The Camino de Santiago during summer months
During the summer months are when more pilgrims decide to do the Camino de Santiago. Although it is not the most recommended season of the year to make a pilgrimage to Compostela, due to the high temperatures, the Camino de Santiago between June to August filled is with pilgrims from all corners of the world.
Avoiding this highly demanded season is not easy, as most people enjoy most of their holidays during these months. However, all seasons of the year have their charm on the Camino de Santiago.
The summer season, despite the heat and high influx of pilgrims, has its own charm. Obviously, this is nothing to compare with the tranquillity given by the Camino de Santiago in winter, but it has many other advantages.
In this article, we want to talk about the advantages and disadvantages of doing the Camino de Santiago in summer. We know that for many, that doing the Camino in summer is the only possible option, so we also will give you some recommendations, in case you decide to make a pilgrimage to Compostela in summer.
If this is you, and feel like doing the Camino in summer, we recommend planning the Camino de Santiago from Sarria. Tell us details about your travel plans and we’ll get back to you.
Advantages of doing the Camino de Santiago in summer
We are lovers of the Camino de Santiago at all times of the year, so we will start by talking about the advantages of pilgrimage in summer. Although it is somewhat crowded and very hot, during the summer months the pilgrim route has a plethora of advantages, which it does not possess at other times of the year.
In summer you have more daylight to finish the stages on the Camino de Santiago
In summer, the days are longer, so you have more time to complete the stages and to stop at the places that come your way. The only drawback is the accommodation, but if you book it in advance, and not use the network of public hostels, you can enjoy stages where you can walk both in the morning and in the afternoon.
You can bathe
All routes have places to cool off. The roads along the coast have beautiful beaches to enjoy, while on the interior roads you will find many rivers, pools and municipal pools to dive.
Most villages have their local festivities
In summer, most of the villages on the Camino de Santiago celebrate their patron saint festivities, so if you make your pilgrimage between June and August, you will go through many towns enjoying local holidays. This will allow you to discover even more of the culture and traditions in each region.
Your backpack will be half-sized
In summer there is no need to carry bulky warm clothes. That is why in summer, it is recommended to use a 20 or 30-litre backpack, while in winter it is recommended that they have a capacity of 50 or 60 litres.
Doing the Camino de Santiago means making many more friends
The other side of the coin that the Camino de Santiago is a very popular destination during the summer months where you will have the opportunity to make many new friends. Of course, the odds of flirting also increase. If you’re interested in that topic, don’t forget to read our article on falling in love on the Camino de Santiago.
There is less chance of rain
There’s less chance of rain. Even on routes such as the Camino del Norte and the Camino Primitivo where it always rains, the volume of precipitation decreases greatly during the summer.
However, as we told you in our article about the weather on the Camino de Santiago, Galicia is Galicia. In summer, you may also be surprised by the rain in the Galician community, so even if it’s summer, be sure to bring an anorak in your backpack.
Summer is a good time to do the Camino by bicycle
Rain is an enemy of the “bikegrims”. Mud on the roadside, or even the road when wet, can easily cause skids and falls.
In the summer months, bikegrims can travel the route more safely. Would you be encouraged to do the Camino Primitivo by bike? It’s a big challenge, not suitable for everyone, but maybe you’re an experienced cyclist and you hadn’t thought about it.
Drawbacks of doing the Camino de Santiago in summer
However, we’re not going to fool you either. Doing the Camino de Santiago has its drawbacks. Most of them are relative and some people may find them more annoying than others. You can value for yourself whether what we tell you might be a problem for you or not.
All the pilgrim network is full of pilgrims
There’s no exception. All routes to Santiago record an increase in the level of pilgrims during the summer months.
The one that is the most crowded is the Camino Frances, especially its last 100 kilometres from Sarria to Compostela. This route in summer becomes a real hotbed of pilgrims. All other roads also record an increase, but since they are not so popular, the density is not as high as this one.
It’s really hot
In the summer months, between June and August, both Spain and Portugal record high temperatures. Walking on roads where there is no shade can really tire you out.
This is one of the reasons why most pilgrims get up so early. Most of them try to complete the stage before the hottest hours appear.
Services are overwhelmed in summer
Most routes have increased their range of services, both in terms of accommodation and catering. However, this increase has not been made at the same rate as the increased number of pilgrims in recent years.
This fact makes many of the services saturated during the summer months. The race that pilgrims have to get a bed in a hostel has almost become an Olympic sport. In other types of accommodation, during these busy months, it can also be difficult to get accommodation, if you do not book well in advance.
Something similar happens in some restaurants on the busiest stretches or among those that enjoy some prestige among pilgrims. Occasionally, queues for lunch or dinner can become a nightmare.
You’ll find little peace of mind
The silence, tranquillity and moments of peace that flood the Camino de Santiago during other months of the year are difficult to find in summer. While it is true, that there are many kilometres to find a gap to be on your own, you have to make a special effort to get it.
