Group travel on the Camino de Santiago
In another article on our blog we told you what it means to make organized trips to the Camino de Santiago and this time, we want to talk about a subject that we had left out: doing the Camino de Santiago in an organized group with a guide. An excellent choice for many pilgrims.
If you don’t want do the Camino de Santiago alone, if you are a foreigner and prefer to have a guide to help you understand the local culture or simply if you travel to Compostela with your family, friends or partner, doing the tour in an organized group is one of the many forms of pilgrimage that exist on the pilgrim route. Do you feel like making your pilgrimage in a group?
Here, we tell you how these types of trips work and we talk about some advantages of having the services of a guide. We begin by explaining why doing the Camino de Santiago in an organized group doesn’t make you less of a pilgrim.
Doing the Camino in a group: another way to make pilgrimage to Santiago
Before delving into the details that how organized groups work and their advantages, we want to make one point clear: doing the Camino de Santiago with a group trip organized is no longer a pilgrimage. It is important to be clear because, on the pilgrim route, it is possible to hear the concept of “Tourgrim”, which comes from the words “tourist” and “Pilgrim”.
The truth is that all the people who complete the road are tourists and pilgrims. In this article on our blog, we already spoke on one occasion what it is to be a real pilgrim. In it, we explained that the motivations for pilgrimage are very diverse. And that they are all legitimate.
However, if we look closer at the concept of tourist, it alludes to the people who visit a certain place for pleasure. That is to say, they don’t go there for work. In this sense, whatever their reason for deciding to make a pilgrimage, it will generate a certain pleasure in that person.
Therefore, all pilgrims are tourists. In fact, it would be absurd not to enjoy all the places of tourist interest that the pilgrim route has. The Cathedral of Santiago, to which all the pilgrims are heading, is without a doubt one of the main tourist attractions in Galicia.
That said, it is worth noting that doing the Camino de Santiago with a group does not exempt you from overcoming all the challenges posed by the route. You will sweat the same on each of the kilometres you are going to travel and therefore it does not make you less of a pilgrim than someone else who goes on their own.
Guided groups on the Camino de Santiago: what they are
Doing the Camino in an organized group is to join one of the departures scheduled by the travel agencies. These type of trips scheduled on the Camino de Santiago have specific departure dates and are planned for a certain route.
You could say it’s like taking a cruise to Santiago. They have a port of departure and another port of destination. And like all cruise ships, they don’t leave every day, but on specific days.
Group trips to the Camino de Santiago have all the advantages of hiring a tour operator that organizes the tour (accommodation, meals, baggage transfer, etc.). But they also have a specialized guide on the Camino de Santiago who accompanies you on your trip to Compostela.
Advantages of pilgrimage in an organized group
Today we are not going to talk about the advantages of doing the Camino de Santiago with a specialized tour operator to organize the tour for you. We already did that in our article on “Organized trips to the Camino de Santiago: Advantages”.
We recommend that you also read it if you are interested in doing the way in an organized group. In this post, we will focus on explaining what specific advantages there are in doing the Camino de Santiago in a guided group.
You’ll make new friends
Whether you go alone, or if you do it with your family, with your partner or with friends, when joining an organized group of the Camino de Santiago you will have the opportunity to share several days with the same group of people. The odds of you ending up establishing strong bonds with them are very high.
Of course, doing the Camino de Santiago in organized groups does not imply that you are only going to relate to the group you are travelling with. During the tour you will have the opportunity to share time with the people who accompany you from home and to meet other pilgrims outside the group.
Also if you go alone and you are single, you will have a lot of chances to flirt. Are you interested in this topic? In this article, we tell you why it is so easy to fall in love on the journey to Compostela.
The guide will not be expensive
Another of the specific advantages of making a trip to the Camino de Santiago in an organized group is that you are accompanied by a specialized guide during your entire pilgrimage. The services of this type of professional are not exactly cheap. Therefore, if you go alone or as a couple, you can hardly afford to hire one during the entire tour.
Therefore, few pilgrims hire guide services on the Camino de Santiago. One exception is the large groups (associations, schools, company excursions, etc.). In that case, what they usually do is to hire the organization of the trip or with an agency and, in a complementary way, the services of a specialized guide.
If you are not lucky enough to do the Camino de Santiago within one of those big groups, but you want to have a guide, pilgrimage with one of the organized groups that the agencies organize is an excellent option. It will be much cheaper than hiring guides or excursions in the different places of interest.
