Thinking about walking the Camino de Santiago in Summer? Then read on and find out all you need to know about walking in the Summer, from which route to choose to what to pack!
Why do the Camino in Summer?
For many this is a natural time of year to go on holidays, the kids are off school, the weather is good and days are long with daylight.
The summer months are especially popular among the Spanish to walk the Camino. Last year, in 2018, according to the Pilgrims Office Statistics, they made up 60% of pilgrims in June and approx 40% of pilgrims in July and August. So a great time to go and practice your Spanish!
It is also a popular time to walk the Camino for Italians and Germans, with June and July being particularly popular for Americans as well… so you will have a really multi-cultural experience!
Weather on the Camino in the Summer? Is it really that hot?
Summer on the Camino is the months of June, July and August. Typically the temperatures will gradually rise throughout the months of June and July to hit their peak in August before starting to cool down again in September.
As the statistics show those from naturally warm climates are not put off walking the Camino during these months. But for those from cooler climates you don’t need to completely discount these months for walking on the Camino.
Firstly, the Camino is predominantly in the north of Spain where it typically doesn’t get as hot as the south of Spain. The months of June, July and August are also the driest months in the north. But how hot is too hot? Temperature in the north can reach 30˚C (86º F), however, it is worth bearing in mind that the hottest part of the day in the north of Spain is usually mid-afternoon, not midday, so you can plan your day to have your walking finished or almost done by this time to avoid the strongest heat of the day. With Summer also comes bright early mornings so it’s easy to get up early and start walking before the heat kicks in.
What to wear when walking the Camino in the Summer
Clothing, sun protection and staying well hydrated will aid in walking in hot temperatures. Light, breathable clothing is essential when walking in the heat. Sun burn for a walker can be worse than blisters! If you get your shoulders burnt and then need to carry a bag, this will be a worse pain than blisters, so sunscreen is a vital part of your pack when walking in the summer. Be sure to use a high factor and regularly re-apply. Hats and sunglasses will round off your kit for summer providing protection for your head and eyes from the damaging effects of the sun.
Hydration is vital when exercising and even more so when walking in hot temperatures. There are lots of places to top up your water as you need along the Camino, so be sure to do this. If the temperatures are very high, try mixing in some energy drinks with electrolytes if you sweat a lot to replace the essential minerals and salts you need for your body to function correctly. Whilst walking, avoid drinking alcohol which is a diuretic and can increase your risk of dehydration. If you are not a regular tea and coffee drinker then avoid starting now in hot weather as the caffeine can have a more pronounced effect.
Summer Festivities on the Camino de Santiago
Apart from the great weather another good reason to walk the Camino in the summer months are the festivals that take place. The Spanish love a good festival and you will come upon all sorts of festivities over the summer months from small local festivals like the Festival of Near-Death to world renowned festivals like the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. You can read more on festivals in Spain along the Camino on our post: Top Festivals on the Camino de Santiago.