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Which fall month is the weather/number of pilgrims similar to March?

FRM

How do you walk the Camino? One step at a time.
Camino(s) past & future
O'Cebreiro to Santiago (2014)
Pamplona to Sahagun (March 2019)
Sahagun to O’Cebreiro (March 2020)
My past three walks on the Camino have all been in March. Weather was brisk, the number of pilgrims was fairly low, and most alberques were open so there was never a problem finding a bed. I had hoped to return this coming March but reluctantly realize this is unlikely to happen. Currently it appears that things MAY return to something approaching normal in the fall of 2021. I’m hoping that those of you who have hiked in the fall can assist me in choosing a period in the fall when the conditions most closely approach those I’ve come to love March. Thanks in advance for any guidance you can provide.

frm
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Mid-October through November. The big difference is that as you approach Santiago, the weather gets increasingly cooler and damper, the days get shorter, and everyone is wrapping up the growing season. This contrasts with the mood of Spring when the days are getting brighter, plants growing, and everything has the optimism of spring.

However, I have walked the Frances several times in the late fall and enjoyed it thoroughly. There is a different but equally fascinating mood of preparing for the winter. I never found accommodation to be a problem, but I always made sure I didn't arrive exhausted in a small village with only one albergue, without checking its availability in advance. We have no idea of how many albergues will be open in the post-pandemic world, so closure dates in November could be anything!

It sounds like it is time for you to try the autumn!

In normal conditions when there is a big crowd starting in SJPP each day in September, I would recommend starting in mid-to-late October. For weather reasons only, maybe an earlier October start would be ideal.
 

FRM

How do you walk the Camino? One step at a time.
Camino(s) past & future
O'Cebreiro to Santiago (2014)
Pamplona to Sahagun (March 2019)
Sahagun to O’Cebreiro (March 2020)
Thanks C clearly. I was thinking it would be either September or October. I am going to pencil in mid-October. Something to look forward to and plan in these crazy times. How much rain should I expect. I’ve been lucky and only had to deal with a handful rainy days in the past, mostly in Galecia. Take care.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
And we are starting to aim for the opposite. I started my first camino in SJPdP on Sept 3rd; 4 years later I met up with Spouse, who had been waking for 3 weeks, in Fromista on August 21 and we rolled into Santiago on September 8th.
I walked the CP from Coimbra last year in November because I'd read that October was the more rainy month. As it turned out, November was brutal last year and I had to take the inland route because the coastal closed up shop for bad weather. I think it rained on 17 of my 19 walking days.
So... folks what do you think of mid-April through May?? My sense is that by the end I could be getting quite warm, but would start out quite cool.
I started out at 2 C for a 10 K this morning with Spouse and it was quite lovely actually.
So my question and my tolerances are going in the reverse, and I'm really hoping that 2022 is feasible.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
Grandma always told me “Plan for rain and be thankful for the sunshine.” Seems good advice for any Pilgrim at any time of the year 😉
Recent experience shows a pilgrim wave in September, much like the silver fox surge in any holiday destination once the kids are back in skool. October and later on any Camino are the hard-core season. Think cold & lonely rather than warm and homely. This year, next year, who knows. I’ll not worry about crowds or their absolute absence - blisters, bed-bugs, snorers, snakes, dog-packs and the price of a donativo bed... Now those are things worth worrying about 😉
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015, 2017, 2019) and plans for 2021 (Sept, Oct)
FRM, my wife and I have walked CF three times, each time mid-September to late October. The initial stages can be a bit crowded, but tends to thin out after a week or so. During our camino last year, we had advance reservations every night so did not have to worry about a bed race. We are hiking next year and have reservations for every night - private rooms with private bathrooms. A real luxury to get a great night's sleep and have privacy in the morning.

With regards to the weather, we hiked CF with my brother and his wife in 2017. We had some rain off and on the first few days, then 30 straight days of sunshine until we arrived in Santiago, then it poured. Last year we had a few brief showers early on, then only two days of rain the rest of the way, but it really was a soaking rain. We have good Goretex rain jackets, but these did not keep us dry. Next camino, we will have light ponchos to put over our Goretex to keep us dry. The first camino we did not have rain pants. We had them last camino and they did a great job keeping our legs dry. And we have gaiters to keep our socks and shoes mostly dry.

