Preparing for the Camino de Santiago

Embarking on the Camino de Santiago is an adventure that combines physical challenge, personal reflection and a journey through history. Whether you’re drawn to the Camino for its spiritual significance, the desire for adventure, or simply the opportunity to disconnect from daily life, preparing for this pilgrimage is crucial to ensuring a rewarding experience. We will talk you through everything you need to know to prepare for the Camino de Santiago, from understanding what it is, to choosing your route and knowing what to pack.

What is the Camino de Santiago?

The Camino de Santiago or the Way of Saint James is a network of pilgrimage routes that lead to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. Pilgrims have been traveling these routes for over a thousand years, seeking spiritual growth, adventure or simply a unique travel experience. The Camino de Santiago is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from all over the world each year.

Establish your motivation and goals

Before you set out, it’s important to establish why you want to walk the Camino. Your motivation could be spiritual, cultural, physical or a mix of various reasons. Knowing your goals will help you stay focused and determined, especially on challenging days. Ask yourself: are you seeking a spiritual journey? Looking for a physical challenge? Interested in exploring Spanish culture and history? Or perhaps you need a break from the routine of daily life? Understanding your purpouse will guide many of your decisions as you prepare for the journey.

Pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago
THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO PRACTICAL GUIDE
FREE DOWNLOAD

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive our FREE Practical Guide to the Camino de Santiago. In this guide you will find all the information you need to start planning your Camino.

    I accept the privacy policy

    I want to receive news, exclusive content, commercial communications.


    By registering I agree to receive the guide of the Camino in PDF format as well as practical information about routes to do the Camino.

    - Data controller: Galiwonders, S.L.U.

    - Purpose: Manage subscriptions, sending communications, and data processing in accordance with the purposes indicated in our privacy policy.

    - Legitimation: consent of the interested parties

    - Destination: suppliers, partners and developers. Outside these fields, no data will be transferred to third parties, unless legally required.

    - Rights: access, rectify and delete data, as well as other rights, as explained in our privacy policy.

    What route do I choose?

    The Camino de Santiago has several routes, each offering a different experience. Here are some of the most popular ones:

    Camino Francés (French Way)

    The French Way is the most popular route, starting in St. Jean Pied de Port, France, and spanning about 820 kilometers to Santiago. This route is well-marked, with plenty of facilities for pilgrims. 

    Camino Portugués (Portuguese Way)

    The Portuguese Way begins in Lisbon or Porto and travels north through Portugal before entering Spain. It’s known for its beautiful coastal views and vibrant culture. 

    Camino del Norte (Northern Way)

    The Northern Way follows the northern coast of Spain, offering stunning sea views and challenging terrain. It’s usually less crowded than than the French Way. 

    Camino Primitivo (Primitive Way)

    The Primitive Way is the oldest route, starting in Oviedo. It’s known for its beautiful but rugged terrain and is considered one of the more physically demanding routes. 

    Camino Inglés (English Way)

    Starting in the northern ports of Ferrol and A Coruña, the English Way was historically taken by pilgrims arriving by sea from the British Isles.

    When choosing your route, consider factors such as the time you have available, your physical condition and what kind of scenery and experiences you are looking for.

    I only have so much time, how far can I walk?

    The amount of time you have will greatly influence which route you choose and how you plan your stages. Here’s a rough idea of the time needed for some of the main routes:

    • French Way: approximately 30-35 days if you walk 20-25 kilometers per day.
    • Portuguese Way from Porto: about 12-15 days.
    • Northern Way: around 35-40 days.
    • Primitive Way: around 12-15 days.
    • English Way: around 5-7 days.

    If you have limited time, you can choose to walk a section of a longer route. For instance, many people walk the last 100 kilometers of the French Way from Sarria to Santiago, which takes about 5-7 days. This is the minimum distance required to earn the Compostela, the certificate of completion. 

    Arrow on the Camino de Santiago

    Do I have to train for the Camino de Santiago?

    While you don’t need to be an athlete, some training is highly recommended to prepare your body for the demands of the Camino. Here are a few tips:

    • Start walking: begin walking regularly at least three months before your departure. Make sure to gradually increase the distance. 
    • Train on different terrains: try to walk on a variety of terrains, including trails, hills and stairs, to mimic  the conditions you’ll face on the Camino.
    • Wear your gear: break in your walking shoes or boots and wear the clothes and gear you plan to take with you.

    If you have limited time, you can choose to walk a section of a longer route. For instance, many people walk the last 100 kilometers of the French Way from Sarria to Santiago, which takes about 5-7 days. This is the minimum distance required to earn the Compostela, the certificate of completion. 

    What do I wear for the Camino de Santiago?

    Packing the right clothing is essential for comfort and convenience. Here’s a basic packing list: 

    • Footwear: comfortable, broken-in hiking boots or shoes and a pair of sandals or flip-flops for evenings. Make sure that the shoes you use are shoes that you have used before. 
    • Clothing: lightweight, moisture-wicking layers. Include a few shirts, a pair or hiking boots and thermal layers for colder weather. 
    • Rain Gear: a good quality rain jacket and rain cover for your backpack.
    • Hat and sunglasses: to protect you from the sun.
    • Socks: good quality, moisture-wicking hiking socks.
    • Underwear: Lightweight and quick-drying.
    • Sleepwear: comfortable and suitable for different temperatures.

    What is a Credential?

    The pilgrim’s credential or “credencial” is an essential document for anyone walking the Camino de Santiago. It serves as a passport, identifying you as a pilgrim. You collect stamps (sellos) from churches, restaurants and cafés along the way.

    The credential can be obtained from various places, such as Camino associations or churches. if you book your Camino with us, we will provide it for you.

    Preparing for the Camino de Santiago involves more than just packing your bags. It’s about understanding your motivations, choosing the right route, training your body and making sure you have the right gear. By taking the time to prepare properly, you’ll be setting yourself up for a journey that is not only challenging but incredibly rewarding.

    ¡Buen Camino!

    Camino de Santiago planner

    Remember that as a Camino de Santiago Travel Agency we design tailor-made itineraries adapted to your needs, preferences and budget and we book all the services for you.

    Request your quote

      Travel Date?

      I Accept the Privacy Policy

      I want to receive news, exclusive content, commercial communications.


      - Data controller: Galiwonders, S.L.U.

      - Purpose: Manage subscriptions, sending communications, and data processing in accordance with the purposes indicated in our privacy policy.

      - Legitimation: consent of the interested parties

      - Destination: suppliers, partners and developers. Outside these fields, no data will be transferred to third parties, unless legally required.

      - Rights: access, rectify and delete data, as well as other rights, as explained in our privacy policy.

      Facebook-f Twitter Instagram Pinterest

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

      Solicita tu itinerario
      Rellena el formulario y recibirás el presupuesto en tu email en 24-48h.
      ×

      Atención comercial | Commercial Attention

      ×