Read our essential Camino travel tips to help you prepare for your trip; each tab includes useful information such as weather, fitness, what to bring and other practical advice for your Camino de Santiago adventure.
- Top Tips
- Best time to go
- What to Bring
- Holiday Pack
- Pilgrim Mass
- Preparation Walks
- Travel Insurance
Our top 10 Camino tips:
Pick the right Camino
There are many ‘Caminos’, all unique in their own way. Find the right route for you, the distance you are comfortable covering and the right season (ie. if you don’t like heat, Spring or Autumn would be better for you).
The Camino is within everyone’s ability but it is highly recommended you do some training in advance. Get walking to build stamina for your trip. A bit of training goes a long way
Know the culture
The Camino is a UNESCO-listed trail as it has been connecting people and cultures for many centuries. Learn about the history, heritage and languages of the regions you will be visiting before your trip. If you can, learn a few words in the local language.
Bring the right gear
Shoes will be the most important gear you’ll have on the Camino. Also check the weather forecast before departing to make sure you bring the right clothes.
Don’t forget your camera
To capture those special Camino moments.
Pack your pilgrim passport
You’ll have to stamp it along the way to be able to receive your Compostela pilgrim certificate.
Find your pace
Walk at your own pace to enjoy your experience.
Spirit of the Camino
Respect other pilgrims and greet others with a ‘Buen Camino!’
Eat the Camino
Each region has its own cuisine and specialities, try them all!
Get your Compostela
Get your Compostela pilgrim certificate at the Pilgrims Office in Santiago, then make sure you explore wonderful Santiago.
It will depend on the route chosen, the specific section, as well as what you are hoping to experience on the route.
Generally, most pilgrims choose to travel from Spring to Autumn. The most famous route, the French Way or Camino Frances, for instance crosses very different regions, from the Pyrenees to Galicia, and the weather will change from region to region. Summer months can be very hot for walking across the Meseta, the middle sections of the French Way, but if you are walking the last section from Sarria to Santiago, temperatures won’t be as high; as you will be walking in Galicia and its mild Atlantic climate.
Coastal routes such as the Portuguese Coastal Way, Finisterre Way and Northern Way are best appreciated in the Summer months, when seaside towns come to life. Each of our tours have a weather tab where you can check average temperature and rainfall per month.
If you are walking in the Summer months, whether along the coast or inland, always make sure you bring essential items to avoid sunstroke such as hat, sunblock and plenty of water. You should also make sure you take breaks from the heat and avoid exposure to the sun around lunchtime, the hottest part of the day.
The popularity of the Camino de Santiago has increased over the past few years and you will encounter fellow pilgrims on the French Way route most months of the year, but particularly during peak season. If you are looking for a quieter experience, we recommend other Camino routes such as the Portuguese Way. Click on our infographic to see the busiest months on the Camino.
Winter months will be quieter on the French Way but the route will be more challenging due to the weather conditions. Mountain areas such as the Pyrenees and O Cebreiro are likely to get snow in the winter months; while lower areas can be wet and cold. In addition many cafes, restaurants and hotels may close during the winter months particularly in rural areas. Talk to the CaminoWays.com travel specialists if you are looking to travel on the Camino in winter and we’ll be able to advise.
Have a look at our interactive weather on the Camino de Santiago map, you can hover over each town to check average temperatures and rainfall.
We have partnered with health and fitness specialist Peter Duffy from Physical Therapy Ireland, to bring you professional practical advice and help you prepare for your Camino de Santiago adventure.
Peter will be sharing his expert tips to help you prepare for your Camino. He has also helped us prepare a useful monthly fitness plan.
Get your Camino preparation started:
DOWNLOAD YOUR 6-MONTH CAMINO PREPARATION PLAN
This free ebook includes health tips, great workout routines and a step-by-step fitness guide to get you physically and mentally fit for the Camino. You can learn all about dealing with heel pain, avoiding shin splints and how to manage those painful blisters. Since you are planning your next adventure holiday we hope that you will not limit your fitness programme to the gym. We have also included outdoor exercises and Peter’s easy to follow workout routine.
More advice from Pete:
- Camino Preparation: what are flat feet?
- Tips for cycling the Camino – Part 1
- Tips for cycling the Camino – Stretches – Part 2
You might also like to read our staff’s tips:
Why not join our monthly Camino preparation walks, taking place the once a month?
