• For 2024 Pilgrims: €50,- donation = 1 year with no ads on the forum + 90% off any 2024 Guide. More here.
    (Discount code sent to you by Private Message after your donation)
  • ⚠️ Emergency contact in Spain - Dial 112 and AlertCops app. More on this here.
  • Get your Camino Frances Guidebook here.

Search 69,459 Camino Questions

Have Pilgrim's Passport, but do I need to register at a local pilgrim's office before I can stay in municipal albergues?

Rold Gold

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2024
Ultreia, y'all!
I am excited to start my first camino soon and have a question about the first time I use my Pilgrim's Passport. I have one already (purchased from Ivar) but was still planning to go to the Pilgrim's office in SJPP to register, get useful information from volunteers, and be excited with others starting out. However, given time limitations with my job, I may have to start a little further up the road than SJPP to make it in time to Santiago before I have to fly home.

My question is this: do I NEED to go to a Pilgrim's office to register OR can I just show up at the municipal/main albergue in Pamplona (or wherever I start) on my first day, Pilgrim's Passport in my eager hand, and be 'official'?

Does the mere fact of possessing the Pilgrim's Passport make me official OR do I need have something done to to the Pilgrim's Passport first to make it (and me) official on my first day of the Camino? I should add I am planning on staying at albergues that are for pilgrims only and that don't take reservations.

I speak Spanish and could figure it out once I'm there, but I thought I would ask here since you folks know everything!

I am trying to be a responsible 'newbie" and I promise I searched the threads before asking this but couldn't find this specific information, though I suspect it's there somewhere. I also promise I will not start a new thread to ask about whether to use a rain poncho or a rain jacket, even though I am tempted because still don't know what to do about that.
Finally, I have learned a lot reading on this site and want to thank you all.
Et suseia!
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
If you have your credential, you can stay at pilgrim albergues. So get it stamped prior to your first day of walking, however, to document your starting point. Almost any albergue, restaurant, cafe, or church can stamp it.

If your time is limited, skip the journey to SJPdP as it’s not particularly easy to reach, costing you valuable money and time. Instead, start further down the trail (Pamplona, Logroño, Leon, etc) where you can walk a continual path to Santiago.
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.
I have one already (purchased from Ivar) but was still planning to go to the Pilgrim's office in SJPP to register
The only "registration" that you have to do for the Camino is to pre-register with the Pilgrim's Office in Santiago towards the end of your Camino if you want a Compostela.
 
My question is this: do I NEED to go to a Pilgrim's office to register OR can I just show up at the municipal/main albergue in Pamplona (or wherever I start) on my first day, Pilgrim's Passport in my eager hand, and be 'official'?
There is no requirement to register, as others have already said, at the start of the camino. Your fist stamp can be provided anywhere, and you should make sure that you fill in the date this occurs inside the front cover of the credential and the name of the town where you started. The Pilgrim Office in SDC will stamp this page when you collect your Compostela as well as providing a 'final' stamp on the last page of the credential. That said, I have often collected stamps after that from places I have then visited after the end of my Camino to remind me of what I did after arriving at the end.

I like to get my first stamp at some significant place, so I have initial stamps from such places as the Pilgrim Office at SJPP, the Cathedral in Lisbon and the Council Offices in Valenca. But that isn't always going to happen, and I have initial stamps from albergues and hostels in various places as well.
 
You don’t need to via St Jean if you’re planning on starting walking elsewhere. Nor, as above, ‘register’ anywhere - you’re good to go.

Do, however, fill in your contact details in the credencial. A number are reported as ‘lost’ every year and some have no details as to the owner.
 
Very light, comfortable and compressible poncho. Specially designed for protection against water for any activity.

Our Atmospheric H30 poncho offers lightness and waterproofness. Easily compressible and made with our Waterproof fabric, its heat-sealed interior seams guarantee its waterproofness. Includes carrying bag.

€60,-
And include your email address and mobile number in your contact details, so that if you do lose your credencial the finder can easily email or whatsapp you. They are not going to bother if there is only a street address.
 
The only "registration" that you have to do for the Camino is to pre-register with the Pilgrim's Office in Santiago towards the end of your Camino if you want a Compostela.
In my recent experience, February, this is not accurate.
You are encouraged to register online before you reach Santiago and obviously it helps the Pilgrims' Office to manage numbers. But it is not mandatory. If you forget or don't have, or won't use the smartphone technology, you can still receive a Compostela. There is a touch screen inside the door of the Office where you can enter your basic details (which are transmitted to the issuing desk) before you join the queue for a Compostela.
 
Last edited:
Thanks to all for answering my questions and providing further insights and ideas! You are the best!

