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 over 327000 Camino pilgrims receiving Compostela certificates in Santiago in 2018 for instance. Certain sections of the Via Francigena such as Tuscany and the regions closer to Rome will be the most popular and it is here where you will be more likely to encounter fellow Francigena pilgrims.
From a social aspect Spring to Autumn is the best time to travel, as you will be more likely to meet other walkers and cyclists along the way. Most of the sections are suitable to walk in the winter, apart from mountain regions such as the stretch across the Alps and St Bernard’s Pass, however it will be a more solitary experience. Some hotels and guest houses, particularly in rural areas, might be close so additional transfers might be needed. If you are interested in travelling in the winter months, check with our team and they will be able to advise and confirm availability.
The weather will also be an important deciding factor when choosing the right time to travel:
SUMMER is ideal for the Northern sections of the Via Francigena, as you will benefit from longer and sunnier days; as well as warmer temperatures. This includes the first section from Canterbury; and the Via Francigena in France in general.
July and August are also great months to walk the Via Francigena from Lausanne to Aosta, across the Alps, as the St Bernard’s Pass will have snow most part of the year. This is also be the best time to travel most of the St Francis Way, the Cammino di Francesco, across the Apennine Mountains.
Tuscany 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 and 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 the best in terms of weather. EASTER 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.
For more information about cycling or walking the Via Francigena, the Camino to Rome, or to book your trip, contact our travel specialists