What should I pack for the Camino de Santiago? This is another common question we get at CaminoWays.com.
To make sure that you are prepared and bring the right clothes on your walking tour we have put together a free packing guide.
Get all your packing advice: DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE PACKING GUIDE
The Camino is a big adventure and needs to be taken seriously. The guide is divided into 6 sections of packing advice. It includes weather guidelines, essential clothing tips, walking and cycling gear, top packing tips and a printable check list. Of course this ebook is not all-comprehensive and has to be adapted depending on the person and the route or part of the Camino walked.
Here’s an overview of the basics:
SHOES: your shoes are the most important item on your gear list. Make sure they are well worn and comfortable before you go, to avoid blisters. A common mistake is purchasing new footwear and taking it to the Camino before ‘breaking them in’. Please note that change of clean socks (wool/cotton looped variety) each day can also make a huge difference.
GEAR: there is nothing worse than bringing the wrong gear on a trip. Always check the weather online before departure and consider the type of route you are taking before you go, as this can determine the type of clothing/footwear you will need. For instance if you travel during the Summer there is no need to bring heavy walking/hiking boots, this will only slow you down. However during the winter seasons, runners or trail shoes are not good in the bad weather.
PASSPORT: some pilgrims have suggested making a photocopy or scanning your passport and other important documents and leaving it with a family member before your trip, so that if you lose it while on the Camino, you can just get them emailed to you. You can also create a Dropbox account and keep these files available online, so you can access them from anywhere in the world at any time. Make sure you check your passport is still valid; if not, we recommend you request a renewal as soon as possible.
PHONES: roaming charges for mobile phones can be expensive; if you intend to leave you phone at home, you can always purchase prepaid cards and use the payphone to ring home (or our 24/7 number). Alternatively you can use the Internet café (along the Camino) to send an email or call. If you have a pay as you go mobile, you might be able to purchase a local SIM card to make calls while in the country.
BOOKS: keep books and other heavy items to the minimum to avoid weight in your backpack, but don’t forget your guidebook. However if you book with CaminoWays.com your luggage will be transferred so you can bring your reading books!
MEDICINES: Although there are many pharmacies along the Camino journey, language can be a barrier, hence making it difficult to get the correct medication. It might be a better option to obtain additional supply before you leave. Regular painkillers like paracetamol or aspirine can be easily obtained in the towns along the route.
For more packing tips and advice download our Camino Packing Guide.
The holiday pack is an essential part of your Camino de Santiago trip with CaminoWays.com. These holiday packs have been prepared by the CaminoWays.com team, after travelling and researching different destinations. The holiday pack contains all the information you need to enjoy your holiday with CaminoWays.com.
The holiday pack is generally sent one month before departure. *For last minute bookings: your holiday pack will be sent as soon as possible.
You will receive some of the information by email and some information by post.
The holiday pack includes
By email: vouchers with hotel information about your accommodation for each night and their location; as well as details for other services booked for your trip such as airport transfers; cycling/walking notes and maps (or a guide book by post, depending on the route and availability); a general information document including details about how luggage transfers and other services booked with us work, as well as practical information such as our 24/7 assistance number, what to bring, useful phrases in Spanish/French/Portuguese and other tips for the trip.
This information will be emailed to you and it is very important you download it, read it at home and print it to take with you on your trip.
*We now have way points for Garmin GPS devices for most of our Camino de Santiago routes, ask the team if you need them.
By post: luggage tags for the group (to be attached to your luggage during the trip) and pilgrim passports (and guidebook when/if necessary).
Our walking notes and practical information reflect the route as accurately as possible and are updated by the team as often as possible. Like with any other holiday, in addition to our walking notes, we recommend you bring any additional literature you might have, as well as reading about the route and the area before you travel for additional information about events, culture, etc… a good starting point is the CaminoWays.com blog, where you can read our latest articles related to the Camino routes, such as interesting facts, places not to miss, upcoming festivals and other updates written by the team each week.
This is the pilgrim passport also known as ‘credencial’, provided by CaminoWays.com. You should stamp it each day during your Camino, tracking your journey’s progress.
This is the tag that will be sent to you and you should attach to your luggage so it can be transferred from hotel to hotel each morning and easily identified by our transporters.
You only need to write your booking reference and contact details.
Our transporters have more CaminoWays.com tags, so if the tag gets damaged they will replace them with your details, you don’t have to worry.
