Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela-anyone done it?

I’m seriously considering doing it this year, and wondering if anyone has done it, where you began and what the accom availability is like-if you registered as a pilgrim, and another details like best time (avoiding crowds and weather)
What the roads were like yaddda yadda yadda.



I saw the movie. It was pretty shit.


I went to CBGB’s a few times.


As a long time lurker I thought I’d give this subject a go as it’s finally something I know about.

I did it a few years ago and would recommend it over many other multiple week walks I have done around the world. You’ll never get a better experience of discovering a country than this.

I walked from st jean pier de port to finesterra starting at the end of May. The crowds were down and the weather was great. if you leave it it later when Europe is on holiday it could be a nightmare.

Accomidation varies, but it is well organized as some of the places have been there for hundreds if years. Some nights you’re in a dorm and others in a gothic cathedral with the cost varying accordingly, but I recall that it was around 6 euros a night. The only problem is that there a limited number of places in the refugeos and you can feel rushed to make it to the next to secure a bed. The upside is that there are a lot of slow walkers you can overtake during the day.

I assume you want to walk? The Pyrenees might be a bit hard on a fixie. The roads are a varied as the countryside you walk through. Small goat-track paths, highways, cobbelstoned roman bridges, dusty gravel roads through fields are all navigated by searching for the next way-marker of a scallopshell. A good set of walking shoes would be fine- I wore the shoes i did mountaineering in and felt like a chump.

I didn’t register as a religious pilgrim- you have the option to state that you are a traveller. The catholic aspect is obviously a huge thing with the walk, but i didn’t feel unwelcome at all by the people along the way. They seemed to be happy that you were there, and that finding Jesus really wasn’t that important to enable you to experience life. I was a bit worried about catholic judgement after going to a catholic school, but found none of it.

As far as a long walk goes, There was nothing better than walking through places that I would have never seen otherwise. It’s awsome to get into a rhythm of grabbing a $3 nice local wine and chorizo to carry, and then have nothing to do other than to reach the next town on the map and meet some characters.

If this wasn’t specific enough feel free to drop me a pm.

Yes! haha
No I won’t be walking-but will take a bike that can handle at least 32’s on it, nice to know May wasn’t to hectic. Really appreciate your response Munnin, I’m no Catholic but the religious aspect doesn’t throw me, I know a lot of non religious types do the voyage

Lurker chiming in too…DO IT

In 2012 I was fortunate enough to go with my dad when I was in year 12 aged 17. I went in September which is one of the busiest times however the weather was perfect. I did the way of St James, same as user Muninn, starting from St Jean. It was only uncomfortably busy in the last 100km. This is the minimum distance in order to qualify for the “compostella” and there is a noticeable increase in “freds” to use a cycling expression.

Whichever month you choose I strongly advise you to see if there are any festivals on. Just like San Fermin in Pamplona, even pin dick towns go nuts. It’s so much fun but accommodation might be an issue. We lucked out and were in Longrono during San something. There was another in Najera and their whole town of 8000 were out with their families cooking paella using some of the most ghetto set ups. Once that rapt up everyone then flocked to the local bull ring. I was drunk and stupidly entered the arena with all the other drunk blokes when the main event finished. Meanwhile my dad is waving his arms and screaming for me to come back. I bitched it when the bull was like more than 10m away fuck they are big and angry.

As you are cycling an issue will be the priority given in the albergues to walkers. I forget but I think it’s around after siesta they let cyclists come in. Having said that there is privately owned hostels/refugios that don’t care.

The church run albergues are fine, they are cheaper some are by donation. I recommend the Cistercian nun albergue in Santo Domingo de Calzada. It is donation, quiet, has a beer vending machine in the dining area and kitchen.

If crowds aren’t your thing you could try one of the many other routes available. The “Del Norte” route, which follows the northern coast apparently, is amazing. The weather is less predictable.

Muninn is spot on about the roads but it sounds like you’ll be right. There are also some nice detours that aren’t way marked such as the “dragonte” route near O’cebriero in Galicia. You will have to walk your bike etc for a little bit if you choose to do these. I recommend the detour to Eunate where there is a church that was built by the Knights Templar. We didn’t but you can stay in the caretaker couples house there if you want.

Register as a pilgrim don’t worry about the reason because you need the passport its like having a concession card (most albergues won’t let you in without it) you can get cheaper transport apparently and you get 50% off purgatory if you finish (lol).

Suss some guide books. We combined like 5. The Brierly one is the most popular. It contains awesome information about accomodation and other random useful things. But, he is an old man and is really spiritual and “glorious” is the only adjective he uses. An Aussie bloke made a durable ring bound map with essential info, that one we found was the most accurate map. I’ll try and dig it out.

I had so much fun I vowed to save and do it again. In fact this Friday I am leaving to do the Via de la Plata starting from Seville. It is in winter this time and it is a lot longer and the towns are even smaller. I’m at uni now so this is the only time I can take off. Can’t wait!

wow i went on and on… you can pm questions but I’m not bringing any tech stuff on the walk, will back back in March…uni life means i can go off the grid for 2 months!

That is one hell of a user name.