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Should I make reservations?

Pilgrim2022

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future Camino Frances April 2022
I had originally planned my Camino for April 2020 and that didn't happen...
My question, I am now scheduled for April 2022. Should I make reservations for every night? Or should I take my chances? I am doing the Camino Frances, starting in SJPDP. Thank you.
 
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Grousedoctor

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
Hi Pilgrim 2022. You ask one of the more debated questions that I’ve seen on Forums. For very different and equally valid reasons you’ll generally find two camps on this topic. I have walked Caminos both with and without reservations. On some of the lesser traveled Caminos, I haven’t found reservations necessary. This also depends on the time of year you are walking.

When I first walked the CF, I reserved most of my albergues well in advance of my travel to Spain. On the April morning that I left SJPP, some 300 other pilgrims were also heading over the Pyrenees. SJPP, Roncesvalles, and Larrasoaña were all busy and I was pleased to have reserved beds in all three spots. From there on, it was a mixed bag. Some places/stops were busier than others. Having had reservations allowed me not to even think about the “bed race” on the Francés. Some pilgrims were just reserving a day ahead which proved successful.

My general observation was that if you arrived at your destination early enough in the afternoon, there was no problem getting a bed. However, if you wanted to stay at a particular private albergue, as the municipales do not take reservations, you might or might not get a bed. But, you could generally find one in a town without much difficulty. I enjoyed leaving an albergue just as it was getting light. For several reasons, this is a great time of day to walk . I then was able to reach my destination between 1-2 in the afternoon. Even though I had a reservation, other pilgrims arriving about the same time, too, found accommodations. As I knew my daily stopping points, reservations worked quite well and little though went into wondering about getting a bed.

If you are leaving in the later half of April, I would at least make reservations up until Pamplona. I’d also reserve in Santiago. You could play rest of it by ear and see how the crowds are. You can always phone ahead a day in advance to reserve a bed. It will all work out. Buen Camino.
 

Pilgrim2022

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future Camino Frances April 2022
Hi Pilgrim 2022. You ask one of the more debated questions that I’ve seen on Forums. For very different and equally valid reasons you’ll generally find two camps on this topic. I have walked Caminos both with and without reservations. On some of the lesser traveled Caminos, I haven’t found reservations necessary. This also depends on the time of year you are walking. When I first walked the CF, I reserved most of my albergues well in advance of my travel to Spain. On the April morning that I left SJPP, some 300 other pilgrims were also heading over the Pyrenees. SJPP, Roncesvalles, and Larrasoaña were all busy and I was pleased to have reserved beds in all three spots. From there on, it was a mixed bag. Some places/stops were busier than others. Having had reservations allowed me not to even think about the “bed race” on the Francés. Some pilgrims were just reserving a day ahead which proved successful. My general observation was that if you arrived at your destination early enough in the afternoon, there was no problem getting a bed. However, if you wanted to stay at a particular private albergue, as the municipales do not take reservations, you might or might not get a bed. But, you could generally find one in a town without much difficulty. I enjoyed leaving an albergue just as it was getting light. For several reasons, this is a great time of day to walk . I then was able to reach my destination between 1-2 in the afternoon. Even though I had a reservation, other pilgrims arriving about the same time, too, found accommodations. As I knew my daily stopping points, reservations worked quite well and little though went into wondering about getting a bed. If you are leaving in the later half of April, I would at least make reservations up until Pamplona. I’d also reserve in Santiago. You could play rest of it by ear and see how the crowds are. You can always phone ahead a day in advance to reserve a bed. It will all work out. Buen Camino.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question so thoroughly! I am scheduled to begin April 22. I've made reservations through to Puente le Reina and wondered if I should plan farther, or maybe I have planned too much....
 

David with new Kit!

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2019, 2021, 2022
Good advice from @Grousedoctor

I'd say book up to and including Zubiri as those are pinch points, after which people spread out. Booking Santiago is nice if you can guarantee arriving on a certain date 5 weeks in advance, maybe you can.

When I did it last year I used a rolling 3-5 day booking as that gave me scope to change my plans in case of any unforeseen events.

Its easier rebooking 5 days than 35 days !!

Also, its only really a problem if you intend staying in municipal alberques predominantly, otherwise you will be fine if you are flexible with accommodation.

