The Camino de Santiago routes in autumn
Autumn, as in spring, is an ideal season to do the Camino de Santiago. Enjoying pleasant temperatures and avoiding the queues that occur at some points along the pilgrim route, during the summer.
Autumn marks the end of the high season on the Camino de Santiago, giving way to the tranquillity that will flood them during winter. However, it is not the same to do the Camino de Santiago at the end of September, when autumn is just beginning, than to wait until December to begin your pilgrimage. The services, the influx of pilgrims and the landscape change completely during the months of October and November.
If you want to make a pilgrimage during this season, we recommend the Camino de Santiago from Sarria. Tell us about your possible dates and details of the trip and let us do the rest.
In this blog post, we will talk about some of the advantages and disadvantages of doing the Camino de Santiago in autumn, as well as the differences you will find between pilgrimages at the beginning of the season or at the end. We’ll also take the opportunity to tell you what awaits you on each of the main pilgrim itineraries during the autumn.
The keys to doing the Camino de Santiago in autumn
We are lovers of the Camino de Santiago and we believe that all the seasons of the year have their own charm on the Camino de Santiago. Autumn is no exception! Below we talk about the key things that you must keep in mind to make the Camino de Santiago in autumn.
Autumn, a season chosen more and more by pilgrims
More and more pilgrims decide to wait for the arrival of autumn to complete the Camino de Santiago. September and October are months that have gained a lot of popularity in recent years.
However, autumn remains a quiet time on the pilgrim routes. The beginning of autumn is somewhat more crowded than the end of the season.
The weather on the Camino de Santiago is quite variable in autumn
As we had mentioned at the beginning of the article, it is not the same to do the Camino de Santiago in early autumn, between late September and October, when the temperatures are still pleasant and you can easily enjoy sunny days, than at the end.
From November, temperatures drop considerably and more warm clothing is needed. Probably the arrival of frost and snow, on the mountain passes, does not reach until well into December or January. However, if it is a very cold year, even in mid-December you could find snow at some points.
That is why it is not the same to prepare the backpack to do to the Camino de Santiago in early autumn as for the end. At both times you will need to have warm clothes because the cold can arrive at any moment, but during the months of November and December your clothes should be prepared to protect you from much lower temperatures.
In addition, as at any time of the year, you will have to be prepared for rain. In this post about the weather on the Camino de Santiago, we tell you what to do so that rain is not a problem during your pilgrimage.
Some services begin to close from October
In September you will still find most services working, since more and more pilgrims prefer to postpone their trip on the Camino de Santiago until September, avoiding the crowds during July and August. However, many hostels, hotels and restaurants decide to close from October to March, the so-called low season.
The beautiful Camino de Santiago landscape in autumn
The landscapes in spring are beautiful, but the truth is that the autumn ones have nothing to envy in comparison. Between September and December, the fields are transformed, giving rise to a landscape marked by yellow and ochre. This, accompanied by the magical light that autumn days have, will help you go home with beautiful photographs of the pilgrim’s landscape.
At the beginning of autumn, you can still bathe
September, and even October, are usually months with pleasant temperatures, both in Spain and Portugal. So if you decide to do the Camino de Santiago in early autumn, don’t forget your swimwear. Chances are you can have a dip at some point on the route.
Remember that on the routes that run along the coast they have beautiful beaches on which to cool off, while on the inland roads you can enjoy rivers, pools and swimming pools. We can’t tell you that the water will be hot, but if it’s sunny day, you’ll probably want to take a refreshing dip, after a few kilometres.
There are fewer local festivities
Pilgrims who want to be involved in local festivals, will especially enjoy the cultural agenda of spring and summer. However, those who just want to spend walking will prefer the tranquillity of the villages that can be breathed during the autumn.
However, in autumn, specifically in November, the Magosto festival is celebrated throughout Galicia. An ancient festival in which the protagonists are the chestnuts and the queimada. Without a doubt, if you have the opportunity to join in with any of the acts related to this Galician festival, don’t miss the opportunity.
It isn’t easy to prepare your backpack
As mentioned above, the temperature during autumn is very changing. You can still find sunny days, typical of summer, like cold days. That is why it is necessary to have both cool and warm clothing.
If you want you can consult the article in which we explain what to take in your backpack to Santiago according to the time of year when you plan your pilgrimage. We are sure it’ll help you organize it.
We take the opportunity to remind you that a totally legitimate option is to do the Camino de Santiago without carrying your backpack on your back. In this blog post we tell you some of the advantages of contracting a baggage transfer service.
In autumn you will also make new friends on the Camino de Santiago
One of the reasons why many people decide to go to the Camino de Santiago is to make new friends. If that’s your case or if you go alone on the Camino de Santiago, we recommend that you do so in early autumn.
At that time, you will still find quite a few pilgrims walking along the pilgrim routes. However, if you wait until the end of autumn, there will be routes that are almost desolate.
The best routes on the Camino de Santiago to do in autumn
If you still don’t know what route to choose, you can check out our article on the different routes to Compostela. In it, we will tell you about the main characteristics of each of the pilgrim paths. However, below we explain what autumn is like on each of the routes of the Camino de Santiago.
