Contracting a baggage transfer service on the Camino de Santiago

More and more pilgrims are doing the Camino Frances, Portugues or del Norte routes and are encouraged to hire a backpack transfer service on the Camino de Santiago, either through the Post Office or with a travel agency. It is not surprising that there is the possibility of completing the tour comfortably, without putting your back and joints at risk, more and more pilgrims take this option.

Transporting backpacks on the Camino de Santiago

Contrary to those who claim it, doing the Camino de Santiago with the help of a backpack transport service does not make you less a pilgrim. Nor does it make your  pilgrimage less valuable.

In the Middle Ages, anyone who could afford it had animals or service personnel who carried the bags. We can assure you that Alfonso II, monarch of Oviedo and known for being the first pilgrim, did not carry a backpack.

That is why, for us, it is always up to us to each person: carry your backpack during the pilgrimage or not. Both decisions are valid.

However, in this blog post we want to dedicate it to all those pilgrims who want to have the support of a backpack transfer service on the Camino de Santiago. Those who are looking for information.

Here’s how the backpack transport service works, both with the Post Office the Camino de Santiago travel agencies, such as ourselves. In addition, we talk about routes of the Camino de Santiago on which it is possible to hire a backpack transfer service and its advantages.

How the baggage transfer service works on the Camino de Santiago

To hire a backpack transport service between stages on the Camino de Santiago, you have two options. One is that you get in contact directly with the transport companies that work on the Camino de Santiago, such as the Post Office, for example.

The other is to hire the service through an agency specialized in the Camino de Santiago. Here you will find two types of agencies.

On one hand, there are those that offer you the inter-stage baggage transport service as an independent service. These work exactly like transport companies, such as the Post Office.

In these two cases, you will have to communicate, either to the agency or to the transport company, from where you plan to start the Camino de Santiago and where you will end the route. In addition, you will have to send them a plan of your stages at the beginning of your trip or communicate with them daily to let them know where your next stop will be.

Then there are those that work like us, who only offer a backpacking service to those who organize the trip with the agency. That is, they do not market this service separately.

The advantage of hiring the baggage transfer service with an agency that also is responsible for booking and managing the accommodation on the Camino de Santiago, is that you do not have to worry during the route to notify us of possible changes. Hiring everything with the same company frees you from any stress, and having to deal with last-minute problems.

Price of baggage transfer services on the Camino de Santiago

The price ranges from 4 euros to 7 euros per stage, depending on the company that you use. For pilgrims who go on foot, it is estimated that each stage is approximately 25 kilometres, while if you say that you will do the Camino de Santiago by bike, the calculation of each stage ranges between 60 and 90 km.

What type of equipment can be used?

If you plan to hire a transport service on the Camino de Santiago, you can carry a backpack, a travel bag or a suitcase, whichever you prefer. The only limitation you have is that the weight must not exceed 20 kg.

How the baggage transfer service works on the Camino de Santiago

The company collects the luggage you want to carry between stages and delivers it to the accommodation that you indicate, between 14:30 and 15:00, 7 days a week. This way, unless you’re very fast, when you complete the stage, your backpack will be waiting for you.

One thing to keep in mind if you plan to do the Camino de Santiago with the support of a baggage transfer between stages, is that baggage is only delivered in accommodation that has a reception and never in the public hostel network. If you plan to stay in hostels, you will have to go to get your backpack to a place of normal accommodation, whose name you will tell you the company with which you contract the service.

Transporting backpacks on the Camino Frances

This is another advantage of organizing the Camino de Santiago with a specialized agency that takes care of both the accommodations and the transport of backpacks. This way, you make sure that you will find your suitcase waiting for you at the reception or in your room. No added effort needed!

When you can contract the service

In high season, (spring and summer), it is much simpler. From October, the low season begins on the Camino de Santiago and many of the backpack transfer services, such as the Post Office, reduce their services. Therefore, if you are going to do the Camino de Santiago between November and April, you may find it more difficult to hire such transfers.

Transporting backpacks on the Camino Frances

The Camino Frances is the route that joins Saint Jean Pied de Port, in France, with Santiago de Compostela. It is the pilgrim route that has the best infrastructure and greatest number of services. Therefore, it is the route on the Camino de Santiago where it is easier to hire a baggage transfer service.

