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Scheduling advice wanted: Different starting points on Via de la Plata / Via Mozarabe

ruthp27

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Mozarabe / Via de la Plata (2019)
Hola peregrinos y peregrinas, I’m new to the forum and the Camino and very excited to be reading about all your adventures! I’m trying to figure out my route/schedule ASAP so I can book flights while they’re still cheap (coming all the way from Australia!) and need advice...

Background: I’ve never done any Camino before, and I would like to start with the Vía de la Plata (and possibly Vía Mozarabe) rather than the Camino Francés. I understand VdlP is more challenging, but I feel that I could handle it fine with the right preparation. I’m 29yo with fairly average fitness for someone my age - I’m no gym junkie, but I do have fairly good stamina in general, so I’d expect I would keep up ok with whatever the “standard” pace would be. I wouldn’t call myself a hardcore hiker, but I have done a few long bush walks with friends (about 25-30km non stop) with little to no training/prep, in both hot Australian summers and cold, wet winters - so I know that I can handle walking long-ish distances, in various conditions, without much hassle (with the right footwear, hydration and snacks!). I don’t have a regular exercise routine at the moment, but I’m intending to train and improve my fitness a bit more with a combination of distance walking, running and cycling over the next 3 months or so.

So, on to business - re: Vía de la Plata and Vía Mozarabe. The two big factors I’m not sure on here are 1. timing/duration and 2. weather.


1. TIMING / DURATION - Can anyone advise how many walking days I should allow (not including rest days, though of course I will add them in) to cover the following route options below? I’ve already looked up all of these in the forums etc. but it’s been hard to find clear, straightforward answers.

(A) Via Mozarabe from Granada to Merida, then Via de la Plata from there to Santiago de Compostela? (Total time for that entire journey)

(B) Full length of VdlP from Seville to Santiago?

(C) VdlP from Merida to Santiago?

(D) VdlP from Salamanca to Santiago?

I’m also intending to do Santiago to Finisterre as well - as far as I can gather, it looks like this typically takes about 4-5 days at a comfortable pace. Is that right?


2. WEATHER - I would be setting off anytime between early June (if doing a longer route) and late June (if doing a shorter one) - my end-point is that I’d be flying out to Scotland on 19 July. I’ve read many accounts here in the forums from people who set off from Seville (or elsewhere in the far south) anytime between early August and late September, who all said it was extremely hot for the first couple of weeks until they got further north.

Would it be just as hot in early June? Hotter? Cooler? Again, it’s hard to find a clear answer as I’ve read so much anecdotal information on the weather at various times of year that doesn’t mesh with the actual meteorological data that google searches throw back. As an Australian I’m used to hot summers, but I’ve also had a fellow Australian strongly advise that I shouldn’t do these routes through the south in summer because people have died from dehydration and heat exhaustion, etc. However, again, I don’t know what it would be like in early-mid June compared to August and September (as I’ve seen so many others on here have done) - if it’s likely to be even just a few degrees cooler, then I’d be willing to give it a go. In short, would it be a terrible idea? Would I be better off doing a shorter route that starts further north to avoid this, etc?


Many thanks in advance for any advice people can pass on! 🙏🏼 And sorry if this was a bit long and rambly...
 
Last edited:

Via2010

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
06/07 & 12 Camino Francés, 08-10 Via de la Plata, 13/14 & 17 Camino Portugués, 18 Camino Primitivo
Hi Ruth,

I can not advise you for Granada-Merida as I have not walked the Mozarabe yet. But it seems that there are even less pilgrims on that camino than on the VdP.

The entire VdP takes about 35-42 days, depending on your fitness. Sometimes you can choose if you walk 35 km or if you do it in 2 days of 15 and 20 km.
To get an idea about it, you can use these planning tools:
Planificador Godesalco
RutasASantiago - Configurador de Etapas

BC
Alexandra
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
Would it be just as hot in early June? Hotter? Cooler? Again, it’s hard to find a clear answer as I’ve read so much anecdotal information on the weather at various times of year that doesn’t mesh with the actual meteorological data that google searches throw back. As an Australian I’m used to hot summers, but I’ve also had a fellow Australian strongly advise that I shouldn’t do these routes through the south in summer because people have died from dehydration and heat exhaustion, etc. However, again, I don’t know what it would be like in early-mid June compared to August and September (as I’ve seen so many others on here have done) - if it’s likely to be even just a few degrees cooler, then I’d be willing to give it a go. In short, would it be a terrible idea? Would I be better off doing a shorter route that starts further north to avoid this, etc?

