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Walking the Camino in Christmas

Are you thinking about walking the Camino in Christmas? 

Here you have a compilation of the most asked questions about walking the Camino in Christmas

There is an increasing number of pilgrims who plan to walk the Camino de Santiago in Christmas. Although weather conditions might not be the best for walking or cycling, it can be organized for those who are not afraid of the cold or the rain. If you are one of those adventurous, or simply  curious about walking the Camino in Christmas, just keep reading.

Best Camino de Santiago routes to walk in Christmas

Walking the Camino in Christmas GaliwondersThere are some particular sections of the Camino de Santiago that can’t be walked or cycled in winter. For example, the first stretch of the French Way, from St-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Roncesvalles, or the area of O Cebreiro in Galicia. This is because of the snow, that can make the route very dangerous.

There are other routes that we would not recommend, because most of the accommodations close during low season. For example, the most isolated areas of the Primitive Way or the Northern Way (in Asturias region for example).

If you are planning to walk the last 100 km of the French Way, from Sarria to Santiago, that would be no problem at all to organize it. Even if some of the accommodations close in winter, there are many alternatives along the way. With some time and preparation, it can be perfectly organized.

Another option for those planning to walk the sections before Sarria, but to skip O Cebreiro because of the snow, is the Winter Way. If you are looking for a quiet path, but with amazing landscapes and traditions, it is the perfect route.

Other popular options to walk the Camino de Santiago in Christmas, and finish in Santiago de Compostela are the last 100 km of the Portuguese Way, the Portuguese Coastal Way or the English Way. If you prefer to start in Santiago instead, we would recommend the Finisterre Way. Just remember to leave us some time to organize everything!

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    Weather in Christmas

    As we were previously saying, wWalking the Camino in Christmas Galiwonderseather on the Camino de Santiago can vary depending on each route. Some particular areas can even be dangerous because of the snow. The section from St-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Roncesvalles, is even closed during this period of the year.

    In other sections, you must be ready for the rain and the cold. But it is not risky to walk them with proper shoes and a good raincoat. That would be the case of any of the last 100 km of any of the Camino de Santiago routes, finishing in Santiago de Compostela.

    Weather in Northern Spain, particularly in Galicia region, is unstable, even in summer!

    When to book my Camino in Christmas

    As many accommodations and luggage transporters stop their activity in winter (from November to March) we strongly recommend to book in advance if you are planning to walk the Camino in Christmas. This will leave us enough time to contact all suppliers, inform you, and avoid any kind of issue related to availability.

    It is not a problem to find accommodation on the bigger towns like Santiago de Compostela, Ferrol or Vigo. The issue could be on the small rural areas, where accommodation is limited.

    Christmas on the Camino

    Christmas period in Spain starts on the 24th of December, and finishes on the 6th of January. The most popular days of this period are:

    Christmas Eve: 24th of December

    Walking the Camino in Christmas Galiwonders

    Christmas Day: 25th of December

    Day of the Holy Innocents: 28th of December

    New Year’s Eve: 31st of December

    New Year Day: 1st of January

    The Wise Men Day: 6th of January

     

     

    Christmas menu on the Way of Saint James

    If you celebrate Christmas in Galicia, the region where all the routes of the Camino de Santiago end, you will be very lucky because you can try some local products of great quality and freshness. At the top of the list we find the great offer of seafood, coming as much from the Galician coast as from its many Rías. This is followed by the main dishes, that can be either of meat or fish. To end this wonderful meal, we find an infinite number of desserts. Let’s see in detail which dishes are among the most popular during Christmas.

    Seafood

    Among the seafood that you can traditionally find in the Christmas Menu, there are: the mussels, crabs, clams, prawns, shrimps and the very famous percebes. Also typical of Galicia, and strongly connected to the Way of St. James, is the vieira rellena, a scallop shell stuffed and  baked in the oven, a real explosion of flavors!

