Essential Spanish Vocabulary for the Camino de Santiago

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pilgrims walking on the trail

Essential Camino Vocabulary

Words and Phrases Every Pilgrim Should Know

Embarking on the Camino de Santiago, the famous pilgrimage route in Spain, is an incredible journey that offers not only physical challenges but also cultural immersion and meaningful interactions. As you walk through the beautiful landscapes of Spain, it's beneficial to have some basic Spanish phrases in your toolkit. If you only speak English, it may be difficult to interact with Spanish people to the fullest extent. However, by using their local language, you and other pilgrims will have the opportunity to explore and discover the wonders of Spain.

This article presents essential words and phrases that every pilgrim should know to enhance their Camino experience and communicate with locals along the way.

Greetings and Polite Expressions:

  • Hola: Hello
  • Adiós: Goodbye
  • Buenos días: Good morning
  • Buenas tardes: Good afternoon/evening
  • Buenas noches: Good night
  • Gracias: Thank you
  • De nada: You’re welcome
  • Disculpe: Excuse me
  • Por favor: Please

Directions and Navigation:

  • ¿Dónde está...?: Where is...?
  • ¿Cómo llego a...?: How do I get to...?
  • Derecha: Right
  • Izquierda: Left
  • Recto: Straight ahead
  • Sigue: Continue

Food and Drink:

  • Agua: Water
  • Cerveza: Beer
  • Vino: Wine
  • Carne: Meat
  • Pescado: Fish
  • Queso: Cheese
  • Ensalada: Salad
  • Desayuno: Breakfast
  • Cena: Dinner
  • Cafe con leche: Latte
  • Postre: Dessert
  • ¿Cuánto cuesta?: How much is this?

Emergency Phrases:

  • Ayuda: Help
  • Necesito un médico: I need a doctor
  • Perdido/a: Lost
  • ¿Dónde está la estación de policía?: Where is the police station?
  • ¿Dónde está el hospital?: Where is the hospital?
  • Llame a una ambulancia, por favor: Call an ambulance, please
  • 112: 911
  • Socorro: Help me!

“Buen Camino”

The most commonly heard Spanish phrase on the Camino routes is "Buen Camino". This phrase literally translates to "good walk" and serves as a greeting and farewell to pilgrims. This is the easiest way to wish people you meet good fortune on their trip.

pilgrims standing in square

Learning a few key Spanish phrases before embarking on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela can greatly enhance your experience, allowing you to connect with locals, navigate your way, and show respect for the local culture. Whether it's greetings, directions, or ordering food, the effort to communicate in Spanish will be appreciated by the people you meet along the way, regardless of your pronunciation. There are many free online courses available that can help you string together sentences with these important words and generally assist you in conquering this new language. Remember, even a basic understanding of Spanish can go a long way in forging connections and creating a richer Camino experience.

¡Buen Camino!



Linda Mon, 09/11/2023 - 09:21

I hope I use these phrases the correct way!