Every year, thousands of women do this pilgrimage. Many have had the same doubts that you have right now. We have had conversations with some of our pilgrims and have written this post because we want to answer some of their most common questions: Women walking alone on the Camino de Santiago, is it safe? Is it better to walk it with someone? Will I find help if I need it? Does the Camino really change your life?
Women walking alone on the Camino de Santiago… is it Safe?
Remember, Spain is a tourist-friendly country. Although the Camino de Santiago goes through rural areas, many women who have walked the Camino de Santiago on their own say that they felt safe and secure along the entire way. On the most popular routes, support is available to the pilgrims in the form of albergues and information centers.
The pilgrims that you meet on the Camino, at the albergues and other stops along the way, are usually quite polite and respectful. Likewise, villagers are always nice to the pilgrims. They are willing to help whenever necessary and are happy to give advice to those walking alone.
Many of the towns and villages have hosted pilgrims for centuries. These towns depend mostly on the Pilgrims that come through, so they want everyone to have a safe and joyful experience. This is why they take care of the Pilgrims that visit them, especially single travellers.
Am I going to be alone on the Camino?
Every year, more than 250,000 pilgrims come from all over the world to walk the Camino. Pilgrims walking alone on the Camino de Santiago, especially during high season, are generally not too far away from the next pilgrim.
In fact, it is very common that pilgrims that meet along the Camino form small walking groups. Friendships are formed as people see each other again and again every day. These small groups often support each other the entire way.
Is it easy to make friends on the Camino?
There are many ways to walk the Camino, and it all depends on what you want to do, you can be social or prefer a more lonely walk, regardless of whether you are walking on your own and staying in albergues or have chosen a travel agency. Don’t be shy, be open to meeting new people, most people on the Camino are very friendly and love meeting other pilgrims.
Many women walking solo say that, on the Camino, they feel more comfortable talking to strangers, as there is a feeling of camaraderie among the pilgrims.
Remember: Friends are a good source of motivation
You will find pilgrims from all over the world and maybe even from your own country. Usually, people walking the Camino de Santiago have similar life stories and interests. Most of them want to go on an adventure, disconnect from everything, overcome some personal crisis or are enjoying a trip of a lifetime. These kinds of similarities foster new friendships or even love.
As a matter of fact, at Marly Camino, we have had many pilgrims arrive alone and end up becoming great friends with the pilgrims in their group.
The Camino might physically and mentally test you. It will give you additional motivation to have some friends with you, even if you met them on the Camino. It won’t matter if you only see them at the albergues, have a coffee, share a meal, or simply walk within sight of each other; they will be a great support to you on your journey to Santiago de Compostela.
A personal journey
Spending hours listening to nothing but your own footsteps and thoughts makes walking the Camino a truly revealing experience. This level of solitude, although frightening at the beginning, helps you to get to know yourself much better. On the Camino, it is easy to understand the words of Lord Cecil: “Solitude shows us what we should be, society shows us what we are”.
Women walking alone on the Camino de Santiago choose to disconnect from all the distractions in their daily lives. People suddenly understand how these distractions can affect them and they learn to listen to their own thoughts. Finally, a sense of understanding arises, leading to new ideas, or even epiphanies, that help you grow.
What can I expect as a woman walking alone?
Unlike trips to big cities, or going on other hiking routes, on the Camino de Santiago there is a feeling of constant safety and companionship.
Although there has been some debate over safety on the Camino, there are a very low percentage of incidents. Bear in mind that the more popular the route, the more people will be with you. There will almost always be another Pilgrim in sight so, even walking alone on the Camino de Santiago, you are not really “alone”.
Some preventative tips
Regardless of the popularity of the route you choose, you will want to keep your belongings close to you, particularly if you decide to stay at the albergues. It’s better to be safe than sorry, therefore, we have some general advice for pilgrims walking the Camino de Santiago alone:
– Divide your money into several pockets.
– If you are staying at albergues, keep your money and documentation with you at all times.
– Do not bring jewellery or expensive things. Remember it is more of an “spiritual journey”.
– When walking, keep pilgrims in sight and within shouting distance.
– Meet and share with locals and let them know you are travelling alone. They usually alert other locals and ask them to protect you.
– Don’t worry. Just walk. Remember, there are many pilgrims like you who started alone and finished the trip without any problems. You’re not the only one.
Whether you decide to walk the Camino de Santiago alone, with a group, or with a travel agency like Marly Camino, this will be a safe and unforgettable experience. At Marly Camino, we take care of luggage transfer, make your hotel reservations and provide all the support you need with the help of our guides. Click HERE if you want to see our different routes.