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Solo female Camino Frances from October 20th. Guidance welcome!

LauraM38

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, October 2022
Hi All, I will start the Camino Frances next week from Saint Jean Pied de Port. I am a solo female walker who has never walked on Camino before.

A lot of websites have said that October is a lot less crowded than summer months or September, which is great, however as a solo female i am trying to guage what that means in terms of walking alone. By 'less crowded' should i expect to walk for many miles alone?

I would be greatly interested to hear from anyone who is currently on or has done the route in October, or solo female travellers in general. I had initially assumed safety would be fine given the popularity of the Camino but I have come across some posts on this forum that are making me a little nervous.

Any guidance or insight would be greatly appreciated

Many thanks
L
 
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@LauraM38 I think it might help you get more specific answers if you say where you will be starting from. The last 100+ km from Sarria is a very different experience from the earlier stages such as the meseta.
 
By 'less crowded' should i expect to walk for many miles alone?
I haven't walked in October, but even in busier months (May - September) I have walked for many miles alone. I would expect that in October it would be even more so.

However, you if you want companionship you can get to know one or several pilgrims the evening before you start walking, and suggest that you start out together in the morning. This may mean that you may need to adjust the time that you get up to fit their schedule, or perhaps you can compromise on that.
 
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I haven't walked in October, but even in busier months (May - September) I have walked for many miles alone. I would expect that in October it would be even more so.

However, you if you want companionship you can get to know one or several pilgrims the evening before you start walking, and suggest that you start out together in the morning. This may mean that you may need to adjust the time that you get up to fit their schedule, or perhaps you can compromise on that.
Thank you, yes this seems like sensible advice. I was more concerned that perhaps there would not be many other travelers to pair up with, it was difficult to gauge without prior experience what 'less crowded' meant. Thank you for your help :)
 
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Hi All, I will start the Camino Frances next week from Saint Jean Pied de Port. I am a solo female walker who has never walked on Camino before.

A lot of websites have said that October is a lot less crowded than summer months or September, which is great, however as a solo female i am trying to guage what that means in terms of walking alone. By 'less crowded' should i expect to walk for many miles alone?

I would be greatly interested to hear from anyone who is currently on or has done the route in October, or solo female travellers in general. I had initially assumed safety would be fine given the popularity of the Camino but I have come across some posts on this forum that are making me a little nervous.

Any guidance or insight would be greatly appreciated

Many thanks
L
I walked September/October last year. I was usually alone in early mornings for an hour or two and then I'd meet up with others over coffee and walk with them. I had no qualms about being alone in the dark with my flashlight for my early mornings, I think Camino is one of the safest places to be. That said, always pay attention to your surroundings, consider cochlear headphones instead of earbuds if you plan on listening to music/books/podcasts as you walk, download the AlertCops app if you haven't already and know that 112 is the emergency number.
There were very few times when I was completely alone for more than 20 minutes. I could usually see peregrinos ahead of me or hear them somewhere behind me.
I'd pick up a thin pair of merino glove liners, it can be very chilly in the early mornings.

Buen Camino!
 
Hi All, I will start the Camino Frances next week from Saint Jean Pied de Port. I am a solo female walker who has never walked on Camino before.
Starting in SJPdP in October you should have no trouble connecting with others; both newbies, and oldies repeating the Camino. Although it will be "less" busy, there should still be plenty of people starting out and you should have no problem meeting other walkers.
 
I think this is a perfect time to walk the Camino Frances. I've done it in October-November. If you follow the crowd (well, a group, anyway) out of the albergue at the start of the day (not too early, not too late), perhaps with a quick stop for coffee, you will have plenty of opportunities to walk in sight of others for most of the day. In October-November this may mean that you are starting in the dark because that's what many others do. I usually prefer a more leisurely start to the day, and thus I often walk alone, at least until people from the previous village begin to lap me.
 
