One of the fantastic things about the Camino is how it is always evolving and new questions get asked every year. In 2021 we had hundreds of new clients and Camino pilgrims get in touch with us with a wide variety of questions.
Here are some of the questions that we were asked most frequently in 2021:
Is the Camino open?
Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting travel restrictions were some of the biggest topics that we dealt with in 2021. With COVID-19 still impacting travel to varying degrees throughout 2021, plenty of people wanted to know if the Camino would be open. The answer changed throughout the year, and many people did walk their Caminos successfully and without much restriction in 2021. 4 of our staff also walked various sections of our trips this year!
To support our clients we have been constantly working on making our booking systems as flexible and customisable as possible. You can read more about our extra flexible policy here.
Can I postpone my booking if I can’t travel due to COVID restrictions?
Yes, if you or a member of your travel group gets COVID, or if the destination that you are going to closes its borders we will help you to move your booking to a future date for free.
Have many things closed down because of COVID?
The pandemic and sudden drop in tourism have been very challenging for the businesses along the Camino de Santiago. In spite of supports, crowdfunding, and much more, some accommodation and service providers have closed their doors for good over the last 2 years.
In terms of how this will impact your Camino – it really depends on which route and which section you are walking. For example, there have been a few closures on the Camino Inglese (the English Way). This means that some of our clients have spent 2 nights at one hotel, with taxi transfers to and from the end of the next stage before moving to the next hotel.
We can always find a solution for our clients to make sure that their Camino is comfortable and stress-free, but if you are planning to do all your bookings yourself this is something to be aware of.
Can I add somebody to my booking in all of the same hotels?
Yes, we can usually add another person to your booking. If someone decides to join you for a few nights or the whole of your trip we can organise their accommodation too. In some cases, the accommodation that you are in may be full, and in those cases, we will let you know what the options are.
It is very easy to walk with friends and family and have them added to your bookings, so just get in touch to ask!
Can you guarantee that I will be in the accommodations in the quote?
When we create a quote for our clients we will choose the accommodation that we think will best suit you and be the best standard in your price range. In some cases, by the time you confirm the quote and we start booking your accommodation the rooms that we quoted for you may be sold out.
If this is the case, we will choose an equally good accommodation provider for you.
What is the longest Camino route that I can walk?
If you are looking for a Camino de Santiago route then your longest continuous route options are:
- Le Puy Camino (730km) + Camino Frances (800km) + Camino Finisterre (90km)
- Le Puy Camino (730km) + Camino del Norte (465km) + Camino Primitivo (315km) + Camino Finisterre (90km)
- Via de la Plata (1000km) + Camino Finisterre (90km)
- The longest single route is Via de la Plata (1000km)
If you are looking for a very long pilgrimage then we love the Via Francigena – from Canterbury in England to Rome in Italy! This mammoth journey covers 1900km of hiking trails, 4 countries, and a wide range of terrain. It also takes at least 180 days for most people to do!
In 2021, one of our incredible clients walked 70 days of the Via Francigena as a solo female pilgrim!
What is the largest group that I can bring on the Camino?
There is no limit! We have worked with plenty of large groups since we started working on the Camino in 2006. Most of our EduCamino school groups are up to 30 people. Our fundraiser groups are often about 20 people too.
In 2021 the lovely folks from Focus Ireland did a Charity Camino to raise money to support people experiencing homelessness in Ireland and their group was 20 people! You can join their 2022 walk here.
Is the Camino religious? Can I walk it if I am not Christian?
Absolutely anyone can walk the Camino, even though the origin of the Camino de Santiago is religious. Around 1 in 5 people who reach Santiago each year state that they had no religious motivation for walking the Camino, so you will find plenty of other non-religious people on the trails.
Can I do one section this year and come back next year to do another section? Can I finish the Camino over several years?
Yes! Your Camino pilgrimage is personal to you. You can walk any section or sections that suit you, in any way that feels right to you. The only “requirement” for the Camino is if you want to get the Compostela certificate. In that case, you will need to finish in Santiago de Compostela and have completed at least 100km. If you have cycled, you will need to have covered 200km.
We have a huge number of clients who walk one or two pieces of a route each year, or who do whichever section they like the look of. You don’t even need to aim to finish a whole route.
Taking on one of the routes over a couple of separate trips can be a great way to fit a whole Camino route into the amount of leave that you have available.
Whats the busiest time of year to walk the Camino?
In general, the busiest time of year on the Camino is summer – June, July, and August. September has been growing in popularity too over the last few years due to its more moderate climate.
This is due to several factors, including school holidays, leave availability, and weather in Spain.
Is the Camino Frances busy?
The Camino Frances route is the most popular Camino route, and the last 100km of the route is the busiest. Even during the pandemic year of 2021 the Camino Frances still got lots of traffic.
During peak walking months, thousands of people walk from Sarria to finish the Camino in Santiago each day. This could mean that you will be sharing the trails with a thousand or more people on those days. June, July, and August are the busiest months.
The energy and buzz on the Camino during these busy months are absolutely fantastic. You will hear people chatting, singing, and calling Buen Camino to each other. If you are looking for a social experience with plenty of new friends and interesting interactions then this is perfect.
If you would rather have a more solitary experience then you might want to choose off-peak times. You can also choose a quieter route – like the Camino Portuguese, Inglese, or Via de la Plata. These options allow time for meditation, prayer, and contemplation.
