Encountering rain on the Camino de Santiago is something most pilgrims experience at some point during the 800km walk from St. Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela. You will want to be prepared for wet weather before leaving for your Camino.
In this post we are going to cover common questions about rain on the Camino, including what times of year have heavy rain, as well as how to prepare for rainy days on the way to St. James.
What do I do if it rains on the Camino? At the first sight of rain, you will want to put on a rain jacket or rain poncho. Wearing waterproof pants or shorts will also help to protect your clothes, electronics and Passport from rain while walking. You can choose to stop at a nearby cafe or albergue and wait out the storm (especially if dense fog accompanies the rain, as fog greatly increases the chances of getting lost on the Camino).
Being prepared (with proper clothing) and staying up-to-date with the weather forecast will be important in dealing with rain on the Camino de Santiago.
While it is possible to plan your Camino during times of the year where rain is less likely, you will not be able to eliminate the possibility of rain altogether on your Camino pilgrimage. For many pilgrims, being wet is part of the pilgrim experience.
We walked the last 100km of the Camino Frances in the summer of 2018 and did not encounter any rain for 10 days straight. While you may experience something like we did, there are pilgrims who report stories exactly opposite to ours, where they walked for up to two weeks without a dry day!
Because of the unpredictability of rain on the Camino, you will want to take preparations for encountering it.
Common Questions about Rain on the Camino
Does it rain on the Camino de Santiago? Rain is common throughout the year on each of the Camino routes. The routes found in France, Spain and Portugal each receive rain throughout the year.
When is the rainy season on the Camino? The heaviest rains typically occur in the Spring (March through May) and Fall (September through November). The winter can also be very wet if the temperatures are too hot for snowfall.
Will the trail be walkable? You will be able to walk the Camino in the rain, even heavy rain. Parts of the trail will be slippery while other parts will turn to mud. If any part of the trail is impassable during a storm, there are alternate routes marked that you can take in case of bad weather.
Are any of the Camino routes more dry than others? The Camino Frances and Via de la Plata routes are slightly drier than the other routes. This is because they are mainly inland and are further away from the coast.
The coastal routes tend to be more wet throughout the year. These routes include the Camino Portugues (Portuguese route), Camino Ingles (English Route) Camino del Norte (Northern Route) and Camino Primitivo.
If you are planning your first Camino and are worried about the rain, we recommend the Camino Frances route. In addition to being the most popular route with the most resources for first-time pilgrims, the Camino Frances is slightly less wet than other routes.
You can also reduce your chances of rain by walking the Camino Frances in the summer. The month of July has the least amount of rain (the average is 1.6 inches of rain for the entire month).
How to Prepare for Rain on the Camino
You will want to account for the possibility of rain when packing for the Camino. There are several items that you can pack that will help keep you dry:
In addition to packing for rain, you will also want to check the weather forecast as your Camino pilgrimage dates approach. If it looks like you are going to have a wet Camino, then you will want to consider bringing extra pairs of clothes (especially socks and underwear) to ensure you always have a dry set available.
If it looks like the weather forecast is favorable, then you may consider leaving some of the rain items at home.
For our Camino, we brought a poncho, flip flops, plastic bags and clothes pins. We did not bring rain pants since we were walking in the summer. We did not get a chance to use the poncho because it did not rain when we walked.
How to handle the rain while walking the Camino?
Keeping an eye on the weather forecast will be helpful for reducing the effects of rain on your pilgrimage. If you don’t want to check the weather each day, you can also get in the habit of asking the person who checks you into your albergue what the weather is looking like for your next day of walking.
It is good to know this information ahead of time because you can plan accordingly.
If you find there is a good chance of rain before heading out for your day’s walk, consider the following precautions:
What to do if your clothes get wet while walking the Camino
If, despite your best efforts, you find yourself soaked by the end of the day, there are several good ways to dry your clothes before the start of the next day of walking.
We hope you found this information helpful for your upcoming pilgrimage. Remember, it may rain the entire time on your Camino, or it may not rain at all. If it does rain, expect to get wet (and possibly soaked).
Regardless of how much rain you encounter on your pilgrimage, we hope that by being prepared and keeping alert of the weather conditions, you will be able to minimize the effect rain will have on your walk.
We were lucky enough to have good weather on our Camino and wish you the same on your upcoming pilgrimage!