Is it safe for a woman to walk alone?

Woman walking alone

The question was:

How safe is it for a (relatively) young female to walk on her own?

Read all the good advice on woman walking the Camino alone our Camino de Santiago forum.

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  • Abie Martin

    Know of one instance on the Frances where a fellow peregrina experienced harassment as she approached Santo Domingo and one on the Portuguese route in the first overnight village Vilarinho where a local, perceived to be not of sound mind, tried to harass a peregrina. In both instances the ladies were somewhat traumatised but not harmed.

    • Rosaliep

      I too had an experience just out of. Santo domingo.booked in to albergue virgen de gaudolupe. Guy. Running the place agro and strange. Told me to shower and wash my hair(am a hairdresser and had already washed my hair that morn) he wenbt into details how I was to shower and which poarts of body in particuar!!…very explicite and embarrassing.I then realised I was the only person staying in the filthiest albergue on my whole trip. Even tho I had payed(double the going rate) I snuck out and ran
      Rosalie (S. Africa)

      • kf51

        Creepy. But a good story that ended well because you used your common sense!

      • Anna Marie Brown-Mitchell

        I heard a creepy story about that place too,but also people loved it. so it dependson the day! you’re smart to get out!

  • Tdunne70

    I have walked two caminos this year and many many wemon were walking alone but you are not alone for long as there is always other pilgrims not far away and at nyt you will be with like minded pilgrims also. Fantastic experience could not recommend it more and walk alone during the day and at nyt you may socialise more. 

  • Avril A

    I’m sorry to hear that some people have had a few bad experiences. But please do not be put off by this. I went with a friend but she was too ill for a few days therefore I walked alone, and it was absolutely fine, if not refreshing to have peace to collect your thoughts and enjoy the walk at your own pace. I have walked the Camino twice now and met many women, young and old, walking alone and they loved it. You feel completely safe as you can’t avoid getting to know the same people who you will be sharing albergues with each night. On the walk you will have many people ahead and behind you so you will never feel truly alone. Walking alone you have the choice to socialise or just take some time out to yourself. Bon Camino xx

  • Sozz7

    it would be the same as going anywhere else as a woman alone, you will quickly meet other travelers to walk with, is better to be open but cautious than paranoid and closed and miss half the point of doing the camino, well for me anyway was to be open, discover myself and new experiences with new people, I made some amazing friends on the camino!

  • Silversol

    I guess answering a question like that will obviously draw views from both sides of the spectrum. I have walked several Caminos and I met many many pilgrims and local people. It is the journey of one’s life and as on any other journey one can expect some challenges. To say walking the Camino is 100% safe for women to walk alone would be somewhat incorrect for even male pilgrims can at times feel unsafe which is normal. How the Camino is approached and how you deal with unsafe situations, which fortunately are extremely few on the Camino, is key. The Camino is one of the safest environments but some pilgrims may always experience some deep seated difficulty in dealing with it as such! The fact of the matter is, one should prepare in such a way that situations that can take away from your personal spiritual experience (if that is what you want) can be minimized or taken care of.

  • Bellasenorina10

    Before doing el Camino I never hiked alone or with anyone! I have done el Camino alone twice, walked 35 days on my first Camino and 6 days on the second Camino and I never felt threatened by another human been. I did have a bad experience with two dogs on my first Camino, but I controlled the situation and kept on walking. It’s very important to prepare yourself psychologically for el Camino, and be realistic about things that could happen to you. I took one year preparing physically and Mentally for my first Camino. I plan to do my third Camino next year, the North Camino which is longer than the French Camino that I did in 2005. Buen Camino Peregrino!

  • Hill Jenny177

    I found my fellow pilgrims to be charming, courteous, and friendly – only once did I feel uncomfortable, and then not too bad as I knew some others in the albergue who supported me.  I made wonderful friends along my camino – mostly men – but none threatening.  I am going back for another solo sprint this year.  There are rogues in all walks of life, but, in my experience, most people are thoroughly decent – and will be wonderful companions for you

  • Ans

    mijn beste schoen voor de camino is de Meindle Borneo lady, groeten Ans

  • Clara

    Highly recommend walking alone! I walked alone from May 25 to June 25 and felt entirely safe, and even protected, the entire way. Nothing but great experiences. There were almost always people within shouting distance but I never had any anxiety. Walking alone allows you to pray, think and just BE on the Camino. It’s so peaceful. When I walked with other people, I found I did not notice near as much detail, did not go nearly as deep in my thoughts and was generally distracted. There is plenty of time in the evening for socializing, but walking alone during the day is the BEST!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/alla.korneva Alla Korneva

      Clara, sorry, my question is not related to the topic, but how was the weather like that period? i am planning to do trip same dates (mas o menos).
      thank you

  • Cara

    I can only speak for the Camino Frances, Finiesterre and Muxia, but in the parts of these caminos that I walked alone, I felt quiet safe. Fact is, I was never really alone (particularly in summer). I think the biggest threat I felt on 1 or 2 occasions were stray, growling dogs. Even if other peregrinos are not in immediate view, it won’t be long before someone comes along. And the thing is, you will keep meeting the same people over and over again from town to town, albergue to albergue. Sometimes finding solitude can be a challenge on the camino.

