Many people preparing for the walk want to know when is the best time to do the Camino de Santiago. In general spring-summer months, April to September, are the best time to walk the Camino de Santiago. To narrow the period down you have to decide on the Camino route you want to walk. Routes through Southern and Central Spain are better to walk in spring before it gets too hot. Coastal or mountainous routes in Northern Spain are nice to walk during the summer months.
There are several aspects to find the best time for you to walk the Camino. First of them is the weather; you don’t want it to be too hot, too rainy, or too cold. Second, crowdedness, it’s important to consider if you’re going to walk one of the popular Camino routes. You don’t want to worry every day about not being able to find a place to sleep. Third, prices, it’s closely related to seasonality. Some coastal Camino routes e.g. the Camino del Norte go past very popular summer holiday places, as a result, accommodation prices increase significantly during the peak summer season. Let’s look at these three aspects in detail.
As of February 2023, we’ve completed 9 different Camino routes all of them between the months of April and November: Camino Portuguese from Lisbon – May; Camino Primitivo – June; Camino del Norte – October; Camino Finisterre – November; Via de la Plata – April; Camino Ingles – May/June; Camino Frances – September, Camino del Salvador – September; Camino de Gran Canaria – October.
When is the best weather to do the Camino de Santiago?
It’s one of the most FAQs on the Camino de Santiago we get. We’ve walked seven Camino routes during different months; April, May, June, September, October, and November. As you can see we have never walked the Camino during the peak summer months of July and August because it gets too busy and too hot. Spring is our favorite time to walk the Camino, especially on southern routes; it’s warm and sunny but not too hot, there are not too many people, and fields are covered in flowers.
If you’re looking for a nice route to walk in winter I can recommend (from our experience) the Camino de Gran Canaria. It’s a short 3-4-day route off mainland Spain on one of the Canary Islands.
As I already mentioned best months for walking vary depending on the Camino route. Let’s focus on the 7 main Camino de Santiago routes and the best months for walking each of them.
Camino Frances goes through Navarra, La Rioja, Castilla y Leon, and Galicia. It is by far the most popular route especially the last 100 km from Sarria to Santiago. The best weather months to do it are May, June, and September. It’s warm but not too hot, there is not much rain. I walked the French Camino in September. For most of the month, I had really nice and comfortable weather with a couple of rainy days (in Galicia) and a couple of hot days (walking through the Meseta).
Camino Portuguese starts in Portugal and finishes in Galicia, Spain. It’s the second most popular Camino (starting from Porto or Tui, very few pilgrims start in Lisbon). Pretty much the same months as for the previous route; May, June, and September. July and August will be fine too in Northern Portugal and Galicia it doesn’t get extremely hot even during the peak summer months but you still can get a couple of scorching days.
If you’re planning to walk the Portuguese Camino from Lisbon then April and May are your best months in that part of the country it gets very hot in July and August. We walked this route in May starting from Lisbon and had lovely weather all the way with maybe one or two rainy days.
Camino del Norte passes through the Basque Country, Cantabria, Asturias, and Galicia. It is the third most popular route. It follows the beautiful Northern coast of Spain, therefore, the summer months June to September is the best time for walking it. It doesn’t get as hot here as inland on the Camino Frances. We walked the Northern Camino in October. For the first two or three weeks, we had really nice and warm weather. By the end of the month when we reached Galicia it got cold and rainy, we even got some snow.
Camino Primitivo route goes through Asturias and Galicia. It’s a mountainous route through the area that sees a lot of rain in spring/fall and quite a bit of snow in winter. June to August are the best months for walking here. The warmest months with the least rainfalls. We completed the Camino Primitivo at beginning of June but were quite unlucky with the weather we got a lot of rain in the mountains. It wasn’t cold just rainy and overcast.
Via de la Plata is the longest out of the discussed 7 Camino routes. It starts in Andalusia and crosses Extremadura, Castilla y Leon, and finishes in Galicia. In Andalusia and Extremadura, it gets extremely hot in summer, July to September day temperatures are over 40C°. It’s a very dry area with few towns and villages. This route is not recommended to walk in summer. April, May, and October are the best months to do it. We started walking the Via de la Plata in mid-April. It was nice, warm, sometimes a bit overcast but overall very comfortable weather for walking.
Camino Ingles, the shortest Camino route that finishes in Santiago de Compostela. It goes through Galicia where it never gets really hot but it rains a lot. Summer months, June to September, are the best time for walking this Camino. We walked it in June and had lovely weather; warm and sunny days with no rain.
Camino Finisterre is the only route that starts in Santiago de Compostela. It’s a short route in Galicia that leads to the coast. Just like with the English Camino June to September are the best months for walking it. We did it in November after completing the Camino del Norte and had terrible weather; strong wind and heavy rains for the entire week.
Find out more about average weather conditions in different regions of Spain.
If you planning your pilgrimage we have some tips regarding training for the Camino de Santiago that you might find helpful.
When is the busiest time on the Camino?
According to the Pilgrim’s Office in Santiago de Compostela in 2019 (data for 2020 and 2021 can’t be considered as average and 2022 statistics are not out yet), 347 578 pilgrims arrived in Santiago.
Some Camino routes get extremely busy during the peak season, some don’t see many pilgrims overall. The summer months of June, July, and August are in general the busiest time in the Camino de Santiago. In 2019 47% of pilgrims arrived in Santiago in these three months (June – 14%, July – 15%, August – 18%).
