The Camino de Santiago routes in December
Do you want to do the Camino de Santiago in December? Pilgrimage to Santiago during the Christmas season is an increasingly popular option. The month of December comes full of holidays and escaping to the Camino de Santiago for a few days is an excellent option to enjoy the winter landscapes.
Just as we told you in our post about the Camino de Santiago in winter, tranquillity and beauty floods the pilgrim routes in December.
In this blog post, we want to dedicate it to the climatic conditions that you will find on the main routes of the Camino de Santiago in December. We will also tell you about the different festivals that take place in December in the towns that cross the different routes of the Camino de Santiago.
The Camino Frances to Santiago in December
The Camino Frances in December has nothing to compare with the overcrowded route that you will find in the summer season. In December you will not share a route with hundreds of pilgrims, but you can enjoy this famous route with the calm that the winter gives.
You can read more about the stages on the Camino Frances by clicking on the link. If you do not have many days, an excellent option to make the Camino Frances is the stretch that goes from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela. These kilometres are the most popular, but in December you won’t find big crowds.
As we noted above, the Camino de Santiago from Sarria has the option to be done in 7 days and 6 nights, 8 days and 7 nights, and 11 days and 10 nights respectively, so there is flexibility. If you are convinced, leave us your details and we will contact you.
The climate on the Camino Frances during December
December is a cold month, but since winter has just begun in Spain, temperatures are not as low as in the following months. On most of the tour you will find an average temperature of 10 degrees.
If you plan to start the Camino de Santiago Frances from Sant Jean Pied de Port we advise you to check on weather conditions in which this stage is located. Depending on how cold winter is that year, you might find snow as early as December.
Another stretch where you could find snow in December, if the winter is very cold, is on the ascent to Foncebadón and O Cebreiro. If that’s the case, you shouldn’t be discouraged, as you’ll be able to take the Camino de Invierno to avoid these mountain passes.
December festivals on the Camino Frances
If there’s a festival that characterises December, it’s Christmas. So in December, in addition to the beautiful winter landscapes, you can enjoy the Nativity scenes that abound in many towns along the Camino.
But in December you won’t just find the celebrations associated with Christmas. Some of the villages on the Camino de Santiago also hold popular festivals in December.
Puente de la Reina, a town located on stage 4 of the Camino Frances, celebrates the Pepper Market in December. In stage 11, you will find the village of San Juan de Ortega. This town celebrates its patron saint festivities on December 6th in honour of Saint Nicholas of Bari.
Doing the Camino Portugues in December
The Camino Portugues is one of the most recommended paths to do in December, since it runs at a low altitude and does not cross any mountain pass. The Camino de Santiago has two routes in the Portuguese country.
One of them is known as the Camino Central Portugues and the other as the Camino Portugues Coastal Route. If you want to know more details about both paths, you can consult the article of our blog that we dedicate to the Camino Portugues.
The Portuguese climate in December
Temperatures in Portugal, during the month of December, are higher than in northern Spain. In December the average temperature on this route ranges between 8 and 15 degrees centigrade.
If you plan to do the Camino Portugues in December, the proximity of the sea will produce a greater feeling of cold. For this, it is best to have a good windcheater.
You should also anticipate that although the temperature on the Camino Portugues is higher than on other routes in northern Spain, at the end of your trip you will enter Galicia, if you plan to conclude your pilgrimage in Santiago de Compostela. Therefore, don’t forget to put waterproof clothes in your backpack and clothes warm enough to cope at about 5 degrees less.
December on the Camino Portugues
On December 1st, Lisbon celebrates Restoration Day. This date commemorates the armed uprisings between Portugal and the Hispanic monarchy. That day is a public holiday in the city.
On stage 7 of the Camino Portugues, specifically in Alvaiázere, you will find a popular festival. It is the festival in honour of Nossa Senhora da Conceiao, which is held on December 8th.
In addition to the previous two popular festivals in Portugal, you can enjoy a magical Christmas. The beautiful lighting in Lisbon and its imposing Christmas Market are more than enough reason to do the Camino Portugues in December.
The Camino del Norte in December
The Camino del Norte, along with the Camino Primitivo, are the least recommended routes in December. The terrain and profile on these roads, together with the low temperatures recorded on them, make them quite hard routes during the winter season.
The temperature on the Camino del Norte in December
The proximity to the sea of the Camino del Norte means that the temperatures recorded in the cities that cross this route are much higher than on the Camino Frances, especially on the Castilian plateau. However, December is one of the rainiest months on this route.
On this route you must also keep yourself very well informed of the weather conditions, as it runs at quite a high level. If temperatures are very low at certain mountain points or even in some cities you might find snow or ice on the road.
If you want to know more about the stages of the Camino del Norte, you can read our post about the Camino del Norte. In it, you will find other related articles in which we talk about its sights and its stunning beaches.
