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Tips for couple of youngters doing the camino Frances in March/April

2020 Camino Guides

Harry420

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances March-April 2020
Hello!

As the title says I'm asking for tips and tricks of people who started there camino Frances in mid March. Anyone have any great ideas what to pack and not? Both of us decided to take a tent with us even tho it's not the high season of the camino but still just to keep it safe if we can't find a place to sleep and also to cut the expenses a bit (don't really want to spend more then 10eu a night to have a place to sleep 😁).
Anyways this is going to be an experience to remember! And thank you in advance for the tips!

Harry.
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
10E a night each or total? Plenty of sub-10E per person places, but check out Gronze.com to see what will be open that early in the season. Camping isn’t easy or really condoned, but others certainly have done it.
 

Harry420

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances March-April 2020
10E a night each or total? Plenty of sub-10E per person places, but check out Gronze.com to see what will be open that early in the season. Camping isn’t easy or really condoned, but others certainly have done it.
Yeah 10eu for each of us. Already checked the website you mentioned, but also will use this one: http://www.aprinca.com/alberguesinvierno/ to find places to stay ;)
Checked the weather so I think a tent is necessary, can't camp without one outside the night temperature will be 7-8 degrees.
Anyways thank you for the replay!
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
Hi Harry, stick "camping" into the search facility on here and find some helpful stuff but also some warnings. No fires, no cooking stoves, no lights for 11 hours of night.... You might want to consider whether you really want to carry that extra weight or just walk a little further to the next inexpensive bed, warm shower and often even a kitchen you can use. Most of the Municipal and other public (not privately owned for profit) Albergues will fit your budget. Some might even be warmer than outside night temperatures ;)
 

jozero

Been there, going again...
Camino(s) past & future
CF x 3
Couple of things to consider. First, you're not walking on public land for the most part and you won't have permission to camp on someone's private land. This is not to say it hasn't happened but that doesn't change the reality. Second, March and April can be pretty wet months, especially when you get close to Galicia in April. Tenting in the rain can be a drag because you will be packing a wet tent into your pack with no way to dry it out for the next night. Next nice bit is that after walking all day in the rain and either getting soaked from the outside by rain or sweat from the inside, you won't have a nice hot shower to clean up with. You also won't have anywhere to dry your clothes for the next day so wet clothes after a day or two will fill your backpack. By day three I think you'll be over camping on the Camino :) Not all Albergues will be open in March but by April most will be open. Municipals will run < 10 euros and not so hard to plan for and come with a roof, somewhere to shower, dry your clothes, often cook a meal and usually good companionship or at least the makings a great stories about people snoring on the Camino. Enjoy your Camino, it's a great experience!
 

Harry420

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances March-April 2020
Hi Harry, stick "camping" into the search facility on here and find some helpful stuff but also some warnings. No fires, no cooking stoves, no lights for 11 hours of night.... You might want to consider whether you really want to carry that extra weight or just walk a little further to the next inexpensive bed, warm shower and often even a kitchen you can use. Most of the Municipal and other public (not privately owned for profit) Albergues will fit your budget. Some might even be warmer than outside night temperatures ;)
Couple of things to consider. First, you're not walking on public land for the most part and you won't have permission to camp on someone's private land. This is not to say it hasn't happened but that doesn't change the reality. Second, March and April can be pretty wet months, especially when you get close to Galicia in April. Tenting in the rain can be a drag because you will be packing a wet tent into your pack with no way to dry it out for the next night. Next nice bit is that after walking all day in the rain and either getting soaked from the outside by rain or sweat from the inside, you won't have a nice hot shower to clean up with. You also won't have anywhere to dry your clothes for the next day so wet clothes after a day or two will fill your backpack. By day three I think you'll be over camping on the Camino :) Not all Albergues will be open in March but by April most will be open. Municipals will run < 10 euros and not so hard to plan for and come with a roof, somewhere to shower, dry your clothes, often cook a meal and usually good companionship or at least the makings a great stories about people snoring on the Camino. Enjoy your Camino, it's a great experience!
Awesome replays! well the tent is just for cutting expenses. I'm not bothered walking 30km+ a day to find a cheap place to sleep and meet awesome people on the way and listen to those stories 😁😁
 

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
Yep, I've taken a tent and it definitely was not worth it. Plus you can't use it at all in La Rioja, unless you have previously notified the authorities together with your intended stopping place each night. To do otherwise is against the law.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Hola @Harry420 I am another one who would recommend against the tent. As has been advised camping (free camping) in Spain is just about "verboten"(forebidden). It is possible you will find a friendly farmer who allows to camp next to his barn, but that assumes you have a reasonable command of Spanish. Mar/ April is not only a wet weather season on the higher slopes you can and probably should expect snow and or sleet. So come prepared with good quality wet weather gear. Buen Camino.
 

jefferyonthecamino

http://www.barrerabooks.com/ - Guidebooks
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (1994) & (2013 - 2019)
Camino Portugués (2015 - 2019)
Camino de Madrid (2019)
Hello!

