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Which Camino for 14 days in March?

Calisteve

Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 16 CF
July 17 CF with my son
July 18 CP with my wife
July 19 Ingles Muxia & Finisterre
Got the itch and can't wait to the summer (June-August) to scratch it. So I'm thinking of spending 14 or so days walking in March (probably the first half as i have family commitments at the end of March). But which route? Factors to consider: I'm happy walking alone; I'd prefer a mix of albergues, hostals and hotels; happy walking between 25 and 40 kms a day; access to coffee in the mornings is essential to my mental health; and after 4 months of a British winter I'll be ready for some sun - so this is pushing me to look at the Southern routes (& I'd rather not walk knee deep in mud). So I've been thinking about the following options:

1. Camino de Madrid - been thinking of doing it for the last couple of years and due to a series of complications not got round to it. I accept I might need to skip the Cercedilla to Segovia stage if the weather is unfavourable, but hopefully the weather should be OK for the rest.

2. Mozarabe (probably Granada to Merida) - if the summer is too hot for the Mozarbe then maybe this would be the better option and I can then walk the CdeM in May/June.

3. Lisbon to Porto - I walked from Porto to Santiago in 2018 so this appeals as it would 'complete' the Portugues way for me + I really enjoyed Portugal and the Portugues.

I have excluded walking part of the VdlP as I'm planning on walking that as a whole probably next year. I'd welcome advice/suggestions from those who have walked in February/March - accepting that the weather is not exactly highly predictable (I'm British so understand this from a life times experience). Thanks in advance.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2009), Camino Frances (2012), Via de la Plata (2013) and Camino del Norte planned for May, 2015
Got the itch and can't wait to the summer (June-August) to scratch it. So I'm thinking of spending 14 or so days walking in March (probably the first half as i have family commitments at the end of March). But which route? Factors to consider: I'm happy walking alone; I'd prefer a mix of albergues, hostals and hotels; happy walking between 25 and 40 kms a day; access to coffee in the mornings is essential to my mental health; and after 4 months of a British winter I'll be ready for some sun - so this is pushing me to look at the Southern routes (& I'd rather not walk knee deep in mud). So I've been thinking about the following options:

1. Camino de Madrid - been thinking of doing it for the last couple of years and due to a series of complications not got round to it. I accept I might need to skip the Cercedilla to Segovia stage if the weather is unfavourable, but hopefully the weather should be OK for the rest.

2. Mozarabe (probably Granada to Merida) - if the summer is too hot for the Mozarbe then maybe this would be the better option and I can then walk the CdeM in May/June.

3. Lisbon to Porto - I walked from Porto to Santiago in 2018 so this appeals as it would 'complete' the Portugues way for me + I really enjoyed Portugal and the Portugues.

I have excluded walking part of the VdlP as I'm planning on walking that as a whole probably next year. I'd welcome advice/suggestions from those who have walked in February/March - accepting that the weather is not exactly highly predictable (I'm British so understand this from a life times experience). Thanks in advance.
Camino de Madrid is definitely an option. It is a beautiful walk and well supported. It may be quite cold in March, especially in the early mornings...and the same goes for the Mozárabe. I walked the Mozárabe in late March/ early April and frost on the wayside in the early morning was not unusual. Both routes have very active, involved Cofradías and are very well signed. Rereading your post...admittedly, I walked the Camino de Madrid in early September, so mud wasn't an issue anyway...but Granada in the time of the almond blossom is glorious...and while the odd river was running a little high (but easily forded), mud wasn't an issue either. I keep on rereading your post and seeing something else....when I walked the Camino de Madrid, it was part of my 'Camino de las Cosas Incompletas'...filling in gaps. I think you need to do the Lisbon to Porto stretch:). Buen Camino sez I...
 
Last edited:

Calisteve

Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 16 CF
July 17 CF with my son
July 18 CP with my wife
July 19 Ingles Muxia & Finisterre
Cold in the mornings is fine. Many thanks - will ponder the options. It may come down to the Mozarbe in March and Madrid in May is probably preferable to the reverse - although when it comes to the weather who knows. Thanks again.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2009), Camino Frances (2012), Via de la Plata (2013) and Camino del Norte planned for May, 2015
Cold in the mornings is fine. Many thanks - will ponder the options. It may come down to the Mozarbe in March and Madrid in May is probably preferable to the reverse - although when it comes to the weather who knows. Thanks again.
I kept on editing as I read more of your post:)...
 

