The Camino de Santiago can be considered by many as a culinary experience and this is actually true. Each route passes through different regions, each one of them with its own specialties. During the years, we received many questions related to meals on the Camino de Santiago. We did compile some usual questions related to the typical food and Spanish habits on the Camino de Santiago. Therefore, we are going to answer the most typical ones in this post. If you have any other questions about gastronomy on the Camino, don’t hesitate to contact us, at Galiwonders we will be happy to help you!
9 questions about food on the Camino de Santiago
What is the “Menú del Peregrino”?
If you are walking the Camino, you will see many restaurants along the way offering the “Menú del Peregrino“. This basic meal, focused on pilgrims, usually includes: a starter, a main, a dessert, and drinks. Furthermore, the price is usually very economic (around €10 per person). In most of the places, you will have three choices to choose from (one of them, usually vegetarian).
What does “Half Board” mean?
Most of our itineraries include “Half Board” as a standard. This means that, breakfast and dinner is included. This can be served at your accommodation (if it has a restaurant) or on a different place close by. Every day when you check in, they will give you the instructions at the reception of each hotel, about where to have breakfast and dinner.
Please note that we don’t normally include lunch on our itineraries. This is because lunch time is usually on the Camino, and it would be very difficult to book it on a specific location (as you could arrive too early, or too late, each pilgrim walk at its own speed). What we can include, is a picnic for you to take for the walk. Picnics usually include a sandwich, water, fruit, and some snacks.
Where can I have lunch on the Camino?
This depends on which route you choose. Usually, there are many facilities along the way. For example, if you are walking the French Way or the Portuguese Way, you will find small restaurants, and kiosks. But if you are walking other less known routes, you may bring some food with you. For instance, some stretches of the Primitive Way or the Via de la Plata are really isolated. It may be difficult to find restaurants in some of the stages, so we recommend buying something in the morning or the day before at the supermarket. Another option is to order a picnic to take with you at your accommodation (which will usually include a sandwich, drink, fruit and yogurt).
What time is each meal served?
Please note that Spain has its own particular times for meals. We understand that you may be used to a different schedule because of the tradition of your own country. But when you travel abroad, you may need to get used to a different routine. See below:
Breakfast: each hotel has its own schedule that can be more or less adapted to the pilgrim routine. In any case, it is not usual to see breakfast served before 7:30 am. It will last until 10:00 am approximately.
Lunch: lunch is Spain is usually served from 13:30 to 15:30. By this time, you should be on the Camino. But of course, it is hard to assure this, since each pilgrim walk at a different speed. Also, there are places along the Camino that will be serving cold food (sandwiches and snacks) all day long.
Dinner: dinner time can be a controversial issue. As a matter of fact, dinner in Spain is usually served quite late compared to other countries. It is not very common to see it before 21:00 (although some restaurants can be flexible and adapt their schedule), and it can last until 23:00 pm. We completely understand that you can be hungry when you arrive to your destination, but restaurants are usually closed at 18:00 pm.
Dinner is usually the meal of the day that is most enjoyed on the Camino. In fact, for many it is the time to taste the delicious gastronomy, relax and share experiences with other pilgrims. In addition, this is also the perfect moment to taste the rich wine offer of Galicia! We invite you to try the different wines of denomination of origin of this area.
Will I get breakfast if I want to leave very early in the morning?
As mentioned, breakfast in Spain is usually served from 7:30 am to 10:00 am. If you plan to leave very early in the morning, you might not be able to eat before you go. You may have to wait, and eat something on the way a bit later.
Some hotels can leave a basic breakfast (coffee, toasts, pastries) for you to prepare it yourself, and eat something before you leave. However, this is more a gesture of goodwill from their side (and not mandatory).
What does breakfast consist of?
Breakfast is usually the most controversial meal on the Camino since, as many of you may already know, in Spain it is not as common to find breakfasts as abundant as in other countries such as Ireland, the United Kingdom or the United States, for example. Pilgrims from these and other countries, accustomed to cooked and diverse breakfasts, may consider our proposal a bit limited at times.
What if I have special dietary requirements?
Same as if you are a vegetarian or a vegan, if you have any other kind of dietary requirements, from Galiwonders we recommend you to let us know in advance. For instance, if you are gluten or lactose intollerant, or if you have any kind of allergy.
Please note that most of the accommodations along the Camino are small family run business, and they may not be able to accommodate your dietary requirements if we don’t inform them in advance. But if they are properly informed, they will do their best to accommodate your needs.
Will I find suitable food on the Camino if I am a vegetarian or vegan?
The Menú del Peregrino usually includes a vegetarian option on the offer. However, the vegan diet is still a bit unknown is some areas along the Camino (particularly in small rural areas). If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, we strongly recommend you to let us know in advance. This way, we will be able to inform all accommodation, and they will have an alternative ready for you.
Which are the most typical dishes on the Camino de Santiago?
Of course, we can only answer this question with the Galicians’ favorite word: it depends! The Camino has many different routes, that pass through many different regions (only the French Way, from St-Jean-Pied-de-Port, to Santiago, is more than 800 km long). Each one of them has different specialities. For this reason, we are picking up five popular dishes on the Camino:
-Pulpo á feira (Octopus): traditional Galician seafood. The most popular spots to try it are in Melide: A Garnacha and Ezequiel.
-Tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelette): you will see this specialty at almost every restaurant in Spain. We strongly recommend you to taste the one in La Tita (Santiago de Compostela).
-Empanada gallega (Galician pie): this pie can be filled with different stuffings: tuna, scallop shells, mussels, meat… always with a lot of onion!
-Caldo gallego (Galician soup): is very usual to see the “Caldo Gallego” as a starter on every Pilgrim Menu. This soup contains “grelos” (Galician vegetables), beans and lacon.
-Tarta de Santiago (Santiago cake): for breakfast or as a dessert… any time is perfect to try some Tarta de Santiago.
We hope this article has been useful for you and that you can enjoy, as much as we do, the gastronomy of the Camino de Santiago. Do you have any other question related to food on the Camino de Santiago? Anything you would like to add? Please do not hesitate to leave a comment, or contact us. We will get back to you in less than 24 hours!