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Winter walk

Herm

Member
Camino(s) past & future
None-will be first one.Want to do 100-150 km Camino in late November, 2019
Hello. New to the forum(last week) and have been reading posts and attending the University of Google in great detail. I have decided for work and personal reasons this December. Only time I can get a couple weeks off work ). Having made that decision I have started my training as best I can prepare in a short time. I want to walk as far as I can, and I'm going to say that a reasonable goal and expectation at this stage is about 100-15- km in a 7-8 day time frame. Also I am not afraid of the elements, can wing it with no concerns and am pretty resourceful. And finally I am doing this as a pilgrimage of sorts rather than a vacation with a really long walk. I want to experience what the original pilgrims did as much as possible.
OK-that's the backgrounder. Some things I need help with.
1. Which Camino would people recommend ? I do prefer water, nature, forest rather than rolling country side ( to each their own )
2. Will there be enough hostels available in December or are they all closed down ?
3. Do I need to contact the hostels that I want to stay at in advance?
4. I know that camping is discouraged, but is there a way that I can tent it somehow ? Will some routes be more likely to have a place where I can legally camp.
Thanks for all your help so far. I don't know what is drawing me to do this, and maybe I will find out in the first 5 KM, but I have made a decision to do it and will not waiver from that. ( OK-enough personal stuff)
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
D

Deleted member 43780

Guest
May need to contact private places (Hotel, B&B, private hostels, etc) in advance for reservations and to confirm if open.
Municipal alburgues (I.e. hostels) don’t take reservations.
Problem may be due to time of year few may be closed.
I don’t think all will be closed but few May be.

Camping... very few “official” camp grounds on the Caminos.
There is however a nice city camp ground in SJDP.
I stayed there on two of my Frances. One biking and other walking.
I have slept in my tent in the yard, patio, etc at alburgues. Paid for use of shower, cooking in kitchen, laundry etc.
Actually sleeping in my tent outside the alburgues was nice.
Don’t forget about fire houses, schools, churches etc.
A few euro donation or nice words can get you a spot for your tent.

I have also stealth camped few times. NO fires, cooking, lights, smoking, music etc. leave spot way found it or better.
When possible asked permission.
Never climb over fence. Or go through gates without permission.

I think the “TP” people do far more damage to the Camino than a one night stealth sleeper ever does.

All of the Caminos will have some rolling hills.
Possibly look at the coastal Portuguese route??
Or parts of the Via Plata (southern).
The ingles May work for you. BUT, that time of year cold, rain and lots of places closed or reduced hours.
Based on your description I would walk in southern Portugal.
There are many caminos.

The weather?? Who knows what it will be.
I have seen nice sunny days in Ferrol in December. Then again see gloomy grey, dark, rainy days up there.
Interior Spain is normally colder than coastal and southern Spain.
But coastal, especially northern Spain, means more rainy days. Wet days

Try it out. If don’t like weather then hop bus or train heading south.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
D

Deleted member 43780

Guest
Do search on here for walking in December.

Also less daylight hours that time of the year.

If close to holidays also means fewer places open.

Good luck.

Walk safe.
Walk happy
 

Karl Oz

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Portuguese
Aragones
Sanabres
Piamonte
Elizabethpfad
The first week or so of the Frances might fit your topographical bill. Quite varied terrain. Check about open accommodation though.
 

Herm

Member
Camino(s) past & future
None-will be first one.Want to do 100-150 km Camino in late November, 2019
May need to contact private places (Hotel, B&B, private hostels, etc) in advance for reservations and to confirm if open.
Municipal alburgues (I.e. hostels) don’t take reservations.
Problem may be due to time of year few may be closed.
I don’t think all will be closed but few May be.

Camping... very few “official” camp grounds on the Caminos.
There is however a nice city camp ground in SJDP.
I stayed there on two of my Frances. One biking and other walking.
I have slept in my tent in the yard, patio, etc at alburgues. Paid for use of shower, cooking in kitchen, laundry etc.
Actually sleeping in my tent outside the alburgues was nice.
Don’t forget about fire houses, schools, churches etc.
A few euro donation or nice words can get you a spot for your tent.

I have also stealth camped few times. NO fires, cooking, lights, smoking, music etc. leave spot way found it or better.
When possible asked permission.
Never climb over fence. Or go through gates without permission.

I think the “TP” people do far more damage to the Camino than a one night stealth sleeper ever does.

All of the Caminos will have some rolling hills.
Possibly look at the coastal Portuguese route??
Or parts of the Via Plata (southern).
The ingles May work for you. BUT, that time of year cold, rain and lots of places closed or reduced hours.
Based on your description I would walk in southern Portugal.
There are many caminos.

