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Weather - now that’s a new one eh?!

SusanH

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Walked 2014
Another weather question… if you’ve walked the Francis in mid April through May, did you experience all kinds of weather? How cold did it get, how hot did it get how much rain fell?!!!
Also, I’m interested in knowing your start date to see when the albergues opened the year that you went.

thanks very much!!!
 
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Past OR future Camino
2012
Snow at Cebreiro and Manjarin 2012 & 2014. Snow in Leon one year, can’t remember which. Cold, horizontal rain on the meseta most years. Hot sun on the meseta the years it wasn’t raining. Hot sun & heavy rain in Rioja most years - makes the clay extra sticky. Navara has usually been drier but the clay has been stickier.
so long as you’ve packed wisely the weather shouldn’t really be a problem. It just adds to the memories. You need waterproofs and layers - oh, and maybe something to scrape the clay off your boots which can generally be abandoned when you get to Burgos. Though you may later think that you should have saved it for the cow pats of Galicia 😉
 
Last edited:

Rick M

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
April ('16,'18, '19, 21)
Left second week of April twice. Snow at the top of the Pyrenees. The first year, it rained on and off for three weeks, all the way to Leon. Mornings were mostly +5C and gray, afternoons +14 ~ +18. We had frost one morning, and it was +2 with a strong wind the morning we left Burgos. The second camino was another story altogether. Rain and +10C the day we arrived in Pamplona, and the day we left. Then things improved. Until the day we walked into Santiago, its was sunny every day except for one shower as we arrived in Sahagun. Most days were 18-24, with chilly +6 C mornings on the meseta, +10 C mornings elsewhere. On my third, it was the Norte, but arrived in Galicia in a May heat wave. +30's for three days.

I suspect you are really asking what to pack. You needs shorts and a short sleeve for the nice days, and a wide brim sun hat. Hope you need it! You also need a warmer long sleeve, a fleece hoody, and a rain jacket. On the cold days, you wear everything in your pack. Wearing everything, you need to be comfortable at 0C in a moderate wind. Piece of cake for a 'pegger. Its all about layers....3-5 layers with an empty backpack when you set off on a cold morning, with each peeling off as the day warms up until you finish the day, often in shorts and a T-shirt.

The climate is temperate, but the weather is day-to day and year-to-year. Prepare for it all. As for Albergues, everything opens Easter week, so make sure you know when that is. Before then, there are a few places that will be closed, but not many, and finding a place on the Frances will not be an issue.

Buen Camino
 

David

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2005
Walked in 2005 in from mid March in France to April in Spain and it was gorgeous, so hot and sunny.
I went a couple of years later in the same season in my little camper van doing first aid and it was heavy snow all the way to Burgos! From France all the way to Burgos!!!
Each year is different - so keep an eye on the weather forecasts!
 

NYSE

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances & Camino Finisterre/Muxia April 2019
Another weather question… if you’ve walked the Francis in mid April through May, did you experience all kinds of weather? How cold did it get, how hot did it get how much rain fell?!!!
Also, I’m interested in knowing your start date to see when the albergues opened the year that you went.

thanks very much!!!
Late April 2019......two days later I'm walking in short sleeves.
 

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Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Past OR future Camino
2019
Walked twice in spring and it’s a lovely way to see ALL the weather: hit, cold, snow, rain, hail, scorching sun, and on and on…

I second the advice that you pack layers and then build up from naked to whatever level feels needed for that day. DEFINTELY pack a wide brim hat, though, as it was the only clothing I used in all the different types of weather.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I walked in 2012 so much has changed. I walked from SJPdP 14 April to Irache, with extra rest days in Zubiri and Pamplona because I was too far ahead due to leaving SJPdP two days early (I was changing to the Norte after Irache and had hostels booked on the Norte due to limited albergues open then, and didn’t want to rebook them all)