I didn't think I needed to go all the way to SJPP to register at the office there unless I wanted to start there, but I was unsure if I needed to do some equivalent of that at another pilgrim's office in another town/city I started in. But now I understand that I don't and can just start getting those sellos. I will be sure to fill out all my contact details in the credential.

I am still considering my options for starting point and leaning towards Pamplona. If I do begin there, I will see if I can get my first stamp from the Cathedral since I like the idea of having the first one be significant (thanks, dougfitz!). Or if any of you have a good suggestion of another good place in Pamplona to get that first one--the Café Iruña maybe? the Albergue Jesús y María?--I'd love to know it.

I really, really want to start in SJPP and feel a little sad about possibly not being able to, but I am trying to accept it might not happen this time given my work obligations and be at peace with whatever I get to do. Given it's my first camino and first pilgrimage, the most important thing for me is to walk one path from wherever I start and make a complete journey all the way to Santiago de Compostela. If need to start a little further up the road, so be it.

¡Buen camino a todos!
 
Down bag (90/10 duvet) of 700 fills with 180 g (6.34 ounces) of filling. Mummy-shaped structure, ideal when you are looking for lightness with great heating performance.

€149,-
Given it's my first camino and first pilgrimage, the most important thing for me is to walk one path from wherever I start and make a complete journey all the way to Santiago de Compostela. If need to start a little further up the road, so be it.
That's exactly my thinking too. It is a complete journey for me if I walk from my starting point to Santiago or another pilgrimage destination. Doesn't matter if that is 10km, 100km or 1000km. And it certainly doesn't have to be from some completely arbitrary starting point like SJPDP. Cherry-picking sections would ruin the experience for me.
 
There is no registry. Just get your credencial stamped at wherever you start your journey. Churchgoing pilgrims will often get their first stamp at their parish just before their international voyage begins. Otherwise, get it stamped at your accommodation, a church, ayuntamiento, bar, etc... at least once a day, and in the 100km immediately before Santiago, twice a day.
 
The first edition came out in 2003 and has become the go-to-guide for many pilgrims over the years. It is shipping with a Pilgrim Passport (Credential) from the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.
Ultreia, y'all!
I am excited to start my first camino soon and have a question about the first time I use my Pilgrim's Passport. I have one already (purchased from Ivar) but was still planning to go to the Pilgrim's office in SJPP to register, get useful information from volunteers, and be excited with others starting out. However, given time limitations with my job, I may have to start a little further up the road than SJPP to make it in time to Santiago before I have to fly home.

My question is this: do I NEED to go to a Pilgrim's office to register OR can I just show up at the municipal/main albergue in Pamplona (or wherever I start) on my first day, Pilgrim's Passport in my eager hand, and be 'official'?

Does the mere fact of possessing the Pilgrim's Passport make me official OR do I need have something done to to the Pilgrim's Passport first to make it (and me) official on my first day of the Camino? I should add I am planning on staying at albergues that are for pilgrims only and that don't take reservations.

I speak Spanish and could figure it out once I'm there, but I thought I would ask here since you folks know everything!

I am trying to be a responsible 'newbie" and I promise I searched the threads before asking this but couldn't find this specific information, though I suspect it's there somewhere. I also promise I will not start a new thread to ask about whether to use a rain poncho or a rain jacket, even though I am tempted because still don't know what to do about that.
Finally, I have learned a lot reading on this site and want to thank you all.
Et suseia!
No. In fact, several of my Caminos started from the hotel I stayed in the night before departure. Some started at a church. I cannot recall any that startted from a pilgrim office.

Hope this helps.

Tom
 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
In my recent experience, February, this is not accurate.
You are encouraged to register online before you reach Santiago and obviously it helps the Pilgrims' Office to manage numbers. But it is not mandatory. If you forget or don't have, or won't use the smartphone technology, you can still receive a Compostela. There is a touch screen inside the door of the Office where you can enter your basic details (which are transmitted to the issuing desk) before you join the queue for a Compostela.
I almost always arrive in December. I never preregister. When I get to the pilgrim office I do it there in about a minute on the touchscreen. I am sure when things are busier it would be better to preregister so you don’t get aced out. But this is one of the many reasons I walk when it is quiet and on less traveled caminos
 
If your time is limited, skip the journey to SJPdP as it’s not particularly easy to reach,


Not really accurate, if you are coming from France. Train right into town from Bayonne, two blocks from the old town.

I understand from many posts here, that it is a pain if you are coming from Spain. But if your intended starting point is SJPdP, then plan your travel to get to Bayonne or Biarittz airport and you have a 50 minute train to the starting point.
 