I started the VdlP at the beginning of June, counting on it being a few degrees cooler than in July (say, 28 to 30 deg). It didn’t work that way, it was already 36 deg in Sevilla. (1975).
The problem was also sleeping at night, in one albergue courtyard it was 33 deg.
An umbrella (for shade) was a life-saver, literally, as well as rehydration powder and a lot of water. I carried at least 3 l but it wasn’t always enough. Besides, after an hour or so, the water was hot.
Personally, I wouldn’t walk it again in Summer and wouldn’t advise it to anyone else but obviously, it can be done. There are also long stretches without shade. Of course, this year might be a bit cooler, I have no idea.
Up to you! ;)

Ps: your fellow Australian is right, some people have died of dehydration/heat exhaustion etc
 
Last edited:

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I walked the Via de la Plata from Seville, taking the Sanabres option, but I started at the end of April. I loved Seville, so would not want to miss it (I loved the whole walk - but the weather was pleasantly cool). If you are a bushwalker here in Australia then your fitness level will be no problem. Bushwalking is much harder than anything on the Via. Especially as you are a spring chicken!

I agree about the need to take extra water and planning for long stages. I would not take for granted that albergues will be open - on the Via the numbers drop as it heats up and albergues can be closed. So I don't leave the safety of a village without being sure that I have somewhere to stop within my physical limits. One of the tragedies last year occurred when an albergue was unexpectedly closed. The pilgrim pressed on and sadly died from heat and dehydration.

I can't give much advice about the weather and the time of year, except to say that my experience on the meseta, on the Camino Francés, is that even though June is scorchingly hot, it is not as bad as August. There seemed to be a breeze blowing in the morning (not the afternoon) and I took care to start early and finish walking before 1pm - probably not always possible on the longer stretches of the Via, although with planning most can be broken into shorter lengths.

I agree about the umbrella - a lifesaver imo. I would take one with a reflective silver coating. There are various ways of rigging the umbrella to make it handsfree - try YouTube.

If I was walking in June/July and wanting to finish in Santiago, and I was fit, my choice would probably be the Norte. It is a lovely route. Have a look at it before you decide.
 

Walli Walker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances '2009',Portuguese '2015', Ingles '2015', Fin and Muxia '2015'. Camino from Granada '2017'.
We walked from Granada to Santiago 2017. We averaged 25 km a day and had 5 rest days. I think it was about 8 weeks all together. Don’t try this route in the summer. We started mid April and finished a week into June which was good. Any later and you’d be asking for trouble. And I live in Queensland & love the heat!
 

Donna Sch

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Levante-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
England Camino routes ?2024
Hola peregrinos y peregrinas, I’m new to the forum and the Camino and very excited to be reading about all your adventures! I’m trying to figure out my route/schedule ASAP so I can book flights while they’re still cheap (coming all the way from Australia!) and need advice...

Background: I’ve never done any Camino before, and I would like to start with the Vía de la Plata (and possibly Vía Mozarabe) rather than the Camino Francés. I understand VdlP is more challenging, but I feel that I could handle it fine with the right preparation. I’m 29yo with fairly average fitness for someone my age - I’m no gym junkie, but I do have fairly good stamina in general, so I’d expect I would keep up ok with whatever the “standard” pace would be. I wouldn’t call myself a hardcore hiker, but I have done a few long bush walks with friends (about 25-30km non stop) with little to no training/prep, in both hot Australian summers and cold, wet winters - so I know that I can handle walking long-ish distances, in various conditions, without much hassle (with the right footwear, hydration and snacks!). I don’t have a regular exercise routine at the moment, but I’m intending to train and improve my fitness a bit more with a combination of distance walking, running and cycling over the next 3 months or so.

So, on to business - re: Vía de la Plata and Vía Mozarabe. The two big factors I’m not sure on here are 1. timing/duration and 2. weather.


1. TIMING / DURATION - Can anyone advise how many walking days I should allow (not including rest days, though of course I will add them in) to cover the following route options below? I’ve already looked up all of these in the forums etc. but it’s been hard to find clear, straightforward answers.

(A) Via Mozarabe from Granada to Merida, then Via de la Plata from there to Santiago de Compostela? (Total time for that entire journey)

(B) Full length of VdlP from Seville to Santiago?

(C) VdlP from Merida to Santiago?

(D) VdlP from Salamanca to Santiago?

I’m also intending to do Santiago to Finisterre as well - as far as I can gather, it looks like this typically takes about 4-5 days at a comfortable pace. Is that right?


