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The best time to walk the Camino de Santiago

What is the best time of year for walking the Camino de Santiago? Read here when to walk the Camino season by season and discover which weather will you find along the way. Pick the route you want to walk in and reach Santiago de Compostela!

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When to walk Camino de Santiago

Short answer: it’s up to you. The routes are open year-round, which means you can make the journey any time of the year, which means it all boils down to you when you’d like to make the hike.

However, just like with any trip, there are different factors you must consider before making a decision including foot traffic, accommodation availability and weather. The middle of summer, for example, is generally the busiest these major routes get. Consequently, albergues are highly likely to be full, the trails are crowded (as is Santiago de Compostela and the cathedral), and your hike is less likely to feel like an individual journey if that’s why you’re doing it.

On the contrary, the winter months are colder, which means you’ll have a heavier pack to carry on your back. The weather is also unpredictable and some parts of some routes might be covered in snow, so trekking will be more challenging. To make things harder, many albergues shut down for the winter months, so finding accommodations is tricky business. On the plus side, however, it’s less crowded, which means the trails are quieter, and you won’t have to worry about the sun bearing down on you.

These, however, are not hard and fast rules. Some routes are better tackled in the summer, while others are better done in the springtime. Similarly, early and late summer months are as ideal as some spring and autumn months. 

Walking the Camino in April, May, June, September and October

Moderate temperatures—not too hot, not too cold—, as well as moderate crowds, make these spring, very early/very late summer and early fall months are perhaps the most ideal for those hikers who prefer less busy routes and a more tolerable weather. Consequently, hikes are easier, there are more accommodations available and if you’re on a personal, meditative journey, you won’t have to worry about dealing with too many characters.
The downside, though, is you might have to deal with the occasional rain so be sure to pack a raincoat.

Walking the Camino in July and August

These summer months see the Caminos at their busiest. Not only are the trials crowded with both hikers as well as tourists, but the cafes, restaurants and albergues are full.
Additionally, the hot weather can be hard to tolerate, making the hike even harder. If you’re doing one of the longer and more popular hikes—the Camino Frances and the Camino Portugues, for example—be ready for a bigger challenge. It is wise to secure accommodations in advance with private albergues, or even joining a group tour that includes accommodations and luggage transfers.

An advantage: the days are longer. An exception to the rule is the Northern Way, which is typically less crowded and has better temperatures even in the middle of summer.

The best time to walk the Camino de Santiago
The best time to walk the Camino de Santiago

Walking the Camino in December, January and February

You may think that winter is largely not ideal for hiking, but you’d be surprised at the number of people that trek mountains in the snow. The Caminos are even easier to hike in the winter, though they might be even more of a challenge than hiking them in the warmer months. Some parts of the route, especially the mountain passes, might be snow-covered. Or you’ll have a good amount of rain to contend with. Additionally, most albergues are closed during the winter months and you have to pack winter clothing, which generally takes up more space.

The perks, however, include considerably practically empty, quieter routes.

Walking the Camino in summer
Walking the Camino in summer

Useful Spanish phrases and words

I’m looking for…
Estoy buscando...
I’d like to…
Quisiera...
Where is…?
Donde está…?
How much is …?
Cuanto cuesta…?
I don’t like it
No me gusta
It’s fine
Vale
Too expensive
Demasiado caro
Cheaper
Mas económico
Where are the toilets?
Dónde están los servicios?
Does anyone here speak English?
Hay alguien que hable inglés?

Weather Camino de Santiago

Here the weather in Camino de Santiago during September, October and all the other months of the year.

JANFEBMARAPRMAYJUNJULAUGSEPOCTNOVDEC
Average °C7.78.310.211.213.616.818.61917.413.810.48.5
Average °F45.946.950.352.256.562.265.566.263.356.850.747.3
Rainfall mm210167146146134724357107226217261
Rainfall >1 mm days15.212.313.414.412.57.65.75.58.41414.915.9
Average High °C11.212.41516.118.622.224.324.722.818.114.111.9
Average High °F52.254.5596165.67275.776.57364.657.453.4
Average Low °C4.14.15.36.28.611.31313.311.99.56.75
Average Low °F39.439.440.743.247.352.355.455.953.449.144.141

Camino de Santiago tours & reviews

Camino de Santiago Information

  • Can I walk the Camino during Christmas time?

    While most pilgrims prefer to walk the Camino de Santiago from Spring to Autumn, the number of pilgrims who walk during winter time is increasing. But be aware there will be less pilgrims on the way around those dates so you might miss out on the social aspect of the Camino.
  • How can I get to Camino de Santiago?

    This, of course, depends on the route you’re taking. Flying to the city closest to the trailhead is certainly preferable if you’re coming in from Australia, USA and the UK. However, UK travellers may travel by bus or rail to the towns of Ferrol, Oviedo and St. Jean Pied de Port. Learn more.
  • What permits, visas, vaccinations and insurance do I need?

