Along with covering countless miles on the Camino de Santiago, there are many things to do in Camino de Santiago and sights to take in. While some pilgrims only choose to walk and rest, others take advantage of all the activities available along the entire Camino de Santiago.
In actuality, it is challenging to become bored while walking the Camino de Santiago. We usually warn individuals who are hesitant to go on a solo adventure that they will never run out of things to do on the Camino de Santiago.
The most well-known Camino path, the Camino Francés, runs from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port at the foot of the French Alps to Santiago de Compostela throughout northwest Spain. The Camino is really a network of trails.
You join a global community of people who come together for the same goal, and those [people] rapidly begin to seem like family to you. The Camino is indeed a trail for hikers of all ability levels, ages, genders, and travel experiences, thanks to its numerous resources & local support systems.
Camino de Santiago
During the late 1990s, the Caminos have seen a ten-fold increase in travellers, and after two years of postponed plans, 2022 will be one of the busiest years ever for the journey. Many walkers will look for less travelled variations of the traditional Camino Francés.
For every pair of feet, there are possibilities that are long and short, difficult and simple. Plan ahead with this helpful guide to the most famous Camino de Santiago routes to ensure you can choose the best route for you in 2022. Keep in mind that the roads will likely be busier than ever.
You pass through remote stone-built towns and sizable cities like Pamplona, Burgos, and León, many of which are rich in Camino history. Rural paths make up certain portions, while major paved roads form others.
Things to do in Camino de Santiago
1. The Santiago de Compostela Cathedral
It goes without saying that the impressive Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, where Saint James is reputed to be buried, should be your first trip. Take one of the daily offered guided rooftop excursions to admire the building’s captivating Romanesque structure and subsequent Gothic and Baroque components and get a bird’s eye view of the city.
The Santiago de Compostela Cathedral serves as the destination for the majority of pilgrims that walk the Camino de Santiago. The Cathedral is located in the very centre of historic Santiago; in fact, it served as the focal point around which the medieval city of Santiago developed into what it is today. There are many things to do in Camino de Santiago.
As the holy structure containing St. James the Greater’s mortal bones, who introduced Christianity to Spain, Its design and ornamentation reflect centuries of Christian piety, faith, and veneration.
The Present-day Compostela Cathedral
The Baroque spires of the Obradoiro, or west façade, may be seen as pilgrims approach Compostela’s outskirts; this façade has come to represent Compostela, the Camino, and contemporary Spain. There are four plazas around the Cathedral itself, Santiago-de-Compostela-cathedral.
The Praza da Inmaculado is the first place pilgrims on the Camino Frances will arrive. They enter the Cathedral through to the Porta do Paraiso while facing the north or Azibecheria façade.
The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is designed as a pilgrimage site, and visitors are welcome to stroll through the interior along wide aisles while paying respects in chapels and in front of a variety of artwork.
Every day, a Pilgrim’s Mass is conducted, during which the massive incense burner, or botafumeiro, swings its way across the transepts. The high altar, which is situated above the crypt housing the saint’s relics, commands the attention of visitors.
A figure of Saint James flies above the altar, which is a Baroque marvel that glitters with gold. Via a specific aperture in the altar’s back, visitors can embrace the statue of Saint James. A veritable museum of paintings & sculptures may be found in the chapels that radiate out from the altar and contain artwork that represents centuries of religious offerings.
2. The Cathedral Museum
If you love history and wish to learn about the past of this wonderful city, in addition to touring the Cathedral, you should also explore the Catedralicio Museum that is housed there. Art aficionados will also enjoy the museum because of its intriguing collection of tapestries & paintings.
Through various venues and temporary exhibitions, the Santiago Cathedral Museum enables the visitor to explore the history and artistic creation of the Cathedral.
The Tourist Reception Center, located in the Pórtico de la Gloria’s tomb and reachable from the Obradoiro square, offers a range of tour alternatives.
With its finest artistic works, the tour explores the history and culture of the Cathedral of Santiago.
