Do you only have time to do the Camino de Santiago in December? We explain what you will find when doing any of its routes at this time of year.
As much as doing the Camino de Santiago is always an interesting experience to live in life, the truth is that it is recommended to avoid the winter months or close to it, and in this case December is not the best month of the year to walk by Any of its routes. There are more difficulties but, of course, there may always be reasons that lead us to choose December to embark on our path.
It is obvious that doing the Camino de Santiago in December is a more complicated and hard experience than choosing another month like June or August. The conditions are more complicated, but perhaps it is a tougher challenge that "professional" pilgrims want to perform. If you have already made several routes of the Camino in the past and want to vary the experience a bit, especially if you are physically well prepared, doing so in December can be a completely different experience.
There may also be religious reasons of weight in your decision. It is obvious that December is a month marked by religious traditions, with Christmas being one of the key times for Christians. Many may want to match their pilgrimage with Christmas, or at least do so in close dates, so there will be no choice but to choose the month of December and face all those difficulties that the Camino de Santiago proposes on these dates.
It has few advantages for practical purposes to make the Camino de Santiago in December, since from the technical point of view it is colder, there is more rainfall and, therefore, the roads and paths are not perfectly practicable. But it is true that we always find some advantage: for religious purposes, as we said, it is a month marked in the Christian calendar with relevance. From December 25 it is Christmas and the birth of Jesus of Nazareth is celebrated, so the most religious will find these important dates and sentimental value.
It is also true that December is not the month chosen by the majority of occasional pilgrims or who live the experience for the first time, it is not a month that touristically attracts this type of pilgrims. Therefore, the overcrowding of the French Way or the Portuguese Way, probably the two routes that suffer most from this problem in spring and summer, does not exist. We will not see stages full of pilgrims and, in a sense, it will be a more personal and thoughtful journey. If you like to walk alone, without too many people and with some peace of mind, it is a perfect month.
As we say, in a month like December and if we talk about outdoor activities, such as a walk on a route of the Camino de Santiago, we find more disadvantages than advantages. In this case December is already an extremely cold month, especially in the interior, so routes such as the French Way can become very hard. It will be essential to bring enough specific and quality equipment to withstand snowfall and very low temperatures inside. Areas such as Logroño, Burgos, León or the entry into Galicia can be a tough challenge to carry on the French Way, since this effort is also extended for many days.
It is evident that not only the cold comes into play. Also the rainfall factor is important. The water hinders the technical conditions of the Way, being able not only to find muddy and complicated stages for any walker, but also with routes cut by overflowing rivers. In this case it would be necessary to improvise and look for new routes to follow the path, something that a person not accustomed may not be willing to contemplate.
In addition, being a time with greater amount of rainfall and storms, you have to be a little pending weather forecasts. It is important that, if outdoor activities are suspended in the area, we will not go on our route. An object could hit us by the wind or drop a branch on us, etc.
On the other hand, winter in the northern hemisphere has an obvious consequence, and in December the daylight hours for walking on the routes are much smaller. The night will arrive in the middle of the afternoon, with the decrease in temperatures, the difficulty to see in poorly lit areas, etc. We must take this into account when planning our departure, rest and arrival times to the stages.
As for the services on the Camino, the truth is that the vast majority are stationary and only work when there is more influx, that is, in spring and summer. Therefore, in the alternative routes the open shelters will be much less, although there are less pilgrims and more space in them. Which of the roads maintains a minimum of services? Since the French Way is the most affluent throughout the year, it is also the most prepared and in which we will find more services open in December.
Anyway, a call to certain services that we want to hire to confirm availability in December is recommended.
For adverse weather conditions, if we don't talk about the French Way, then we have to recommend short paths to do in just one week. In addition, stages in which you are usually walking through towns where to protect ourselves if a storm surprises us, or where we can ask the inhabitants for help if we are lost. In this sense, we recommend any of the two slopes of the English Way, both the one that leaves Ferrol and the one that starts from La Coruña. They are few stages and within Galicia.
On the other hand, if we want to make a longer route, then we must clearly bet on the French Way. Remember that you do not have to do it in full, you can dose and do it at various times of the year. Although from Burgos to León it can be a very complicated route because of the cold and the snow, the truth is that there are more pilgrims who can help us and, of course, although there are fewer services there are still many more than on any other route. The quality of hostels and other services is usually better and more controlled, something we will appreciate on cold nights.
Remember that at this time of the year temperatures can easily drop below 0 degrees.
© Copyright LA VOZ DE GALICIA S.A. Polígono de Sabón, Arteixo, A CORUÑA (ESPAÑA) Inscrita en el Registro Mercantil de A Coruña en el Tomo 2438 del Archivo, Sección General, a los folios 91 y siguientes, hoja C-2141. CIF: A-15000649