Last year was also a Holy Year and it was still ok.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question so thoroughly! I am scheduled to begin April 22. I've made reservations through to Puente le Reina and wondered if I should plan farther, or maybe I have planned too much....
You should be fine with your bookings up through Puente la Reina. By the time you get to Pamplona you should have a good idea of how far you like to walk each day, and you can reserve a day or two ahead at that point.
 
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Embee12

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
First time: Fall 2022
Good advice from @Grousedoctor

I'd say book up to and including Zubiri as those are pinch points, after which people spread out. Booking Santiago is nice if you can guarantee arriving on a certain date 5 weeks in advance, maybe you can.

When I did it last year I used a rolling 3-5 day booking as that gave me scope to change my plans in case of any unforeseen events.

Its easier rebooking 5 days than 35 days !!

Also, its only really a problem if you intend staying in municipal alberques predominantly, otherwise you will be fine if you are flexible with accommodation.

Last year was also a Holy Year and it was still ok.
What do you mean by a “rolling 3-5 day booking”? Thanks.
 

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
From what I have seen, Pilgrims follow tradition and never reserve a bed. And that is the crux of the debate and controversy. Personally, I welcome all. Hikers evolve into Pilgrims...eventually, especially if the return.
 
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2006 to date: Over 21 Caminos. See signature line
Based on what I've seen booking my April/May and September trips for this year, I would get online NOW and book SJPP, BORDA or Orisson, Roncesvalles, and Zubiri. That is the "bottleneck" where you could have issues. After that, it opens up and if you finish by 2-3 pm each day, you should be able to find beds. And if you don't, simply be willing to bus/taxi/walk to the next village or sleep on a bench. :)
 
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trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
I had originally planned my Camino for April 2020 and that didn't happen...
My question, I am now scheduled for April 2022. Should I make reservations for every night? Or should I take my chances? I am doing the Camino Frances, starting in SJPDP. Thank you.
You've presented a binary choice - book everything ahead, or don't book and take your chances. However, there is a third option. Book the first few nights - I would suggest up through Pamplona. After that the pilgrim traffic tends to spread out, and you will have found your rhythm, and know how far you can walk each day. At that point you can start reserving a day or two ahead. This allows you to have flexibility, and still be assured of a bed each night.
 

good_old_shoes

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Francés ('15, '19)
Via Coloniensis ('16)
Trier-Nancy + Le Puy-Fisterra ('17)
Aragonés ('18)
After a few days of walking, you'll also notice whether it's difficult to find a bed or not. Until Pamplona it could be tricky for late walk-ins, but after that, it is very possible that you'll be fine without reservations.

For that, don't only look at available beds on booking.com or similar sites- there are albergues that can't be booked at all, and since all the worried people who make reservations for each night months in advance don't stay there, you can probably find a bed in such places even if all the private rooms in a town are booked already. If your albergue of choice is completo, ask at other places, ask other pilgrims, ask the hospitaleros where it's still worth a try.

Now, If you want to stay in private rooms only or in certain albergues on certain days, you might have more problems. But as long as you're flexible I dare to say you'll be fine without reservations between Puente la Reina and Cebreiro at least :)

In my opinion there's far too much worry going on about getting a bed on the Francés, and that worry existed long before the pandemic.

"But it's easter"
"But it's the bottleneck"
"But it's the last 100km"
"But it's April/May/XYZ month"
ect.
ect.
ect.

Never had to sleep in the street so far, almost never made reservations, and the few times I did, it was on the same day.

Just to give a different perspective.
 

David with new Kit!

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2019, 2021, 2022
What do you mean by a “rolling 3-5 day booking”? Thanks.
Hi @Embee12
Book today for 3 days, and then tomorrow when you have 2 days left, book a further day to make it three ahead again. That's a rolling booking.

Once you have got the initial 3 days booked, you only have to make one reservation each day as you already have two booked, and so it rolls on.
 
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pasiño a pasiño

sin dolor no hay gloria
Time of past OR future Camino
2018 Via de la Plata | next Francés again....
I'm walking since 2010 on different ways in different seasons, short (100km) and longer (3100km) distances. I roughly slept in 450 Albergues/Gites/Pensions etc.. I personally never booked ahead, on purpose.
1st. I never know how the day will be physically.
2nd. I never know what the day provides.
3rd. I have to feel free and I like the idea not to know in the morning where I will close my eyes at night!

I met a bunch of people they were so busy with booking and looking for accommodation, that they were pressured by this and constantly thinking about it. I felt that they were strained.