I left SJPdP 2 days early bc heavy snow was being forecast and I wanted to walk Napoleon. I did, in a snowstorm against advice—don’t do as I do—and I hear they closed the route for two days after. It snowed on me from Roncesvalles to Zubiri followed by freezing rain until Zariquiequi, then intermittent rain and lots of mud until Puerte La Reina, heavy rain to Lorca then cold sunshine to Irache. YMMV of course. At that time albergues were open and beds easy to get but who knows how many went out of business these last 18 months. To echo above comment the reason I started when I did was it was right after Easter so I avoided Holy Week crowds AND that’s when I was told albergues open

I echo recommendations of layers. I took short sleeve tops with compression running sleeves so I could have long to short options. A gortex rain jacket and rain pants and long pants. A wool scarf. Gloves. Best thing I didn’t know to pack but was recommended by my marathon coach: ball cap. I took a very lightweight runners cap. Worn under the hood of my jacket it really made a difference keeping my face dry. Best thing I took recommended by a forum member: hiking poles (thanks @Tia Valeria !). I thought I didn’t need them, I was just retired from military, I ran marathons and hiked. They were invaluable when I missed the turn at col leopolder and took the steep snow covered route down to Roncesvalles. They were essential to avoiding huge mud puddles, and walking on parts of the path that had become, in heavy rain, small streams.

I think weather is very variable at this time of year. It had been forecast as very warm the week before I left. Two days before I left they predicted heavy snow and I made some major changes to my pack (including the ball cap)
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I walked the Frances beginning in mid April in 2015 and 2017. Mornings in the first week or two started out being chilly, but became pleasant enough by early afternoon. I thankfully experienced very little rain. By the middle of May I was often soaking a bandana in cold water to use around my neck to stay cool. I loved walking in the freshness of spring!
 
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vjpdx

camino-curious
Past OR future Camino
2022
Another question:
I'm planning on starting April 18, G-d willing, CF, staying mostly in albergues. I know that weather can be variable and I won't know what's what until I get there. Will I need a sleeping bag or will a fleece sleep sack suffice along with a good ole hostel sleep sheet liner? I sleep hot and I hear even unheated rooms heat up from body heat.

(And yes, I've looked at other threads. I just need a bit of hand-holding so please humor me.)

Thanks in advance.

(ETA: removed sleep sheet liner link [which was supposed to be to a non-fleece liner], sigh. Thanks, Kanga)
 
Last edited:

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Another question:
I'm planning on starting April 18, G-d willing, CF, staying mostly in albergues. I know that weather can be variable and I won't know what's what until I get there. Will I need a sleeping bag or will a fleece sleep sack suffice along with a good ole hostel sleep sheet liner? I sleep hot and I hear even unheated rooms heat up from body heat.

(And yes, I've looked at other threads. I just need a bit of hand-holding so please humor me.)

Thanks in advance.
The links in your post are both to Thermolite reactor fleece liner - so not sure if you are only intending to take that, or if you have something else as well. I'd take a liner plus a sleeping bag or quilt. It gets cold in April. If you sleep hot then make sure you have something that can be opened out.
Body heat used to be an issue and there are some groups who close all the windows which I find suffocating, but with the Covid restrictions in place both these things may be less of a problem. The albergues are meant to be only at 50% capacity. Of course things may well have changed by April next year.
 
Past OR future Camino
Frances/SJPP '15,'16,'18,'19,('20)
Way of St. Francis, Italy 2017
Portuguese/Finisterre 2018, 2019
I started twice on April 14. Very different weather, but I’m both cases I encountered very cold temperatures and some wonderful warm (not hot) temperatures. So I agree with the other post.
You ask about open albergues… pre-COVID you would find everything open. Some of the albergues open around Easter, others in March. I never found a closed Albergue, as Easter was mid-April in those years.
Post-COVID I wouldn’t count on list a d would contact them to see if they weathered the storm
 

zzotte

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2012 Camino Frances, 2014 Lourdes to SDC, 2016 Camino del Norte
Sorry, I don’t remember what I eat for breakfast LOL ( this morning ) just b prepared and have fun
 
