Planning the last stretch of Camino de Santiago

Q: I have only very recently started to think about walking a part of the Camino de Santiago. Until today my plans were nothing more than some sketchy imaginings but after discovering your website and talking to a friend of mine who has walked it before I think it is something I would really like to do.

From your website I loved the photos from the last stage of El Camino de Santiago in Galicia so this is the part of the journey I would like to try.

I live in Ireland so could easily fly to either Santander or Santiago de Campostela. Given that I would like to start in Herrerias (and do stages 27-32 as outlined on your website) which of these would be the better option for a destination airport?

The stretch of El Camino de Santiago that I am looking at is 195km according to your website. I am aged 32 and am healthy and fit but up to now have been not a huge walker – do you think it’s reasonable to underatake these six stages in six consecutive days. I have looked at flights (both Santander and Santiago de Campostela) that arrive on a Thursday and leave one week later on the next Thursday. This means I would need to walk Friday – Wednesday.

I also wanted to ask your advice about the best time of year to go. At the moment I’m looking at dates in mid June.

Apologies for the multitude of questions but I am feeling very excited about this undertaking. Thanks for all your help. I look forward to hearing from you.

R: Thanks for your email and sorry for the late reply – I get alot of emails about el Camino de Santiago.

The choice between Santander airport or Santiago is completely up to you. It is probably easier to connect with the last stages of the camino from Santiago, but from Santander you could get a bus to Leon and from there a bus to your starting point. It’s really up to you. Santander is a nice city if you want to spend a couple of hours there before getting your connection. Prices of flights tend to go up in the summer also, so one option might be cheaper than the other.

Bear in mind that the stages I have set out in the website are not set in stone. There are other places to stop along the way and you can improvise as you go along. I think that 195km over 6 days is a big undertaking, especially if you are not used to walking. It would be a good idea to do some hiking to prepare and to get used to walking long distances with a rucksack. If you live in Dublin you could spend a few weekends walking in the Wicklow mountains to build up your stamina.

June is generally hot – though in Galicia you always have to be prepared for showers! Many Spanish people will do the camino in the summer so if you go in June you should expect crowded hostels, especially on that last stretch. If you are happy to walk in the heat, then there should be no problem. Otherwise, I would suggest going a bit earlier or later in the summer, September maybe.

I think that is everything. Don’t feel you need to stick to the stages I have outlined, it is just a guide of what I did. If you feel tired you can stop earlier or if you feel strong, you can go further, it’s up to you.

One more thing, pack as light as you can, you’ll thank me for that advice.

Best of luck and buen Camino.