Except, that is, on the first stage. Few companies offer a backpack transfer from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles. The backpack transport service offered by the Post Office on the Camino Frances, for example, is not available on this stage.

Advantages of this route

  • This itinerary has a huge number of historical and cultural heritage sites to visit. If you hire a backpacking service on the Camino Frances, you will be able to complete the visits more comfortably. You won’t have to be depositing your backpack in the lockers of museums, churches, etc.
  • Some stages on this route run at quite an altitude and face steep slopes, such as the first stage or the ascent to O Cebreiro. On these stages of the Camino Frances, it is usual for pilgrims to decide to opt for the support of a baggage transfer service. You can find out more about the characteristics of its stages in our guide to the Camino Frances.
  • If you want to enjoy the Camino Frances asa wine-tasting route, we would advise you to hire a backpack transport service. On numerous occasions, you will have to detour to visit wineries. Not having an extra weight on your back makes it easy for you to make the most of those types of visits.

Baggage transfer service on the Central Camino Portugues

The Camino Portugues Central Route is the one that links the capital of Portugal, Lisbon, with Santiago de Compostela. The first stages on this route of the Camino Portugues have less infrastructure and services. Therefore, transporting backpacks from Lisbon can be tricky.

Most companies that offer backpacking services on this route of the Camino Portugues, do so from Porto, both the Post Office and Portuguese companies. The Camino Portugues from Tui, that is the most popular, is also where it is easier to find this service.

Advantages

  • The Central Route in Portugal is quite simple but also quite long. If you hire a backpack transfer service between stages, you can travel more kilometres per day.

Baggage transfer service on the Camino Portugues Coastal Route

The Portuguese Coast Route runs along the Atlantic side of Portugal, from Porto. On the Camino Portugues Coastal Route, you will have no difficulty finding a baggage transfer service.

On the early stages of this route of the Camino de Santiago, only Portuguese companies operate and from A Guarda (Galicia), it is now possible to hire the backpack transfer with Spanish companies, such as the Post Office. If you want, you can find out more about the two paths of the Camino de Santiago portuguese route in this article.

Advantages of the service on this Camino

  • The Camino Portugues Coastal route allows you to enjoy stunning yellow sandy beaches. If you don’t have to carry your backpack, you will find it much more comfortable to enjoy the sea.
  • Many of the stages along this route are carried out over wooden walkways that cross the beaches. If you don’t have the extra weight on your back, you’ll want to leave the walkways much more and complete part of the tour by strolling along the shores.

Baggage transfer service on the Camino de Santiago del Norte

The Northern Route is the route that runs between Irun and Compostela, following the Cantabrian mountain range. You can find out more about its stages in our guide. On the Camino del Norte you will have no difficulty hiring a backpacking service between stages.

Advantages

  • The Camino de Santiago del Norte, together with the Camino Primitivo, are the two most difficult paths, therefore, it is a very good idea to hire a backpack transport service. Unevenness becomes much more bearable without any extra weight! 
  • The Camino del Norte gives you the opportunity to enjoy the Cantabrian coast and its wild beaches. As with the Camino Portugues Coastal route, hiring a baggage transfer service on the Camino del Norte allows you to enjoy much more bathing in the sea. Find out more about the beaches that you can visit on this itinerary in this blog post.
Transporting backpacks on the Camino Portugues
  • Some stages on this route are quite long because there are no intermediate locations in which to sleep. Pilgrims who complete the Camino del Norte by hiring a backpacking service find their situation less difficult.

Baggage transfer service on the Camino with Santiago Ways

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, we do not offer the backpack transport service on the Camino de Santiago as an independent service. If you want to have the support of a specialized agency to help you organize your trip, we will be happy to take care of the luggage transfer, as well as offer you other support services on your pilgrimage (accommodation, insurance, meal plans, etc.).

If so, do not hesitate to contact us. In Santiago Ways, we work with many more routes than those mentioned in this article. So, call us or write to us through Facebook so that our team can provide you with more information.

Finally, and in case you are still having doubts about whether to hire a backpacking service on the Camino de Santiago, we want to recommend another article from our blog. In it, we talk about the advantages of doing the Camino de Santiago without a backpack and what kind of pilgrims usually hire the backpacking service.

Buen Camino!