Half of the pilgrims that walk the Camino de Santiago are women. Many of them walk alone. The routes of Saint James Way are World Heritage. All of them are a calm and safe path to any woman that decides to pack her suitcase and start to walk
The Camino is egalitarian
According to the data provided by the Pilgrim’s Reception Office in Santiago de Compostela every year, the Camino de Santiago became one attractive destination at the same level for women and men. Consequently, 2018 was the first occasion when the official routes got more female presence than masculine, fact that happened again in 2019. The feminist movement that year after year gets more strength seems to be also a good company for women during their pilgrimage.
In 2004, the first year with official data about the Camino de Santiago displayed at the webpage of the Pilgrim’s Office, 79,513 women (the 44.2% of all the pilgrims) decided to walk the Way, while there were 100,431 men. During the next years, the difference between both was even bigger until 2010. From this Jubilee Year, and taking away some exceptions, the distance between the number of women and men that decided to walk to Santiago was decreasing until 2018. Certainly, this was the first time that more women (164,836, the 50.35% of the total) than men (162,542) decided to live the experience of the Camino de Santiago.
The number of pilgrims that arrive in Santiago de Compostela experiment a gradual increase year by year. During the Jubilee Years, there is usually a big raise. In 2019, for example, 347,578 people arrived in Santiago. From all of them, 177,801 (51,15%) were women. This happens because the Camino de Santiago is believed to be a safe and relaxing activity, suitable for all ages and without gender discrimination. The rhythms depend on each person and it represents a unique opportunity to get to know oneself.
Are the routes of the Camino a safe place for women walking alone?
Yes, the Camino de Santiago is a safe option for those women that decide to go all over any of the official routes that arrive to Santiago de Compostela.
This kind of trip is characterized by the comradeship. For this reason, if you travel alone, it is easy to find people in the same situation as yours or groups of pilgrims with whom to share the experience. The others are an important support and everyone will respect your decision of walking or riding the bike alone. It can happen that you start the Way with the idea of finishing it just with yourself and that, in the end, you set up a nice group with whom to plan the stops.
The most important thing, anyway, it is to be comfortable with the company and that you enjoy this one-of-a kind experience. It doesn’t matter if you form a group with people following the same rhythm as yours or if you become friend with those you meet time to time at your accommodations. The affective bond established during the Camino generally lasts after the Way finishes.
The sign markers of the Ways, especially at the French Way, are updated and are easy to follow. Don’t be afraid of getting lost. In case you can’t find any of the arrows or scallop shell that indicate the path, the odds are that you find someone to whom you can ask. Otherwise, you can always call an emergency phone as the Police.
What can I do during the Camino de Santiago as a women traveling alone?
The opportunities of expending your free time during the Camino de Santiago depending on when you do it are assorted and are a matter of taste.
If you decide to do the Winter Way, it is very likely that it will be cold and you will find snow-covered landscapes. In fact, this is a version of the French Way that avoids stages as the one of O Cebreiro, that sometimes is closed during winter. This period tends to be less popular among the pilgrims and it is more difficult to find someone walking. The activities at the different places where the Camino pass are less in comparison with summer, but it is worth it if you want to enjoy some time with yourself and the winter landscapes.
From March to October there are more travelers on the Camino de Santiago routes. The most popular one is the French Way. If you are looking for loneliness and you want to run away from people, we recommend you to choose another Camino. During the hotter months it is difficult to find a room at the hostels of the French Way. In order to avoid this situation, the best option is to reserve in advance a place to stay. If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact us.
The hottest months are perfect to relax sitting at a terrace, eating an ice-cream or refreshing in a beach or river. If you decide to do the Portuguese Coastal Way, for example, you will enjoy the fantastic views to the Atlantic Ocean. Furthermore, in a lot of cities and villages the cultural offer is bigger than during winter. This makes easier that you can participate in outdoors activities: cinema, local celebrations, gastronomic events or concerts. A lot of times, it is possible to assist for free.
Women are ready to travel alone
According to the Spanish Travel Agency Confederation, 65% of the people that travel alone are women. This means that six or seven people out of ten that decide to set out on a trip with themselves, are women. The changes that are happening in the society produce more autonomy for women. Nowadays, they are not economically dependent on the father or the husband, as many years ago. The women study, work and travel without any need of asking for permission to anyone. They organize their life, they set their pace and they do it all without being afraid of loneliness.
Women that walk the Camino de Santiago without any company claim to feel safe and some of them repeat the experience. During the Way and as other travelers do, they meet people from all around the world with whom they get closer and become companions of the trip. Nevertheless, they don’t feel the pressure of hurrying up or going slower.
Some sociological studies conclude that women are less afraid of loneliness than men. In general, the females expend a great deal of time on social relations and doing activities that make them feel emotionally supported. Traveling alone increase the feeling of being capable of everything and gives you the strength to face new challenges. This feeling pushes women to repeat the experience.
Why is so important to travel alone?
People that travel alone are usually more resolute facing problems and they learn how to be more independent and self-sufficient.
Doing a trip in a totally unknown place and without any company can make you feel afraid at the beginning, but your self-confidence will be bigger once you finish it. And if that wasn’t enough, it will help you to overcome some of your fears. If you do the Winter Way, for example, it is easier that some of the days you don’t find any other walker. It is normal. This is one of the less known ways and it passes across small villages and places almost uninhabited. Don’t be afraid of being the only pilgrim.
Traveling alone gives you the opportunity to see the places you walk in a different way and it makes easier to expend energy in those activities you like more.
Your social capacity increases. When you begin a trip alone, you are more ready to start a conversation and make new friends. There are countless destinations where to go, from big cities to faraway small villages. Routes as the Camino de Santiago or Via Francigena mean a unique chance to find oneself thanks to the contact with nature and diverse cultures and both of them are safe.
This is a way to strengthen the women: they lose fears, gain confidence and feel stronger. Many of those who decide to travel alone claim that the world is a fantastic place and that everywhere it is possible to find nice people.
It is essential that you take care of yourself during the Camino. In other words, we advise you to choose appropriate clothes and shoes for walking and rest when your body needs it. As much in winter as in summer, keep hydrate and sleep enough. The important is not to arrive as soon as possible but to do it while enjoying the experience. The fact of doing the Camino alone allows you to plan the stages following your own rhythm. In Galiwonders, we organize tailored Camino de Santiago tours.
Even though most of the people you can find during the Camino are pilgrims, it is important to keep an eye on your belongings. If in any moment you need to do something and there is no place where to leave your stuff safe, ask someone to have a look on it. In general, there aren’t a lot of robberies during the Way, but it is always recommendable to take precautions. It is especially convenient to place the documents and the phone on a safe place.
Most of the pilgrims get up very early in the morning in order to arrive around midday to the next stop. We advise you to walk the kilometres of every stage during the light hours. Some of the stretch of the Camino de Santiago go across unpaved roads or in the middle of the forest, so there is not lighting and you would depend on a lantern.
Lastly, don’t be afraid of asking for help. There are always pilgrims doing a similar route as yours and they will help you anytime you need it. In other words: even if you travel alone, you are part of the community that does the Camino de Santiago.