On the Camino Frances there are always pilgrims
The Camino Frances is the most popular route. Therefore, at any time of the year you will find pilgrims on it.
If you are going to do the Camino de Santiago in late autumn, you should know that this route has two sections that run at quite an altitude. One is the first stage that links Sant Jean Pied de Port with Roncesvalles. If the cold comes soon, you can take a variant, which runs mostly by road and that has more services. The other option is to start the tour from Roncesvalles.
The other stretch that may involve some difficulty if there are frosts, is the ascent to Foncebadón and O Cebreiro. However, that is also not an inconvenience because there is an alternative route, called theCamino de Invierno, which will allow you to avoid these two peaks.
Another advantage of this route is that it has a better service infrastructure. Therefore, even if you decide to do the Camino de Santiago in late autumn, you will have no problem finding hostels, hotels and restaurants that operate all year round.
The landscape on the Camino Frances is quite marked by the presence of vineyards in much of the route. In autumn you will be able to witness the change of colour of the vineyards.
A landscape that will certainly give you beautiful photographs to remember it by. And if you like wine, it’s a route that will allow you to try different varieties.
The Camino Portugues is a great option in any season of the year
The Portuguese Way can be done by following the Central Route or the Coastal Route. Both are ideal for autumn.
In fact the Portuguese routes are recommended throughout the year, because they face few slopes and run over low altitudes. Therefore, even in the colder months, they do not present great difficulties.
The climate in Portugal is generally warmer than in the north of Spain, therefore, if you decide to do the Camino Portugues Coastal Route in early autumn, you probably have the opportunity to take a swim in the Atlantic Ocean.
If you want to know more about the two routes on the Camino de Santiago in Portugal, you can read the post we dedicate to the Portuguese routes. Two magnificent routes for the autumn!
The Camino de Santiago del Norte and Autumn
Contrary to what many believe, the Camino del Norte is also a suitable route for autumn. The proximity of this path to the Cantabrian Sea, makes the temperature that prevails in it during autumn milder than in other parts of northern Spain.
As with other routes along the coast, if you do your pilgrimage in early autumn, in addition to contemplating its beautiful beaches, you can bathe in them. If you do the Camino del Norte in late autumn, you have to be very brave to dive into the cold Cantabrian Sea.
Regardless of whether you do the Camino del Norte in early or late autumn, you should know that this route is one of the most likely where it rains. Therefore, do not forget a good raincoat and a cover for your backpack, if you plan to carry it.
The Camino de Santiago Ingles isn’t as green in autumn
The Camino Ingles is perhaps one of the most beautiful routes, because of the intense green that surrounds it. However, this route is completely different in autumn, during this season the greens give way to ochre tones and the route acquires a singular beauty.
One of the advantages of this path is that as it runs entirely through Galicia, if you complete your pilgrimage during the month of November, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the Magosto Gallego to the fullest. Chestnuts and Quemada waiting for you on this route in autumn!
This path is not very popular, so if you decide to do it in early autumn, you will still find pilgrims to share your path. However, if you start your tour in late November or December, you will most likely find few people making pilgrimages.
Another advantage of this route is that it is very short and is therefore ideal if you have a few days off. If you want to know more about this path you can consult the post that we dedicate in our blog about the stages on the Camino Ingles.
The Camino de Santiago Primitivo: it empties in the autumn
The Camino Primitivo is, of all the pilgrim routes, the most seasonal. From the end of September to the end of March this route is almost completely abandoned. In fact, it is one of the least advisable routes to do in winter, as it faces several mountain passes.
However, all of the above does not mean that you cannot do the Camino Primitivo in autumn. But we recommend that if you are clear that this is the pilgrim route you want to follow, try to start the tour at the end of September.
The advantage of this route is that it has numerous connections to the Camino Frances. Therefore, if you are surprised by the bad weather, you can always take a detour and conclude your pilgrimage by following the French route. Nothing is impossible on the Camino de Santiago!
The marvellous autumn on La Via de la Plata
Autumn is a good season to do the Via de la Plata, especially if you plan to do it completely or just some of the southern stages. During the summer months, this route is not very advisable because of the high temperatures it registers.
One of the advantages of this route is that it is less likely to rain than on the northern routes. If you want to know more about the different sections that make up the Via de la Plata, don’t forget to consult the related article.
The Camino de Finisterre stays alive in autumn
As long as there are pilgrims on the pilgrim routes, there will be pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago to Finisterre. So as on the rest of the routes, the influx of pilgrims during autumn on this route is not very high, especially at the end of the season. If you want to know more about this route, you can consult the article we dedicate to the stages on the route to the End of the World.
Before saying goodbye and so that you can know in more detail what you will find on the different routes during the autumn, we recommend that you read the articles that we dedicate to the Camino de Santiago in September, October, November and December. We hope that the information we provide in our blog will help you to tell on which dates to organize your pilgrimage and which route to choose.
Remember that if you want to have an agency specialized in the Camino de Santiago which can help you organize your pilgrimage, here at Santiago Ways we work all four seasons of the year. No matter when you want to do the Camino de Santiago, you can count on us.
Call us, leave us a comment at the end of this post or write to us on our Facebook. Our team will contact you and help you organize your pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.