What is the best time of year to do the Camino de Santiago? What are the best resources for planning the trip? And the best route if we only have a week for the walk? Thank you!
The trip took me 11 days and the weather was perfect.
That walk would be a little too long for a week, but if you start in Vigo then you could have a nice time doing it.
From Vigo you can hit the camino at the town O Porriño which is just outside Vigo.
Doing the walk in june you should have nice weather and you will be there before the hordes arrive in june and july.
The portuguese camino is also a lot less crowded than the french camino and I really enjoyed my walk there.
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I walked the Camino de Santiago in October of last year (2013), and had the absolute best time. You are going to love it!
Timing wise, I would suggest early spring or fall. The summer months are super congested with people, and it can get insanely hot. For me, walking in October was perfect. The weather was usually between 65-75 degrees, and it rarely rained. There were still a lot of people walking, but never so many that you were stressed out about getting a bed. I've heard in the summer months it's often a race for a bed.
Many people that only have a week start in Sarria and walk to Santiago from there, which is about six days. However, in my opinion, these section is not nearly as beautiful as other parts, such as Rioja and the Basque region. If you can, I'd start in Pamplona or Logrono, and walk a week from there. If you definitely want to make it to Santiago, I'd look into routes other than the Camino Frances, such as what Claus suggested earlier.
The most popular guidebooks are the John Brierley guides. Almost all English speaking pilgrims have one, and they are a great source of planning. However, many people follow them like the bible, which I think is a mistake, as you miss out on a lot of other places that the guidebook overlooks. I used it more for information and less as a guide.
Prior to the trip, I found a plethora of helpful information over at the Camino message forums here: http://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/ (you can find me over there under the username "serenalms" as well).
Hope this helps and I'd be happy to talk to you more about it if you would like. Buen camino!
We walked from León to Santiago de Compostela in 12 days in September, 2005 ( at age 54.) Weather was dry and not hot. Not too crowded, but get to your lodgings by 4 p.m. to avoid disappointment. The experience you will have and the people you will meet will transform you in the best possible way! Buen Camino...