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safe to travel alone for female?

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Hello, I've become obsessed with the thought of walking the camino next summer. Im not sure whether I'll be able to convince any of my friends to come along, so am thinking of doing it on my own if I have to. How safe is it for a (relatively) young female to walk on her own? Ive been reading different opinions about this, so I'd be really interested in what you think.
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Safe on the Camino

No te preocupes. Not to worry.

Spain is a safe place. The Camino is a safe place.
You may start the Road on your own, but you will soon acquire a Camino family.

I have seen many young females traveling the Continent solo with no ill effect. Spain in general has a very civil and genteel populace. The people throughout Spain are the most friendly and helpful lot I have ever happened to meet. Whilst navigating through large cities on the Camino, I have had people whistle and point the direction to go. Unsolicited help offered by total strangers. They seem to have a sense of shepherding the Peregrino flock on their way to Santiago. Go the Camino alone if you wish. You’ll do fine.

Buen Camino,
safety for women

I just posted this today at I'll copy it here:

It's been six weeks since I've read the forum as I have just returned from walking the camino. Yes, it is as great ...or even better! everyone said it would be!!

However, I feel like I need to tell other people about safety on the trail and my experiences. I am sure this will depress many of you. I was attacked by a man on the trail in Galicia (not a pilgrim....he jumped out of the woods...nobody was around) and robbed. He covered my mouth and nose so that I could not breathe while he demanded money. Other than a bruised arm I was not really hurt. He just wanted my money. I gave it to him.

Of course the beautiful thing is that I was immediately lifted up by numerous fellow pilgrims. They helped me talk to the police. They comforted me and accompanied me for the rest of the trip. I talked many hours with a wonderful Spaniard, Juan, who made me realize it was not my problem--the problem is the thief's.

Unfortunately it was not the only incident. I was walking on a lonely road and a man in a car pulled up and asked if I would have sex for money. There was nobody around. Luckily he drove off when I refused, but I know of another woman who was very worried because a man (a different one) actually got out of the car and was urging her to get in.

I have to say that one of my favorite things was walking by myself, and I don't know if I could do it again. However, I did feel that each day was a complete blessing from God and I know he walked with me the whole time. Emily reports a similar incident last month at Leboreiro near Melide. I also hear increased tales of things being stolen in refuges. I suppose it's inevitable that the more popular the Camino Frances becomes, the more attractive it becomes for thieves; and I suppose too they consider unaccompanied females to be the easiest target.

Perhaps a good way to avoid their attentions is to use another less popular route.
Thanks for your replies! I am wondering now whether to choose a less popular route, but then that might mean there is less help around as well if things go wrong?
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there will certainly be far fewer pilgrims around, but how many locals will be around depends on the route: the Portugues or Ingles for instance are generally quite densely populated. Galicia and Castille have entirely different settlement patterns: Galicia's is spread out with small hamlets every km or two, Castille's is concentrated with large distances between villages.

However, I don't think you should exaggerate the problems; as a %age of the total pilgrims the no of such attacks is tiny. In general, I would agree with Grant that the Camino is a safe place and the Spaniards are a friendly, courteous people.
Emily... I'm glad to read that you weren't really hurt, though I can imagine these are experiences that can stay with you for some while.
One question pops up my mind... why would you need this to happen to you?? :roll:

I've also heard that people were stolen from in some refugios. Every time it weren't the private ones... since the "public" ones are easier to enter by local people (thieves) So always keep your money on you when you're in the refugios and while walking... put some in your backpack, not everything in your backpocket.

But Annam... I think that you will meet enough people along the way. Whether it is in a refugio or while walking, you're never alone and there are always people that will miss you and will look for you.
I've met many people who were walking alone and since they were walking to the same refugio / place that I was walking, we always kept an eye open... even reserved a bed when possible :wink:
I am becoming more and more convinced that I want to walk the Camino on my own. Its awful to hear of what happenned to you, Emily, and others as well, but as Peter said, its probably still a tiny percentage of pilgrims that experience these things. And I live in a pretty rough part of Manchester and have been robbed before, so Im prepared!
When I posted the question, I had not done much research and thought most people walked in groups, but now it seems the opposite is the case so I wont feel like the odd one out. Because that was another thing I was worried about!
Well, now I just need saving some money so I can afford taking some time off work...
Thanks all of you for your encouragement!
Please see: ... art_id=337


(Spanish) ... 99724.html

Man accused of robbing and sexually harassing pilgrims caught

El Mundo, a national newspaper in Spain reports today that a 27 year old man has been caught accused of robbing and sexually harassing pilgrims. Most of the victims were foreign women walking alone.

The last few months it has been reported in out message board cases of robberies and sexual harassment towards women walking the camino.

