Guided or Self Guided on the Camino de Santiago?
What is the difference between a guided and self-guided tour on the Camino?
Guided Tour – this tour is on a set date, visiting set locations and includes a bilingual guide. We have prearranged dates for our guided tours but if you have a group and want a guide we can also provide this.
Self-Guided Tour – this tour can be started on any date you wish, and be customised to walk the distances you want, stopping in locations to suit you. There is no bilingual guide on this tour but you do get walking notes and hotel vouchers so you know where you are going each day.
Why go on a guided tour?
Going on a guided walking tour with Follow the Camino takes all the hassle away from planning and worrying about not meeting people, getting lost and missing out on important historical sites. Our experienced and friendly guide will be with you every step of the way. They will share with you their love of walking the Camino. The stories of the pilgrims that have passed before you and ensure you have the best experience along the way. On our guided tours you can still walk at your own pace, and alone when you wish, but you have the added security of knowing your guide is there for you, as well as other members of your group.
More than a culturally and physically rewarding journey, our guided tour is a magnificent human adventure and great value for money. Depending on the guided tour you go on they include everything that our self-guided tours provide along with potentially an extra night in a stop along the Way; airport transfers (where applicable) and specially organised group dinners every evening.
Typical Day on a Guided Tour
A typical day on the Camino de Santiago starts with a continental breakfast between 6am and 8am. Around 8:30 am the group will meet at the reception of the hotel to start walking for a couple of hours before stopping for a mid-morning coffee and a snack.
Your guide will accompany you every step of the way making sure everything is okay, showing you the highlights and answering your questions. All our guides know the region like the back of their hand and speak fluent Spanish, so feel free to ask about them about the history of the region, some Spanish words, which food to order or tips on how not to get blisters!
An average day will be between 5 and 7 hours’ walking with 2 to 3 breaks including a one hour lunch break. So you should arrive around 3 to 4pm, just in time for a short siesta.
We will leave you time to relax, visit the town or simply enjoy the hotel’s facilities before finishing the day with a glass of ‘vino tinto’ and a taste of the local gastronomy at the evening dinner.
To see what guided tours we have currently available check out our Guided Tour page:
Why go on a self-guided tour?
Self-guided means we will organise everything and give you all the material you need to complete your pilgrimage in comfort, but you won’t have a dedicated guide to lead you. This option appeals to pilgrims who want more solitude or independence, or when the dates of the guided groups are not convenient.
The biggest advantage of going self-guided is the flexibility. We can tailor-make your Camino journey just for you. You can stay the night in the locations that you want and also upgrade your accommodation. You can have your booking on either a half-board or bed & breakfast basis giving you the flexibility to explore the larger towns which will have more dining options. If you need a transfer to get you to your starting point or from the end to an airport we can assist with this. We also can book additional day tours or nights along the Way for you, so you will get a truly unique Camino experience. Going self-guided means you get to chose when you start and when you finish your trip all with the guidance and expertise of our Camino Planners.
Check out our Camino Tours to find out all the different options we have available for you:
Follow the Camino organises walking and cycling holidays in Europe for adventure seekers from all over the world. Since 2006, we’ve offered a great range of manageable walks and cycles for all age groups, in particular on the famous Camino de Santiago. We were the first ever tour operator to operate the Camino de Santiago by creating manageable sections along the main routes to Santiago de Compostela. We are often copied but never equalled!
To find out which route might be best for you, contact our Camino Planners through the form on the top-right-hand side of the page to get your free customised Camino itinerary.