The Saint James Way, which was crucial in preserving the European identity, contributed significantly to the city’s and the Jacobean theme’s rise in prominence throughout the years.
3. Old Village
If you enjoy strolling, you should put touring the Old Town, also known as Zona Vella, on your bucket list.
Expect to be astounded by the region’s exquisitely planned streets, lively square, amazing arches & monuments, antique buildings, as well as the vibrant cafes and authentic eateries because the entire area is indeed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The night owls who wish to enjoy the city’s party scene will also love this neighbourhood.
Yet, in order to capture some fantastic images, you’ll need to rise really early or be fortunate enough to catch a sunny day during the off-season. Summertime in the city means constant activity.
4. Museum Of Pilgrims, Museo da Peregrinaciones
It is imperative to see the Museo da Peregrinations, which is devoted to pilgrimage, especially if you have travelled to Santiago by foot as a pilgrim.
You will have the chance to discover more about Santiago’s phenomena, the city, the Cathedral, & of course, the apostle himself in this amazing location. Also, a wonderful view of the Cathedral’s towers may be seen from the third floor.
This is one of the best things to do in Camino de Santiago.
5. Museum Of Casa da Troia
The Casa da Troia Museum must be on your must-see list if you want to travel during the summer or Holy Week (Semana Santa). This beautiful museum has closed for the remainder of the year.
The structure was once a boarding home for college students in the nineteenth century, and Alejandro Perez Lugin was inspired to create his well-known book, La Casa de la Troya. It now allows visitors to get a peek at what campus life was like in the past.
6. The San Martio Pinario Monastery
The Monastery of San Martin Pinario is another outstanding location that Santiago has to offer history buffs. The church, one of the most exquisite examples of baroque architecture in the nation, was built in the ninth century after a group of Benedictine monks decided to reside in Santiago after learning of the discovery of St. James’ remains.
7. The Fund For Eugenio Granell
If you enjoy art, you must visit the Eugenio Granell Foundation to see an incredible collection of the Spanish-born surrealist painter’s works as well as pieces of art that prominent artists like Cruzeiro Seixas, Copley, and the renowned Miro have personally signed.
For art lovers from all over the world, there are also fantastic temporary exhibitions, plays on stage, and workshops.
It is a thriving, expanding museum that the general public enjoys visiting & where they can take part in cutting-edge initiatives that foster creativity, imagination, and growth. A museum that offers endless entertainment while thriving in its rich background of art.
8. Park Of The Alameda
Galicia is well-known in Spain for its parks, & Park de la Alameda is among the most stunning. With its stunning green spaces, towering oaks, eucalyptus trees, and palm trees, as well as ponds, sculptures, and lovely lanes teeming with happy people.
Every traveller who wants to breathe in some fresh air should stop by the park. Yet the views of the Cathedral are perhaps what you’ll adore the most.
9. Park San Domingos de Bonaval
San Domingos de Bonaval, sometimes known as “Bonaval” by locals, is a well-liked park in Santiago de Compostela. Alvaro Siza, a Portuguese architect, created this park, which is now a public green space, on the grounds of the former graveyard of a Dominican monastery.
Bonaval is a must-see for tourists interested in art & history because it is home to the Galician Art Collection Centre and the Museo of the Galician People.
10. Sea Food
Galician cuisine is a must-try before leaving Santiago, especially the octopus, which is one of their most recognisable meals. Referred to as “pulpo á Feira” in this region since it was traditionally consumed on market days, and the taste buds and hearts of every foodie will be won over by this dish.
Calamari is sold anywhere. You go to have a drink or a cup of coffee. Eating the sea food is one of the best things to do in Camino de Santiago.
11. Local Libations
Whether you want to experience Santiago’s nightlife or just want to visit during the day, you should include trying the local alcoholic beverages on your list of things to do. For instance, orujo, a pomace brandy, is a delicious beverage to have while toasting your successful pilgrimage.
The leftover grapes from the wine-making process are used to make it, and it is typically distilled with nuts, dried fruits, or herbs.
