Strolling the Camino de Santiago is a singular experience that many individuals begin making ready for a very long time beforehand. We’ve got walked seven totally different Camino de Santiago routes and know the way overwhelming it may be to plan the Camino. On this publish, we’ve put collectively ideas for planning the pilgrimage and suggestions to observe on the Camino.
Methods to put together for the pilgrimage?
Coaching for the Camino
When you’re like us, an out of doors individual, and used to mountaineering with a backpack you don’t want any particular coaching for the Camino. The one vital factor to recollect is to verify your sneakers are worn and never model new. Blisters are a standard drawback on the Camino even for skilled hikers.
Step 1. If strolling with a backpack will not be one thing you do usually then doing a little coaching is a good suggestion. Begin with doing shorter hikes/walks, 5-10 km (relying in your health degree). If there aren’t any mountaineering trails close to the place you reside you are able to do a weekend journey to the closest trails, stroll within the park or do a few rounds round your neighborhood.
If for some reason you may’t stroll outside strolling on a treadmill is an efficient different. It’s higher in the event you begin strolling within the sneakers you’re planning to put on on the Camino to get used to them and ensure you’re comfy.
Step 2. After a few instances begin rising your distance including 2 km at a time. When you really feel actually comfy and strolling is simple for you you may add 5 km to your distance. Your common strolling day on the Camino is about 23 km; some days are shorter however there are longer days as properly. Construct up your coaching distance to 23 km.
Step 3. Strolling with a completely loaded backpack is considerably harder. You’ll be able to begin coaching with none additional weight or with a small day pack carrying water and snacks and progressively including weight. For strolling the Camino attempt to make your backpack as gentle as potential, 5-6kg is an efficient weight.
You’ll find packing ideas for women and men for various seasons in our detailed Camino de Santiago packing record publish.
Last consequence. By the tip of your coaching, you ought to be capable to stroll 20-23 km with a 5-6 kg backpack carrying your Camino sneakers with none drawback. I’d extremely suggest strolling for 2 or three consecutive days to mimic your Camino itinerary. Relying on the route you select you’ll must stroll consecutively for 2-5 weeks.
Non-compulsory. If throughout the coaching you understand that strolling with a giant backpack is an excessive amount of for you it’s not an issue. There isn’t a must push and exhaust your self. You’ll be able to nonetheless stroll the Camino and as a substitute of carrying your backpack use a baggage switch service. On most Camino routes there are corporations providing backpack supply. They decide your backpack up within the morning and drop it off within the afternoon at your subsequent lodging place. You stroll with a small daypack carrying solely necessities and water.
If you wish to have extra insights into your coaching course of I can extremely suggest shopping for a GPS watch. We use our Garmin Fenix watches so much for coaching, mountaineering, and strolling the Camino. They provide a variety of info similar to distances, complete elevation achieve/loss, energy used, coronary heart fee, route maps, restoration time, and so on. You need to use them for strolling, working, swimming, biking, work-outs, and so on.
Choosing the proper Camino route
There are lots of Camino routes from the busy Camino Frances to the solitary By way of de la Plata. The surroundings and the size of various routes range rather a lot from the coastal surroundings on the Camino del Norte to the mountainous panorama of the Camino Primitivo. Which one to decide on completely is dependent upon you. When you don’t have sufficient time to stroll your complete route you may stroll solely the final 100 km to Santiago de Compostela on any Camino. When is the most effective time to finish the Camino will as properly rely upon the route you select.
There are a number of components which you could base your resolution on.
- What month are you going to stroll?
- How a lot time do you will have?
- What surroundings do you wish to see?
- Do you wish to stroll a well-liked or off-the-beaten-track route?
That will help you to decide on the appropriate Camino for you we’ve got an in depth publish on the primary Camino de Santiago routes with their detailed description, benefits, and disadvantages of strolling every of them.
Camino planning sources
There are lots of on-line sources and apps that you should use for planning your Camino de Santiago stroll. Most of them are free which makes it simple to rearrange the stroll by yourself with none journey company or firm.
