5 Camino books to read before (or after) your trip

Book about the Camino

Your spiritual journey can begin long before you begin walking the Camino de Santiago with a great travel book.

There are a number of well-written Camino books, entertaining Camino movies and Camino blog posts to get you in the mood for the long walk ahead.

We have come up with a list of 5 of our favourite books to read prior to your travels.

Each book provides a unique viewpoint of the Camino from the perspective of the author and the characters chosen to act out the long journey.

1. The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho The Pilgrimmage

This was the famous author’s first book, written in 1987. In the book, Paulo reflects on his experiences as he embarked on a journey of self-discovery to Santiago de Compostela in 1986. Readers should be aware that this is not a travel guide and it will not provide a detailed picture of any trails on the Camino walking route. However, it does give the reader insights into the spiritual hardships associated with the walk and the common transformative qualities believed to be linked with the walk to the Camino de Santiago.

2. The Camino: A Journey of the Spirit by Shirley MacLaine

Shirley MacLaine is well-known as an Academy Award-winning actress in the US. She has starred in popular films such as Steel Magnolias, The Apartment and Terms of Endearment. For Shirley, the journey of the Camino was a physical and emotional challenge.

Although we are listing it as one of the travel books to read before your journey or while walking the Camino, it should be noted that this book is more about Shirley’s dreams and reflections than the physical environment encountered on the various routes.

3. Buen Camino by Natasha and Peter Murtagh 

This is a joint writing venture between a father and a daughter who embarked on the Camino journey together. It provides an excellent account of various aspects of the most popular route along the Camino Frances. Starting with an Irish pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick and finishing the lovely walk at Finisterre, we get a complete overview of life on the Camino road.

This is a travel book, and the reader will be glad to learn tips along the way, the friendships developed, and the many methods used to overcome tiredness after a long day on the road.

4. Spanish Steps: Travels With My Donkey by Tim MooreBuen Camino, Peter Murtagh

This is one of the funnier travel books about the pilgrim’s journey to Santiago de Compostela. Tim provides a welcome break from the spiritual, educational, drama-heavy writing often linked with the long walk on the Camino. The novel starts with a simple read history of the Camino route followed by a comical account of his journey on a donkey called Shinto. Readers who have already completed the pilgrimage will delight in the humorous characters that the author focuses on.

Readers planning a trip this year will enjoy the descriptions of some of Spain’s oldest towns and the triumphant arrival of man and donkey at the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.

5. The Longest Way Home by Andrew McCarthy 

Renowned as an actor in Hollywood, Andrew takes us on his journey along the Camino de Santiago walking trails. This is an honest account of Andrew’s experience walking the Camino, detailing his commitment struggles, the highlights of his acting career, and insights into his relationship with his children.

This is more of a travel diary than a travel book, as it doesn’t give a lot of detail about the various stops in Spanish villages, attractions along the way, or the history of the Camino journey. However, it does give a complete picture of Andrew’s many reasons for embarking on the trip and may be helpful to anyone hoping to make a similar journey in the future.

Enjoy reading these five great Camino books. If you want to make a Camino de Santiago story of your own, contact one of our travel specialists to discuss Camino routes and planning your trip:


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