Information regarding the Camino de Santiago
In Santiago Ways, as a specialized travel agency on the Camino, we are accustomed to receiving questions about the Camino de Santiago. Many people have already completed the Camino in their lives and are happier because they had a lot of information to help them.
However, those who do the Camino de Santiago for the first time have many doubts, especially foreigners. If you are not Spanish, we recommend that you start by reading this article about the Camino de Santiago for foreigners, So that you’ll get an idea of what this adventure is all about.
To resolve all your doubts about the Camino de Santiago, we have developed these 7 blocks of questions. Although these are not all the questions asked by the pilgrims who travel with us, they are the most frequent ones.
Next, we provide you with all the information on the Camino de Santiago. Take your time to read it and resolve all your doubts.
FAQs vol.1: Basic questions about the Camino de Santiago
To follow, we will answer some basic questions about the Camino de Santiago. Read the related articles to learn more about each topic.
What is the Camino de Santiago?
The Camino de Santiago is a collection of ways, known as pilgrim routes. They all lead to the tomb of Santiago the Elder, and found in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. If you want to know more about the legend of this martyr, consult the story of the life of Santiago the Elder.
Why do people do the Camino de Santiago?
The origins of the Camino de Santiago date back to the 9th century, when the remains of Santiago the Apostle were discovered. From that moment pilgrims began to walk on the Camino de Santiago to receive the favours of the saint. If you want to know more details about the history of the Camino de Santiago, from its origins to the present day, do not forget to read the related article.
At present, the pilgrims who do the Camino de Santiago, do it for very diverse motivations, besides the religious ones. Sports, spiritual and tourist motivations move many pilgrims along the various routes. If you want, discover all types of motivating reasons to do the Camino de Santiago in this article.
How many Caminos de Santiago are there?
There are many routes to Santiago, it is actually a network of roads. There are many roads all over Europe. However, the most popular ones are those that run through Spain and Portugal, since they are the ones that lead directly to the Apostle’s tomb.
The Camino Frances, Primitivo, North, the Camino Ingles and the Vía de la Plata are the most popular roads in Spain. In Portugal, it’s the Central road and the coastal route. Every Camino de Santiago has its own origin and characteristics. If you want to know more about them, consult our articles: “Characteristics of the routes a Santiago” and “Origin of the routes on the Camino de Santiago”.
How many times can you do the Camino de Santiago?
As many times as you want. There are so many sections where you can experience different experiences on the Camino de Santiago. Many pilgrims make the Camino de Santiago on more than one occasion throughout their lives.
FAQs vol.2. Doubts about the routes on the Camino
We will now solve some frequent doubts about the route of the Camino de Santiago. Read the related articles for more information about the Camino.
How many kilometres are there on the Camino de Santiago?
The pilgrim network crosses enormous distances and every route of the Camino de Compostela has a distinct distance. In Spain the longest Camino is the Via de la Plata, at 960 kilometres; followed by the Camino del Norte, at 833.1 km.
Then follows the Camino Frances, at 763.5 kilometres; Camino Primitivo, 316.2 km and, finally, the Camino Ingles, the shortest, at 122.3 km. In Portugal, the Central Camino de Santiago has a distance of 681.9 km and the coastal route, 265 km.
Where does the Camino de Santiago start?
Each route on the Camino de Santiago starts at a different point. The Camino Frances in Saint Jean Pied de Port (France), the Camino del Norte in Irún, the Camino Primitivo in Oviedo, the Camino Ingles in Ferrol and the Vía de la Plata in Seville. In Portugal, the Camino Central starts in Lisbon and the coastal route in Oporto.
However, pilgrims join the Camino de Santiago at any point on the route. There are some places that without being at the beginning of the Camino de Santiago, are popular starting points. An example is the Camino Frances from Sarria.
How many stages does the Camino de Santiago have?
It would be impossible to say how many stages the Camino de Santiago has, as they depend on whether the Camino de Santiago is done on foot, by bicycle or on horseback. The usual thing is to do approximately 20 kilometeres on foot and about 50, by bicycle per stage.
From there, the altitude on the stages and the pilgrim’s condition lead us to divide the route into more or fewer stages. However, the Camino de Santiago agencies recommend some classical stages.
According to our guide on the Camino de Santiago, the different routes would have the following number of stages: Camino del Norte (34), Camino Frances (33), Camino Portugues (Central) (28), Camino Primitivo (14), Camino Portugues coastal route (12) and Camino Ingles (5).
FAQS vol.3. Questions about planning the Camino de Santiago
We will then solve some frequently asked questions about the planning of the Camino de Santiago. Open the linked articles to learn more about each point.
What is the best time of year to do the Camino de Santiago?
The Camino de Santiago can be done at any time of the year. The decision depends on the experience you are looking for; each season has its own wonders.
