The Best Time to Walk the Camino de Santiago

July 6, 2012 25 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 spring 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 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:

Fewer 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 I 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 the low 60s 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 for the whole five weeks!

See my Essential Camino de Santiago Packing List

Boots vs. Tennis shoes, rain gear needs (don’t forget your camera protection!), laundry supplies, the best ear plugs, and more. Before you go, make sure you have all of these items on my Camino de Santiago packing list!

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 is lilacs!
yellow flower fields
A sea of yellow flowers against the gray sky
new tree growth
New green branches stretch 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 to this cool spring foggy morning
green fields
Fields of green, as far as the eye can see, along the Camino

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