Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela – Spain – Walking alone yet together!

Always dreamed of walking the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela? But you just don’t get around to it? Do you put it off because you don’t want to go it alone? Do you doubt you can do it? Afraid of not being able to find a place to stay?

Let me help you fulfil that big wish.
Walk the Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in small group

Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela - Spain - Walking alone yet together!
The way to Santiago de Compostela

Organised small-group walking the Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela

Sign up with me and join a small group on a pilgrimage in complete freedom!

We start the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in a small group and when you are ready, you can continue on your own. You retain the freedom to walk alone when you are ready. If that doesn’t seem appealing for a day or maybe several days you can join a group. And who knows, maybe you will walk all the days together with a new pilgrim friend after all?

This is precisely what a Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela is and gradually you will come to experience it.

Why am I doing this?
Because I hear from many people that they really want to go on a pilgrimage. They dream of it but are unable or afraid to take the step. I would like to take that step together with them. Cross that threshold and go! You live now and now is the chance to go on a pilgrimage!

If you have a healthy body?
If you feel inspiration to go for a walk.
Then now is the time to go.

Don’t procrastinate. Research shows that people regret decisions they did not take. The decisions they made, experiences they did engage in only helped them further in knowing what they actually wanted. (And thus to make better follow-up decisions in your life.) Do you know Bronnie Ware and her research? Read about her research.

Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela - Spain - Walking alone yet together!

Go and experience what it is like to walk on the ancient pilgrimage
the Camino Frances (the French road).

I choose not to have the group larger than 8 people at the most, incl myself as a flying keeper / guide. We will sleep in the hostels with other pilgrims, you will feel part of the pilgrim community when we eat the pilgrim’s meal with other pilgrims in the evening. You will also find yourself meeting the same pilgrim along the way over a cup of coffee.

The only certainty you have is that we, as a group, are together in the same hostel every evening. Then, should there be anything you are struggling with, I can help you. I can assist you and will help you further.

The pilgrimage from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela has brought me so much and I want to share that with others. This can only be done by taking you on this special ancient pilgrimage through the Spanish countryside!

Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela - Spain - Walking alone yet together!
Somewhere in the Meseta… 200 km of only flat landscape and long roads….

Do you dare take that first step?

Walk the last 200 km on the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain with us.
Sign up right away!

Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela - Spain - Walking alone yet together!

Tips to prepare for this pilgrimage

If you signed up to walk the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, you are a fan of hiking. But have you ever hiked for several days at a time? It sounds so intense, walking for days on end, just passing through and those feet of yours that have to do it for you.

When I started walking the Camino Frances (Sept 2016) for the first time, I didn’t know what I was getting into either. I had ‘prepared’ during that year by walking at least 1-2 times every week. The longest hike I had done was a whopping 17km…. That, looking back now, is a short day on the Camino. Still, this was enough preparation for me. I was physically and mentally ready then to walk that long trek.

I started on the pilgrimage itself the first day with 25 km, the second day with 27, then 20 and then 17, 24, 29 etc. Just read this account of the first 200 km I walked on the Camino Frances. I wrote this report during the pilgrimage itself.

I started my pilgrimage on 3 September 2016 and it would eventually take me 35 days. Meanwhile, I took 2 break days and had a total of 5 blisters. And did you know that I got all the blisters on 1 day?

The shortest day in kilometres was 14 km and the longest was 39 km…. I walked many days alone but also walked quite a few days with Dutch Marianne and originally Dutch John…. And I also walked several days with Australian Terry and Canadian Jerry.

I have the fondest memories of my time as a pilgrim. As an acquaintance of mine told me: you have a life before you are a pilgrim and a life after. He was absolutely right about that!

Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela - Spain - Walking alone yet together!

What I mean by it is that you walk differently on the Camino than you walk at home. Your mindset cannot be compared to how you plan a walk at home. When you walk at home your mind is on the chores that are still waiting. Doing the laundry, getting groceries, mowing the lawn etc.

On the camino the rest of the afternoon and evening is for recuperation and thus free from physical chores. You don’t have to do anything but rinse/wash your clothes, check out the village a bit and make sure you get a good evening meal. Then you go to bed nice and early and give your body and feet the rest it needs for the next day.

You walk different distances each day and pass through different villages. Each day we will take breaks together, or you alone / with another pilgrim, in those villages. Take half an hour to have a cappuccino and watch the other pilgrims pass by, greeting each other ‘Buen Camino’.

Take an hour to enjoy your lunch on a terrace or maybe somewhere by the side of the road. Anything is possible and you have all the time you need.

Do the maths if you walk for 6 hours in a day you will soon make over 25 km. So if you walk 3 to 4 hours in the morning, there is plenty of time in the afternoon to take it easy.