The man caught today lives in Palas de Rei in the province of Lugo, and is identified as R. P. C. The man is accused of harassing and robbing pilgrims in the months of July and August on different points along the camino.

Among the incidents he is accused of is robbing 250 euros from a women from the USA in Mato-Casanova the 9th of July 2005. He is also supposedly involved in an incident related to a Hungarian woman August 19th. This latest incident also involved sexual abuse according to El Mundo.

Last Monday the man assaulted an Italian woman at the location of Portomarin in the province of Lugo and robbed her for 15 euros in addition to sexual assaulting her.

The last incident happened yesterday, related to a woman from Madrid and a local woman from Monterroso . It was after this incident that the man was arrested by the local police.

The man is now in jail pending his trial.
The capture of this criminal is very good news for all of us, thank you for letting us know about it.

But the danger is never really over. There have been many other criminals in the past, and there will be new ones again in the future. The long history of the Camino is full of crimes and crime stories.

Therefore it could be very useful if this forum would get a 'Camino Crime Watch' section, where new occurences can be logged and so be made public without much delay. It could be a great help for pilgrims hiking on their own, to be made aware what stages are maybe more dangerous than others, so they can look for company for those in particular.

By the way, as the spanish authorities do statistics on the Camino, they will probably also have numbers and locations of Camino crime. It would be understandable if they have no interest to see them splashed about on the WWW, bad for business, but they should still be asked to make them known. Informed pilgrims are safer.

Ivar, can you find out locally in Santiago who is in charge of Camino crime statistics?

Camino Way markers in Bronze
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk. Discount is taken at check out, only by using this link.
Good idea regarding the 'Camino Crime Watch' section. As you can see I have created it and moved this message to this new section.

I will see if I can find out more regarding the crime statistics. I have never heard of any statistics like that, and I have a feeling that there is not much out there related to this, but I will ask at the pilgrim's office next time I am in old town.

The good thing is that this guy is caught, but as in any place there will always be bad people out there. In general Galicia is a very safe place.

I hope new people reading this thread aren't frightened away from walking the Camino.

Spain in general is much, much safer than anyplace in the USA. Only the police carry guns (except for the occasional hunter, who's always with his friends); common sense will keep you safe in the cities, where you can expect the usual run of pickpockets and creeps and drunks you'll find anywhere.

Violent crime, especially crimes against pilgrims, is so rare this particular criminal earned notariety enough to appear on international Web pages!

One previous poster fingered "locals" as the obvious albergue thieves, but I must question that: the only thief I ever ran across on the camino was a fellow pilgrim!
I have to agree with Rebekah on this. During my latest Camino i noticed something that I really hadn't seen before. At least to that extent.

In various occations along the way I met a half a dozen 'fellow pilgrims' that I almost immediately felt a certain untrusty feeling. To my understanding they had a more 'professional' intrest for the people around them than an average pilgrim. Some spanish pilgrims even warned me directly, when they saw these guys around.

Few of them actually walked some of the stages, but with most a good warning sign was that you never saw them on the way - only in refugios and villages.

Of course there are also local thieves, but it is easier to guard your belongings against them. It is much harder with people staying with you in a refugio.

Anyway, a beautifull springtime to everybody! Even with all the hardship and other possible troubles, the Camino is still worth it!
Camino Way markers in Bronze
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk. Discount is taken at check out, only by using this link.
Women! If you are walking alone, get a whistle. No women alone should be without one, even in their own hometown.
Works both as getting help and to scare the villains away.

Zeke, male with a whistle
zeke, the whistle is a fantastic tip. i'm walking alone and while i've never ever been robbed or harassed in any way (i've lived in a number of big cities that apparently have high crime rates so im guessing i'm just really lucky or i'm exuding enough confidence for creeps to stay away!). but, i think having a whistle will be enough to make me feel safe. i don't want to go overboard and worry that at every turn there's some nutter or robber out to get me - it'd ruin the experience.
violence and alcohol

Dear fellows:
I'm responding to a couple of private posts I received re: an assault incident that happened along the camino a month ago.

Please know how isolated these incidents are, esp. when you take into account the crowds along this path. And please, when you're having an evening out with your pilgrim buds, remember that too much alcohol can turn even the nicest, most charming person into a raving paranoid loon.

Drink thoughtfully! Remember most of us are guests in this country, and one nutter drunk can make all pilgrims look bad.

Rebekah de Moratinos
I would say as safe as for a young or old male walking on his own.

Buen Camino :arrow:

I too love to walk alone 90% of the time in the Caminos.


I've often wondered myself, a :D , venerable ancient peaceful man , as I've walked my Caminos alone in the middle of nowhere about this issue of safety.