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On average people take about a month to walk from SJPDP to Santiago. I've just looked at the pilgrim office statistics for arrivals in November 2019 (who therefore will have been walking some part of the route during October). There were just under 2,000 arrivals who started their journeys in SJPDP, Roncesvalles or Pamplona. At a very rough estimate that suggests that on the early stages there were somewhere in the region of 60 to 70 pilgrims walking each stage daily. Not the three-ring-circus of a summer on the Camino Frances but it seems likely that you will have company if you choose to look for it.
 
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On average people take about a month to walk from SJPDP to Santiago. I've just looked at the pilgrim office statistics for arrivals in November 2019 (who therefore will have been walking some part of the route during October). There were just under 2,000 arrivals who started their journeys in SJPDP, Roncesvalles or Pamplona. At a very rough estimate that suggests that on the early stages there were somewhere in the region of 60 to 70 pilgrims walking each stage daily. Not the three-ring-circus of a summer on the Camino Frances but it seems likely that you will have company if you choose to look for it.
A month is fairly quick for it.

What I find is that people tend to take between 4 and 8 weeks, averaging at about 6, and given that they can start at any point within September, that means that they will arrive during October mostly. But even into November.

But I am currently in the midst of the 100K circus, and by far the majority have started at Sarria.

As to 60 or 70 pilgrims, that's sometimes how many I can pass over 100 yards right now, not far from Santiago, let alone in a day !!
 
As to 60 or 70 pilgrims, that's sometimes how many I can pass over 100 yards right now, not far from Santiago, let alone in a day !!
I can well believe that. I was only referring to the early stages of the Frances - after Sarria it becomes something very different. I'm astounded at the numbers of Compostelas still being handed out each day. On my last Camino Frances in 2016 I remember looking ahead on the long section of Roman road after Carrion de Los Condes. In a single glance lasting only a few seconds I saw more walkers than I had met in total over nearly 800km on my first Camino.
 
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Well, at least at this time of the year, the majority of them does wear a backpack, not excluding the smaller travel packs of the reservagrinos who pure and simple need less kit.

I am not displeased to see fewer pilgrims with just day packs or nothing.

And if I never came across another electric bicigrino using the Jacotrans, I would not complain.

Sorry for the thread hijacking BTW, and I'll stop now.

Just had steak and eggs in Arzúa, brilliant but unfortunately the Chuletón was just that bit too costly to get instead, and I will likely do a massive 2K total when I finally decide to get off my fat a. rse.
 
To get back on topic, peregrinas who are strong physically, mentally, and spiritually, all three, as well as being taller women than average should have no trouble, howsoever they may choose to walk, if it's on any of the major routes.

As to those of you who are outside of that definition in whichever way, there is really no problem at all about starting alone, but you would be very well advised to find others to walk with along the Way.

And to be completely clear, I most definitely do not mean protection by a man - - but I mean that two women together are safer from the creeps than one alone.

Or a boy and a girl.

And so on.

So if you're worried, do be, but then find people to walk with so that you can rest easy instead.
 
peregrinas who are strong physically, mentally, and spiritually, all three, as well as being taller women
This is not useful.

I like to think I am mentally strong but i am rather short, quite old,, and my spiritual condition is highly debatable. I walk mostly alone on the Camino, just as I do through streets, forest, industrial land at home.

One of the reasons I choose to walk in Spain is that there are few other places in the world where I can feel as safe while walking long distances alone. However, all regular precautions should still be taken.

You will find that it is quite normal for solo women to be on the Camino.
 
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Hi All, I will start the Camino Frances next week from Saint Jean Pied de Port. I am a solo female walker who has never walked on Camino before.

A lot of websites have said that October is a lot less crowded than summer months or September, which is great, however as a solo female i am trying to guage what that means in terms of walking alone. By 'less crowded' should i expect to walk for many miles alone?

I would be greatly interested to hear from anyone who is currently on or has done the route in October, or solo female travellers in general. I had initially assumed safety would be fine given the popularity of the Camino but I have come across some posts on this forum that are making me a little nervous.