Bob
 

FRM

How do you walk the Camino? One step at a time.
Camino(s) past & future
O'Cebreiro to Santiago (2014)
Pamplona to Sahagun (March 2019)
Sahagun to O’Cebreiro (March 2020)
Bob,
Thanks for the insight. I too reserve a private room, but Usually only every 3rd or 4th night. The private is bathroom becomes a welcome gift. From what folks are saying it does appear that October is most like March. I think my tentative plans now are to start the second week of October. The Fall of 2021 may be more crowded due to pent up demand, not sure how that will play out. Enjoy your planning
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
I have walked the Frances and other Caminos always starting in late September and ending around November 1. As you get later in the season you have fewer and fewer pilgrims until you get closer to that magical 100K to Santiago point. Never had an issue anywhere with albergues. But now with the pandemic of course all bets are off. Last year I walked the CF in November and December. I arrived in Santiago about the 10th of December. I had two apps on my phone (Buen Camino and Wise Pilgrim) and of course referred to Gronze. I found that none of them were more than about 60% accurate regarding albergue being open/closed. There were a few instances of albergues being open when an app said they were closed but mostly it was the other way around. I found it useful to have all three because it gives you more options on places to stay. Of course you never know about the weather and every year it will be different. The weather was awesome the first 5 or 6 days. But about a day before Logrono the wind started to pick up and it got more and more intense as the days went on. I am a pretty big guy 1.89 tall and about 95kilos and there were a few times I had to walk on an angle because the wind would catch my backpack on a strong gust and I felt myself losing my balance a little. On the Meseta we had less wind still strong and pretty constant cold rain. In Galicia the wind died down alot but we had pretty cold weather and lots and lots of snow. The morning we were going to walk to Rabanal the owner of our albergue told us the route to Rabanal was closed and they were sending pilgrims back by taxi or bus. Those in Rabinal that wanted to walk to Cruz de Ferro did so at their own risk and were told that if they got into trouble the authorities would not come get them. We had to take a bus to Ponferrada.
Lots of people got sick with the flu or bad colds, or respiratory infections. I contracted bronchial spasms. They really were not fun. Slowed me down and made me stop twice for an extra day and two trips to hospitals but it didn't stop me.
Having said that it was a great camino and of course I met wonderful pilgrims. I think there are more pilgrims that tend to not join "pilgrim families" but that didn't mean we didn't become great friends and often stayed in the same albergues, municipals and donativos and we shared lots and lots of pilgrim dinners together in the albergues. I probably ate in albergues 70% of the time and had wonderful meals and better company. How things will be next fall/winter will be anyone's guess. Hopefully there will be more peace on earth freer from this pandemic, open albergues and kitchens to share future memories with new friends and as TInker's grandmother said "plan for rain (or wind and snow and some sleet) and be thankful for sunshine". Remember it got pretty cold but after about 10 minutes of walking the cold became a thing of the past once you warmed up! I pray I will be walking the Via De La Plata. Maybe see you in Santiago ;)
 

FRM

How do you walk the Camino? One step at a time.
Camino(s) past & future
O'Cebreiro to Santiago (2014)
Pamplona to Sahagun (March 2019)
Sahagun to O’Cebreiro (March 2020)
lt56ny,
Thanks for the insight. What sorts of temperatures did you have to deal with November?

frm
 

Meggins

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances - One complete St.J.P.P to Santiago plus twice more for 500km each time.
I have always walked September into October (been on CF 6 times with 1 complete) Have always had spectacular weather Except for twice had only 1 day rain each time (twice had 2 days)
 

4 Eyes

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF from SJPP 14, VDLP from Seville 15, DN&P from Irun 16, Portuguese from Lisbon 17, CF from SJPP 18
I walked the CF in Oct/Nov and saw quite a bit of rain, some serious wind, and some snow from a few inches to a few feet. Three days had white out conditions intermittently. Saw over 100 down trees blocking the camino that one must climb over, under, or skirt around between Triacastella and Saria. Got through a little mud but nothing serious, unlike the VDLP or Norte. The days were good for walking mostly. The nights got increasingly cold. Albergues, hostels, monasteries and even hotels mostly were not heated during the night, and only moderately heated intermittently in the evenings and mornings, with strict temperature control, that is unless you go to a parador or equivalent. Some albergues are heated only in the public areas and not the sleeping areas. Hanging clothes dry was a challenge. Saw very few pilgrims on the camino or in town. Many businesses were closed for the season. Recommend highly.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
lt56ny,
Thanks for the insight. What sorts of temperatures did you have to deal with November?

