What is the best time to do the Pilgrim’s Way to Santiago?

winter way of saint james

A very important factor when deciding when to do the Way of Saint James is the weather, as it will influence the quality of our journey and the difficulty of the different stages; therefore it is advisable to always bear this in mind when starting to prepare the journey, such as the route chosen, the distribution of the stages and the clothes or type of footwear that we should carry in our luggage.

In this article we inform you of the characteristics of each time of year in relation to the Way of Saint James so that you have the best possible experience.

Low season:

It is approximately from November to the end of February or the beginning of March, the coldest months of winter. During this time, rain, wind and frost are frequent, and it is even possible to find snow in the higher sections, such as in Roncesvalles or O Cebreiro, so it is advisable to take the time to get to know the route you are going to take to avoid having bad experiences.
The absence of pilgrims on these dates also influences the services, as some establishments decide to close at this time, so you should start each stage with food and water to prevent you from finding places to rest.
No less important is the selection of your luggage: you should wear clothes that can withstand the cold, wind and rain as well as waterproof shoes, preferably light ones so as not to carry too much weight.
But it also has its positive side, and that is that you will enjoy the route with complete peace of mind, you will have the Camino to yourself, nature on its wildest side will provide you with spectacular landscapes.

Medium season:

It corresponds to the remaining months of the year, and for many it is the perfect time to do the Camino de Santiago, as temperatures are usually quite mild, interspersed with sunny days and rainfall. You will fall in love with the autumn landscape that is drawn in the Galician forests and the colourful fields and paths full of flowers in spring. The crowds at this time of year are not usually a problem to enjoy the experience, you will meet wonderful people without the tiresome clatter of pilgrims all along the route, so it will be easier for you to relax and disconnect.

High season:

It runs from mid-May to mid-September. In summer the temperatures tend to be hotter, especially in areas of the Castilian plateau due to the lack of shade on many stretches of the route. In Asturias or Galicia, on the other hand, you will not have this problem, as the heat rarely becomes stifling and you will have plenty of vegetation along the way, something which will relieve the feeling of being overwhelmed. A very important factor to take into account is the great affluence of pilgrims in these months, the accommodations can reach 100% of their occupation so it is advisable to book accommodation and other services before starting your trip.
If you want to avoid the flood of people, we recommend avoiding the most popular routes, such as the French or Portuguese Way, and choosing other routes that, although less in demand, are just as spectacular.
As far as luggage is concerned, it is advisable to wear cool clothes and breathable shoes, a good sunscreen to avoid skin burns and not to forget your swimsuit, because you will find places where you can take a good dip to relieve fatigue.

To be taken into account:

We know that it is not always possible to choose the best time of year to do the Way of Saint James and we will have to adapt to our personal circumstances or holidays at work. However, whether it is winter or summer, the most important thing is to travel well informed, with adequate equipment and above all, with a great desire to enjoy the experience 100%.

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