  • There are lots of tips online about training for the Camino. Take a look for instance at the schedules from Adventure Element, Hillwalk Tours or REI. It’s different for everyone and you know yourself best. You know what you need in preparation for this pilgrimage.

Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela - Spain - Walking alone yet together!

Your Credential – Your Pilgrim’s passport

Before we start, I make sure we are in possession of the credential, a pilgrim’s passport. This ensures that we are ‘allowed’ to sleep in the cheaper hostels for pilgrims. The pilgrim passport also ensures that you can prove how many kilometres you have covered on the Camino Frances. There must be a stamp in your passport for each day walked in order to get the compostela on arrival.

Accommodation in the Albergues – pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela

In the hostels, the rule is that you can stay only 1 night. You get a stamp in your pilgrim passport at the hostel. The next morning, the hostel must be empty by 8am.

The passport of the Pilgrims on Camino Frances

From 12 / 1 pm, new pilgrims are allowed to check in at the hostels again. So if we finish just after noon you can already check in. With longer days this is obviously not the case but there will probably be a day with ‘only’ 18 to 20 km in between where we might be over just after noon.

To get a nice night’s sleep at the hostel, it is important to bring a sleeping bag. This should be as light as possible and so I recommend a sheet bag. Most hostels do have blankets that you can possibly use should it get chilly.

Receiving your Compostela in Santiago de Compostela?

You get the compostela if you have walked more than 100 km on the centuries-old Camino Frances. With this journey, you cover more than 100 km and so you are entitled to the compostela. When we arrive in Santiago de Compostela we will apply for it. Beforehand you applied and the question was asked: Are you walking the camino for spiritual reasons, sports reasons or cultural motivation and according to your answer you will get a certificate.

It is said that you have to collect 2 stamps per day in your credential, your passport, if you walk ‘only’ 100 km. I don’t know if this is really so but we are going to walk double that. I can assure you, though, that collecting multiple stamps in your pilgrim passport is no problem at all. For example, we pass through churches along the way where they are happy to give you a stamp.

Terms and conditions for this pilgrimage

You make sure you have your own travel and health insurance. You participate in this pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela at your own risk. If the trip is cancelled for any reason, you will have to turn to your own insurance in the first instance.

I am affiliated to GGTO (Stichting Garantiefonds voor Gespecialiseerde Tour Operators) as Zinvol Reizen. It’s a guarantee fund for specialised Tour Operators.

You take care of your own travel preparation so that you can walk a number of kilometres, every day. Of course, I can provide you with tips for this preparation and help you with it. If you read on you will come across some links. If you have any questions for me, feel free to ask them via e-mail or social media.

Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela - Spain - Walking alone yet together!

Schoes / Backpack / Hikingpoles

You make sure you wear good, broken-in walking shoes during the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. You also make sure you have a backpack that fits well on your back and that you can walk with for the entire journey. Walking poles are highly recommended during this trip.

If something happens along the way, we will work together to see how we will solve it. If you can’t walk for a day then take the bus or taxi to the next place. We stay together as a group at the overnight stops.

Mindful Travel on the Camino Frances – Zinvol Reizen

What do I arrange for your pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela

I book all the overnight stays and get you the pilgrim’s passport.

You pay an amount to me that includes each night in a hostel and the bus ride to Villafrance del Bierzo, and of course my personal guidance. Should there be any unexpected twists (trip cancelled / need to return halfway through), I am of course willing to think along in the process. My guidance beforehand and on site is non-refundable.

What is not included / pay for yourself during the pilgrimage

Air travel to Santiago or other city of choice is not included. If you fly to Santiago, the bus trip to the starting point is included, if you come via another route you get a €20 discount on the total amount to be paid.

I can also definitely book the plane ticket for you for an additional price. In addition, I can book a taxi and hotel from and to the airport in Santiago for you.

All meals, coffee stops and snacks along the way are at your own expense. In Spain, meals are not expensive, a pilgrim’s meal, 3 courses, costs on average €15. Water and wine included.

Of course, this also applies if you want to buy a souvenir or something.

There are services that drive between villages to transport pilgrims’ luggage. If you choose to use such a service en route, it will be at your own expense. This will cost around 4 to 5 euros per day.

It would be nice if you go on the pilgrimage with your own luggage.

There are several reasons for this. We all carry luggage, some a bit more than others. Do you carry everything with you? Are you saying goodbye to what you don’t need or are you carrying the load? This will have an impact on many levels, physically of course, but also psychologically. To let this process do its work, I am in favour of not using this service.

Of course I understand if the physical problems are too great, apart from the inconveniences that are normal on a pilgrimage, that you will use such a service. We will find that solution together when the time comes.

