Travel Guide

The Camino de Santiago – all it’s good to know

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Strolling the Camino de Santiago is a good experience, the very best factor in regards to the Camino is that anyone can do it, you don’t should be an skilled hiker or tremendous athlete to stroll it. Camino de Santiago has many alternative route choices from a brief 120 km stroll to the lengthy and difficult 800 km and even 1000 km routes relying on how a lot time you may have, what you wish to see and the way far you possibly can stroll you possibly can select any of the prevailing routes. I have to warn you the Camino may be addictive, many individuals come again time and again after finishing their first Camino route.

By the point of penning this submit we’ve walked seven completely different Camino routes;

  • Portuguese Camino (from Lisbon) – Could 2018
  • Camino Primitivo – June 2018
  • Camino del Norte – October 2018
  • Camino Finisterre-Muxía – November 2018
  • Vía de la Plata (a part of it, 214 km from Seville to Mérida) – April 2019
  • Camino Inglés – Could 2019
  • Camino Francés – September 2019

We’re not bragging, simply displaying you that we’ve enough information and experience to offer recommendation relating to strolling the Camino.

Right here is our detailed video on the Camino de Santiago that features albergues, meals, route marking, the Compostela, and extra.

Our detailed video on the Camino de Santiago

What’s the Camino de Santiago?

Camino de Santiago or the Manner of Saint James is a pilgrimage path to Santiago de Compostela, a metropolis in Galicia (Spain), it’s believed that within the cathedral of Santiago the physique of apostle Saint James was buried. The custom of strolling the Camino goes again to the ninth century when Spanish King Alfonso II accomplished the first-ever pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela from Oviedo, these days this route is called the Camino Primitivo. The Camino de Santiago isn’t a single route however a community of routes that begin in numerous cities, primarily in Spain (some in Portugal and France) and end in Santiago.

Camino de Santiago routes

As I discussed above the Camino de Santiago isn’t a single route, as some folks suppose referring to the preferred route – Camino Frances, however a community of routes. Actually, you can begin strolling in the direction of Santiago from wherever in Europe and it’ll be the Camino however outdoors the established Camino routes it will likely be tough to search out an infrastructure for pilgrims; lodging, route markings, and so forth.

Main routes of the Camino de Santiago
Map of the principle routes of the Camino de Santiago; Camino Frances, Portuguese Camino, Camino del Norte, Camino Primitivo, By way of de la Plata, Camino Ingles, and Camino Finisterre

There are a number of established Camino routes, all of them begin in numerous cities and finish in Santiago de Compostela;

Camino Frances (the French Manner) – the preferred route, about 55% of all pilgrims select this Camino. The route begins in Saint Jean Pied de Port, a French city close to the border with Spain. Complete distance 790 km. Many pilgrims who stroll this route don’t begin from St.Jean however from Sarria and stroll the final 100km to Santiago de Compostela, a required minimal for getting the Compostela (the Certificates of the Camino de Santiago).

Camino Portugues (the Portuguese Manner) – the second well-liked route. It begins in Lisbon however most individuals stroll it from Porto. Complete distance from Lisbon – 616 km, from Porto 260 km or 280 km, relying on the route you are taking. There are two completely different routes from Porto; the Coastal route, it’s walked solely by 4% of the pilgrims and the Central route, that’s walked by 20% of the pilgrims. The Coastal Route goes alongside the coast from Porto to Vigo, the Central Route goes inland all the best way to Santiago.

Camino del Norte (the Northern Manner) – this route is rising in reputation, In 2019 6% of all pilgrims who arrived in Santiago accomplished this Camino. The Northern Manner is a good different to the French Camino. I’ve walked each and appreciated the surroundings on the Camino del Norte extra. The route begins in Irún, a small Spanish city on the border with France. The entire distance of the Camino is 825 km.

Camino Primitivo (the Authentic Manner) – one of many lesser walked Camino routes, about 5% of all pilgrims. It’s comparatively quick, 321 km however it’s thought of to be one of many hardest routes because of many steep ascents and descents. The stroll begins in Oviedo, Spain.

By way of de la Plata (the Silver Manner) – the longest established route of St.James, about 1000 km, one of many least walked routes, 3%. It’s not the very best path to stroll as the primary Camino, it has much less infrastructure, longer levels, and so forth. It begins in Seville, Spain.

Camino Inglés (the English Manner) – a brief, 120 km stroll, from A Coruña/Ferrol, Spain. One of many least walked routes (3,5%) on the Camino. It’s in all probability the most suitable choice for individuals who simply wish to get a style of the Camino earlier than embracing a protracted stroll.  

