Pilgrim passport, certificates and Compostela
Before you start your Camino de Santiago, make sure you get your pilgrim passport so you can get your Compostela pilgrim certificate once you reach Santiago de Compostela. Caminando Caminando give it you free, you'll have it at your arrival at the first accommodation.
Your pilgrim passport must be stamped along the way and presented at the Pilgrims Office in Santiago to apply for your Compostela (since May 2014 there is only one Compostela certificate for all pilgrims, regardless of their pilgrimage motivation). You must walk at least the last 100km to Santiago de Compostela or 200km if you are travelling by bike or horse. Compostela certificates are issued free of charge by the Pilgrims Office in Santiago but donations are welcome.
Since March 2014 it is also possible to receive a Certificate of Distance from the Pilgrims Office (€3) in Santiago. There are also other Camino certificates, if you walk to Galicia’s Costa da Morte, along the Finisterre Way.
The Camino is within everyone’s ability but it is highly recommended you do some training in advance. Get walking to build stamina for your trip. A bit of training goes a long way.
Know the culture
The Camino is a UNESCO-listed trail as it has been connecting people and cultures for many centuries. Learn about the history, heritage and languages of the regions you will be visiting before your trip. If you can, learn a few words in the local language.
Bring the right gear
Shoes will be the most important gear you’ll have on the Camino. A fundamental factor at the moment of choosing the footwear that you must take in the Camino must be, the zone for which you have foreseen to walk. Also, check the weather forecast before departing to make sure you bring the right clothes. Very important suggestion: Never new shoes for the Camino!
Don’t forget your camera
To capture those special Camino moments. It is worth carry with it, because the images will get forgetting.
Find your pace
Walk at your own pace to enjoy your experience.
Spirit of the Camino
Respect other pilgrims and greet others with a ‘Buen Camino!’
Eat on the Camino
Each region has its own cuisine and specialties, try them all!
What should I pack for the Camino de Santiago?
This is another common question
To make sure that you are prepared and bring the right clothes on your walking tour we have put together a packing guide.
The Camino is a big adventure and needs to be taken seriously. The guide is divided into 6 sections of packing advice. It includes weather guidelines, essential clothing tips, walking and cycling gear, top packing tips and a printable check list. Of course, this ebook is not all-comprehensive and has to be adapted depending on the person and the route or part of the Camino walked.
Here’s an overview of the basics:
Shoes: your shoes are the most important item on your gear list. Make sure they are well worn and comfortable before you go, to avoid blisters. A common mistake is purchasing new footwear and taking it to the Camino before ‘breaking them in’. Please note that change of clean socks (wool/cotton looped variety) each day can also make a huge difference.
Gear: there is nothing worse than bringing the wrong gear on a trip. Always check the weather online before departure and consider the type of route you are taking before you go, as this can determine the type of clothing/footwear you will need. For instance, if you travel during the Summer there is no need to bring heavy walking/hiking boots, this will only slow you down. However, during the winter seasons, runners or trail shoes are not good in the bad weather.
Passport: some pilgrims have suggested making a photocopy or scanning your passport and other important documents and leaving it with a family member before your trip, so that if you lose it while on the Camino, you can just get them emailed to you. You can also create a Dropbox account and keep these files available online, so you can access them from anywhere in the world at any time. Make sure you check your passport is still valid; if not, we recommend you request a renewal as soon as possible.
Phones: roaming charges for mobile phones can be expensive; if you intend to leave you phone at home, you can always purchase prepaid cards and use the payphone to ring home (or our 24/7 number). Alternatively, you can use the Internet café (along the Camino) to send an email or call r use the free wifi in your accommodation. If you have a pay as you go mobile, you might be able to purchase a local SIM card to make calls while in the country.
Books: keep books and other heavy items to the minimum to avoid weight in your backpack, but don’t forget your guidebook. However, if you book with Caminando Caminando your luggage will be transferred so you can bring your reading books!
Medicines: Although there are many pharmacies along the Camino journey, language can be a barrier, hence making it difficult to get the correct medication. It might be a better option to obtain additional supply before you leave. Regular painkillers like paracetamol or aspirine can be easily obtained in the towns along the route
Getting the packing right for the Camino is the key that will make your life on the Camino much more enjoyable. The intention with the following packing list is to list the essentials and leave the rest to you – but the lighter you pack often the more enjoyable your walking.
- Tip 1. Bring Foldable Clothing
Try to bring a jacket that is foldable, rainproof and easy to pack. Follow the ‘onion’ advice: layering your clothing. Wear your different layers for warmth when it’s cooler and take layers off as the day gets warmer.
- Tip 2. Stay Comfortable
Remember the type of holiday that you are about to embark on. You want to be comfortable while you are walking so glamorous outfits are unnecessary. Also, avoid any clothing that will irritate your skin.
You need a soft fabric, suitable for long distance walking and relaxing in the evenings. For the long-haired men and women, don’t forget some hair bands or a bandana to help keep your neck cool.
- Tip 3. Backpack
In addition to your main suitcase you should take a small backpack (for people travelling and getting your luggage transferred with Caminando Caminando). A small day bag will be enough to carry your water, wallet… As you know, the energetic expense is higher than the everyday lives, and it is necessary to compensate this loss with a good supply. So, we recommended also, to carry in this small bag energetic food such as nuts figs, chocolate and a bandana will prove to be key on those hot days of walking.
- Tip 4. Sunscreen and Sunglasses
Bear in mind wind can be just as damaging as the sun to the skin. A high factor sunscreen lotion will help to infuse moisture into dried out skin and protect against sunburn. Apply the cream generously each morning and make regular top-ups during the day. In addition to sunscreen buy or borrow a good pair of sunglasses. These will protect your eyes and help you to keep on track if the sun is blinding.
- Tip 5. Take care of your toes
The right pair of walking shoes and hiking boots can be the difference between an enjoyable walking holiday and a nightmare of a trek across Europe. Be sensible when it comes to your shoe choices. The most important things to remember when buying a new pair of walking shoes is to make sure that they are waterproof and to break them in before your Camino de Santiago journey.
Cheap shoes and socks will fall apart with daily wear and tear. Walking boots will give you better ankle support than walking shoes and of course, walking sandals.
- Tip 6. Bring a book
A book is a great companion for the walk if you need to take a quick rest, turn off the thinking switch from the day.