Recommendations and advice for the Camino de Santiago
Many of the pilgrims who contact us ask us for advice and recommendations for the Camino de Santiago. For all of them, we have decided to write this article in which we include the most important tips to enjoy the experience of doing the Camino de Santiago.
Most of the tips and recommendations we give you in this blog post are not big secrets. But if you take them into account, both when preparing your pilgrimage and during your stay on the Camino de Santiago, you will surely have a much more pleasant and enriching experience.
Preparing for the journey
There are many pilgrims who set out to do the Camino de Santiago without planning anything. That’s an option, but if you spend some time before organizing the experience, you’ll find a Camino de Santiago that will offer you exactly what you were looking for. Here are some tips for the Camino de Santiago, related to trip planning.
Don’t wait to do the Camino de Santiago
This is one of the main pieces of advice that should be taken by all those people who want to do the Camino de Santiago, but who for one reason or another, never end up doing it. More than a tip for the Camino de Santiago, it is a recommendation for life.
Do you want to do the Camino de Santiago from Sarria? On this route you can soak in the essence of the Camino through the green forests of Galicia and with the opportunity to meet other pilgrims. Tell us when you want to travel and let us take care of things.
If you are attracted to the experience, do not wait for the right time, nor to have a full month of holiday to do the Camino de Santiago. You can live the pilgrim experience in 1 day, in 5, or in 20, all options are valid.
If you like the experience, you can always come back another time. The Camino de Santiago, unlike other destinations, is a place which people get hooked to, and therefore it is common to find pilgrims who have completed various pilgrimage routes.
Another issue that slows people down when it comes to embarking on some pilgrim route is company. There are ways to find people to walk with on the Camino de Santiago, but you can also do it alone, with friends, as a couple or as a family. You can even come with your dog.
If you don’t dare go solo and can’t find anyone who wants to go with you, find out about organized groups. They are an excellent option to make friends, and to enjoy the Camino de Santiago with a guide.
Recommendations on the Camino de Santiago routes
Choosing the route of the Camino de Santiago that you are going to make is a key point for your pilgrimage. You will hear many tips and recommendations on what is the best route on the Camino de Santiago, however you should choose it based on what you are looking for and your physical abilities.
Below, we provide you with a list of the main pilgrim routes and the recommendations we make on each of them, depending on the characteristics of the pilgrims. Take note!
El Camino Frances
The Camino Frances is the ideal route for those pilgrims looking to make friends during the tour, as it is the most popular. We also recommend doing the Camino Frances to those who want to enjoy the Camino de Santiago as a wine tasting route, as it crosses two of the most important wine regions of Spain: La Rioja and Ribera del Duero. You can find out more about this itinerary in our guide to the Camino Frances.
The Camino Portugues Central route
The Camino Portugues Central route is recommended to all those pilgrims who seek to have the experience of doing the Camino de Santiago, without too much effort, and who are also attracted to Portugal. It is also one of the routes we advise to do the Camino de Santiago by bike.
The Camino Portugues Coastal route
The Camino Portugues Coastal route, like the Central Route, is one of the most recommended for cycling. We always advise to do this route in summer, as it runs along the Atlantic coast of Portugal and allows you to enjoy the sea. You can find out more about the two Portuguese paths in the post we dedicate to the Camino Portugues.
The Camino del Norte
The Camino del Norte is ideal during the summer, as it allows you to escape the crowds experienced on the Camino Frances during the months of July and August. It also allows you to enjoy the Cantabrian coast.
Our advice when doing the Camino del Norte is always that you train before starting your pilgrimage. This route is considered the second most difficult route and faces frequent slopes. To learn more about its stages, see the article we dedicated to it, also called the Ruta del Norte.
The Camino Ingles
When someone contacts us and tells us that they only have a few days to do the Camino de Santiago, we always advise them on this route. In 5 days, you can live the experience of completing a complete section. If you want, you can learn more about its stages in the post we dedicate, in our blog, to the stages on the Camino Ingles.
