So you’ve done your due diligence in choosing your Camino and preparing for your adventure of a lifetime. What’s next?
Naturally, people will want to know what it’s actually like out on the trail. Knowing what to expect is important to be prepared for life on the road. Forewarned is forearmed, as they say. So let’s take a look at some of the burning questions people have about Camino life.
This is one of the biggest questions people have to help them determine how they will tackle their upcoming adventure. There is a large range of accommodation styles in Spain, from the communal living of the albergues right through to the luxurious living of the historical and plush paradors.
Many factors will help decide which way you go with this, including budget, the experience you want to have, the comfort level you want and even your ability to sleep in a room full of people! Another factor could also be the time of year you are walking. If you are there during peak periods and don’t fancy getting up before daybreak to try and make sure you will get a bed that night, then albergues may not be the right option for you. Whichever way you choose to travel, don’t listen to the naysayers who might tell you that the only way to have a true Camino experience is to stay in albergues. Casa rurales or pensiones can also offer the same type of experience, albeit without having to suffer snorers, cramped sleeping quarters, and yes, possibly bedbugs!
THE WALK ITSELF
Any long distance walk, by its very nature, is going to have quite a variation in terrain. Some parts may be hilly and challenging while others are relatively flat. Some sections may be verdant and beautiful while others offer little variety. All these factors may go a long way to helping you decide which section of the Camino you want to walk if you can’t walk the full length. To help you decide you might want to check out our stages pages (stage 1, 2, 3, and 4) as well as this helpful altitude map
While surprises can be nice, knowing what to expect can go a long way to your preparation. Knowing everything about the food and water situation for example can help you understand if you need water purification tablets for example (you don’t!), or knowing the cost of food can help you budget.
Similarly, knowing the money situation and how to access cash or whether credit cards are readily accepted in small towns can assist in knowing how to carry your money. While knowing the local public transport situation can help put your mind at ease about those days you might not be physically capable of walking for whatever reason.
While some of the lesser questions you might have regarding life on the Camino might be found in our FAQ’s, some of the bigger questions you might like addressed could be what sort of weather you can expect so you know better when to go. For example, many people assume Spain to be a hot and arid country year round but this is definitely not the case. The small village of O Cebreiro for example can see snowfalls right through to June!
And of course a big concern for many people, especially those relatively novice travellers, is the safety aspect. Should you be worried about your personal safety at any time? Or should keep and strict eye on your belongings at all times? These are valid concerns and we address them here.
And what of your fellow walkers? Where do they come from? What is the typical age range? How many are there on each section of the Camino? When are the numbers of walkers at its highest? Or perhaps you have a real interest in the history of the Camino. Again, we do our best to give you a clearer picture and answer these questions here.
Armed with all of this information, hopefully what to expect on the Camino is a little clearer. But don’t go with solid expectations because the Camino has a way of throwing up some curve balls. This is all part of the Camino experience and as long as you walk with an open mind, these unexpected circumstances can be some of the most interesting things to happen to you and often the basis of some of the biggest lessons learned.