Pepper M asked in TravelSpainGalicia · 9 years ago

Should I learn spanish before going on "The way of St. James"? (full walk)?

title says it all. I plan on taking the FULL french way trek. Are there certain phrases I should learn? I know there will be alot of other pilgrims on the way, but I don't want to be unprepared for when I get there. No, I don't plan on using a touring agency (though someone told me I could get a "religious passport" that would let me stay/eat at way points for free....Can't find any information. Link would be great.) How much money should I bring with me? besides money for plane tickets. :P (can I get a discount for going on this religious pilgrimage?)



I should probably say I live on the east coast of the United states. And the information I found on the Religious passport is called a credencial. I'm not catholic but I am going on this trip for religious reasons. Would that keep me for getting the credencial and the compostela?

8 Answers

  • zafir
    Lv 7
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Basic Spanish will be enough, for example hello, good day, thank you, how much is ... etc, enough to be polite. You'll find that, even if the local people don't speak English, they are so used to pilgrims of all nationalities that they will understand you quite well, and pointing to what you want works really well.

    The vast majority of pilgrims walking the Camino Frances do not use touring companies. When you get to your starting point, be it St Jean Pied de Port, Roncesvalles, Pamplona or other place, you can easily pick up a 'pilgrim credencial' which will allow you to stay in pilgrim albergues. In fact, you need this credencial (passport) to stay in cheap pilgrim accommodation, even if your walk is not religious, so make sure you get one.

    There are no free albergues! And it doesn't matter whether you use a company or walk by yourself, you have to pay. The costs are between 3 to 10 euros per night, with municipal albergues being the cheapest.

    When you ask for your credencial you will be asked if you are walking for religious, spiritual, or cultural reasons. So, in your case, you answer religious or spiritual. No-one will ask your religion, it's not relevant. To get your Compostela you need to be walking for religious or spiritual reasons, and you also need to walk at least the last 100kms to be eligible for this.

    I really suggest you have a look at a couple of websites for more information. The Confraternity of St James is the one I really recommend for new pilgrims, as all the information you could need is here. You can also buy a lightweight Guide to the Camino Frances which will give you information on each town/village you pass through, distance between towns, facilities such as shops, banks and hotels and, most importantly, the albergues in each town including number of beds available in each, whether or not these have kitchens, and the cost.

    Also have a look at the forum on where you can ask questions.

    @ Dart: you really need to learn a bit about the Camino before you mock the intentions of others.

    There is a well-known Camino route from Paris to Compostela which attracts pilgrims each year, there are also routes beginning at Le Puy en Velay, Vezelay, and Arles, and many Europeans just start walking from their front door!

    The pilgrim passport is essential in order to stay in pilgrim albergues (refugios). Pilgrims without one will be refused entry. There are no free albergues. The passport also entitles the holder to the Compostela certificate from Santiago Cathedral providing it is properly stamped and the last 100kms has been walked.

    Many of today's pilgrims are NOT Catholic but of other Christian denominations but still walk for religous/spiritual reasons. There are also pilgrims of other religions who understand the spirituality of the Camino, plus pilgrims who have no religion at all but again feel the Camino's spirituality.

    Source(s): Have walked the Camino Frances
  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Seriously? You are going to walk from Paris to Santiago???? That's HIGHLY ambitious! should probably learn a little Spanish, but you'll surely pick up plenty in the time it will take you.

    Yes, there's a passport. I don't know what it GETS you, but you get it stamped at stops along the way, and it's a souvenir.

    I'm pretty sure you can stay at places that have the shell on them, discounted or free. Someone else is better versed in that.

    How would going on a Catholic pilgrimage possibly help someone, religiously, of another religion? I'm not sure I understand your logic.

  • 9 years ago

    There are enough pilgrims from various countries that it's not necessary to learn Spanish, but it will be helpful and you will get more out of the experience. So I recommend at least a little before you go. Check out sites like

    The American Pilgrims has info on routes, passports, practicalities (like the passport) plus forums where you can ask questions from those who have done it. I haven't done it, but it's supposed to be a good experience.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    YOu will need some SPanish and will learn more en route. I cannot imagine anyone in the 21st century offering discounts for anything religious, and rightly so

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  • 4 years ago


    Source(s): Your Spanish Virtual Teacher
  • guiri
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    No. But If you had a good Spanish course on your ipod, you would probably have a good knowledge of Spanish by the time you got to Santiago.

    Have a good look at:

  • 4 years ago

    "It's actual, we are all a little bit insane" from Evanescence's tune "Sweet Sacrifice" that is the primary lyric of the primary tune on their album the open door. (it isn't as well as ur lyric regardless that) :)

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago


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