This is one of the most frequently asked questions but it’s one that doesn’t really have a full answer! There are a lot of variables for you to consider:
- When are you free? The time you can take off work or away from family commitments might be the single most important factor to consider. Blessed are the retirees, for they shall travel whenever they like!
- Flight availability. While flight schedules change from year to year, Irish Caminoers (Is that a word? It is now…) are often looking at a Camino season from April to Halloween. There are other ways and mean and we can advise you on this.
- Weather. Just like Ireland, weather across the north of Spain can be unpredictable and especially so when it comes to Galicia.
- Busy season. Ido you want to travel when it’s busy and full of people or do you prefer a bit more solitude?
- Which route you want to travel on.
Let’s start with Galicia. A good rule of thumb is to take the average Irish temperature and add 5 degrees to it. Average is the key word – we’ve walked in 12 to 25 degrees in April, for example! Galicia experiences quite a lot of rain, though it is weighted more to the colder months than in Ireland where it can be wet across the summer.
We often get asked “but what about the heat – I don’t want to walk under a hot sun”. Galician temperatures aren’t typically Spanish, but can be warmer than Ireland nonetheless. Keep in mind that in the summer months when there are more daylight hours, there’s nothing to stop you heading off at 6 or 7 a.m. – you can aim to get your day’s walking done by midday or close to it, allowing you to relax for the afternoon. You can gauge that yourself at the time.
When are the busy months?
This is a very different question to asking when do most Irish people go. The graph shows the total number of pilgrims receiving their certs in Santiago (the only official measurement really) and it is quite different to the same graph from 4-5 years ago. The numbers in shoulder seasons such as April, May and October are much more aligned to the summer months than they used to be.
What are the busiest routes?
The Camino Francés has always been and continues to be the most popular route. While other routes are gaining in popularity, the Francés still accounts for the majority of all Camino pilgrims.
The Camino Portugués is the fastest-growing route (there are a couple of variants of this route as well), but while it’s expected that the other routes will gain a growing share of the pie in the coming years, Francés still sits on the throne!