The Camino de Santiago, a journey steeped in history and spirituality, invites people of all ages and backgrounds to discover its paths. Whether you’re a young adventurer or someone in their golden years, this pilgrimage adapts to your style and pace. Options abound: from cycling through rolling hills, horseback riding across rustic landscapes, to navigating the route in a wheelchair, there’s a way for everyone. Yet, among these varied approaches, one particular experience stands out for its unique blend of challenge and self-discovery: walking the camino by yourself. This mode of travel not only tests your resilience but also offers unparalleled opportunities for personal reflection and growth.
Key Strategies for Walking the Camino Alone
Embarking on the Camino de Santiago solo is not for everyone.. You need at least the desire to travel and courage, to first face your fears and then put on your backpack to go to Santiago. On the other hand, it is in most cases is pure enjoyment once you are on the road. I can hear you thinking, that’s easy to say. Because walking the camino by yourself or together: that’s a big difference. You can read more about it here.
If you are truly considering the solo pilgrimage to Santiago, we have 10 tips for you.
1. Think about safety
Very few incidents take place on the Camino de Santiago every year. Despite that, we understand that walking the camino by yourself can be a bit scary, so hence these tips. For example, you can choose a camino where there are many other pilgrims.
On the Camino Francés (63.37%) and the Camino Portugués (17.83%), around 80% of all pilgrims walk to Santiago. So if you want to walk the camino alone, but still want to be among people, it is best to choose one of these caminos. The time of year is very important: in summer there are many more pilgrims on the Camino, while in December, January or February (the months with the fewest pilgrims) the Camino will be much more deserted. In this blog, you can read more about when is the best time to walk the Camino alone.
2. Prepare yourself well
Walking the Camino together means you can share responsibilities, but if you walk alone, you are completely on your own. So be well prepared. Read our blog, buy a Camino guide with all the information you need along the way or choose to let us arrange your accommodation in advance, so you don’t have to stress about it. And if you have any questions, feel free to contact us.
3. Make contact with other pilgrims
Walking the camino by yourself doesn’t mean you won’t have contact with anyone along the way. Because if there is one thing we know with certainty, it is that if you start the camino alone, you will end it in company. That’s because during your pilgrimage you will meet dozens (possibly hundreds) of pilgrims from all over the world with whom you can hang out. Talk to them, exchange advice and experiences and take advantage of the opportunity to meet pilgrims from all over the world while walking the camino by yourself.
4. Enjoy being by yourself
Just as, while walking the camino by yourself, we recommended talking and interacting with your fellow pilgrims, we also encourage you to enjoy the kilometres without anyone by your side. Those moments are perfect for a moment to turn inward, reflect on your life or just open your eyes and admire your surroundings, pay attention to the sounds you hear and immerse yourself in the magic of the Camino de Santiago.
5. Don’t go out alone at night
The vast majority of pilgrims follow a fairly similar schedule, getting up early and usually going on a pilgrimage in the morning hours. It is important that you join this rhythm as much as possible. We advise you not to set off alone in the dark. You can’t see the arrows as well, and without lights, some paths can be dangerous.
6. Find your own ryhtm
While walking the camino solo, find your own rhythm. And you can do that even when you are alone. In a group, you soon have to adapt to the tempo of others anyway. Drink and eat enough, take a few breaks, and adjust the distances to what is possible for you.
7. Make sure your phone is charged
It goes without saying these days, but make sure your mobile phone is charged. Useful for when you’ve gone off route, just want to quickly look something up or want to know how far it is to the next rest stop because you want a coffee. Also remember to turn on ‘data roaming’.
8. Choose the camino that matches you
There are several routes to the tomb of the apostle Saint James in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Although the French route (Camino Francés) attracts the most pilgrims, several other pilgrimage routes have emerged through northern Spain over the centuries. But which Camino de Santiago route is most suitable for you? If you walk the camino alone, you can decide for yourself. Based on these questions, we will help you choose your Camino de Santiago route.
9. If you are at a loss, ask for help
In general, the various routes on the Camino de Santiago are well marked, but even with clear and visible signs, it is possible to get lost. If you find yourself in such a situation, it is best to ask someone close to you for help. Another pilgrim, a local, a police officer or the home front.
10. Get in touch with locals
If there is anything that characterises the Camino de Santiago, it is the incredible willingness people have to help pilgrims. And we’re not just talking about the staff in hostels, hotels and albergues, but also the locals you meet along the way.
They will see you with a backpack and offer to help you, guide you to the right route or give you advice on which places to visit in town, where to eat, etc. Take advantage of this kindness, ask for anything you need. They will be happy to help you.
So much for our tips on walking the camino by yourself. We hope the information is useful to you and it has helped you decide whether to make your own solo pilgrimage to Santiago. We would be happy to help you.
Exploring while walking the Camino by yourself
As our journey through the tips for solo travel on the Camino de Santiago concludes, you might feel the stirrings of wanderlust, perhaps envisioning a solitary trek in a different yet equally enchanting location. The idea of walking alone, immersed in new landscapes and cultures, is an exhilarating one, and there’s a world of paths waiting to be explored by solo adventurers like you.
Discover Menorca’s Camí de Cavalls: A Solo Traveler’s Paradise
In the spirit of unique solo travel experiences, let us turn our gaze to the picturesque island of Menorca and its famed Camí de Cavalls. This trail is more than just a path; it’s a journey through the heart of Mediterranean beauty, skirting the entire coast of Menorca. Here, solo travelers can find their rhythm against the backdrop of stunning coastal views, secluded coves, and historic watchtowers. Each step on the Camí de Cavalls is a step into both history and personal discovery. Whether you seek moments of solitude, opportunities to connect with nature, or the thrill of navigating an ancient trail, Menorca’s Camí de Cavalls is an ideal choice. Dive deeper into what makes this path a must-visit for solo wanderers and start planning your next adventure here.