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Another weather question… if you’ve walked the Francis in mid April through May, did you experience all kinds of weather? How cold did it get, how hot did it get how much rain fell?!!!
Also, I’m interested in knowing your start date to see when the albergues opened the year that you went.

thanks very much!!!
I have a picture of my walking companion and she is wearing everything she had in her backpack(Leon- May 2017). This only lasted a day. And once in Sahagun(Sept 2015) I had to buy a fleece jacket (oversized but didn't care). I wore that for awhile. Other than those improvisations, all was fairly temperate.
 

Amused212

Member
Past OR future Camino
2019
Another question:
I'm planning on starting April 18, G-d willing, CF, staying mostly in albergues. I know that weather can be variable and I won't know what's what until I get there. Will I need a sleeping bag or will a fleece sleep sack suffice along with a good ole hostel sleep sheet liner? I sleep hot and I hear even unheated rooms heat up from body heat.

(And yes, I've looked at other threads. I just need a bit of hand-holding so please humor me.)

Thanks in advance.

(ETA: removed sleep sheet liner link [which was supposed to be to a non-fleece liner], sigh. Thanks, Kanga
Another weather question… if you’ve walked the Francis in mid April through May, did you experience all kinds of weather? How cold did it get, how hot did it get how much rain fell?!!!
Also, I’m interested in knowing your start date to see when the albergues opened the year that you went.

thanks very much!!!
Forgive me, I know weather changes daily and yearly, but we are debating when to start next spring. We will be leaving from Leon. Most responses to the original post were for weather at that time starting in SJPP. Any thoughts on weather for starting in Leon - my daughter wants to leave April 16. I would like to leave at least a week later. Even early May would be preferable to me but she has a work concern. If we leave earlier will we have to carry more clothes and sleeping gear? When we did the Camino in September 2019 I carried a silk liner and small down quilt. And FYI, not fond of the cold.
 

Myra13

New Member
Past OR future Camino
CdF 2017+2019; Portugues 2018; VdlP 2020 (delayed😷)
In march-april 2019 walked from Roncevalles to Burgos. 1 week in shorts and second week grey with a bit of rain.
Walked in february 2017 from Burgos to Ponferrada, cold in the morning till below 0°C. But warmer later on and walking just in long sleeve merino. Once snow, twice rain.
Loved both times.
Planned my albergues in stages from around 20 km, no problem to find a place.
Buen camino
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Snow at Cebreiro and Manjarin 2012 & 2014. Snow in Leon one year, can’t remember which. Cold, horizontal rain on the meseta most years. Hot sun on the meseta the years it wasn’t raining. Hot sun & heavy rain in Rioja most years - makes the clay extra sticky. Navara has usually been drier but the clay has been stickier.
so long as you’ve packed wisely the weather shouldn’t really be a problem. It just adds to the memories. You need waterproofs and layers - oh, and maybe something to scrape the clay off your boots which can generally be abandoned when you get to Burgos. Though you may later think that you should have saved it for the cow pats of Galicia 😉
Thats pretty perfect description. One year I walked the Meseta in October and it was 90+ F and baking without a cloud in the sky. 3 years later at almost the exact same time it was 45-55 F with high and I mean high winds and driving rain in my face every day.
The weather forecast especially with the lunacy that climate change is bringing - WHO KNOWS!!!!!!
 