2. WEATHER - I would be setting off anytime between early June (if doing a longer route) and late June (if doing a shorter one) - my end-point is that I’d be flying out to Scotland on 19 July. I’ve read many accounts here in the forums from people who set off from Seville (or elsewhere in the far south) anytime between early August and late September, who all said it was extremely hot for the first couple of weeks until they got further north.

Would it be just as hot in early June? Hotter? Cooler? Again, it’s hard to find a clear answer as I’ve read so much anecdotal information on the weather at various times of year that doesn’t mesh with the actual meteorological data that google searches throw back. As an Australian I’m used to hot summers, but I’ve also had a fellow Australian strongly advise that I shouldn’t do these routes through the south in summer because people have died from dehydration and heat exhaustion, etc. However, again, I don’t know what it would be like in early-mid June compared to August and September (as I’ve seen so many others on here have done) - if it’s likely to be even just a few degrees cooler, then I’d be willing to give it a go. In short, would it be a terrible idea? Would I be better off doing a shorter route that starts further north to avoid this, etc?


Many thanks in advance for any advice people can pass on! 🙏🏼 And sorry if this was a bit long and rambly...
I have a thread from 2015 from my VDLP in June/July 2015. I was very fit in hindsight doing martial arts traing three times per week as well as cycling and walking everywhere. I live in Darwin. Think Central Australia type heat. Extremadura is the difficult bit. It can be done but water management is the issue. You need to walk about 20-25km daily most days and anything more is a bonus. Assume 50 walking days to give yourself time. You will probably do it in 40ish but don't put yourself under time pressure. Spain feels hot when the sun shines. I'm doing the Levante right now and it's hot when it hits 18 degrees! You will live in shorts and a tshirt. Do not do Extremadura in August. Get it done in June at the latest. This is not the CF and people die from heat related condtions on a regular basis.
The Finisterre leg is an easy 3 days :)
Best advice? Learn as much Spanish as possible. Coffee Break Spanish is very practical.
Just remember you are testing your body's limits every day. I can walk 32km in 4 hours with no load. However 25km with 12 kg is a long hard day and is hard on the feet. 6-7kg of gear plus water seems to be the comfortable medium.
 

ruthp27

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Mozarabe / Via de la Plata (2019)
I have a thread from 2015 from my VDLP in June/July 2015. I was very fit in hindsight doing martial arts traing three times per week as well as cycling and walking everywhere. I live in Darwin. Think Central Australia type heat. Extremadura is the difficult bit. It can be done but water management is the issue. You need to walk about 20-25km daily most days and anything more is a bonus. Assume 50 walking days to give yourself time. You will probably do it in 40ish but don't put yourself under time pressure. Spain feels hot when the sun shines. I'm doing the Levante right now and it's hot when it hits 18 degrees! You will live in shorts and a tshirt. Do not do Extremadura in August. Get it done in June at the latest. This is not the CF and people die from heat related condtions on a regular basis.
The Finisterre leg is an easy 3 days :)
Best advice? Learn as much Spanish as possible. Coffee Break Spanish is very practical.
Just remember you are testing your body's limits every day. I can walk 32km in 4 hours with no load. However 25km with 12 kg is a long hard day and is hard on the feet. 6-7kg of gear plus water seems to be the comfortable medium.


Thank you so much Donna! Do you recall how long it took you to get from Seville to Merida? (Or in other words, how long would the trip have been just from Merida to Santiago). Ditto for Salamanca?

The more I consider the amount of time and money I will have (which is still flexible but there are also constraints too), the more I am realising that a shorter trip would be more sensible, so I am likely to start at one of those two cities. But I still need to work out the time needed, though :)
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I read your original post with enthusiasm, thinking I'd recommend the Via de la Plata over the Mozarabe (since the Plata has more pilgrims and associated infrastructure for a first timer), until I got to "June" when I stopped and didn't know if I'd recommend either. With your follow-up post, I recovered some enthusiasm. Starting in Merida will get your further out of the hottest part and, in my opinion, the part from Merida to Salamanca is the best. (However, it still includes the place where a pilgrim died last year, and you should follow the advice about planning each day, carrying plenty of water and a reflective umbrella.)

Seville to Merida took me 10 days. A problem with the VDLP is that sometimes you have to take either a very short day (15 km) or a very long one (35-40). You might want to go over the itinerary using one of the tools already recommended, to understand how many days it might take. I prefer days of 20-25 km, although I can do 35 if necessary. For me, I would plan for
  • 10 days from Seville to Merida (I've walked this)
  • 12 days from Merida to Salamanca (I've walked this)
  • 3 days from Salamanca to Zamora (I've walked this)
  • 20 days from Zamora to Santiago (I'm planning this for 2019)
That's a total of 45 days, whereas others have said 35-42. I could probably do it in 42 days if necessary. Fortunately, it isn't necessary! :p

Then you want 4 days for Finisterre. You might include that time and accept that if you need the extra days before, your trip to Finisterre can be by bus. Or there is the option of doing some catch-up sections earlier by taxi or bus if you are slipping behind schedule.
 