I will never forget a guy from Switzerland he had booked his whole Camino in advance. He was obsessed by following his plan, he couldn't let it go, couldn't access to be on the way.....
He was earlier at home than the bouquet of flowers he also had ordered for his wife in advance, cause he got injured by walking to much.(following his schedule)

my punchline is, if you don't have to book (except age, illness, physically limited, etc.... also I know this isn't necessarily a factor, but could be a understandable reason for booking) then be open for what the Camino provides, let the magic carry you.
Cause of these circumstances I experienced uncountable feelings and unforgettable memories! I never felt lost or couldn't find a place to sleep.

I know that everyone walks his own Camino and that's good so!
Please nobody should feel attacked by my words, also English isn't my first language. ;)
 

SallyJane

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future
I'm walking since 2010 on different ways in different seasons, short (100km) and longer (3100km) distances. I roughly slept in 450 Albergues/Gites/Pensions etc.. I personally never booked ahead, on purpose.
1st. I never know how the day will be physically.
2nd. I never know what the day provides.
3rd. I have to feel free and I like the idea not to know in the morning where I will close my eyes at night!

I met a bunch of people they were so busy with booking and looking for accommodation, that they were pressured by this and constantly thinking about it. I felt that they were strained.

I will never forget a guy from Switzerland he had booked his whole Camino in advance. He was obsessed by following his plan, he couldn't let it go, couldn't access to be on the way.....
He was earlier at home than the bouquet of flowers he also had ordered for his wife in advance, cause he got injured by walking to much.(following his schedule)

my punchline is, if you don't have to book (except age, illness, physically limited, etc.... also I know this isn't necessarily a factor, but could be a understandable reason for booking) then be open for what the Camino provides, let the magic carry you.
Cause of these circumstances I experienced uncountable feelings and unforgettable memories! I never felt lost or couldn't find a place to sleep.

I know that everyone walks his own Camino and that's good so!
Please nobody should feel attacked by my words, also English isn't my first language. ;)
Excellent post. Thanks
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2006 to date: Over 21 Caminos. See signature line
You've presented a binary choice - book everything ahead, or don't book and take your chances. However, there is a third option. Book the first few nights - I would suggest up through Pamplona. After that the pilgrim traffic tends to spread out, and you will have found your rhythm, and know how far you can walk each day. At that point you can start reserving a day or two ahead. This allows you to have flexibility, and still be assured of a bed each night.
Yup. This is what I'd do. By the time you get to Pamplona, you'll know if it's necessary.
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Do not forget that Easter isApril 16th! There will be a lot of folks walking Semana Santa in particular!
 

Charles Ross

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Two people to walk the Camino de Santiago in the spring of (2018)
We depart SJPDP on 11 April 2022 and, because of the time of year, really haven't really thought at all about 'reservations'. We walked portions of the Frances in '18 from late April to late May and never had a problem with accommodations. Now, we are a bit worried as we really haven't considered the implications of Easter week! We figure to be in Pamplona on Good Friday, 4 days of walking, and are going to reserve something there. We are in our 70's, slow walkers (although we can handle a 15 mile day if need be). We're the type who can basically walk 4-5 miles, find a place, 'this looks nice' and stop there! We are allowing @ 50 days for the total journey.
Maybe we should consider reservations in Zubiri as well!
I guess my question would be: 'Is there going to be an unusual number of pilgrims starting out in SJPDP on Easter Week because it's Easter Week?' Thanks. This is an interesting thread. C n K
 

lairqueen

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future
I'm walking since 2010 on different ways in different seasons, short (100km) and longer (3100km) distances. I roughly slept in 450 Albergues/Gites/Pensions etc.. I personally never booked ahead, on purpose.
1st. I never know how the day will be physically.
2nd. I never know what the day provides.
3rd. I have to feel free and I like the idea not to know in the morning where I will close my eyes at night!

I met a bunch of people they were so busy with booking and looking for accommodation, that they were pressured by this and constantly thinking about it. I felt that they were strained.

I will never forget a guy from Switzerland he had booked his whole Camino in advance. He was obsessed by following his plan, he couldn't let it go, couldn't access to be on the way.....
He was earlier at home than the bouquet of flowers he also had ordered for his wife in advance, cause he got injured by walking to much.(following his schedule)

my punchline is, if you don't have to book (except age, illness, physically limited, etc.... also I know this isn't necessarily a factor, but could be a understandable reason for booking) then be open for what the Camino provides, let the magic carry you.
Cause of these circumstances I experienced uncountable feelings and unforgettable memories! I never felt lost or couldn't find a place to sleep.

