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.
Tips for everyone
- The established stages generally cover journeys of 20 to 30 kilometres a day by foot, and 60 to 70 kilometres by bicycle. However, each person can plan their route according to their age, walking speed and physical condition, choosing longer or shorter stages as appropriate.
Where to start the Camino? - There is no single starting point, you can begin at any part of the route.- If you want to get the Compostela (the accreditation of having completed the Way) you must travel at least 100 kilometres by foot or 200 by bike.- There are some very popular spots for beginning St. James’ Way. For example, Roncesvalles, in Navarre, for a route that takes about 35-40 days; and Sarria, in Lugo, for a route you can do in about a week that entitles you to the Compostela.- You can see the stages of St. James’ Way at this link.Signposting- Always follow the yellow arrows. Keep an eye out for them, because you’ll find them in a lot of places: on walls, on the ground, on trees, stones, posts, etc… If you get lost or have any doubts, just ask - people will be happy to show you the way.
Turismo de Galicia
- It’s a good idea to start the day with a big breakfast. Sweets, nuts and dried fruit are very handy for topping up your energy over the course of a stage. You should also make sure you drink plenty of water on your day’s travel - don’t wait until you’re thirsty. You’ll find plenty of springs and fountains along the way where you can refill your water bottle or flask.- For lunch and dinner, there are all kinds of restaurants, cafés and bars, where you can also try the traditional dishes of each location. Some establishments offer reasonably priced “pilgrim menus”.
What to wear
- Your clothes will depend largely on the time of year. From spring to autumn is a good time to do the Camino, but remember that July and August are the hottest months, and also the most crowded.- Make sure your clothes are comfortable and breathable. Carry a sweater or warm jacket for the evenings, a hat to protect you from the sun, and sun cream.
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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