D

Deleted member 397

Guest
Sevilla to Merida is 10 days..just noticed C Clearly has answered about distances
I walked from Valencia in 2017 and started in mid july..weather was ok..I prefer it to be hot rather than cold. Also walked VDLP several times from different points including Gtranada always in summer..living in Oz I aim to avoid our winter so july/august is ideal. Usually carry 1 litre of water occasionally more and yes have arrived thirsty but 1litre= 1kg. Left Sevilla one year in august and it was hot but usually by late arvo but in Galicia it was absolutely freezing!
By the way assuming my plantar fasciitis op heals I'll be walking from Granada in early june too. I avoid alberques so cant remember availability
 

Delphinoula

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C. PdC 2018 Finisterre Muxía 2018
C.Franconia 2019 C.Algeciras Sevillia 2019
Swabian C. (2020)
Buen Camino Ruth,
I still at the planning stage myself. You seem to life in temperate wether in Melbourne?
Nevertheless from experience living in the south. There is a reason while the Spanish have siestas. So physical activity when it’s cooler in the morning , rest time during the midday heat and then walk again when it’s cooled down a bit. Almost the opposite if you walking in cold wetter.
Don’t know if this helps?
The Romans say in August you only find dogs and tourists on the street🥵
 
D

Deleted member 397

Guest
Buen Camino Ruth,
I still at the planning stage myself. You seem to life in temperate wether in Melbourne?
Nevertheless from experience living in the south. There is a reason while the Spanish have siestas. So physical activity when it’s cooler in the morning , rest time during the midday heat and then walk again when it’s cooled down a bit. Almost the opposite if you walking in cold wetter.
Don’t know if this helps?
The Romans say in August you only find dogs and tourists on the street🥵
Temperate!...so far 4 days over 37,today nudging 40..now after 10pm and 32
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Magwood

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
See signature line for links to daily posts to blogs from many caminos
Hola @ruthp27. I have walked all your options except from Seville to Mérida.
From Granada to Mérida - 16 days (including some very long stages)
Mérida to Salamanca - 12 days
Salamanca to Santiago via the Sanabres - 19 days
Santiago to Finisterre - 3 days

I have never walked in June, I always start in April to get the best of the spring flowers and cooler weather. Although even walking at this time I have experienced extremely hot weather.

I have noted in my blog all stages and accommodation used. Links are in the footnote of this post.
Buen camino!
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017, 2018, 2019
I’m trying to figure out my route/schedule ASAP so I can book flights while they’re still cheap (coming all the way from Australia!
Might be worth booking a flight to Europe now and sort out the short haul connections later. Madrid would be a good hopping off point for domestic flights, buses or trains to any of the places that you’re considering starting. So if you see a cheap way to get there, I’d snap it up if I were you.
Just bear in mind that you’ll need to avoid tight connections if you’re on separate tickets. Plan on spending a day in Madrid rather than booking a domestic flight a couple of hours after your scheduled arrival.
 

Marcus-UK

Old Git
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Ingles 2016 Camino Portuguese 2017 Considering Invierno late (2020) In lieu of VdlP (2020)
I am planning a trip on the VdlP in 2020.
On YouTube there are a number of Videos concerning the Camino. A German pilgrim started in late May 2017 and continued through June and July! In the worst sections in Andalusia/Extremadura he actually experienced temperatures up to 52 degrees Celsius! he was carrying four liters of water on the longer sections and found this to be only just adequate.

i was originally planning on starting in Early may I am now planning on starting Earlier in mid April sometime after Easter.
 

ruthp27

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Mozarabe / Via de la Plata (2019)
Might be worth booking a flight to Europe now and sort out the short haul connections later. Madrid would be a good hopping off point for domestic flights, buses or trains to any of the places that you’re considering starting. So if you see a cheap way to get there, I’d snap it up if I were you.
Just bear in mind that you’ll need to avoid tight connections if you’re on separate tickets. Plan on spending a day in Madrid rather than booking a domestic flight a couple of hours after your scheduled arrival.


As it happens, I just booked my long-haul flights today, AND to my pleasant surprise they’d put them on sale so they were hundreds of dollars cheaper than when I first looked! Woohoo :)

Thanks all for your advice, it’s certainly been useful. I’ll probably think of more questions in the meantime!
 

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