I mean, anyone who may want anything I would carry could just pop up at any time, rob or kill me, and nobody may hear a thing or ever know what happened to me. All imaginable gory thoughts came to mind as I walked in solitude, and we know when you walk alone for days how disproportionate mental thoughts could get!

Historically, when you look into the history of the Camino-related "picaresque," crime and safety hundreds of years ago were serious problems. That is documented, fiction/non-fiction (please don't put me to work and provide titles, am on a well deserved couch potato binge!).

I do believe that things have changed for better through the ages for reasons mentioned in previous e-mails.

Still, would it be any different from the same thing happening in an urban setting, or close to home, place of work, and what not? Crime and violence are right there at our backyards, let alone Caminos. I may even venture to say that criminal statistics may be higher in most of our immediate or at-large communities, that in the Caminos.

I believe that fears, real or imagined, are an unfortunate part of every day living. We have to deal with them, not be obsessed and/or oppressed by them.

I would never be detered from doing something or going anywhere that my sense of intuition would tell me to do or not to, because of fear. Should I let fear rule my life I would never leave my home and get heavily into agorophobia. But then even at home, anything could happen, too.

Risks need to be taken in life if we want to grow, Camino settings or not.

In the end, when those thoughts assaulted my mind during my isolated Caminos, I would end them by concluding that when and if the worse might happen, I would know what to do.

Buen Camino :arrow:

2 Camino guides, €5 each
Clearing out some books before my move to the new office in a few weeks.

We need to carry with us a Pilgrim's Prayer by St Gildas (5thC)

In health may I and all of my companions
Safely arrive with no harm or injury.
May my boat be safe in the waves of the ocean,
My horses safe on the highways of the earth,
Our money safe as we carry it with us
to pay due heed to our poor necessities.
May our enemies fail to do harm to us,
however evil the counsels which inspire them.
In the eternal name of Christ our Master
may my roads all lie plain before me,
whether I climb the rugged heights of mountains,
or descend the hollow depths of valleys,
Or trudge the lengthy roads on open country,
Or struggle through the thickets of dense forest:
May I walk always in straight ways and shining
To longed-for places . . .”

516 – 570
Bonjour, As a woman, i have walked alone the camino in the fall 2006.

During the night, in spain many pelgrims got their money stollen, always when they were sleeping.
I personnely got stolen during my sleep. A pilgrim a knew went to the bathroom during the night and he realised the next morning that there was nothing in his wallet that he kept in his sleeping bag.
Please, your sleeping bag is not a safe place to hide your money.
In Santiago (!) the monastery, in the middle of the night i woked up to see the night guard searching thru my friends belonging, I talk very loud and he runned away ! So, do not think only the pilgrims are responsibles.

With the Confraternity of St-James London guide I had learned not to stop in albergue closed to bars. I am very greatfull for that because many associations never talk about security. It is not a safe place for a woman that travel alone. I would like to had that you will meet to many wonderfull people on the road, that i forgot a safety tip : NEVER STOP in a albergue if noboby arrived. Please take my advised, i have learned the hard way that it was not safe. Only a bad man came. My story did end well, as i was able to leave and wait outside for day to come.

I meet another woman on the road who also was able to get safe from a man who followed her in his car before trying to get her.

My intention are not to scare you but to inform you.
The camino is the best thing that ever happen to me. I came back as a new woman. It helped me so much in my life and all i have done was walking. Its an unbelievable experience.
My dream is to go back, and yes i will be alone again.
Hi everybody!!

What I have to say about, is: The Camino is a safety place, sure. Don't worry about because you are a young and lonely woman.

I've walked many caminos, not always the Camino Frances (Camino de Madrid, Camino portugués (in winter) Camino Sanabres (In winter, too) and I've never had any problem. And nothing stolen.

But, don't leave a mobile phone, or a digital camera alone. Nor your wallet. Be sure there's any persons near before leaving your backpack. So, don't tell anybody what you carry. And just the money enough, not more than the necessary.

Sometimes it's possible to find any thief, but not exactly on the Camino. Just on the cities where the Camino stops , because the city, not because the Camino.

Don't worry about and enjoy your Camino!!

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain.
I travelled the camino from lourdes to burgos, then cut straight north to the coast, and back to france through san sebastien. We crossed into spain on october 01, 2005 after world youth day in cologne, germany. The camino was a piece of a 2 year camino around europe. DON'T BE NAIVE!

We constantly ran into trouble.

