6 Tips for Women Walking Alone on the Camino de Santiago

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?

Marly-Camino-bcl-23

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.

 

women walking alone on the Camino

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”.

6 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.

What about you…? We want to know about you. Did you walk the Camino de Santiago alone? What was your experience like? Do you have any other questions? We will be happy to assist.

51 Comments on “6 Tips for Women Walking Alone on the Camino de Santiago”

  1. I want to have a self retreat on my birthday Nov 11 ,2019 because I’m turning 60 can you help me what is the best I can do to walk on Camino and how many days is the best I can stay I’m from Philippines

    1. Hi Gracia, just wonderful, we will be contacting you with some recommendations and details about your amazing self-retreat experience. Have a great day!

    2. Hi, Gracia, I plan too, plan to walk The Camino Frances around Oct 2019. If you are interested maybe we can start at the same time, check on each other …. I’m 57 and plan to do it alone as none of my friends would do it. A kababayan to check
      On each other is a welcome idea.

    1. Hi Ronda, thanks for writing us this way. One of our Camino Planners will contact you with all the info and suggestions about this marvelous walk. Have a great day!

      1. I’m interested in getting some information about the services your travel agency provides. I would like to do the Camino de Santiago next year with a couple of friends.

        1. Dear Jane, it’s a pleasure to greet you, we will be contacting you very soon with all the info. Have a great day!

  2. Hi!
    I’m doing the Camino Inglés starting 15th Aug from Ferrol arriving in Santiago de Compostela on 21st Aug. Aiming to carry belongings in rucksack and in auberges en route! I’m 68 so any advice?

    1. Hi Margaret, thank you so much for writing, here we leave a few advice for your fantastic Camino experience.

      – Walk at your own pace. There is no rush.
      – Train at home, find which is the most comfortable daily-walking millage for you.
      – Try to carry a max weight of 10 kg in your backpack. For the extra carry, we recommend using a luggage transportation service.
      – Bring some water and food, in case you don’t find a stopping place.
      – And the most important advice of all… Enjoy 😉

      Note: You can also find more specific information about each stage in the Brierly Guide book, Eroski Consumer or Camino Tool (App).

      Hope you find our bits of advice useful if you have more questions don’t hesitate to email us to [email protected].

      Have a wonderful day.

      Buen Camino!

  3. Hi,
    I am planning to go alone at the end of September for the whole way and I am a fast walker, I am wondering how can I book my suit case to be delivered from St Jean de Port to Santiago de Compostella and how much would it cost me? Also, if I would prefer to stay mostly in albergue and sometimes – in hotels, do I need to prebook or should I go with the flow?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Elya, thank you for writing, one of our Camino Planners will contact you will all the details and recommendations. Have a great day!

  4. Hi ladies
    I am also wanting to do the walk this summer/ autumn and I can fit in with anyone’s time table if you want company. I would prefer not to be on my own. It’s my 50th in November and this is something I’d like to do to for me . Let me know your thoughts. Kind regards Andrea 😀

    1. Hi Andrea! It’s a pleasure to greet you! You plan sounds wonderful. Soon one of our Camino Planner will contact you with all the details for your marvelous Camino.

    2. Hi Andrea
      I’m planning on traveling alone 18th July if that’s any good for you
      I’m coming from Ireland

      1. Hi Sharon, any questions regarding your soon marvelous adventure let us know, we would love to assist. Buen Camino!

  5. I will turn 75 in 2020. I want to do the complete walk. I am concern about some of the reading that I have done that some of the walk is on road side with cars going by at a fast pace. I have not researched the complete trail is it easy to follow?. Any chance of going on a wrong path. Also, I have read comments that when arriving at a rest area the place is over packed and they had to sleep outside. What book do you recommend that gives me complete information of trail, towns, places to stay, and eat. Also, is there any way I could join a women’s group.?
    Thank you.in advance for your reply

    1. Hi Gloria, thank you so much for writing, we will be contacting you very soon with all the details. Buen Camino! 🙂

  6. I’m considering doing the walk in the second half of September. Is this still good timing? What about bathrooms, disposable paper wastes, food wastes, do we keep a bag for garbage and empty it when we get to the rest? Does one have to make reservations? What if places are full? Does one bring sleeping bag with blanket?

    1. Hi Diana,

      How exciting that you’re looking to walk the Camino de Santiago, it’s such a wonderful experience! Are you looking to walk all the way from the French border?

      September is the perfect time to walk the Camino – it’s actually one of the most popular months! In September the intense heat of the Spanish summer will have faded into pleasantly warm weather that’s just perfect for walking.

      Services along the Camino vary depending on which section you are walking. Some days, you will walk through many towns and villages and have plenty of opportunities to dispose of rubbish and use the bathroom, but on other days you may be walking through isolated countryside. On these case, you will need to carry the day’s rubbish with you and make use of “nature’s bathroom”!