As the title says I'm asking for tips and tricks of people who started there camino Frances in mid March. Anyone have any great ideas what to pack and not? Both of us decided to take a tent with us even tho it's not the high season of the camino but still just to keep it safe if we can't find a place to sleep and also to cut the expenses a bit (don't really want to spend more then 10eu a night to have a place to sleep 😁).
Anyways this is going to be an experience to remember! And thank you in advance for the tips!

Harry.
please reconsider the tent.
pitching one in the wrong place could lead to a hefty fine or a fall out with a local (not always easy to figure out what is public and private land); as well as, camping on the Camino, if not at designated places, is not ideal considering the potential number of pilgrim-campers and the mess we will make, no matter how careful we try to be.
10 euros a night is more than enough for a roof over your heads, a bed, a shower and a toilet, and even cooking facilities.
 

The Kolbist

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
past: Frances, inland Portuguese, Fatima
future: Del Norte, coastal Porugues, Englis
We met a Dutch kid in 2017 who walked with another young lady who has a pet donkey. They would actually politely ask private land owners if they could camp in their properties with their donkey. Sometimes they would stay in donativos albergues where we met him. We would chip-in a little bit more to cover him for our donativo. So it was doable but hard.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Hello!

As the title says I'm asking for tips and tricks of people who started there camino Frances in mid March. Anyone have any great ideas what to pack and not? Both of us decided to take a tent with us even tho it's not the high season of the camino but still just to keep it safe if we can't find a place to sleep and also to cut the expenses a bit (don't really want to spend more then 10eu a night to have a place to sleep 😁).
Anyways this is going to be an experience to remember! And thank you in advance for the tips!

Harry.
Having carried a tent and camped on the Camino, my advice is to leave the tents at home.
First of all, in March and April, I don't believe lodging will be an issue,
Second, it's going to RAIN - and a tent will be crazy uncomfortable to carry.
In my opinion, Gronze is a better website, giving many more options.
I've just planned my March/April VDLP using it, and it was awesome.
 

c0484

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013
Hello!

As the title says I'm asking for tips and tricks of people who started there camino Frances in mid March. Anyone have any great ideas what to pack and not? Both of us decided to take a tent with us even tho it's not the high season of the camino but still just to keep it safe if we can't find a place to sleep and also to cut the expenses a bit (don't really want to spend more then 10eu a night to have a place to sleep 😁).
Anyways this is going to be an experience to remember! And thank you in advance for the tips!

Harry.
I have attached the Albergue list so that you can figure out the costs. As for March, April and May, expect cold and rain. There are various thoughts on how much to pack: the rule of thumb is no more than 10% of your body weight, but I tell people that if you have more than 17 lbs, start figuring our what you can eliminate. The excess weight always affects your body. Harry
 

Attachments

easygoing

Camino Sharon
Camino(s) past & future
I have walked the Camino Francis 7 times, twice in 2017 and 2018. (2019)
One of the reasons I walk the Camino once or twice a year is so I don't have to take a tent. Enjoy the specialness of the Camino and the camaraderie with other pilgrims at albergues.
Save the tent for true backpacking. Although the Camino pilgrims carry a backpack (because a pilgrim does carry his load as a symbol of the sacrifice he makes) other similarities between a backpacker and a Pilgrim end there. You don't have to carry food, you can take a shower everyday and anything you need is within a few miles to the next village.
And take your time on the Camino. My first Camino I walked it like I would the Pacific Crest trail with 18 to 20 mile days and I regret that because I feel I missed what's special about the Camino. So I have come back and walked it in the more traditional stages and I find that much more appealing and enjoyable because you are making friends that you see maybe just to say hello at the bar in the evening but it's part of the Camino experience that I really like.
In summary, lodging on the Camino is the cheapest you'll find anywhere so there's really no reason to carry a tent. Municipal or donatative places can be as little as 5 euros and you can even find private rooms for 30 Euros or less. And like someone else said there are no official camping spots and the people I've met with tents either camp at an albergue anyway or had to stop early put up their tent in a hidden area and then walk back into town.
And don't be taken in by campgrounds listed at some of the towns, those are expensive because they are meant for people requiring electrical hookups. Have a great Camino.
P.S. The Camino always has a backup plan. Our first Camino we mailed our tent to Iver after two weeks of not using it.
 

Pscarmen

My Way is better than any highway!
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago (2019)
Hello!

As the title says I'm asking for tips and tricks of people who started there camino Frances in mid March. Anyone have any great ideas what to pack and not? Both of us decided to take a tent with us even tho it's not the high season of the camino but still just to keep it safe if we can't find a place to sleep and also to cut the expenses a bit (don't really want to spend more then 10eu a night to have a place to sleep 😁).
Anyways this is going to be an experience to remember! And thank you in advance for the tips!