Calisteve

Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 16 CF
July 17 CF with my son
July 18 CP with my wife
July 19 Ingles Muxia & Finisterre
Annie & Ella - many thanks. Just one other thought - my Spanish is limited at best and Portuguese is non-existent (my French is better - although I never found it of use in Spain or Portugal). This was never a problem on the Frances, Portugues from Porto, or Ingles + Muxia & Finisterre, and I was never worried about being able to communicate - a smile, 'please' & 'thank you' (in Spanish), pointing and google translate in emergencies worked fine. I've seen comments that a basic gasp of Spanish is required for the Mozarbe and Madrid. I suppose the main issue might be using the phone to gain access to a locked albergue in a small village. Has anyone walked these Caminos with my sub-rudimentary grasp of the language? And yes in an ideal world I would go to language classes but that's not going to happen in the next couple of months due to work pressure. Thanks again - your advice is much appreciated.
 

lindam

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, VDLP, Invierno, Portuguese, Madrid, Ingles, Fisterra, Muxia, Catalan/Aragones/Loyola Norte
Annie & Ella - many thanks. Just one other thought - my Spanish is limited at best and Portuguese is non-existent (my French is better - although I never found it of use in Spain or Portugal). This was never a problem on the Frances, Portugues from Porto, or Ingles + Muxia & Finisterre, and I was never worried about being able to communicate - a smile, 'please' & 'thank you' (in Spanish), pointing and google translate in emergencies worked fine. I've seen comments that a basic gasp of Spanish is required for the Mozarbe and Madrid. I suppose the main issue might be using the phone to gain access to a locked albergue in a small village. Has anyone walked these Caminos with my sub-rudimentary grasp of the language? And yes in an ideal world I would go to language classes but that's not going to happen in the next couple of months due to work pressure. Thanks again - your advice is much appreciated.
I have walked the Madrid route with my very limited "Camino Spanish" with no problems. There has been quite an active post over the past few days which started with a member's concerns about walking the Catalan route without knowledge of Catalan. The thread has developed into something more related to tips for non-Spanish speakers on the Camino: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...-english-only-is-a-problem.66195/#post-818943. There may be some useful hints for you there. Enjoy your walk, whatever and wherever you decide to go!
 

Calisteve

Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 16 CF
July 17 CF with my son
July 18 CP with my wife
July 19 Ingles Muxia & Finisterre
I have walked the Madrid route with my very limited "Camino Spanish" with no problems. There has been quite an active post over the past few days which started with a member's concerns about walking the Catalan route without knowledge of Catalan. The thread has developed into something more related to tips for non-Spanish speakers on the Camino: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...-english-only-is-a-problem.66195/#post-818943. There may be some useful hints for you there. Enjoy your walk, whatever and wherever you decide to go!
Super - many thanks.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Got the itch and can't wait to the summer (June-August) to scratch it. So I'm thinking of spending 14 or so days walking in March (probably the first half as i have family commitments at the end of March). But which route? Factors to consider: I'm happy walking alone; I'd prefer a mix of albergues, hostals and hotels; happy walking between 25 and 40 kms a day; access to coffee in the mornings is essential to my mental health; and after 4 months of a British winter I'll be ready for some sun - so this is pushing me to look at the Southern routes (& I'd rather not walk knee deep in mud). So I've been thinking about the following options:

1. Camino de Madrid - been thinking of doing it for the last couple of years and due to a series of complications not got round to it. I accept I might need to skip the Cercedilla to Segovia stage if the weather is unfavourable, but hopefully the weather should be OK for the rest.

2. Mozarabe (probably Granada to Merida) - if the summer is too hot for the Mozarbe then maybe this would be the better option and I can then walk the CdeM in May/June.

3. Lisbon to Porto - I walked from Porto to Santiago in 2018 so this appeals as it would 'complete' the Portugues way for me + I really enjoyed Portugal and the Portugues.

I have excluded walking part of the VdlP as I'm planning on walking that as a whole probably next year. I'd welcome advice/suggestions from those who have walked in February/March - accepting that the weather is not exactly highly predictable (I'm British so understand this from a life times experience). Thanks in advance.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Camino de Madrid. And you may or may not get snowed out of the Cercedilla stage (I walked Cercedilla to Segovia once as a day trip in early February and had no problem, other years it is totally snowed in). And I have never walked a camino in March, so have no first hand knowledge.

