Spain may be famous for its sangria, siestas and sunshine but it also has a rich and diverse culture boasting 45 UNESCO World Heritage Sites for the culture vulture. Enough picturesque beaches line the Mediterranean to satisfy any lounge lizard. With vibrant city life to please any night owl.
But for us, northern Spain is best experienced by foot on the Camino de Santiago. Traversing the regions you experience many contrasting landscapes, regional foods and wines as well as local customs and dialects.
- Spain has the third highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Parts of the Camino de Santiago were added in 2015, including the Camino Frances*.
- Although over 70% of Spaniards identify as Catholic, only 14% practice regularly. That said, be prepared for the majority of business in northern Spain to close on a Sunday*.
- The Spanish like to eat late with many restaurant kitchens not opening until 9pm. Serving staff can appear abrupt often slamming down glasses or plates. Something we dubbed the 'Spanish Slam'. After six weeks we concluded it was cultural rather than grumpiness.
When to Go
Spring and autumn are great times to visit Spain. Weather is pleasant and accommodation pricing is better than summer which sees a huge influx of holidaying Europeans. July and August are best avoided unless you enjoy crowded beaches on an already humid coast.
For hiking the Camino, we recommend April/May or September/October. Fewer pilgrims, more peaceful trails and great hiking weather - not too hot, not too cold.
Check for festivals and Holy Week (Easter) as this can significantly impact accommodation pricing and availability.
- What I wish I knew before our first Camino: The First Timer's Guide to Walking the Camino de Santiago - 8 tips to soothe your worries
- We spent hours researching and road testing so you don't have to: Here's the Ultimate Camino Packing List
- Experience our Camino highs and lows in real time with our video blog
- 11 Hot Tips for Walking the Camino de Santiago: to make your journey easier and more enjoyable
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