Hello everybody, I've been thinking for a while now about walking the Route of Santiago de Compostela from my city, Toulouse.
I've never done anything that challenging, I'm only 19 y.o, but I am in good physical shape, love walking, and even speak enough Spanish.
So I'd like to know if anyone here has already done it, and to ask for any advice concerning...well pretty much everything. Which season would be best, should I book rooms for the nights between my walks or is it possible to camp most of the time, what kind of equipment I'd need...
Also I'll add even if it looks easy on a map I know walking more than 1000km isn't a piece of cake, I'm not thinking about it like I think about a casual hiking day. So yeah I'm inexperienced and as such i'll take any advice but I'm not blind to the risks.
It's not even a religious thing btw I've just been thinking about a long trip like this by myself for a while and this looks perfect (History, I can start from my home, landscapes seem interesting, and I've never been in those parts of Spain)
Thanks, I'll check the thread regularly
Hi there, personally I haven't done it myself.
That said I know there's a lot of different accomodation along the way, camping at a site with showers is about 8-10€ a night, where hostels and bunkbeds are likely to be around 15-20€ per night.
Sleeping in the woods are great from late april throughout summer, you would just need a sleeping bag that can dry quickly, then if it rain a little or there is a heavy dew you just dry it in the sun around noon.
Travelling outdoors in France and Spain is nice from the end of april until late october in my oppinion. For this season a tent is unnecessary unless you like the privacy.
Thanks for the answer
I was thinking about maybe leaving in May, in order to be right between the chills of the end of winter and before the heat of summer. Also spring is beautiful so...
I'll look for informations concerning shelter in the Pyrenees, I want to be outside as much as possible but need to know more about the crossing of the Pyrenees (Nights are cold in the mountains and I'm still unexperienced)
I'm still undecided concerning bringing a tent or not, it sounds reasonnable in case I'm caught in heavy rains one night but we'll see. I still have a lot to decide anyway
Yes, the thing with a tent is that you'll need to carry it around for the day where you need it.
Unless you can afford to invest a lightweight one it's really a lot of weight in your backpack, for no to little use.
When walking far distances I've heard that 12kg of backpacking equipment is the most comfortable.
I don't know how much a proper tent would cost, but money won't be a problem. Not that I'm rich but I'm saving for this trip and if everything goes well it won't be my last, so a tent would be useful anyway on the long term. "Better safe than sorry" I think, but I'll decide this the moment I'll know the content of my backpack and how much it weighs without a tent.
I've be walking aroung town for several weeks now while carrying a backpack full of lifting weights to train, but too much won't do. I'll keep in mind what you said about 12kg, I've read the same somewhere else
Definetely a good idea to start prepairing you physique, if not it'll shock your back and your feet when you head out.
I hope you'll have a very nice trip, have fun with all the preparation!
Bumping for op to add screenshots from the last thread I made about this. I'll be walking it in may too,OP.
OP here, I saved your screenshot thanks
May is what I'd want although it's sure at all yet Have you ever done it before ?
Also I'm still unsure which way I'll take once in Spain, pic related between the Camino Francès or the Camino Del Norte. Although I'm inclined toward the Francès, I figured it must be more rural/wild than the Norte one
>it's sure at all
Not sure at all* and I forgot the pic
I did the camino from SJPP until Burgos.
The first day across the pyrenees really wrecked me. Unless you hike mountainous area regularly, I'd suggest sticking to the lower route on the first day. You're going to be hurting either way, save your legs and feet the trouble
I did the walk. But I did from within Spain, but still through the French route. I'm nowhere near top physical condition, and had a tough time (ankles) in particular. But you get over a hump after a few days and it becomes a very habitual thing.
There's free hostels throughout the trail, but I think you need to be stamped to prove you're doing the walk. Cheap hostels can go for about 10€. WALKING STICK HELPS ALOT. You feel like you don't need it at first but man does it help in the end. It's great.
Other than that, I don't think you NEED to camp, but if you do, and a few people I met do, it's pretty straightforward. Nothing extra needed really. I never crossed the Pyrenees so I couldn't tell you how difficult it is, but from what I hear it is TOUGH. Still is an amazing experience. Will do again someday.
Go for it and enjoy yourself!
OP here, alright I gather the Pyrenees will fuck me up, that's alright I miss mountains
Yeah I've read some hostels are free or at least offer low prices when you have something called the "Pilgrim passport" or close enough. It's a document I can get pretty easily.