    Though a permit isn’t necessary, you must obtain your Credencial del Peregrino or Pilgrim Passport at the start of your trip and get it stamped along the way. The stamps are proof that you walked the 100 kms necessary to obtain the completion certificate in Santiago de Compostela. Learn more.
  • Do I need a guide to walk the Camino?

    While you don’t need a guide to hike any of the Camino de Santiago routes, having one will reduce the burden of planning. Going on a guided hike would give you the benefits of having experienced trip planners arrange things like accommodation, food, luggage transport and airport transfers. Learn more.
  • What should I pack and what equipment do I need?

    Along the way, you'll be able to stop in towns to refuel. Carrying a day pack of your personal essentials, change of clothes, a two-litre water bottle, a first aid kit, and your passport and Pilgrim Passport will suffice. Invest in a good pair of hiking shoes and walking poles. Learn more.
  • How do I prepare for Camino de Santiago?

    Do your research to choose the best route for your skill level and study the rules and etiquette on the trail. Purchase and read a guidebook for your chosen route. Finally, train for several months prior and push yourself to hike farther every day until you’re fit to do 26- to 29-kilometre days. Learn more.

Camino de Santiago Routes & Maps

  • Camino Portugues

    The Portuguese Way, the second most popular route, starts in either Lisbon or Porto and takes hikers from Portugal to Spain. Considerably longer, the Lisbon hike starts at the Lisbon Cathedral and passes through Caldas da Rainha, the Alcobaca Monastery and Porto before crossing several rivers on its way north to Spain.

    Distance: 610 km (380 mi)
    Average duration: 21-30 days 
    Average difficulty/success rate: The Portuguese Way is relatively moderate. Minor elevation gains work to your advantage, though concrete and cobblestone roads, which it has its fair share of, can put a strain on the walk. The success rate is high.
     
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  • Camino Primitivo

    A few ups and downs, rocky or muddy sections and the frequency of the paved roads make Camino Primitivo one of Camino de Santiago’s most challenging routes. It is, however, worth tackling, if only for the challenge and for the fact that it’s the oldest one. You will be rewarded with breathtaking views.

    Distance: 321 km (199 mi)
    Average duration: 12-15 days
    Average difficulty/success rate: Camino Primitivo has its fair share of challenging climbs and descents as well as paved sections, making it a difficult route. Still, if you take your time, the success rate is high.
     
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  • Camino de Finisterre

    Once you’ve reached Camino de Santiago, you might continue on to the “end of the world”. Cape Finisterrae is one of Europe’s westernmost points, thus the name. Adding 90 kilometres to the trip along an ancient route, perhaps even another 29 to Muxia, might just be an epic way to wrap up the journey.

    Distance: 90 km (55 mi), 117 km (73 mi) to Muxia
    Average duration: 2-4 days
    Average difficulty/success rate: Because it’s a shorter hike and offers spectacular views, the road to Finisterrae is a moderate route to take on. The success rate is certainly high, even if fewer people traverse it, choosing to end their trip at the cathedral.
     
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  • Camino Frances

    Is it a wonder why the French Way is favoured by most Camino de Santiago pilgrims? It’s not just the most traditional route, with a lot of history surrounding it. It also boasts lush landscapes, charming towns and great infrastructure along the way, taking travellers through the beautiful Iberian Peninsula for a month. 

    Distance: 772 km (480 mi)
    Average duration: 4 weeks
    Average difficulty/success rate: Due to the excellent infrastructure and facilities along the way, not only is Camino Frances an enjoyable hike, it’s also a fairly moderate hike. So long as you take a couple of days to rest along the way, you are guaranteed to make it to the end.
    Read more
  • Camino del Norte

    For 827 kilometres, Camino del Norte stretches from the town of Irun in Basque Country to Santiago de Compostela, following Spain’s northern coastline. It’s not only the longest route in the network, it is also the least travelled and has fewer facilities, making it ideal for thru-hikers who prefer solitude and a challenge.

    Distance: 827 km (514 mi)
    Average duration: 36 nights
    Average difficulty/success rate: A little more than a month and a more rigid schedule could be challenging for less experienced hikers. The success rate is generally good, so long as you train beforehand and can tackle more than 21 miles a day.
  • Camino Inglés

    A favourite among hikers arriving from the British Isles and northern Europe, the English Way starts from the City of Ferrol and runs straight south to Camino de Santiago. Though short, it does boast longer sections and major elevation changes, making it a challenge for the more casual walkers.

    Distance: 119 km (74 mi)
    Average duration: 6 nights
    Average difficulty/success rate: This ranks as medium to high in difficulty, though chances of completing are very good because of its short distance.
     

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