Here’s an easy to follow ‘How to download your holiday pack’ video:
You will encounter many different nationalities and languages on your Camino de Santiago journey.
While you might meet many English-speaking along the way (both pilgrims and service providers), you will also need a few basic phrases in Spanish to help you communicate, particularly in smaller villages and towns. You will encounter other official languages in signs along the way, such as Basque (Euskara) in Navarra/Basque Country and Galego (in Galicia) but having some basic Spanish language skills will help you get by. On the Camino ways across France (Le Puy, Arles Way, etc…), a bit of French will also be helpful and will help you get in tune with the local culture.
Have a read and print out our pocket-sized language guides you might find helpful on your Camino:
You can also download our free Camino Phrasebook Ebook.
Santiago de Compostela Cathedral hosts a Pilgrim Mass at 12 noon each day and also at 19.30pm.
There is also mass in English once a day: 10.30am from Monday to Saturday and at 9am on Sundays.
Bear in mind the famous Botafumeiro is not used for all services at the Cathedral, only on special occasions. It can also be seen in action each Friday during the 19.30pm mass.
For more details about the Pilgrim Mass, English mass times, when to see the Botafumeiro and a list of churches hosting mass along the Camino, read the following blog posts:
If you do the Camino independently, without organising through a tour operator, your budget will depend on how much you wish to spend on the Camino. Accommodation along the way will range from public hostels to private guest houses and even 5-star hotels and Paradores. This means that the trip can either be expensive or cheap but it will entirely depend on your preference. If you wish to incur the minimal costs you will spend as little as €25-€30 per day. However as each region has its own cuisine, we recommend that you experience and enjoy the local food and wine along the Camino as much as you can. An average spending can range between €40 and €50. Your budget will also depend on the trail you are taking, for instance eating out in France will be a bit more pricey than eating out in Portugal and Spain.
You might also want to read our blog post:
Our holidays are graded by 3 categories of difficulty: Easy (1,2), Moderate (3,4) and Challenging (5). Have a look at our walking holiday grading system that will assist you to decide which holiday is best for you! One of the first questions people ask is if they need to train before walking the Camino, the short answer is yes! The CaminoWays.com team organises a Sunday walk every month, if you are planning to walk any of the Camino walking routes why not join us? Check CaminoWays.com Facebook Events to find out about our next walk or check out our What’s Happening page for details of all our active events.
And remember, walking the Camino de Santiago will be challenging but it should also be an enjoyable and unforgettable experience… a bit of preparation will definitely help you on your way.
It is essential to purchase the right travel insurance when you are travelling overseas. Our Camino de Santiago holidays don’t include flights or insurance but we highly recommend you book travel insurance for your Camino de Santiago trip. Travel insurance helps you to minimize the financial risks of illness, accidents, theft, lost luggage and emergencies when you are travelling. It is important to research the types of insurance coverage available before you travel to any destination. Policies will vary in terms of what is included in a travel insurance package. Does it include medical cover? Does in include baggage insurance? Does it include flight cover? These are the types of questions you should be asking when purchasing any travel insurance for your Camino tour.
Basic cover generally includes:
- Emergency medical care abroad, personal accident, out-patient medical expenses, repatriation (Sometimes).
- When things go wrong with your travel plans: If the trip is cancelled, if you miss your departure, if there’s any travel delay, if you lose your luggage, travel home care.
- Losing money, passport, and important things: including lost passport expenses, lost money, cover personal liability, legal expenses.
Depending on where you are travelling from your health insurance may not include travel medical insurance cover. Be sure to check with your provider before your travel abroad. Remember if you have any medical conditions such as allergies talk to your doctor well in advance of your trip. Ensure that you have sufficient supplies for the course of your journey and take the necessary precautions before attempting to walk the Camino. European travellers can also use their European Medical Card in health centres in other European countries.
We also recommend that you carry a pocket guide of the basic Spanish phrases so that you can communicate with medical staff if you need to. We are aware that there are some excellent care facilities along the Camino so don’t panic if you happen to fall or come down with an illness.
We have linked with WorldNomads Insurance providers to provide anyone doing the Camino with a free quote for travel insurance before they go on their trip:
We hope that you enjoy reading our travel tips. If you have any questions, the CaminoWays.com team is always happy to help, contact us on +35315252886 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org