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[FAQ] The Camino in 2020: What can I expect?

“Can I do the Camino in 2020?” and “Is the Camino open?”

These are questions we get asked most often.

To answer the question, is the Camino open? Yes, the Camino is currently open to pilgrims.

We have 3 clients walking the Camino routes at the moment.

In addition, there are also two relay pilgrimages currently happening in memory of those who have died in the pandemic.

The pilgrims are carrying rucksacks with a “light” along the Camino Frances and the Camino Portuguese. They both arrive in Santiago on the 25th – the Feast of Saint James.

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In this blog post we hope to answer some more of your most frequently asked questions about the Camino in 2020:

Q1. If the Camino is open, when can I go?

While the Camino is open to pilgrims, there are still travel restrictions in place in most countries so we would strongly advise that you check with your own government advice.

Spain has been open for tourism from June 21st to a specific list of countries which gets updated every two weeks. For example, UK travellers can go to Spain with no quarantine requirements. However, U.S. travellers are not currently permitted entry for tourism purposes.

Many countries may not be added to the list until later this year or even next year depending on the severity of the situation in that country and indeed in Spain, France, Portugal and Italy.

Our advice right now is to use the information we have on our website to research when is the best time to do the Camino and keep up to date with news about international travel.

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Q2. Is the Camino safe?

Walking the Camino is an open-air activity which will occupy most of your day.

From what we know about the virus so far, being in the open air carries less risk than being indoors.

However, we are still advising that you adhere to the social distancing requirements on the trails.

This means giving other pilgrims a minimum of 1.5-meter distance while walking as per Spanish government guidelines.

A route like the Camino del Norte (Northern Way) will be less busy than the more popular Camino Frances (French Way).

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Q3. Is the Cathedral in Santiago open? 

Yes, the Cathedral in Santiago is still open but at a limited capacity.

Visits will be limited to 200 persons in the Cathedral at one time so do expect some socially distanced queueing.

There will be a one-way system in the Cathedral and masks will be required indoors and while queueing.

It’s important to note that the popular Pilgrim Mass has a limited capacity now of 75.

Q4. Is the Pilgrim’s Office Open?

Yes, Santiago Pilgrim’s Office on Carretas Street is open daily from 10.30 AM to 6.30 PM.

Here as well you will have a one-way system and socially distanced queueing.

You will still be able to get your Compostela here on completion of your walk and you will receive a warm welcome as always.

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Q. 5 What changes will I see in the accommodation?

As of July 1st, many of the private and public accommodations are open.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been in constant communication with our accommodation suppliers in Spain, France, Portugal, and Italy.

We are happy to report that the hotels we work with are all fully compliant with the new government guidelines for tourist accommodation which were set out in April and May 2020.

We have written extensively on our blog about the changes the larger and smaller hotels are making to ensure that guests have the full health and safety protocols in place.

Furthermore, in Spain, look for the “Seal of Responsible Tourism” and in Portugal look for the “Clean & Safe Stamp” which will tell you straight away that the hotels are fully compliant.

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Q. 6 What changes can I expect at the airport?

Our colleague Diletta traveled from Ireland to Italy last week to visit her family. We asked her to describe how her airport experience was:

“Sanitizers are at every corner of the airport: entrance, before and after security controls, gates, shops, everywhere really. The boarding and deboarding are going on regularly like it used to be before. There is no particular procedure on that.”
The only two things that airlines and airports are asking are:
– wear the mask
– keep the social distance of at least 1 or 2 m (there are signs on the floor that help to maintain the distance even when you are actually boarding)
On the plane, cabin crew and passengers have to wear their masks at all time.
The cabin crew does not pass through the aisle to serve food or sell products as it used to be, but passengers can still buy things by calling (using the button above) somebody of the staff and ask them to come over.

When Diletta got to the airport in Rome, in addition to all of the above, there is a temperature check for extra security.

Overall she found the experience to be “surprisingly positive and felt safer than expected”.

 

Hopefully, we were able to answer some of your questions in this post.

Bear with us as we have pilgrims currently doing the Camino who we hope to gather more practical information from and we also have Johnnie Walker going out on the Camino next month so he’ll be able to report back on his daily experience of walking the Full Camino Frances.

In the meantime, if you have any more questions please do get in touch with our team by filling out the form below:

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