oct. The busiest months for Sarria to Santiago are July and August when large numbers of Spaniards walk for a week. Although Sarria-Santiago is "busy" for over 6 months per year, there is lots of accommodation, so I would expect May to be a good time.

The generalized statements about weather can also be misleading. If you check out the weather statistics for Sarria, I think you will find that September is hotter than May, not the reverse. See, for example, the attached snip from weatherspark.com
 

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Chris Gi

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2018
Hi team. Long story behind our decision (as I’m sure we all have right? 😊), but best-husband-in-the-world and I will walk our first Camino in 2023.

Firstly, we were planning on starting this one in Sarria but for reasons unknown I‘m drawn to starting in Triacastela. I know there’s beauty in every stage, but would love anyone’s feedback about the walk from Triacastela to Sarria, thank you.

And I know it’s a “how long is a piece of string” question, but - when to walk? We are thinking either May/June or September. Any thoughts or recommendations please?

I am grateful to have found this forum and for the generosity, caring, empathy and sympathy within. Many thanks to all and thanks in advance to anyone who would like to offer us the benefit of their knowledge and experience.

Best wishes from the beautiful Bay of Plenty in New Zealand
Triacastela to Sarria via Samos (a must) was one of my favorite parts of the Camino Frances.
 

Fortyforward

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
September 2023
Aussie here. We started the "non-gap" (not skipping any bits) part of our Camino Frances in Vilafranca. Those first days, going up Cebreiro and down to Triscastela were very beautiful. Personally, the walk to Triacastela was challenging: my husband has a sunstroke and I had to bounce back and forth between carrying him and 2 backpacks into Triacastela looking for help. But even with that medical stress, I did feel it was a beautiful place, and people were just angels, ready to help.

I didn´t go to Samos, as I was running the shortest route possible into the city, but I will choose that route if walking the Frances again.

If you have the time to walk one extra day, just do it. The route is very well marked, there are places to get water and food. And there is a sudden change in the "camino mood" once you reach Sarria - if you start before that, you will notice.

May/June tend to be be hotter than September, but they are both times of good weather. Choose the one that fits your schedule better. And buen camino!

EDIT: I just re-read hat you asked from thoughts of experienced pilgrims. We were clearly not experienced when we walked the Frances! But we did learn a thing or two since then... :)
You certainly have experience that is very helpful! Thank you 😊
 
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Fortyforward

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
September 2023
To clarify, are you thinking about whether to start in Triacastela vs. Sarria, but in either case you would walk on to Santiago? If you have time, you should certainly add on the extra day before Sarria - it is a very nice walk (assuming you would take the Samos route if you are bothering to add this day). Depending on your timing, and how short you want your stages to be, you could stay overnight in Samos and have a lovely start to your Camino.

Regarding timing of crowds, it is important to understand a bit more detail about the generalized statements about crowds on the Camino. Here is a thread that discusses it. May and September are the busiest months from SJPP, but those people don't get to Sarria until June/Oct. The busiest months for Sarria to Santiago are July and August when large numbers of Spaniards walk. Although Sarria-Santiago is "busy" for over 6 months per year, there is lots of accommodation, so I would expect May to be a good time.

The generalized statements about weather can also be misleading. If you check out the weather statistics for Sarria, I think you will find that September is hotter than May, not the reverse. See, for example, the attached snip from weatherspark.com
Thank you - yes, we will continue to Santiago. We had been thinking about staying nights at places other than the ”stage ends” so we are loving the advice from everyone 😊. Thank you for the weather advice - is either time likely to have fewer rainy days than the other, please?
 
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Hi team. Long story behind our decision (as I’m sure we all have right? 😊), but best-husband-in-the-world and I will walk our first Camino in 2023.

Firstly, we were planning on starting this one in Sarria but for reasons unknown I‘m drawn to starting in Triacastela. I know there’s beauty in every stage, but would love anyone’s feedback about the walk from Triacastela to Sarria, thank you.

And I know it’s a “how long is a piece of string” question, but - when to walk? We are thinking either May/June or September. Any thoughts or recommendations please?

I am grateful to have found this forum and for the generosity, caring, empathy and sympathy within. Many thanks to all and thanks in advance to anyone who would like to offer us the benefit of their knowledge and experience.

Best wishes from the beautiful Bay of Plenty in New Zealand
Hi there I am currently in NZ visiting my youngest son. My advice is to go via Samos. Firstly the walks are well wooded and so protective from the sun. And also there is a nice shallow river you can cool your feet in. Secondly the monastery at Samos is a wonderful atmospheric basement to sleep in and they don' t unlock the door until 7 am. The evening mass is most refreshing and grounding for your walk. Finally there is plenty of history you can be shown if the guide is available. Apparently some of the senior Nazi leaders were hidden there on their way to South America at the end of WW2. The walk from Samos to Sarria is also well wooded along a pleasant undulating valley before joining the busy road into Sarria for the last 2 miles. Have a great Camino. The Spanish are so welcoming. Their lagers are so refreshing after a days walking, especially if you squeeze half a lemon in.
 
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Bob P

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
First timer, leaving April 3rd from SJPDP
There are 3 ways to get from Triacastella to Sarria. I found one by accident! (lost or "just wandering")
I got to Sarria via Samos, then had a few days to wait for a friend, so I hiked backwards towards San Xil, but missed a turn and took an unmarked route from Fontearcuda to Renche by just asking questions. Stayed another day in Triacastella and came back normal San Xil route.