There are extra Camino routes (mainly from any kind of biggish Spanish metropolis you can begin strolling to Santiago); from Valencia – Camino de Levante; from Almería – Camino Mozárabe (joins with By way of de la Plata after Merida); from Barcelona – Camino Catalán; from Madrid – Camino de Madrid – the final two be a part of with the French Manner after about two weeks. All these routes mixed are walked by lower than 1% of the pilgrims a 12 months so you possibly can think about how little infrastructure they’ve.

There’s one “particular” route Camino Finisterre-Muxía, in contrast to the opposite routes, it begins in Santiago de Compostela and goes to Finisterre and Muxía, two coastal cities in Galicia. Individuals often stroll it after finishing one of many different Camino routes. Complete distance from Santiago to Finisterre – 89 km and to Muxía – 86 km.

Beautiful coast of Asturias along one of the Camino routes
Breathtaking surroundings on the Camino del Norte, some of the lovely Camino de Santiago routes

Greatest months for strolling

Relying on the route you select, some routes are nice in summer season e.g. Camino del Norte, Camino Primitivo – it’s good, heat, no rain; on some Caminos, the warmth is insufferable e.g. By way of de la Plata, and the Portuguese Camino (Lisbon half) – it’s scorching scorching, dry with no shadow to cover. The busiest time for many of the routes is July and August we’ve by no means walked any Camino throughout these months as a result of we simply don’t prefer it when it’s too busy with too many individuals. In our experience, the very best strolling months in sense of climate and individuals are; Could, June, September (not for the By way of de la Plata, it’s nonetheless too scorching in September), and the first half of October.

We had nice climate in Could on the Portuguese Camino, okay climate in June on the Camino Primitivo (it was warmish however we acquired a variety of rain which wasn’t regular for June), good climate in October on the Camino del Norte and unhealthy (wet and windy) climate in November on the Camino Finisterre. For By way of de la Plata we’d counsel late March-April-beginning of Could – it’s heat, no rain and never too scorching but.

As for strolling the Camino utterly low season November – February the French Manner might be the very best to stroll primarily as a result of there may be extra infrastructure (extra albergues) and a few of them are opened all 12 months spherical. On different routes e.g. Camino del Norte most albergues are closed for offseason and also you’ll have to remain in motels although it’ll be cheaper than in season.

Climate-wise winter isn’t the very best time it may possibly rain quite a bit and it will get chilly (not all albergues have heating), within the mountains you will get snow and a few passes may be closed. In order for you a really quiet Camino with no folks – winter is an efficient time in any other case attempt to do it between March and the start of November.

Wheat fields the most common scenery on the Camino
Rolling wheat fields in April on the Sliver Route of the Camino de Santiago

Professionals and cons of strolling the Camino

We’ve learn and heard some folks saying how a lot they didn’t just like the Camino, that it’s too busy, too scorching, an excessive amount of strolling on the street, too business, and so forth. however many of the occasions they didn’t even hassle of constructing any analysis on the Camino de Santiago, they walked the French Manner, the busiest route in excessive season and after that made their conclusion in regards to the Camino generally. We’ve finished various mountain climbing (principally wild hikes) everywhere in the world however strolling the Camino de Santiago was on our bucket listing for fairly some time, now after strolling six Caminos, we’re nonetheless eager on strolling different routes. Listed below are our execs and cons for the Camino de Santiago.

Professionals of strolling the Camino

Any comparatively match individual can stroll the Camino. You don’t want particular coaching and don’t should be a really athletic individual. For many individuals, it’ll be difficult particularly the primary week or so. For individuals who used to strolling or mountain climbing quite a bit, it’ll be simpler. The necessary factor is that it’s completely doable. If for no matter causes you possibly can’t or don’t wish to stroll for a month, select a shorter one or stroll the final 100km to Santiago on any Camino.

It’s secure, you don’t stroll by the wild uninhabited areas, there are at all times folks cities, villages on the best way.

It’s straightforward to plan, the route is marked, the infrastructure is there, no have to guide something prematurely, to rearrange particular permits you simply arrive and begin strolling.

It’s not costly, you possibly can see many fascinating locations and sights with out spending some huge cash.

There are various completely different routes relying on what you wish to see you possibly can select between strolling alongside the coast (Camino del Norte, Portuguese Camino Coastal Route, Camino Finisterre-Muxia), by the mountains (Camino Primitivo), previous cities and cities (Camino Frances, Portuguese Camino Central Route) or possibly pasture fields and vineyards (By way of de la Plata, Portuguese Camino from Lisbon).

