Walking the Camino de Santiago is unlike any other walking holiday. There is no single section of any Camino walk that is not bursting with regional Spanish culture, historic cities and some of the greatest food available, from Michelin Star quality to hearty regional classics. There is more still to the Camino. A deep spiritual sense that accompanies the walk, whether you are looking for it or not. It may be an overused sentiment, but walking the Camino de Santiago will change your life.
This is the most popular of our Camino de Santiago walking trips by far. The final 100km of the Camino walk takes you to Santiago de Compostela to gain your Compostela certificate. A trek through the rolling hills of Galicia, full of friends you haven't met yet, outstanding seafood and one of the best finishes in the walking world.
San Sebastian to Bilbao. It almost sells itself on that phrase alone. Starting in the gastronomic capital of the world and ending in the cultural heart of northern Spain, taking you through enchanting fishing villages, national Geoparks and rolling countryside. The Camino del Norte may be the most beautiful of all the Camino walking holidays we sell.
To get the full, life-changing, experience of the Camino de Santiago we would highly recommend walking the Camino de Santiago, from St Jean Pied de Port in France, all the way to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The 780km walk is more about the people you meet, the untouched parts of Spain you visit and of course, The Way itself, and how it changes you as a person.
The only Camino that starts in Santiago de Compostela, rather than finishing there. This walk from Santiago to Finisterre (The World's End) is where many pilgrims truly choose to end their walk. This emotional journey takes you through Galicia to finish at the coast, where many pilgrims burn their boots in honour of their achievement.
The original Camino de Santiago! This rugged, less-trodden path takes you from Oviedo on the north coast, through some thrilling mountainous scenery to finish in Santiago de Compostela. With over 1000 years of history behind it and breathtaking beauty throughout, many people talk of this as the greatest Camino de Santiago experience.
The Camino de Santiago has many names. It can be The Way of St James, Camino Frances, The French Way or simply The Way. It can also be St James' Path, St James' Trail, Chemin de St Jacques or El Camino. Whichever name you wish to call it, it is still the same glorious pilgrimage across Spain.
The Waymarking is amazing. Even on the lesser known of the Camino treks, the way is marked by the scallop shell symbol and painted yellow arrows. Just when you think you haven't seen a symbol for a while, a little dab of yellow paint on a rock or tree will assure you that you are still walking the Camino de Santiago.
To get your Compostela, you need to walk at least 100km. This means that many people start their trip from Sarria, almost exactly 100km from Santiago de Compostela. If you are cycling, you need to cycle at least 200km, so many people begin their cycling pilgrimage in Leon.
You need to get your Camino passport stamped every day. In order to receive your Compostela certificate in Santiago, you must present a fully stamped Pilgrims Passport to prove you have walked the route. On the section from Sarria to Santiago, it is necessary to get this stamped twice a day.
25th July is St James Day. This is a day of celebration in Galicia, the region where the final section of the Camino lies. While pilgrims should be aware that most shops will be closed for this festival, they should also note that they are going to be involved in a massive party, that often goes on quite late!
Mass in Santiago de Compostela. Whether you have walked any of the Camino routes for religious reasons or not, going to the pilgrims mass in Santiago Cathedral is still a powerful and moving experience. There are two masses every day, one at 1200 and one at 1930. Get there early as they do get very busy!
The Pilgrims Menu. A great food tip is to look for places serving a Menu del Dia or Pilgrims Menu. These 3-course meals, with wine and water, only cost around €10-15 and are great value. However, in cities like Logroño or San Sebastian, it is definitely worth forgoing the Menu del Dia and eating with the locals.
Don't worry about packed lunches. On the Camino Francés, there are bars, restaurants and shops at regular intervals, so there will always be somewhere for you to eat on the route. Most of these places will also be happy to stamp your Pilgrims Passport and wish you a 'Buen Camino'.
Prepare for a wait in Santiago. If you go straight to the Pilgrims Office in Santiago to get your Compostela certificate, be prepared for a long wait. Queues can be up to 2 hours long, so we would recommend either packing some comfortable shoes to change into, or go back the next morning when it is quieter.
Learn a little of the language. While you will get by without speaking the language, the locals will really appreciate it if you try. Even learning the pleasantries is a great start. For extra credit, try learning a few Galician words or if you are starting the Camino del Norte, learn a few words of Basque.
A: Yes. On the Camino Frances, you will meet many other hikers, many of whom are solo female walkers. It is a trip full of camaraderie and apart from the usual common sense approaches to travelling anywhere, there are no serious safety concerns.
Q: Is there mobile/cell phone coverage on the route?
A: The coverage is pretty good for most of the routes. Occasionally you will be out in the deep countryside where there will be no signal, but you will be connected more often than not.
Q: Can I access water along the route?
A: Yes, on most routes you will be able to access water during your days walk. There is even the occasional fountain where the water is marked safe to drink and many cafes will be happy to refill your water bottle.
Q: How will I get to the start of my Camino trip?
A: We have great blog posts on getting to the start/end of every section of our Camino trips in Spain. You can find links to these in the section below.
Q: Will my accommodation be close to the route?
A: We endeavour to book accommodation as close as possible to the Camino path. Generally, you will only have to walk less than a mile from the route to get to your overnight accommodation. We provide comprehensive maps to show you exactly where your accommodation is each night.
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