Celebrations on the Camino del Norte in December
If you decide to do the Camino de Santiago del Norte in December, you will have the opportunity to enjoy one of the most charming Spanish cities at Christmas, Santander. The Cantabrian capital deploys almost 800,000 light bulbs on that date to illuminate the city.
In addition to the quiet Christmas atmosphere that you will find in the villages along this route, in December you can enjoy various popular festivals. One of them is the Feast of Santo Tomas that is celebrated in Irun, San Sebastian and Bilbao, on December 21st.
On stage 6, you will arrive in Gernika. In December, the Snail Fair is held, an excellent opportunity to taste this mollusc.
La Via de la Plata in December
As we specified in our article on La Via de la Plata, this immense route has several sections. The southern paths, both the one known as the Camino Mozarabe and the southwest section that runs between Seville and Merida, are highly recommended to do in December, as the temperatures are higher in this region of Spain.
The climate in December on La Via de la Plata
In the southern stages of the Via de la Plata you will find temperatures ranging from 8 to 12 degrees centigrade during the month of December. As you step onto the plateau, the temperature will decrease.
December on La Via de la Plata
If you decide to start the Via de la Plata, following the Camino Mozarabe, you will have the opportunity to visit Granada at Christmas. In the Alhambra is the tallest Christmas tree in all of Europe.
However, if you decide to take the southwest route, you can enjoy the beauty of Seville at Christmas. A city famous for having a special colour, but at Christmas it acquires a different tone.
Other festivities that you can enjoy if you do La Via de la Plata in December are those of the Almendralejo, which is located on stage 8 of the Via de la Plata, if you leave from Seville. This town celebrates the Harvest Festival on 8th December.
On December 9th the Martyr Santa Eulalia is celebrated in Merida. An excellent option to conclude the Camino de la Plata, if you only plan to travel the first sections in the south, in early December.
If you are looking for lively festivals and you love Christmas, you cannot miss the University of Salamanca Christmas Eve Party. Since most students return home to spend Christmas with their families, Christmas Eve is celebrated early on December 15th.
The Camino Primitivo in December
As mentioned in one of the previous sections, the Camino Primitivo is the least recommended route for winter. Between the months of December and March it is difficult to find pilgrims on this route. However, if you are encouraged to go through it, it’s important that you have good equipment and pay close attention to the weather forecast.
The climate in December
The Camino Primitivo has numerous mountain passes, so it is very likely that in December you will find snow and ice. If you decide to do the Camino de Santiago Primitivo in December, make sure you wear plenty of warm clothing and bring waterproofs.
Festivals on the Camino Primitivo in December
Christmas in Oviedo is a postcard Christmas. It is common for some gentle snowfall to fall in December, turning the city white. In this city you will find a classic Christmas: lighting, skating rink and cold.
The Grado Christmas Market also stands out on the Camino Primitivo. You will arrive in this town on your first day of pilgrimage, if you leave from Oviedo.
In addition to the Christmas festivities, on this route you will find other popular festivals that are held in December and are not directly associated with Christmas. One of them is the Folklore Show that takes place in Tineo, a town that is located on stage 3 of the route.
Another popular festival held on the Camino de Santiago del Norte in December is La Foliada de Fonsagrada. If you are lucky enough to complete the seventh stage of the tour on December 26th you can enjoy it.
The Camino Ingles in December
The Camino Ingles to Santiago is a suitable route to take during the month of December. The biggest drawback you will find will be the rain, but in Galicia it rains all year round. Don’t forget your waterproof clothes and you won’t have any problems.
The Camino Ingles is a good route to do in December, as you will need a few days to complete it. You can complete the entire route in approximately 5 days. If you want to know more about the stages on the Camino Ingles, you can check the article we dedicate to this route.
On the Camino de Santiago Ingles you will not find great popular festivals during the month of December. But you can enjoy a Galician rural Christmas in all its splendour.
The Route to the End of the World in December
The Camino de Santiago to Finisterre is also an advisable route during the month of December. Since it runs through Galician soil, rains are frequent along it, but as we mentioned in the section on the Camino Ingles, if you wear waterproof clothes, you will have no problems.
As it happens on the Camino Ingles, in the month of December the only festivities that you will find on this route are those related to Christmas. You can find more information about this itinerary in our article on the Camino de Finisterre.
With all the information that we have provided in this article and the one that you will find in the related posts that we have been recommending, you already have all the information necessary to launch yourself onto the Camino de Santiago in December. If you make your trip between December and January or between November and December, don’t forget to check out the articles you’ll find on our blog about those months.
Remember that if you want to do the Camino de Santiago in December and have an agency specialized in the Camino that will help you organize your trip; in Santiago Ways we will be happy to do so. You can call us or write us a comment at the end of this article or on the Facebook page of Santiago Ways.