Camino de Santiago

Way of St. James

Your quick guide to walking the French Route of the Camino de Santiago

 This website has been designed to provide information and insight for you before and during your CAMINO. 

Find Out More

walk the way, your way

There are myriads of guidebooks and online resouces to help you plan your CAMINO, but I'm of the opinion that you should do the minimum of planning possible. A basic route guidebook is really all you need, so you can figure out what pace you'll have to set and what sights you want to capture.
Once you're on the way, you'll find your plan changes. You'll meet people you want to walk with for a few days or all the way; you'll want to push yourself to do another few kilometres; you'll decide it's a perfect time to sit by the river and cool your weary feet or even join a group having a picnic stop before continuing.
On the French Route of the Camino De Santiago, there's enough infrastucture around that you don't need to have every detail noted down.

A few things you need to know before you leave


is the Camino de Santiago ?

The routes

There are various routes

Starting points

Options for how to get there

When ?

The best times to walk The Camino


Options along the French Route

Packing list

Travel light, what to take

The French Route - El Camino Francés

Your Camino

Start anywhere, End anywhere

Best albergues

Great places & hospitaleros


CAMINO allows no dieting!

Useful tips

Just in case! One never knows.

How long does it take to walk the Camino?

The entire Camino Francés takes around 31 days to complete, but the total length of time you’ll take depends on how fast you walk. You can also choose to start from any point on the Camino — it’s all up to you. To get the Compostela at the end of the Camino, you just need to walk a minimum of 100km (many people start in Sarria for that reason).
Most people walk around 24-28 kms. ( 15-17½ miles ) a day, waking up as early as 6am and walking all the way to late afternoon. Again you should decide your own pace and not try to follow the crowd.
Based on time
  • Camino Frances from Sarria : 5 walking days
  • Camino Frances from León : 13/14 walking days
  • Camino Frances from Burgos : 19/20 walking days
  • Camino Frances from Saint Jean Pied de Port : 31-34 walking days
not taking into account rest days

What is the Compostela?

The Compostela is an oficial certificate issued by the Pilgrim's Office upon completion.

To be awarded the Compostela:
  • You need to have made the pilgrimage for religious reasons or for a similar motivation such as a vow.
  • You need to have walked or travelled on horseback at least the last 100kms, or cycled the last 200kms, to arrive at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
  • You should collect at least two sellos (stamps) each day on your credencial. This will usually be where you sleep and one other place such as a Church, Town Hall, café, etc. You must ensure that you do this at least in the last 100 kms from the Cathedral of Santiago if you are walking or on horseback and 200 kms if you are travelling by bicycle.

Where can I obtain the Credencial?

It is available by applying in person from the Pilgrims’ Office in Santiago or from other organisations authorised to distribute the official Credencial, such as Churches, Amigos groups, albergues etc. In some countries other than Spain voluntary organisations such as Confraternities who support the pilgrimage to Santiago have been permitted to supply their own Credencial. Please note that ONLY the credencial issued by the Cathedral of Santiago through the Pilgrims’ Office, or by an organisation specifically authorised, will be accepted.

The Credencial bestows no rights on the pilgrim. It has two practical purposes: admission to albergues ( both, public and those run by Christian associations ) along the way; and to obtain the Compostela from the Cathedral in Santiago which certifies the pilgrimage has been completed.

Where can I get 2 sellos ( stamps ) per day?

Sellos are available in many places along the routes particularly in the last 100kms. Sellos are available in Churches, albergues, hostales, ayuntamientos (town halls) and many other places, including cafeterias, restaurants and the local police stations.
REMEMBER : The albergue stamp where you spend the night is a MUST.

When is the Pilgrims’ Office open?

Monday to Sunday 8.00 – 21.00 (In summer: from Easter Monday to 31 October).
Monday to Sunday 10.00 – 19.00 (In winter: from 1 November to Easter Sunday).
The Pilgrims’ Office is open during these hours every day of the year with the EXCEPTION of Christmas Day – 25 December, and New Year’s Day – 1 January.
If you happen to complete your pilgrimage on these days your Compostela can be obtained in the Cathedral.

What are the Mass times in the Cathedral?

Masses at the High Altar in the Cathedral:
9.30, 12.00, 18.00 (only on Saturdays) and 19.30
Sundays and Feast Days: 10.00, 12.00, 13.15, 18.00 and 19.30
For further information:

Will I get to see the Botafumeiro?

The Botafumeiro is NOT used at every Pilgrims’ Mass in the Cathedral.
It is used on Feast Days and when groups specially arrange for it.

