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When is the best time to walk?

SMAKCANADA

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Looking forward to CF in 2021.
When people say the Camino is 'crowded' in September, what exactly does that mean? Is there is a lack of accommodation, restaurants are full, or too many people on the way to be able to feel like It's a solitary pilgrimage rather than a holiday, or there are too many vehicles on the roads? I haven't done it so I'd like a picture of what crowded means and why a month with fewer participants is better.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
May and September are the most popular months to start from SJPDP. Because of that there can be some "bottlenecks" until around Pamplona, with most pilgrims ending up in the same towns. It has been reported during these months that pilgrims have had to take taxis to alternate accommodations. I would consider prebooking up through Pamplona.
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
Vehicles are rarely an issue as relatively little of the Frances is on roads these days. Accommodation shortages can and do happen at times in September - particularly in the section between SJPDP and Pamplona. Restaurants can also be busy. The Camino Frances these days is not a route for those seeking solitude for much of the year in my opinion. On a busy September day there may be over 400 people each day walking each of the earlier stages though that does tend to thin out after Pamplona. A sizeable proportion appear to drop out in the first few days. If you are planning to start walking closer to Santiago - and about a quarter of all Compostelas go to people who begin their walk in Sarria - then you must be prepared for sharing the Camino every day with several hundred others.
 

Bobthebome

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Portuguese (future - 2018) from Porto
I am planning to start from SJPdP during the 3rd week of September 2020. Will the crowds have thinned out somewhat by then?
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I am planning to start from SJPdP during the 3rd week of September 2020. Will the crowds have thinned out somewhat by then?
May and September are the busiest months for departures from SJPP, so no, crowds won't start thinning out until October. If that's the best timing for you, don't be deterred! Just consider making reservations for your first several days, or be prepared with Plan B. Another suggestion is to leave SJPP on a Tuesday or Wednesday since many people travel and start on the weekend.
 
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