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Winter Camino Frances

Time of past OR future Camino
booked to do Lugo-Santiago June 2018
I guess this has been asked a lot but my circumstances are not necessarily exactly as the same some others.
Earlier this year I intended to go to SJPDP to start my 3rd Camino experience. I had planned on 7 weeks, 700 miles approx, Camino Frances, Finisterre, Muxia and the Ingles. Apart from the whole spiritual experience I also wanted to lose body fat, a lot of it. Anyway my plans went to rat when I awoke one morning, a week before my flight and I was taken into hospital and twice underwent eye surgery due to 2 x retina tears. My trip was put on hold but after having recovered I flew to Biarritz at the end of June, 2022.
I started from SJPDP in some lovely refreshing rain at 2am (why 2am - because i was the only person in the Alberge and the light was switched on at 2am and I dare not go back to sleep, and I was still the only living being there....). Day 1 to Roncesvalles sorted out my IT band pain which I had acquired whilst sitting doing nothing for a couple of weeks or so whilst my eye was repairing/recovering. After day 1 it was plain sailing but the heat wave started to get to me. The balls of my feet started to hurt (as they always do with multi day hikes) so on day 8 I stupidly tried some gel metatarsal pads (never ever again). One of them ripped the ball of my left foot and from thereon I suffered a severe blister which was almost the size of the contact area of the ball of that foot. By the time i had walked for 16 days - 296miles, I decided to give in and caught a bus from Leon back to Santiago and flew home. The heat at night in the alberges was unbearable for me (being used to UK temperatures). I also took too much weight, carrying somewhere between 14 and 15 kg. The up side is though, that the body composition scan showed 12lb body fat lost and only 0.4lb muscle lost. So this demonstrated to me that this is the best way for me personally to lose fat, high weighted pack multi day hikes.
Anyway i intend to return as soon as possible to complete this particular journey. What I want to know from people who have walked in the months of December, January, February between *****Leon and Santiago***( As I want to continue from where I left off). Is : what weather conditions, temperatures do they normally experience between Leon and Santiago during those months, also I like to go FREE and not book alberges, I like to find them when I am ready each day to rest. How likely is it that there will be sufficient alberges open during those months for me to find without too much difficulty.
Thanks again in advance.
Great forum.
Ian
 
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mspath

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Ian Salisbury,

In earlier times I often walked the Camino Frances in winter. Of course the weather is never the same but the basic route has not changed. Difficult CF stretches after storms might be; the Valcarlos route up to Roncesvalles (the Napoleon route is closed from November to April), across the Montes de Oca from Villafranca, Najera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Monte Irago and, of course, to and from O Cebreiro.

Although all things do change this site
re albergues open in winter should help your planning. The list will next appear this November.


To further your research re Walking in Winter see these earlier threads filled with useful links and tips.

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/logrono-to-burgos-in-january.50991/

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/november-december-cf.50932/

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/walking-the-camino-in-december-january.37261/

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/why-would-you-do-a-winter-camino.44247/

Sillydoll who is a Forum member has in her blog compiled encyclopedic information on Winter Walking.
http://amawalker.blogspot.fr/2009/10/walking-in-winter.html?m=1

As for carrying simple food see
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...alk-the-camino-top-ten-tips.69300/post-896953

Happy planning and Buen camino
 
Last edited:

henrythedog

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
My affair
I’m a regular ‘off season’ walker. Colder after Christmas; often wet; snow at height in January and February.

I’ve little to add to Margaret’s comprehensive post other than that supply of accomodation usually matches demand; so you may have little choice but there will be sufficient open.

The winter albergue list usually starts operating in November IIRC.

The only tricky period I’ve found is right around Christmas / Los Reyes.
 

nilesite

Tumbleweed Pilgrim
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2020, 2021)
I love to walk in the winter - my all out favorite time. I can also recommend you look for municipal albergues in the larger towns which tend to be open year 'round, and for private albergues in the smaller ones which cannot support a large municipal. I try to stay off the suggested stops too. Weather can range from awesome, sunny and mild, to downright awful, sleet with 30-40 mph winds. But I don't walk a pilgrimage road because I'm looking for great weather. My book on winter walking is on Amazon.
 

