Summer months on la Ruta de la Plata
Are you thinking of doing the Camino de la Plata (also Ruta de la Plata or Via de la Plata) in summer? We assume that you already know that this is one of the Caminos de Santiago that has the highest number of kilometres.
This route crosses Spain from South to North. If you want to know more about it, we should indicate that before continuing reading, you should consult the article that is dedicated to explain its route and its charms.
In this article, in addition to explaining the various sections on the Via de la Plata, we would strongly advise you that it is not one of the most recommended pilgrimage routes during the summer, especially during the months of July and August. However, we understand that if it is the route that you like and you only have days off during those hot months, you do not want to give up your chance.
If you want to challenge yourself with this route, we recommend that you do the Camino de Santiago from Ourense. Tell us details about the trip you want to make and we will gladly contact you to help you plan it.
We also know that, despite not being the most advisable Camino to Santiago to do in summer, many pilgrims set out to do so. Many of them fleeing the masses of the northern routes or attracted by the cultural richness of the Via de la Plata.
So, we have prepared this article in which we tell you what doing the Via de la Plata in summer implies. Also, we give you some advice to face the disadvantages during this time of year.
The summer temperature on La Vía de la Plata
Since La Via de la Plata crosses the Iberian Peninsula from South to North, you will find diverse climates along it. The southern part of La Via de la Plata is the hardest to do in summer since both in the community of Andalusia and in the south of Extremadura, you will find very high temperatures.
The average temperature in this region during the summer months is usually about 30 degrees. Nevertheless, it is not unusual that during July and August temperatures superior to 40 degrees are registered between 11am and 8pm.
To the north of Extremadura and Castile and León the temperatures are more moderate. It is still very hot, but the heatwaves are less usual and much less intense.
As La Via de la Plata enters Galicia, the climate refreshes greatly. The average temperature reduces to 20 degrees or even less, according to the altitude. In this region, it is possible to find rain in July or August, something that the pilgrim who has followed La Via de la Plata in summer, is enormously grateful.
Is it dangerous to do the Ruta de la Plata in summer?
No, it is not dangerous if you take suitable precautions. Unfortunately, the Via de la Plata has already accumulated several pilgrim’s accidents along it in recent times, all of them registered in summer, and, for heatstroke.
Now it is also true, that every year many pilgrims complete it without major problems. The most important thing to complete the Via de la Plata in summer, especially if you have intentions of covering it along its path through Andalusia is to be protected from the heat.
Advantages of doing the Camino de la Plata in summer
We do not want to scare you and make you change your mind about doing the Camino de la Plata in summer. We have already said to you that it is not dangerous, only that precautions against the heat must be taken. It would not be responsible for our part to speak to you about doing the Via de la Plata in summer and not insisting on this topic, which is the only disadvantage on this route.
In fact, we really like the Via de la Plata during the summer, because it is a route that has many advantages over other sections on the Camino de Santiago. Here are some of them:
Doing La Vía de la Plata in summer: goodbye to overcrowding
As we told you in the article doing the Camino de Santiago in summer, one of the main drawbacks of this time of year is that most of the routes are full of pilgrims. If you decide to do La Via de la Plata in summer you will not have that problem. This route is not so busy all year round and therefore is less so during the warmer months.
Historical heritage without comparison
Doing the Via de la Plata gives you the opportunity to visit much of Spain’s most valuable historical heritage. On it, you will find important Mozarabic legacy, as well as medieval constructions. In addition, on the final stretch on the tour, you can enjoy the heritage of the last kilometres of the Camino Frances, if you choose the variant of Astorga.
You will also have the opportunity to visit some of the most important cities in Spain, such as Seville, Granada, Salamanca or Santiago de Compostela. Without a doubt, doing La Via de la Plata is one of the best ways to discover Spain in all its splendour.
Crossing Spain from South to North will allow you to discover the wide cultural diversity of the country. From the most typical Spanish themes, such as bullfighting culture and flamenco, to more unknown traditions such as Galician culture. If you are going to complete the entire Via de la Plata and you are a foreigner, when you finish you can say that you know Spanish culture quite well.
Lots of options
As we explained in the article we recommend at the beginning of this post, the Via de la Plata has many variants. Find out about them, because if you have only a few days, you will have to choose one of their paths.
Advice for doing La Vía de la Plata in summer
If you consulted our article on making the Camino de Santiago in summer, you will have already seen that there we gave you some tips for pilgrimage during the summer season. However, given the characteristics of the Via de la Plata during the summer, we want to give you some specific tips to do the Via de la Plata during the warmer months.
