So you’ve decided to head on the journey of a lifetime along the Camino de Santiago. Congratulations, you’re in for the trip of a lifetime! But now is the time to start planning.
Read our essential Camino travel tips to help you prepare for your holiday. Each tab below includes valuable information that will ensure you get the most from your trip. Learn about the best time to visit the Camino, make sure you’re fit enough to enjoy it and have all the essentials packed!
Click below to learn more:
TOP 10 CAMINO TIPS
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 to travel (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. Download our Camino free fitness eBook and get hiking!
Know the culture
The Camino is a UNESCO-listed trail and 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. Make sure to check the weather forecast before departing to ensure you bring the right clothes.
Don’t forget your camera
To capture those special Camino moments.
Pack your pilgrim passport
You’ll have to get it stamped 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 them with a ‘Buen Camino!’
Eat the Camino
Each region has its own cuisine and delicacies, try them all!
Get your Compostela
Get your Compostela pilgrim certificate at the Pilgrims Office in Santiago, then make sure you explore wonderful Santiago.
BEST TIME TO GO
When is the best time to walk the Camino? It’s a question we get asked a lot at CaminoWays.com and there are many answers to it.
It will depend on the route you choose, the specific section of that route, as well as what you are hoping to experience on your Camino.
Generally, most pilgrims choose to travel from Spring to Autumn. The most famous route, the Camino Frances, crosses very different regions. It ranges from the Pyrenees to the Galician countryside, and the weather differs from region to region. Summer months can be very hot for walking across the Meseta, the middle sections of the French Way. However, if you are walking the last section from Sarria to Santiago, temperatures won’t be as high. Galicia has a mild Atlantic climate.
Coastal routes such as the Portuguese Coastal Camino, Finisterre Way and Camino del Norte are best appreciated in the Summer months when seaside towns come to life. Each of our tours has a weather tab where you can check the 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 a 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 alternative Camino routes such as the Camino Portugues.
Winter are quieter on the Camino Frances but the route is 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, 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 the best plan of action.
We love helping pilgrims prepare for their Camino journey. Over the years we have partnered with various Fitness and Nutrition experts to perfect our pre-Camino training program.
All of this information is contained in our Camino fitness plan. It is designed for anyone who is preparing for a long hike, trekking tours, walking across different terrains and people interested in healthy living.
This free ebook includes health tips, nutrition advice and essential stretches for walkers. You’ll also find out more about the common injuries walkers suffer and insider tips on how to prevent them. The book finishes with our 6 month fitness plan that will put a spring in your step and ensure you make the most of your journey. Ij you are planning your next adventure holiday we hope that you will not limit your fitness programme to the gym. Get outdoors and enjoy it.
Fill in your details below to get your FREE Camino Fitness eBook:
More Camino fitness advice:
- Camino Preparation: what are flat feet?
- Tips for cycling the Camino – Part 1
- Tips for cycling the Camino – Stretches – Part 2
- How do I train for the Camino de Santiago?
- Camino Tips: Footcare when you are walking The Camino
WHAT TO BRING
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.
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 checklist. Of course, this ebook is not all-comprehensive and has to be adapted depending on the person and the route or section 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 carrying a clean pair of 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. 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 your 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 via Skype. If your mobile device is unlocked, 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.
To get all your packing advice: DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE 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 traveling 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:
It is essential to purchase the right travel insurance when you are traveling 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 traveling. 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 it 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 canceled, 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 traveling 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 travelers can also use their European Medical Card in health centers 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. 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 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