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?

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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.

23 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!

    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!

  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!

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