By Sheila Hendrick

Top 10 Tips For Walking The Camino De Santiago


“To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

With the Camino de Santiago, it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.

This 1000 year old pilgrimage is considered by all who travel it to be a very spiritual experience. Over 100,000 pilgrims from all walks of life make the journey every year along the Camino to the shrine of St. James in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

The Camino de Santiago is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the power of faith and belief. However you choose to travel along the Camino de Santiago or The Way of St. James; we can help you to get the most from this unique walking holiday.



1. You need to walk at least 100k to obtain the “compostela”, a certificate of accomplishment. On arrival, you will be issued with a “pilgrim’s passport” which gets stamped along the way so make sure to get it stamped (in a church/town hall) and keep it safe.

2. Prepare physically: Try to be as fit as possible before you embark on the walk. The walk is a moderate level of difficulty and requires a good level of fitness. You should also try walking for extended periods on hard surfaces as most of the walk is comprised of tarmac and rocky paths.

3. Prepare mentally: This holiday will be a big shock to the system—don’t expect any luxuries along the way; it is a pilgrimage after all and you will be staying in the most rural parts of Spain. Both food and accommodation will be basic.

4. Learn some basic Spanish: Very few of the people that you meet along the way will speak English so learning some basic Spanish is a great idea. It is a relatively easy language to learn and will go a long way to making sure you get the most out of your holiday.

5. Get the right walking gear: Loose, comfortable clothes that cover as much of your body as possible are perfectly fine. Remember a jumper for the evenings and a light rain jacket for rainy days. Breathable cotton socks, foot supports such as gel insoles, a walking stick, sunglasses and a water bottle should all be on your list.

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6. Don’t pack too much: this one is very important. You will be carrying your luggage on your back along the walk, possibly in the sweltering heat for at least 100km. There are loads of places to stop along the way to pick up toiletries and wash your clothes so leave your vanity at home! You also need to consider that you will need to add water and food to your pack every day so be ruthless with your packing.

7. Footwear: you don’t need heavy boots—a decent pair of good walking runners should be adequate. Remember, your feet will sweat, a lot, so think about breathable footwear and decent socks.

8. Protect yourself from the sun: wear a hat that covers your head, forehead, nose and neck if you can. Always wear sunblock—even if the sun is not out in the sky, it is still possible to get burned which can have a negative impact on the rest of your holiday.

9. Bring a European adaptor for your plug: You will undoubtedly bring a mobile phone (there is generally good coverage along the way) and possibly a camera also which will need charging. Most hostels etc. will have a place to charge your electrical items.

10. Have fun and meet people: Sharing an experience and a journey with a fellow traveller can help to forge lifelong friendships with people from all over the world. Use your time to talk to people, share your stories and who knows, you could be coming back again next year with a new group of friends!



Abbey Travel has a great value Camino Ways Trek package available so call and talk to one of our Travel experts on 01 8047100 or check our website for great offers.

You can also talk to Kate in our Killarney office on 064 66 35166 who walked the Camino de Santiago herself only last year.


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