Plenty of people ask us if they can walk the Camino with kids, and yes, it is completely possible! The Camino de Santiago is an excellent holiday for the whole family.
Many people are walking the Camino as a family, taking their children and teenagers along with them. Walking the Camino with your kids as a family holiday is a great way to open their minds to Spanish culture in an engaging and hands-on way.
Create lifelong memories and spend real quality time with your kids, without the distraction of technology and your normal busy lives. Disconnect from the every-day and connect with them as they learn and develop.
If you decide to walk the Camino with your children there are few practical steps to take to ensure everybody has a fun and safe experience. The first thing to note is that the Camino can be quite physically demanding with long walking days in the sun. Teenagers should be absolutely capable of the exertion required, but younger children will find some ‘ways’ too challenging. Follow the Camino will help you choose a route that is appropriate to your family’s capabilities and can arrange shorter days in some places.
Before you set off, we recommend talking to your children about the significance, religious and otherwise, that the Camino has for many walkers. Get your children motivated and excited from the beginning. Everyone finds the first few days hard and there can be a temptation to quit. But once they’ve gotten over their initial doubts they’ll start to really get into the swing of things.
Carrying a pack on the Camino can be gruelling for kids (and for you!). This is why we offer a luggage transfer service which ensures your bags will always be waiting for you at your next hotel.
All you will need to carry each day is a light bag with your daily supplies. You might also want to add a scooter, which can help your kids to have fun AND cover ground!
Kids Clothing on the Camino
Make sure that you pack the right kind of clothes for your family. That means no cotton, quick-drying clothing that won’t rub, and a few layers to manage temperate while you walk. Make sure your children have sturdy, comfortable footwear that has been broken in ahead of time – blisters are no fun.
You can bring some ‘normal’ clothes for the evening as you won’t need to worry about carrying them.
Staying Sun Safe
Spain is lovely and warm, but younger people may not have the experience to know when they need to rehydrate. When packing for your day on the Camino with your kids, pack lots of water and make sure you are all carrying water bottles. There are fountains scattered along the way where you can fill these up. Make sure the kids drink at regular intervals.
There is also very little shelter from the sun on some sections of the Camino, so ensure that your children wear full brim hats and strong sun-block. Sunglasses can be useful along the bright trails. Make sure to check for UV protection.
Many walkers will wear a light long-sleeved top as well for extra sun protection. Many families choose to walk the Camino in April or September when the weather is pleasant but not overly hot. We would suggest going during mid-term breaks, as this is the preferred time to go for many families.
Distance Per Day
Young children, in particular, can have low attention spans. It’s important to set them reasonable targets for the day (for example, say the group will walk six kilometres and then have lunch) to keep their motivation up. A pack of cards, reading material or something similar also helps to give them something to look forward to and keeps them happy during downtimes.
Which Camino Route is Best for Your Family?
There are several choices of routes and start points on the Camino so you can customise the walk to your kids’ exact needs.
If you’re walking the Camino with young children, then perhaps the section of the French Way from Arzua to Santiago de Compostela would suit you. This route gives you the chance to walk the final stretch of the Camino and, at 37 kilometres over four days. It shouldn’t be overly demanding for the little ones. The French Way is the most traditional route taking walkers through the green hilly landscapes of Galicia, eucalyptus woodlands and typical rural villages.
You can also look at some sections of the Portuguese Way if you’d like to be able to stop for breaks on the beach.
Teenagers may enjoy cycling the route, again the choice is yours. Click here to view our various route options available. You can also find them by clicking on the ”Camino Tours” tab at the top of the page.
When you book your family Camino holiday through us, you can relax knowing you’re guaranteed specially selected accommodation that will suit your family’s needs. Usually, you will arrive at your lodgings in the afternoon, giving you and your family plenty of time to rest, have a refreshing shower, enjoy dinner or visit the local village. Your young ones should be tired enough to leave you to enjoy a couple of hours of “free time”.
Let us make your Family Camino easier
By carefully planning your Camino trip with your kids we can ensure that it will be fun, hassle-free and rewarding for the whole family.
Our past clients who have walked the Camino with their kids loved the experience. Here is what a father who walked the first section of the Camino Frances with his 10-year-old son said about his trip with us:
“A spectacular trip. Thank you for setting this up on short notice — literally one of the best things I’ve ever done. Joaquin had an amazing time and we loved the journey, the people and of course the time together. He wants to finish before he is 18, so that means a few more trips.”John and Joaquin Stubbs, USA
Feel free to check out our article on Planning Your Day Along The Camino Trail and our
If you have any more questions about any of our walking holidays or our services, please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally published on 27th June 2017, updated on