If brandy isn’t your thing, treat yourself to a glass of albario, a delectable white, mildly acidic wine from Galicia.
12. The Catalan Hostel dos Reis
The Hostal dos Reis Catolicos is a good option for those looking for an opulent place to stay in Santiago. And it is regarded as the world’s oldest operating hotel. For weary travellers who wish to indulge themselves after a long journey, this is the finest destination.
13. Market Of Abodes
Foodies from every corner of the world are invited to Santiago’s bustling food market, Mercado de Abastos, for a rural but stylish experience. This location offers tourists the chance to observe the peaceful blending of Santiago’s modern and traditional life while delighting in regional specialities.
It is filled with both modern and traditional booths where farmers sell their products.
14. Santiago The Apostle Festivals
If you intend to travel to Santiago in July, you will have the opportunity to join the people in celebrating the Fiestas del Apostol Santiago. Prepare yourself for a fiesta you won’t soon forget!
There is no ideal way to hike the Camino, but understanding how the route functions before leaving will help you have a successful trip. Before beginning your walk, consider the following points.
These are the most typical accommodations for pilgrims on the Camino. These modest lodgings, which range in price from five to fifteen euros a night, are managed by churches, local authorities, nonprofit organisations, and private groups and provide affordable beds in a number of locations.
Albergues are excellent places to make new friends on the trail or catch up with trail mates because they are made especially for pilgrims. However, call ahead to because of COVID-19 make a reservation to make sure certain accommodations are offered.
The Compostela, a certificate you receive in Santiago at the conclusion of your walk, is “evidence” that you finished your Camino pilgrimage. Only those who have travelled 62 miles or more on foot before arriving at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, the Camino’s endpoint, are given a Compostela.
These booklets, also referred to as “pilgrim passports” (Credencial del Peregrino), are necessary for hikers who want to confirm their journey to Santiago de Compostela. To show and validate their Camino just at the Pilgrims Reception office in Santiago, pilgrims must receive a stamp in the booklet each day.
You can get a stamp from an albergue, a Refugio, or a post office every night.
Having your credentials on hand will also allow you to take advantage of a discounted pilgrim fare for hotels and meals along the route.
American Pilgrims on the Camino, which does not require membership, as well as stores and churches at the beginning of your journey, both sell books to travellers from the United States.
Simply said, it’s possible to lose your bearings. Thankfully, the Camino is dotted with the ubiquitous Scallop Shell emblem to guide pilgrims in the right direction. Look for this recognisable waymarker if you’re unsure.
18. Various Voyager Types
Many people begin their Camino journey on their own as a journey of self-discovery and personal development.
Although that might be the case for the remainder of the journey, many pilgrims immediately find themselves establishing unauthorised groups along the road, one of the unusual cultural fusions that contribute to the Camino’s allure.
Due to the fact that most hikers proceed at a comparable speed, these friendships may survive for the entire duration of the journey or just one evening.
Top Camino Destinations
Whether it’s finding a modest, family-run café or sleeping under the eaves of a 14th-century church, every day on the Camino is an adventure.
Here are a few places on the Camino Francés that must be visited, even though some experiences will stand out above the rest.
The hub of activity in Pamplona’s Old Town is Castle Square, which is home to a number of eateries, stores, and pubs where Ernest Hemingway wrote his classic, “The Sun Also Rises.”
Logroo, the birthplace of Spain’s renowned La Rioja wine, is a must-visit for foodies. The city offers guests a bevvy of delectable selections certain to help you forget about your sore feet for the evening, and it blends its wine with a few of the nation’s greatest tapas.
Make sure to visit Calle del Laurel for the atmosphere. In late September, the city also holds the Rioja Wine Harvest Festival, allowing tourists an opportunity to see the “treading of the grapes.”
This tiny mediaeval hamlet is one of the many pleasant surprises all along Camino and a well-liked rest point for food and drink.
The adjacent Bodegas Irache, which maintains a community wine spout at no cost for passing hikers, completes its great garden-to-table legacy.
