Camino de Santiago - resources page
This is a general "catch all" section that you can use to get information about all aspects of arranging and walking the Camino de Santiago or Way of Saint James. The idea behind this page is to give you some extra navigation to relevant sections on other pages that offer useful information covering anything from walking the Camino, to the types of clothing that you should wear, or the way to arrange accommodation.
The links contained within this page will take you directly to the appropriate section where you can quickly find the information that you are looking for.
Undertaking the Way of Saint James is a big challenge, especially if you are intending to walk a full Camino, or a significant section of one, so preparation is in important part of your pre-walking task.
Many people choose to walk a Camino as part of a group. This may be with friends, through a confraternity, or with a walking or hiking club.
The motivation behind walking the Camino may be religious and spiritual, or it may be for pleasure, or in order to achieve a goal or challenge. However, whatever the reason, sound preparation is the first order of the day and this starts with planning the Camino (or section of Camino) that you intend to walk and then coming up with an assessment of how long it will take. This is very important as your daily mileage rate will determine where you can eat and sleep at the end of each day. It also enables you to make a schedule of when you can realistically start and finish and what you will need to take in terms of clothing and other provisions.
Once you have a start date and a completion date you can begin to arrange transportation which, in most cases, involves two international flights. These may or may not be direct depending on your departure location or the city that you are travelling from.
When you complete your Camino de Santiago you will have reached the focal point of Santiago de Compostela and both this city and nearby la Coruna have international airports with departures to many different nations as well as the larger Spanish airports of Madrid and Barcelona. You can find out about getting to and from these cities in Galicia by air at this page to Galicia. Here you will see details of carriers and some routes from the UK etc.
For many Camino walkers and visitors to Galicia it may be necessary to make a connection flight. This is because many airports and large airlines fly into southern and central Spain, but far fewer fly into the north of Spain. When this is the case the easiest way to make the connection is to fly from your home country directly to Madrid or Barcelona from which an internal connection can be made.
Your inward flight will be determined by the point at which you start your Camino and this could be In France, Portugal or any location along any of the different Camino routes. The best way to proceed is to look for the nearest national or international airport to your starting point and then look for direct or connecting flights to that airport. If you start your Camino from major city this will be easy, however if you are beginning from one of the smaller, lesser known, or more isolated locations you may required shuttle transportation in the form of a bus, train or taxi to get you to your starting point.
Internal (none flight) transportation
Once you have arrived at the closest airport to your Camino starting point you may require internal transport to get you from the airport to your chosen starting point. Irrespective of whether you choose to begin in France, Portugal or a location in Spain you will find a good pubic transportation network that will include buses and trains. Taxis are also widely available and this means that you will have a number of options from which to choose.
If you are in a group, or part of a club or confraternity, you may decide to rent a vehicle for the duration of the Camino. This will enable you to have access to a car or mini bus for the duration of the walk and it can also help with shuttling baggage etc between hostels or hotels. Information about car rental can be found on this page . If you intend to do a full Camino that involves crossing national borders you will need to ensure that this is acceptable within the terms of the rental companies contract and insurance cover.
Another option for transportation and continued support (including baggage transfer and medical) is to use a tour operator or specialist company to organise your Camino on your behalf. They will arrange for all your accommodation and transport your baggage between hostels (or hotels) as you walk. This approach removes a lot of the logistical and organisational aspects of the Camino, but it also costs more money. You can find out more here . Generally this option is more economic for groups than for individuals.
If you are travelling independently you will probably opt for public transport. If this is the case it is a good idea to go online well before you depart and obtain timetables and route maps for any train journeys or bus trips that you will need to make. Booking trains in advance can be a good idea and it is often possible to get significant discounts by doing this. You can also get nationwide or Europe-wide travel passes through some companies and these may offer unlimited travel within a certain time window.
Plan some relaxation
Although you will get to see and do a lot whilst walking a Camino de Santiago, it is often a good idea to allow some additional time after you have completed the Camino to relax and enjoy Santiago and Galicia. Spending a few extra days in the region (once you have completed your Camino) will also give you some extra time for your achievement to sink in and be fully appreciated. Time for repose is necessary in all aspects of life and never more so than after a tough mental and physical challenge. If you plan to explore some of the other towns and cities in Galicia you can use this link to find out more .
Traditionally Camino pilgrims stay in albergues or refugios when walking the Camino, but this need not be the case.
In addition to the many official Camino hostels a large number of small hoteliers have set up guest houses and hotels along all of the Camino routes. You will also find that the Caminos goes through many larger towns and cities and this offers the option to stay in almost any kind of accommodation from expensive 4 and 5 star hotels to small family run bed and breakfasts.
Many Camino walkers often forget to consider the importance of eating whilst undertaking the Way of St. James. When you are walking significant distances on a daily basis you need to keep your body well fed and nourished. This can be a challenge for those who find the differences in cuisine between their home country and other nations hard to overcome.
If you are from Britain, North America or Australasia, much of the food in parts of Spain, Portugal and France will be very different to that to which you are accustomed. For most people this is an opportunity to explore a different cuisine and culture, however for some it can be a difficult hurdle to overcome. You will also find, particularly in Spain and northern Spain, that vegetarianism is uncommon and rarely catered for in restaurants etc.
If you are fussy about food, find unfamiliar foods hard to eat or have special dietary needs, you would be advised to plan for these before you start your Camino. Staying in the larger hotels will often result in the option of an international style menu, however the smaller establishments will tend to serve more regional dishes. Salads and sandwiches are widely available and you will find some fast food chains like Subway and MacDonalds in the cities.
You can get an overview of Galican food and drink at this page . For those who enjoy trying different food types staying in many of the Camino based hotels will provide an opportunity to try a whole range of regional and speciality dishes and this will add to the Camino experience for many.