Steps in order to prepare for the Camino de Santiago
It’s settled. You’re going to launch yourself into the adventure of your life: A pilgrimage to Santiago. Now the next step will be to get you ready for this exciting experience and prepare for the Camino de Santiago.
Do you want to learn how to prepare it to get everything going? Well, don’t miss this article! We will explain everything you need to know to prepare the Camino de Santiago. Dedicating time to plan your pilgrimage to Santiago is the key for everything to go as you would want.
Reflect about what motivates you to do the Camino de Santiago
The reasons why thousands and thousands of people travel the Camino de Santiago every year are very diverse. It is so today and has been so throughout history.
To be clear what motivates you to make your pilgrimage, we will help you prepare the Camino de Santiago according to your expectations. If your motivation is religious, you will clearly want to finish the journey at the tomb of the Saint.
If you’re looking for time to be with yourself, the Camino Frances may not be the best option. On the other hand, it will be if you want to socialise and meet new people.
Doing the Camino de Santiago as a sporting activity or because you want to be tested is a very common motivation. Choosing a path that will challenge you will be critical in that case.
To discover another way of travelling and sightseeing, select a pilgrim route that has a rich historical heritage and allows you a lot of time to visit. In this case, going on the Camino de Santiago on a guided tour can make the experience richer.
Think of how you want to live your experience
There are many ways to complete the Camino de Santiago. You can go alone, as a family , with friends, with your partner or with your dog . Whatever the company you choose, it will be a wonderful experience.
Regardless of who accompanies you, there are several ways to organize the Camino de Santiago. You can prepare the Camino de Santiago without specialized advice or you can contact an agency that organizes the logistic details of the route (accommodation, luggage, etc.).
Another interesting option is to do the Camino de Santiago with a guide. If you decide to organize it with an agency or go with a guide, of course, do not hesitate to contact us.
You will also have to decide whether to do the Camino de Santiago on foot or by bike. Keep in mind that the minimum kilometres to get the Compostela varies from one form to another.
The way to prepare the Camino de Santiago is totally different if you do it on foot or by bike. The weight, the training, the opportunities to interact with other pilgrims, everything is different.
Evaluate the physical effort that you will make
Not everybody can make the same effort when it comes to doing the Camino de Santiago. Your age, your physical condition, the presence of some ailment or even the motivation that makes you want to walk will mark what type of physical effort you can or are willing to do.
On the other hand, the fact of carrying your luggage on your back along the route is an added effort. Think well if you want to do it or prefer to hire a shuttle service for your pilgrim backpack. In this article, we explain some advantages in doing the Camino de Santiago without a backpack.
Accommodation on the Camino de Santiago is also a factor that relates to the effort you will make. If you decide to stay overnight in hostels, you will not be able to book in advance. The above means that there will be stages where you have to continue walking because you do not find a bed in a particular locality.
You should also know that in the hostels you share a room with dozens of pilgrims. Many people spend bad nights because of the constant noises of people coming and going or because they are disturbed by their roommates’ snoring. That’s a reality, so if you’re a light sleeper, think clearly about this.
Decide which pilgrim route to take
Before you start walking, you must know very well what you are going to do. Decide which will be your Camino de Santiago. To do this, think about the kind of experience you want to live, the effort you can make and the time you have. There are stages on the Camino de Santiago that you can do in 5 days. Some of them are just a few stages, but there are also complete routes that you can do in a short time, like the Camino Ingles.
Plan the stages on the Camino de Santiago
Planning the stages, you’re going to do on the Camino de Santiago is important. If you organize the tour with a specialized agency, like us, we will take care to suggest what stages to do on your route and to advise you if it is the most suitable for your physical condition.
If you are going to prepare the Camino de Santiago on your own, you will have to consult some guide that indicates to you on how to divide the stages. The number of km you can do in one day varies depending on whether you are walking, on a bicycle or riding.
If you walk you can check out our guide. The usual thing is to do between 20 and 25 kilometres a day, but the presence of climbs or unevenness on a stage implies a reduction in the distance.
Find out how you will arrive at the beginning of your route
Depending on the pilgrim route you choose, reaching the locality from which you start to walk can be simple or complicated. Some of the routes on the Camino de Santiago depart from cities. For these, you can usually arrive, easily, by plane, from any point in Spain or abroad.