Any guidance or insight would be greatly appreciated

Many thanks
L
At the moment we receive between 100 and 150 pilgrims every day at the pilgrims'office at 39 rue de la Citadelle in Saint Jean Pied de Port who set off on the Camino Frances. You will never be alone on the way.
Please note that from the 1st of November many hostels close. At the Pilgrims' Office the volunteers will give you information about the open hostels.
Ultreïa Buen Camino
 
Hi All, I will start the Camino Frances next week from Saint Jean Pied de Port. I am a solo female walker who has never walked on Camino before.

A lot of websites have said that October is a lot less crowded than summer months or September, which is great, however as a solo female i am trying to guage what that means in terms of walking alone. By 'less crowded' should i expect to walk for many miles alone?

I would be greatly interested to hear from anyone who is currently on or has done the route in October, or solo female travellers in general. I had initially assumed safety would be fine given the popularity of the Camino but I have come across some posts on this forum that are making me a little nervous.

Any guidance or insight would be greatly appreciated

Many thanks
L
It is difficult for me to comment on safety for you as a lone female walker, but as a lone male walker I have walked in September/October and there have been plenty of people around. I personally regard the Camino as extremely safe. It is possible to spend time by yourself and also team up with others as it suits you. I have made two good friends who were lone female walkers on previous Caminos who walked for long periods with me, and we still stay in touch by email. One of them came to visit myself and my wife with her partner when they were in England.
Buen Camino
Vince
 
Hi All, I will start the Camino Frances next week from Saint Jean Pied de Port. I am a solo female walker who has never walked on Camino before.

A lot of websites have said that October is a lot less crowded than summer months or September, which is great, however as a solo female i am trying to guage what that means in terms of walking alone. By 'less crowded' should i expect to walk for many miles alone?

I would be greatly interested to hear from anyone who is currently on or has done the route in October, or solo female travellers in general. I had initially assumed safety would be fine given the popularity of the Camino but I have come across some posts on this forum that are making me a little nervous.

Any guidance or insight would be greatly appreciated

Many thanks
L
Sep Oct 2018 for me. That's a difficult question to answer. Most of the time if you look ahead or behind there will be other pilgrims, at a distance, in sight. Some sections no one. If you want, you can pace yourself to always be within eyesight. Some sections it's a party. It depends how early you start, at least for the first morning hour. Some bars are bustling with activity some not. If you want to feel alone the Camino will likely disappoint. As you walk you will find that you are always catching up to a group ahead or a group behind is on your heels. I found it comforting.
 
Be part of the Camino Cleanup team! Help us pick up litter from Ponferrada to Sarria.
Hi there! I too will be starting from SJPP on the 20th. Will be my 4th Camino having walked 2 of the previous 3 Caminos with my eldest. All of them beginning in mid October and ending little past mid November. Perfect weather, culture, food, and company. No matter how hard I may try, I’m never alone on the Camino. Learned pretty quick that resistance is futile and I should enjoy what the Camino provides. And man have I met some great people from all over the world as a result. Young, old, in between, every race, ethnicity, and language, will make themselves available to you if you’re open to it.

Go get em…
 
I usually walk in March which is even less popular! I am in my 60s and always go solo. That said, I have never felt uncomfortable or frightened. In 2018, I was alone in 3 albergues in a row on the alternate path out of Leon!! The only issue was not enough heat! If you want company, you will find it. There are many women going solo. Check out Camigas on FaceBook. It’s a site for women doing the Camino solo.
 
No matter how hard I may try, I’m never alone on the Camino.
You could try a different Camino. :) Earlier this year I walked the Via de la Plata and I often went for several days at a time without seeing another pilgrim. Only became a daily occurrence on the final 100km after Ourense.
 
