Are you starting to plan the Camino de Santiago? Surely one of the many questions you need to solve is: What is the best time to do the Camino?
The Camino can be done at any time of the year. However, to make the most of your Jacobean experience, we recommend you to take into account some factors. These will help you decide which route of the Camino de Santiago to choose, depending on the time of year you want to do it.
In this article you will find information about:
- Factors to take into account when choosing the best season to do the Camino.
- Advantages and disadvantages of doing the Camino in spring, summer, autumn and winter.
- The routes of the Camino de Santiago we recommend according to the season of the year.
Factors to take into account when choosing the route of the Camino de Santiago
These are the factors you should take into account to choose the most appropriate route for each season of the year:
In the northern part of the Iberian Peninsula coexist up to 3 types of climate: oceanic, in the regions closest to the Cantabrian Sea (Basque Country, Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia); mountain (in the Picos de Europa and the Galician Massif. in the Asturias countryside, León and Lugo); and the continental Mediterranean climate (La Rioja, Navarra, Burgos, Soria, León…). Depending on the route you choose and the time of year you decide to do the Camino, you will find different weather conditions. Some are more pleasant than others for walking.
The flow of pilgrims
The most popular routes of the Camino are usually busiest in the months during the summer. The preferred holiday period in Europe. If you are one of those people who prefer to walk quietly and escape the crowds, we recommend you to do the Camino in spring and autumn.
The availability of tourist services
Related to the previous point, it may happen that in high season, in some specific routes, such as the French or the Portuguese Way, it may be more difficult to find available accommodation.
Just the opposite can happen in the off-season months on less traveled routes.
Our recommendation is that if you are going to do the Camino in the summer months, choose one of the alternative routes to the most popular ones (Camino A Orixe, Ruta de los Faros, Camino de Muros-Noia, etc). While if you are going to make the pilgrimage in spring or autumn, you should follow the French or Portuguese Way.
Winter warm clothes take up more volume and are heavier than summer clothes. If you do the Camino de Santiago in winter you will have to travel with more luggage than if you do it in spring, autumn or summer. In addition, walking with these clothes will be more uncomfortable and tiring if it rains while walking.
Below we show you what it is like to do the Camino de Santiago in each season of the year:
The Camino in Spring
Spring is (along with autumn) the best time to walk the Camino de Santiago. Temperatures in these months are milder than in summer. And although the rain may show up some days, it will not be an obstacle to enjoy the Camino.
One of the advantages of a spring pilgrimage is that you will be able to travel lighter. You will not need to carry as many spare clothes or warm clothes as in winter. Technical clothing, windbreakers and footwear suitable for trekking is enough equipment for the Camino in this season.
In addition, in the spring season, tourist services along the Camino are in full swing. Finding accommodation and transport will be easy at this time of the year. Even so, we recommend you to book accommodation, transport and other services in advance. The most popular routes, such as the French and Portuguese Ways, start to be busy at this time of year.
Spring is a good season to do the Camino de Santiago and find the balance between enjoying solo travelling and living a reflective and self-knowledge experience in a more social way, which will allow you to meet people from anywhere in the world.
Recommended routes of the Camino de Santiago in spring
Do you feel like doing the Camino in spring? Here we show you the most recommended routes to do in March, April, May or June:
The Camino in Autumn
The first months of autumn: September and October, are also the preferred time for many pilgrims to walk the Camino de Santiago. The influx of pilgrims begins to decrease considerably compared to the summer months. This makes it an ideal season to enjoy the route in peace and quiet.
Temperatures at this time of the year are milder than in summer (18ºC – 25ºC). You will surely appreciate it on long walks!
The recommended equipment for the trail is the same as the one we mentioned in spring. Comfortable clothing and footwear as well as a windbreaker for the hours when the sun sets or when the road passes through shady areas. Keep in mind that during this season the rain will show up on some days 😉
The way in autumn is a good opportunity to enjoy the views of Galician autumn landscapes or the grape harvest in the Ribera Sacral and the Rías Baixas. A good opportunity to enjoy a good wine with Protected Designation of Origin. In Galicia there are 6 (Rías Baixas, Valdeorras, Ribeiro, Ribeira Sacra and Monterrei).
During this season many pilgrims decide to split some of their stages in two to have more free time between days and enjoy a leisure or gastronomic activity. Wine tasting in wineries, tasting of Galician gastronomy, thermal circuits… etc.
Recommended routes of the Camino in autumn
Do you feel like doing the Camino in autumn? Here we show you the most recommended routes to do in September, October and November.
The Camino in Summer
The summer season is the holiday period par excellence in Spain and Europe, so it is considered the high season of the Camino de Santiago. At this time pilgrims from the five continents embark on the adventure to get their Compostela. If you decide to do the Camino in the summer season you will walk with travelers from all over Latin America, USA, Australia, Canada, UK, South Africa, Italy, Korea, Japan, and an endless list of countries in the world.
The Camino de Santiago in summer is the most social. So get ready to meet people from other cultures, share experiences and live enriching moments.
At this time the temperatures are pleasant. They are higher (23ºC – 30ºC) in those routes that pass through the interior of the Iberian Peninsula such as: the French Way from St. Jean de Pied de Port or the Via de la Plata from the South of Spain or the Primitive Way. While the mildest (18ºC – 28ºC) will be found in those routes of the Camino that pass through coastal areas such as: the Northern Way, the Portuguese Coastal Way or the English Way.
In summer we recommend you to carry in your backpack: comfortable and breathable shoes. It will help prevent small blisters. It is also advisable to carry cool pants, t-shirts and a windbreaker jacket in your backpack. Temperatures drop when the sun goes down (21:00 approx.) and you may need it. Finally, we also recommend you to bring sunscreen,lip balm and a hat or a cap to protect you from the sun and the sea breeze. And a swimsuit of course! Along the way you will find beaches, rivers and lakes where you can swim and relax.
Recommended routes of the Camino in summer
Do you feel like doing the Camino in summer? Here we show you the most recommended routes for the months of June, July, August and September.
The Camino in Winter
Doing the Camino de Santiago in winter is possible. However, we recommend this experience to the most adventurous pilgrims. Those who are willing to expose themselves to irregular weather conditions (low temperatures, precipitation and wind). Or even extreme snow and temperatures (below 0ºC) on the Camino de Santiago routes that run through the mountains (Camino Primitivo).
If you are going to do the Camino in winter you should pack warm thermal and waterproof clothing and spare clothes, in order to wear dry clothes if the rain surprises you.
Winter is the time when you will find fewer pilgrims on the Camino. In addition, as these are the low season months, tourist establishments and services (accommodation, transport, tourist activities…) do not operate at 100% on all routes. This will condition the choice of route. Especially those that start outside the Autonomous Community of Galicia or pass through mountainous or little-traveled areas.
Recommended routes of the Camino in winter
Do you feel like doing the Camino in winter? Here we show you the most recommended routes to do in December, January, February and March.
In summary, summer is when you will find the most people on the Camino. However, the best time to do the Camino de Santiago is during the months of Spring and Autumn. From April to June and from September to December.
Temperatures in these months will be pleasant for walking 15-20 km each day per stage. In addition, you will find the perfect balance between calmness and hustle and bustle. You will find times to connect with yourself and times to meet people from all over the world.