It provides you a unique perspective so-called sluggish journey when for a few weeks you progress solely with strolling velocity, no vehicles, or some other motorized transport concerned.

You’ll be able to stroll as far and as quick as you need, no one limits you, you possibly can take your time and stroll 15km a day or attempt to go for a document and full it within the shortest time frame.

Strolling or biking as a substitute of driving or utilizing buses reduces carbon footprint.

Cons of the pilgrimage stroll

It’s not your conventional wild hike, there will likely be different folks, vehicles, cities, and noises alongside the route. You simply have to grasp that the Camino wasn’t created as a mountain climbing route, it was and it’s a pilgrimage, not an outside exercise. If you wish to do a wild hike (removed from infrastructure, cities, folks) there are many routes on the planet, together with Spain, the place you possibly can enterprise into the wild.

It’s busy and business however these primarily seek advice from the French Manner we didn’t discover these on some other Caminos however even on the French Camino is you stroll barely offseason it received’t be that loopy and overcrowded.

It will get monotonous generally however not as a result of the surroundings is boring simply because you do the identical routine daily; rise up, pack your stuff, begin strolling, cease for lunch, proceed strolling, arrive on the albergue, bathe, unpack your stuff, go to mattress and daily like this. You do get bored with this routine however it’s not the Camino’s fault.

Typically you stroll alongside the street, on some routes much less (e.g. Camino Primitivo), on some routes extra (e.g. Camino Frances) however it’s not all the best way and the roads are often not busy highways, fairly secondary nation roads.

Pilgrim’s dictionary

Pilgrim – an individual who walks or cycles any of the Camino de Santiago routes.

Credential – a printed guide or spreadsheet with pilgrim’s knowledge (title, nation, start date) and empty areas for stamps that pilgrims get at each albergue they keep. The Credential is obligatory to have if you wish to keep in public (municipal) albergues and to get the Compostela on the finish of the Camino.

One of our Credentials with the stamps we got walking the Camino
Campbell’s Credential with stamps from completely different albergues on the Camino de Santiago

Albergue – a hostel for pilgrims often with bunk beds and shared amenities (bathroom, bathe, kitchen, and so forth.). There are private and non-private albergues, the general public albergues are completely for pilgrims with Credential, within the non-public albergues anyone can keep.

Compostela – a certificates confirming {that a} pilgrim has accomplished the Camino de Santiago. Any person who has walked greater than 100 km or cycled greater than 200 km on any of the Camino routes and has a Credential with stamps from albergues can get the Compostela. It may be obtained on the pilgrim’s workplace in Santiago de Compostela totally free. 

Certificates of distance – much like the Compostela however it has extra particulars your title, the Camino you accomplished, when and from the place you began. You will get it on the pilgrim’s workplace as nicely along with the Compostela, it prices Three Euro.

How a lot does it value to stroll the Camino?

Strolling the Camino isn’t costly fairly low-cost, however it is dependent upon how a lot of your consolation you possibly can sacrifice. The most cost effective option to stroll the Camino is;

  • to remain primarily in public (municipal) albergues
  • to make your individual meals
  • to not cease on the best way for espresso, cool drinks, and so forth.
  • to not exit for beer or drinks

In case you stick to those guidelines your Camino price range will likely be as little as 15-20 Euro per individual per day. Simply keep in mind don’t sacrifice an excessive amount of to avoid wasting extra, attempt to make your stroll pleasant.

Watch our YouTube video about strolling the Camino de Santiago with 20, 30, and 40 Euro. 

Our price range breakdown

Lodging

Often, pilgrims keep in albergues, their value varies between 6 and seven Euro pp. for public albergues and 10-12 Euro pp. for personal albergues. I’d counsel to price range eight Euro per individual per day for lodging; generally public albergues could be full by the point you arrive, generally there are not any public albergues in a city so that you’ll have to change staying in private and non-private albergues on the best way. Resorts – relying on the realm and season you’ll pay between 25 and 50 Euro for a non-public double room. In response to our experience, the common value is about 30 Euro.

Purchasing

The most cost effective method of consuming is shopping for meals in supermarkets and cooking your individual meals. Many of the albergues have a kitchen with a minimum of a microwave, some utensils, and cutlery. To purchase groceries for 2 or three meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) prices about 10 Euro per individual, relying on what you purchase and the place small outlets are often dearer than massive supermarkets.

Consuming out

It’s dearer than cooking. Common Menú del Día (a set meal; bread, starter, important dish, wine/beer/cool drink, espresso or dessert) prices 10 Euro; breakfast (espresso and croissant or toast with jam and butter) – Three Euro; English breakfast (eggs, bacon, bread, and low) – 5 Euro; bocadillo (baguette with jam or cheese) – 2-Three Euro; dinner10-15 Euro; a cup of espresso – between 11,5 Euro.