Check the temperature
In both winter and in summer, when doing the Camino de Santiago, it is really important to keep an eye on the weather forecast. In both seasons, extreme temperatures can be recorded and it is advisable to be informed and know if it is better to postpone a stage.
When it comes to making La Via de la Plata in summer, it is essential that you study the maximum temperatures that are expected during the day, as well as the times when less heat is expected. It is also essential that you find out if a heatwave is expected. In that case, it is best to postpone your trip or stop in one of the charming places that you will find on the route to wait for temperatures to drop.
Take special precaution if you belong to a vulnerable group
Not everyone has the same aptitude to resist the heat. Those with some type of illness or with advanced age are more capable of suffering heatstroke. If it is your case, consult your doctor before doing the pilgrimage and tell them about what you intend to do. Your doctor will be the best person who will be able to say to you if you can do the Ruta de la Plata in summer is a challenge which you could face, without putting your health at risk of danger.
Avoid the hottest sections
Few people have the opportunity to do the Via de la Plata completely, since its route runs over many kilometers. Nothing more and nothing less than 1,143 kilometers from Cadiz to Santiago de Compostela.
Therefore, if you want to do the Via de la Plata, but do not have time to complete it whole and you can only make a pilgrimage during the summer, our advice is to choose one of its final sections. The Camino Sanabrés is an excellent option if you are looking to escape the crowds of pilgrims that occur in the latter stages of the Camino Frances during the high season.
If you opt for the route that runs through Astorga, you can start from Zamora, for example, and enjoy a few stages of tranquility, typical of the Via de la Plata, and then join the Camino Frances.
If you are interested in the Arab culture of southern Spain and you do not aim to reach the tomb of Santiago the Apostle on this pilgrimage, another option is to choose the Camino Mozarabe. It is much hotter than the northern sections, so you should take extreme precautions, to avoid heatstroke.
Another excellent alternative if you have time and don’t mind giving up the Compostela is to do the Via de la Plata back to front. So if you start your pilgrimage in mid-August, for example, during the hottest days you will complete the northern section that is cooler and by the time you reach the south, temperatures will have dropped.
Water yes, sun no
If you have read the article that we recommend at the beginning of this section, you will have already seen that staying hydrated and wearing sunglasses, sun protection and a hat is essential to make the Camino de Santiago during the hot months. Well, if you’re going to do the Via de la Plata in the summer season, even more so.
On the Via de la Plata there are sections where you won’t find many services on your path. Fountains are also scarce on this route of the Camino de Santiago, as happens in the northern region.
Therefore, it is essential that you calculate very well the water you will need to go from one place to another. Running out of water on La Via de Plata in summer is not an option and can be very dangerous!
Wearing a good hat that protects your head from direct sunlight is also especially important. On this route, you will cross many sections where you will not find any shade. That is why, to make the Via de la Plata in summer you cannot miss sunglasses, sun protection and a good hat in your backpack.
If doing La Vía de la Plata in summer, you often have to get up early
We always discourage walking in the dark. However, considering the peculiarities of La via de la Plata in summer, it is best to take advantage of the early hours of the morning to walk. In this case, we recommend that you get up before dawn and that even if the stage does not run near the road, take the opportunity to walk before the sun rises.
Walk until it’s late
In summer the days are much longer. Usually starting at 6 pm, it begins to cool down. It doesn’t get dark until quite late, so take advantage of those afternoon hours to do the final part of the stages. The rest of the day, you can dedicate it to discover a locality or to rest quietly in the shade of a square.
Plan the stages around times of s when it’s less hot
If you know that to avoid the hottest hours, you will have a day of 4 or 5 hours, do not plan stages of more than 20 or 25 kilometres, if you go on foot. By bike, you can do double the distance or a little more, depending on the characteristics of the stage.
Count on support
Another option to try to alleviate the toughness of the heat that involves transiting the Ruta de la Plata in summer is to count on the services of an agency specialized in the Camino de Santiago. This type of service will allow you to have a baggage transport service and a car in case of an emergency. If you are interested in this topic, be sure to read our article on what is included in organized trips with a Camino de Santiago travel agency.
Now you know what you’ll have to face if you decide to do the Via de la Plata in summer. You know it’s not dangerous, but you do have to take steps to avoid heatstroke. In this article, we have told you some of them, so that summer does not pose any inconvenience to complete the Via de la Plata.
If you have already made any section of the Camino de la Plata, either in summer or at any other time of the year, leave us a comment! Pilgrims who read us will love to know how your experience was.
We do not want to finish this publication, without first reminding you that if you have any questions about the Via de la Plata or any other route on the Camino de Santiago, do not hesitate to contact us! You can do it through our Facebook page or getting in contact with us by email or phone. We will be happy to help you.