Do I need to speak Spanish for the Camino de Santiago?
No, but a few key phrases will make some things easier. The level of English that is spoken along the Camino is quite varied. In very small towns you might find people who speak almost exclusively Spanish, with very little English. Cities and larger towns will almost always have people available who can speak English well.
In terms of accommodation providers, most of the people you interact with will understand at least the basics. It is always recommended to try to learn a few basic phrases before travelling to a new country.
Can I split some of the longer days in half and walk fewer kilometres each day?
Yes! We offer short walking day options on almost every single route of the Camino. If there is no accommodation available to split a particularly long day we can plan around this. For example, we may organise for a taxi to meet you somewhere along the way. The taxi can take you to the nearest accommodation and bring you back again the next day.
These shorter walking day routes are great if you are looking for a more relaxed and less physically intensive journey. Clients who are walking with children or elderly relatives often choose these options. Another benefit of short walking days is that you will have more time and energy when you arrive. This means you get to explore the gorgeous little towns and attractions on your Way.
Do you offer accommodation in Paradores on the Camino?
Absolutely! If you are looking for an incredible experience staying in the historic Paradores we can book these for your Camino. Wherever possible, these will already be included in our Camino Deluxe packages.
A ‘Parador’ is a luxury hotel managed by Paradores de Turismo de España. This state-run company was founded by King Alfonso XIII to promote tourism in Spain. The majority of Paradores are more than just accommodation – they are located in buildings of historic importance. Spend the night in a fortress, monastery or castle! Some of the more modern Paradores have been built in incredible natural spaces like nature reserves.
There are 94 Paradores across Spain, rated at 3 to 5 stars. Ask about any that are along your chosen Camino route and we will add them to your booking.
Is the Camino Portuguese or the Camino Portuguese Coastal all in Portugal?
The last 100km of the Camino Portuguese Inland and Coastal routes are actually both fully in Spain. They are still called the Portuguese routes because they come from Portugal. However, the last section of each starts and ends in Spain.
If you would like to experience walking in Portugal as well then there are a couple of good options. You can either start in Porto and walk for 2 sections, or you could cycle from Porto to Santiago in about 9 days. Let your Camino Planner know what you would like to experience and they can give you more suggestions.
Can I do a combination of the Camino Portuguese inland and coastal routes?
You can absolutely combine the Camino Portuguese up to Porto with the Camino Portuguese Coastal to Santiago de Compostela. Plenty of people do this if they are walking 3 or more sections of the Camino Portuguese!
As the routes go in different directions from Porto you will need to choose one option for the last two stages of the walk. It is not possible to do “a bit of both” on the last 2 stages.
How far do I have to walk to get my Compostela certificate?
You need to walk at least 100km into Santiago de Compostela on any of the routes of the Camino to get your Compostela. When you arrive in Santiago you can make your way to the pilgrims’ office, next to the main square of the Cathedral to get your certificate. In peak times, the line here can be very long.
If you are cycling then you will need to cover 200km of distance.
Where should I fly into and out of on my Camino?
This is a very common Camino question every year, not just in 2021! In fact, these questions are so common that we have written a set of detailed blogs about them!
- Where to Fly into for Each Section of the Camino Frances
- Where to Fly into for Each Section of the Camino Portuguese – Inland or Coastal Route
- Where to Fly into for Each Section of the Camino Primitivo
- Where to Fly into for Each Section of the Camino del Norte
You can also find this information at the bottom of each of the section pages on our website.
Should I start the Camino Inglese in Ferrol or A Coruña?
When you are walking the English Way you can start in either Ferrol or A Coruña. Both of these starting points offer a wonderful walk to Santiago.
If you choose to start in Ferrol you will cover the full 100km needed to receive your Compostela certificate. If you begin in A Coruña then you will only cover 72km.
You can make up 25km of your Camino Inglese in Ireland or the UK if you want to walk from A Coruña and still gain your certificate. Check out how.
Is there a backup vehicle available in case we need it?
Yes and no – there is no official vehicle to pick up tired or injured pilgrims along the trail. There are taxis and sometimes busses though! If at any point you are struggling you can ask at the next town or cafe if they can call you a taxi. Taxis can take you straight to your next accommodation and you’ll have time to rest.
This is an option that some of our clients walking with small children use on longer days too. They will walk until the kids are tired, then get a taxi to the next stop. Taxis are very affordable in Spain!
Can I take an unplanned rest day along the way?
Once you are on the Camino we are not able to change your bookings. However, you can choose to skip a walking day by taking the bus or a taxi to your next accommodation. This gives you time to rest and put your feet up.
Your accommodation reception should be able to tell you what busses or taxi companies will suit you.
Is there another certificate at the end of the Camino Finisterre?
Yes! There is another certificate that you can get if you walk to Fisterra. It is called the ‘Fisterrá’ or ‘Finisterrana’ certificate, and you can get it at the local pilgrim hostel.
If you continue your walk to Muxía, you can also request the ‘Muxiana’ certificate from the Casa da Cultura. The language on your certificates may look a bit different to the Spanish you are used to. That is because they are written in Galician!
We have absolutely loved talking to so many curious future pilgrims this year and we hope that you have learned something interesting. You can read more of our frequently asked questions here.
If you are curious about walking your own Camino we are ready to help! Our Camino routes are fully customisable. We can work with you to choose the route and accommodation plan that suits you the best.