Doing the Camino de Santiago with a baby
Doing the Camino de Santiago with a baby may seem a bit crazy, but it’s not. Every day more families are encouraged to travel the pilgrim route with a new-born. Times are changing and parents don’t stop their lives by having a baby at home.
A priori, the simple idea of carrying all the necessary things for the baby (nappies, bottles, changes of clothes, etc.) can deter anyone from doing the Camino de Santiago. However, the reality is that with the services that are offered today on the Camino de Santiago, logistics are greatly simplified.
Tips for going on the Camino de Santiago with a baby
In this article we tell you our tips and recommendations to do the Camino de Santiago with your baby, based on our experience and that of parents with babies, who have travelled with us.
Everyone says that making a pilgrimage with a baby was much better than they expected, and that they would do it again.
The more adults the better
The hardest part of going to the Camino de Santiago with a baby is that you have to carry it, because they still can’t walk. That is why the Associations of the Camino de Santiago recommend the minimum age of 3 years to do a pilgrimage.
Since the baby will have to be transported throughout the tour, the more adults that travel with him or her, the better, so they can take turns. Usually, two adults are sufficient, but three to four is better and less exhausting.
What is not recommended at all is to do the Camino de Santiago alone with a baby. On the one hand, it would take a lot of effort for a single person to transport the little one all the time. On the other, in case of an accident, no-one could take care of the baby.
If it is the first time you are going to do a pilgrimage taking your baby, we recommend the Camino de Santiago from Sarria, for being the most popular and for providing several alternatives in logistical support. If you need help organizing your adventure, tell us some details of the plan you have in mind and leave the rest in our hands.
Also, remember that another important aspect is to choose suitable footwear with which to go comfortably and that does not chafe or injure you. Therefore, we advise you to wear shoes on the Camino de Santiago.
Take everything you need to carry your baby comfortably
To make transporting the baby comfortable, both for the child and for adults, we recommend that you take a good baby carrier on the Camino de Santiago. This way, you can walk comfortably, while the baby falls asleep with the rhythm of your steps.
It is also a good option to carry a baby buggy to transport the baby on some sections and not have to carry the little one throughout the tour. Ideally, you have a large four-wheel buggy, which will allow you to use it on dirt trails, and has brakes. We do not recommend three-wheeled cars because they are more unstable.
Use a support vehicle
Doing the Camino de Santiago with a baby involves carrying some extra weight that can meet the needs of your baby. The buggy, for example, is an item that adds a lot of weight to your luggage and that can be very useful in some stages or sections, but that you will not be able to use it in others.
That is why if you plan to do the Camino de Santiago with a baby, it is best to have a support vehicle that you can resort to on the different sections to access the essentials. Carrying the baby throughout the tour is already enough effort to add the weight of your luggage and that of the baby.
If you’re going with a baby, do a simple Camino de Santiago route
Select the route on the Camino de Santiago that you will do and the sections that you will complete with the baby very well. The Camino Frances is one of the most advisable routes, as it is the one with the greatest infrastructure and with the greatest range of services.
If you want to do only the last 100 kilometres on this route, you will have to leave from Sarria. On this last section of the Camino Frances, you will find many locations to adapt the route to your needs and the route is not very complicated.
Another excellent option is to do the Camino Portugues. In Portugal there are two routes, known as the Central and the Coastal. Both are quite simple and face only a few slopes.
The most popular section is the one that links Tui with Santiago de Compostela. In this part of the Camino Portugues you will also find numerous services. If you want to do a longer tour, you can opt for the Camino Portugues Coastal Route, the advantage of this route is that much of it runs along boardwalks on which you will find it very comfortable to push the baby buggy.
Therefore, as you can see there are many recommended options, such as the Camino del Norte too. See our guide to the Camino de Santiago for more information on stages, distances and other routes.
Organize short stages
Generally, pilgrims, who go on foot, move an average of 20 to 30 kilometres a day on the Camino de Santiago. But if you go with a baby, you’ll need to plan shorter stages. That way it won’t turn out so hard for you or the child. And it’ll be much easier for you to stick to your baby’s routine.
Organizing days of 10 kilometres should allow you to do the Camino de Santiago with a baby in more comfort. This implies that if you are going to do the Camino de Santiago with a baby, you will need twice as much time as the rest of the pilgrims.
In this post about how long it takes to do the Camino de Santiago, you can check how many days you need to get to Santiago, from the different starting points of each route. You must multiply the days indicated by two, if you do the Camino de Santiago with a baby.
Avoid summer and winter
If you are going to do the Camino de Santiago with a baby try to avoid summer, especially during the months of July and August, as well as winter, when the routes of the Camino de Santiago are emptied of pilgrims, because of the low temperatures.
Spring is the ideal season to do the Camino de Santiago, especially if you are traveling with a baby. Still, you’ll need to plan your tour well to avoid walking during the hottest hours, remember that your baby’s skin is very sensitive.
You should also study whether the route crosses mountain passes, as on these, even in spring it can be quite cold.
Choose the dates you choose, get ready to face the rain when you enter Galicia. In Galician lands, the chances of rain are always present, therefore, it is advisable that you always carry with you a good raincoat that allows you to protect the baby in case of rain.
Baby’s meals will not be a problem on the Camino de Santiago
Don’t worry too much about your baby’s meals, as at any restaurant or bar you can ask for a bottle to be heated. On the routes we advised you earlier, you will find town centres every 4 kilometres approximately, so you only need to plan a little for baby’s mealtimes.
Choose accommodation that’s comfortable
If you are going to do the Camino de Santiago with a baby, you need to have comfortable accommodation that allows you to have a private room and your own bathroom. We also recommend that you book in advance, to avoid having to extend your days in search of a place to sleep.
In this article you can consult the different types of accommodation on the Camino de Santiago. Whether you decide to make reservations for yourself or have the support of an agency to help you organize the tour, don’t forget to mention that you’re travelling with a baby.
Avoid unforeseen events, use an agency
Doing the Camino de Santiago with a baby means reducing as much as possible the number of unforeseen events and pilgrimage in the most comfortable way possible, so that the experience is pleasant for both parents and the child. In that respect, an agency specialized in the Camino de Santiago, like us, can help you.
In Santiago Ways, we have accompanied many families to do the Camino de Santiago with babies. We have advised them on the best route and stage planning, we have taken care of finding the best accommodation for them and have given them support in baggage transport.
In addition, we have offered you a support phone en route and an assistance car, in emergencies. In this way, the family has only had to worry about enjoying the Camino de Santiago.
That simple and so sure! And no worries! If you would like to know more about these types of services and their advantages, you can consult with an agency on the Camino de Santiago whose objective is to offer the best experience to pilgrims.
Ask for a Camino de Santiago credential for the baby
Of course, don’t forget to ask for the pilgrim’s credential for your baby. He or she will also walk the Camino de Santiago their own way and with limitations, but they will do it.
Upon arrival in Santiago de Compostela, if you have completed the minimum 100 kilometres required to apply for the Compostela, you can ask that they include the baby in the certificate of one of the adults who have accompanied him or her. Besides, the credential will be a nice memory when the child grows up.
Get ready to be the centre of attention
The presence of the baby will not go unnoticed by the rest of the pilgrims. I’m sure many of the companions you’ll make during the tour will worry about the baby’s well-being and what the family experience is like. Get ready to be admired!
Now you know that doing the Camino de Santiago with a baby is an experience that can be very beautiful, if you know how to organize it. Do not hesitate to contact us or write on our Facebook if you want us to help you prepare this unforgettable experience.