Camino, Macs Adventure

Camino Guide 1.2: When to go? Walk or Cycle? Where to Stay?

7 Feb , 2014  

When to go on the Camino?

From the month of May until September is the most popular time of the year to travel the Camino due to the more comfortable weather conditions. Bear in mind that not all Caminos share the same weather conditions. Travelling in the height of summer on the southern routes is not recommended as temperatures can reach up to 40 °C (104°F).  During the winter months the weather in Northern Spain is cold and wet with snow in mountainous areas.

To Walk or to cycle the Camino?

The Camino can be walked or cycled, and though walking is the most popular way to travel, there are many people who cycle.

STS3

Walking

Pros:

  • Traditional pilgrim experience.
  • Time to take in the sites and environment.
  • The best way to experience the camaraderie of the Camino.
  • All paths are suitable for walkers.
  • More sociable.

Cons:

  • Takes more time.
  • More expensive as walking takes twice as much time as cycling.

Cycling

Pros:

  • Takes less time and so can be fitted into a summer holiday.
  • On the Camino Francés, it takes 14 days to complete rather than 36 days by foot.
  • Best for the longer southern routes, which have very long distances between towns.

Cons:

  • Travelling at such a high speed -you can miss out on the sociable side of the Camino.
  • Requires more equipment and planning.
  • Some paths and routes are not suitable for cycling so more time is spent on roads

Way Marking

CaminodeSantiagowebWay marking on the main Caminos (Camino Francés, Via Podiensis and Camino Portugés) is excellent. The routes are generally marked by two main symbols: a yellow arrow or seashell. It is very easy to follow these Caminos with every turn and twist of the route being clearly marked.

We recommend taking a guide book as they are very useful for planning your day to day trip.

If you are taking an alternative route (many of which are not as well way marked as the Camino Francés, Via Podiensis and Camino Portugés) you should consult forums and helpful websites to thoroughly research your Camino.

Accommodation

There are two main accommodation options available:

Hostels, known as Refugios, are exclusively for pilgrims walking the Camino de Santiago. The hostels are provided by a loose network of groups ranging from the local government to individuals and churches.

Refugios

Pros:

  • Besides camping, refugios are the most inexpensive form of accommodation.
  • It is part of an authentic and real pilgrimage.
  • Some hostels providing meals included in their price.
  • Unique to the Camino de Santiago.

Cons:

  • Cannot be booked in advance.
  • Demand is high during the summer months.
  • Most are based on dormitories with double bunk beds.
  • Some are not open throughout the year.
  • Crowded.
  • Basic – no frills accommodation.

Hotels

Pros:

  • Ensures that you are well rested for the next day of walking.
  • You will always have a clean and comfortable room to return to for the evening.
  • Private rooms and bathrooms.

Cons:

  • More expensive
  • Not part of a traditional pilgrim experience.
  • You may not meet as many fellow pilgrims
We hope you find this information helpful, and would like to take the opportunity to wish you a Buen Camino!
Should you need any more information about a tour package on the Camino, please do not hesitate to contact us or browse our collection of Camino tours.

By
I have been a member of the Macs Adventure team since March 2013, and since joining my travel wish-list has developed ten-fold! Glasgow is my home, and a wonderful city to live in, however I love nothing more than enjoying the access to the Scottish countryside on my doorstep.