Native Camino associations
Many nations have native Camino associations that may help you when you’ve got any questions, on the lookout for an organization, wish to get a Credential, and so on. Many associations have particular occasions and conferences devoted to the Camino the place you may talk about totally different subjects, meet individuals, inform tales, and so on. It is perhaps very useful when you’ve got some worries and considerations relating to the stroll. We all the time get our Credentials on the Confraternity of St.James in South Africa.
Camino associations in several nations
Most associations provide Credentials (pilgrim’s passports) that you simply buy, the worth is often 2-3US$. When you can’t get it in your nation don’t fear about it you may get it at the beginning of essentially the most Camino routes at albergues, Cathedrals, or pilgrims’ info workplaces.
Helpful apps for strolling the Camino
All of the steered apps can be found for Android and iPhone until different is specified.
- Camino Pilgrim – Frances. A private scheduler for the Camino Frances. Free. For Android solely.
- Camino de Santiago companion (Camino Frances). Free.
- Free Camino de Santiago Information (Camino Frances). Free.
- Camino de Santiago Information (Camino Frances & Camino Finisterre-Muxia). US$3.
- Manner of St.James (Buen Camino) with a number of Camino routes. Free.
- Reserving.com, a helpful app for reserving lodging, many non-public albergues, and resorts could be booked by this app.
- Google translate, works properly with English-Spanish translation in case you will have some communication difficulties or want some assist with understanding indicators and bulletins.
- XE forex trade is a superb app for forex conversion.
- Netflix app (in the event you use it), permits you to obtain motion pictures in your cellphone/pill and watch them later even in the event you don’t have Web entry.
Beneficial Camino books
When you like studying I can recommend shopping for a Kindle (in the event you don’t have one but) for the stroll. When you be part of Amazon Kindle Limitless Program you’ll be capable to obtain 1000’s of books and audiobooks on any machine (cellphone, Kindle, or pill) and all the time have one thing to learn on the Camino.
Attending to the Camino
Relying on the place you’re coming out of your worldwide flight is perhaps your greatest expense. When you come from abroad e.g. the US, Australia, Canada, South Africa I’d recommend beginning on the lookout for tickets a number of months earlier than the journey. Use Skyscanner or another flight search engine to search out out the most cost effective worth and to see what airways function between your nation/metropolis and Spain, Portugal, or France (relying on the chosen Camino). Subscribe to their publication to ensure you received’t miss their particular gives and offers.
When you’re going to make use of native flights with one of many European funds airways test their baggage allowance. Often, they’re totally different for worldwide and native flights. The most cost effective native flights often embody solely hand baggage when you’ve got check-in baggage you’ll must pay additional.
Test the present COVID journey restrictions and necessities to enter your vacation spot nation. Entry necessities for Spain you will discover HERE. Entry necessities for Portugal HERE. I like to recommend confirming the principles along with your airline as properly a few days earlier than the departure.
When you’ve got some additional baggage that you simply received’t want on the Camino however would possibly want later you may ship it to Santiago de Compostela with one of many baggage switch corporations (Correos, Camino Facil, and so on.) and hold it in storage until you arrive.
Plan how you’re going to get to the start line of the Camino. For some routes, you’ll have to make use of native buses or trains. When you’re planning on doing the Camino Frances, the preferred route we’ve got an in depth publish explaining find out how to get to St.Jean Pied de Port, the start of the French Camino.
Make a guidelines of stuff you need or must do earlier than you allow. It helps to maintain monitor and to ensure you received’t neglect something.
Define your Camino itinerary to have a normal concept of your stroll. You’ll be able to change and regulate it later.
Let your financial institution know that you simply’re going to make use of your playing cards overseas. It is dependent upon your financial institution typically it’s not essential however I’d suggest ensuring earlier than you allow.
Get your financial institution’s contact quantity for worldwide calls (typically it’s a toll-free quantity) to have the ability to contact them when you’ve got any points along with your financial institution playing cards.
Ensure your cellphone is roaming in an effort to obtain SMS (financial institution notifications, and so on.) and cellphone calls (if it’s essential) whereas overseas.
Purchase journey insurance coverage that covers journey cancellation, delays, and medical help. Strolling the Camino will not be an excessive sport small accidents and traumas aren’t uncommon. It’s beneficial to have journey insurance coverage for the Camino.
