Getting your Compostela, or official pilgrim certificate, is one of the fondest memories of walking the Camino. Written on old fashioned paper and personalized for you, each certificate represents the effort and serves as a record of the journey you’ve taken to reach Santiago.
Before starting your journey on the Camino de Santiago, you must first obtain a credential, or Pilgrims Passport. (Don’t worry, if you walk with Hike the Way we provide this in your welcome package). A credential is a booklet with blank spaces that you stamp along your hike so that the pilgrim office can verify that you walked the required miles to obtain the certificate. You MUST get at least 2 stamps a day to show the places you passed through on that day. In total, you have to complete a minimum walking distance of 100km (biking and horseback is 200km) to be eligible.
The stamps collected along the way are not only proof you’ve walked the distance, but they are also a fun reminder of the places you’ve been.
Stamps can be obtained almost anywhere- hotels, cafes, shops, churches, etc. Sometimes you must ask for the stamps “tienes un sello?” or you can just say “sello” which is Spanish is stamp, or sometimes the establishment will have the stamp out somewhere for you to stamp your own book. Besides the stamp, you also need to write or have the date written in each square next to the stamp (In Spain they write the day first, then month, then year, so June 17th, 2019 is 17/6/19). The credential also serves as a fun keepsake at the end of your trip. Stamps are all different and unique and you’re not limited to only 2 stamps a day, so get as many as you want!
The credential also serves another purpose, to allow entrance into albergues and discount admission into cathedrals and museums.
For example, once reaching Santiago, you receive a discount to visit the Portico de Gloria if you’re a pilgrim. The Cathedral at Burgos also allows you discounted entry. So keep your credential handy as you might need to verify your pilgrim status.
Once you reach Santiago with your stamped passport, leave room for one last stamp at the official Camino office and you’re ready to get your certificate. There are two types of certificates:
- A Latin Compostela is issued to those who have walked the Camino for Christian reasons: devotonis affectul vel voti pietatis causa, or motivated by devotion, a vow or piety. This certificate is neat because it has your name translated and written in Latin.
- The Certificate of Distance is also given to those who walked to Santiago for different reasons other than a Christian journey. This certificate is in Spanish and has personalized where you started, how far you walked and the date. This type of certificate currently costs 3 euros, while the religious one is free.
When you walk with Hike the Way, we help you obtain your final Compostela, show you places where to get the stamps and guide you on your way. Buen Camino!