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The replies are excellent and only to add that today I am 1/3 complete and have seen many sola pilgrims. I can’t imagine any trouble finding someone to accompany you for long stretches, brief sections or brief stretches of long sections. The camaraderie is really something to behold and hard to describe until it’s experienced - it’s lovely. I don’t have a crystal ball yet I still feel safe saying it’s going to be just fine.
I’ve enjoyed the walking by moonlight or starlight with the help of a flashlight and it is getting cooler by the day. Something I hadn’t thought about until I began on October 2…but found solutions on the way at the tiendas.
 
Hi All, I will start the Camino Frances next week from Saint Jean Pied de Port. I am a solo female walker who has never walked on Camino before.

A lot of websites have said that October is a lot less crowded than summer months or September, which is great, however as a solo female i am trying to guage what that means in terms of walking alone. By 'less crowded' should i expect to walk for many miles alone?

I would be greatly interested to hear from anyone who is currently on or has done the route in October, or solo female travellers in general. I had initially assumed safety would be fine given the popularity of the Camino but I have come across some posts on this forum that are making me a little nervous.

Any guidance or insight would be greatly appreciated

Many thanks
L
Hi Laura
A friend of mine, a solo female, walked the Camino in October. She never had a problem finding others to walk with. In fact, being a "very" social person, her challenge was finding/making time to herself!

This was pre-covid, but I believe the numbers on the Camino are back up again.

Congratulations on your first Camino!
Buen Camino!
DJ
 
Hi All, I will start the Camino Frances next week from Saint Jean Pied de Port. I am a solo female walker who has never walked on Camino before.

A lot of websites have said that October is a lot less crowded than summer months or September, which is great, however as a solo female i am trying to guage what that means in terms of walking alone. By 'less crowded' should i expect to walk for many miles alone?

I would be greatly interested to hear from anyone who is currently on or has done the route in October, or solo female travellers in general. I had initially assumed safety would be fine given the popularity of the Camino but I have come across some posts on this forum that are making me a little nervous.

Any guidance or insight would be greatly appreciated

Many thanks
L
Walked alone all of October 2014 , weather was perfect and always had walkers behind and in front of me .
You will be fine embrace it .
 
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Thanks, can you tell I am new :)
I went in March on my own and went straight to the pilgrims office to register there I found out how many pilgrims were in SDPP, so it was not long for me to come across some off them , so your likely to come across someone who may also be walking on their own who would like the company as well , however your pace may be different to theirs so bear that in mind as don't push yourself .. day 1 , 2 ,and 4 out of Pamplona was the most difficult days for me after that it was very relaxing and never booked my return flight until I got to Sarria.. I am planning to do it again as I just loved being on that route though it did take approx 5 weeks and booked the odd night into a pension .. found no maps were required as it was well sign posted .. enjoy every moment and the company of all those you meet on your way
 
Hi All, I will start the Camino Frances next week from Saint Jean Pied de Port. I am a solo female walker who has never walked on Camino before.

A lot of websites have said that October is a lot less crowded than summer months or September, which is great, however as a solo female i am trying to guage what that means in terms of walking alone. By 'less crowded' should i expect to walk for many miles alone?

I would be greatly interested to hear from anyone who is currently on or has done the route in October, or solo female travellers in general. I had initially assumed safety would be fine given the popularity of the Camino but I have come across some posts on this forum that are making me a little nervous.

Any guidance or insight would be greatly appreciated

Many thanks
L
I’m on the Camino Frances now, started 9/10. It is crowded now, but can’t imagine it’s going to completely drop off to nothing. There are plenty of people and it is likely (if you want) that you will find plenty of company along the way. I have had days alone by choice and days where I walk with someone. Are you staying in Orisson? That will be a great place to meet and connect with fellow walkers.
Im so excited for you! This has been an incredible journey. Btw, there hasn’t been a second where I felt unsafe, I’m a single female walker as well.
 
I haven't walked in October, but even in busier months (May - September) I have walked for many miles alone. I would expect that in October it would be even more so.