When you come from the US, Australia, Canada, the UK, Eire, and another nations you would possibly want an influence adapter. In Spain and Portugal, they’ve Kind F plugs like in most European nations.
Suggestions for strolling the Camino de Santiago
The golden rule of the Camino
The principle rule is to stroll the Camino the best way that fits you the most effective. There isn’t a proper or improper approach. It’s your Camino and solely you may determine find out how to stroll it. You’ll be able to run it in per week or two or take your time and full the route in two months. You’ll be able to carry your individual backpack or use a baggage switch service. You’ll be able to keep at albergues or resorts. Whichever approach you’re feeling comfy is the appropriate approach for you.
There’s one rule you must observe if you wish to get the Compostela certificates after finishing the Camino. It’s important to stroll at the very least the final 100 km to Santiago (or cycle 200 km) accumulating 2 stamps per day. Don’t chase different individuals’s or guidebooks’ itineraries, stroll so far as you need, take relaxation days, and benefit from the stroll.
Camino well being ideas
To remain robust and wholesome on the Camino hearken to your physique, relaxation in the event you want it, drink sufficient water, and don’t stress an excessive amount of about something.
If you should purchase drugs (for instance antibiotics in the event you get flu) with a prescription you may contact your physician again dwelling and ask to ship the prescription through e-mail. You then print this prescription and present it to the pharmacist. We did it a few instances in Spain and Portugal and by no means had any drawback.
It’s the primary well being situation on the Camino that may have an effect on anyone no matter age or health degree. As I discussed above, be certain that the sneakers you’re going to stroll the Camino in are worn, not model new.
We discover Merino wool socks work rather well for safeguarding your toes and stopping blisters.
If it’s actually sizzling and your toes sweat it’s beneficial to cease each 2-Three hours and alter your socks to verify your toes keep dry. Moist toes usually tend to get blisters.
Some individuals apply vaseline on their toes earlier than they begin strolling. We by no means do it however in the event you are likely to get blisters usually it is perhaps a superb resolution at the very least at first whereas your toes are getting used to strolling so much. Another choice is to make use of blister preventive bandages which you could apply to the areas the place you often get blisters to stop chafing.
In case you do get blisters, be certain that to carry in your first-aid equipment the mandatory gadgets for treating blisters similar to antibiotic ointment and blister care plaster cushions.
Strolling the Camino would possibly appear to be a straightforward enterprise but it surely’s not. It’s bodily and psychologically troublesome to rise up day-after-day, pack your backpack, stroll for 5-6 hours on common, test in to a brand new place, and so forth for weeks. Even skilled walkers get drained. When you really feel you want relaxation, take a time off, sleep late, spend a day studying a guide, watching motion pictures, and so on. Don’t fear about your itinerary even in the event you begin falling behind you may all the time catch a bus or a prepare to make up the space.
Strolling day-after-day for hours, particularly in sizzling climate makes your legs very drained. It’s vital to let your legs and toes relaxation and breath. Listed below are some ideas that may assist to do it.
Carry a pair of flip flops or another open comfy footwear which you could turn into after you end strolling. Taking off my sneakers and placing on flip flops is one in every of my highlights after a protracted day of strolling.
Soak your toes in chilly water works nice for cooling down after a tricky strolling day. It is perhaps a pool, a bucket with chilly water, or only a chilly bathe.
Whenever you relaxation attempt to hold your legs elevated to enhance blood move.
When you stroll one of many coastal routes e.g. the Northern Manner or the Portuguese Coastal Camino don’t miss the chance to stroll barefoot on the seashore. Delicate sand and funky water assist so much in case your toes are drained, sizzling, or swollen.
Strolling the Camino isn’t any extra harmful than simply touring in Spain or Portugal although there are some points that may spoil your experience so it’s all the time higher to observe some precautions.
Cash & valuables
My foremost tip right here is by no means to go away your precious stuff unattended. At all times take your pockets, cellphone, passport, and so on. with you or lock it if there’s a locker. We’ve by no means had any points on the Camino however we met individuals whose cash, cellphone, or perhaps a Credential have been stolen. I all the time carry a neck bag the place I put my passport, cash, bank cards, and credential. Even after I go to the lavatory I take it with me until there’s a locker. A pouch or a small bag will work as properly. It’s helpful to hold a small mixture lock. Some albergues have lockers however no locks.
