St James' Way: practical advice
There are many ways to travel St. James’ Way - on foot, by bike, on horseback… and all of them enable you to discover Spain’s rich culture and landscapes. Choose your option and enjoy the experience that best suits you. Following are some tips to make your journey more comfortable.
Accommodation on the Way
All along the route, you’ll find different types of accommodation to suit your preferences and needs: pilgrims’ hostels, country guest houses, hotels, tourist Paradors, hostels, campsites…
- Some public pilgrims’ hostels are free and others require a small donation to cover cleaning and maintenance costs. There are also private hostels which cost a little more. The public ones usually fill up first.
Grupo Ciudades Patrimonio de la Humanidad
- When there are a lot of people on the Camino, in summer and in Xacobeo Holy Years, if all the hostels are full, other spaces are sometimes made available for pilgrims to spend the night, such as sports centres and churches.- Pilgrims’ hostels cannot be reserved - places are filled as pilgrims arrive. People who arrive on foot are given priority, then those on horseback, and finally cyclists.- You can only stay one night in a pilgrims’ hostel, unless you are ill. They usually open at midday. At night, from 9 or 10 pm, guests are expected to avoid making noise so that people can sleep. You have to leave by 8 or 9 am the next morning so the hostel can be prepared for the next day’s intake of pilgrims. Some hostels also include breakfast.
- As you travel, you’ll find different options in the towns and villages you pass through. Accommodation ranges from informal country guest houses to imposing heritage buildings that have been converted to Paradors, such as the ones in León and in Santiago de Compostela.- This is the best option when you want to spend a few days exploring a place which has caught your fancy, to enjoy a fiesta or special event, or simply to have a break in your journey.- We also recommend finding alternative accommodation to the pilgrims’ hostels if you are travelling with a support vehicle or in a large group.
Credential and Compostela
- The credential (or pilgrim's passport) will enable you to stay in pilgrims’ hostels. You can get one at the hostel where you start your route, or before your trip from a Friends of the Camino association.
- The credential is not the same as the “Compostela”, which is mainly given to people taking a religious or spiritual pilgrimage, and who have travelled at least the last 100 kilometres to Santiago walking or on horseback, or the last 200 kilometres by bicycle.
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