The Camino de Santiago for the older generation
On many occasions, pensioners and the older generation turn to us to ask if with their age we recommend doing the Camino de Santiago. The answer is always the same, and we have already said it many times in our blog: “The Camino de Santiago is a route that adapts to all kinds of people, adults, young people and is even suitable to go with babies”.
We know that the elderly, especially pensioners, are the ones who have the most free time to escape and do the Camino de Santiago. That’s why we want to dedicate this blog post to them.
Next, we will explain, in great detail, why the Camino de Santiago is a route suitable for seniors and pensioners. Don’t think about it anymore and take advantage of your free time to embark on the adventure. You’re never too old to live new experiences!
Is there a maximum age to do the Camino de Santiago?
No, there is no maximum age to do the Camino de Santiago, nor even a maximum recommended age. While it is true that the Pilgrim’s Office gives an orientation on the minimum age for pilgrimage, which is given as the age of 3, since it is when children start walking, the same is not true with the maximum age.
There are pensioners and older people who are in better physical shape than many young people. Therefore, it would be impossible to establish a recommendation on the maximum recommended age to do the Camino de Santiago.
The Camino de Santiago has several routes and countless sections, and the intensity of the route can be adapted to each person. Therefore, it is an experience that is suitable for everyone, including the elderly.
If you have already been convinced to make a pilgrimage to Compostela, we recommend you to do the Camino de Santiago from Sarria. If you need help with planning your trip, let us know your dates and we organize the whole adventure for you.
Senior citizens on the Camino de Santiago
Increasingly, people reach retirement age in very good physical and health conditions. This allows them to enjoy, at that stage of life, the free time and live many of the experiences that have been delayed for years, due to work and family obligations.
Contrary to what many think, doing the Camino de Santiago is also a trip suitable for pensioners. More and more people decide to do the Camino de Santiago having passed 65 years.
If you look at the statistics from the Pilgrim’s Office, you can see that in the last year, almost 2 out of 10 pilgrims who applied for Compostela, were 60 years of age or older. That means it’s common for the older generation to embark on the adventure of doing the Camino de Santiago.
Some do complete routes and spend months on the Camino de Santiago. Others choose to do only the minimum 100 kilometres needed to apply for the Compostela, if going on foot, or the 200 kilometres required, if going by bike.
Next we want to share with you some of the consultations that pensioners often make about the Camino de Santiago. As you can see, many of the queries are largely fears and uncertainties.
I am over 65 years old, is the Camino de Santiago recommended?
Age should not be an impediment to doing the Camino de Santiago. More than age, the important thing is to evaluate the physical conditions of each person.
Only then will you be able to plan the route properly and choose a path that does not involve excessive physical effort. This recommendation applies to both elderly and young pilgrims.
I am older and I am not very good health, but I want to do the Camino de Santiago
Health can be a barrier when it comes to doing the Camino de Santiago. If you have serious health problems, such as heart problems, osteoarthritis, etc., it is imperative that you check with your doctor.
Your doctor will be the one with the last word. He should advise you on what physical intensity is advisable for you, as well as what recommendations to follow.
I am an older person and I cannot find anyone to do the Camino de Santiago with
Doing the Camino de Santiago alone can be a very rewarding experience. However, if given your advanced age, you don’t want to take any chances, there are other options.
One of them is to join the groups to do the Camino de Santiago. The only drawback with this option is that you will have to keep up with the group and therefore, you will be able to adapt the route much less. However, they are usually groups that maintain a moderate walking pace, tending to be smooth.
Another option is to find pilgrims to make the journey together. In this blog article, we recommend some strategies to look for companions to do the Camino de Santiago who, like you, do not want to start the adventure alone.
I’m not in physical shape or I walk very slowly
The Camino de Santiago is not a competition. Each pilgrim must set his or her own pace and the distance they will travel at each stage. This applies both to young people who want to do the Camino de Santiago, as well as for pensioners.
Therefore, it doesn’t matter if you walk slowly, or don’t want to complete long distances every day, design the route according to your possibilities. The challenge is with yourself.
I’ve never been walking and I’m not used to walking
Most pilgrims, both young and old people, who come to do the Camino de Santiago have no experience in walking this type of route. The secret is to train in advance or design a pilgrimage according to your possibilities.
Many of the pensioners who have contacted us with this type of consultation, have managed to finish the Camino de Santiago without any problems. Moreover, many have become so hooked on the experience, they have even done other pilgrim routes.
Tips for pensioners who want to do the Camino de Santiago
All of the above does not mean that you set out to do the Camino de Santiago regardless of your physical and health conditions. It’s always convenient to follow some of the following recommendations, especially if you’re older. Here’s some precautions to follow:
Visit your doctor
Having a medical check-up before doing the Camino de Santiago is always convenient for both pensioners and young people. In this way, you can assess what physical condition your body is in.