Laundry

To make your pack lighter, carry fewer garments, wash them extra typically. Many albergues have washing and drying machines that are fairly useful when you’re too drained to scrub by hand or your stuff is simply too soiled and wish a correct wash. Washing often prices 3-Four Euro per load, drying – 2-Four Euro. The machines are often massive, a few of them can match as much as 15kg when you’re a gaggle of individuals you possibly can cut up the fee. Most albergues have particular washing basins as nicely when you don’t wish to spend more money on laundry you possibly can wash by hand. Some locations have spin dryers that you should use totally free to dry your garments. We often did massive machine laundry as soon as per week and hand-washed small stuff like socks, underwear, T-shirts, and so forth.

Transport

Spanish cities and cities are nicely linked with one another, there are often completely different choices of getting round e.g. native price range flights, trains and buses, relying in your vacation spot and time you possibly can select essentially the most handy and price range choice. Finances flights – when you purchase prematurely it may cost lower than a bus journey simply keep in mind that often solely hand baggage is included on this value. For a prepare journey e.g. from Santiago to Barcelona you’ll pay from 30 Euro (economic system class), the bus will value between 30-35 Euro. To get from Santiago to Madrid by prepare will value between 30 and 40 Euro. Be aware! Often, it’s cheaper to purchase tickets on-line there are sometimes particular reductions for each trains and buses. 

Backpack supply service

It’s as much as you to make use of it or not it’s not. In case you suppose strolling with an enormous backpack will likely be too tough for you then use the supply service. And don’t fear about what different folks give it some thought, it’s your determination. Relying on the gap and the Camino route it’ll value between 4 and 5 Euro per day per backpack.

Camino de Santiago one week value, per individual

  • Lodging – eight Euro x 7 days = 56 Euro per week, per individual
  • Purchasing – 10 Euro x 7 days = 70 Euro
  • Consuming out (optionally available, you should purchase all meals in supermarkets) – 10 Euro x 7 days = 70 Euro
  • Laundry – 6 Euro, could be divided between 2 or extra folks
  • Different – 10 Euro, in case it’s good to purchase plasters or drugs

Complete; 212 Euro pp. per week or 30 Euro pp. per day, plus transport to get to and again. For a cushty stroll, we’d counsel to price range 30-32 Euro pp. per day together with consuming Menus, going out for a drink however nonetheless staying in albergues. In case you reduce off on consuming out you are able to do it below 147 Euro pp. per week or 20 Euro pp. per day.

The Cathedral of Santiago and the Plaza Obradoiro, Spain
The Cathedral of Santiago de Composela, the tip of the Camino de Santiago

Camino de Santiago ideas

The golden rule of the Camino – don’t chase guidebooks and different folks’s itinerary, stroll your individual tempo, don’t push your self too onerous particularly to start with, give your physique time to regulate and to get used to strolling. At first keep on with strolling 20-25 km a day common, when you’re uncomfortable with these distances to chop it right down to 15km a day, benefit from the stroll, don’t rush. It’s higher to reach in Santiago a few days later however wholesome than to reach faster, however with an harm.

If you wish to stroll the Camino however don’t have sufficient time to do it in a single go, cut up it and do it over months or years. Many individuals do it this fashion, they begin the stroll, go so far as they’ll (or have time) and subsequent time begin from the place they stopped and so forth and so forth until they attain Santiago.

Don’t pack your backpack too heavy, take solely important things. After the primary day on the Camino, many individuals rethink their baggage and depart some stuff in albergues or simply throw it away. For males goal for a 6kg backpack, for girls – 5kg, it’s not too heavy however you continue to can pack all the required stuff.

Make sure that to have good strolling footwear that you’re snug in, don’t put on model new footwear even when they’re excellent you’ll very probably get blisters.

Don’t depart your valuables unattended e.g. in albergues, eating places, and so forth., at all times take it with when you exit or lock within the locker (if it’s accessible). It’s fairly useful to have a pouch or a small foldable backpack to place your cash, cellphone, digicam in.

We’d counsel shopping for an area SIM card which you can have Web entry and make a cellphone name when wanted e.g. to guide an albergue. You should buy a Vodafone SIM card in Spain with 2Gb knowledge, 200 minutes native calls, and SMS legitimate for 30 days for 15 Euro. We used it fairly a bit and it was simply sufficient. Many albergues have wi-fi so that you don’t have to make use of your cellular knowledge on a regular basis.