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Sharonih

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF (SJPdP to Santiago) March 15, 2018
up until Mid April we had snow, high winds, mist, hard rain and perfect weather.? It truly is a mixed bagged and every given day is different. Another weather question… if you’ve walked the Francis in mid April through May, did you experience all kinds of weather? How cold did it get, how hot did it get how much rain fell?!!!
Also, I’m interested in knowing your start date to see when the albergues opened the year that you went.

thanks very much!!!
 

c0484

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2013
Another weather question… if you’ve walked the Francis in mid April through May, did you experience all kinds of weather? How cold did it get, how hot did it get how much rain fell?!!!
Also, I’m interested in knowing your start date to see when the albergues opened the year that you went.

thanks very much!!!
I always walk the Camino during April and May. You cannot even guess what weather you will have. On my first Camino it rained a total of three days and the weather was warm and pleasant. On my last Camino it rained every day for the first 2 weeks causing flooding. It rained off and on until I completed the Camino. The weather was cold and there was high winds during some rain periods.
 

jimmyc

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2015
i walked from SJPP in late May and June 2016. One wet day for the entire walk. This was in Burgos and it was on a day off.
I did not take a sleeping bag and did not need it.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
Another question:
I'm planning on starting April 18, G-d willing, CF, staying mostly in albergues. I know that weather can be variable and I won't know what's what until I get there. Will I need a sleeping bag or will a fleece sleep sack suffice along with a good ole hostel sleep sheet liner? I sleep hot and I hear even unheated rooms heat up from body heat.

(And yes, I've looked at other threads. I just need a bit of hand-holding so please humor me.)

Thanks in advance.

(ETA: removed sleep sheet liner link [which was supposed to be to a non-fleece liner], sigh. Thanks, Kanga)
I was cold every night until mid-May but I’m cold at night. I may be part reptile. In my experience the Germans always won the window fight so they were open in pouring rain and driving snow. Germans are tough. Me not so much. I took a sleeping bag rated for sleeping outdoors in snow and slept in most everything I had.

I always recommend looking up the average cold temperatures for the time of year, turn your AC to that (or wait until it’s cold enough where you live), put on your planned gear, open windows (if not using AC) and get into sleeping bag/liner/whatever for a few nights trial
Also do this for the average warmest temperature expected for when you will walk. If you share a bed at home but won’t on the Camino then sleep apart during these trials

You probably could do one of a few things: take your best guess of what you will need. If you’re still cold you can buy another layer of clothes or thin blanket/thick towel in Pamplona if not sooner. Or take a bit more than you think you will need (make it a cheap layer)—if you find you don’t need it donate it along the way or mail it ahead to SdC to pick up at the end.

wishing you the perfect sleep temp and a buen Camino
 
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SusanH

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Walked 2014
2 more questions:
Did you wear FULL length rain gear (poncho)?
Did you mail any of your warmer clothing forward?
 

SusanH

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Walked 2014
Left second week of April twice. Snow at the top of the Pyrenees. The first year, it rained on and off for three weeks, all the way to Leon. Mornings were mostly +5C and gray, afternoons +14 ~ +18. We had frost one morning, and it was +2 with a strong wind the morning we left Burgos. The second camino was another story altogether. Rain and +10C the day we arrived in Pamplona, and the day we left. Then things improved. Until the day we walked into Santiago, its was sunny every day except for one shower as we arrived in Sahagun. Most days were 18-24, with chilly +6 C mornings on the meseta, +10 C mornings elsewhere. On my third, it was the Norte, but arrived in Galicia in a May heat wave. +30's for three days.

I suspect you are really asking what to pack. You needs shorts and a short sleeve for the nice days, and a wide brim sun hat. Hope you need it! You also need a warmer long sleeve, a fleece hoody, and a rain jacket. On the cold days, you wear everything in your pack. Wearing everything, you need to be comfortable at 0C in a moderate wind. Piece of cake for a 'pegger. Its all about layers....3-5 layers with an empty backpack when you set off on a cold morning, with each peeling off as the day warms up until you finish the day, often in shorts and a T-shirt.

The climate is temperate, but the weather is day-to day and year-to-year. Prepare for it all. As for Albergues, everything opens Easter week, so make sure you know when that is. Before then, there are a few places that will be closed, but not many, and finding a place on the Frances will not be an issue.