Security ideas for solo feminine pilgrims
I, personally, have by no means had any unfavorable experience in Spain that I’ve traveled fairly extensively alone. As for the Camino, I’ve walked just one route alone with out Campbell – the Camino Frances. I didn’t have any disagreeable moments on the route.
I’ve learn in some Fb teams about single feminine pilgrims being bothered by males although it’s not frequent on the Camino. Often, these are stocking, inappropriate habits (Exhibitionistic dysfunction), and obscene language. Most feminine pilgrims who’ve walked the Camino declare they didn’t have any points. You’ll be able to learn extra concerning the feminine experience on the Camino discussion board.
Within the peak season on the primary Camino routes, it’s most unlikely you’ll be on their lonesome often you may see pilgrims in entrance of you or behind which reduces the probabilities of being molested. When you stroll low season or select one of many much less well-liked routes and really feel involved I can suggest teaming up with different pilgrims. When you’re two or extra individuals strolling collectively you’ll be 100% wonderful.
When you’re going to stroll alone I can suggest shopping for a neighborhood SIM card. In Spain and Portugal, it’s not costly, for 15 Euro you get a SIM card with 200 minutes, 2Gb of information, and a whole bunch of messages legitimate for 30 days. This fashion you may all the time keep related and name the police or emergency service if wanted. The quickest and easiest method is to name 112 in each Spain and Portugal in case of any emergency. The operators communicate Spanish/Portuguese and English.
Security on the highway
This tip is extra relevant to cyclists although pilgrims on foot typically must stroll subsequent to or alongside the highway as properly. It’s not a giant deal in the event you stroll within the daylight however in the event you begin very early within the morning it’s extremely beneficial to have reflectors in your garments and/or backpack in order that drivers can see you in the dead of night.
Methods to decrease stress on the Camino?
Strolling the Camino is meant to be a liberating experience; while you disconnect out of your every day worries and have a while for reflection. Typically the pilgrimage would possibly turn into a disturbing experience for a number of causes particularly in the event you stroll one of many well-liked routes within the peak season.
One of many foremost considerations for a lot of pilgrims is discovering lodging on the finish of the day. I’ve seen this strolling the French Camino (the busiest route) initially of September (the height season). Folks begin strolling earlier than 5 am to begin strolling to verify they arrive early sufficient to get a spot in a public albergue. This sort of fear you get provided that you stroll one of many well-liked Camino routes such because the Camino Frances or the Camino Portuguese within the peak season (summer time months).
I’ve by no means had an issue not getting a spot at public albergues as a result of I stroll quick and often arrive one of many first however even I used to be getting bored with the chase. After about 2 weeks into the Camino Frances, I began reserving lodging a few days forward.
You’ll be able to guide non-public albergues and resorts. Public albergues work on a primary come first serve precept however I made a decision reasonably spend 3-Four Euro extra on lodging than worrying about discovering a spot. A lot of the non-public locations could be booked on-line or over the cellphone. Realizing that you’ve a spot to remain you may take your time, begin strolling later, cease for lunch, and so on.
When you stroll one of many longer routes I’d extremely suggest sometimes staying in a personal room. Staying day-after-day in a dormitory with sharing services and occasional snorers can get an excessive amount of after some time even in the event you’re an skilled backpacker.
I attempt to keep at the very least as soon as per week in non-public. It’s dearer than staying in a dormitory but it surely’s completely price it particularly after spending a few nights with a snorer in your room. A funds non-public room for 2 individuals prices 30 Euro, for one individual – 25 Euro.
Many individuals come to stroll the Camino alone for various causes, some couldn’t discover anyone to stroll with, some want some lonesome time, and a few similar to solitude. It’s simple to discover a firm on the Camino however in the event you stroll with an individual for a day or two it doesn’t imply you must stick collectively until the tip of the pilgrimage.
I’ve met those who felt obliged to stroll with anyone once they truly needed to be on their very own. Don’t be afraid of expressing your wants if you wish to be alone simply clarify it in a pleasant approach. Don’t pressure your self, don’t get irritated, and so on. bear in mind the golden rule and stroll your Camino the best way it fits you the most effective.