The weather?? Who knows what it will be.
I have seen nice sunny days in Ferrol in December. Then again see gloomy grey, dark, rainy days up there.
Interior Spain is normally colder than coastal and southern Spain.
But coastal, especially northern Spain, means more rainy days. Wet days

Try it out. If don’t like weather then hop bus or train heading south.
Marty, Excellent, Excellent suggestions. Lots to follow up. Thanks so much. I have also decided that time permitting at that pesky little thing called a job, I may advance my trip to some time in October. Although I'm sure most of your suggestions will still apply at that time.
Thanks again Marty!
 

Sam - AU

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances - Apr/May 2018, Feb/Mar 2019 .... upcoming Nov/Dec 2019
Hi Herm,

Welcome pilgrim, sounds like you have heard the ‘calling’ from the Camino and go you for following it.

I’ve walked the Camino Frances in off season Winter time in February this year and will be back again November & December this year. A winter camino is a magical experience.

Will answer your questions based on my own experience hope they help and put your mind at ease;

1. Camino Frances is probably going to be your best bet to catch the services that are actually still open that time of year. From Rabanal through El Acebo & Cruz De Ferro is probably my favourite bit, and gives you some breathtaking snowy mountain peak views that time of year. Due to limited albergues open that time of year you will likely be restricted to doing 20-30km days, dependent on which section of the route you do some will have more open than others

2. Scrap lugging camping gear particularly for a week long stretch and making things harder for yourself than need be! You will have no problem getting a bed as there won’t be many pilgrims, you may just need to pick your end point/memorise your options for the day before you leave each morning based on where the open albergues are.
Will put a link below, this was my lifesaver! It is the up to date list of open albergues on the Frances in winter and their closure dates for Xmas/NY/season etc, and any special requirements. (I’d also recommend getting a spanish SIM card or a working phone, some municipals have a number to ring on the door for someone to come let you in)
This link won’t be much help right now, but save the link and it starts back up on 1st Nov and is up dated every couple of days, which will be plenty of time for you to check before leaving for Spain if you want that piece of mind. From memory things get trickier Christmas/New Year so maybe avoid that period.

3. If you are planning on only Albergues and not hotels or the like there is no need to book or call in advance. Just follow the list on the link above which is always up to date at that time of the year, it will say on it if you need to whatsapp or call next to it, but I had no problems at all having no bookings and never calling ahead.

As recommended above scrap the camping gear, make sure you take a toasty winter grade sleeping bag (due to so few pilgrims you’ll often be letting yourself into and out of an Albergue the heating isn’t always turned on as it might be days between pilgrims) and take an extra pair of socks, hand washing in winter leads to things still being wet the next morning. Also always have some food and more than enough water on you, many days there won’t be an open shop or cafe the whole day and the water fountains were turned off. Don’t worry about dinner though, on the days without an open restaurant we always found a friendly local or hospitalero that would rummage up a meal, find pasta ingredients or make a call for the local tienda to open for 15 min. Some of those meals are my favourite memories. The camino definitely provides.

Buen Camino Pilgrim, hope your winter camino is as magical as mine was, our paths may cross in December.
 

J F Gregory

Portugal Central - October 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (March-April,2016) finished, (October 2019) Portuguese Central Route.
The Portuguese Camainho may be your the weather will be cold but less chance of snow, maybe, best bet. Walking by the beach for a while and in 2 weeks you can walk from Porto to Santiago de Compostella.
 

Herm

Member
Camino(s) past & future
None-will be first one.Want to do 100-150 km Camino in late November, 2019
Hi Herm,

Welcome pilgrim, sounds like you have heard the ‘calling’ from the Camino and go you for following it.

I’ve walked the Camino Frances in off season Winter time in February this year and will be back again November & December this year. A winter camino is a magical experience.

Will answer your questions based on my own experience hope they help and put your mind at ease;

1. Camino Frances is probably going to be your best bet to catch the services that are actually still open that time of year. From Rabanal through El Acebo & Cruz De Ferro is probably my favourite bit, and gives you some breathtaking snowy mountain peak views that time of year. Due to limited albergues open that time of year you will likely be restricted to doing 20-30km days, dependent on which section of the route you do some will have more open than others

2. Scrap lugging camping gear particularly for a week long stretch and making things harder for yourself than need be! You will have no problem getting a bed as there won’t be many pilgrims, you may just need to pick your end point/memorise your options for the day before you leave each morning based on where the open albergues are.
Will put a link below, this was my lifesaver! It is the up to date list of open albergues on the Frances in winter and their closure dates for Xmas/NY/season etc, and any special requirements. (I’d also recommend getting a spanish SIM card or a working phone, some municipals have a number to ring on the door for someone to come let you in)
This link won’t be much help right now, but save the link and it starts back up on 1st Nov and is up dated every couple of days, which will be plenty of time for you to check before leaving for Spain if you want that piece of mind. From memory things get trickier Christmas/New Year so maybe avoid that period.

3. If you are planning on only Albergues and not hotels or the like there is no need to book or call in advance. Just follow the list on the link above which is always up to date at that time of the year, it will say on it if you need to whatsapp or call next to it, but I had no problems at all having no bookings and never calling ahead.

