The Best Time to Walk the Camino de Santiago

July 6, 2012 18 Comments »

 

arrow made of flowers on the trail

Marker arrow made of spring flowers on the Camino

Let me first just say – I’m biased – I of course think when I walked it in April/May was the best possible time to do it! Yes, I did get rained on a bit and it was muddy, but I will take those conditions any day over heat and people!  Most days were pleasant and cool with clouds and a breeze.  But best of all you saw the Spring happen in front of your eyes.  When I started walking through the Rioja wine region in April there weren’t even leaves on the vines, but by the last week I was walking through fields with an abundance of leaves!  The hills were bright green and the the wind would blow through the wheat fields making them look like an undulating ocean.

The trail wasn’t overcrowded, and I always found a bed at the albergues.  I didn’t have to get up super early and race through my walk in order to get a bed as quite frankly that would have taken the enjoyment out of the experience for me.

Trying to put bias aside, here are some things to consider:

Less People

Sure, you always see people on the trail, but it never felt crowded (until the last 100km).  In fact it was nice, you could walk completely alone if you wanted to, which is what I preferred.  But if you wanted to be social, it was easy to walk with people too.

More Beds

There was only one town that I walked into and nearly didn’t get a bed during my spring walk. In the summer months however, you have to reserve the night or days before when possible, all of the beds tend to be at maximum capacity.   Many albergues you can’t reserve in advance, so that means that you have to get up and start walking super early to get there first when the trail is busy.  But not me – I never felt rushed when I hiked the trail in the Spring!

Cool Weather

Even though there was rain, it was the perfect cool spring weather to hike in.  Normally around low 60’s F which is perfect for hiking and expending energy.  As it got later in my walk and closer to the summer months, it did start to heat up during the afternoons and I found myself miserable and sweaty most afternoons.  I was happy I didn’t have to deal with that the whole 5 weeks!

Spring Flowers

And of course -you can’t pass up the colorful, fragrant Spring flowers!  The whole Spanish landscape was in bloom in April/May.  It was stunning and gave me an appreciation for the changing seasons.

Flowering trees in Pamplona

A colorful path near Pamplona

new leaves on the vines

New Leaves bursting out by week 4

lilac bush

My favorite flower and smell in the world – Lilacs!

yellow flower fields

A sea of yellow flowers against the gray sky

new tree growth

New green branches stretching out along the Camino

field of poppies

Poppies were everywhere along the trail in the spring!

purple flowers around a fence pole

The colors are so bright in the spring!

flowers in the fog

Purple flowers bring some color on this cool spring foggy morning

green fields

Fields of green as far as the eye can see along the Camino

 

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