The Camino Primitivo
The Camino Primitivo is the route that we always recommend to those people who are looking for a physical challenge, since it is the most complicated itinerary. On this route we always highlight two tips: do not do it in winter and if you are going to do the Camino de Santiago Primitivo by bike, take a good mountain bike with you.
The Camino Olvidado
The Camino Olvidado is a route unknown to many pilgrims. It is the route that we recommend to those people who have already done the Camino de Santiago before and who are looking for alternative routes. You can find out more about this tour in our guide to the Camino Olvidado.
La Via de la Plata
La Via de la Plata is a very long route, therefore it is ideal for cycling if you have enough days to do the Camino de Santiago. However, we always remind pilgrims that in summer the temperatures on this route are very high.
This route has several sections. One of them is the Camino Mozarabe, a little-travelled route that crosses cities such as Granada and Cordoba. In the north it has a variant, known as the Camino Sanabres, this tour we always recommend it to pilgrims who want to avoid the final stages of the Camino Frances.
Tips about luggage on the Camino de Santiago
This is, perhaps, one of the most controversial topics on the whole trip. At this point, we give you two fundamental tips, think carefully if you want to carry your backpack during the Camino de Santiago and, if you do, carefully choose what to bring.
About your accommodation
If you do the Camino de Santiago during the summer, we recommend booking accommodation to avoid an unnecessary rush and early morning starts, especially if you travel on the Camino Frances. Otherwise, you risk having to walk extra distances in search of a place to sleep.
Get ready for the experience
Prepare yourself both physically and spiritually, so that you can enjoy your days on the Camino de Santiago much more.
Another piece of advice we usually give to pilgrims to enjoy the trip even more is to research and document the experience they are about to have. It is highly recommended that you first read up on the history of the Camino de Santiago, who Santiago the Apostle was, and what the meaning of Ultreia is – the greeting on the Camino.
The Camino de Santiago is an ancient route that hides many legends and curiosities, as well as having a great deal of heritage.
You can find more information on our Camino de Santiago blog and discover other important items of interest.
Advice for your days on the Camino de Santiago
In the previous section we have given you some advice on how to organize your Camino de Santiago. In this section, we want to dedicate it to recommendations that will make your passage along the Camino de Santiago an unforgettable experience.
If you get lost, don’t despair.
Getting lost on the route isn’t easy. However, it is very likely that at some point you will stop seeing the symbols on the Camino de Santiago and you may be overwhelmed by doubts. In the face of such situations, we give you two tips to keep you from despairing:
• At junctions without signs, always continue straight ahead.
• Ask. People who live near the Camino de Santiago know, perfectly, where the route passes. They’ll be happy to help you.
If for whatever reason, you find no indications, or anyone to ask, our advice is to go back on your steps. You may have gone off the road and in that case, it is best to apply the following Chinese proverb:
“It’s better to go back than get lost on the road”
Respect your rhythm
The average number of kilometres on the Camino de Santiago is 20 or 25. However, this is only an indicative figure, if you consider that for your physical condition to travel that distance is a great effort, simply plan shorter stages.
Another important issue is rhythm. Whether you’re walking or cycling, don’t force your own rhythm. Sometimes, by being accompanied or having a conversation with another pilgrim you will see yourself speeding up your pace. It is not recommended at all, as it is easy to end the day with tendinitis.
The best way to enjoy the Camino de Santiago is by stopping regularly. Many people say they prefer not to do this because that’s not how their bodies cool down.
However, you should know that the Camino de Santiago crosses places full of charm and landscapes of a singular beauty. Taking some time to enjoy the surroundings will not only make the tour more enjoyable, but the experience much more enriching.
This article has been dedicated to general recommendations on the Camino de Santiago. However, if you want to dig deeper, you can check out this article where we give you some tricks on how to use our advice on the Camino de Santiago.
Finally, one last tip, if you want to do the Camino de Santiago with the help of specialized agency, call us or write to us on our Facebook! We are the biggest lovers of the Camino de Santiago.