The Via Francigena, or Camino to Rome, is a 1900km-long pilgrimage route crossing most of Europe from the UK to Italy, therefore weather will vary greatly from North to South throughout the year. So what is the best time to walk the Via Francigena?
While awareness of the Via Francigena is increasing, the Camino to Rome doesn’t attract as many pilgrims as the Camino de Santiago. It is estimated between 2,000 and 3,000 people walk or cycle sections of the Via Francigena each year (compared to the over 200,000 receiving Compostela certificates in Santiago in 2014). Certain sections such as Tuscany and the regions closer to Rome will be the most popular and where you will be more likely to encounter fellow pilgrims.
From a social aspect Spring to Autumn is the best time to travel, as you will be more likely to encounter other walkers and cyclists along the way. While most of the sections will be suitable to walk in the Winter (apart from the mountain regions) it will be a more solitary experience and some hotels and guest houses particularly in rural areas might be close so additional transfers might be needed (always check with our team).
The weather will be an important defining factor when choosing the right time to travel:
Summer is perfect for the Northern sections of the Via Francigena, as you will benefit from longer and sunnier days; as well as warmer temperatures. This includes section 1 from Canterbury; and the Via Francigena in France in general (sections 2 to 8).
Tuscany (section 14 from Lucca to Siena and section 15 from Siena) is one of the favourite sections of the Via Francigena but Spring and Autumn months are better if you want to avoid the Summer heat of July and August (*If you’d like to catch the famous Palio di Siena, you will have to travel in July or August however). In September / October, you will enjoy pleasant temperatures and might also be able to catch the regional wine harvest in full swing.
The last section into Rome, can be done most of the year but again Spring and Autumn are probably more pleasant in terms of weather. Easter Week is a pretty special time in the Eternal City but bookings for this time of the year must be done well in advance to secure accommodation in the city.
If you are planning to walk the Via Francigena to coincide with specific festivals and events, make sure you book well in advance, as accommodation availability can be limited for those dates.
Talk to our travel specialists about the best time to walk the Via Francigena if you have a preferred section in mind we haven’t covered in this post.
You might also want to read our blog post: Weather on the Via Francigena.
For more information about cycling or walking the Via Francigena, the Camino to Rome, or to book your trip, contact our travel specialists