The towns and villages are also on holiday
As you cross the towns of the Camino de Santiago you will find all places with a lot more movement than they usually have. On the one hand, they are affected by the large affluence of pilgrims, on the other hand, many of the villages come to life exclusively during the holidays, a time when many of their owners who live in nearby cities, return to enjoy the summer.
Advice about doing the Camino de Santiago in summer
You can see that summer has its advantages and its drawbacks on the Camino de Santiago. But if it’s the only time of year when you can make your pilgrimage, don’t think about it, just go for it! Here are some tips for enjoying the Camino de Santiago in summer.
Choose a less popular route
The pilgrim network has a multitude of routes and stages, if you want to avoid crowds, study which itineraries have the least number of pilgrims. At first, we would tell you that if you are running away from crowds, then avoid the final kilometres of the Camino Frances.
The problem at this point is that many of the routes of the Camino de Santiago come together, meeting up with the Camino Frances, on its final stages. Therefore, although the Camino Primitivo and the Camino del Norte are not such popular routes, if you choose one of these, you will find a high influx of pilgrims at the end of your path.
Something similar happens on the Portuguese routes, which concentrate the largest volume of pilgrims in their last kilometres, from Tui. However, both the Camino Portugues Central and the Coastal routes are good options to escape the final crowds of the Camino Frances, as they do not share stages with it.
An excellent alternative, if you prioritize calm first and foremost, is to look for much less popular routes, such as the Camino Ingles and the Camino Sanabrés. The Winter route, although it may seem paradoxical, it is also a good choice for summer.
Another option that many people don’t think about is The route of the lighthouses. You should know that you can join this route to the Camino de Finisterre to conclude your tour in Santiago de Compostela. If you want to know more, check out our article on how to do the Camino de Santiago back to front.
Avoid the warmest routes
If you decide to go walking on la Vía de la Plata during a hot summer you will easily escape from agglomerations of the Camino de Santiago, but you will have to face very high temperatures. In fact, this route, which runs through the south of Spain, is one of the least recommended in summer.
However, nothing is impossible. The stretch of the Camino Frances to Santiago that runs through Castile and León is also not very advisable in summer, as it crosses kilometres and kilometres of plains without any shade. Still, hundreds of pilgrims travel through it every year.
Pilgrimage and enjoying the sea
The best way to combat the heat is by walking by the sea. In summer, the routes along the coast, such as the Camino Portugues Coastal route and the Camino del Norte, are especially advisable.
However, remember that on the inland roads you will also find places to cool off. The most important thing is that, regardless of the route you choose, do not forget your swimsuit and you will be able to find out where you can cool down.
Think up a different strategy
To cope with the overbooking found in some services on the Camino de Santiago during the summer, a good trick is to avoid eating where they all eat and sleep in the classic end of stages. Alternatively, you can redefine the classic stages!
Another excellent option is to find an agency specialized in the Camino de Santiago that will organize the logistical details for you, so you will not have problems either to find where to eat or to make reservations for your accommodation. If you want to, you can consult this article of our blog in which we explain what it means to do the Camino de Santiago with an agency.
Don’t lose sight of your motivation
Not everyone goes to the Camino de Santiago with the same motivations. Some people make pilgrimages to have the opportunity to make new friends and are very social. However, others are looking for peace of mind and spending time by themselves.
In summer on the Camino de Santiago you will find all kinds of pilgrims. If you are one of those looking for moments of tranquillity and being by yourself, in summer it is also possible. All you have to do is keep track of your motivation and find time for it. Don’t get carried away by the rhythm of the other pilgrims!
Never be without water
As we explained in our article on healthy eating during the Camino de Santiago, staying hydrated is essential to complete the route successfully. This advice is especially relevant in summer, when your body when sweating much more, will need much more water.
If you are going to do the Camino de Santiago in summer, we recommend that you buy a water bag (camel back). These are very practical and it is the most comfortable way to stay hydrated throughout the day.
Sunglasses and sunscreen, please
As much as you try to avoid walking during the hottest hours, you’ll spend many hours in the sun. Sunglasses and sunscreen are always necessary on the Camino, even in winter. Don’t leave them at home and apply sunscreen frequently. In this article we recommend what to take on the Camino de Santiago, so you can prepare your checklist and you won’t forget anything.
Moreover, making the Camino de Santiago involves certain advance preparation, regardless of the time of year. In this blog post, you will find a guide to begin to prepare your journey.
We do not want to say goodbye without first recommending the last article, in case you still doubt whether to do the Camino de Santiago or not. Read these.
Now, yes, we say goodbye for today. Remember that if you would like to have an agency specialized in the Camino de Santiago that will help you organize your pilgrimage this summer, you can count on us. Call us, leave a message or write on Facebook and our team will be delighted to assist you and resolve any doubts.