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Walking the Camino Frances in March

Audrey McAllister

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2020
Hi all, I am planning to walk the Camino Frances at the beginning of March and was wondering what advice anyone has on the weather conditions. Will it be too icy in the Pyrenees still? And also I am curious if the hostels will all be open at that time of year. Anyone who has walked at this time I would be greatful for your advice on what to pack too, this will be my first Camino and I want to be as prepared as possible!
 

jefferyonthecamino

http://www.barrerabooks.com/ - Guidebooks
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (1994) & (2013 - 2019)
Portugués (2015 - 2019)
de Madrid (2019)
Argentino/Inglés (2020)
Hi all, I am planning to walk the Camino Frances at the beginning of March and was wondering what advice anyone has on the weather conditions. Will it be too icy in the Pyrenees still? And also I am curious if the hostels will all be open at that time of year. Anyone who has walked at this time I would be greatful for your advice on what to pack too, this will be my first Camino and I want to be as prepared as possible!
yes, it can still be very cold (and rainy) and even a random snowfall. then again, it could be pleasant, warm nd sunny (expect chilly mornings). most albergues and bars/cafes in the smaller towns and that cater to pilgrims are just thinking about opening for the season... so i'd refuel when possible and call ahead/check for updates regarding albergues. as you get closer to galicia (león onwards), more places should be open and you will probably not have to worry about finding accommodation and/or food.
Buen Camino
 

jozero

Been there, going again...
Camino(s) past & future
CF x 3
I’ve walked a couple of times in Jan & Feb and never had a problem finding an Albergue except one night. Grabbed a Casa Rural that night and really enjoyed a proper bed and great breakfast so a blessing in disguise. Napoleon route will still be closed but the Valcarlos route should be open but if not, nothing bad about starting in Roncesvalles. Biggest challenge I had was water as all public fountains were shut off for the winter and most small town tiendas were closed so found it important to carry extra water each day. Unfortunately, as written above, the weather will likely be a bit of everything from snow to rain to hot sunny days while walking on pavement, trails and lots of mud. Quite a challenge to pack with 100% efficiency.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
The Napoleon route will not be open yet, but the side route passing through Valcarlos should be doeable. I enjoy a short first day out of SJPdP by staying overnight there before continuing on to Roncevalles.
Buen Camino!
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Anyone who has walked at this time I would be greatful for your advice on what to pack too, this will be my first Camino and I want to be as prepared as possible!
I'm one of the oddballs who prefer March over any other time. Just warm enough during the day to be pleasant, and never too hot. And yes. The weather can be 'interesting,' sometimes many different ways in a single day.

So take layers. And a beanie plus decent gloves. These are essential. Be prepared for both wet and wind; you may get neither, but more likely at some point both.

Every year's different as far as snow is concerned. I encountered it on the last stretch below Ibañeta through to Burguette, and again in the Sierra de la Demanda. But it was never bad enough to be anthing but fun. Take the road if you have to...

I never had trouble finding open albergues. And that was five years ago. It will be more crowded now, but still...nothing like May.

The fruit trees are blooming and the earth is coming to life: A grand time to walk! My albun from 2015 is here (https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/camino-photos/albums/camino-frances-march-2015.213/), if you want to get a sense of it.
Buen camino, Audrey!
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
You never know how cold or warm it will be. The weather in November on the CF was pretty brutal. Rain, snow and high winds. So follow the advice for layers and be prepared for everything. As VN walking said have good gloves and warm hat for sure.
I had no problem finding albergues especially in the "stage" towns and villages. I had the Buen Camino app and used Gronze.com to find albergues. There were a few days when I wanted to stay in a non-stage town that Gronze and or Buen Camino app listed an Albergue as open and it was closed. But I never had to walk much further to get to an albergue. Aprinca.com has good and accurate information on open albergues but their list is incomplete. I often look at the reviews on Gronze and Buen Camino (mostly only checking for cleanliness and bedbugs) to choose an albergue. Both sites information on albergues that were either open or closed for the season was not great. I would say that when I picked an albergue to stay ahead of time they were accurate only about 60% of the time or so (rough estimate). I started to call ahead to see if albergues I wanted to stay in were open or not. Usually when there is no answer that is a good indication that they are closed. Especially if you call early or when it is stated on Gronze/Buen Camino the albergue is open in the afternoon. At least 5 or 6 times they did answer but told me they were closed. Having said that I never had a problem finding a place to put my head at night. Overall I thought the albergues, public or private (mostly public) were more than satisfactory. I usually do not stay in the Xunta's because the beds can be really close to each other.
 
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
I'm one of the oddballs who prefer March over any other time. Just warm enough during the day to be pleasant, and never too hot. And yes. The weather can be 'interesting,' sometimes many different ways in a single day.
I plan on walking from Pamplona beginning around March 7.
I'm praying for a little bit of sunshine. :)
Hoping to drop down to the VDLP, maybe Caceres, after a couple of weeks.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
That was my timing from SJPP in 2015, Annie. All the way to Cirueña it was sunny and 'goldilocks weather' - juuust right. But quite chilly in the morning. The almond trees were blooming everywhere...gorgeous.
May it be so for you too.
Buen camino...valientemente!
View media item 2554
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
It's fine, though of course check current conditions at the Pilgrilm Office in SJPP.
In fact it's gorgeous.
Provided there aren't severe weather condtions, there may still be some snow at the top. There was when I walked, though it was well tromped down. No problemo! If you hear bad weather is expected, you can always take Express Bourricot to Roncesvalles and start from there.
 

Audrey McAllister

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2020
It's fine, though of course check current conditions at the Pilgrilm Office in SJPP.
In fact it's gorgeous.
Provided there aren't severe weather condtions, there may still be some snow at the top. There was when I walked, though it was well tromped down. No problemo! If you hear bad weather is expected, you can always take Express Bourricot to Roncesvalles and start from there.
Thanks for all the great advice!!
Is the pilgrim office at SJPP where to get the pilgrim passport too?
 

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