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Walking the Camino de Santiago?

10 Camino de Santiago things you need to know!


Never before has the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage been as popular as in recent years. In the past year 2023, about 446,061 pilgrims from all over the world found their Camino route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

The Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. Sometimes it's difficult to explain why? And what does it really mean for you?
This is different for everyone, including the reasons behind the "Why" to choose to walk or cycle the Camino de Santiago. Do you do it for spiritual reasons, as a sporting challenge? Or is it simply a hiking vacation in Spain that you want to do?
There are various Compostela routes you can take. Which Camino or Pilgrimage you choose is very personal and depends on various factors such as your fitness and endurance, the time you have, and the budget you have.

But whatever pilgrim route you choose to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, there are definitely these 10 things you absolutely need to know before you start walking (or cycling) the Camino de Santiago.


Here are our 10 tips for walking (or cycling) the Camino de Santiago that we believe you should know before you begin

1. Planning
Start planning and research the Camino route you want to take. Look at and study the pilgrim route thoroughly beforehand.
Map out the Compostela route you want to take and keep these maps handy, or use one of the many apps currently available. But it's always handy to note down on a piece of paper the places you will pass on your pilgrimage route.
Plan the daily distances and rest breaks per day, also to prevent injuries. Consider whether you want to schedule rest days, and where you want them. It is very personal whether you want to stay in a very quiet place or maybe take the opportunity to explore slightly larger places a bit better.
Generally, you can't get lost during the Camino de Santiago, but it can still happen, so stay calm and check your mobile app or map to find your way back, possibly ask people you meet (hence that note, remember?). When leaving a village or town, follow the yellow arrows, and preferably the official arrows (on concrete posts, with the scallop shell logo), as there are also "false" arrows that might lead you on a slight detour to pass by a shop or restaurant that is just 1 km off the Camino route. It is monitored, but it can still happen unexpectedly somewhere. So always try to follow the Pilgrim's Path as closely as possible.
2. Equipment
Ensure you have the right equipment, including good walking shoes, appropriate clothing, and a good backpack.
And don't take too much! There are plenty of places along your Camino route where you can buy something you might have missed.
Limit your toiletries, as they often weigh a lot, so see if you can find a good all-in-one soap.
Take small bottles for day-night cream, body lotion. Sunscreen (always - throughout the year).
The hotels where Spain Is More arranges your accommodation generally always have shampoo and soap available.
Also, take a small bag with you, where you can keep your mobile phone, money, and other small valuables.
Don't forget your scallop shell, so you will be recognized as a pilgrim everywhere!
Here we tell you more about exactly what to take on your pilgrimage.
At Spain Is More, we can always arrange luggage transport from hotel to hotel for you if you don't want to carry a heavy backpack while walking the Camino de Santiago.

3. Training
Train to be in good physical condition and get used to walking long distances.
If you know you have a less good condition but still want to take on the challenge: walking the Camino de Santiago and starting soon, limit the number of kilometers you will do per day. This way, you prevent fatigue and injuries - Plan rest days!
And: Listen to your body!
4. Health
Check your health and make sure you have your medications with you, and possibly a list of all their names.
Drink plenty of water and always bring something small to eat during the Camino de Santiago. You can buy something along the Pilgrim's route at plenty of places, but it's wise to have a piece of fruit or a small snack with you, and of course plenty of water, especially on warmer days. You will come across various fountains along the Compostela Route where you can refill your bottle. Often these are also marked on some apps. Check these before you depart so you don't walk out of water.
And again: Listen to your body!
5. Budget
The budget is of course personal for everyone, what everyone wants and can spend. At Spain Is More, during your Camino de Santiago on your Pilgrim's route, you always start the morning with breakfast at the hotel where you are staying, which is already paid for. So make a budget where you take into account your expenses for lunch and dinner and also consider costs for any unexpected transportation or other unexpected expenses during the Camino de Santiago walk or bike ride.
6. Social connections
Connect with other pilgrims on the pilgrim route, learn a little of the language and culture of Spain. Always exchange contact information with other pilgrims, you never know what beautiful bond can grow out of it. Not everyone is naturally super social, also take that into account, respect everyone's value, that's what the Camino Santiago walk is for, to learn this. Everyone has their own story, and everyone is free to share it with you or not, and this of course also applies to yourself. But if you click with someone, exchange contact information, you can always lose sight of each other during the Pilgrimage. Then it's nice if you can look each other up afterwards in real life or via social media etc...

7. Money
Always carry some cash. In the smaller villages you pass through while walking or cycling the Compostela Route, there may not be an ATM or bank available. It may also be that you cannot pay by card in the shops or restaurants here. So make sure you always have some cash on hand.
8. New experiences
Be open to new experiences during the Camino de Santiago walk. This can be in various areas of course.
Taste the local dishes, each region/place has its own specialty. Of course, it may not be what you're used to at home, but what do you have to lose? Taste and experience where you are.
Set goals for yourself along the way, always keeping your own limits in mind, but try to step out of your comfort zone (where possible). You started this to gain a lifelong experience. Whatever the main reason may be for doing this pilgrimage route.
One thing is almost certain, that the Camino de Santiago walk will have an effect on you as a person, and for your future.
Experience every step, take in everything you encounter along the way, enjoy the incredibly beautiful nature you pass through during your pilgrimage or hiking trip in Spain. Connect with your senses, and make this an unforgettable journey.
9. Safety
Walking the Camino de Santiago (or cycling) is safe. But that doesn't mean there aren't exceptions, of course. But this is everywhere in the world where you are or where you are going. Be alert to your safety and bring safety provisions such as a whistle and a flashlight, possibly one that you can wear on your head, so you have your hands free.
Let people at home know where you are approximately on your Pilgrim's route. There are also pilgrims who choose to take a GPS tracker with them, so they can always share their live location with someone at home. Everyone is free to choose whether or not to do this.
10. Spirituality
Mentally prepare yourself for the spiritual aspects of the Camino and consider how you can integrate this into your hike. If you are not very spiritual, which is of course very possible, and you do it for the sporting aspect, we still advise you to prepare mentally.
Many people today are so "hurried" with everything - that they can literally come face to face with themselves during the Camino de Santiago walk. And that can sometimes come as a bit of a shock. It's also not at all bad if this happens, as long as you can motivate yourself to continue, to finish your pilgrimage, to reach your destination!

We hope these tips can be helpful to you! If you still have questions about walking the Camino de Santiago, or other questions?
Do not hesitate to contact us here.
Check out the range of all our pilgrim routes here and start your Camino de Santiago walk!"