Buen Camino
 

SusanH

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Walked 2014
Left second week of April twice. Snow at the top of the Pyrenees. The first year, it rained on and off for three weeks, all the way to Leon. Mornings were mostly +5C and gray, afternoons +14 ~ +18. We had frost one morning, and it was +2 with a strong wind the morning we left Burgos. The second camino was another story altogether. Rain and +10C the day we arrived in Pamplona, and the day we left. Then things improved. Until the day we walked into Santiago, its was sunny every day except for one shower as we arrived in Sahagun. Most days were 18-24, with chilly +6 C mornings on the meseta, +10 C mornings elsewhere. On my third, it was the Norte, but arrived in Galicia in a May heat wave. +30's for three days.

I suspect you are really asking what to pack. You needs shorts and a short sleeve for the nice days, and a wide brim sun hat. Hope you need it! You also need a warmer long sleeve, a fleece hoody, and a rain jacket. On the cold days, you wear everything in your pack. Wearing everything, you need to be comfortable at 0C in a moderate wind. Piece of cake for a 'pegger. Its all about layers....3-5 layers with an empty backpack when you set off on a cold morning, with each peeling off as the day warms up until you finish the day, often in shorts and a T-shirt.

The climate is temperate, but the weather is day-to day and year-to-year. Prepare for it all. As for Albergues, everything opens Easter week, so make sure you know when that is. Before then, there are a few places that will be closed, but not many, and finding a place on the Frances will not be an issue.

Buen Camino
 
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EL LECHERO

Friends no Strangers
Past OR future Camino
2008
Another weather question… if you’ve walked the Francis in mid April through May, did you experience all kinds of weather? How cold did it get, how hot did it get how much rain fell?!!!
Also, I’m interested in knowing your start date to see when the albergues opened the year that you went.

thanks very much!!!
We walked april 28th through May 15th.......Yes the first part was hot and dry, we got sunburned walking through the wine country past Astorga. Then after we hit Ocebreiro it rained all the time. We bought 3 dollar ponchos to get us through.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
2 more questions:
Did you wear FULL length rain gear (poncho)?
Did you mail any of your warmer clothing forward?
I wore gortex pants and hooded jacket with a ball cap under the hood if it was raining. I felt like it was less likely to blow around in the rain than a poncho (I had a rain cover for my pack), and even without rain the jacket could be worn for a layer of warmth. They were light enough so stayed with me to SdC. I also packed two fleece vests by accident—one got mailed ahead but I think the other stayed with me. YMMV—I get cold easily and it was a very wet/cold spring when I walked and I also turned north to walk the Norte and Primitivo. It was easy to send the extra vest ahead to Ivar’s storage service. If I’d stayed on the Frances I could imagine reaching a point I might have mailed the other vest, the rain pants and perhaps the boots ahead as the weather became warmer and drier.

edit: what I needed to cross the Pyrenees on mid April was more clothing than I think I would have needed 2 wk later on the Frances (or even the one week more I spent), but I kept it as I was headed north to colder rainier weather on the coast with more climbing on the Norte and the hospitales route on the Primitivo
 

Pilgrim Patricia

Want to do the VdlP again!
Past OR future Camino
Via de la Plata; Hospitalera Miraz 2011
Highly recommend full-length hiking pants that zip off at or above the knee. If you're stuck walking in rain and then have a chance to go somewhere indoors (or the sun comes out), you can zip off the soggy lower legs and let them dry. Change your socks too so your feet will feel a bit better. The lower legs can be hung off your pack to dry, or over something handy if you take a break in a cafe or bar.
 
Past OR future Camino
Frances/SJPP '15,'16,'18,'19,('20)
Way of St. Francis, Italy 2017
Portuguese/Finisterre 2018, 2019
2 more questions:
Did you wear FULL length rain gear (poncho)?
Did you mail any of your warmer clothing forward?
I love the Altus poncho (that’s really a long raincoat with a hump for your pack)
As I encountered a blizzard on May 12th in
Cruz de Fero (started SJPdP on April 14) I keep all my cold weather gear. The temperatures/rain go up and down in the spring.
 
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