Useful Spanish for English speakers walking The Camino

Good morning.Buenos días
Good afternoon/evening.Buenas tardes
Good night.Buenas noches
See you later.Hasta luego
See you tomorrowHasta mañana. / the ñ is pronounced as ny, so ña would be nya /
See you in SantiagoNos vemos en Santiago
Thank you very muchMuchas gracias
How are you?¿Cómo estas?
My name is ...Me llamo ... / the ll is pronounced as a y, so llamo > yamo /
I am from ...Soy de ( country )
Pleased/nice to meet you.Encantado/a de conocerte - /a lady would use Encantada/
I don't understandNo entiendo
Do you undertand?¿Entiendes?
I don't speak Spanish.No hablo Español
Do you speak English?¿Hablas inglés?
Anyone here speaks English?¿Hay alguien que habla inglés?
Excuse me [interruption / to get attention]Por favor
Excuse me [apology]Perdón / Lo siento
Stamp ( for Credential ) sello ( pronounced "say-yo" ) para credencial
What does [....] mean?¿Que significa [...]?
I'm looking for ....Estoy buscando....
I’d like to ...Quisiera ...
Where is (are) ...?¿Dónde está (estan) ... ?
The toilet, the bathroomel servicio, el baño
Where is the nearest albergue / hotel?¿Dónde esta el albergue/hotel más cerca?
I have a reservation.Tengo una reserva
Do you have any beds available?¿Hay camas?
How much is ....?¿Cuánto cuesta ...?
Could you help me please?¿Puede ayudarme, por favor?
I’m allergic to ...Soy alérgico/a a ...
Go straight aheadTodo recto/derecho
Turn leftGira a la izquierda
Turn rightGira a la derecha

Updates & News

Useful links

TRANSPORT Links will open in a new window
  • Trains to and from major cities and towns in Spain
  • RENFE ( book online )
  • Coaches to and from major towns and cities in Spain
  • ALSA ( book online )
  • Coaches covering GALICIA to and from Santiago
  • MONBUS ( book online )
  • Buses from Santiago to Lugo
  • EMPRESA FREIRE ( book online )
    LAST MINUTE SHOPPING Links will open in a new window
  • Saint Jean Pied de Port ( France )
  • La boutique du pèlerin
  • Pamplona
  • Caminoteca
    GOOD READS Links will open in a new window
  • I'm Off Then ... by Hape Kerkeling
  • Camino: Laughter and Tears ... by John H Clark III
  • Sarria to Santiago: Walking the last 100km ... by M.J. McCarthy
    PILGRIM'S BLOGS Links will open in a new window
  • From the couch to the Camino
  • Just Callea's blog
  • Blog with lots of pictures
  • Felicity's Camino
  • Treading Gently on the Camino de Santiago
  • The Greenery
  • How we did our Camino by Kathey and Russell
  • Far off lands


    My name is Vincent Hussein. I was born and bred in Tanzania, emigrated to England with my mother and 6 siblings and finally settled in Spain, thanks to a wonderful Spanish girl I met in London I madly fell in love with who eventually became my wife and the mother of our three wonderful girls.

    Destiny decided that we should just be friends but not a couple anymore. I then met a wonderful lady, Helena, who filled the vacuum in my heart after my separation, and we decided to form a family. We have a son together who is now in his twenties.

    Having lived in Spain since Dec. 1982, it was only after watching a documentary on TV about the Camino de Santiago in Aug. 2010 that I made one of the best decisions in my life so far. One week later, after some quick acquisitions of hiking gear ( I had never hiked before ), I was on my way. My first CAMINO was from Sarria, the minimum one needs to do to achieve the COMPOSTELA. I have never stopped since then, extending my CAMINO every year along the FRENCH ROUTE.

    This site is my little contribution to those wishing to do the CAMINO FRANCES ( the French Route ) and will keep growing.


    More Popular than Ever, Way of St. James Still Offers Enlightenment.

    Not long ago, only a few people would make the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Now, over 200,000 people a year spend several grueling weeks along the route.

    Read more

    Walk of a lifetime: Why the epic Camino trail across Spain is a route to true happiness.

    You will have heard about life-changing journeys, but if I describe a 500-mile walk to Santiago de Compostela, I suspect your reaction would be: turn the page.

    Read more

    Pilgrim Julia walks the 500-mile Way Of St James.

    Julia Roberts, an Anglican from West Staffordshire, says pilgrims seek God not just by completing the walk but through contemplation while en route. She describes her experience of it as a way of trial, challenge and fulfilment.

    Read more