I know that everyone walks his own Camino and that's good so!
Please nobody should feel attacked by my words, also English isn't my first language. ;)
I’m very much like the Swiss guy - I once did a round the world in 3 months and knew exactly where I was staying for every night before I departed. But I’m hoping to change this for the Camino and learn to be a little more flexible
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Latest: Rota Vicentina '19; Portuguese '19.
Yes, definitely. Zubiri is the biggest bottle neck on the entire CF.
So true. I've said this before, but I'll say it again...In mid-April 2017 we thankfully had made reservations at a private albergue not too far past Zubiri. Stopping in the town for a quick look around on our way, I noticed a sports' building/gym located behind the Muni had the door open and sleeping bags were lined up on the floor. In addition, a big bus was being filled up with pilgrims as the driver hoisted their backpacks in the hold below. I remember wondering where they were being taken for the night.
 
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Tincatinker

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2012
guess my question would be: 'Is there going to be an unusual number of pilgrims starting out in SJPDP on Easter Week because it's Easter Week?
Not from StJdP, but from Roncesvalles probably. Many Spaniards will take the opportunity to walk Camino. Not surprisingly few will choose to start from France 😉. You will encounter bus loads of parochial groups and hiking clubs off-loading and a real party atmosphere. They’ll have their beds booked and you’ll be more comfortable if you have too.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
French Route (SJPP-SDC) Spring 2022
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question so thoroughly! I am scheduled to begin April 22. I've made reservations through to Puente le Reina and wondered if I should plan farther, or maybe I have planned too much....
I'm starting the same day from SJPP, but because I will be heading out mid day, I decided to spend the night at Borda. I've made reservations through to Pamplona. This is my first time. Though I will be a day behind you after Roncevalles, I hope we meet up somewhere along the way!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
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I noticed a sports' building/gym located behind the Muni had the door open and sleeping bags were lined up on the floor. In addition, a big bus was being filled up with pilgrims as the driver hoisted their backpacks in the hold below. I remember wondering where they were being taken for the night.
They were being taken on an adventure! I am sure that it subsequently became one of their oft talked about highlights.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Latest: Rota Vicentina '19; Portuguese '19.
They were being taken on an adventure! I am sure that it subsequently became one of their oft talked about highlights.
So true! Here's one of mine when I said to my family... "Do you remember the time we had to eat our lunch standing up, juggling it in the rain on our way to Finesterre from Lires?" 😁
Screenshot_20220221-055330~2.png
 
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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
Charles Ross, I will be in Pamplona on Good Friday too! Arriving from Frankfurt & Barcelona on Thur. evening. Starting my Camino on Sat. At age 66, I also don't want to walk more than 20km per day or even less. Message me if you want to meet for a coffee.
I went ahead and booked all my nights pretty much, except for towns with municipals that I want to stay in. Out of 38 nights, only 9 of them were reserved using booking dot com. The rest, I reserved by email or contacting through FB or their website. Concern about Covid/Easter/HolyYear and the fact that I am a slow walker, this does allow me to not stress about finding a bed and some albergues were simply more attractive than others, so it seemed wise to reserve my bed.
 

juliagthomas

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
No
I'm walking since 2010 on different ways in different seasons, short (100km) and longer (3100km) distances. I roughly slept in 450 Albergues/Gites/Pensions etc.. I personally never booked ahead, on purpose.
1st. I never know how the day will be physically.
2nd. I never know what the day provides.
3rd. I have to feel free and I like the idea not to know in the morning where I will close my eyes at night!

I met a bunch of people they were so busy with booking and looking for accommodation, that they were pressured by this and constantly thinking about it. I felt that they were strained.

I will never forget a guy from Switzerland he had booked his whole Camino in advance. He was obsessed by following his plan, he couldn't let it go, couldn't access to be on the way.....
He was earlier at home than the bouquet of flowers he also had ordered for his wife in advance, cause he got injured by walking to much.(following his schedule)

my punchline is, if you don't have to book (except age, illness, physically limited, etc.... also I know this isn't necessarily a factor, but could be a understandable reason for booking) then be open for what the Camino provides, let the magic carry you.
Cause of these circumstances I experienced uncountable feelings and unforgettable memories! I never felt lost or couldn't find a place to sleep.

I know that everyone walks his own Camino and that's good so!
Please nobody should feel attacked by my words, also English isn't my first language. ;)
Your English is wonderful!
 
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