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  • Ruby Slippers

    Yes, yes, yes. You are actually hardly ever alone. I walked Solo the first time and with 3 other women the second time. Solo is the only way to do. Also There are always people before and after the place on the trail where you find yourself. <3

  • vania

    I did The Camino by myself and I didn’t have any problem. Never. I made some nice friends and they were always worried about me but the shoudn’t. I felt safe all time and I walked alone most of the time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/maryia.khamiakova Maryia Khamiakova

    As many people here have already said, the best way of walking camino is to do it alone. I did it when I was 27. Really great experience. It helped me a lot to find the connection with myself: to understand what I want, what I need, to hear inner me. This was my goal and I reached it there. And any time you need a company (if you feel lonely, scary, or bored), you will always find it! Moreover, everyone around feel responsible for you and want to help and include you. Sometimes it was a problem to walk alone actually :-) Although it was not 100 percent safe: I have experienced several “weird” situations. Once was kind of serious, but other pilgrims appeared and helped. After this I was continue to walk alone, but was trying to follow other pilgrims on the seeing distance. This experience shouldn’t scare you: it is never 100 percent safe in life: neither on Camino no anywhere else! Be prepared for this and think in advance about back up plan.

  • Jane

    Hi, I walked the Camino France in Nov/Dec 2012 alone. I chose to walk on my own for 95% of the time but could have joined other walkers had I wanted. I did not encounter any issues, but was careful and did go on my instinct. Buen Camino xx

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=8628056 Rachael Grace

    I walked the Camino Frances in 2009 alone. Or at least, I went alone. Then I met hundreds of amazing people and walked with them along the way. I am female, and at the time I was 22. I rarely walked “alone”–usually I was with someone or near someone. Actually, I’m glad I walked alone–there aren’t many places where you can be a young, lonely female traveling and not have to stay in/watch your back. I at no time had a problem or even felt afraid. I highly recommend doing it solo!

  • Abi

    For people who have walked the Camino, I am just wondering what the cost ended up being. I looking to walk it alone as a 18 year old female and also want to know everyones thoughts and advice on that. Thanks so much for the help!

  • JudithAJohnston

    I am a 55 year old woman that has never traveled alone. I just returned from walking the Camino Frances, starting in St Jean and ending in Muxia via Finnisterre. Over 900 kilometers. For the Camino, I planned alone, I traveled to Spain alone, I started alone, walked most days alone, but was rarely ever really alone. The Camino is very safe for those who plan and want to be safe. Be smart, aware, conscious of your important papers and money. Always keep those things attached to you somehow. Trust your instincts about your saftey and let others help if you are in need. I loved the long quiet days and the social evenings. You will meet incredible people from all over the world.

    I meet a girl that was 17 walking the Camino by herself. and one that was 18. They were beautiful and confident young women and they were able to travel alone because they were aware and smart about being alone. One thing they both had was supportive parent/s that could help them if they got in a bind. So make sure you have support at home. The support on the Camino comes naturally for everyone. You need help , you get it. Someone else needs help, you help them. Life is a wonderful adventure. Don’t be fearful, just be smart!

  • Kalinda Link

    I walked from Astorga to Santiago on my own in June of this year, but I was never alone or lonely the entire time. I met so many wonderful people and felt safe the entire time.

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  • Michelle_Hogan

    Having practiced and taught Ki and Aikido for over 30 years, and also having traveled many parts of the world, I find two very important things any person, male or female should do, when alone, be confident in everything you do and, never, never put yourself in a position to make yourself a target.

    It sounds easy but it takes a lot of practice to be able to move overland, through small villages or cities in plain sight but without attracting attention to oneself.

    Safety can always be had in numbers. Travel with partners if you feel at risk. If you can trust some of the people you meet, these may be the best travel partners.

  • Ramon Fernandez Fdez

    La foto no representa precisamente a una peregrina, mas bien a una modelo o algo parecido. Hay que cuidar un poco la imagen en ciertas cosas y no usar a la mujer como figura decorativa.

  • gillianfg

    I walked alone this year (July/August 2013) starting in SJPdP and had zero problems. If you are walking during a busy season (mid-summer to early fall) you can almost guarantee that you will not be walking alone. There were a few mornings that I started extremely early to avoid the midday sun, and it was very dark. I had my headlamp and almost always there was another person or two with the same idea. I found that I felt most apprehensive in the bigger cities, especially on weekends, when people were just returning from fiestas as I was starting my day. But, I was polite and self-assured and didn’t have any problems. Going through the Running of the Bulls was exciting, but I think next time I will avoid it. It is a little hard to maneuver through a city in the middle of a huge festival with a backpack. I felt a little like a turtle in a pool of sharks :-)

  • Mike

    My wife and I just finished Navarette to Leon. Many women walk or ride a bike safely and we enjoyed their company. It was common for women to connect for a time of conversation, separate on the path, then maybe meet up again in the evening. But solitude is part of the experience (doing it with WiFi and smartphones is another topic). It was also our experience in 2011, Leon to Santiago. I carried a whistle on my backpack strap thi time, thinking of getting attention in an emergency. I never touched it.


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