      If you decide to walk the Camino independently and sleep in pilgrim hostels, then you may need to bring your own bedding, yes. You may also encounter issues with pilgrim hostels filling up as the majority of them do not allow reservations but operate on a “first come, first served” basis. In these situations, you may be able to find accommodation elsewhere but in some of the smaller Camino towns the only option is the hotel, so you might find yourself obliged to walk to the next town. Independent pilgrims often start very early in the morning in order to race to the next hostel and be among the first to secure a bed for the night.

      However, if you decide to walk the Camino as one of our self-guided pilgrims you will have accommodation reserved for you every night, always in your own private room with an en-suite bathroom. This way, you will avoid the stress of racing to the next accommodation each evening, and you will not need to bring your own bedding. You would also have breakfast included each morning, as well as luggage transfers each day and travel insurance for the duration of our trip.

      I’m delighted to tell you that we actually have a scheduled self-guided tour of the whole French Way that might suit you perfectly: the group will depart on 23rd September to make the most of the lovely Spanish autumn weather. You can sign up for this tour directly on our website, or contact us on [email protected] for more information.

      All the best,
      Buen Camino 🙂

  7. I am interested in doing the self guided full length tour next september. Please can you advise me how long it will take, the cost and the support available. I will be 60 and intend top do this by myself.
    Thanks
    Tracey

    1. Hi Tracy, thank you for writing, a wonderful plan! one of our Camino Planner will contact you very soon. Have a great day!

  8. I am arriving in Spain mid-August and have almost 4 weeks to walk. I am interested in knowing the cost for various levels of support, including luggage transfers and pre arranged reservations.

    1. Hi Judy, thank you so much for writing. One of our Camino planners will contact you briefly. Have a great day!

    2. Hi i am looking at getting away and a friend suggested the comino trail, I don’t have any experience but I have plenty of time. Is it wise to do this trail without experience. I looking at September and have a whole lot of research to do. Starting from the basics of what to pack and how to get there. I don’t Wont to be in a rush I would like to take my time and stay longer in a town if I need to. Do you have any advice. I am 48 and coming from Australia. So you could say I am real fresh. Has anyone else done it without training.

      1. Dear Lorraine, one route can be harder than others, inclination, stage length, are some of the variants that will affect the difficulty of the journey. On the other hand, slow and steady we will get to our destination is saying that can also be applied to the Camino, taking your time and stay longer in town are wise decisions :).

        Regarding the training, we don’t need to be professional but wise hikers, doing researches about backpacks, shoes, routes, and paths inclination, it is very wise and I can read you are doing this already, which is terrific!

        Here are some useful links to help you with your research.

        – How to choose the right Camino Backpack?
        – How to choose the right Camino route?
        – Seven key tips to enjoy the routes of Santiago de Compostela.
        – Camino de Santiago Guided or Self-guided?

        Other useful links:
        Although the information provided is in Spanish, you will find some valuable and reliable content about the different routes and stage specifications of the Camino de Santiago.

        – Gronze – link
        – Eroski Consumer – link

        Hope you find all the provided information useful, a don’t hesitate to contact us to [email protected] if you need our help.

        Have an amazing day and Buen Camino!

  9. Hello. I am hoping to walk the Camino in the Spring of 2020. What would be the best month to do this to avoid overly hot weather? April or May? Also, I only have 4 weeks….where would you start along the Camino? Lasty, I am 45 years old and quite active (I bike or jog four times a week)….would you advise a specific training schedule for walking or would I be good to go, in your opinion. I have no health issues. I work and have four kids so training a lot might be a challenge! Thanks

    1. Dear Joanna, thank you for writing. I have passed your contact to our Camino Planners, and they will contact you very soon with all the information regarding your soon to be marvelous Camino! Have a wonderful day!

      1. My 92 yo f friend is planning to walk this fall. She will be by herself. She is planning to carry her backpack and sleep in refugium s. She has been practicing about 3 miles a day so far. She bicycle across the United States in her seventies. This is making me nuts! How independent can she be on your self guided tours? I would love to know that someone is carrying her luggage, that she has assured lodgings for the next night, and someone who will know if she doesn’t turn up.

        1. Dear Sue, it’s a pleasure to greet you. We understand your concern, being on the other side of the world by herself, it something to worried about, but you can rest assured that your dear friend will be on great hands. One of the benefits of our Self-guided tours is that we take care of all the arrangements necessaries for the Camino, such as lodging booking, luggage transport, and our support. In other words, she will be walking the Camino on her own, but with our assistance, just a phone call away. I invite you to email us to [email protected] if you more questions or doubts regarding your friends Camino. Have a wonderful day!

  10. Hi my name is Margaret from Jersey. I’ve always wanted to walk the Camino. I’m 71 now and feel that it’s now or never. I could walk it over 3-4 weeks and ideally would love to have someone to walk it with. I regularly walk and cycle so am fit. Many thanks

    1. Dear Margaret thank you for writing, I have passed your contact to our Camino Planners, we will contact you soon with some information regarding that marvelous Camino. Have a wonderful day!

  11. Im thinking of going to start Camino early october .Im.a very fit 64 year old but am a bit anxious about the hostels.any advise on them where I may book ahead to have a room alone or are there cheap hotels.hope to walk for 2 to 3 weeks and go back nedt y4ar to conplete . Is weather favourable all of October.