Richard Smith

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2016
Kumano Kodo 2014
Ian

>>So this demonstrated to me that this is the best way for me personally to lose fat, high weighted pack multi day hikes.
>>
I took a heavy pack and lost 10kg from a start weight of 93 or 94 kg, which pleased my doctor enormously.
Since my return I have monitored my walks/bushwalks and have found that carrying at least 5kg increases my exertion levels up one level (according to my Garmin). I do not believe it is necessary to carry too much in the pack, for me the secret is the long days/multiple days carrying a certain amount.
But don't carry too much - else you risk injury that will limit or stop your camino.

Good luck
Richard
 
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NeldaD

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016/2017
2019
We walked from Ponferada to Santiago starting on the 27 December 2019 and had the most amazing time, so much so that we are doing it again this year from Pamplona to Sahagun!
Yes, it is cold and the days are shorter, but the experience and adventure makes up for the cold. To prevent the stress of not finding an open albergue, we just booked rooms in private albergues or through booking.com. With it being low season we found the price of self accommodation very reasonable
 

TPop

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
February 2023
Hey all. Planning to hike the Full Chemin de Puy, from Le-Puy to Saint- Jean starting February. Does anyone have a good resource for maps? As well as other inside for hiking during that time?
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Le Puy route 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2022
Hey all. Planning to hike the Full Chemin de Puy, from Le-Puy to Saint- Jean starting February. Does anyone have a good resource for maps? As well as other inside for hiking during that time?
Bonjour TPop, to answer your map question : what sort of maps are you looking for?

The Miam-Miam Dodo guidebooks include excellent maps and a comprehensive listing of available accommodations. The MMD guidebooks cover the entire route plus the main variantes [Célé and Rocamadour] in three volumes ... and are published each year; available from early December or thereabouts.

If it is a mapping app that you want then try : iPhiGéNie [subscription app BUT has the best maps and features imho], GeoPortail, MapOut, Mapy.cz

Bon chemin 👣👣👣
 

IINN

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022 French way
Hi, I am thinking to do the winter Camino Frances from mid-December to mid-January. I know not many alberges remain open in the winter and during the Christmas and New Year holiday. Does the cost increase quite a lot just because of limited choices of accommodation and restaurants along the way? What is the roughly budget difference between the winter one and non-winter one in terms of accommodation and food? I know it is inexpensive to do this trail, but want to have a better budget before making the decision. Thanks.
 
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Mera

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF, El Norte, Primitivo, Porto, Madrid, Ingles
Ian Salisbury,

In earlier times I often walked the Camino Frances in winter. Of course the weather is never the same but the basic route has not changed. Difficult CF stretches after storms might be; the Valcarlos route up to Roncesvalles (the Napoleon route is closed from November to April), across the Montes de Oca from Villafranca, Najera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Monte Irago and, of course, to and from O Cebreiro.

Although all things do change this site
re albergues open in winter should help your planning. The list will next appear this November.


To further your research re Walking in Winter see these earlier threads filled with useful links and tips.

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/logrono-to-burgos-in-january.50991/

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/november-december-cf.50932/

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/walking-the-camino-in-december-january.37261/

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/why-would-you-do-a-winter-camino.44247/

Sillydoll who is a Forum member has in her blog compiled encyclopedic information on Winter Walking.
http://amawalker.blogspot.fr/2009/10/walking-in-winter.html?m=1

As for carrying simple food see
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...alk-the-camino-top-ten-tips.69300/post-896953

Happy planning and Buen camino
Dear mspath,

You are an amazing source of information. Thank you always!
 

NeldaD

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016/2017
2019
Hallo! I need some advice on accommodation for the 5 January for the stage between Belorado and Burgos. Any recommendations or advice on available accommodation. I have used Gronze, Wise Pilgrim as well as the updated Aprinca list and cannot find anything. Will the best be to take the bus from Belorado to Burgos then? We missed this stage on a previous camino due to illness and we were looking forward to walk up to San Juan de Ortega!
 

NeldaD

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016/2017
2019
I have just arrived in Spain, I'm using the Wise Pilgrim Frances app, I've just looked and there are alberges shown as open all year in and after Belorado.
Thanks Ian, I have contacted a few of them but then were informed that they are actually closed :(
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Quite a few Albergues in that area have closed permanently, and a personal thank you for bringing this up, as I am heading in that direction right now, so that I may need to use similar tricks as last year on my Way there.
 
