Planning your Camino Part Two: Guided vs Self-Guided

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landscape on el camino with mountains on background

Guided vs Self-guided

In this 3 part series, we’re helping you plan the perfect Camino de Santiago tour for you. In part one we covered the basics- amount of time you have, the time of year you’ll be traveling and what type of Camino experience you’re looking for.

In part 2, we’re specifically breaking down the tours- guided vs self-guided and the advantages of both.

Our company, Hike the Way, wants to make the Camino accessible to all. After walking the Camino ourselves, experiencing the transformative properties of the Camino, our goal was to create tours that could appeal to everyone regardless of age or fitness level. We first began with guided tours.

Our guided tours are the simplest way to experience the Camino, because we take care of everything. We initially meet in Madrid and take you to the beginning of the Camino. Starting in Madrid is very helpful because transferring to the beginning of the Camino can be challenging if you’re unaccustomed or insecure with European busses and trains. Our guided tours also offer the services of an English-speaking tour guide who is with you the whole journey on the Camino. Our guides are experts of the Camino and tell you about the history of the stages as well as help with anything you might need. Our guided tour groups are small- all 12 people and under; and we all walk at our own pace. It’s great because there’s no pressure to go quickly or keep up and knowing there is a guide behind you and a van waiting for you at a checkpoint ahead makes it easier.

Also, ALL meals are included. Breakfasts at the hotels, picnic group lunches and dinners.

We want our travelers to try local foods, experience Spanish cuisine at it’s best, and so we make it a point to provide a wide variety of options.

No need to worry about reading a Spanish menu, we take care of it all. Our guided tours end with a private tour of Santiago with an official city tour guide.

Advantages of a guided tour:

  • Walk with a group
  • Guide and support van
  • All meals
  • Transfer from Madrid to beginning of Camino

Our self-guided tours are perfect for those who feel confident walking the Camino but need help with the logistics. These tours are customized in that you can pick your starting city, your date, and how many miles you’d like to walk each day. You can walk the Portuguese route, French Route, Camino del Norte and more. We offer the same private accommodations and breakfasts, but you are in charge of lunch and dinners. We always provide a map and guide to Spain with dining suggestions, directions to your hotels, and what to expect that day while walking. There are also many options addition options for self-guided tours as well. Need a transfer to or from the airport? Want to book a few extra nights in Santiago or add dinner reservations in certain stops? Just ask and it can all be arranged.

Advantages of self-guided tour:       

  • Flexibility of dates
  • Customizable Camino routes and stages
  • Private accommodations and breakfasts

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