The Camino Frances (54,6% of pilgrims completed this route in 2019) gets overcrowded between June and the beginning of September especially the last part of the route from Sarria (27,6% of pilgrims). There are many organized Spanish groups that do that part. The main problem with too many pilgrims is finding budget accommodation. Some parts of the Camino have limited options e.g. the Meseta. If you arrive too late or don’t book a bed in advance you might be forced to continue walking to the next town or take a taxi and drive to the nearest available hotel. Luckily the part from Sarria has plenty of albergues despite many people it’s usually not a problem to find a bed.
The Portuguese Camino from Porto (27% of pilgrims) is another route that gets busy during the months of July, August, and the first half of September. It’s not as bad as on the Camino Frances there are different route options; the Coastal Route, the Central Route, and the Spiritual Way. Pilgrims are distributed between these routes.
The Northern Camino (5,5% pilgrims) is another route that depends a lot on seasonality not only because of pilgrims. The Camino goes through very popular beach holiday places in Northern Spain that see thousands of tourists during the summer months. Due to the high demand prices on accommodation increase significantly from July to mid-September. Some cities and towns don’t have many public albergues sometimes you have to stay in hostels and hotels.
As for the other Camino routes, they get busier during the summer months but are never overcrowded. If you want to walk the Camino in July or August and don’t like crowds choose one of the lesser-known routes e.g. Camino Primitivo, Camino Ingles.
If you’re seeking solitude on the Camino you can either walk any route off-season or choose one of the off-the-beaten-track Caminos e.g. Camino del Salvador, Via de la Plata, Camino de Madrid, Camino Sanabres, etc. It’s important to remember the fewer pilgrims are on the route the less infrastructure it has. Such routes are not the best options to walk as your first Camino de Santiago. They’re for more experienced pilgrims or long-distance walkers.
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The pretty half of Stingy Nomads, responsible for all our land adventures (hiking, climbing, walking the Camino) and following them write-ups. Alya loves walking since she was a child, she prefers to walk 1000 km with a backpack rather than to do a 10 000 km road trip (actually any road trip). Alya is a big fan of Latin America, the Spanish language, and dancing. Every time we go away she desperately misses our dog Chile.
Tuesday 11th of April 2023
I keep reading from you that the Camino del Norte is the most expensive route, especially in July and August... what kind of accommodation budget should I plan for on the Camino del Norte in July and August? Assuming that I will try to stay in public albergues as much as is possible.
Tuesday 11th of April 2023
Hello Chad. Thank you for the comment. You can budget 20-25 euros per bed in private albergues/hostels and 40+ euros for a private single room. We have a PDF that contains a list of places to stay on the Camino del Norte where you can find information on accommodation and price range. The PDF can be found in the third paragraph of this post https://stingynomads.com/camino-del-norte-stages/. Buen Camino
Wednesday 15th of March 2023
Planing on walking the French route in September/24
Thursday 16th of March 2023
Hello Bill. Buen Camino!
Saturday 25th of February 2023
Hi Thanks for your very informative posts. Got lots of useful info from your website when I walked most of Camino del Norte in October 2019. Haven't finished the Irun to Bilbao section as I started from Bilbao. Likely to be in Europe in early November this year and thought of finishing that section and starting part of Camino Frances as well. Hoping to walk about 3 weeks or so in November. Is it a good time to walk? Just concerned about accommodation and weather.
Thursday 2nd of March 2023
@Stingy Nomads, Appreciate the good advice. Maybe better to find time in 2024!
Sunday 26th of February 2023
Hello Andrew. Thank you for the comment. From our Camino experience, November is not a good month for walking especially in Northern Spain. You can get expect to have a lot of rain and low temperatures (above 0C though). As for accommodation on the Camino del Norte many albergues close in October/November. On the Camino Frances, it's easier to find accommodation even off-season because there are many more places and there are still some pilgrims walking the route even in winter. We finished del Norte and walk to Finisterre end of October-beginning of November and we had terrible weather. It doesn't mean that you'll definitely get very bad weather but the chances of it are quite high. If you have time and really want to walk the Camino then go for it. Otherwise, I can suggest doing the Fishermen's Trail, a 2-week route in the south of Portugal. Weatherwise it's a much better area for hiking in November. It has nothing to do with the Camino but it's one of the most beautiful walking routes in Europe. Here is the link to the post on the route https://stingynomads.com/fishermens-trail-rota-vicentina-itinerary/ Buen Camino
Tuesday 24th of January 2023
Hello, What is the Camino Frances like if done April as in the weather and the crowds? Would it be a problem for a first timer doing the Camino?
Wednesday 25th of January 2023
Hello Arnel. Thank you for the comment. April is the beginning of the season for the Camino Frances there won't be many people. Finding a place to stay won't be a problem. As for the weather it might be chilly at night and in the morning and you might get some rains especially in Galicia. Overall it's not a bad time for walking the Camino. Buen Camino
Thursday 22nd of December 2022
Hi There, I am planning to walk the last 100 KM of Portuguese route (Vigo to de Santiago) Mid January. My question are, what should I be expecting weather wise and also the accommodation situations? or perhaps would it be better to postpone it till April? I would appreciate any advice. Cheers,
Friday 23rd of December 2022
Hello Hoss. In January you can expect cold and rainy weather in Northern Spain. If it's possible I would suggest postponing your Camino walk till April. Buen Camino