Simply said, it’s possible to lose your bearings. Thankfully, the Camino is dotted with the ubiquitous Scallop Shell emblem to guide pilgrims in the right direction. Look for this recognisable waymarker if you’re unsure.
Burgos, a city that blends old and new, is home towards the Cathedral of Burgos, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture from the 13th century and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In addition to the city’s diverse cultural offerings, the promenade all along Arlanzón River as well as its historic winding lanes lined with eateries and bars, have a distinct Spanish charm.
Burgos is renowned for its cheeses and the delicious blood sausage known as morcilla in Spain.
One location on the Camino that must not be missed is León’s Gothic Cathedral from the thirteenth century. The interior of the building is illuminated by a beguiling light show produced by the Cathedral’s spectacular collection of stained-glass windows.
As many of the Camino stops, León’s old town is made up of bustling lanes lined with shady restaurants and neighbourhood bars.
Things To Know Before Traveling to Camino de Santiago:
1. How Challenging Is The Camino?
The Camino de Santiago is a difficult route, particularly for beginners who have never engaged in a multi-day walk or trip.
Even if you merely walk the final 100 km to Santiago de Compostela or choose one of the shorter options, it’s extremely taxing to walk 20 to 25 kilometres on average each day. We would advise getting ready for the Camino de Santiago by exercising.
You can experience emotional exhaustion when travelling longer distances, according to our research.
Imagine waking up every day, loading your belongings into a backpack, travelling for most of the day, and spending each night somewhere new, frequently in a shared room with strangers.
It’s undoubtedly a special experience, and the difficulties we face are a part of it, but it isn’t a walk in the park.
Since the early ninth century, kings and queens, Roman legions, & legions of Catholic pilgrims have all travelled the road, but in recent years, it has drawn an increasingly large and diverse throng.
Almost 300,000 “peregrinos,” or pilgrims, finished the journey to Santiago in 2017 alone.
The Camino de Santiago offers a singular window into the historical, environmental, and cultural splendour of the Iberian Peninsula, traversing the harsh Pyrenees, undulating plains, and meandering through verdant hillsides.
Having said that, there are several considerations to keep in mind if you intend to walk the Camino de Santiago, including logistics, points of interest, and choosing the best route for your needs in terms of cost, time, and distance.
2. How Long Do You Walk Each Day?
On average, a day on the Camino de Santiago involves walking 20–25 kilometres (12–15 mi). You’ll get 4-5 hours of walking each day if you walk at an average pace of 5 km (3,1 mi) per hour.
Due to the fact that you frequently pause on the route to take pictures, drink coffee, eat lunch, etc., add an additional hour or two.
3. What Will You Need For The Camino de Santiago Journey?
The Santiago Camino can be walked by anyone. No unique paperwork or licences are required. The only real necessities are a backpack and a pair of sturdy shoes.
A Credential, a printed book or spreadsheet with the pilgrim’s information (name, country, birthdate, etc.) and blank areas for stamps, is the sole particular item required for the Camino de Santiago.
You amass stamps from the route’s restaurants, pubs, churches, and albergues in this book. You’ll need your passport at Santiago de Compostela, where the Camino ends.
A certification is given for finishing the Camino. If you wish to stay at public albergues as well, you must have the Credential.
4. Transfer Of Luggage On The Santiago Camino
On the Way of St. James, backpack delivery is an option if you don’t want to carry a heavy backpack every day. Your bag is supplied every day from location to location, and it works really simply.
They take it up in the morning from the hotel or albergue reception and deliver it by midday to your next lodging location. On the Camino de Santiago, a number of businesses provide luggage transfer services.
The primary Spanish post office, Correos, serves the majority of Camino routes.
5. Travel Planning
Although the Camino de Santiago can be travelled throughout the year, the best times to do so are in April, May, June, September, and October.
The Pyrenees mountain range can see heavy snowfall and unfavourable weather in the winter for anyone choosing to walk the well-known Camino Francés. Due to the decline in tourist activity, several albergues also close during the winter.