Harry.
Starting March 26th myself. First timer as well. Hope to see you out there Pilgrim.
Buen Camino!
 

Harry420

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances March-April 2020
I have attached the Albergue list so that you can figure out the costs. As for March, April and May, expect cold and rain. There are various thoughts on how much to pack: the rule of thumb is no more than 10% of your body weight, but I tell people that if you have more than 17 lbs, start figuring our what you can eliminate. The excess weight always affects your body. Harry
Hello mate! thanks for the tips, but I'm still leaning towards having a tent ( a really light one that is ez to pack and carry)
thanks for the list of the places to stay, don't speak Spanish but isn't it from 2011?
I was going to use this one http://www.szentjakabut.hu/upload/f...JC98x4QeGuLW_Iz350m7-vMXFwf35BeQZmSEk0O1xLFNg

Best wishes, Harry
 

CdnDreamer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (12, 15 & 18) San Salvador (18), Portuguese (19)
Easter is in April so you may need to book a couple of days in advance around that time. There may be a sudden surge in pilgrims for a week or two. Just watch the calendar as you get closer to Easter. If you are going to be in a city Easter weekend you may need to book something or arrive early to get into the municipal albergue.
 

Derrybiketours

A journey of 500 miles begins with one step!
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdeP-SANT-FIN (09/2018)
PORTO-SANT (11/2018)
Caminho Da Fe, BR (01/2019)
SJPdeP- SANT (09/2019)
Hello mate! thanks for the tips, but I'm still leaning towards having a tent ( a really light one that is ez to pack and carry)
I'm surprised having received the valuable advice you've had that your still leaning towards taking a tent. Experience is something you get just after needing it. I've thought about carrying one in past and once you experience the camaraderie of the municipal albergues, warmth of a comfortable bed and hot shower with facilities to cook a good home comfort meal for the princely sum of 5-10 euro it might be less appealing to sleep under the stars. There's two circumstances I would trade these comforts, one in holy year might carry as backup and two, if I wanted to have privacy with my other half but then she would advise me to get a room 🤠
 

Marc S.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Since 2012: CF, CdN, CP, Salvador, Aragones, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakobsweg NRW, Jakibspaad.
Harry, did you see this video ? It is long video of a guy who walked the Frances, without staying in albergues, and only camping. Maybe it is usefull for you:
 
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jessumss

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
future: camino frances (2020)
Couple of things to consider. First, you're not walking on public land for the most part and you won't have permission to camp on someone's private land. This is not to say it hasn't happened but that doesn't change the reality. Second, March and April can be pretty wet months, especially when you get close to Galicia in April. Tenting in the rain can be a drag because you will be packing a wet tent into your pack with no way to dry it out for the next night. Next nice bit is that after walking all day in the rain and either getting soaked from the outside by rain or sweat from the inside, you won't have a nice hot shower to clean up with. You also won't have anywhere to dry your clothes for the next day so wet clothes after a day or two will fill your backpack. By day three I think you'll be over camping on the Camino :) Not all Albergues will be open in March but by April most will be open. Municipals will run < 10 euros and not so hard to plan for and come with a roof, somewhere to shower, dry your clothes, often cook a meal and usually good companionship or at least the makings a great stories about people snoring on the Camino. Enjoy your Camino, it's a great experience!
By end of March will there be at least one reasonable albergue per etapa- camino frances? I have seen a few comments about not everything being open and I am starting to become concerned!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2014 & 2017
Camino Francigena, part off 2019
Hello!

As the title says I'm asking for tips and tricks of people who started there camino Frances in mid March. Anyone have any great ideas what to pack and not? Both of us decided to take a tent with us even tho it's not the high season of the camino but still just to keep it safe if we can't find a place to sleep and also to cut the expenses a bit (don't really want to spend more then 10eu a night to have a place to sleep 😁).
Anyways this is going to be an experience to remember! And thank you in advance for the tips!