Begin training 90 days before
If you’re an elderly person who isn’t used to exercising, you may want to start training at least 90 days before. In this way, you will be able to prepare your body gradually, to resist the physical effort that requires pilgrimage.
This advice is given to all pilgrims, but in the case of pensioners who want to do the Camino de Santiago is even more important. In fact, training previously will serve you not only to prepare you to do the Camino de Santiago, but also to abandon the sedentary life that many elderly people lead.
Choose a route that’s right for you
Because older people have more joint problems or are more sensitive to injury, we recommend that you don’t choose a route with hard slopes. Unless, of course, you’re used to mountain walking.
The Camino de Santiago is a wide network of paths where you can find all kinds of routes. Check the map of the Camino de Santiago to learn more about the difficulty of the different pilgrim sections.The Camino de Santiago routes from Portugal are two of the simplest, because they face very few slopes. The Camino Portugues Coastal Route, in particular, is an ideal route for seniors.
This coastal path runs mostly along boardwalks, which prevent you from having to face unstable or stony terrain, where you are more likely to suffer some kind of fall.
The Camino Frances is also an excellent option for seniors. This is the pilgrim itinerary which has more services and infrastructure and, therefore, it will be much easier to adapt the route to your physical conditions.
You can consult the guide to the Camino Frances, with the most relevant information about the French route.
Avoid the hottest season
Older people are more susceptible to heat stroke and are also the ones who have the most time and flexibility to do the Camino de Santiago. Therefore, avoid summer (July and August).
Spring is an excellent time of year to do the Camino de Santiago, but you can also opt for other months of the year. Check out the article that we dedicate to the weather and climate on the Camino de Santiago, to know what atmospheric conditions you will find on each of the pilgrim routes, depending on the time of year.
Don’t carry your luggage
At a certain age, completing the Camino de Santiago is enough of a challenge. You don’t need to make more of an effort than is necessary, carrying your backpack. That doesn’t make you any less a pilgrim!
The backpack transport services on the Camino de Santiago, will allow you to make your pilgrimage comfortably, without adding extra weight onto your joints. Check out the post we dedicate to this type of service to know in more detail how they work.
Put yourself in the hands of professionals
Even if you are an elderly person you can do the Camino de Santiago on your own. But if you do not want to risk injuries and want to be able to rely on certain comforts that guarantee that your pilgrimage will be a success, we recommend that you put yourself in the hands of professionals, like us.
In Santiago Ways, we can advise you on how to plan the Camino de Santiago according to your age and your physical condition, designing totally personalized stages for you. In addition, we will manage the reservation for your accommodation, so that you can enjoy a full and complete rest, and transfer your luggage between stages.
We will also provide you with a support phone number, on which we will advise you throughout the tour, a support car, which will assist you in case of emergency, and insurance in case of an accident.
If you want to know more about the advantages of going on the Camino de Santiago with the support of an agency specialized in pilgrim routes, you can consult this article from our blog. Or, if you prefer, you can call us, leave us a comment at the end of this post or write to us on our Facebook page, our team will tell you all the details and resolve all your doubts.
Success stories of pensioners and seniors on the Camino de Santiago
If everything we have told you does not just convince you that even if you are more than 65 years old, you can do the Camino de Santiago, we want to tell you three stories that show that it is possible. There is no maximum age to make the Camino de Santiago.
82 years and counting
Michel Crochet is an 82-year-old retiree who has done the Camino de Santiago, no more and no less than 14 times. This pilgrim started on the Camino de Santiago at the age of 62 and has since visited the pilgrim routes almost annually.
From Santiago Ways we congratulate you, because Michel Crochet is undoubtedly a perfect example of self-management and living life without limits. You can find out more about his exploits in this interview.
Seniors on wheels doing the the Camino de Santiago
The story of this group of friends is no less fascinating. This group of pensioners, aged 61 to 69, have decided to do the Camino de Santiago by bike. And we do not refer to a walk, the group left Tarragona with the aim of completing 1,200 kilometres.
You can read the full story of these energetic pensioners and their philosophy of life in this article from Radio Camino. They are proof that age and adventures are not at odds.
Retired and at his own pace, with Santiago Ways
You may also be interested in learning the history of this retired pilgrim who decided to trust us to help him complete the Camino Frances at his own pace. Gradually, and in sections, this adventurer completed the entire route.And with these three inspiring stories we say goodbye. We hope that everything we have explained in this article will encourage you to do the Camino de Santiago even if you are a senior, you will see that when you arrive on the pilgrim route you will find many other pensioners like you.