I guess I don't really need to camp indeed but I'd like to. It doesn't have to be every single night but still
Thanks for the walking stick advice btw I had completely forgotten about that actually
Expanding on my post >>1067004
Here's all the things I think I did wrong:
>Took high route over pyrenees
Already explained that
You'd be surprised how heavy they feel after a long day. I think I would have been better off with regular running shoes. Some people have weak ankles though, so YMMV. But if I were to go again, it's running shoes all the way for me
>Used long wooden walking stick instead of hiking poles
I switched to poles part way though, much better than the stick tbqh, especially on downhills.
>Took too much shit
I did this in the middle of a Euro trip, so unfortunately had too much shit with me. If I were to do it again:
- 1 light-weight backpack (30L max) with camelback bladder
- 2 quick dry shirts
- 2 quick dry underwear
- 3 pair quick dry socks
- 1 pair zip off pants
- 1 light-weight jacket
- warm weather sleeping bag
- sunscreen purchased outside of spain (its fucking expensive there)
- Misc toiletries and shit for blisters
You don't need shit else. Stay away from cotton, it gets smelly.
Things I think I did right:
>start early each day, like 6am early
I was done by early afternoon on most stages which gave me time to rest and enjoy the small towns, which were arguably the best part of the camino
>spoil yourself to a hotel room once a week
You have no fucking idea how good a bath and comfy bed feels after a week of albergues
>actually went and did it
Didn't get to complete it, but hey, I went. I'll finish some other time
Above all else, take care of your feet. You feel a blister coming on? Cover that shit in duct tape.
You have a blister that popped? Drench that fucker in iodine so it dries out
Buen camino anon!
Screen caped your post man thanks
About shoes I have a good pair I used to trek in Réunion Island I think they'll be perfect
I put "sunscreen" in a corner of my mess of a list, didn't think about it but I better have some it doesn't take me much to burn
>tfw southerner born from northerner parents so weak ass skin against the sun
Otherwise thanks for the other advice, I'm motivated as fuck
Haven't done it myself, but if you decide on the north route, you won't regret it. Asturias' seaside is beautiful.
Make sure to eat a lot of typical food in Gijon. Maybe im biased because of it being my hometown, but if you like meat, you will probably enjoy it.
I can give you some gastronomical tips if you want.
I still don't know about the roads, how is the northern one ? I'm just afraid the shore has been "ruined" like in the Costa del Sol for tourism. I've been to Spain several times (Toledo, Segovia, Madrid and around) but never there.
Otherwise yeah part of the money i'll take will be to enjoy local specialties so if you have anything else to recommend I'll take note, thanks
Nothing to worry about, northern spain is very untouched in that aspect.
Is not as touristic as the mediterraneo.
I'll invite you to some beers when you arrive to Santiago.
I'm interested in don the Camino, but it would be around the June/ July time. I've spent time in Spain during this period camping at Benicasim, so I'm more than familiar with the temperature.
Has anybody had experience walking the route at this time, and out of curiosity how long does it generally take to walk the route?
I'm thinking of starting from the Spanish side of the Pyrenees.How long would someone of reasonable- good fitness expect to take doing the walk in the Spanish summer?
Get Your tickets and go there. I done this in 2014. Camino frances...One rule... in Saint Jean Pied du Port.... Alberge first...then credencial...It is a busy little town Bed first... Just do it. I done it without a map or guide book. Just me and camino.. and new friends everyday
I did the Primitivo last year, and I loved it. It's supposed to be the prettiest of the routes, which I belief, since Asturias and Galicia are both incredible. It's also one of the less popular routes, which is good, depending on what kind of experience you want. You still see a good amount of people, but nowhere near as much as on the French route. The Primitivo joins the French route for the last 2-3 days, and the increase in people was kind of shocking to me.
It's one of the harder routes, though. At least half of it is in pretty mountainous areas that can wreck your knees and ankles if you don't prepare well enough. But, if you're in a good enough shape, I'd say it's worth it.
My biggest tip for the Camino is to only pack what you need. And I mean that. It's a long, hard walk, and you don't need to carry very much. Less than 15 pounds/7 kilos is ideal. Don't be one of those people who carries too much weight, complains about it, and has to send stuff home, it just makes things harder for you. Think about what you really need. For example a tent: albergues are cheap and more fun, and a poncho can double as a shelter if you need it to. Clothes: take 2-3 of everything and wash frequently.