As recommended above scrap the camping gear, make sure you take a toasty winter grade sleeping bag (due to so few pilgrims you’ll often be letting yourself into and out of an Albergue the heating isn’t always turned on as it might be days between pilgrims) and take an extra pair of socks, hand washing in winter leads to things still being wet the next morning. Also always have some food and more than enough water on you, many days there won’t be an open shop or cafe the whole day and the water fountains were turned off. Don’t worry about dinner though, on the days without an open restaurant we always found a friendly local or hospitalero that would rummage up a meal, find pasta ingredients or make a call for the local tienda to open for 15 min. Some of those meals are my favourite memories. The camino definitely provides.

Buen Camino Pilgrim, hope your winter camino is as magical as mine was, our paths may cross in December.
Thank you Sam. Very, very useful information.
Buen Camino to you as well!
 

surya8

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues Central and Coastal 2017 & 2019; Portugues Interior, Sanabres, Fisterra & Muxia 2018
I walked the Coastal Portugues route + Espiritual in Jan this year, turned out that this is a pefrect Camino for winter! Depending on how many days you have and how fast you walk it takes 8-12 days Porto-Santiago on the Central way, or 10-13 days on the Coastal (+2 days if you want to walk Variante Espiritual). Both routes are popular and there will be pilgrims. All the municipal albergues are open and well-equipped, possible to cook in. No need to camp although there are plenty of official camping spots, especially along the ocean but most of them will be closed for winter. Infrastructure is there so if you want to stay in a pension/hostel they are also available. No need to prebook the albergues. The Portugues route offers plenty of sunshine even at this time of the year, mild temperatures up to +12+14C, obviously no snow but plenty of flowers. Get some rain gear, a sleeping bag if staying in the municipal albergues and some warm clothes for the albergues. Most of them are warm and cosy there by the way. The terrain is slightly hilly, plenty of forests, beautiful ocean and historical lovely towns on the way there. Re finances: spent around 200 euros for 12 walking days there. My blog on the coastal Camino in Jan, google translate: https://anna-camino.livejournal.com/5457.html Bom Caminho! :)
 

Herm

Member
Camino(s) past & future
None-will be first one.Want to do 100-150 km Camino in late November, 2019
I walked the Coastal Portugues route + Espiritual in Jan this year, turned out that this is a pefrect Camino for winter! Depending on how many days you have and how fast you walk it takes 8-12 days Porto-Santiago on the Central way, or 10-13 days on the Coastal (+2 days if you want to walk Variante Espiritual). Both routes are popular and there will be pilgrims. All the municipal albergues are open and well-equipped, possible to cook in. No need to camp although there are plenty of official camping spots, especially along the ocean but most of them will be closed for winter. Infrastructure is there so if you want to stay in a pension/hostel they are also available. No need to prebook the albergues. The Portugues route offers plenty of sunshine even at this time of the year, mild temperatures up to +12+14C, obviously no snow but plenty of flowers. Get some rain gear, a sleeping bag if staying in the municipal albergues and some warm clothes for the albergues. Most of them are warm and cosy there by the way. The terrain is slightly hilly, plenty of forests, beautiful ocean and historical lovely towns on the way there. Re finances: spent around 200 euros for 12 walking days there. My blog on the coastal Camino in Jan, google translate: https://anna-camino.livejournal.com/5457.html Bom Caminho! :)
Thank you. I’m leaning towards the Portugal coast walk, but not sure I can do that many km per day.
 

surya8

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues Central and Coastal 2017 & 2019; Portugues Interior, Sanabres, Fisterra & Muxia 2018
Thank you. I’m leaning towards the Portugal coast walk, but not sure I can do that many km per day.
I walked on a budget so stayed mostly in the municipal albergues and walked these distances, although it was ok for me. If you are flexible about your stays, combining albergues with pensions then you could walk much less, could be done on the Portugues. There is a file in the Resources section on the accommodation on the Coastal way/Senda Littoral, could be very useful to you.
 

Herm

Member
Camino(s) past & future
None-will be first one.Want to do 100-150 km Camino in late November, 2019
I walked on a budget so stayed mostly in the municipal albergues and walked these distances, although it was ok for me. If you are flexible about your stays, combining albergues with pensions then you could walk much less, could be done on the Portugues. There is a file in the Resources section on the accommodation on the Coastal way/Senda Littoral, could be very useful to you.
Thank you!
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2013, CF 2014, CP 2016, CN 1st half 2018, CN 3rd qtr+R. Cantabrico 2019, Via Francigena 2017
Lots of beautiful ocean walking on the Camino del Norte and probably a bit warmer along the ocean than inland(?). Of course, plenty of up and down as well (more than on the Portugues, I think). Not sure about winter accommodations on the Norte. Lots of hotels, B&Bs, and such are open in April and we often had the places to ourselves. There are many accommodations for the summer tourists. But not sure if they are open in winter.
 

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