We approached some of the most seasoned Camino experts and asked them for their top tips for anyone considering walking the Camino de Santiago.
Here’s what the experts had to say:
Founder of Camino Adventures Blog
“Once you’ve packed your rucksack as lightly as possible, put in another two things that will not add any weight; lots of patience and tolerance!
You’ll meet many people who are hot, tired, sore, sometimes exhausted, and certainly out of their usual environment, so they may be a little antsy or even moody. Patience and tolerance will help you have a better Camino (and life).” – Camino Adventures Blog
Umberto di Venosa
Founder of Follow the Camino and Seasoned Pilgrim
“My top tip for the Camino is – More is not better. Some people want to walk more, longer, faster etc. Take your time. You will never be the person who has walked the most, fastest or slowest. Even if you are, so what? Be yourself, do things as YOU want not as you are told to do.
Cheaper is not necessarily better. I have met people from various origins and backgrounds who think that the better the deal you get, the better it is or the “more a pilgrim you are.” If you pay €10 for your meal or room, do not expect a service that you would get if you paid €50 for example. Be reasonable with your expectations and what you want from your Camino.
Do not overthink it. Many people, blogs etc. have different views and opinions. There is no “best way” to walk the Camino. It depends on what you want out of it, how far you are ready to go in sharing/paying. The best tip of all, speak to the experts. We will gauge after a few questions what is the best way to go about it for you personally.” – Follow the Camino
Wisdom of the Camino
Top Camino Tip 1 -Slow Down
For many our lives seem to be driven by the clock, schedules and appointments, and juggling all of our commitments. Too often there is a sense that there’s not enough time.
One of the great gifts of the Camino is the opportunity to relax and let go of all of that. Making a conscious decision to slow down is quite possibly one of the most powerful things you can do. Each moment on the Camino is precious. There is no need to rush to get to the next town. There’s lots of time at the end of the day to connect with the people you are walking with.
When you allow your body to shift to a new rhythm, you give it some space to adjust to walking long distances each day. Injuries forced me to slow down during my first Camino journey because I was rushing at the beginning. When I let go of the perception that I needed to rush I was more in the moment. I began to trust there would be a space for me to sleep and that is what manifested for me.
Top Camino Tip 2 – Foot Care
Many people take better care of their feet on the Camino than in everyday life. If you have cracked heels, dry feet, or heavy callouses some pre-Camino love will make a difference. If getting a pedicure make sure they do not shave off the callouses but file them as a certain amount is good for protection against friction when walking long distances per day.
Have your toenails shortened as much as possible regularly throughout your pilgrimage. It can be very painful when a slightly overgrown toenail cuts into the adjoining toe. Start with a night and morning routine to keep the feet soft and supple. Your feet will thank you. Buen Camino! – Wisdom of the Camino
Discover the Camino Blog
“The Camino is as much a mental journey as it is a physical one. I once walked with a lady on the Camino Francés who daily kept on thinking about the remaining distance to Santiago de Compostela and whether she would make it or not. Her focus was always on the far-off destination. Yes, the Camino Francés is a journey of 500 miles, but it can also be a journey of 14 miles – each day for 35 days.
My top Camino tip would be to stay present, as much as possible, to your thinking; especially so when experiencing a difficult day. In this way, you can reduce any overwhelm and still get to enjoy the best that the Camino has to offer.” – Adam Wells
6 Time Camino Walker
“I think it very appropriate to note that, the man/woman who goes alone can start today but he who travels with another must wait until that other is ready! Why go with a friend? The chances are you will start to irritate each other and speak to fewer people on the Way.
The whole experience is about meeting the world on the Camino and not bringing your home with you. Do I sound cynical by saying this? It’s just that I’ve met so many people over my six different Camino’s that I know if I had travelled with a friend it would not have happened and my horizons wouldn’t have been as broadened as they have been.” – Shlomo Cohen
Author of the Best-Selling Book, My Camino
“Don’t think so much about getting to the end.
Instead, think about the idea: With each step you take forward, walk back to your authentic self.” – Sue Kenney
Thank you to all of these wonderful Camino experts for sharing their top tips with us! For more great ideas and helpful hints, see the Top Tips section of our blog.
Start Your Camino with the Experts
Here at Follow the Camino we are constantly talking to other Camino experts about what is happening on the Camino. We know what is changing, what is coming up, and what the best things to do are. Our team have loads more top tips for your Camino, from choosing the best route to what to pack and how to prepare.
We put together customised itineraries for hundreds of pilgrims each year. Our packages can include everything from hand-picked accommodation to route notes and bag transfers. While you are on the Camino we offer 24/7 emergency support and we are happy to help!
We hope that those top tips were useful! The Camino de Santiago is an amazing experience you will never forget. Everyone’s expectations are different and that’s why we answered some commonly asked questions about making sure your trip goes smoothly.
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Originally published on 1st September 2021