First, may I say thank you for your site which is very informative and interesting.
I’m 52 (53 in April!) and I’m greatly looking forward to walking El Camino de Santiago, setting off from St Jean Pied de Port in late March or early April. I shall travel light and I’m collecting my gear together in preparation. My main deliberation is choice of sleeping bag as I need to get a new one… I expect it will be quite cold, especially at the beginning, and I may sleep out occasionally, which suggests a 2/3 season bag (down to -4 or so?). But will that be uncomfortably warm as I move on through April?
I’m also wondering how busy el Camino Frances is likely to be at that time, bearing in mind that it is a Holy Year. I’m drawn to the more historic route, its landscape and its provision, and I shall certainly enjoy meeting people along the way, even though I’d anticipated walking alone a good deal. But if I thought it was going to be ‘crowded’ I might consider another, quieter path..?
Firstly, thanks for the compliments about the website.
I would not be worried about having a too warm sleeping bag. Nights in the Spanish meseta (the high plateau el Camino frances goes through) are usually cold, even in summer when you can get temperatures of 40 degrees during the day the nights are quite cool. Particularly, in April (even late April) you can still get nights of 0-5 degrees Celsius, so I think you will be better off having the good sleeping bag that you mentioned.
About the number of people walking el Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James), I can’t assure anything but in general March and April are still quite months (although this year Eastern is the first week of April and el Camino de Santiago may become more crowded then because of Spanish people taking advance of the eastern break and so heading to el Camino to walk 3 or 4 stages). If you feel like doing the French Way from St. Jean, I would advise you to do so, for me it is the more authentic route.
I wish you buen Camino.
Hi there! First of all your website is pretty amazing with a full of information!!
I am just wondering if you could give me some information about the type of the road on Camino del Norte. I mean about how many percentage of the way is surfaced road. I need to know I would prefer the dirt road… Do you know which way contains the less surfaced road?
Can you remember there was any free accommodation during your Camino del Norte path? I haven’t got too much money I would like to spend as less as I can.
Thanks for the compliments!! El Camino del Norte is pretty amazing with regard to the scenary, the landscape, and natural beauty (you can see the photos in my other website www.Caminosdelnorte.com).
However, the road in el Camino del norte is a concrete road most of the times. If I had to say a percentage I would say 60-70% (at least). Usually, they are very very quite narrow roads but still concrete. The area is very wet so it makes sense that the roads are surfaced roads otherwise sometimes it would be difficult to make progress.
El Camino del Norte is more expensive than el Camino Frances because there are fewer offers of pilgrim’s hostels and in general there is less sensitivity towards the pilgrims (the coast is a much richer area than the inside).
In el Camino frances, the road is dirt road at least 80%-90%.
I hope this has been of help for you.
I hope I can reply to this mail….
Thank you so much for your answer!! You were so quick!! and your answer was so valuable!!
Now it is going to be a very hard decision perfect nature or dirt road. Actually I am not prefer el Camino Frances because I heard there are so many people on that way and it could ruin the propose of the pilgrimage.
I didn’t think to make our decision about which way would be the best is so hard…. If you were me and you have got about 30 days, some money… which way you would choose? :):) (I come from Hungary) I think you can consider more things about El Camino de Santiago than me….
Thank you so much!!!!
Hi There. I am planning on walking the complete route myself over the summer
months. Would it be better to start the walk in early June to arrive just
before 25th July? Is this a good idea? as I have read this year is a Holy
Year! I would love to be there for the feast day or week celebrations. I look
forward to hearing from you. Many thanks Chas. Brolly
Well I have never been in the celebrations for Santiago’s Day in a Holy Year, but I have some friend that walked el Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James) in June and July of last Holy Year and arrived in Santiago just on time for the celebrations and the fiesta and they were delighted. Take into account that Santiago is the patron saint of Spain, Galicia region, and Santiago de Compostela, the 25th of July used to be a national feast day in Spain… all that combined with the fact that it is Holy Year and there won’t be another for the next 10 years… I guess it is going to be a great party altogether!! It also has a deep Christian significance.
But on the other hand, you will have to be ready to put up with the crowds, because for sure next year, and specially on that time of the year el Camino de Santiago will be more crowded. Although, I think the situation will only be that bad in the last part of el Camino (i.e. last 100 km). Anyway it doesn’t have to be a bad thing, as long as you are in the mood to walk with more people around. Personally, I quite like the fact that there are plenty of pilgrims and people to get to know and make friends, I think that’s the biggest wealth of El Camino, its people.
I wouldn’t worry too much about the facilities, because being a Holy Year, there will be an extra effort by the regional governments (especially the one of Galicia) to provide the pilgrims with accommodation.
Hello. I’m planning on doing el Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James) from St Jean Pied de Port to Burgos
starting on the 12th April. Will I need to take a sleeping bag or do the
hostels provide bedding?
Many thanks for your help
Yes, you need a sleeping bag. Some albergues may provide bedding but most of them don’t. They are very basic and most of the times run by volunteers
that just ask for a donation.
Thank you for the information – does that mean I should also take a roll
No, the roll mat is not necessary. I always took it just in case since it is very light, but many people don’t. The albergues will provide you a thick one if you have to sleep in the floor.