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Guided or Self-Guided? That is the Question

camino-tours-CaminoWaysI know I want to do the Camino de Santiago, it’s been a goal of mine for many years and this is the year I am going to make it happen. But I have one big question, am I going to do it on my own or am I going with a group as part of a guided tour?

Deloras McGovern, Balintore.

There is no single answer to this Deloras, it really depends on one’s personality, one’s mood for the anticipated challenge and equally what exactly one wants from the whole experience.


There are merits and restrictions to each. For example with the guided tour you are going to experience the Camino with a group of pilgrims, you will be picked up from the airport and brought to your hotel, you will share hotels and possible eat together. That is not to say you cannot part with the group or guide along the way, you can. The guide is there for any support you might need, difficulty along the way or some local history or cultural knowledge. Our guides are all local so they know the area well.

Our self-guided tours on the other hand offer a similar but more flexible package. You are not restricted to particular dates as the guided tours need a certain amount of members for it to be feasible. Also if you want to travel with family or friends we’d recommend self-guided or work something out to have a guide for this particular group. Also with the guided there needs to be an agreed timetable for all members of the group the self-guided have more freedom in this respect.

I hope this helps, if you would like further information why not send Richard an email, he would only be too happy to help.

Comparative Table: Guided or Self-Guided? 

Guided Tours (Certified and Knowledgeable English Speaking Guide) Self-Guided Tours ( Comprehensive maps and info)
Luggage transfer included Luggage transfer included
Airport transfer included Airport transfer NOT included
Holiday pack included Holiday pack included
Restricted to dates (see table above) Any date year-round
Generally cheaper Slightly more expensive
All breakfast and dinners included All breakfast and dinners* included (*dinners are not included at the first and last stop of the tour).
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37 Responses to “Guided or Self-Guided? That is the Question”


Hi Carmen, thank you for your message. Great to hear that you are planning your Camino. Yes, it is possible to do a section of the way guided. We have a number of guided tours on the most popular routes that leave on specific dates. See the link here for 2017 guided tours: I am going to send your details to our travel team so that they can give you all of the information you need and suggest the best itinerary based on the time that you have available. Kindest regards, Lisa.

Carmen Alvarez

I would like help in planning my Camino. Tentatively looking to do Camino Frances. I’m a newbie, therefore, I’m tempted to do a guided package, to start.
Is there an option to do a section of the way guided, followed by other sections, self guided, once I’m acquainted and comfortable? I would have up to four to five weeks to complete.
Would love to speak with someone to design my package.
Thank you.


Hi Bonnie, at the moment we offer the Arles Way Camino route from Montpellier, see full itinerary here:

Bonnie Hookom

Do you have information on a self guided tour of the French way that starts at Arles in France at the church Eglise Saint Honorat at Les Alyscamps, the medieval graveyard?


Hi Bao, thank you for your questions. To do the last section of the Camino Frances over 10 days it would work out at approximately 12km per day walking. I will get the Customer Care team to get in touch with you. Kind regards, Lisa.


Hi, my friends & I planning to do a 10 day, last 100km walk, Camino Frances route, and plan to do May/June 2016. If we decide to do a tour guide, how many miles per day and how much for the whole trip guided tour vs. self tour? thank you


Hi Elke

We don’t have any guided tours scheduled on the Northern Way for September 2015, but you can choose any of the sections for a self-guided tour any time of the year. Would you like our team to email you a proposal? Are you looking to do a specific section or the whole route? Here’s an overview of the Camino Inglés:, let us know if you need any additional information. Kind regards.


I am interested in walking the camino del norte, if possible in September 2015.
I am not sure, if I shall join a group or not. I have a lot of travel experience and if there are only couples in the group, the dynamic is different to a group of singles, where I belong to.


Hi Trina, thank you for your note. The Customer Care team will be in touch with an itinerary. Are you looking to do the whole trail or a section? See more information about the route here:

Trina Lujan

I am interested in Camino de Plata for 5 people in late May of 2016.


Thanks Mary, the Customer Care team will email you some ideas shortly. Kind regards.


We are a group of 6 interested in a self-guided Portuguese Camino Oct 2-9
Would you please tell me how it would work?
Price? Mary 303-6014397


Hi Jean, thanks for getting in touch. Our customer care team will be in touch with details. In general, our guided tours are designed to be manageable for all fitness levels. In your case, a self-guided tour might be a better option. Kind regards. Maria

Jean Baptiste

I am planning for a September 2015 pilmigrage, from St Jean de Pied de Port to Santiago. Are there different types of guided tours based on fitness levels on the participants (meaning really duration)? I am asking the question because 10-20 miles/day sound like not too much for me. Thanks


Hi Michael, standard self-guided tours are generally cheaper than guided tours, unless they are longer tours or additional services are booked (ie. airport transfers, hotel upgrades, etc…). Let us know if you need any additional information. Kind regards.


Why is a self-guided tour more expensive?

