You’ve probably heard that the rain is art in Santiago. Well, imagine the charm it can add to your arrival at the end of the Camino: the rainiest city in Spain and the second of Europe, a place that boasts about accumulating rainfalls around 2.000 litres per square metre in only one year…
Sure data makes it difficult and the greenness of our landscapes betrays us, but believe us: it’s not always raining in Galicia! It is a fact that we have humid climate that is more than generous with rainfalls distributed along the year, this will make the raincoat an essential item at all times in your pilgrim backpack. However, during summer, the preferred season to walk the Camino by the majority of pilgrims, you’ll most likely find sunny days with pleasant temperatures.
As with weather in Galicia something similar happens in many other facets of this land: variety is the key. If you start the English Path you’ll come across the maritime climate characteristic of the Rías Altas region, with mild temperatures and greater rainfall average. Conversely if you choose the Vía de la Plata and southern hinterland, climate is more likely to be drier with a great thermal oscillation; almost like the Mediterranean. A good example is Ourense, it has half of the rain compared to Santiago despite being only 80 kilometres away in a straight line. Renowned as the frying pan of Galicia, thermometers will easily reach 40 degrees Celsius in this city.
Apart from its peculiarities, we decided to make a brief guide about the weather in Galicia so as to let you know which kind of garments you should bring in your backpack at any particular time. To do this, we’ve borrowed popular knowledge and our own proverbs, foolproof in many cases. Translations may sound strange but we’re sure this will help you.
JANUARY. En xaneiro, pés ao braseiro (In January put your feet next to the brazier). It’s the coldest month with the largest number of days with frost, freezing temperatures in the early morning and temperatures under 10 degrees around midday. You’ll probably find snow on the higher points of the Camino. We recommend you to wear: thermal fleece, wool hat, gloves, neck buff, boots and raincoat.
FEBRUARY. Febreiriño do rabo torto, cos teus días 28, se tiveses máis catro, non quedaba gato nin raposo no burato (February with your twisted tail and your 28 days, if you had four more days, you wouldn’t allow any cat or fox in its burrow). Colder and colder, as witnessed by another proverb: En febreiro, sete capas e un sombreiro (in February, seven layers and a hat). Popular sayings talk about a gloomy and hard month that becomes endless despite being the shortest one on the calendar. We recommend you to wear: thermal fleece, wool hat, gloves, neck buff, boots and raincoat.
MARCH. Marzo, marzolo, trebón e raiolo (in March rainstorms and sun). Marzo, marzal, pola mañá cara de rosa, pola tarde cara de can (in March, during the morning pink face and during the afternoon dog face). This month is characterized by weather variability, this is why the weather is wonderful in the morning and awful in the afternoon, or vice versa, and this also explains why rain and sunshine episodes occur frequently. Usually it rains enough and the temperatures are cold. We recommend you to wear: jacket, wool hat, waterproof trousers, boots and raincoat.
APRIL. Abril, abrilón, auga por un tubo e pode que trebón (April, April, a ton of water and even downpour). If January and February are the cold months, April is the rain month. An April month with more than five days with no rainfalls would be very unusual in Galicia, so you may assume rain will become your traveling companion. Temperatures tend to normalise and reach Spring values, but don’t be overconfident, it will still be cold. This month can be unreliable, as reflects another proverb: abril, se por mal quere vir, aínda as portas non deixa abrir (April, if it wants to go badly, you won’t open the doors yet). We recommend you to wear: jacket, waterproof trousers, boots and raincoat.
MAY. Quen en maio se molla, en maio se enxuga (those who get wet in May will get dry in May). Another typical spring month, with rainy and sunny days with temperatures reaching summer values. We can dare to change our boots for comfortable sports footwear and even wear shorts. However, rain and late cold threaten: en maio, aínda a vella queima o tallo e o boi bebe no prado (in May, the old woman still burns wood and the ox still drinks in the field). We recommend you to wear: warm clothing in the early morning and the late afternoon hours of the day, detachable trousers, boots or sports footwear and a raincoat.
JUNE. Ata o 40 de maio non quites o saio, e se volve chover, vólvelo poñer (until 40 May don’t take off the smock, and if it rains again, put it on again). As you can see good weather conditions aren’t guaranteed until mid-June. Anyways you can feel summer getting close: rainfalls become less frequent and temperatures increase remarkably. In the midday it is usually hot but at night it cools down enough. We recommend you to wear: warm clothing in the early morning and the late afternoon hours of the day, detachable trousers, sports footwear, hat or cap and sun protection for your skin.
JULY. O que non aproveita xullo para se bañar, é porque ten medo do río e do mar (those who do not seize the opportunity to swim in July, it is because they must fear the river or the sea). This is the summer month in Galicia, even more than August, with hot days and plenty of light. Remember, though, that it can rain at any given moment and that you can only sleep few nights with the window open in Galicia… We recommend you to wear: shorts, sports footwear, a hat or a cap, sun protection for your skin and a raincoat.
AUGUST. En agosto, tapa o teu rostro (in August cover-up your face). We remain in summer but, as you can imagine from the proverb, we’re moving towards autumn. Days are shorter and nights are becoming cooler. However August is a dry and sunny month. We recommend you to wear: shorts, sports footwear, a hat or a cap, sun protection for your skin, warm clothing in the early and late hours of the day and a raincoat.
SEPTEMBER. En setembro, ou secar as fontes ou levar as pontes (September dries the spring or drags the bridge). Predicting the weather for this month is really hard: it can be a summer extension, with sunny weeks and temperatures approaching 25 degrees; or it can also be a sneak peek of fall, with heavy and lasting rainfalls. In any case it won’t be an extremely cold weather so you must be prepared for all any situation. We recommend you to wear: jacket, detachable trousers, boots or sports footwear, a hat or a cap and a raincoat.
OCTOBER. Neve en outubre, sete meses cubre (snow in October, seven months it may cover everything). Outono quente, inverno detente (hot Autumn can hold on Winter). These two sayings will give you an idea of the meteorological performance during October, that can soften winter’s arrival if it’s warm or trigger it in all its harshness. It is true that the rain and cold return in this month. With more or less intensity but yes unfortunately they come back again. We recommend you to wear: jacket, waterproof trousers, boots and raincoat.
NOVEMBER. Por todos os santos, neve nos campos (All Saints’ day with snowy fields). Winter has come with heavy rains, cold and the first frosts and snowfalls. We recommend you to wear: jacket, waterproof trousers, boots and raincoat.
DECEMBER. Tantos días de xeada no Nadal coma días de sol no San Xoán (as many frost days for Christmas (December) as sunny days for Sain John festivity (June)). December it the antithesis of summer and thus one of the wintery months par excellence: short days, rain and cold. We recommend you to wear: thermal fleece, wool hat, gloves, neck buff, boots and raincoat.
As you may have learnt, the raincoat is the only key garment we recommend you all year around. If you forget it you can always say that you’ve soaked up art and culture on your path to Compostela.