Harry.
Hi Harry
I’ve carried a tent on the GR65 from le Puy and also on the Francigena to Rome. I don’t use it all the time but the sense of freedom to walk into the night and just see what happens is great.
Everyone finds their own way of being a pilgrim don’t let others put you off doing it your own way. My tent helps to balance the guitar I carry on the other side of my 11kg backpack. I’m very slow but start early so I get to meet everyone!
Buen Caminoe
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2014 & 2017
Camino Francigena, part off 2019
Hi Harry
I’ve carried a tent on the GR65 from le Puy and also on the Francigena to Rome. I don’t use it all the time but the sense of freedom to walk into the night and just see what happens is great.
Everyone finds their own way of being a pilgrim don’t let others put you off doing it your own way. My tent helps to balance the guitar I carry on the other side of my 11kg backpack. I’m very slow but start early so I get to meet everyone!
Buen Caminoe
Forgot to say I’m starting from St Jean on the 17th April stopping at Orrison
Lindsay
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
By end of March will there be at least one reasonable albergue per etapa- camino frances? I have seen a few comments about not everything being open and I am starting to become concerned!
Short answer, yes. There is plenty of accommodation along the Camino Frances. Most will open in anticipation of or for Holy Week. Choice may be limited in late March but you will find a bed.
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
I'm surprised having received the valuable advice you've had that your still leaning towards taking a tent. Experience is something you get just after needing it.
Good decisions come from experience. Experience comes from bad decisions.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
I will play the heavy here and say bring the tent and camp where and when you can. Not unusual to see pilgrims doing that, and I know there are some great lightweight, packable tents available these days. I have also observed pilgrims staying in tents on the grounds of the albergues after obtaining permission. As already mentioned to you, no campfires etc and of course leave no trace, but I am sure you already take that philosophy.
You are young and sounds like you are fit. Hauling that little bit of extra weight should not be a problem.
One thing about having a tent, or merely just a ground pad with appropriate sleep system on the Camino is that it removes the stress so many pilgrims put upon themselves worrying about finding a bed at an albergue. Not having that worry is liberating, and worrying about it is actually counterproductive to embracing the Camino experience IMO.
Save you some money, too. Let's say out of 30 days you camp 15. Let's average the albergue cost to 6 euros. You have saved 90 euros on your trip. Ninety euros you can now spend on food and cold refreshments.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
By end of March will there be at least one reasonable albergue per etapa- camino frances? I have seen a few comments about not everything being open and I am starting to become concerned!
The short answer is yes. The long answer is that it depends on how long or short you choose to make your etapas.
 

jozero

Been there, going again...
Camino(s) past & future
CF x 3
By end of March will there be at least one reasonable albergue per etapa- camino frances? I have seen a few comments about not everything being open and I am starting to become concerned!
There will be a couple of long stretches where you will find one but perhaps not two or three. I can only remember twice arriving into a planned stop to find the 'open all year' Albergue closed. In one case I picked up a cheap Casa Rural and the other I walked another 4kms and found a gem in Ages. If you are flexible you shouldn't have any challenges in March you can't work around. Enjoy!
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019)
Hello!

As the title says I'm asking for tips and tricks of people who started there camino Frances in mid March. Anyone have any great ideas what to pack and not? Both of us decided to take a tent with us even tho it's not the high season of the camino but still just to keep it safe if we can't find a place to sleep and also to cut the expenses a bit (don't really want to spend more then 10eu a night to have a place to sleep 😁).
Anyways this is going to be an experience to remember! And thank you in advance for the tips!

Harry.
There are alot of us who have walked alot of caminos giving you good advice. I agree to leave the tent at home. I walked in November and December of 2019 and never had a problem finding a bed, I also walk on a budget. I try to stay in Donativos and Municipal albergues as much as possible. You can also save lots of money by shopping at night for lunch and snacks the next day. You will quickly start to meet people and you can save even more money and have great dinners by having your own communal dinners with other pilgrims in albergues. There was a group of about 12 people who would meet many nights in the municipal albergue because we were all on budgets, or in some cases just chose to walk simple caminos. There were some great cooks from Italy, France and Spain. Our ages ranged from early twenties to late 60's. I do not think I was ever asked for more than 3Euros per meal. We had salads, soups, wine, bread, main course and dessert every night. Not a bad deal at all I would say. Priceless memories too! There are also quite a few donativos with communal meals that are delicious and priced just that as a donation.
I would assume you have a smart phone. Download the Buen Camino app. It is free and gives you lots of choices for places to stay. There is also Gronze.com a website also with a list of places to sleep, easy to read maps etc. It is in Spanish but if you open it in google chrome it will automatically translate. The translation into English is more than adequate. They will both have many of the same places but will also have some that the other one doesn't. Both will give addresses prices, reviews of the albergue and phone numbers. Gronze will also have written reviews as well as if a albergue has communal meals or pilgrim meals for dinner and or breakfast and what the price is.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
With the all the cautious advice I am reading on here, looks like to me the older demographics of most forum members seemed to have forgotten the adventure mindedness of youth, lol. The optimism. The glass is always half full, so to speak.
When I was in college four of us took a long road trip combined with backpacking. We literally ran out of money towards the end and had to sell a 35mm Minolta camera for gasoline money to get home, and a few spare dollars for beer and sandwiches. I look back upon that trip very fondly. The adventure. The unknown. Sleeping in the car. Really good times.
Certainly nothing involved in carrying a tent on the Camino Frances is dangerous. Bring the damn thing, lol.
 
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