Rak Gupta

Hello Eva, I was very interested in your trip in May 2014. Come September time five of us are planning to walk to Santiago; book our own hotels but want the luggage transported for us from hotel to hotel How did you get on with your pilgrimage; how was the walking; how many kilometers per day was possible and did you manage to find a transport company for the luggage. we are planning to go from Porto to Santiago. What are the contact details of the company you used. It would help us to know.Many thanks. Rak


Hi Bill, than you so much for your note. We have an itinerary available with all split days that can be completed in 42 days, you can also allow for rest days in between. All our accommodation options are ensuite with access to electricity so that wouldn’t be a problem. I’ll get the customer care team to prepare an itinerary to give you an idea of cost. Kind regards.

Bill Hoopes

I’m planning of walking the El Camino starting mid to late April 2016 leaving from St Jean Pied de Port and completing the whole 800 km. I doubt I can walk 15-20 miles/day and am planning on being on the walk 2 months vs the usual one. I also have sleep apnea and need access to electricity nightly. There is a chance one or two friends may join me for part of the walk for maybe a 1 or 2 weeks. On a self-guided tour can you still book my accomdatons such that I have access to electricty nightly and is there flexibilty to walk my own pace? Finally I know you can’t be exact with this general an outline, but what would you estimate the cost to be? Thanks


Hi Frank, the beauty of the Camino is that you can start your walk at any stage. 4-5 days walking would be perfectly doable. Early September is quite busy in terms of availability but I will get the customer care team to get in touch to discuss options. Kind regards.


I would like to go on a self-guided trip on the last leg of the walk. Given limited time in Spain I may only be able to do 4-5 days walking. How does that suit? At what is the availability situation like at the moment as i hope to do the walk in the early part of September. Regards Frank


Hi Michael,
Thank you for contacting us. The last 200km of the French Way start from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela and it would takes 12 days without any additional nights. We provide accommodation and luggage transfers as standard on all our tours. I’ll transfer your inquiries to one of our travel specialists and they will come back to you promptly.

michael basta

Hi, my wife and I plan to hike (self-guided) the last 200kms of the camino de santiago. We are assuming about 14-16 days on the trail. Does that sound right? We would like to have our pension/hotel accommodations booked in advance and our luggage moved from location to location so all we are carrying are day packs. Is this the service you provide?
We are planning our trip for mid to late may of 2015. How soon should we book/lock in our reservations?

thank you…


Hi Carmen, we’ll get one of our travel specialists to contact you for more details: which part you’d like to walk, etc…

Carmen Portello

Hi, My partner and I will be walking & bus from SJPDP to Santiago De Compostela. We intend walking up to 200km in total and bus or private transport for the rest as we have about 2 weeks or so for the walk. Can your company arrange luggage transport ahead to Santiago de Compostela from SJPDP with the self-guided tour?


Hi Eva, the hotels you have booked with should be able to give you information on how to carry the main luggage. In our case, we organise it as part of our packages with the hotels we work with. You might be able to find luggage transfer companies along the way but not sure about the bus. I hope this helps.

Eva Peniak

My husband and I will walk the last 115 km. We already booked the hostels, this will be happening in June 2014.
Since we are from Canada, we will have the luggage with us. Will we be able to use bus to carry this main luggage for us? Please kindly advise. Thank you for your help.

Lydia Banales

My husband uses a CPap machine. We have walked several sections of the Camino. He had no problem as long as he could plug in his machine. Most CPAP machines come with internal converters similar to phones and cameras. Check with your supplier. As long as you have the correct adapter (plug), you should be ok. We always carry a power strip we bought in Europe so we can plug in the CPAP and also charge our phone, iPad, etc. Hope this helps.

Jonabelle Brizuela

What is the difference and advantages of the these three ways:
Original Way
French Way
Finisterra Way


Hi Ana, you can adapt the distance to fit with your 3 weeks. If you want to do the Camino Francés (French Way), you could start in Burgos or León for example. I hope this helps. Maria


We are planning to do the Camino next year is it possible to do it in 3 weeks?


Hi Esme,

Here’s an overview of the most popular Camino route, the French Way, starting in the Pyrenees and finishing in Santiago. If you have one week we would recommend the last 100km (Sarria to Santiago) but if you have more time, you could consider doing a bigger section, have a look:—the-most-popular.html.
Our travel consultants (Richard, Andrea and Hugh) will be able to help you with suggestions and prices if you drop them a note to Kind regards

Esme Cloete


I want to include a few friends and do some of the El Camino route in 2014. Where do we begin to organise it.


Hi Terry, Thanks for getting in touch. Most Voltage across Spain fluctuates between 210 & 230 Volts so you may need an adapter or converter of some sort. To be honest this is not my area of expertise, however I quizzed our reservations manager here at and she suggested you contact Richard, Hugh or Andrea; outline an itinerary of the route you’d like to do, the towns or villages you would be resting in and then we can contact and confirm that these places meet your requirements. you can email us or call us on +353 1 525 2886.

Best regards,

terry benoit

hi! I have sleep apnea & use a c-pac machine, so I need power 100 volt, would all hotels or cottage have power for my machine, thank you terry


Hi Ailis,

Thank you for getting in touch, this is indeed a lovely part of the Camino.

With regards, to traveling from Estella to Bilbao it would be best to go back to Pamplona and from there take a train or a bus to Bilbao.

Kind regards,



Myself & a friend are hoping to do stage 1 of the Camino in September. We were thinking of flying home from Bilbao but are concerned about travelling from Estella to Bilbao. Can you give us any information.


Ailis O’Sullivan

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