You list the Mozárabe from Almería as a possibility, and there are other options down south as well —Levante from Valencia, Ebro from Delta del Ebro, Mozárabe from Málaga, or Vdlp from Sevilla (or even further south, consider the Via Serrana or Via Agusta, starting in, I believe Gibraltar and Cádiz). I think the odds for good weather would be better further south. Lots of threads on all of these caminos if you go to each forum.

Because of the factors you mention, my top two recommendations would be:
Mozárabe: Almería to somewhere between Granada and Córdoba
Vdlp: Sevilla to a bit beyond Cáceres.

And, absolutely no need to go without coffee — about ten years ago I started bringing along en electric coil, and it makes these remote caminos totally perfect for me. Consider joining the Electric Coil Club. :cool:

Buen camino, Laurie
 

Calisteve

Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 16 CF
July 17 CF with my son
July 18 CP with my wife
July 19 Ingles Muxia & Finisterre
Laurie - many thanks. I've a jetboil and love it, but they weigh a bit (600g according to my scales) so have never taken it on a camino. Have looked at electric coils in the past but was put off by very mixed reviews. As you say, usually the albergue/hostel has a microwave so I've been able to get a coffee. But there have been exceptions, and guaranteed those days there have also been no cafes for hours. But good call - I'll have a search on Amazon for electric coils or maybe just pack the jetboil and buy a canister on arrival. It also offers up the option of pot noodles on the road as well!

Regarding the route - Madrid seems to be loved by all, Mozarabe is attractive, but Lisbon to Porto seems to be calling me (and has the advantage of easy flights to/from London, into Lisbon and out of Porto). Lots to ponder on a grey, cold, and wet afternoon.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Laurie - many thanks. I've a jetboil and love it, but they weigh a bit (600g according to my scales) so have never taken it on a camino. Have looked at electric coils in the past but was put off by very mixed reviews. As you say, usually the albergue/hostel has a microwave so I've been able to get a coffee. But there have been exceptions, and guaranteed those days there have also been no cafes for hours. But good call - I'll have a search on Amazon for electric coils or maybe just pack the jetboil and buy a canister on arrival. It also offers up the option of pot noodles on the road as well!

Regarding the route - Madrid seems to be loved by all, Mozarabe is attractive, but Lisbon to Porto seems to be calling me (and has the advantage of easy flights to/from London, into Lisbon and out of Porto). Lots to ponder on a grey, cold, and wet afternoon.
By all means go where you are called, I get that. I think that you may luck out and find the Alpriate Albergue open, because I think it opens in March. It’s a great first day stop from the cathedral, not a long stage, just about 21 km. But it’s an opportunity to see who else is likely to be out there on your walk from Lisbon. The Via Lusitana is the Portuguese amigos association in Lisbon, and they run the albergue. They also have a good list of accommodations. You will find a lot of divided opinion on the Lisbon-Porto stretch here in the forum, but I am a big fan. Will you stay in Lisbon or hit the ground running?

Bom caminho, Laurie
 

Calisteve

Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 16 CF
July 17 CF with my son
July 18 CP with my wife
July 19 Ingles Muxia & Finisterre
Laurie - flight arrival times (and I haven't looked at them yet) will determine whether I start that day or stay in Lisbon for the night. Although all previous Caminos for me have started with an over-nighter in the local (apart from Porto but that was due to problems with Ryanair!) So probably easiest to fly in, stay there and start walking the next day.

I came across the Via Lusitana site yesterday - as you say, a great resource + I personally like the Wise Pilgrim guide and website. Having watched a video of the Lisbon to Porto route I can understand why it might divide opinion but I loved the walk from Porto to Santiago and particularly the Portuguese section. But CdM is a definite option too! Just a case of deciding which one in March - weather looks marginally better in Portugal.

You've also got me pondering taking my jetboil! Porridge & coffee - wow! Extra weight not so attractive.
 

jsalt

Jill
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés

Calisteve

Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 16 CF
July 17 CF with my son
July 18 CP with my wife
July 19 Ingles Muxia & Finisterre
Oooooo - that looks interesting!
 

