Tips and tricks to make walking the Camino de Santiago a success



In a previous post I wrote about all the different routes you can walk for your pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella. Here are some tips and tricks to make your hike a success.


Preparation is key....

Before you embark on your Camino adventure lots of training and practice is essential. Train and get fit in the gym or out in nature, or, better still, on multi-day walking holidays carrying your pack. We see too many injuries in inexperienced people, injuries which can easily be prevented with the appropriate training and preparation.

Knack Hiking & Backpacking: A Complete Illustrated Guide by Buck Tilton covers every step needed for the best hiking and backpacking experience, one step at a time. From picking the right gear to good hiking technique, from dressing the part to first-aid, it has everything today’s hiker wants and needs.


When to go

The best weather on most Camino trails is in spring and fall. Winter is cool and rainy and can see snow but there are few other hikers around, adding to the enjoyment for those seeking solitude. Summers are very hot indeed.

Christian and local holidays see increased foot traffic on the Camino. Some will enjoy it for the religious festivals, others will prefer to go at quieter times.


Travel documents

Your Canadian passport must be valid for 3 months after your return. Canadian, US and EU passport holders do not need visa for France, Spain and Portugal. Other nationals may need visa. Special rules apply for dual citizens of Canada and another country - be sure to inquire.


Getting to the start point

In a previous post I listed how to get to the start of each Camino trail. Here are some useful links to transportation companies:

Trains in Spain: Renfe

Trains in France: SNCF

Buses in Spain: Alsa

Buses from Madrid to Pamplona or Logroño: PLM

Buses from Madrid to Salamanca, Zamora: Avanza

Buses from Madrid Airport to Pamplona: Jimenez

Buses from A Coruña (NW Spain): www.arriva.gal

Buses in Portugal: Rede

Flight search: Google Flight Search

Airlines: Air Canada, Air Transat, Iberia, Lufthansa

Flights in Spain: Air Europa, Air Nostrum

Research transportation routes: Rome2Rio

Book hotels & hostals on Expedia, Hotels.com or Booking.com

Best Camino website: The Confraternity of St James


Transportation tips

Allow plenty of connection time between flights; rest a day or two on arrival before starting your pilgrimage.


To prebook or not to prebook?

Some will feel more comfortable prebooking all their accommodation, others will prebook none and book as they go along. Yet others will throw caution to the wind and not book anything. My suggestion is to book at least the first few nights, especially the hostel in Orisson halfway the arduous day across the Pyrenees.

If you prefer to walk as part of a group, or prefer to have your accommodation pre-booked and luggage transferred, we can help. Please contact us.


When on the Camino

Pack light. Break in your boots. Be prepared for foul weather, especially in the mountains. Aim to walk no more than 20 kms per day. Take a rest day when you need to. Treat yourself to a private room on a regular basis. Turn off your electronics when out walking and get in touch with nature and yourself. Get travel insurance.


Travel insurance

Many people get injured on the Camino. And too many people rely on their work or credit card medical insurance only to find out locally they are not covered. That is an expensive mistake. Be smart and buy a policy before you go. Available from us from CA$3 per day.

Contact us for travel insurance


Getting home from Santiago de Compostella

If you have strict time limits or a tight budget, book your return trip before you leave home. If you have more time or need more flexibility, book your return trip once you are in destination. There are multiple flights a day from Santiago to Madrid and Barcelona, connecting to your flight home.


Don't want to go it alone?

If you prefer to walk as part of a group, or prefer to have your accommodation pre-booked and luggage transferred, we can help. Please contact us.