Spain like most European nations makes use of Europlug (sort C shops), be sure to have the proper adapter for charging your units.

We drank faucet water in all places in Spain and Portugal and by no means had any points however we met some folks from the French Manner that acquired sick from the faucet water someplace across the meseta (flat plains in central Spain). You probably have a delicate abdomen you possibly can carry LifeStraw and use it to filter faucet water it’s significantly better (cheaper and environmentally friendlier) than shopping for a plastic bottle of water daily.

Most supermarkets and outlets in Spain are closed on Sundays if it’s good to purchase one thing do it on Saturday, it’s impossible you’ll discover something open on Sundays particularly in smaller cities and cities.

It’s doable to rearrange backpack supply on the Camino if, for some reason you don’t stroll together with your backpack it may be delivered daily from albergue to albergue, there are a number of corporations that provide this service, together with Spanish submit workplace (Correos). The worth is between 4-5 Euro per backpack. Be aware! The supply often could be organized between non-public albergues, public albergues don’t settle for backpacks.

A stunning sunset in Muxia, the end of the Camino
An unbelievable sundown at Cape Muxia, the tip of the Camino Finisterre-Muxia

Journey insurance coverage for the stroll

Strolling like some other out of doors exercise entails a threat of getting an harm or dropping among the gear. It’s at all times really useful to have journey insurance coverage whenever you go away. The Camino de Santiago isn’t an exclusion although it’s not a excessive altitude hike by distant areas it’s nonetheless a bodily difficult experience and accidents are fairly frequent. Make sure that it is possible for you to to get medical help any time you want it. It’s fairly useful to have insurance coverage in case of a gear or machine break/loss you possibly can at all times declare it again. It makes the stroll much less worrying when you already know you’re lined in case of any unpredictable emergencies. 

Find out how to plan the pilgrimage?

These easy steps will enable you to in planning and making ready for the stroll.

Select the route you wish to stroll. Don’t be afraid to decide on an off the crushed monitor route, base your selection on what you’d prefer to see and experience.  

Make sure that the time you may have accessible is the good season to stroll the route (not too scorching, not too chilly or wet, and so forth.).

Guide your aircraft, prepare or bus ticket, and resort (really useful to do when you’re planning to stroll in peak season – June – August).

Purchase journey insurance coverage that covers the interval of the stroll.

In case you suppose it’s essential to begin coaching (stroll extra, do a few hikes, and so forth.).

Examine packing suggestions and be sure to have all of the necessities e.g. footwear, a backpack, a sleeping bag. Don’t depart looking for these until the final second, you’ll want a while to get used to new mountain climbing boots.

Get the Credential in your nation or test when you’ll give you the chance to get it at the place to begin of your Camino route; some albergues, cathedrals, or pilgrim info workplaces promote them.

Make a listing of stuff you wish to see or locations you wish to cease to be sure to received’t miss one thing on the best way.

Make a draft of your strolling itinerary (levels) primarily based on locations you wish to keep, albergues, distances. You don’t have to stay to it however it’s good to have some type of a strolling plan.

Get a superb guide/audiobook for studying/listening you’ll have time for that on the Camino.

When you may have every part prepared pack your backpack and attempt to stroll with it for a few kilometers. If it feels to heavy rethink your baggage and depart pointless stuff dwelling.

Don’t begin stressing out per week or so earlier than your flight since you haven’t finished this or that, be sure all of the necessities (important gear, paperwork) are prepared the remaining will type out on the best way, how the pilgrims say “The Camino offers”.

The Original Way of Santiago is the greenest Camino in Spain
The standard surroundings on the Camino Primitivo, the Authentic Manner of the Camino de Santiago

Lodging on the Camino

Hostels for pilgrims are known as albergues. They are often municipal (public) or non-public. The municipal albergues are run by the municipality with the assistance of volunteers. Non-public albergues belong to an individual or group. In excessive season municipal albergues on the favored routes fill fairly rapidly if you wish to get a spot you should be there earlier than 1 pm and wait within the queue. Even when you don’t get a spot there will likely be one or two non-public albergues the place you possibly can keep for Four Euro extra.

There are albergues for a donation they are often non-public or public, they don’t have a longtime value, pilgrims donate as a lot as they need or can. Be aware! Many individuals reap the benefits of this and don’t depart any donation or give 1 Euro. Because of this, there are fewer and fewer donation albergues on the Camino de Santiago. Donation albergues are just for pilgrims with Credential, can’t be booked, often have the identical amenities as private and non-private albergues.

