Famous throughout the world, these routes that run in the north of Spain and south of France to Santiago de Compostela, have turned a medieval tradition into a spiritual, religious and sportive experience enjoyed by more than 200.000 people every year.
The Camino de Santiago is, in fact, a Catholic pilgrimage from the thirteenth century to the city of Santiago de Compostela, in Spain, where it is believed that the remains of the apostle Santiago El Mayor are found in the cathedral. Walkers from all over the world reunite to go on foot, by horse or by bike into an experience that mix medieval history, ancient religious devotion, personal growth, meditation and adventure with stunning landscapes.
There are several routes from all over Europe that are valid, however the most famous one is Roncesvalles, that departs from this small city in the south of France and is about 760 km in total. Any walker can jump into the route at any moment and it is only needed to walk 100km to get the certification of the route.
Getting up before the sun rises and walking the whole day across natural landscapes could be hard though, but if it is just what you were looking for, read our guide and find out how to prepare your route, and get some tips from previous travelers and the official organization:
Get ready months before the route
Train yourself several months earlier. You will have many kilometers to do every day, and although it is recommended that you adapt your route to your speed and fatigue, it is normal to travel between 10 and 30 kilometers a day. So start a few months before walkingslowly to avoid damaging your feet and ligaments during El Camino. Good footwear, a very, very light backpack, many pairs of socks and continuous massages will help you overcome the physical part of the route.
Choose the landscape you like best
The options are very varied, you can make a way through stone walls and small towns for which it seems that the centuries have not passed. You could also get into the forest, cross bridges over rivers and climb mountains. It is an adventure and nature trip, and you have many options to choose from. On the official website you can find pictures and tips to help you decide.
Use apps for your security
Depending of the season, making the Camino de Santiago can be a solitary experience and personal knowledge. Even though there are thousands of people with whom you will have dinner, most of the day you will be on your own. As in any activity, several things might happen, such as losing yourself, injuring your ankle along the way, running out of water and not knowing where to get another or needing to rest without knowing where is the nearer hostel. You can always be connected to others with your smartphone and acquire some apps that will make the way easier.
In order to not to get lost and to let other walkers or your family know where you are, share your live location with them temporally on Wave application, a private app where you can create a group with other walkers and share for some hours a day your location, spot each other on the map and gather together in the best place. Wave is a free location app that has already millions of users in 150 countries and is compatible with Android and iOS.
Another interesting app is Emergency + in case you are in trouble, you just need to push a button and it will automatically call the nearest emergency services that will come to your position.
Get to the hostel soon
All those who make the road can sleep for free along the way in the thousands of hostels that are ready for it, but in the most crowded areas those are filled quickly, so it is best to use the app Buen Camino de Santiago Pro to see all accommodation options available. Another interesting app is Camino, a social network where you can connect with other walkers, meet them or just read their reviews of routes, restaurants and accommodation.
Ready for the trip? Let us know your best tips!