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Doing the Camino de Santiago in January

In the silence of January, the Camino de Santiago reveals a charming and lesser-known facet. This time of the year, more introspective, invites you to discover the pure essence of this historic pilgrimage route. Far from the summer crowds, January offers the opportunity to explore the Camino in a more intimate context.

Why Walk the Camino de Santiago in January?

At this time of year, the fields and forests are dressed in white, creating a unique picture, where each stage becomes a winter postcard that will remain in your memories. In addition, the Camino becomes a scene of serenity. The influx of pilgrims decreases, allowing you to enjoy a more intimate connection with the route and its landscapes.

O Cebreiro cubierto de nieve

Advantages of Walking the Camino de Santiago in January

Fewer Pilgrims

The biggest benefit of doing the Camino de Santiago in January is the significant decrease in the influx of pilgrims compared to the spring and summer months. Routes, guesthouses and hotels are less crowded, which means you will have more privacy and space to yourself.

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    Tranquillity and reflection

    The winter season allows you a more intimate connection with the route and its landscapes. The peace that envelops the trails creates an atmosphere conducive to personal reflection, making each step an opportunity to immerse yourself in introspection.

    Winter landscapes

    The beauty of the Camino is intensified in winter. The snow-covered landscapes of the mountains of Lugo and Ourense and the tranquil atmosphere create a unique visual experience. The sunrises, sunsets and stripped trees are spectacles that can only be enjoyed at this time of year.

    Disadvantages of doing the Camino de Santiago in January

    Variable weather conditions

    Low temperatures and unpredictable weather conditions in January can present an additional physical challenge. It is essential to be prepared to face the cold and possible adverse conditions.

    Shorter days

    In January, the days are shorter, which means fewer hours of sunlight for walking. This can shorten hiking days and limit the time available to explore places of interest along the Trail.

    Fewer services available

    Some hotels, restaurants and guesthouses along the Camino may close or have reduced opening hours in the low season, which could affect the availability of accommodation and dining options. Be sure to do your research in advance to avoid unpleasant surprises.

    Which Camino route to do in January?

    Given the challenging weather conditions, it is advisable that you consider shorter routes that can be completed in about a week. In addition, it would be wise to choose stages that pass through populated areas, where you can take shelter in case of rain or storm.

    English Way

    With this in mind, we suggest exploring either of the two variants of the English Way, either the one that starts in Ferrol or the one that begins in A Coruña, as they can be completed in just 5 or 6 days and take place mainly within Galicia.

    Portuguese Way

    The Portuguese Way is one of the most advisable routes to do in January. Either of its two variants (both the Interior and the Coast) are of great natural beauty and have a great cultural heritage. In addition, they run at low altitude and do not cross any mountains, so the weather on this route is mild.

    French Way

    On the other hand, if you are considering a slightly longer pilgrimage, the most obvious choice is the French Way. It is important to bear in mind that it is not necessary to complete it all at once, but you can divide the total route into parts and do them at different times, even in different years. In addition, the quality of services on this route is usually higher and more regulated, which becomes a real relief during the cold nights on the Camino.

    What to take on the Camino de Santiago in January?

    Preparing properly for the Camino de Santiago in January is essential to ensure a comfortable and safe experience. Winter conditions can be challenging, but with the right clothing and equipment, you can fully enjoy this adventure. Here is a list of what you should consider bringing:

    • Warm, layered clothing: temperatures can be cold in January, so pack thermals, long-sleeved shirts, windproof and waterproof trousers, as well as a warm rain jacket. The key is layering, which will allow you to adapt to temperature changes during the day.
    • Hat, gloves and scarf: protect your head, hands and neck from the cold and wind. These accessories are crucial to prevent loss of body heat.
    • Proper footwear: a good pair of waterproof hiking boots is essential. You will also need woollen or thermal socks to keep your feet warm and dry. Consider carrying a second pair of socks to change during the day if necessary. Also remember to bring comfortable slippers or flip-flops to rest your feet in after the hike.
    • Sturdy backpack: a comfortable and sturdy backpack will help you carry your belongings efficiently. We recommend a backpack with a capacity of 30 or 40 litres. To walk without back pain, remember that the total weight of your backpack should not exceed 10% of your own weight. And if you don’t want to carry the whole backpack, but you need to take all your day-to-day utensils with you, you can hire luggage transfer services between stages.
    • Rain jacket and rucksack cover: Winter weather can bring rain, so a rain jacket and waterproof cover for your rucksack is essential to keep your equipment dry.
    • Water bottle: Even in winter, it’s important to stay hydrated. Carry a sturdy water bottle and refill it whenever you can.
    • Headlamp: Days are short in January, so a headlamp will come in handy if you need to walk in the dark or search through your belongings.
    • External battery and adapters: Make sure you have an external battery to charge your devices and adapters for plugs if you are travelling from outside Europe.
    • Documents and pilgrim credentials: don’t forget your ID card (or passport if you are travelling from outside Spain), your pilgrim credentials and any important identification documents.
    Estatua de peregrino cubierta de nieve

    Celebrations and festivals in January in Galicia

    Galicia is a land rich in tradition and culture. January is not a month that is particularly characterised by a high presence of festivities and celebrations, but you will be able to enjoy some festivities that will immerse you in the richness of its cultural heritage.

    New Year’s Day

    As in many parts of the world, Galicia also celebrates the arrival of the New Year with festivities and often fireworks.

    Epiphany

    Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day, is an important holiday commemorating the visit of the three Wise Men to the Christ Child. In Galicia, it is commonly celebrated with parades and family events.

    Cabalgata de reyes en Galicia

    Saint Anton

    In some places, such as in the province of Ourense, the feast of San Antón, patron saint of animals, is celebrated. People often take their pets to churches to receive a blessing on this day.

    In short, whether you are planning your own winter pilgrimage or you have simply enjoyed exploring this journey through this post, remember that the Camino de Santiago is always waiting for you. Whether in January or at any time of the year, this trail offers a journey of self-discovery, beauty and connection that will linger with you long after you arrive in Santiago de Compostela.

    ¡Buen Camino!

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      - Data controller: Galiwonders, S.L.U.

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