What is special about 2022? Well, not only will almost all the planned Pilgrimages from 2020 and very many from 2021 be made up, it is also a holy year, which per se already leads to a higher occupancy rate.
So everything is overcrowded?
Unfortunately, this is really hard to predict.
But yes, it is expected with an all-time pilgrimage record and as already written, there are also two good reasons for it.
Probably also comes to the fact that not only people catch up with their originally planned Pilgrimages, but also that even more people than before through the Covid-19-time have realized how important it is not to postpone dreams to an indefinite “someday".
What is the Holy Year about?
The holy year (the Spanish abbreviation, as it shines at us on displays and pavilions is “Xacobeo") is special in that it is only proclaimed when the feast day of St. James on July 25 falls on a Sunday, and that doesn't happen very often.
Doing a Pilgrimage in the holy year is particularly popular, because it offers the possibility of “acquiring a plenary indulgence of temporal penalties of sin", as Wikipedia puts it.
However, this only applies to Roman Catholics and is subject to a few conditions, of which, interestingly enough, reaching Santiago by food along the way of St. James is not one.
Nevertheless, in the holy years, the last was in 2010, the flow of pilgrims is much greater than in other years.
In 2022, however, the 25.07. is a Monday. So why are we even talking about this here?
Pope Francis has simply extended the holy year from 2021 to the coming year and declared 2022 also a holy year. One could assume that it also has a little to do with the fact that pilgrimage is a very important tourist industry for Galicia, but since the Pope personally has nothing to do with how well the Galician hostels are doing, we assume that it was actually about the fact that the pilgrims should not make despite Covid danger on the way to take the holy year.
However it happened, the fact is that 2022 is a holy year and therefore increased pilgrimage is to be expected. And they meet all the pilgrims who have postponed their pilgrimage to 2022.
Does that mean there are no accommodations left?
It means in my estimation above all, that the own Pilgrimage in 2022 must be better planned.
On the one hand, it is recommended more than usual anyway to avoid the highly frequented times. These are despite the heat especially July and August, which has much to do with the fact that there are vacations in southern European countries, which go beyond school vacations as a concept.
Then of course the question is whether it has to be the Camino Francés, or whether not the per se already less frequented Camino Portugues is a good alternative.
And thirdly, I think it's actually great not to book all hotels from home, but to keep a certain flexibility – under normal circumstances, this is not a problem, I personally have booked on all the Camino usually only very close in advance, if at all, partly I have also looked how long I want to walk and then at the destination only thought about accommodation.
But since I'm actually unsure at 2022 whether that is wise. In February on the Portuguese coastal path, it should be no problem to stay spontaneously even 2022 in my estimation. But the more popular the season and the section, the more you should think about it but pre-book.
So plan and book everything as early as possible?
In addition to the factors just mentioned, it depends on how flexible you are.
If the budget does not play such a big role and you find 35€ hotels nice, but you are also ready to spend 80 or 100€ for a nice room, if there is nothing cheap anymore – or if you are also ready to spend 10€ or 20€ for a cab that takes you to a hotel out of the way, then that simplifies the situation enormously.
But the flexibility is not only financial. Even if you are willing to accept a bed in a shared room or to walk 32 instead of the actually planned 25km, the choice increases by itself.
Now, shortly before November 21, unfortunately no real forecast can be made. Yes, I have heard from hotel owners that they are already fully booked March and April, but that would be nothing that put me personally in panic, because ultimately it is individual statements whose precision could not be verified – currently you get over the known booking platforms still more than enough offered.
My recommendation is to plan your own Pilgrimage 2022 early and if possible don´t choose popular month.
And the more inflexible you are in accommodations and the whole Camino, the more I advise a complete advance booking.
Who by nature anyway has no problem with lack of flexibility, but per se like to know in advance what awaits him when, is advised anyway to pre-book his entire way.
Basically, I would not advise against doing your camino in 2022. The more people are on the way, the more chances there are for interesting and inspiring meetings. Being among like-minded people is also part of the pilgrimage experience – which does not mean that you are constantly together with others, but only that you can do it if you want to.
If you are flexible, you will find a good place to sleep also in 2022 – and if you have a higher need for security, you book in advance.
Either now, as most hotels are cancellable until shortly before, or shortly before you travel.
So simple 🙂