November on the Camino de Santiago begins to be a hard month for the pilgrim, with temperatures that can drop sharply and almost assured rainfall.
November is probably not the first choice of many to do the Camino de Santiago, since it is traditionally not a generalized holiday date and, in the case of families, children are still in normal school day. In addition, as we have said, many adults have already spent their vacation weeks in the summer months, reserving some days for Christmas. However, it is not a bad idea to book a few days to do the Camino in November.
But you should keep in mind that at this time of year they are probably more inconveniences than advantages. We are not considered the best times of the year to do so: end of spring, beginning of summer and end of summer. We are almost fully involved in the Winter and, therefore, you must bear in mind that you will encounter difficulties in terms of the weather. If this does not matter to you, or you are used to it, then doing the Camino de Santiago in November will always be a satisfying experience.
The great advantage is that we are in very low season and that nature begins to give us other landscapes that can also be enjoyed on the Camino, such as the frozen fields or the first snow.
As we approach winter, no doubt, the influx of pilgrims is decreasing more and more. From August the monthly descent of pilgrims is evident and therefore it is perfect for those people who want to walk alone or in small groups. In summer, especially on the French Way, sometimes the road may be affected by a certain massification. But in November this problem disappears completely. Few pilgrims and, most, with some experience. That is why it is not a bad date for pilgrims who want to cross paths with experts from it. But above all it is a perfect month for those who seek tranquility, those who seek a very personal experience.
While in spring and summer the picture on the Camino de Santiago is a large number of blooming fields, forests full of life and vitality, as we approach winter the picture changes a lot. In November we will find the typical pattern of autumn, but already touching winter. That is why pilgrims who like snow can begin to see the first fields covered by that white mantle. Extraordinary snowy landscapes, a very different image from the one we have in summer, especially in central points of the peninsula.
You should keep in mind that doing the Camino de Santiago in November will not be easy, at least on the longer routes. Take note:
November is the month in which the cold comes, especially in northern Spain. Although September and October may be more or less mild temperatures, you should keep in mind that it is already cold in November. In addition to an increase in rainfall, the northern half of Spain suffers an obvious decrease in temperatures. Frost arrives at night and early hours of the morning and, of course, in the interior and mountain areas you can see the first snowfall. We have to say then that the weather will be adverse, and it is recommended to go very well equipped, with lots of thermal and warm clothes, raincoats, good boots, etc. The icy north wind can also be difficult to fight if we don't wear well-prepared clothes.
November is already a month where daylight hours are scarce. It is true that we are not yet in the shortest days of the year, but the lack of light is evident and, especially in the middle of the afternoon, we will notice that the days are waning. This causes two drawbacks: the first is that we have fewer hours of light to do the Camino and, of course, it also entails a decrease in free hours for outdoor activities or visits. You don't want to spend too much time outside a shelter during the afternoon of a month of November, especially when it rains or hail (storms can become common).
Many of the hostels and services we see on the Camino de Santiago on any of its routes are seasonal. That is, they only work or are open in the high seasons, between spring and summer, so most close in October. For November, only the basic services remain, so even if you probably have no problems finding a place in the shelters, it is true that we will have less power of choice due to lack of options.
For all that we have explained, we have to warn that the lower concentration of pilgrims makes it more difficult to find travel companions and, in a time where the cold is more evident, it is not a good recommendation to walk alone. If you go in a group, of course, it is something that no longer matters.
Since the weather is so adverse, the best routes we can recommend are the shortest. We recommend short Galician routes, if possible near the sea to have somewhat milder temperatures. You can think of the Portuguese Way along the Rías Baixas and going up to Santiago. One of the variants of the English Way may also be a good idea: short routes and good services if we talk about Galicia.
If you want to make a slightly longer route, then at this time of the year always opt for the French Way, for several reasons. The first is that it is the most chosen route by most pilgrims, so you can find travel companions every day. The second is that, apart from Galicia, the rest of the off-season routes have much less services. However, because the French Way has a good number of pilgrims, we will find more services available and of higher quality. In a month like November, you will certainly appreciate a good hostel and other services that can help us on our journey.
At this time of the year, polar fronts can enter, causing temperatures to drop rapidly and sharply. Therefore, check the weather forecast every day, and if you see that the decrease in temperatures is very sharp and rainfall is very likely, perhaps it is better to wait a few days for better weather or make some journey in a means of transport public. Extreme precautions, since in interior points temperatures could drop 0 ° easily.
© 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