You travel in complete safety
The routes on the Camino are safe and many of them have excellent signage. However, it is always possible to get lost or to end up walking some extra kilometres when you go by yourself. By doing the Camino de Santiago with a guide, you ensure that at no time you leave the route because they know it perfectly.
In addition, guided groups include travel accident insurance, road and vehicle assistance in the case of emergency. In any unforeseen circumstances, you will be protected.
You will know all the details about each place of interest
You can enjoy guided tours in each of the places of interest on the route. The guides on the Camino de Santiago are specialized in each of the pilgrim’s itineraries. They know a lot of details about the churches, monasteries, deposits and civil architecture that you will find during your pilgrimage.
You’ll won’t miss a thing
Did it happen to you that after returning from a trip they ask you if you visited a certain place and your answer was that you didn’t know it existed? That’s not going to happen if you’re in an organized group.
When travelling with a guide on the Camino de Santiago not only will you visit more places, but you avoid having to be aware of the map and missing places of interest. If you don’t have much time to prepare your pilgrimage to the Camino de Santiago, organized group trips are an excellent alternative.
The guides on the Camino de Santiago know hidden corners where usually, pilgrims who go alone do not stop because they do not know that they exist. In addition, they will always know which is the best viewpoint to enjoy every landscape. You could say that by doing the Camino de Santiago in an organized group you can enjoy the route, also having an alternative tour.
You will know the local culture much better
Regardless of which country you are from, each region of Spain has its own cultural peculiarities. Therefore, having a guide that accompanies you on the Camino will allow you to discover the distinctive features of each of the regions you travel through. They will tell you about its typical products, traditional customs, etc.
You’ll always know which is the best restaurant
In organized groups, not all meals have to be included in the trip. If you decide to dine on your own, for example, the Camino de Santiago guide will always be able to recommend you which is the most traditional or cheapest restaurant in town. Besides, if you want to finish the evening with a good wine, they also know where to go.
You’ll hear a thousand anecdotes, stories and legends about the Camino
One of the parts that pilgrims who have made the Camino de Santiago with us in an organized group most enjoy, are the anecdotes and legends from along the pilgrim route. The guides, sometimes, are like storytellers that, both along the route and at the end of the stage where there is not much to do, they explain a thousand stories.
You’ll want to know more and more
A good tour guide on the Camino de Santiago will also tell you about films or books based on pilgrim tradition. To whet your appetite, in this article of our blog, we recommend some works related to the pilgrimage.
This, coupled with all of its fascinating stories, will ensure that when you return home, you’ll just want to keep investigating the subject. Getting hooked to the Camino de Santiago is so easy!
Who you’ll find in a guided group on the Camino de Santiago
In organized groups to the Camino de Santiago, you will find all kinds of people, as they are suitable for all ages. Contrary to what is often believed, not only older people or with some kind of need are those who go to the Camino de Santiago on organized trips. Many young people also want to complete the Camino de Santiago with a certain degree of comfort and enjoy the advantages of being accompanied by a guide.
Pilgrims coming from foreign countries often resort to organized groups to do the Camino de Santiago. For them, it is the best way to understand the culture of the country they are visiting.
Doing the Camino de Santiago in a group with Santiago Ways
As you should know and if we do not tell you now, in Santiago Ways we are an agency specializing in organized trips to the Camino de Santiago. We have been working since 2016, and only with trips on the pilgrim routes and all our team is known for being authentic lovers of the pilgrimage of Compostela.
Guided group on the Camino from Sarria
Among the services we offer to the Camino de Santiago are trips in organized groups. The route that our specialized guides make is the one that covers the last 100 kilometres of the Camino Frances, the stretch that runs between Sarria and Compostela.
The trip on the Camino in an organized group from Sarria to Santiago lasts a total of 8 days and 7 nights. In order to ensure the highest level of satisfaction of our pilgrims and to guarantee a unique experience, the maximum number of participants per group is 15 people.
Guided group tours: departure dates
Departures are made approximately twice a month during the high season on the Camino de Santiago, between June and September, although sometimes we organize groups on other dates. If you want to check the specific departure dates, you can find them in the “Departures” section of the quote form for our trips to the Camino de Santiago in an organized group.
If you want to know more about this route, you can consult our article on the Camino from Sarria to Compostela. In it, we explain details of all the stages on the last 100 kilometres.
However, be sure that if you go on the Camino de Santiago in an organized group, the guide will be able to tell you many more things than we can explain in this blog. To say goodbye, we leave a video of how travelling to Compostela is with Santiago Ways.