However, in other cases, the arrival at the beginning of your Camino de Santiago will require more planning. You will have to travel from your home, by train, bus or plane, to some neighbouring town near the beginning of your route. Once there, you can link with public or private transport with the town’s exit.
To prepare the Camino de Santiago you also have to think about the time that you will require to arrive at your starting point. If you ride the Camino de Santiago on a bicycle or on horseback, this step will require more work and probably more time.
Choose the best season to do the Camino
Choose which dates to make the Camino de Santiago. It is not the same to do the Camino in summer as in winter. In summer the temperatures are higher and the influx of pilgrims is higher too.
During the winter you have to have a better kit, but you will enjoy some wonders that you won’t find in summer. In this article we talk about some of the wonders of doing the Camino de Santiago in the winter season.
The Santiago Ways team believes that the best time to do the Camino de Santiago is the autumn and spring. These two seasons have milder temperatures, although there is more risk of rain than in summer.
Train yourself for the Camino de Santiago
Another of the first things you have to do to prepare the Camino de Santiago is to train, especially if you are not accustomed to physical exercise. You can opt to walk for a month or just do it for a week, but if your goal is to get the Compostela you will have to face more than 100 km no matter what.
Therefore, it is essential that the months before your adventure to get yourself fit. Start preparing your body and mind for the Camino de Santiago, as early as possible.
The idea is to train between 60 and 90 days before starting the Camino de Santiago. If you are going to do the Camino de Santiago on foot, do daily walks with increasing difficulty to have the ideal physical conditions and reach Santiago de Compostela in one piece.
In addition to getting in shape to complete the Camino de Santiago, you will have to follow some recommendations to avoid injuring yourself during the tour.
In this article we tell how how to physically prepare yourself for the Camino de Santiago . We also give you some tips to avoid injuries. If you ride on the road you must train specifically for it. In order to do so, bike rides that include different types of climbs and surfaces.
Take the correct footwear on the Camino de Santiago
One of the secrets to preparing the Camino de Santiago is to choose the right boots to walk in. Those cool trainers are very good for your day to day use or even for a stay with your friends, but if you are going to travel many kilometres and you need tough and comfortable footwear.
In the case of footwear, don’t skimp! Boots or trainers of poor quality can become a real torture for your feet, even at the start the Camino de Santiago. Choose your shoes very well!
Prepare your pilgrim’s kit
No matter what, you will have to prepare your backpack to do the Camino de Santiago. But it’s not the same if you’re carrying it or not. If you are going to carry your backpack you have to take more time to plan this well.
The first thing is to choose an adequate backpack and carry on it only what you really need. In this case, they are not worth the “just if”. Loading your backpack with things you don’t need will only help you hate your luggage after only a few kilometres.
Don’t know how to prepare your backpack properly for this adventure? In Santiago Ways, we have an entire post for you, explaining what things to take in your backpack on the Camino de Santiago .
Obtain your pilgrim’s credential
To prepare the Camino de Santiago you will also have to think about getting a pilgrim’s credential. In this article, we explain in detail what it is and how to obtain your pilgrim’s credential on the Camino de Santiago .
This document is only obligatory if you plan to spend the night in the hostels of the way or if you want to obtain the Compostela. This is an official certificate granted to pilgrims who have travelled at least 100 kilometres on a pilgrim’s route, whether they are on foot, or 200 km if they are on a bicycle or on horseback.
In Santiago Ways, we recommend all pilgrims who travel with us to get a credential even if they do not use the network of hostels or want to obtain the Compostela. The Pilgrim’s credentials will always be a beautiful reminder of the unique experience of completing the Camino de Santiago.
Enjoy the experience
Finally, don’t forget to enjoy the experience. Avoid the hustle and absurd races. Remember that the essence of the Camino de Santiago is not in the destination, but the route itself.
Stop to know the localities that you will go through and take a break to enjoy the beautiful landscapes that the Camino de Santiago offers you. Especially with so many kilometres, find moments to converse with other pilgrims.
It does not matter if you end up running fewer kilometres than you expected because you have been entertained because you have felt tired or even because blisters and chafing have not allowed you to advance further. The pilgrim routes are signposted well and they will wait for you.
You can live the Camino de Santiago as many times as you want. If this is the first time you make a pilgrimage, we advise you to read these recommendations to enjoy the Camino de Santiago as much as possible.
We hope that these steps to prepare the Camino de Santiago will help you to organize your pilgrimage. If you want to join you on this adventure, we will be delighted. Write to us or call us.