Municipal albergues

  • The worth is between 5 and seven Euro per individual.
  • Are completely for pilgrims (want a Credential to remain there).
  • Can’t be booked, first come first serve precept.
  • Examine-in often begins between 1 pm and three pm.
  • Take a look at by eight am the following morning.
  • Don’t enable to remain for a couple of evening.
  • Often, they’ve disposable bedding included or for 1 Euro additional.
  • Usually have a kitchen, generally with out utensils or cutlery.
  • Often, they’re fairly massive, can accommodate between 20-40 folks common. There are some fairly small municipal albergues.

Non-public albergues

  • Value between 10 and 12 Euro common.
  • Not just for pilgrims, extra like hostels the place anyone can keep.
  • They are often booked prematurely, many albergues are on reserving.com.
  • Usually open for check-in from 1 pm.
  • Take a look at earlier than 9 am-10 am.
  • Enable staying so long as you need.
  • Often however not at all times have higher amenities than public albergues.
  • Disposable bedding is included, some locations have regular sheets and bedding.
  • Often however not at all times have a kitchen. Some non-public albergues have a bar and don’t have a kitchen they count on you’ll eat on the bar.
  • Usually they are smaller than public albergues, which might accommodate 10-15 folks. There are some large non-public albergues as nicely.

Find out how to discover albergues?

No want to fret about it, they’ll discover you. The way in which to municipal albergues is at all times marked, simply observe the arrows and really probably you’ll find yourself on the albergue. Most non-public albergues have indications pointing their method (they need you to search out them), some may be barely off the route however often, they’re positioned fairly near the Camino. Within the peak season (July, August) if you wish to keep in a particular non-public albergue (as a result of it’s very good or any individual really useful it to you, and so forth.) it’s higher to guide it prematurely, some albergues could be present in reserving.com, some could be booked over the cellphone.

Meals on the Camino

It’s not an issue to search out locations to eat on the Camino, most routes, particularly the extra well-liked ones, have loads of eating places and bars. Menu del Día is the preferred meal on the Camino. It’s a set menu that features salad or soup, important dish (meat, rooster, fish), wine/water/cool drink to decide on, bread, espresso, or dessert. The menu prices between 10 and 12 Euro and it’s often an enormous meal. Many eating places, bars, and personal albergues serve it for lunch, some locations provide a dinner menu however it’s a bit dearer.

Many bars and cafes provide breakfast. It’s often a cup of espresso with a sandwich or pastry and a glass of orange juice. In some vacationer locations you could find an enormous English or American breakfast however it’s not one thing typical in Spain. Locals drink a cup of espresso with a cookie or a small pastry for breakfast.

Tapas or pinchos (relying on the area) could be very well-liked in Spain. Tapas or pinchos could be something; a small portion of paella, slightly sandwich, a bit of tortilla, and so forth. Some bars give tapas totally free together with your drink, some cost additional, often 1,5-2 Euro. Pinchos are typical for Northern Spain (the Basque County, Navarra). You at all times pay for pinchos, the value is about 2 Euro. I cherished pinchos in Logroño (Camino Frances) and in San Sebastian (Camino del Norte). Santiago de Compostela has a few nice tapas bars with essentially the most scrumptious seafood tapas. Have a good time the tip of the Camino consuming native wine and consuming tapas in Santiago. My favourite bars listed below are Petiscos do Cardeal and Taberna do Bispo in Rua do Franco road.

The principle meals drawback on the Camino is when you keep on with a particular food plan e.g. vegetarian or vegan. In massive cities, you could find eating places serving vegan or vegetarian menus however in smaller locations, it may be tough. The best choice is to discover a place to stick with a kitchen the place you possibly can prepare dinner your individual meal. Most cities and villages on the route have supermarkets or grocery outlets. Some non-public albergues provide communal diner for donation, these dinners are often vegetarian or vegan.

Social life on the Camino

Totally different folks have completely different experiences, when you’re searching for tranquility and wish to have a while for your self no one you’ll hassle or pursuit you. In case you’d fairly have a superb chat on the best way or after in albergues you’ll discover folks to speak to. We noticed folks strolling alone and protecting to themselves, folks forming teams and spending on a regular basis collectively, and so forth.

Find out how to put together for the stroll?

Anyone can stroll the Camino, it’s not like climbing Mt.Everest or working a marathon however it may be difficult even for comparatively match folks; lengthy distances, strolling with a backpack, sleeping in a unique mattress (often bunk mattress) each evening, packing and unpacking a backpack daily, utilizing shared amenities (bathe, bathroom). A few of these challenges require bodily coaching, some psychological preparation.

