Camino de Santiago: Pilgrim Passport & Tips
A pilgrim’s passport is a must you must have one to stay in the municipal and parish albergues (similar to hostels) during the Camino de Santiago. Read here how to get it and what to bring for staying healthy during your trip.See all Camino de Santiago tours
Camino Pilgrim Passport
Hiking the Camino de Santiago is more of a casual affair. This is because while some of its routes may have challenging bits, they’re not incredibly tough that hikers require trekking gear, vigorous training, or as we mentioned before, a guide. Additionally, none of its trails requires mountaineering skills or experience to warrant a permit, unlike Kilimanjaro or Everest. This means that you need not obtain a permit to start your journey, even the month-long ones.
- EU member states
do not need a visa to travel to Spain. In fact, US citizens, Australians and Canadian may stay in the country for up to three months or 90 days, to be exact, without a visa.
Since the longest of the major treks in the Camino de Santiago network is just over a month, you won’t have to obtain a visa to complete your hike if you’re from any of these countries. If you are, however, planning on extending your trip for more than three months, you must secure one. If you do so, also remember that your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond your period of stay.
Official Camino Passport
While you do not require a permit to start or finish your hike, there are a couple of things that you might want to obtain. One of those is the Pilgrim’s Card or Passport, which is essentially an official verification document that tells the pilgrim’s office at the end of the trail in Santiago de Compostela that you did at least 100 kilometres of walking (or 200 kilometres of cycling).
Obtain your Pilgrim’s Card at a pilgrim’s office, an albergues or the town hall at your starting point, then have it stamped at an albergues, an establishment or a religious building (like a church or a monastery) in your stops along the way. You must do so at least twice a day. Keep it safe with you until you finish your hike so that you can present it to the cathedral officials at the end of your journey.
Pilgrims Office Santiago and Camino Certificate
When you finish your hike in Santiago de Compostela, you can preset your Pilgrim’s Card or Passport to the cathedral officials to apply for the Compostela. The Compostela is essentially your certificate of completion, a document that says you completed the Camino de Santiago journey on foot or horseback for at least 100 kilometres (or 200 kilometres by bike) and that you did so for religious or spiritual reasons. You need not obtain the Compostela if you prefer not to, however.
Camino first aid kit and vaccinations
The minimal first aid kit for the Camino has to include:
- Charcoal pills against diarrhea
- Sewing kit with strings (against blisters)
Remember then that you will be in Spain, a country where there are many pharmacies. The pharmacists along the Camino are accustomed to most of the aches, pains and ills of peregrinos and will be able to help you with most maladies. Take any prescribed medication with you and only small quantities of other things as you can top up along the way.
If you are, or ever have been, allergic to anything - whether it be flora or food - carry anithistamines. Non-drowsy for the day and drowsy for night. If you have ever had asthma - even if you haven't had an attack for 10 years - take something with you. Your body has learned to fight local conditions but you will be in a new country with different dust and pollens and these could cause problems.
Build up your reserves of Magnesium and Calcium before you go (Dolomite is a good source). Take pills and the other solid medicines out of the boxes and pack them into plastic, zip-lock money bags. You can decant liquids such as Arnica oil from their heavy glass bottles into smaller, plastic bottles (they will remain stable for the short time you are walking on the Camino).
It is advisable to have an up-to-date anti-tetanus and rabies vaccines before you travel to Spain and Portugal. Additionally, it is recommended that you are up-to-date on your routine vaccines, including hepatitis A, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, MMR, diphtheria, Tdap, and influenza.
Camino de Santiago Weather
Here the best time to walk the Camino de Santiago
|Average High °F||52.2||54.5||59||61||65.6||74.5||75.7||76.5||73||64.6||57.4||53.4|
|Average High °C||11.2||12.4||15||16.1||18.6||22.2||24.3||24.7||22.8||18.1||14.1||11.9|
|Average Low °F||39.4||39.4||40.7||43.2||47.3||52.3||55.4||55.9||53.4||49.1||44.1||41|
|Average Low °C||4.1||4.1||5.3||6.2||8.6||11.3||13||13.3||11.9||9.5||6.7||5|
|Rainfall >1 mm days||15.2||12.3||13.4||14.4||12.5||7.6||5.7||5.5||8.4||14||14.9||15.9|
Camino de Santiago tours & reviews
Camino de Santiago Trek
9 days from $1,879
- Follow one of the world's oldest pilgrim routes
- Explore cathedrals and medieval monasteries
- Collect stamps for your pilgrim's passport along the way
- Stroll through the historic Santiago de Compostela
St James (The Camino)
19 days from $8,487
Following St James' Way, Self-Guided Walking
13 days from $2,979
A Week on the Camino (self-guided)
8 days from $1,197
"Camino de Santiago" (Way of St James): Original Way
7 days from $627
"Camino de Santiago" (Way of St James): Fisterra Epilogue
5 days from $556
Guided Camino Walk - Sarria to Santiago
8 days from $1,399
Best of the Portuguese Way
10 days from $2,490
Camino de Santiago Information
How can I get to Camino de Santiago?
This, of course, depends on the route you’re taking. Flying to the city closest to the trailhead is certainly preferable if you’re coming in from Australia, USA and the UK. However, UK travellers may travel by bus or rail to the towns of Ferrol, Oviedo and St. Jean Pied de Port. Learn more.
When should I walk the Camino de Santiago?
The absence of extreme weather changes in the area makes Camino de Santiago’s routes walkable year-round. Though June through September may be its busiest months, more than one thousand people still make the hike during the cold winter months of December, January and February. Learn more.
Can I walk the Camino during Christmas time?
While most pilgrims prefer to walk the Camino de Santiago from Spring to Autumn, the number of pilgrims who walk during winter time is increasing. But be aware there will be less pilgrims on the way around those dates so you might miss out on the social aspect of the Camino.
Do I need a guide to climb?
While you don’t need a guide to hike any of the Camino de Santiago routes, having one will reduce the burden of planning. Going on a guided hike would give you the benefits of having experienced trip planners arrange things like accommodation, food, luggage transport and airport transfers. Learn more.
What should I pack and what equipment do I need?
Along the way, you'll be able to stop in towns to refuel. Carrying a day pack of your personal essentials, change of clothes, a two-litre water bottle, a first aid kit, and your passport and Pilgrim Passport will suffice. Invest in a good pair of hiking shoes and walking poles. Learn more.
How do I prepare for Camino de Santiago?
Do your research to choose the best route for your skill level and study the rules and etiquette on the trail. Purchase and read a guidebook for your chosen route. Finally, train for several months prior and push yourself to hike farther every day until you’re fit to do 26- to 29-kilometre days. Learn more.