When it comes to the Camino de Santiago, no two experiences are the same. Even if you walk the same route with the same people, there are unique aspects that shape each particular experience. And, furthermore, we don't always have the same time, or the same resources. Nor do we really have the same goal. Especially if we have already done some part of this millenary route that never tires of giving us incredible places and unique moments.
So today we are going to talk about how to customize every aspect of your experience, so that it adapts 100% to what you are looking for right now. That is, how to design your Camino de Santiago to measure.
As an agency specialising in the Camino de Santiago, at Proguías we have long since learned that understanding the preferences and needs of the people who are going to travel with us is the key to being able to design a truly transformative adventure for them. The kind that changes your life.
Because the Camino is extremely flexible and because we know it in detail, we can offer you a variety of customisable options and specific recommendations for each stretch. That's how we build the perfect trip. And that's why every day more and more people choose us to help them organise theirs and end up recommending us to their friends and loved ones.
Here are the seven ways in which we can make your Camino truly yours:
1. Choose the ideal route
One of the basic aspects when defining a Camino de Santiago has to do with the different routes that compose it. Although not all of them have a sufficient amount of services for any walker, there are several routes that you can walk even if you are not an expert in long-distance routes.
Whether it's the renowned Camino Francés, the less travelled Camino Sanabrés or something in between, we can help you select the perfect route to suit your preferences and interests at the moment. Here we leave you an article where we take a quick look at each of the 8 most common routes and explain what to expect from each one.
And pay attention to this: the choice of the route is not only related to the areas it passes through and the attractions that each of them offers. We should also take into account the level of occupation. That is, how crowded the Camino is at any given moment. If we want to walk with a certain tranquility, for example, we should avoid the French Way in summer. If we prefer not to walk alone and interact with other people, on the other hand, it can be a good option. Here you can see some of them Pilgrim's Office statistics on each Camino to get an idea of which are the most popular.
So, if you are not sure where to start, start here. It will help you.
2. Choose the starting point and the end
Once you have decided which of the routes will serve as the backdrop to the Camino de Santiago as you are planning, the next step is to define the section you will do.
And here's a piece of advice. Nobody forces you to commit yourself to the entire route of a Camino. That is to say, if you choose the French Way, it is not obligatory to start in Roncesvalles or Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. Or, if you choose the Primitivo, it is not written in stone that you must start in Oviedo and finish in Santiago.
An increasingly popular formula is to do complete routes in sections. On the first occasion, for example, the French Way from Roncesvalles to Logroño. The following year, from Logroño to Burgosthen from Burgos to León and so on to Santiago.
You can customise your Camino by selecting the number of days you would like to walk and choosing where to start and where to finish. This flexibility allows you to explore stunning landmarks, towns and cities without feeling the pressure of time or the urgency to keep moving. In short: give time to time.
In addition, making the The Way of Saint James by sections It only has advantages: each time you will be more experienced and get to know both the route and your own body better; you won't need to allocate as many days together and it will be easier to fit it into the usual length of a holiday; and you can spread the cost (and the effort) over several times, making it more affordable.
Just remember that, if your goal is to receive your CompostelaIf you have a religious certificate for your pilgrimage, you will have to walk at least the last 100 kilometres (200 kilometres if you want to do the Cycling route). But it is not compulsory to go through them all at once.
3. Choose where you will spend the night
Another key aspect when defining a tailor-made Camino de Santiago has to do with accommodation. Most sections in each of the routes offer different types and categories, some more basic and others more complete. So the choice is yours.
While traditional pilgrim hostels are a great way to experience the Camino and connect with other pilgrims, they are not the only option. Today, you can enjoy varying levels of comfort and even luxury during your journey. Whether you're looking for an occasional upgrade or a couple's getaway, we can arrange accommodation to suit your preferences and budget.
Here is one of them guide to the different types of accommodation that you can find along the Camino, so you can get a clearer idea of what differentiates a hostel from a pension or a standard hotel from a charming hotel (and why the typical classification by stars, on the Camino, is useless).
4. Choose the rest of the services
As you can see from the previous point, the Camino de Santiago suits different budgets. Whether you are looking for luxury accommodation, authentic local experiences or the most economical options, we can help you plan your Camino according to your financial means.
But it is not just a matter of choosing the type of accommodation. There are a number of complementary services that can be contracted if your Camino needs them. For example, the luggage transport during the stagesfrom accommodation to accommodation. Or transfers to get to the starting point, which is not always easy to reach by public transport.
On this, moreover, we have to make a point. Hiring good accommodation or services that facilitate your Camino does not make you less of a pilgrim. Again, the Camino is flexible enough to fit in it experiences of all kinds.
5. Choose the dates
Another way to personalise the Camino de Santiago is by choosing the dates. You don't have to join a closed group with predefined dates, to which you would have to adapt. The Camino de Santiago is open all year round. And, although it is true that doing it in winter imposes certain additional rules, it can even be done in snow.
In other words, you choose the dates that suit you best. In our busy lives we don't always have many days off together, unfortunately. The good thing is that you can do stretches of two or three days or thirty, as we said above. How long your Camino lasts is up to you.
Related to this is the next point: rhythm.
6. Choose your pace: short or longer stages
Another key aspect when customizing the Camino de Santiago is to take into account your pace. We always say it and it is one of the main lessons of our free guide "Manual de Caminantes": "your Camino, your pace".
It is clear that one of the most interesting aspects of the Camino de Santiago is that it represents a physical (and mental) challenge. A bit of occasional suffering gives more value to the fact of overcoming oneself. But within this basic premise, it is important to be aware of our limitations.
Some people simply cannot walk the usual 20-25 km of a stage. Other people can walk more than 40. Once again, there is room for everyone on the Camino.
If you are not sure of your fitness or simply want to take it easy, you can choose shorter walking days. Remember that getting to Santiago is not about speed, but about enjoying every step of your extraordinary journey. The Camino is not necessarily a race.
7. Choose your company
Another of the keys to a tailor-made Camino de Santiago is that you can choose who you are going to share it with. Self-guided routes are perfect for this, because they allow you not only to choose the pace and dates, but also with whom you walk.
The Camino can be done in a group, with friends, as a couple, with the family (even with children). Or alone. It is true that, depending on the type of accommodation, doing the Camino alone can be a bit more expensive in economic terms. But it has other advantages: when we venture alone we tend to be more open to other people we will meet along the route. Not only local people (who have real treasures to discover), but also other people who, like us, are on their way to Santiago.
The Camino has been, is and will continue to be, without a doubt, the stage on which great friendships are forged. The kind that last a lifetime.
Bonus track. There is a way beyond the Camino
As an extra ball, we want to tell you one of the great secrets of the Camino de Santiago. Actually, it is an open secret. It is in plain sight, but we usually don't even notice it. Here it goes: you can plan rest days along the route, or when you get to Santiago. Not only to recharge your batteries, but above all to explore the area and live authentic local experiences. They will undoubtedly make your trip richer.
After all, travel is not just about changing places, but about getting in touch with the places we visit, with the people we meet along the way, with the local communities.
It is one of the teachings that has penetrated us most deeply in our own paths: that there is a way beyond the Camino. That there are real treasures in its margins. And that it is worth dedicating time to them.