The Co Fraternity of St James here in the UK records the number on the credential it sends to you. Then registers your Camino on completion of it. Which you do by posting a form to them.
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
I really, really want to start in SJPP and feel a little sad about possibly not being able to, but I am trying to accept it might not happen this time given my work obligations and be at peace with whatever I get to do. Given it's my first camino and first pilgrimage, the most important thing for me is to walk one path from wherever I start and make a complete journey all the way to Santiago de Compostela. If need to start a little further up the road, so be it.
I think you have a good grasp of the most important thing.

That said, there are places between SJPP and Pamplona that can be a compromise. Let me put in a word for Roncesvalles (not biased at all by the fact that it is where I happened to have started my two Caminos Frances). If you consider it a two-day walk from SJPP to Roncesvalles (with a stop at Valcarlos, Orisson or Borda), then it is two days from both SJPP and Pamplona. It is a place with a lot of historic significance, and a huge history of harboring pilgrims (arguably a longer history of doing so than SJPP). It is also the traditional Spanish starting point for the Camino. In fact, just before Sahagun, you will pass the "half-way" marker for the Camino, and in Sahagun you can get a "half-way certificate". Both of these mark the half-way point between Roncesvalles and Santiago.

But if that also doesn't work with your available time, you know what is most important.
 
Ultreia, y'all!
I am excited to start my first camino soon and have a question about the first time I use my Pilgrim's Passport. I have one already (purchased from Ivar) but was still planning to go to the Pilgrim's office in SJPP to register, get useful information from volunteers, and be excited with others starting out. However, given time limitations with my job, I may have to start a little further up the road than SJPP to make it in time to Santiago before I have to fly home.

My question is this: do I NEED to go to a Pilgrim's office to register OR can I just show up at the municipal/main albergue in Pamplona (or wherever I start) on my first day, Pilgrim's Passport in my eager hand, and be 'official'?

Does the mere fact of possessing the Pilgrim's Passport make me official OR do I need have something done to to the Pilgrim's Passport first to make it (and me) official on my first day of the Camino? I should add I am planning on staying at albergues that are for pilgrims only and that don't take reservations.

I speak Spanish and could figure it out once I'm there, but I thought I would ask here since you folks know everything!

I am trying to be a responsible 'newbie" and I promise I searched the threads before asking this but couldn't find this specific information, though I suspect it's there somewhere. I also promise I will not start a new thread to ask about whether to use a rain poncho or a rain jacket, even though I am tempted because still don't know what to do about that.
Finally, I have learned a lot reading on this site and want to thank you all.
Et suseia!
My experience is no you do not need to register. When I arrived in SJPDP, the office was closed for a very long lunch and I never got back to register or get my stamp from them (one of my few regrets). I did get a stamp from the albergue I was staying at and that was enough.
 
I really, really want to start in SJPP and feel a little sad about possibly not being able to, but I am trying to accept it might not happen this time given my work obligations and be at peace with whatever I get to do. Given it's my first camino and first pilgrimage, the most important thing for me is to walk one path from wherever I start and make a complete journey all the way to Santiago de Compostela. If need to start a little further up the road, so be it.
Don't worry: stricto sensu, Camino Francés begins from Puente La Reina. Therefore, starting in Pamplona is a good idea.
 
Get a spanish phone number with Airalo. eSim, so no physical SIM card. Easy to use app to add more funds if needed.

Most read last week in this forum

Now it's done, and I'm showered, fed and generally numbed with alcohol, it was great. Fortunately, the weather was cool all day, the rain held off and the terrain was rolling countryside. But...
Hello; I started my camino on May 15th, today husband and I walked from Roncesvalles to Zubiri. I did the Camino in 2019 and the path from alto erro to Zubiri has eroded and is more hazardous...
Hi Forum! Just to reassure those starting now and the next week, but I was in Roncesvalles last night and, though full and busy, I talked to the hospitalero who told me, there were still 27 empty...
Walking the Camino Frances, since the 16th there has been a lot of mud on the trail but doable until today on the way to Pamplona! It got very difficult with the mud on the pass high up beside...
I'm flying from the USA to start my Camino this week. I will check my backpack, and to protect it, I will ship it in a plastic storage bin like this one: Rather than shipping the storage bin to...
I started out from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port on 1 May. It turned out to be an unforgetable day. Above 1,000 m or so it snowed, catching many people unprepared. Later that day "many" walkers were...

❓How to ask a question

How to post a new question on the Camino Forum.

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Updates on YouTube

Camino Conversations

Most downloaded Resources

This site is run by Ivar at

in Santiago de Compostela.
This site participates in the Amazon Affiliate program, designed to provide a means for Ivar to earn fees by linking to Amazon
Official Camino Passport (Credential) | 2024 Camino Guides
Back
Top