    Many thanks

    Bridget

    1. It´s a pleasure to greet you Bridget, October still a great month to do the Camino, soon one of our Camino Planners will contact you with all the details of your amazing route. Have a great day! Buen Camino!

    1. Dear Maria, it’s a pleasure to greet you, would be hard to say, but as the Camino is so marvelous multicultural, you could probably find migrants from all over the world, including from Africa. 🙂 Have a wonderful day and Buen Camino!

  12. I WOULD LIKE TO SEE ABOUT HIKING THE TRAIL ALONE THE NORTH TRAIL ALONG THE SEA BUT I WOULD LIKE FOR YOU TO ASSIST ME (WILL PAY) WITH INFORMATION AND PICK UP AT AIRPORT AND ARRANGEMENTS IN A FEW PLACES. I AM LOOKING AT AUGUST OR SEPTEMBER 2019. HAVE TIME TO STAY 30 PLUS DAYS. NO HURRY WANT TO TAKE IT ALL IN

    1. Hi Theresa, a pleasure to greet you, we will contact you as soon as possible with all the details of your Camino. Have a great day!

  13. I am a Canadian female 51 starting the Camino on aug 18 the French route any other ladies out there wanting to join me? Is their information place I go to sign in and get my documents when I arrive?
    Debbie

    1. Dear Debbie, thank you so much for writing, it’s wonderful to read you are walking the French Way route and August is almost around the corner, I can imagine the excitement of the wait, we hope you have a fantastic Camino.

      Once you arrive in Santiago de Compostela and have your Credential with the stamps that prove your passage through the stages of the Camino de Santiago, you will only have to go to the Pilgrim’s Office.

      The Pilgrim’s Office is located very close to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela and wait to receive your official certification as a pilgrim of the Camino de Santiago.

      Buen Camino!

  14. Hi, I’m planning on walking the Camino in April/May 2020 to celebrate my 60th. I will be walking the majority of the trail by myself but might have companions for the last 100kms. Am interested in any advice. Thanks

    1. Hi Debbie, it is a pleasure to greet you, that is so wonderful, cannot imagine your excitement as you are counting the days 🙂 let me share the following tips:

      – Walk at your own pace. There is no rush.
      – Train at home, find which is the most comfortable daily-walking millage for you.
      – Try to carry a max weight of 10 kg in your backpack. For the extra carry, we recommend using a luggage transportation service.
      – Bring some water and food, in case you don’t find a stopping place.
      – And the most important advice of all… Enjoy 😉

      Note: You can also find more specific information about each stage in the Brierly Guide book, Eroski Consumer or Camino Tool (App).

      Hope you find our bits of advice useful if you have more questions don’t hesitate to email us to [email protected].

      Have a wonderful day.

      Buen Camino!

  15. Hi, I am very interested. I live in the U.S., but my family is from Switzerland. I have type 1 diabetes. So, a few questions do arise.

  16. Have enjoyed reading all the questions and answers, as I will be walking the Camino alone mid Sept to end Oct. I will turn 75 in Oct and hope to walk the whole 800ks. You mention an app and abook. Are these the best guides and where can I buy the book as I live in New Zealand.

    1. Dear Celia, thank you so much for writing. Fantastic that you are walking the Full French Way. Regarding the book, you can try to purchase the Bierly Guide on Amazon or any specialized bookstore. This guide is the best there is and a reference for the Camino. About the app, you can try downloading the “Camino Tool” for free on the App Store (iPhone) or Google Play (Android), this app is a complete map/guide of the different Camino routes in Spain. I want to wish you a magnificent pilgrim experience, Buen Camino!

  17. Hi I am also walking the camino alone I was originally going to start in October but thinking about going mid september now because I am worried about it being to cold? I was wondering if there are any useful tips you can give me!

    1. Hi, Sam it is a pleasure to greet you. It is so wonderful you are planning to embark on a journey on your own, it is going to be fantastic. September it is going to be less chilly, but as the weather, it is so unpredictable these days, you will probably have summer-like weather along your way. 🙂

      Here are some recommendations:
      – Walk at your own pace. There is no rush.
      – Please stop whenever you feel any discomfort in your feet or if you have a “hot spot” or blister. This is very important as we must avoid blisters from developing. Apply Vaseline, Vicks Vaporub or similar to your feet before you start walking and reapply whenever necessary along the way.
      Stretch out at the beginning and end of the stage to avoid tendinitis and soreness.
      – Once the day’s stage is completed, we recommend changing your hiking boots to lighter footwear, preferably open, like sandals, to allow your feet to breathe.
      – Try to carry a max weight of 10 kg in your backpack. For the extra carry, we recommend using a luggage transportation service.
      – Drink plenty of water during the walk to stay hydrated, and bring some food, in case you don’t find a stopping place.
      – Always have with you: Insurance documents, Itinerary containing contact numbers, Pilgrim’s credential, route map, some cash, water bottle, camera, an extra pair of socks and a rain poncho.

      Hope you find all our recommendations useful, have a Buen Camino, keep us posted about your experience.

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