Pick a backpack that fits you well. Choose good shoes that aren't too heavy, and hopefully won't fall apart (it happens more often than you might think).
And don't plan too much. Things happen. Part of the Camino experience is rolling with things. On the Primitivo, this is kind of easy, as there are few guides, so it's harder to get into guidebook mode.
Also, there are special Camino de Santiago forums that might be better for advice on this than here.
Yeah I've asked elsewhere but I'm on other boards in 4chan and so wanted to ask here too, and so far a lot of interesting answers
What's an "albergue" ? I can't find a translation is it a kind of shelter ?
It's a pilgrim-specific hostel. You need a pilgrim's passport to stay, and they're usually very cheap. In Galicai, the municipal ones are all 6 Euros, in Asturias, they can be somewhat cheaper. Private albergues are slightly more expensive, usually around 10-12 euros. Food is also pretty cheap, by the way (the menu del dia - basically a three course daily special thing - is awesome). I don't think I ever spent more than 30 euros a day, and I usually spent much less.
I knew a lot of people that had done it before walking south and joining the Primitivo. It's very pretty, but there's also supposed to be a lot of road walking, which can be tough on your feet. It's less crowded than the French way, but is just as long, but it being less popular means that it can be harder to find accommodation in some places. Overall, everyone I talked to said it was awesome.
>a lot of road walking
You mean walking on roads ? Maybe a dumb question I admit
I'd like to take a way more inland, not close to the sea because I've pretty much grew up on the beach so I want to see some change.
But at the same time I want to take the Primitivo which won't be possible if I do the Camino Francès
Yes, walking on roads. Pavement is harder than dirt, so walking on it for a long time hurts more. I've heard the Norte is pretty bad for this, since the route is near a major highway that you end up on frequently. Only one guy I met really complained about it, though, so it's probably manageable.
Doing the Primitivo and the Frances both is actually possible. When you get to Leon on the Frances, you can detour north along the Camino del Salvador (which takes 4-6 days and is supposed to be very nice), which goes to Oviedo, and start the Primitivo from there. It's longer than the Frances by itself, but would be a very nice walk, and probably exactly what you're looking for. Actually, I'm planning on doing that route myself at some point.
Ah yeah you are right that'd be perfect. I considered making a detour to get to the Primitivo but didn't know it was an actual road. I'm looking for more mountainous terrain so I'd rather not take the Camino del Norte. It must be beautiful too no doubt but not this time
actually surprised theres so few posters here who have done it, normally people are all over this.
did it in 2010 from roncesvalles (Spanish side of the pyrenees) to finisterre via the frances route covering about 830km in 34 days.
most of the info posted so far is good advice.
i started in april, its really hot in mid summer (to state the obvious). walking early each day when its cool allows you to cover more distance in comfort.
look after your feet. same for any long distance walk. personally i had merrel high anke synthetic boots and had one blister the whole time. that said every morning you wake up with aching feet, its a strange ache sensation i have never felt since finishing. boots are overkill but if you have bad ankles consider high ankle synthetics.
i carried 14kg, it was too much. you should aim for 10kg. camping is a lot more weight to carry when accommodation is so cheap.
in 2010 a simple budget for food and hostels was 1euro/km walked. i guess if you cant afford that you have to suffer the weight of camping gear, it may hamper your progress and you'll miss more of the sociable aspect.
i like the people who support the use of poles and avoiding paved trails. great advice im normally the one giving out.
Alright thanks, 2 important things I see a lot in this thread are don't overpack and take care of your feet duly noted
So you did the Frances, what kind of landscape do you see on this road ? I guess it varies of course but a little summary or something
its primarily rural agricultural landscapes with some forest/ hill sections and many small farming communities with a few bigger old cities along the way.
there are a number of semi fortified towns and castles along the way as it was both roman and moorish through time.
there were quite a few people when i did it, but within the last 100km, where routes merge, (as the Primitivo anon mentioned) the number of walkers exploded, many without packs because they were older and on tours which bus their suitcases to the next hotel etc.
also, if you walk close to mid summer, always try to find hostels with pools. they dont generally cost any more as they're there to increase the attraction of the hostel, and icing your feet at the end of each day is glorious.
*these photos show bias of only getting the camera out when the weather was clear
Wow that's perfect thanks very much Anon, I look even more forward to be there myself
Once I have reached Santiago and explored the city I'll probably walk on a bit more to go to the sea, and from there come back to France somehow with trains