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Hi Rick – love your travel tidbits – tho this one needs an update! My husband & I have walked the Camino thru France & Spain seven times since 1999. (Last year did the El Norte route.) Accommodation in refugios & albergues are no longer free ANYWHERE! A few are by donation (and they recommend a specific amount), but all the others charge.
- We’ve seen prices go up appreciably over the years – Spaniards have caught on that we are a captive audience! And also, with the popularity of the Camino growing, reservations are strongly advised, especially in high season summer months. Our last walk was April/May and we learned fast that we had to book ahead. Used to be able to “wing it” – not anymore! Still, a magnificent journey to take… we still connect with people we’ve met on the Camino.
- yes it has… but if you plan it right, still can be a wonderful experience. Many trails lead to Santiago… take one of the lesser routes & you can still avoid the press of crowds & tourists. It’s the trip of a lifetime!
- my husband and I did the Camino Francés, from St Jean-Pied-de-Port to Santiago de Compostela, in 2011… it was a trip of a lifetime! I know of the many other routes & now that I am retired, I am strongly considering the Portuguese Camino.
a woman we met on the Frances did the Portuguese from Porto and loved it. Parts around cities got pretty industrial, but aside from that, it was lovely – full of scenic sea views. Consider El Norte too
we started in San Sebastián last year. Stunning views and hardly another soul on the trail. Lots of new hostels, very welcoming. We’re in our 70s now – Covid prevented our Coast-to-Coast walk across U.K. this year. Hoping for next year. But doubt if we’ll Camino again.
Walked the Camino from Porto in Apr. of 2018 with my adult daughter. We left the coast after a few days and went to the central route instead. If I did this again, would just do the central route. Hated all the high rises along the coast.
For anyone interested in this trek I highly recommend the 2012 film The Way starring Martin Sheen and directed by his son Emilio Esteves. This area of the world means a lot to his family so I also recommend their book Along the Way which covers the family connections.