RodlaRob

Oz Member
Camino(s) past & future
Torres (2016) Portuguese (2016)
Hi Calisteve….looks like Camino Torres a consideration.
Rather than start in Salamanca ….maybe start at say Lamego or Moimenta de Biera ..and walk all the way into Santiago de Compostela. Joins the Portuguese route Ponte de Lima.
Note .....Coffee stops are bit less frequent prior to Moimenta de Biera as more isolated.
This walk may not meet your "south" criteria tho!
 

Calisteve

Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 16 CF
July 17 CF with my son
July 18 CP with my wife
July 19 Ingles Muxia & Finisterre
Rob - thanks. I passed through Ponte de Lima (beautiful town) when walking from Porto. I'll have a look but will probably head further south as by March I'll be in need of some sun and blue skies! Post-script - Torres has been added to my 'to do' list. Thanks again.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
You've also got me pondering taking my jetboil! Porridge & coffee - wow! Extra weight not so attractive.
When I walked the Levante, about four days out from Valencia I met two French guys who were carrying a jet boil. Every day at 10 am, no matter where they were, they would stop, lay out a cloth to sit down, and make a coffee. I remember they had a hard time finding replacement canisters, though. After a few weeks, they ran out of gas and had to settle for second best — they used my coil to make coffee in the alberge before setting out. They found replacements in the Decathlon in Toledo, which was great because that meant they had to take a rest day in Toledo, so I could relax and see the sights!

If you are a real coffee gourmand, the weight may be worth it. I am just a caffeine junkie so the much lighter coil works fine for me.

And btw, several forum members have posted about gorgeous walks on the Fisherman’s Trail/Rota Vicentina.
 

Calisteve

Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 16 CF
July 17 CF with my son
July 18 CP with my wife
July 19 Ingles Muxia & Finisterre
Just a caffeine junkie too. I'm currently on-line looking at accommodation Lisbon to Porto so it looks like part of me has made my mind up for me.
 

Robert B.

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Madrid - May (2017)
Got the itch and can't wait to the summer (June-August) to scratch it. So I'm thinking of spending 14 or so days walking in March (probably the first half as i have family commitments at the end of March). But which route? Factors to consider: I'm happy walking alone; I'd prefer a mix of albergues, hostals and hotels; happy walking between 25 and 40 kms a day; access to coffee in the mornings is essential to my mental health; and after 4 months of a British winter I'll be ready for some sun - so this is pushing me to look at the Southern routes (& I'd rather not walk knee deep in mud). So I've been thinking about the following options:

1. Camino de Madrid - been thinking of doing it for the last couple of years and due to a series of complications not got round to it. I accept I might need to skip the Cercedilla to Segovia stage if the weather is unfavourable, but hopefully the weather should be OK for the rest.

2. Mozarabe (probably Granada to Merida) - if the summer is too hot for the Mozarbe then maybe this would be the better option and I can then walk the CdeM in May/June.

3. Lisbon to Porto - I walked from Porto to Santiago in 2018 so this appeals as it would 'complete' the Portugues way for me + I really enjoyed Portugal and the Portugues.

I have excluded walking part of the VdlP as I'm planning on walking that as a whole probably next year. I'd welcome advice/suggestions from those who have walked in February/March - accepting that the weather is not exactly highly predictable (I'm British so understand this from a life times experience). Thanks in advance.
I loved the Madrid Camino and I think you'll find it ticks all the boxes. Check out my Madrid Camino blog.
 

Calisteve

Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 16 CF
July 17 CF with my son
July 18 CP with my wife
July 19 Ingles Muxia & Finisterre
I loved the Madrid Camino and I think you'll find it ticks all the boxes. Check out my Madrid Camino blog.
Robert - thanks. Over the last couple of days I've shifted from Lisbon to Porto to the CdM - just spend this morning to checking flights and train schedules from Sahagun back to Madrid. Looks like it will be the CdM.
 

Robert B.

