“The magic of the Camino is here. Perhaps more alive, more concentrated because there are fewer pilgrims. The warmth of the welcome we’ve received everywhere seemed to be embodied in the awesome sight of the sunset from El Burgo Ranero.
All is well.” – Johnnie Walker on the Camino Frances, September 2020
Whether you decide to do the Camino in 2020 or to wait until 2021, you can be sure that a warm welcome awaits you.
While there are many questions surrounding travel to the Camino, we hope to provide you with some reassurance from fellow pilgrims.
In our latest blog, we explore pilgrim experiences of the Camino in 2020, looking at safety and the benefits of traveling this year.
We have now been fortunate to have had a number of clients walk various parts of the Camino in 2020 and we are happy to tell you that the Camino is alive and well and safe in these times!
The Camino in 2020: Johnnie Walker on the Camino Frances
One of our most famous clients in 2020 has been Johnnie Walker who has just arrived in Santiago with his friend Stephen Shields after 33 days of walking the Full Camino Frances from St. Jean Pied de Port to Santiago – a distance of 775 km.
While there is much turmoil in the world today, the ancient pilgrimage remains a steadfast beacon of hope, calling us from afar and reminding us of its existence. As Johnnie eloquently puts it:
“The Camino turns brokenness into beauty”
Johnnie and Stephen have walked the full Camino Frances during August and September 2020. Apart from arriving at the wrong hotel one night, (quickly rectified) this was the only small glitch in their entire 33 days of walking.
Their overall experience was one of joy, peace, reflection, and inspiration. They met and talked to many pilgrims from all over the world along the Camino and had a wonderful time.
They have written an inspirational day by day account of their entire journey from St. Jean to Santiago which you can read here.
The Camino in 2020: Safety on the Camino
Safety on the Camino is our biggest concern for our clients who are traveling this year.
The Camino is one of the safest holidays you can take when travel returns for a number of reasons, including the fact that it is open-air, self-guided, fully regulated with safety protocols and it benefits your mental health.
We recently wrote about 5 reasons the Camino is one of the safest holidays you can take.
We take safety very seriously and have worked very hard over the past 6 months to ensure that all safety measures are adequate to ensure our clients have the safest possible travel experience.
We have been working closely with the Spanish Tourist Board, our suppliers on the ground, and the hotels and accommodations on the Camino to ensure that the safety measures are in place and that pilgrims can be assured of health and safety protocols implemented.
Personal responsibility for safety on the Camino
We know that the accommodations we provide along the Camino are adhering to government protocols for health and safety as we have been in touch with them regularly requesting updates and photos of changes they have made.
But what about walking the Camino? What changes can you expect as a pilgrim?
According to Johnnie Walker, the Camino is as safe as you make it:
“There are no restrictions on the Camino apart from wearing a face mask when entering a town or village, when going into shops etc. The hostels I’ve been staying in have been fully prepared and the many pilgrims I’ve spoken to say that they also feel safe in albergues – with one or two exceptions where they have left to find something else. Capacity has been reduced in hotels, bars, restaurants and Albergues to facilitate social distancing.”
In addition to the protocols in place, taking personal responsibility for your own health and safety is equally as important.
“We decided, all three of us, that if we were to walk to Santiago we had to accept it is our own responsibility to keep ourselves safe. Everywhere we’ve gone the routine has been established – wear a mask before entering, use hand gel on entry and frequently and keep away from other people…”
The Camino in 2020: Caminoways.com Client Reviews
We understand there are hesitations with travel this year. However, there are obvious benefits to doing the Camino in 2020, namely lower airfare, quieter Camino routes, and greater control over social distancing.
To reassure you, we wanted to share some honest feedback we have received from our clients who traveled with us in 2020 (Trip Advisor):
“July on the Camino was strange, because of Covid-19. There was very little pilgrims and some cafe and restaurants were closed. But I always felt safe, most welcome and friendship on the Camino is legendary. Thanks Camino Ways, I will comeback next year!” – John, July 2020
“Hotels were clean, and the staff wears their masks. Everywhere people were respectful of social distancing, and even sometimes making jokes about it. We first hesitated to go, but everything went well, so we are glad we did it at the end. I wanted to say thanks to CaminoWays team for organising such a great trip. on the ground, support worked well, luggage on time and accommodation perfect.” – Danny, July 2020
“This was the most amazing trip ever! The scenery is absolutely stunning from beginning to end. Camino Ways gave me excellent advice before I left and organised the whole trip perfectly. I can’t recommend the Rota Vicentina or Camino Ways highly enough! What are you waiting for? Do this walk! :-))” – Bev, July 2020
“This year I walked on the Via Francigena from Châlons-en-Champagne til Lausanne. Started on August 26 and arrived in Lausanne Sept. 16. This was the eight tour I bought from you and that means I‘m satisfied with your services…Thank you for the good planning of my many walks and hope to be able to do more, health allowing” – Arnthor Oli Arason, September 2020
The Camino in 2020: A warm welcome awaits!
“I looked around and thought, “this is the Camino we know and love” – Johnnie Walker on the Camino Frances August to September 2020,
Whether you answer the call of the Camino in 2020 or 2021, we are here to help you plan your journey in the safest and most responsible way possible.
Do contact us on the form below if you need any help with planning your next Camino adventure .
For up to date information on travel in Spain, France, Portugal, and Italy, we recommend that you check your own government guidelines.
*Some images courtesy of Johnnie Walker (wewalkforyou.org)