In case you’re an energetic individual and go working, go to the fitness center, do mountain climbing it isn’t essential to do any particular coaching for the Camino, simply be sure your footwear are snug and also you wore them fairly a bit. The one factor we’d counsel to do is to pack your backpack as for the Camino and go for a stroll or hike with it to verify it’s not too heavy and you’re snug strolling with it.

If bodily exercising isn’t part of your each day routine it’s higher to start out coaching a while beforehand. Begin with a simple 5km stroll a few occasions per week (with out a backpack), then improve your distance to 10km. You probably have an opportunity go for a 2-3-day hike to see how snug you’re strolling with a backpack for a few days.

In case you don’t have time for coaching the very best you are able to do is pack your backpack as gentle as doable and begin the Camino with strolling quick days, no more than 15km. You’ll get into it because it goes, after per week or when you’re used to strolling you possibly can improve your distance as much as 25 km a day.

Route marking

All established Camino routes are nicely marked, we hardly ever had an issue discovering the best way. A few occasions in massive cities we misplaced the trek as a result of the route generally is marked with metallic scallop shells on sidewalks, however often, it’s very straightforward to observe. The Caminos are marked with yellow arrows and yellow scallop shells painted on sidewalks, tiles, partitions, poles, and so forth. In Galicia, the route markers present the gap left until the cathedral in Santiago.

Security on the Camino

We’ve walked 4 completely different Camino routes and by no means felt unsafe; strolling out of huge cities by so-called industrial areas, or strolling by the forest, or subject or alongside the seashore. Essentially the most disagreeable for me is strolling on or alongside the street I simply don’t like once I hear a automobile and even worse a truck approaching from behind however even once we needed to stroll on the street it by no means felt like a automobile will drive over us, folks attempt to watch out and decelerate in the event that they see a pilgrim on the street. The principle “hazard” on the Camino is theft, don’t depart your beneficial stuff unattended wherever; albergues, eating places, picnic spots.

Camino de Santiago FAQ

Which Camino route is the very best for a first-timer?

Many individuals stroll the French Manner as the primary Camino however it’s not essentially the most suitable choice. Initially, as a result of it will get very busy, public albergues are full, many individuals on the route particularly the final 100 or 200 km. Plus the French Camino is sort of lengthy (when you stroll the entire method) – 820km.

We’d advocate beginning with Portuguese Camino from Porto (flat, reasonable distance, lovely surroundings, good infrastructure), Camino Primitivo (when you’re a match individual, it’s fairly quick however there are lots of ups and downs) or Camino Ingles (the shortest route, a superb one simply to get a style of the Camino). Don’t get me fallacious it’s not that I’m attempting to persuade you to not stroll the French method I simply suppose there are different good choices to think about.

One of the main views of St.Jean Pied de Port, Camino de Santiago
St.Jean Pied de Port, a small city in France, the start of the French Camino de Santiago

How lengthy does it take to stroll the Camino?

Relying on the route you select, your strolling tempo, each day distances, and so forth. it may possibly take something between Four days e.g. Camino Inglés to 40+ days e.g. By way of de la Plata. The straightforward option to calculate how lengthy every Camino will take you is to divide the entire distance by the common distance you possibly can comfortably stroll in a day. Let’s say you’re going to stroll Camino Frances about 800 km when you stroll a mean of 25 km a day it’ll take you 32 days to finish it.

The place to start out the pilgrimage?

It is dependent upon how far you wish to stroll if you wish to full the entire route or solely part of it if you wish to get the Compostela or not. It’s not obligatory to stroll the whole Camino you can begin from wherever on the route and end wherever as nicely (clearly most individuals wish to end in Santiago).

If you wish to stroll a whole route however for some reason can’t stroll for a month or a few weeks select one of many shorter Camino routes e.g. Camino Primitivo, Portuguese Camino from Porto, Camino Inglés or Camino Finisterre. If you wish to full one of many longer routes e.g. Camino Francés, Camino del Norte, By way of de la Plata however can’t do it without delay you possibly can break it down into levels and stroll it over a number of months and even years (many locals do it that method). If you wish to get the Compostela certificates it’s essential to full a minimum of 100km on foot or 200km biking on any Camino routes and end the route in Santiago de Compostela.

Is it secure to stroll the Camino as a solo feminine?

I’ve walked solely the French Manner alone and I didn’t have any bother. The remainder of the Camino routes I’ve walked with my husband. I traveled quite a bit round Spain earlier than (as a solo twenty-something feminine traveler) and in my experience, I by no means had any drawback. You do get consideration when you’re alone however when you don’t look you’ll be left alone. I’ve heard of 1 woman that was bothered by a person on the Camino de Salvador from Leon to Oviedo. That route isn’t extremely popular, there are only a few pilgrims strolling it. I can advocate when you’re a solo feminine pilgrim fairly select one of many extra well-liked Camino routes or discover a companion. On each Camino, we noticed many women on the Camino strolling solo and no one complained about being bothered.

