The Camino de Santiago for people with reduced mobility
Thanks to the constant work of recovery along pilgrim routes, today it is possible to do the Camino de Santiago in a wheelchair or with reduced mobility. While it is true that not all layouts are adapted, the Camino Frances is possible to do in a wheelchair.
In this blog post, we want to dedicate it to all those people who do not place limits on their life and who despite the challenges that come with doing the Camino de Santiago in a wheelchair, want to live the experience of pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Here are some tips to prepare the Camino de Santiago in a wheelchair, and we will tell you about the sections that are adapted.
We recommend starting on the Camino de Santiago from Sarria. If you are interested in carrying it out and need help with the organization of the trip, leave your details and we will contact you to make it happen.
Tips for preparing the Camino de Santiago in a wheelchair
Doing the Camino de Santiago is a very personal option. Each person sets his or her own physical and life goals. In the case of pilgrims who are in a wheelchair on the Camino de Santiago, it is no different.
Everyone faces adversity for which it is advisable to prepare, scheduling the trip well in advance. Here are some tips that may be helpful if you’re preparing to do the Camino de Santiago in a wheelchair.
A medical examination is always advisable
Getting a medical examination before testing your body, it is always advisable for all pilgrims. But it is even more so for the elderly or with some kind of health problem.
In the case of wheelchair pilgrims, it is also recommended that they consult with their doctor about the challenge they intend to take. He will be the one who can best advise you on what kind of efforts you can make and what steps you must take to do the Camino de Santiago without putting your health at risk.
Training is needed
To all pilgrims who ask us how to prepare for the Camino de Santiago, we always recommend the same: “train”. Wheelchair users should also have the right physique to cope with the effort that requires pilgrimage.
Like those on foot, we recommend that you start training at least 3 months before. You should increase the distances you travel little by little.
Do not forget that on the Camino de Santiago you will find all kinds of paths. Therefore, do not train only on smooth and good trails. Also take tours on paths and gravel roads. Then you will prepare to cross with your wheelchair, the different sections that you will find on the Camino de Santiago.
Take spare wheelchair parts on the Camino de Santiago
The large number of kilometres you will travel, as well as the poor state of the surface on some sections, can cause some of the pieces of your wheelchair to deteriorate. Since these are very specific parts that are not easy to get in any store, ideally you should carry spare parts with you.
A handbike can make the journey much easier
If your challenge is to make the Camino de Santiago with your usual wheelchair, go ahead! You won’t be the first or the last pilgrim to do it.
However, some people choose to do the Camino de Santiago using a handbike as they demand less effort. It’s your choice!
Come with company to the Camino de Santiago if you go in a wheelchair
Although much of the Camino Frances is adapted, it is not 100% accessible. Therefore, at some point you will have to face stretches that are complicated and in which you will want to have help.
It is also advisable to have a support car. So if at some point of the tour, if you feel exhausted or find a stretch with difficult access, which you have not foreseen, you will be able to resort to it.
Use a baggage transport service
Doing the Camino de Santiago in a wheelchair is already a big enough challenge to make it even more complicated. Our advice is to have a Camino de Santiago luggage transfer service between stages. In this article we tell you how they work.
It is possible that at this point of the article you are thinking that you want to do the Camino de Santiago like all pilgrims, carrying your backpack with you. Nothing is further from reality, because more and more people are turning to this type of service to avoid joint injuries or to simply enjoy the tour more freely.
To prepare your backpack for the Camino de Santiago, you can consult this blog post, in which we provide you with a list with everything you need. Of course, don’t forget to include your documentation and disability certificate. It’s also important to wear gloves to prevent chafing or the appearance of calluses on your hands.
Avoid winter and rain if you go to the Camino de Santiago in a wheelchair
In winter, it is usual to find some ice at the highest points on the route, so the difficulty of the tour increases. The same is true in the rainy months. The best time is spring and summer.
On the Camino de Santiago you will find a wide range of accommodation. You don’t necessarily have to use the public hostel network.
While it is true that pilgrims who do the Camino de Santiago in a wheelchair have preference when accessing the beds of public hostels, it is also true that not all are accessible. Our recommendation is that you book your accommodation in advance and make sure they have 100% accessible facilities.
Pay close attention to traffic
It is very likely that in many points of the Camino de Santiago you will have to follow the route that bikegrims take. In most cases, these alternative layouts run along the road.
It is very important that in these sections you pay special attention to traffic. You should also be especially cautious at all those points where the Camino de Santiago crosses the road.
The Camino Frances in a wheelchair
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, the most accessible route of the Camino de Santiago is the Camino Frances. You can do the whole route in a wheelchair, however, not the whole route is 100% accessible.
There are pilgrims who have completed the Camino Frances from Roncesvalles to Compostela. To do this they have had to deviate many times on the road, but they have succeeded. Therefore, doing the Camino de Santiago Frances completely in a wheelchair is possible.
However, the accessibility guide developed by Predif (state representative platform for people with physical disabilities), in collaboration with the ONCE and Vodafone Foundations, covers only from Redecilla del Camino to Santiago de Compostela.
The route divides into 40 sections and is classified according to whether the sections are suitable, practicable or unfit. The suitable sections are accessible, while in the kilometres classified as practicable, it is recommended that there be a companion who can help you along the route.
If you want to start the tour from before Redecilla del Camino, you can consult our guide to the Camino Frances. In it, in the comments section, we usually indicate whether the stage is suitable for cyclists and for people with reduced mobility.
Begin preparing the Camino…
Now that you know that doing the Camino de Santiago in a wheelchair is possible, get down to business and don’t wait any longer to embark on the adventure. If you want, you can consult this guide on how to prepare the Camino de Santiago, to start organizing everything.
However, remember that if you want to have the support of an agency of the Camino de Santiago that supports you in the organization of your pilgrimage, do not hesitate to contact us. You can call us, leave us a comment at the end of this post or write to us on our official Facebook page.
Our team will be in charge of booking accessible accommodation for you and will advise you on everything you need to do the Camino de Santiago in a wheelchair. In addition, during the tour you will have a telephone contact and a support car, in case of emergencies.