Walking the Camino in Winter

When to do the Camino de Santiago

If you are looking for a real challenge, breathe fresh air, isolate yourself from the crowds and do not mind having to deal with bad weather, perhaps you can consider doing the Camino de Santiago in winter. The Jacobean route at this station is a totally different experience, but it requires many preparations, although it is satisfactory for those who understand what it means

Walking the Camino in Winter
Hacer el Camino de Santiago en invierno

Hacer el Camino de Santiago en invierno

Why walking the Camino in winter? Advantages and disadvantages

The pilgrims who decide to do the Camino de Santiago in winter usually go looking for an experience different from the one that the Jacobean route can offer us in other seasons of the year. From the great waves of pilgrims that populate the Camino in summer there is no trace in winter, when the Camino empties, the shelters in its most close their doors at the end of the season and strange as it may seem the Jacobean routes are taken by the Asian pilgrims (mainly South Koreans). For many it may seem crazy to embark on the road to Santiago de Compostela in January, February or early March, but it is not at all if what we are looking for are paths in which to walk without haste, without the suffocating heat if we decide to do the Camino in Summer and breathing away from the big cities.

If we seek to live the Jacobean experience as it was originally lived (which has little or nothing to do with the current agglomerations), seeking a spiritual balance or simply a different adventure, walking the Camino in winter can be a great idea. Of course, you have to be prepared to deal with bad weather, storms, wind and occasional snowfall; You have to be well prepared with the right equipment and know at every moment what awaits us at each stage. If it is the first time that we come into contact with the Jacobean route, we want to try and familiarize ourselves with it, our advice is that before you try to do the Road in spring, when you will find the best time and still no crowds

Particular care must be taken with the high altitude zones of the French Way, such as Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, especially hard, or O Cebreiro, which traditionally pilgrims have always avoided at this time by choosing the so-called Winter Road . Special care must also be taken with foggy days so as not to get lost easily. If we have enough time and the day paints especially badly, be prudent and appreciate the situation; It is better to stay enjoying a locality and resting a couple of days until the weather improves.

Because many shelters on the Camino de Santiago close their doors in winter, it is advisable to check in advance which ones remain open during these months; For this you can have a look at the accommodation of each locality in ViveCamino, where it is informed, or choose directly to call by phone. Are there enough shelters open for walking in winter? In the French Way, yes, but you have to be informed first not to take a dislike. In other routes with smaller influx of pilgrims throughout the year will be more difficult to find hostels than in the French route, but we can always choose other types of accommodation, such as pensions or hostels.

If you travel the Camino in winter you will find several advantages added: it is not necessary to get up early as much as in summer, since you will not be exposed to the high temperatures of noon to walk and also you do not run the risk of running out of place in the shelters for full. In addition, you will find a totally different landscape than in other seasons; As for the cold, it will not take you much longer to warm up after a walk if you are well equipped.

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