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Madrid - May (2017)
Robert - thanks. Over the last couple of days I've shifted from Lisbon to Porto to the CdM - just spend this morning to checking flights and train schedules from Sahagun back to Madrid. Looks like it will be the CdM.
Fantastic!!!
 

surya8

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues Central and Coastal 2017 & 2019; Portugues Interior, Sanabres, Fisterra & Muxia 2018
I'm thinking of spending 14 or so days walking in March (probably the first half as i have family commitments at the end of March). I'm happy walking alone; I'd prefer a mix of albergues, hostals and hotels; happy walking between 25 and 40 kms a day; access to coffee in the mornings is essential to my mental health; and after 4 months of a British winter I'll be ready for some sun.
3. Lisbon to Porto - I walked from Porto to Santiago in 2018 so this appeals as it would 'complete' the Portugues way for me + I really enjoyed Portugal and the Portugues.
I walked the Lisbon to Porto section at the end of the season, in late Oct, also after having walked the Porto to Santiago one - just to finish the route. Or so I thought at the time not knowing about other different Caminos in Portugal. Anyway, the stretch from Lisbon to Porto has a different feel to it, more solitary and introspective, and it'll definitely be this way in early March as well. Via Lusitana website lists all the albergues there, check the Portugues, not English version for the list - it's usually more up to date. You could mix albergues with private accommodation there. March is traditionally a rainy season in Portugal so take some rain gear and some warm clothes for the albergues as the heating could be tricky at some places, although with the climate change you may not have rains this time. I quite enjoyed walking this section, stayed mostly in the municipal albergues there, they were all of excellent quality there. I highly recommend Casa Catolico in Branca, that's a donativo albergue between Albergaria-a-Velha and Sao Joao da Madeira - run by avid Camino walker and enthusiast, it feels like home away from home!
It'll be possible to get your morning coffee on the way, but make sure if have it in the first place you see open as it make take a while to find another one, at least those sections before Coimbra feel more rural and bars seemed to be less frequent there. After Coimbra the infrastructure is all there and it feels more like a suburban walk in some areas, walking from one village to another. I also usually take a coil with me and it's a great help as I don't use microwaves, but if you do then no problem before Porto - most of the albergues have very well equipped kithens there and it's possible to cook if you wish. I walked this route with just a couple of words of Portuguese and it was fine, people are very welcoming and helpful there, and most of mid and younger generation speak reasonable English and the older ones in the villages speak French so you'd be ok there. The route itself feels very international with crowd from all over the world. I loved exploring towns on the way: my fav are Santaren, Golega, Tomar, Coimbra, Agueda there. Bom Caminho!
 

Calisteve

Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 16 CF
July 17 CF with my son
July 18 CP with my wife
July 19 Ingles Muxia & Finisterre
I walked the Lisbon to Porto section at the end of the season, in late Oct, also after having walked the Porto to Santiago one - just to finish the route. Or so I thought at the time not knowing about other different Caminos in Portugal. Anyway, the stretch from Lisbon to Porto has a different feel to it, more solitary and introspective, and it'll definitely be this way in early March as well. Via Lusitana website lists all the albergues there, check the Portugues, not English version for the list - it's usually more up to date. You could mix albergues with private accommodation there. March is traditionally a rainy season in Portugal so take some rain gear and some warm clothes for the albergues as the heating could be tricky at some places, although with the climate change you may not have rains this time. I quite enjoyed walking this section, stayed mostly in the municipal albergues there, they were all of excellent quality there. I highly recommend Casa Catolico in Branca, that's a donativo albergue between Albergaria-a-Velha and Sao Joao da Madeira - run by avid Camino walker and enthusiast, it feels like home away from home!
It'll be possible to get your morning coffee on the way, but make sure if have it in the first place you see open as it make take a while to find another one, at least those sections before Coimbra feel more rural and bars seemed to be less frequent there. After Coimbra the infrastructure is all there and it feels more like a suburban walk in some areas, walking from one village to another. I also usually take a coil with me and it's a great help as I don't use microwaves, but if you do then no problem before Porto - most of the albergues have very well equipped kithens there and it's possible to cook if you wish. I walked this route with just a couple of words of Portuguese and it was fine, people are very welcoming and helpful there, and most of mid and younger generation speak reasonable English and the older ones in the villages speak French so you'd be ok there. The route itself feels very international with crowd from all over the world. I loved exploring towns on the way: my fav are Santaren, Golega, Tomar, Coimbra, Agueda there. Bom Caminho!
You're tempting me! Thanks for the input - very helpful.
 

Calisteve

Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 16 CF
July 17 CF with my son
July 18 CP with my wife
July 19 Ingles Muxia & Finisterre
Decision made - its....Camino de Madrid. Flights booked - fly into Madrid Sunday 8th March and home again on the 19th. Thanks to all those who provided input to the original question.
 

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