In summer , Temperatures tend to be quite high for walking in the sun, especially in August. However, it is the season in which more pilgrims do the Camino de Santiago.
Doing the Camino de Santiago in winter is possible. However, caution should be taken on the high mountain stages because, on some routes, there may be snow.
Autumn and spring are considered the best time to do the Camino de Santiago because the temperatures are milder. The downside is that the risk of rain is higher.
How long does it take to do the Camino de Santiago?
As with the number of stages, the time to complete the Camino de Santiago is relative. It depends on where the experience begins and whether it is done on foot or on horseback.
You can spend more than a month walking, if you do the complete Camino Frances, for example. And about 15 days, if you do it on a bicycle.
However, there are many other routes to Santiago which can be completed in less than a week. If you want to know more about this topic consult our article “How much time do you need to do the Camino de Santiago?”.
How do I prepare myself for the Camino de Santiago?
It is recommendable to prepare yourself physically and mentally to do the Camino de Santiago. In this article, you will find some recommendations to do so.
You will also need to prepare your things for the Camino de Santiago. In this article, we give you some advice about how to prepare your baggage and in this one, a list of things to bring on the Camino.
Where can I sleep on the Camino de Santiago? Do I have to reserve?
You can sleep in hostels on the pilgrim network or in private accommodation (other types of hostels, hotels, pensions, rural houses, etc.). With the hostels on the pilgrim network, you cannot book in advance. In the rest, yes.
We always work with booked reservations, to ensure that pilgrims who travel with Santiago Ways find everything ready at the end of the stage. However, it is not mandatory to pre-book, but you risk having trouble finding accommodation in high season.
What services can I contract on the Camino de Santiago?
The travel agencies specializing in the Camino de Santiago, like us, offer many services aimed at facilitating your pilgrimage. They make the Camino de Santiago more comfortable and safe. If you want to know more how the travel agencies on the Camino de Santiago work, in the link, you will find more information.
Some services that you can hire to make the Camino de Santiago are the management of accommodation, the transfer at the beginning of the route, backpack transfer service between stages, car assistance and insurance management. We also offer travel services on the Camino de Santiago for organized groups and guided assistance.
How much does it cost to do the Camino de Santiago?
Doing the Camino de Santiago is free, you don’t have to pay any kind of entrance to go on the route. However, there are other basic expenses associated with the pilgrimage, such as the journey to the beginning of the Camino, eating and sleeping.
The money that is needed to do the Camino de Santiago can be quite variable. It depends on where you decide to sleep on the Camino de Santiago, the type of place you choose to eat and whether you organize it on your own or with a specialized agency on the Camino de Santiago.
On our website, you can consult the cost of going on the Camino de Santiago with our travel agency. You can also read our article on the cost of doing the Camino, If you want more details about the budget you will need to do the Camino de Santiago.
What do I need to do to go on the Camino de Santiago?
Which Camino de Santiago is the most beautiful?
There is no way to Santiago prettier than another. All the pilgrim routes have their charm. The answer depends, to a large extent, on whether you prefer the sea or mountains.
How do I do the Camino de Santiago? On foot or by bike?
Both ways are valid. You should keep in mind that these are two different experiences. If you do the Camino de Santiago by bike you will have less chance of interacting with other pilgrims, but you advance faster than if you make the Camino de Santiago on foot.
Can I take my dog with me on the Camino de Santiago?
Yes, many pilgrims do the Camino de Santiago with their dog. If you are one of them, do not miss our recommendations on taking your dog on the Camino de Santiago.
What can you do or visit on the Camino de Santiago?
The Camino de Santiago is full of places of architectural and artistic interest. You will also find archaeological sites and remains. And, of course, charming villages and lots of nature. If you want to know more about what you can do on your tour, check out this article about activities on the Camino de Santiago.
FAQs vol.4. Safety and hygiene worries
Here are some common health and safety questions on the Camino de Santiago. See the links to delve into each issue.
¿Is the Camino de Santiago unsafe?
The Camino de Santiago is not dangerous; you can travel without any problem. Still, keep the security measures you apply in your daily life: do not go up to stranger’s vehicles, take care in cities, etc.
During the route, it is important to take care of your belongings, although thefts are not very common. Also, avoid walking at night to prevent you from getting disorientated and getting lost.
Are the hostels clean on the Camino de Santiago?
There’s a bit of everything. Some are impeccable and others are not as clean as they should be. Think that every day hundreds of pilgrims pass through them.
Are there bedbugs on the Camino de Santiago?
Yes, unfortunately. Bedbugs arrived in 2005 and since then it has been impossible to eradicate them. Although the hostels fumigate, the continuous passage of pilgrims brings them back. There are not many bedbugs, but they are there.