In Europe, the summer months are peak vacation time, resulting in an increase in hiker traffic and stressed trail infrastructure. In contrast, the spring and fall shoulder seasons offer substantially better weather with significantly less foot traffic.
Due to the fact that many pilgrims strive to time their journeys with this spring’s holy week, keep in mind Spain’s Semana Santa holiday.
6. How To Get Ready
The Camino is accessible to a wide range of age groups and walking abilities because it doesn’t require any technical walking. Hikers should be used to walking for several hours, multiple days in succession.
What it lacks in technicality, it makes up for in the distance. Starting out slowly with hour-long neighbourhood strolls, training can gradually progress to multi-hour strolls and treks over the course of a month or longer.
7. What to Bring?
The most crucial and private piece of equipment for your Camino journey is this. Everybody has unique feet, and after several hundred kilometres of walking on unsteady ground, those distinctions become even more noticeable.
Consider your individual requirements, such as arch support, breathability, weight, or a variety of other things, and keep in mind the season you’re travelling in.
Break in your shoes long before you hit the route by walking a few miles at a time while carrying a heavy backpack for several days straight.
7.2. Dependable Hiking Socks
A couple of decent pairs of socks can make a significant impact while travelling long distances, along with your footwear.
Thin to midweight hiking socks with a moisture-wicking layer is typically the most preferred option for pilgrims because bulky hiking socks can lead to sweating and blisters.
Liner socks help those who are prone to blisters control moisture and avoid the friction between skin and shoe that leads to blistering.
7.3. Sanitary Bag
A lightweight, weatherproof shower bag with a hook can make using the trail shower much more pleasant, as many hostel facilities lack shelves or other dry storage areas.
When you carry whatever you bring on your back, limit the number of toiletries you bring. Numerous hostels will have an excess of toiletries that were left behind by hikers who learned this lesson the hard way.
7.4. Travel Diary
Do you wish to recall the Camino? Carry a journal and record your observations on the path for 15 minutes each night before bed. By the time the trip is through, those brief recollections will have grown into a powerful and enduring narrative.
Sturdy underwear is a must on the Camino, including your underwear. Boxer briefs for men and bikini-cut underwear for ladies can prevent painful chafing. Performance and comfort in this situation go hand in hand.
During eight to twelve hours each day for 30 straight days while you walk the Camino, your pack would be your closest friend. You must therefore pick a backpack that fits well and is appropriate for your hiking style.
For stuff like snacks, drinks, and items you’ll need during the day, like a phone or camera, that typically implies a lot of external pocket space.
The majority of what you’ll need should fit in a 40-litre backpack, but keep in mind the old Camino rule: try to keep your pack at close to 10% of the body weight as you can.
This might appear small, but every pound you carry will weigh more as you travel farther. Happy hikers carry lighter loads.
7.5. Base Layers
The Camino is a delicate ballet of layering as it meanders over high passes, hot lowlands, and damp hillsides. The fight to control body temperature never ends.
During the path, controlling body temperature is a daily struggle, and base layers are essential.
On the trail, lightweight wool, fleece, & synthetic base layers often perform far better than cotton and down. Also, these materials are simple to wash in a shower in the evening and dry in the morning.
The foundation of your Camino outfit will be these layers paired with quick-drying hiking leggings or slacks.
Be prepared to travel for 5 to 7 hours per day at Camino de Santiago. Some people walk more slowly than others.
Even on that same Camino route, walking times might vary depending on the terrain. Due to the ascents and descents, you move more slowly in the mountains than on the plains.
There are many things to do in Camino de Santiago, like visiting the Pilgrimage route of Camino Primitivo, visiting the Camino ingles, el camino de Santiago, Via de la Plata, Camino Finisterre, Riding the mountain bike, visiting San Sebastian, the Atlantic Ocean, Camino mozárabe, and the coastal villages.
Winter is an excellent time to walk the Camino if you want it to be completely empty of people; otherwise, aim to do it between March as well as the beginning of November.
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