frm
It is strange that it was never unbearably cold by any stretch. Don't know where you are from in the States but if you are used to cold weather you should have no problems. The coldest days I encountered were in the high 20's on some mornings. My outfit on almost every morning was the following:
A have a light REI down jacket that supposedly was insulated to about 32 degrees. It was super light.
I had a medium weight base layer top (from REI also)
In the early part of November my pants and a medium weight base bottom sufficed just fine. I believe it was in Burgos I bought a pair of snow pants and to tell you the truth I wore those almost every day after that.
I bought a good buff that I would say was invaluable. Had that on all the time. It protected my neck from the cold and nose. Sometimes if I didn't have my beanie I pulled it over my head and it kept it warm.
Beanie and gloves.
No matter how cold and windy in the morning after about 15 minutes of walking I was fine.
Having said that I did get sick like I said and so did a whole lot of other people. I know of at least 5 people that had to cut their pilgrimage short because of illness. I was surprised how many pilgrims were walking.
Although I never had a problem getting a bed. Believe me it was not alot just more than I had expected.
If you have any more questions let me know.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Mid-October through November. The big difference is that as you approach Santiago, the weather gets increasingly cooler and damper, the days get shorter, and everyone is wrapping up the growing season. This contrasts with the mood of Spring when the days are getting brighter, plants growing, and everything has the optimism of spring.

However, I have walked the Frances several times in the late fall and enjoyed it thoroughly. There is a different but equally fascinating mood of preparing for the winter. I never found accommodation to be a problem, but I always made sure I didn't arrive exhausted in a small village with only one albergue, without checking its availability in advance. We have no idea of how many albergues will be open in the post-pandemic world, so closure dates in November could be anything!

It sounds like it is time for you to try the autumn!

In normal conditions when there is a big crowd starting in SJPP each day in September, I would recommend starting in mid-to-late October. For weather reasons only, maybe an earlier October start would be ideal.
I thought C Clearly’s explanation on CF is accurate.
I have experienced really brutal weather in early March... about 12inches of snow, icy roads, blizzard conditions with 75km head winds, making each step a real challenge. Mountain paths were not passable, and roads were treacherous with ice causing road closures. This is less likely to happen in September and October.. October can get quite cold and snow can occur in mountainous regions.

Given we are presently experiencing closures of parts of the CF during the latter half of October 2020, as weather cools, are we to think that next October will be back to normal? I do not have that answer? So as I ponder the possibility of another camino, in 2021,right now, I could not see myself walking in October 2021. There, may still be, IMO, too many unanswered questions, regarding the efficacy of the various vaccines, for specific age groups and for various covid variants? In addition, how long would the antibodies protect one from the virus? Walkers seemed to walk without many reports of infection in the warmer months, but the numbers were relatively low. What would occur if the Albergues are full? These are all unknowns but, perhaps, worthy of consideration.
 
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FRM

How do you walk the Camino? One step at a time.
Camino(s) past & future
O'Cebreiro to Santiago (2014)
Pamplona to Sahagun (March 2019)
Sahagun to O’Cebreiro (March 2020)
Thanks everyone,
It appears my current kit would suffice. Late October sounds very much like early March. As to the likelihood to the trip even being possible, I can only hope. As much as anything else a date gives me something to plan for and reason to study the REI website and dig out my old Brierley Guide books. Who knows, maybe I’ll even start walking a farther in preparation....

Best,
frm
 

AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
choosing a period in the fall when the conditions most closely approach those I’ve come to love March

You may care to look at typical weather anywhere. You can apply pour temperature and wind speed scales.

In early May 2016 I retired hurt at Estella / Lizarra, having walked from Le Puy-en-Velay (south-central France).

Planning my return I looked at this website and was pleased to find a range for Burgos in October was mean highs of 19 C grading down to 14 C and lows of 8 C sloping down to 4 C. The highs at the start of October were said to be in the range 25 C to 13 C. And I noted similar ranges for main centres to the west. I was a happy chappy.

Reality in October 2017 was daily highs of around 30 C for at least a week and well above the early highs . Result: misery. A nicer reality was no rain, hail or snow for me that October. A feature of the significantly high temperatures was the crowd I encountered huddling under the shade of the only tree between Los Arcos and Sansol.

@FRM, I say to you kia kaha (take care, be strong, get going when you can).
 

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