However, you if you want companionship you can get to know one or several pilgrims the evening before you start walking, and suggest that you start out together in the morning. This may mean that you may need to adjust the time that you get up to fit their schedule, or perhaps you can compromise on that.
Infer a partner.
My husband is meeting me ahead. I'm meeting a party ...
My hotel is expecting my family and I...
My walking partner is a slowpoke behind me ...
 
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Hi Laura, Im Elle, form Devon UK. I am also considering starting next week. Perhaps around the 17th. I started it years ago but only had ten days off work - loved it though, and although it was busy, I tended to start later than most (8am being a late start on the camino!), so walked alone for a while at first and felt really safe, and would then walk with others from mid-morning.
This time I planned to leave at the start of Sept but had to delay, so was a little reluctant to start much later - but reading your post, and others, I feel much more up for it now, rather than waiting until Spring. So I will let you know if I do go ahead this Autumn! Thanks so much for posting - its helped me!
 
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Hi there! I too will be starting from SJPP on the 20th. Will be my 4th Camino having walked 2 of the previous 3 Caminos with my eldest. All of them beginning in mid October and ending little past mid November. Perfect weather, culture, food, and company. No matter how hard I may try, I’m never alone on the Camino. Learned pretty quick that resistance is futile and I should enjoy what the Camino provides. And man have I met some great people from all over the world as a result. Young, old, in between, every race, ethnicity, and language, will make themselves available to you if you’re open to it.

Go get em…
I may also be starting next week. I started a few years ago but only had 10 days off work. So this would be my first full camino. I need to make up my mind to start this Autumn or not! But once I do, I may just jump on a flight. May see you! Lucy, UK
 
At the moment we receive between 100 and 150 pilgrims every day at the pilgrims'office at 39 rue de la Citadelle in Saint Jean Pied de Port who set off on the Camino Frances. You will never be alone on the way.
Please note that from the 1st of November many hostels close. At the Pilgrims' Office the volunteers will give you information about the open hostels.
Ultreïa Buen Camino
Thank you for this response Monasp, it is very useful.
You say that many of the hostels close from the 1st November. Can I assume that there are still enough hostels open to realistically walk the Camino France in Autumn? I may start next week, I may start 1 Nov, and end around 7 December.
Thank you, Merci!
Lucy.
 
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Thank you for this response Monasp, it is very useful.
You say that many of the hostels close from the 1st November. Can I assume that there are still enough hostels open to realistically walk the Camino France in Autumn? I may start next week, I may start 1 Nov, and end around 7 December.
Thank you, Merci!
Lucy.
Starting November 1st this site maintains a list of albergues that are open in the winter

It's always best to verify the day before
 
Thank you for this response Monasp, it is very useful.
You say that many of the hostels close from the 1st November. Can I assume that there are still enough hostels open to realistically walk the Camino France in Autumn? I may start next week, I may start 1 Nov, and end around 7 December.
Thank you, Merci!
Lucy.
For 1st of November this will give you all the hostels open. It's downloaded every day
 
Can I assume that there are still enough hostels open to realistically walk the Camino France in Autumn? I may start next week, I may start 1 Nov, and end around 7 December.
Yes, there are enough. Just be aware that there are fewer. You should not count on arriving unannounced in a small village with, say, only one albergue, and not be prepared to walk on to the next.
 
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Hi Laura, Im Elle, form Devon UK. I am also considering starting next week. Perhaps around the 17th. I started it years ago but only had ten days off work - loved it though, and although it was busy, I tended to start later than most (8am being a late start on the camino!), so walked alone for a while at first and felt really safe, and would then walk with others from mid-morning.
This time I planned to leave at the start of Sept but had to delay, so was a little reluctant to start much later - but reading your post, and others, I feel much more up for it now, rather than waiting until Spring. So I will let you know if I do go ahead this Autumn! Thanks so much for posting - its helped me!
Thanks I’m glad it helped and best of luck if you decide to do in autumn or in spring ;)
 

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