Beautiful image of the sun rising through the trees in Spain, along the Camino, with the text showing "Reset and Reconnect with Siendo Retreats"

Why do people walk the Camino trail?

Camino means ‘road’ / ‘path’ / ‘way’ in Spanish, and ‘The Camino de Santiago’ roughly translates to ‘the Way of Saint James’ or ‘the path to the resting place of Saint James’. This is essentially the traditional path leading to Santiago de Compostela, nestled in northwestern Spain. Beyond being a historic route, it holds deep significance as a pilgrimage. Legend has it that the remains of St James (Jakob), one of Jesus’ disciples, rest in the cathedral, prompting pilgrims in the Middle Ages to embark on a journey of prayer.

Today, individuals undertake the Camino for a variety of reasons – be it religious or spiritual connections, a fascination with history and culture, or simply for the joy of completing a camino as part of boosting their health and wellbeing. Unlike rugged wilderness hikes with tents and bush-based toilets, the Spanish camino’s offer really beautiful village-to-village walks. It’s an incredible way to experience a bucket-list adventure, while remaining safe and civilised, that caters to a whole range of interests and motivations.

What route will we be walking?

We’ll be taking a special route that travels out of Santiago de Compostela to Finisterre, located in the region of Galicia, which was historically known as “Land’s End” or “End of the Earth”. It’s beautiful, serene and far less touristy – and has been picked specifically to provide a mindful and peaceful experience.

Do I get a stamp or certificate for this part of the Camino?

Of course. No adventure is complete without a certificate.

Along the camino, you will collect stamps in your pilgrims passport and then – when we arrive in Finisterre – you will use this as proof of your journey when receiving your certificate.

Am I too old to walk the Camino?

Nobody is too old for the camino. Many pilgrims who walk the Camino range between 20 – 65-years-old and even in their 70’s and 80’s. It’s said that the oldest person to ever walk the Camino de Santiago was 93-years-old (and she walked it with her 60-year-old daughter!).

When I walked the camino last year, on one of the days I was joined by a man 20-years-older and he was easily fitter than me (and he knew it!). It’s not about your age, it’s about your drive, determination and fitness level.

How challenging is this walk?

This will all depend on your level of fitness, see below.

The total ascent on any given day is 650m, so while it had a few hills on some parts of the walk, it’s not overly hilly.

What level of fitness will I need?

You need to be able to walk 35km in one day, and then get up the next day and do 20km more. Therefore, it’s advisable to be able to complete various training days where you do long walks on consecutive days.

During this trip, we’ll be walking about 90km, 56 miles, across 4 days, so you need to feel that you are able to do this safely.

Just like when completing a race, the enjoyment and buzz will carry you through a certain amount of miles on the day, but you need to have trained beforehand to prevent injury and exhaustion. Basically, the fitter you are, the more you will enjoy the camino.

And, to keep you safe and help you prepare, we will share a whole host of information within your guide, prior to the trip, that will include tips around the right footwear, training with a day pack, hill training and measuring your pace.

How many miles / kms will we walk?

We will be walking about 90km, about 56 miles, across 4 consecutive days.

When will we start / finish walking each day?

We’ll often start between 07:00 – 08:00 AM, which helps us to get on the road early and avoid the warmth of the lunchtime heat with a few café stops. We will arrive at our accommodation late afternoon. Our arrival time will depend upon the pace of the group.

How many days will it take to walk the camino?

We will fly out on Sunday 22 September and fly back on Saturday 28 September, but we will be doing our chosen section of the camino across 4 consecutive days.

A high-level overview of the distance and days has been provided on the website here.

What does a typical day look like?

We will have breakfast and then meet between 07:00 – 08:00 AM (start time will depend on the route that day, and will be confirmed the evening before).

We will start our route with a mindfulness walk, walking in silence along a section of the route that has been pre-chosen.

We will aim for 2 stops throughout the day, either at a café or in a nice spot along the way with our snacks and water.

We arrive at our accommodation and settle in, shower and then everyone will have the option to meet-up for dinner / chance to explore the village before a nice early night. If you’d rather just skip the evening meet-up and go to bed, you can do that too. You need to feel comfortable to enjoy your experience in the right way for you.

What’s the accommodation like?

There are many ways to experience the Camino de Santiago. Some people will choose to stay in private or public albergues (i.e. hostels) which provide cheap, safe accommodation with bunkbeds and dorms. Others will choose guest houses, B&Bs or hotels.

For this trip, we have tried to make sure that people have their private space and have chosen mid-range accommodation. We feel that sleeping well is vital and we know that if people experience a bad night sleep in a shared hostel dorm room, they will really struggle during the day. We don’t want that for you. So, for 4 of the nights, you’re in your own private room with a bathroom. And for the other 2, you’re in a shared room (with a private bathroom) with just 1 other person from our group. On the two nights where we share, this is due to limited accommodation options along the route.

On the last night, we have splurged and provided a really nice private room in a really nice hotel so that you can fly home the next day feeling AMAZING.

Is it safe?

While we always need to practice behaviours that keep us safe while travelling, the camino is well known for being safe for travellers. In fact, the supportive community vibe between pilgrims also makes it a safe place for women travelling on their own. I travelled on my own last year and I always felt safe.

Do you recommend a good guide book?

John Brierley’s camino guides are always the best.

We will also share your very own “Siendo Guide to the Camino” in the months leading up to the trip.

Where do I fly into / out of?