I thoroughly enjoyed the "wandering" alongside some streams on a quiet (empty) route.

Enjoy
Bob
 

PilgrimPillar

Rota Vicentina, fisherman’s trail, is sweet...
Time of past OR future Camino
Francigena Sud
Shikoku 88
St Olav Waterways
Hi team. Long story behind our decision (as I’m sure we all have right? 😊), but best-husband-in-the-world and I will walk our first Camino in 2023.

Firstly, we were planning on starting this one in Sarria but for reasons unknown I‘m drawn to starting in Triacastela. I know there’s beauty in every stage, but would love anyone’s feedback about the walk from Triacastela to Sarria, thank you.

And I know it’s a “how long is a piece of string” question, but - when to walk? We are thinking either May/June or September. Any thoughts or recommendations please?

I am grateful to have found this forum and for the generosity, caring, empathy and sympathy within. Many thanks to all and thanks in advance to anyone who would like to offer us the benefit of their knowledge and experience.

Best wishes from the beautiful Bay of Plenty in New Zealand
Experiencing easter in Spain is special for all and everyone. Believers or non belivers….still hit’s home🙏🏼

Ultreia!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2019: León - Santiago; 2021: St. Jean - León; 23?
I vote for adding the extra days! I walked that section in October, 2019, and loved it all. There are always wonderful people to talk with on the Camino and those less-crowded sections seem to facilitate conversation. Comfortable, lightweight rain gear was helpful as we often had light rain or drizzle and cool temperatures. The monastery tour was interesting. We enjoyed the Galician soups of turnip greens, kale, or cabbage. Yes, add the extra days. ¡Ultreya!
 

magpye

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances SJPDP to S (2018)
Camino Portugese: (2016)
Camino Santiago SJPDP to Santiago (2013)
Fellow Kiwi here, and Im biased, but I would pick the route via Samos every time. At the bottom of Triacastela turn left instead of right.
I count it as one of the best days walking on the Camino - its a bit like the land that time forgot. Plus theres that wonderful feeling at the top when you first see the monastery through the hole in the stone wall.
The walk from Samos to Sarria is also much nicer.
You will hit the crowds soon enough when you reach Sarria, so its nice to have these two special days.
(I also like the walk along the ridge then down from Fonfria to Triacastela)
I agree. Triacastela to Samos and then Sarria. Peaceful woodland walk.
 
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Fortyforward

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
September 2023
Update………

Firstly, thank you to our kind community here for advice so far, any more thoughts along our journey will be most gratefully received

We are actively planning and booking travel towards our Camino Frances from Triacastella commencing mid to late May 2023. We are so very excited 😊

We have each bought new tramping shoes (one pair seems perfect, one may need rethinking) and packs - we would highly recommend to newcomers like us to have a professional fitting for packs. Playing with socks (have some nice tramping socks already but just bought some wrightsocks to see how they go).

Roll on 2023! Celebrating 40 years of each of us being married to our best friend. (seriously, we are not always perfect but we are still suckily romantic and soppy after all these years).

We are so grateful to the family on this forum, thank you all. Our Camino beckons…..
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Triacastela is a great starting point !!

As to the options, I like all of them, even the tarmac one, though as to just the hiking, towards Santiago I slightly prefer the "official" route not through Samos - - but on a return walk out from Compostela, Samos is definitely the choice you want, and that I'll go to myself again very soon.

As to Sarria, I've always liked the place, and do not understand the anxiety that some have towards it.
 

aswansonsr

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Completed CF Sept, 2022
Hi team. Long story behind our decision (as I’m sure we all have right? 😊), but best-husband-in-the-world and I will walk our first Camino in 2023.

Firstly, we were planning on starting this one in Sarria but for reasons unknown I‘m drawn to starting in Triacastela. I know there’s beauty in every stage, but would love anyone’s feedback about the walk from Triacastela to Sarria, thank you.

And I know it’s a “how long is a piece of string” question, but - when to walk? We are thinking either May/June or September. Any thoughts or recommendations please?

I am grateful to have found this forum and for the generosity, caring, empathy and sympathy within. Many thanks to all and thanks in advance to anyone who would like to offer us the benefit of their knowledge and experience.

Best wishes from the beautiful Bay of Plenty in New Zealand
Just finished walking in September. Very good weather, albergues were not 100% full. I would recommend the month.

Two options from Triacastela - traditional via San Xil (I took this one - some elevation changes, much senda path, no notes for anything exceptional), alternative via Samos (longer, less well marked).
 

savas

New Member
Fellow Kiwi here, and Im biased, but I would pick the route via Samos every time. At the bottom of Triacastela turn left instead of right.
I count it as one of the best days walking on the Camino - its a bit like the land that time forgot. Plus theres that wonderful feeling at the top when you first see the monastery through the hole in the stone wall.
The walk from Samos to Sarria is also much nicer.
You will hit the crowds soon enough when you reach Sarria, so its nice to have these two special days.
(I also like the walk along the ridge then down from Fonfria to Triacastela)
plenty of places to rest up in Samos ... but be aware, there used to be a significant mold and mildew problem (2018?) in the monastery albergue which I and my fellow hospitalero reported to the health authorities. Hopefully this is no longer a problem ... and the river is great for a cold dip!
 

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