Should a day be too long for you, there are options to take a bus or taxi for the last bit.

In most villages there is a possibility to book a hotel or private room in the hostel. Should you choose to do so, these costs are also at your own expense. This is not possible every day so occasionally you will spend the night in a dormitory with the other pilgrims.

Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela - Spain - Walking alone yet together!

Packing list for this pilgrimage

Read what I carried with me on my pilgrimage.

Packinglist for pilgrims – Camino Frances

For everyone, the packing list differs a bit. Everyone values different stuff. Make good trade-offs in that. A great tip for your preparation while packing is the following:

Anything you leave at home is good add-on

In my list, I see that I still had a camera with me. In recent years, I only have that with me when I go somewhere I want to zoom in for nature photos. To be fair, that’s only on safari oid. So I’ve been travelling with my phone as my camera for years. I take this into account when I pick out a new phone. Currently, I take all my photos with the Google Pixel 7 Pro.

Phone app tip:

On your phone, install the Buen Camino app. This can replace a travel booklet. It shows you the route, any tourist extra routes or substitutions. It also tells you what to see along the way and in the villages. So a very handy app to have with you on the road.

I’d love to take up the challenge with you of walking a week (8 dgns) on the pilgrimage.

Costs and dates for this pilgrimage

I am going on this journey with you on

  • 2 – 11 september 2024

Trip – 2 t/m 11 september 2024 – Closed
Start walking 3 September in Villafranca del Bierzo – arrival Santiago 10 September

  • 17 – 26 april 2025

Trip – 17 t/m 26 april 2025 – FULLY BOOKED
Start hiking 18 april in Villafranca del Bierzo – arrival Santiago 25 april 2025

  • 29 april – 8 may 2025

Trip – 29 april t/m 8 may 2025 – 6 spots available 
Start hiking 30 april in Villafranca del Bierzo – arrival Santiago 7 may 2025

  • 29 mei – 7 juni 2025

Trip – 29 may t/m 7 june 2025 –  7 spots available 
Start hiking 30 may in Villafranca del Bierzo – arrival Santiago 6 june 2025

From Villafranca del Bierzo, we will start the 8 days of walking to Santiago de Compostela the day after our arrival as a group, where the hike ends on day 8 after 20 km of walking on the square by the impressive cathedral.

  • You’ll pay €800 excl 21% tax.

I book all overnight stays at hostels along the way. From the first night in Villafranca del Bierzo to the last night in Santiago.

As mentioned earlier, the plane ticket, taxi transport and all meals are at your own expense. If you choose to forward your bag daily, those costs are also at your own expense. If you (occasionally) want a private room instead of sleeping in the dormitory with other pilgrims, this can still be arranged locally in many places. Of course, the extra cost will be at your own expense.

Of course, other personal expenses such as souvenirs are also at your own expense.

Report to me to sign up. Be quick as there are only 7 places per pilgrimage. If you want the plane ticket or bus trip booked by me please indicate this.

  • Group size minimum 4 pilgrims

Minimum pilgrims per trip are 4 and maximum group size is 7. If you sign up I will keep you informed of the numbers so that if the pilgrimage goes ahead you can book your ticket right away.

I always take the bus from Santiago de Compostela to Villafranco del Bierzo the day before the trip. Of course, prior consultation is possible and we can do this bus trip together.

Stages of the Camino we hike on this trip

23.5 km = Villafranco del Bierzo – La Faba
26    km = La Faba – Triacastela
18.3 km = Triacastela – Sarria
22.4 km = Sarria – Portomarin
25    km = Portomarin – Palas de Rei
25.8 km = Palas de Rei – Ribadiso
22.1 km = Ribadiso – O Pedrouzo
20.1 km = O Pedrouzo –  Santiago de Compostela

Please also read the general travel conditions on my website. I am offering this beautiful trip on my Dutch website but also want to give others a chance to book it with me and join a small group on these last kilometers on the great pilgrimage.

 

Share this trip with people you know would love to do the pilgrimage one day but are putting it off.
Tip them this unique opportunity to walk the last 200 km of the Camino Frances in a small group.

Don’t wait too long to sign up. The trip will be fixed with a minimum of 4 applications.

Mail me at jacomijn@zinvolreizen.nl or send me a message on a social media channel.

Coffee along the route in Viana - Camino Frances
Coffee along the route in Viana

Inspiration to read before?

How a Pilgrim Spend a Day on the Camino Frances

Budget for your pilgrimage – Spain

Hiking the Camino from 200 t0 400 km

Also read about my last 200 km on the Camino – Reaching my goal!

Camino Frances… Reaching my goal!! Santiago de Compostella – Spain

Take on this great challenge, I assure you: It will change your way of life