5 good reasons to walk (or cycle) the Camino

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The Camino de Santiago is a classic pilgrims walk through northern Spain that leads to the shrine of the apostle St James the Great. Thousands of walkers each year walk the Camino – here’s five reasons why you should too.


The classic pilgrims walk of Camino de Santiago takes walkers through northern Spain to the shrine of the apostle St James the Great. For over 1,000 years walkers, known as ‘Peregrinos’ have walked to Santiago de Compostela to pay homage and absolved oneself of sins. More recently the Camino attracts walkers for a variety of reasons.

Part of the appeal is the simplicity of the pilgrimage where life is stripped down to the basics of eat, sleep, walk, repeat. If you’re into cycling, the Camino is quite doable by bike too with many trails that welcome cyclists along with walkers.

There are thousands of Camino trails across Spain, Portugal and France. But is the Camino safe during covid times? According to tour company Camino Ways, the answer is a resounding yes.

Here’s five reasons why walking the Camino is one of the safest holidays you can take.

1. The Camino is a self-guided holiday

The Camino is the ultimate self-guided holiday which means you can navigate your chosen Camino section and walk it at your own pace. You get to decide how long you stay in one area, avoiding crowded sections and taking your time to get to know places that you really like.

A self-guided means you make the rules: you set the route, the distance you walk each day, where you stop for rest breaks and overnight stops. Pesky details like luggage transfers and accommodation are all taken care of with a self-service booking system, giving you the flexibility to stay longer when you find a really great town you want to explore further.

2. Walking is a natural activity for social distancing

With social distancing the new normal, walkers and cyclists on the Camino trails will have no problem keeping the mandatory 1.5 or 2 metre distance from others. Trails are mostly wide and with little foot or bike traffic meaning that pilgrims are just as likely to find yourself with whole sections to yourself.

As many travellers choose to not travel as much, choosing quieter sections in 2021 offers even more opportunity to keep your distance from others.

Walking or cycling on the Camino trails is one of the safest options for social distancing as there is plenty of space to give to other pilgrims and them to you.


3. Enjoy the open-air safety of the countryside

With gatherings indoors and in crowded spaces discouraged, the Camino offers a terrifc safe alternative. Experts agree that being outdoors poses less risk of corona virus transmission with walking and hiking being one of the lowest risk outdoor activities

At the time of writing, most countries that the Camino trails traverse have regulations or recommendations to wear masks either indoors or outdoors.

Choosing quieter routes where fewer pilgrims gather offers the safest way to walk the Camino. On some sections, like the Camino Primitivo or Via de la Plata you may find that you don’t encounter other pilgrims at all.

4. Walking (and cycling) is good for your mental health

With all the stress that comes from adapting to our ever-changing world and with former freedom to travel curtailed or restricted, managing our mental health is more important than ever.

With some of us prevented from enjoying the outdoors and stuck inside and juggling work, family and personal matters, there’s a lot to occupy our minds with!

Sometimes it seems that there is so much to juggle that we barely have time for ourselves, let alone think about the future when we can start planning holidays and outdoor adventures again.

We know the mental and physical health benefits that come from an active holiday. So, maybe now is a good time to start training for a Camino adventure in 2021. Download a Camino training plan, commit to a goal, eat healthily and start enjoying the benefits of exercise and its boost to our mental health.

5. Camino Accommodation complies with safety protocols

As with any self-respecting accommodation provider in this new pandemic era, hotels and accommodation on the Camino adhere to COVID-19 government guidelines. Camino Ways surveyed  hotels in Spainhotels in Portugalhotels in France, and hotels in Italy to find out how they are complying with the new safety protocols.

Are you planning a Camino adventure in 2021?

We would love to hear about your plans for walking or riding the Camino. Or perhaps you’ve already done the Camino and would like to share your experience? Why not pop over to our private Facebook group and start a conversation.

About the author: Fiona Harper is a Queensland-based travel writer – follow Fiona at Travel Boating Lifestyle

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