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mspath

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
The stretch from Belorado to Burgos is not easy in winter. Be sure you are prepared for cold, ice and snow. Check out the weather forecast before you set off. When it snows it can truly be a blizzard.
 
Last edited:
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances April 2020
I love to walk in the winter - my all out favorite time. I can also recommend you look for municipal albergues in the larger towns which tend to be open year 'round, and for private albergues in the smaller ones which cannot support a large municipal. I try to stay off the suggested stops too. Weather can range from awesome, sunny and mild, to downright awful, sleet with 30-40 mph winds. But I don't walk a pilgrimage road because I'm looking for great weather. My book on winter walking is on Amazon.
What is the name of your book please?
 
Time of past OR future Camino
booked to do Lugo-Santiago June 2018
I have just arrived in Spain, I'm using the Wise Pilgrim Frances app, I've just looked and there are alberges shown as open all year in and after Belorado.
Just as an update I got home this Monday back to the UK after having hiked from Mansilla de Mullas all the way to Santiago de Compostela then to Finistere then to Muxia. I was surprised to see quite a few pilgrims still walking. I had no issues whatsoever finding accommodation although alot were closed. I did a variety of things, just turned up, rang ahead and occasionally used booking.com. I carried a heavy base weight of 14.27kg which I knew was heavy before I left but within about 4 days my body acclimatized to it. Some alberges were heated some were freezing. It's the first camino I carried a sleeping bag. I purchased 5 bags in all, the first 4 were budget bags from a UK national outdoor shop, their own brand, which were either too small across the shoulders or the down looked very sparse, the 5th an expensive Thermarest -6°C comfort goose down is what I kept and took. It was wonderful. Some nights I was hot and had to unzip others I was just as snug as a bug in a rug whereas some other pilgrims had commented that they had been cold. As for the weight of my pack there were plenty of pilgrims with heavier packs than mine and a young petite woman with the same as mine. However there was alot of the contents that I didn't use so I will try, honest. Next time to reduce the base weight. 🤣
 

Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Time of past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
I was surprised to see quite a few pilgrims still walking.
I've been watching the daily arrival figures from the pilgrim office. There have been three days this past week where numbers have been well over 300. I find that quite remarkable for this time of year. Will be interested to see if numbers in January and February are greater than in previous years too or if this is just part of the overall Holy Year increase.
 
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TPop

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
February 2023
Does anyone have any live posts about hiking the full Chemin de Puy from Le-Pyuy to Saint Jean. Planning to start Feb 1st ANY other pilgrims out there starting ??
I am prepared for snow. I've looked at current conditions but was wondering if anyone is out there now, and can give feedback on weather, the passage over Aubrac and difficulty with closed hostels. Also the list of open hostels? The only list I've found of hostels is from Saint- Jean southwards.
Thanks!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Le Puy route 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2022
Does anyone have any live posts about hiking the full Chemin de Puy from Le-Pyuy to Saint Jean. Planning to start Feb 1st ANY other pilgrims out there starting ??
I am prepared for snow. I've looked at current conditions but was wondering if anyone is out there now, and can give feedback on weather, the passage over Aubrac and difficulty with closed hostels. Also the list of open hostels? The only list I've found of hostels is from Saint- Jean southwards.
Thanks!
There is no «list» of open hostels that I am aware of ... very few people walk the Le Puy route in winter so there is little demand for such a «list» ... however, you could do the research yourself by referring to Dave Whitson’s extensive spreadsheet of Le Puy route accommodations that was posted to this group some months ago [use the search function to find it] and which includes information about opening months ... bon courage and bon chemin 👣👣👣
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Le Puy route 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2022
Does anyone have any live posts about hiking the full Chemin de Puy from Le-Pyuy to Saint Jean. Planning to start Feb 1st ANY other pilgrims out there starting ??
I am prepared for snow. I've looked at current conditions but was wondering if anyone is out there now, and can give feedback on weather, the passage over Aubrac and difficulty with closed hostels. Also the list of open hostels? The only list I've found of hostels is from Saint- Jean southwards.
Thanks!
Here is ... what I hope to be ... the link to the super spreadsheet of Le Puy route accommodation, in the process of being wholly updated for 2023 ...
<https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet...JgGH79Zq1DAJ_g-0cA2cAgdKDU/edit#gid=311394233>
 

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