Do I run the risk of an animal attack?
No, you’re not likely to be attacked by any big animals. Most of the animals you will find on your tour are farm animals. However, you may be able to suffer some insect bites (bees, mosquitoes, bedbugs, etc.).
Is it easy to get lost on the Camino de Santiago?
No, it’s not easy, but it’s not impossible either. There are few pilgrims who are lost on the Camino de Santiago. The yellow arrows and scallop shells will indicate the route almost permanently.
In this guide on recommendations on doing the Camino de Santiago for the first time, Among other tips, we explain in more detail how to orient you on the Camino de Santiago. We also tell you what to do if you get lost.
Where should I take care on the Camino de Santiago?
During the tour, you should pay special attention to the sections that run by roads or when you have to cross them. Unstable ascents and descents can also be dangerous, as it is easy to suffer a fall and injure yourself.
Is it safe to go alone on the Camino de Santiago?
Yes. Many pilgrims go to the Camino de Santiago alone. As it is such a spiritual experience they especially enjoy going alone. On the other hand, it’s easy to make friends on the Camino de Santiago.
The main precaution you should apply if you think about going alone on the Camino de Santiago, is walking when the rest of the pilgrims do it, and avoid staying alone on the roads. On high mountain stages, it is advisable to walk with other pilgrims, especially if there is bad weather.
You should know that if you want to do the Camino de Santiago and do not want to go alone, you can join an organized group. In this article, we tell you some of the advantages in doing the Camino de Santiago in an organised group.
FAQs vol.5. Information on the difficulty of the route
Here we answer some questions about how difficult the Camino de Santiago is. See the related articles to find out more about each topic.
Is the Camino de Santiago hard to do?
It depends on which route of the Camino de Santiago you are going to do; it can be more or less hard. Your physical condition is also influential when assessing whether a route is hard or not. It is often said that the Camino Primitivo is the hardest, followed by the Camino del Norte.
Which is the easiest Camino de Santiago?
The routes on the Camino de Santiago that run through Portugal are considered the easiest. Both the Central Camino Portugues and the Camino Portugues coastal route are very easy, as they have barely any climbs.
I haven’t trained, can I still do the Camino de Santiago?
It is advisable to train previously. However, if you have not prepared physically you can start the Camino de Santiago doing the first shortest stages until your body is accustomed to physical activity. Avoid the unevenness in these early stages and choose one of the easiest routes to Santiago.
Is Camino de Santiago apt for kids?
Of course. Many families do the Camino de Santiago with young children. Read our article on the Camino de Santiago with the family if you want more information.
I’m over 60, can I do the Camino de Santiago?
This is a very common question. However, every year we see many people over 60 years’ old who make the Camino de Santiago and enjoy it to the fullest.
Age is not an inconvenience, although depending on your physical condition, you will have to plan the route in one way or another. If you want you can see this article about tips on how to do the Camino de Santiago with minimum effort.
FAQs vol.6. Worries about the experience on the Camino
Next, we answer some basic questions about the experience of doing the Camino de Santiago. Open the links to get more information.
Will doing the Camino de Santiago change my life?
No one could answer that question. What is true is that many people who do the Camino de Santiago say that their vision of the world has changed after the experience. There are many lessons that pilgrims take from the Camino de Santiago.
Will I make new friends?
Yes, unless you strive not to make them or decide to do the Camino de Santiago in winter when the pilgrim route is practically deserted. For the rest of the year, it will be very easy to make new friends.
If I don’t speak another language, will I get bored?
No! No matter what your mother tongue is, you will always find pilgrims with the same origin. However, given the international character of the Camino de Santiago, people make a huge effort to communicate, not even speaking the same language.
FAQs vol.7. Other questions on the Camino de Santiago
Next, we resolve other questions related to the Camino de Santiago. Check the links if you want more information.
What is the pilgrims credential?
It is the card that you will have to use to put on the stamps if you want to get the Compostela. It is also necessary to sleep on the network of hostels on the Camino de Santiago. If you want to know more, check out the following article on the pilgrim’s credential.
What do I have to do to when I arrive in Santiago de Compostela?
It’s usual to ask for the Compostela when you arrive. To do this you must have travelled a minimum of 100 km on foot or 200 kilometres if you are cycling. It is also a tradition to attend the Pilgrim Mass at the Cathedral of Santiago.
Then you’ll have time to visit the city. See this small guide on Santiago de Compostela , if you want to know what to visit in the capital of Compostela.
These are the most common questions among people who launch themselves on the adventure of doing the Camino de Santiago for the first time. You see that in our blog on the Camino we have a lot of information about it. We hope it will be useful to you.
Take the road to Santiago! And do not forget to contact us, if you decide to hire a service during your tour!