You will fly into Santiago de Compostela airport, in Spain. But – naturally – where you fly out of will depend on your home-base location. In the UK, the best place to fly out of is Stansted.

What should I bring with me?

We will share your “Siendo Guide to the Camino” in the months leading up to the trip, which will cover off a whole list of what to bring. However, as a starter-for-ten, you will need decent footwear, a comfortable backpack, a few items of clothing that will keep you warm and dry, toiletries and something to sleep in. But, you’ll be super surprised by how little you need. It’s good practice for pilgrims to be minimalistic in what they carry on their back. You need much less than you think and there are shops in most towns if you need some basic items.

How much should my bag weigh?

6kg would be ideal but aim for no more than 10kg. This will also mean that you can bring your luggage aboard the plane (i.e. it will be cheaper for you).

If you find that your bag is too heavy and there are items that you cannot discard, there are transport companies that can forward your excess luggage to your next accommodation. If you let us know you’d like this option, we can help arrange this for you.

What shoes do you recommend?

I use walking trainers as I find my walking boots are too heavy and unnecessary for a walk that’s fairly flat – but you absolutely do not want to choose walking sandals. Decent trainers, such as Hoka, are amazing for these journeys.

Whichever shoes you choose, try them first and wear them in.

What are some key things to prepare?

We will share your “Siendo Guide to the Camino” in the months leading up to the trip which will cover this off in more detail, but some examples are:

  • You may need to tell your bank and phone company you will be abroad
  • You must purchase travel insurance and share this with us prior to departure
  • Although you can use your bank card in most places, it’s always worth bring euros with you
  • It will be worth learning some basic Spanish phrases

What’s the weather like during this time?

May, June, September, and October are often the best months to walk the Camino. They are normally quieter and not too overwhelmingly hot. Whereas the peak season on the Camino is July and August, so those months are often a little too hot and busy.

For our camino in 2024, we will be going in September so the weather should be nice and mild. The temperature will vary depending on where we are along the route / time of day, and there may be the odd day of light rainfall. In September, temperatures will often vary between: 41°F (5°C) – 63°F (17°C), which is a good level for keeping cool while you walk and avoiding sun stroke.

How busy will the Camino be during this time?

The crowds start to thin out in September once school restarts, so you usually get a less touristy and far more peaceful experience in late September. During the camino last year, there were hours-on-end where no one else was in sight.

What food is provided along the Camino?

In most towns along the route, you will find options to eat and drink. There are a few sections of our route that are a little more remote, but these are mapped out to ensure you have water and food available before we go off into the wilderness.

Spain is known for late mornings and late nights, so you’ll often find that bars and cafés are shut in the morning. Wherever we can, we’ve built in breakfast at the accommodation to help with this. However, after an hour or so walking, you’ll usually find all cafés are open and ready to go.

We will share your “Siendo Guide to the Camino” in the months leading up to the trip, which will cover this off in more detail, however, here are some examples of food options:

  • Tortilla de patata – This is Spain’s famous omelet with eggs, potatoes, olive oil, and onions
  • Tostadas – Toast with topping options, such as olive oil, jam, tomato or Spanish ham
  • Pastries – Both savoury and sweet options will often be available
  • Baguettes – Spanish baguettes are huge and very filling so not always the best option to eat during the day while walking

Coffee, tea, water, coke and freshly-squeezed orange juice are the most common drink options you’ll find along the way.

What is covered in my retreat ticket?

As you will see on our website here, there is a huge amount included in your ticket:

✔️ A beautifully designed, guided walk along a magnificent section of the Camino de Santiago

✔️ 6 x nights of pre-booked accommodation with breakfast

  • 4 nights in your own room with a private bathroom
  • 2 nights sharing with one other group member, with a private bathroom
  • Final night will be in your own room at a luxury hotel, with a pool

✔️ Mindfulness will be weaved throughout the trip, with a guided mindfulness walk imbedded into each day

✔️ Various options will be provided if you would like to embed ‘healing activities’ throughout your journey

✔️ Private transport to and from Santiago de Compostela airport (when travelling at the advised time on the designated days)

✔️ Private transport from Finisterre back to Santiago after completing your camino

✔️ The option of attending one of the famous ‘Pilgrim Mass’ ceremonies in the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral

✔️ An ‘end of trip’ celebratory dinner with the group

✔️ A self-reflective wellbeing assessment to complete pre/post camino

✔️ A pre-trip catch-up on Zoom to meet the group in the weeks leading up to our adventure

✔️ Your important trip questions answered by your guide, Rebecca Reed, from booking through to returning back home

✔️ A “Flight Tip Sheet” to help you with booking your flights

✔️ Your very own “Siendo Guide to the Camino” shared in the months leading up to your trip, providing you with an in-depth guide on what to expect, what to bring and how you can prepare; helping you to have the most unforgettable experience

✔️ A ‘Pilgrims Passport’ and Camino de Santiago completion certificate to proudly take home with you

What’s not covered in my retreat ticket?

Snacks or meals you’d like to eat throughout the day, evening meals (except the last night), flights, travel insurance (and any associated luggage costs), transport of your bags between locations (if you choose to not carry them yourself) and any personal items required for the walking.

What if I need to cancel after I have confirmed my booking?

If you change your mind about the Retreat, you must let us know no later than 14 days after the day we confirm we have accepted your booking.

Make sure to familiarise yourself with our terms and conditions, which can be found here.

Any other questions?

There are likely questions you have that are not covered here, so please get in touch and we’d be happy to talk through this with you.

Contact Rebecca at hello@siendo.co.uk.