Walk the Camino de Santiago with children
The Camino de Santiago is perfect route for families and children. However, you must consider some details when you plan your adventure, so all the members of the family can enjoy the experience, and avoid any issues during the walk. The length of each walking day, the accommodations you will be staying at, the level of difficulty of the track… are just some examples of the aspects you should take into account before starting the journey.
Walking the Camino de Santiago with children during summer holidays is a great choice, healthy, fun, and rewarding. Keep reading and we will let you know some tips to consider when organizing this experience, according to their age, their level of fitness… and especially, how to thrill them about the journey. You might also be interested in knowing some general tips and recommendation about the Camino.
How to organize the Camino de Santiago with children
We must start saying that walking the Camino de Santiago is not an easy challenge, and doing it with children could seem to be too difficult. However, please note that the itinerary can be adapted to each pilgrim: there’s no need to walk an exact number of kilometres each day. When you plan your itinerary, you will need to adapt it to their ability and resistance.
You can see here some examples of easy caminos to walk with children. The French Way Easy, the Portuguese Way Easy, the English Way Easy. These are the same caminos of standard itineraries but with less distances per day so children can enjoy the walk without getting too tired.
What is the right age to do the Camino with children?
Experts usually say the minimum age to approach the walk would be from 3 years old, onwards. If kids are younger than 6 years old, it is a good idea to bring stroller (this would avoid a lot of stress in case they are too tired or sleepy). Same as it happens with adults, kids need a minimum level of fitness to walk the Camino de Santiago, that is why we strongly recommend to bear in mind the following recommendations.
Some advice to walk the Camino de Santiago with children
We strongly recommend to organize walking routes on your free time, along terrains that are similar to the Camino de Santiago (at least 2 months before the trip starts). You can start with short walks and, step by step, you can increase the duration. This way, you will be able to check the resistance of your kids and they will start to get use to this activity. This way, they will be full of enthusiasm when the trip will start!
Children, same as adults, will need to get used to their footwear before starting the Camino de Santiago. This way, they will be able to avoid blisters and chafing (which could ruin the walk!). We recommend to buy their walking shoes or boots with enough time, so they can adapt to their feet. To know more about what to pack for your Camino de Santiago, don’t miss this post!
If your children wish to carry their own backpack, that is no problem at all. Just bear in mind the size (it must be proportional). However, if you walk the Camino with Galiwonders, you don’t need to worry about extra weight because we always offer the transfer of the backpack among stages. Also, when you prepare for the walk, your kid should take the backpack with him/her, to get used to the official Camino de Santiago. Once they will be on the Way, carrying their small backpack, they will feel proud to look exactly as the older pilgrims!
Duration of each walking day
You can adapt the duration of each walking day. For example, the stretch from Sarria to Portomarín, on the French Way, is about 23 km long. You can split it in two walking days, and stay overnight in Morgade, which is half way. Here you can find the entire French Way Easy so you can get an idea about the daily distances you will have to walk with your family. It is best not to exceed 15 to 20 km per day and it is also advisable to walk only in the morning to avoid the hottest hours of the day.
Public Albergues for Pilgrims might not be the best option if you are walking with kids: you will need to be there very soon to get a place, noises during the night are almost guaranteed, common spaces, less privacy… There are different kinds of accommodations on the Camino de Santiago: from hotels to guesthouses, private hostels, country cottages… There are many options, especially on the French Way.
Remember that a unique experience like the Camino can have a great meaning for the little ones as it has for the older pilgrims. On this trip they will be able to get to know different places, immerse themselves into the nature and discover a rural environment that they rarely see in their day to day lives. The farms and animals they will encounter along their route will fill them with new emotions and stimulate their curiosity. In addition, this experience will teach them a valuable lesson about the pleasure of achieving results with daily effort and determination.
For more information about walking the Camino de Santiago with children, or any other route in Galicia, please do not hesitate to contact us.