    It is almost unbelievable to think that these delicious dishes, often affordable only for some wallets, until the second half of the 20th century were not considered in the local cuisine. Luckily , this change in the tradition, today allows us to taste products of very high quality. The incredible taste of this seafood, makes its preparation is very simple. In order not to modify in any way their natural taste, the typical recipe requires simply to boil them with water and a bit of salt. They are so tasty that there is no need for sauces or other seasonings. Try them to believe it!

    Moving on to the main dishes, we can choose between meat and fish, both excellent options for our Christmas Menu on the Camino de Santiago.

    Meat

    Quail, are becoming more and more fashionable especially in hunting areas. This is a very refined and delicate dish to cook, which will surprise you with the tenderness of its meat. Among the most popular, however, we find the turkey, usually stuffed with carrots and glazed chestnuts, plums and apples. This dish of slow cooking in the oven, is often accompanied by a delicious sauce with which the meat is covered. It is served with potatoes and is one of the main protagonists of the Christmas menu. The most famous is the one of Vilalba, starting city of the Northern Way, last 100 km.

    Christmas menu on the Camino de Santiago

    Other typical dishes are the lamb, the lacón con grelos, a smoked leg of pork that is served with seasonal vegetables (grelos) similar to bitter greens, and veal shank. The latter is cooked stewed for many hours, until the meat releases a cooking juice and is so soft that it can be cut with just a fork. It is accompanied by baked potatoes, sometimes pears cooked in wine and a good glass of local red wine. A real delicacy!

    Fish

    Among the fish dishes that you can find in the Christmas menu there is a great variety. Cod is among the favorites in this region so bound to the sea. There are many ways to cook it even though one of the most traditional dishes is cod with cauliflower or broccoli. Other fishes include sea bass, sea breamsalmonmonkfishtuna and many others.

    Continuing with this long food marathon, you will finally get to the Christmas desserts!

    Desserts

    Among the typical desserts you can find the simple but delicious filloas. These, which are similar to crepes, but much thinner and more delicate, can be accompanied by honey, whipped cream, chocolate, jam or ice cream. Delicious!

    There are also some desserts that have become more and more popular in recent years, such as the traditional tiramisu or chestnut tiramisu and the homemade nougat with coffee liqueur or almonds. Moreover, you will find an endless series of typical desserts such as polvorones, hard and soft nougat and pastel de yemas (small cakes with egg and sugar). We cannot forget the typical Roscón de Reyes, a big doughnut-shaped cake decorated with candied fruit, which can be filled with cream or custard and that is traditionally eaten on Epiphany, January 6.

    Liqueurs and Coffee

    As tradition wants, we cannot get up from the table before a good “chupito”, a shot of one of the many typical liqueurs of this area. Among the most famous are coffee liqueur, herb liqueur, orujo and aguardiente, similar to Italian grappa. This is the so called moment of “sobremesa”, moment in which drinking the right quantity of alcohol, help to digest and to have warm and funny conversations.

    To know more about the food on the Camino de Santiago, do not miss this post!

    This is then followed by a good cup of coffee. Now, the more traditionalists, will serve it from “de pota“, a recipe in which the coffee, ground coarser than usual, is left to macerate in hot water and then served filtered (or not) directly into the cup. If we then want to end in full Galician tradition, a night queimada cannot be missed.

    The queimada was considered a real healing potion. Made of alcohol (aguardiente), sugar, orange or lemon peel, and coffee beans, it is “queimada”, which means burned, until it loses its original alcohol content and obtains a very sugary drink. This is served hot, after pronouncing a magic ritual. Read this post to learn more about the Galician traditions and its magic.

    If your mouth is watering after reading what the Christmas Menu on the Camino de Santiago consists of, don’t worry. After so many kilometres walking, you deserve a good meal to celebrate. We also remind you that you can give the Camino as a gift for Christmas to your beloved ones. Contact us to find out more.

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