A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Camino Forum Store


Robbed in Santander

Theft on the Camino del Norte

I have just returned to the UK, having been robbed of my money in Santander, and after turning back, robbed of my backpack while resting in Bilboa. The watch word is BE SAFE.
My problems occurred mainly because as a disabled person travelling with a care dog, I was not allowed into the hostels, something that requires an urgent look at.
Finally, make sure you know how to get help and where your countries representatives are to be found. Good Luck and God Bless.



Active Member

Wow Mike, I'm sorry that happened to you! Would you be willing to give us more details about the experience? Were you approached personally or was the money stolen from your pack? What was the response of your dog to the thieves? Was your pack left unattended or did they take it off your chair or shoulder?

I'm walking the camino in September and want to be informed.
Do you think it's any worse than any big city like Los Angeles or London?

Also, I'm just curious about the nature of your disability.
My problems occurred mainly because as a disabled person travelling with a care dog, I was not allowed into the hostels, something that requires an urgent look at.
Incompetent Hospitaleros! I was twice hospitalero in the refuge "Casa Paderborn" at Pamplona. I would never reject a disabled person which needs the help of a care dog!! In such a case there should ever be a solution and a place for the dog!


Staff member
Donating Member
Jochen wrote:Incompetent Hospitaleros! I was twice hospitalero in the refuge "Casa Paderborn" at Pamplona. I would never reject a disabled person which needs the help of a care dog!! I
This sounds like a mission for Sil or Ivar...both of them have in depth knowledge and understanding on the "why and Wherefores" on the Camino.

Since there is an obvious move to standardize the albergues, there should be a way to communicate to them about the "exception" allowed a peregrino with a "certified" care animal. Certification is the key. There's many walkers that have care animals that are more for "comfort" than "effort". In that case, I could see the issue being one of a personal desire rather than a requirement.

That said, any criminal activity on the Camino is an abomination and, must be dealt with by the authorities and, the result made public.

Be careful out there!

Being robbed in a strange country can be one of the most traumatic experience, to lose enough to cancel one's pilgrimage is even worse and as victims of thieves ourselves we sympathise with you. My wife was pickpocketed before we arrived in Santander, lost our walking poles and a bag on the flight into Santander, and I was pickpocketed in Madrid in spite of being extra careful.

A lesson to be learnt is to distribute the valuables in different pockets/bags so that the loss of one will not have catastrophic consequences, we placed our credit and ATM card in different pockets so we could still pay our way, we lost the cash currency though. The rigmarole of reporting to the Police, finding the Police Station was difficult, calling the card centres to report the loss and get a replacement, was a chore. Remember firstly the proper number to call, we had to pay toll charges as we did not have the toll free number at hand. Remember and record all details of the valuables in a different place, also where you can pick up replacement cards. We had to our surprise and relief the replacement credit card delivered to us within 24 hours. Lastly, have a travel insurance as not everyone on the Camino is a God-fearing saint on a sacred journey

The albergue in Santander is within a row of busy shops on the High Street, on a steep narrow cobbled street and not designed for anyone with a handicap. The rooms are clean but small, one has a flight of steep stairs to get to the office, it is however compensated by a wonderfully friendly non-English speaking hospitalero. He issued us with the first sello, with a big smile, on the folder which he issued for E1.00. There is no space to put a dog, with no park nearby for it to run and evacuate itself. He gave us a glossy fully illustrated Spanish brochure on the Camino between Burgos and Leon, he did not ask for payment but there are lots of books and pamphlets which you can buy at the albergue. There is a message board, and a lovely detailed map pinned on the wall of the destinations.

We did not stay in the albergue but in a nearby E30/night hotel with bath, there are lots of rooms available near the albergue if one does not wish to stay in the albergue. I hope that information I write above will be helpful, and to hope that this robbery will inspire you to complete what was cruelly taken away from you.


No worries,

I walked the camino norte last May. i started in irun and ended in Santiago. the last 10 days i was walking on my own, and i was alone 6 nights in the refugios. I felt it was very safe. The universe has plans for each one of us.! Soto de luna ALWAYS had at least 10 people each night, except the night i was there, i was alone.
Very unfortunate what happened to mike.

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
There are as many kinds of hospitaleros as there are pilgrims, I think.

Some of them are great. They´ll welcome a well-behaved dog and let it sleep at least out of the rain, if not in the dormitory. They´ll for sure never turn away an aid dog, even if the rules say "no dogs." They are sensible, flexible, lovely people who know how to "think on their feet."

Other hospitaleros are control freaks on a mission. If the rules say "no dogs," they will fight to their last breath to uphold those rules, no matter who ends up sleeping in the rain. I ran into one of these folks a while back, who was replacing me at a hostel where I was hospitalera. Our assignments overlapped by one day. He put me out on the street that last night, because I was not a pilgrim!

These people may have issues with their fellow humans, but they always make sure the place is spotlessly clean.


OLDER threads on this topic


Most read today

Most downloaded Resources

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store

Casa Ivar Newsletter

Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 4 1.2%
  • February

    Votes: 3 0.9%
  • March

    Votes: 17 5.0%
  • April

    Votes: 60 17.5%
  • May

    Votes: 85 24.9%
  • June

    Votes: 28 8.2%
  • July

    Votes: 9 2.6%
  • August

    Votes: 2 0.6%
  • September

    Votes: 87 25.4%
  • October

    Votes: 40 11.7%
  • November

    Votes: 4 1.2%
  • December

    Votes: 3 0.9%