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Walking the Camino in winter

ChristianF

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Coastal route Porto-Santiago (2016)
Hello,
I'm considering walking the Camino Frances this winter. My summer attempt was brought to an abrupt end by a situation back at home.

I understand that a significant number of albergues close after October and wondered if it is still possible to walk around 25km per day and still find an albergue each night between November and January? Cheap municipal albergues tend to be my preferred option.

Thank you

Christian
 
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Hello,
I'm considering walking the Camino Frances this winter. My summer attempt was brought to an abrupt end by a situation back at home.

I understand that a significant number of albergues close after October and wondered if it is still possible to walk around 25km per day and still find an albergue each night between November and January? Cheap municipal albergues tend to be my preferred option.

Thank you

Christian

For years, the best information has come from this website.


They note that the site will open for this season on November 1, so I would keep an eye out there. The other thing is that you will find that the hospitaleros on each stage are generally happy to help you with upcoming stages. Many winter pilgrims tell us that they got a lot of support from those working in the open albergues.

Good luck, I have long thought that a winter camino Francés would be the best way to revisit the Francés and enjoy it without the crowds. Haven’t made it yet, though!
 
Good luck, I have long thought that a winter camino Francés would be the best way to revisit the Francés and enjoy it without the crowds. Haven’t made it yet, though!
I've sometimes had the same thought. I can't imagine walking the Frances at any other time of year now.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
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Good luck, I have long thought that a winter camino Francés would be the best way to revisit the Francés and enjoy it without the crowds. Haven’t made it yet, though!
Couldn’t agree more. A pilgrim who posts on Instagram (hiking the way) did it last February and had blue skies most days.
 
It's been a few years since I walked in winter, but the albergues were a mix of municipal and private. Equally, I generally planned some emergency money for a pension or hotel (or taxi) just in case somewhere was shut unexpectedly (I dipped into it on winter Portuguese camino as an albergue was shut due to electrical problems, so ended up in a hotel for night). Also Christmas, New Year and 6th January can be issue to find accomodation so they need to be planned in advance. Finally, I tended to cook more in winter, so it's worth carrying some spices, stock cubes etc as well as some basics in case local bar is closed eg holidays.
 
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Couldn’t agree more. A pilgrim who posts on Instagram (hiking the way) did it last February and had blue skies most days.
I follow them on Instagram too, and those blue-skies-winter-Francés posts had me thinking that a winter Camino could be rather nice!
 
Hello,
I'm considering walking the Camino Frances this winter. My summer attempt was brought to an abrupt end by a situation back at home.

I understand that a significant number of albergues close after October and wondered if it is still possible to walk around 25km per day and still find an albergue each night between November and January? Cheap municipal albergues tend to be my preferred option.

Thank you

Christian
My favorite time to walk! I’ve done it several times and wrote a book filled with winter walking tips. You might find it helpful - on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B3SDF9RM/?tag=casaivar02-20
 
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Over the past seven years we have walked the Camino four times in winter (December/January), three on the Frances. It is my favorite time of year to walk. It is quiet and lends itself well to spiritual journey. Several years ago, when we started walking in winter we would only see 1 or 2 people each day. Last year we saw 10 - 20 people each day.

It does require a bit more equipment but it still fits into my small backpack. We have walked in 1 m of snow, whiteouts, and sleet storms. But only for a couple days and we could have laid back and taken a day off but we grew up in the mountains and so it seems familiar. Most of the time the weather is pleasant and the journey beautiful.

It does require more layers of clothes. We include -- a waterproof, windproof breathable shell jacket, down sweater, wool sweater, mitten shells and mittens (preferred over gloves), neck gaiter, warm hat, long thermal pants, waterproof/wind proof pants, and gaiters. I'm probably missing something but you get the idea. We also learned to carry a light sleeping bag as many places are cold in the winter and the heating is often sparing used.

Accommodations require planning and patience. And the days are much shorter. Albergues are not always available and rarely but occasionally a taxi is needed. But it has always worked.

Good luck! -- we'll be walking this December and January again and plan to arrive in Santiago de Compostela on/about January 3.
 
I started my Camino Frances the end of November and finished in Santiago on December 24... It was a great one. There always is an Albergue open at the end of the stage. Use the Aprinca link posted peregringa2000 above. It constantly gets updated.

If you want to see what it is like to walk the Frances in winter I have a video on youTube:
 
I started my Camino Frances the end of November and finished in Santiago on December 24... It was a great one. There always is an Albergue open at the end of the stage. Use the Aprinca link posted peregringa2000 above. It constantly gets updated.

If you want to see what it is like to walk the Frances in winter I have a video on youTube:
Thank you for sharing! It looks so beautiful and quiet!! I'm curious if there were restaurants/grocery stores open along the route? I'm planning to start in Villafranca in December and walk to the coast.
 
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As many others say, a great time of year to walk. I began on 11th January a few years ago. There was a little snow around Roncesvalles and I heard that O Cebreiro was isolated by snow at the same time. However, I wore shorts and a short-sleeved shirt for many days, under bright blue skies, and was actually disappointed at the lack of snow. The pilgrim office at Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port will give you a list of all the albergues which are open. 25 km per day will be fine for finding albergues, but be aware that some have minimal heating or, in one case, none; it can be very cold at night. It is best to ring ahead and find out if the albergue can supply food for the evening and the next morning, because many are in places with no shops. In some cases, I found it necessary to buy food in advance, but all the albergues had kitchen facilities, so there was never a problem. Go for it!
 
The Aprinca page is good enough as a rough guide, but more Albergues are open than are catalogued there - - though it is pretty reliable between Burgos and LeĂłn.

Albergues are open nevertheless at Cardeñuela Riopico, Orbaneja Riopico (these will have weekly closing days), and the Municipal at San Martín del Camino, so that it is always worth consulting other lists and calling the places directly if needed.

Treating the Aprinca like a kind of Brierley Guide for Winter is not helpful to those Albergues not listed therein, and could easily contribute to a lessening of one's choices in Winter, if enough people sleep only in the places listed.
 
I walked the Frances from Roncesvalles. I stareted November 24th snd finished in Santiago Dec 24... I never had a problem finding open albergues. I have a video of that walk:
 
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