Will it’s tough to stroll the Camino if I don’t converse Spanish?

There are extra foreigners on the Camino than Spanish folks, English is often spoken between pilgrims, we met some that had been even complaining that they wished to apply their Spanish however didn’t actually get many probabilities as everyone round speaks English. You undoubtedly will be capable of talk with fellow pilgrims in English.

As for albergues and eating places in Spain, in lots of non-public albergues folks converse some English, they’ll be capable of inform you how a lot, when, the place, and so forth. primary stuff. In public albergues, English isn’t that frequent however there may be at all times any individual round who speaks some Spanish (English) and can be capable of translate.

In Portugal we had been shocked how many individuals spoke English it’s undoubtedly simpler to speak with locals in English in Portugal than in Spain. Google translator works fairly nicely with English-Spanish you possibly can set up it in your cellphone and use it each time you want it.  Truly, the Camino is an efficient reason to study some Spanish, folks prefer it when even when you don’t converse fluently however you attempt to converse their language, plus Spanish is the second most spoken language (as a local language) on the planet, it may be fairly useful to your subsequent journeys.

Is the Camino a spiritual stroll?

For some the Camino has a non secular part, however not for all. Individuals do stroll for non secular causes, however there are lots of who stroll for various causes; love strolling, have time as a result of they’re…, want a while off to consider…, like the concept of sluggish touring, wish to strive one thing new, wish to problem themselves, and so forth. and so forth. Whichever reason you may have it’s a superb reason if it made you resolve to stroll the Camino.  

What sort of folks stroll the Camino de Santiago?

We’ve accomplished 4 completely different Caminos and may say very completely different folks, it’s the beauty of it the Camino is for everyone; previous, younger, match, not very match, wealthy, poor and so forth. We met folks of various ages, from completely different nations, with completely different jobs, everybody has his/her story or reason for strolling the Camino. Whoever you’re, in case you are keen to stroll the Camino then it’s for you. For some, it’ll be a simple stroll, for others – an actual problem, however in the long run, everyone is united with the identical purpose – to achieve Santiago de Compostela.

Is there wi-fi within the albergues? Is it price to purchase a SIM card?

Nearly all of non-public albergues have wi-fi until it’s in the midst of nowhere. Many public albergues, particularly these which can be in greater cities or cities, have wi-fi as nicely. On our final Camino, we didn’t purchase a SIM card, we had been planning to purchase one however each time we reached a city or a metropolis every part was closed because of a public vacation, Sunday or lunchtime, in the long run, we by no means acquired round to it. We had Web nearly daily if not within the albergue then at bars, eating places or cafes on the best way. In case you’re planning to work on-line we’d counsel shopping for a SIM card as a backup. One more reason to purchase an area SIM card is to have the ability to cellphone if you wish to guide a spot or discover out if it’s opened and so forth.

Do I want a sleeping bag?

Sure, you do. In summer season (July, August) as a substitute of a sleeping bag, you possibly can take a silk inside, it’s often fairly scorching. Most albergues have blankets however with out bedding, it’s a lot nicer to place it over your sleeping bag or inside. We at all times pack small summer season sleeping luggage although once we walked the Camino in October and November we used each our sleeping luggage and blankets generally it was very chilly (not all albergues have heating).

Is it price to hold a tent (tenting gear)?

We are saying No to this one. We met some folks strolling with a tent, mattress, range out of 30 or 40 days they walked they managed to camp solely a few occasions. In Spain wild tenting is unlawful it’s essential to conceal within the bush or attempt to discover established campsites, which value about the identical as albergues, not likely price from a monetary perspective. One other inconvenience is to hold a variety of additional stuff with, it’ll make your stroll tougher. We noticed only a few campsites on the Caminos we’ve finished, a pair on the Camino del Norte and on the Coastal Route of the Portuguese Camino.

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Hey! A bit about us - we’re John & Maria and we're a couple that loves to travel the world and document our adventures! We enjoy writing, blogging, exploring and sharing our adventures. We’re always embarking on new journeys and here you’ll find articles covering many travel destinations, and topics, such as culture, history, art and cuisine. Our goal and mission is to present compelling stories, photography and personal opinions, as well as serve as an online resource for anyone who wishes to plan their own trips and visit the destinations we've been to. We genuinely love meeting new people, mingling with locals, listening to their amazing stories and trying new travel experiences.

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