May brings with it a palpable change on the Camino de Santiago. With the full arrival of spring, the paths are transformed into a tapestry of bright colours. This month, marked by warmer days and mild nights, alters the dynamics of the Camino in a way that will influence every step you take.
Why do the Camino de Santiago in May?
May, a month when nature awakens in full bloom, offers pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago an exceptional experience. In May, the fields along the Camino burst into an explosion of vivid colours. Wild flowers are in full bloom, creating a picturesque carpet that accompanies you on every step. Trees are dressed in lush green, providing a stunning backdrop for your pilgrimage.
The May days bring more daylight hours, allowing you more time to walk the trails and explore the sights. In addition, the weather is, to a large extent, generous. This balance makes walking more comfortable, allowing you to fully enjoy the beauty of the landscape without the oppressive summer heat or possible inclement weather.
Although May marks the start of the season on the Camino de Santiago, the influx of pilgrims is noticeably lower compared to the summer months. This gives you the opportunity to enjoy a quieter experience and make more personal connections along your pilgrimage.
Advantages of doing the Camino de Santiago in May
Mild and pleasant weather
May offers mild and pleasant weather, with longer days and temperatures ranging from cool to warm. The weather conditions make walking more comfortable and enjoyable.
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Landscapes in full bloom
Spring is at its peak in May and the landscapes along the Camino are in full bloom. The fields are dressed in vibrant colours, creating a unique and enchanting visual experience for pilgrims.
Increased availability of services
With the arrival of the high season, May brings with it a greater availability of services along the Camino. Hotels, guesthouses, restaurants and shops are fully operational, giving pilgrims a wider range of options.
Disadvantages of doing the Camino de Santiago in May
Greater influx of pilgrims
Although the influx of pilgrims is moderate compared to the summer months, May still marks the beginning of the high season. The trails can fill up more quickly, especially on the most popular stages.
With the higher demand, some services along the Camino may increase their prices in May. Accommodation and restaurants may be more expensive compared to the low season months.
Although May generally offers pleasant weather, there can still be unexpected weather variations. Wearing versatile clothing and being prepared for possible rain is important during this time of year.
What route of the Camino to do in May?
In the month of May, when nature is in full swing and the weather is ideal, choosing the right route of the Camino de Santiago can make the difference in your pilgrimage experience. Here we highlight some of the most recommended routes to undertake during this month.
As the most popular and classic route, the French Way offers a complete experience that encompasses diverse landscapes and charming villages. From Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, Roncesvalles, Logroño, León, Ponferrada or Sarria, this route allows you to enjoy the natural and cultural diversity of Spain.
Starting in Porto, Valença do Minho or Tui, the Portuguese Way is another captivating option in May. This route winds through small villages, countryside, forests and towns, offering a perfect combination of nature and culture.
If you are looking for a route that takes you along the northern coast of Spain, the Camino del Norte is a perfect choice for you. This route offers panoramic views, charming coastal villages and a refreshing atmosphere.
Recognised as the first Jacobean route, the Primitive Way is a more demanding challenge, but the rewards are priceless. From Oviedo to Santiago de Compostela, this route passes through lush mountain scenery and authentic Asturian villages.
What to take on the Camino de Santiago in May?
In May the temperatures are mild and although the rain may show up on some days, it will not be an impediment to enjoy the Camino. As you venture on this journey, it is essential to be well equipped to ensure a comfortable and safe experience.
- Layering and versatile clothing: May is characterised by slightly cooler mornings and warmer evenings, so it’s crucial to pack layers. Include a waterproof jacket and thermals for the cooler mornings, but also make sure you have lighter clothing for the midday heat.
- Comfortable, sturdy footwear: a good pair of waterproof hiking boots is essential. You’ll 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.
- Lightweight 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. If you don’t want to carry a full backpack but need to take all your day-to-day gear with you, you can hire luggage transfer services between stages.
- Rain jacket and rucksack cover: May weather can bring rain, so a rain jacket and waterproof cover for your rucksack is essential to keep your equipment dry.
- Water bottle: It’s important to stay hydrated. Carry a sturdy water bottle and refill it whenever you can.
- 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.
- First aid kit: include bandages, disinfectant, painkillers and any personal medication you may need.
- Pilgrim documents and credentials: don’t forget your ID card (or passport if you are travelling from outside Spain), your pilgrim credentials and any important identification documents.
Celebrations and festivals in May in Galicia
In May in Galicia there are several festivities and events that reflect the rich cultural and religious tradition of the region.
International Workers’ Day (May 1st)
As in many parts of the world, May 1st is celebrated as International Workers’ Day. Demonstrations, trade union events and other labour rights activities may take place.
Mother’s Day (first Sunday in May)
Mother’s Day is celebrated in Galicia on the first Sunday in May. It is a special day dedicated to honouring and thanking mothers for their love and dedication. Families usually get together to celebrate with special meals, gifts and tokens of affection.
In some Galician cities, May is the month when the Feria del Libro (Book Fair) is held, an event that highlights local and international literature. There may be book presentations, author signings and activities related to the promotion of reading.