People would frequently try to steal our stuff when we were sleeping. One time I woke up in the morning all happy and normal and I discovered that all the zippers on my waist belt (the little purse/wallet type thing that you snap around your waist) were open. It was right beside my head when I was sleeping. They didn't get anything because I only had some old string and a sewing needle in it. I had just rearranged my packs and bags and it didn't have a more valuable use but I hadn't gotten rid of it yet. It was very eerie and creepy that someone had been that close to my face and had unzipped numerous zippers right beside my head while I was sleeping and I didn't hear a thing. It was strapped onto other bags so I know they didn't open it somewhee else.

Another common theme is 'friendly' people offering you food or drinks for no reason. Date rape drugs are tasteless and all it takes is a nice, friendly smile to get some into you. Trust your feelings. If the offer is coming from a nice group, a nice couple, a family, a group of youth, it is probably safe. If it is coming from someone that looks or feels a bit eerie, agressive, or sarcastically having fun, don't take the chance. If someone is sticking onto you and making you feel uncomfortable, don't hesitate to walk straight up to some nice looking/feeling people and say, 'That person is/those people are making me uncomfortable/scaring me. I'm going to walk with you for a while.' No one will say no.

My friend and I went through a bad region where we had to take turns eating so, if we got drugged, only one of us would be drugged and the other one would still be sensible.

It is best to travel with a group. If there are any food or drink offerings with the slightest feelings of uncertainty, designate one or two people to 'fast', depending on the size of the group.
If you like to travel alone (it's hard to pray with friendly chatter and irrelevant non-stop rumblings all around) still travel with the group but leave enough space between them and you to be comfortable but still in their sight. Explaining that you are practicing silence and solitude as virtues.

It doesn't matter if you are a male or female.

We saw a lot of beautiful people, places, churches, priests, said a lot of beautiful prayers that were heard by the heart and soul of god, turned a lot of heads with our 'non-traditional' lifestyle (living the camino lifestyle pulling shopping buggies behind us with our stuff), hitch-hiked, took trains, made and sold rosaries, laughed, cried, walked, climbed, (fought) ... and lived through it all full of god's grace and blessings. It was a once in a lifetime experience and I'm happy that god chose me.

The moral of the story is DON'T BE NAIVE. Be cautious, vigilant, care about others, don't forget to pray every day, keep smiling.

I'm sorry to hear that you had a bad experience. Whilst walking in Spain is generally very safe - that doesn't mean that we can suspend common sense - all of the usual precautions we would take elsewhere apply - security of personal possessions and care meeting strangers.

But having taken normal precautions which reinforce the safety of the expereince - enjoy it!

Buen Camino a todo

How to Successfully Prepare for Your Camino
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Eva, is very strange what you are telling us. I've walked many, many Caminos, os summer, on winter, alone or in groups, and I've never had any problem.

Of course you have to be carefull with your things, your clothes, your backpack.

I know a lot, a lot of spanish pilgrims, and in spanish phorums nobody talk about this kind of problems.

I hope your next Camino is a best experience.

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain.
although I have yet to do my first camino I would like to offer a somewhat tongue-in-cheek but ultimately practical response. I am male, but disabled and I hope you women out there do not mind me saying that you and I might be more kindred than me and able men?

I have been thinking about this problem quite a lot whilst out walking my dog, who in time offered an idea. I thought about making the sign of the cross with walking poles? Nice idea, but somewhat naive. Other crazy idea's came to mind until 'woof', I had a brainwave:

Now I know that weight is the enemy, but when it comes to a security system this one doesn't weigh too much; get yourself a chunky leather metal studded dog lead and hang it round your neck. If the worst case scenario presents itself, take the lead in hand, give a little whistle and shout 'TYSON' at the top of your voice! I'm sure 'Tyson' comes under 'universal language'? Your potential attacker won't be able to avoid creating an image of a massive Rottweiler padding round the corner at any moment, salivating from giant jaws. If he doesn't fall for it, hit him with the lead!

On a more serious note, what would the sea be without sharks? As dolphins do, we should stick together.
I am a woman in her thirties but I look a lot younger, and I walked alone from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago in September 2007, I met very many lovely people and was indeed not 'alone' at all.

In my experience and that of those I talked to, there is occasional opportunistic stealing of valuables (mostly cash) from hostels, while people are asleep or in the shower. Whether by pilgrims or locals I don't know or care. I kept my wallet inside my pillowcase or by my feet inside my sleeping bag at night and took it to the shower with me. You should not get paranoid about this, it's simple common sense to keep your valuables with you at all times. Don't worry about the rest of your stuff, if it doesn't look expensive, it won't 'disappear'. The less you take, the less there is to worry about.

As for personal safety, if setting out in the dark, ask someone if you can walk with them. Don't stay in a hostel if you are the only guest, unless it's a family-run place (this is unlikely to happen except in the depths of winter). Above all else, use your instincts, just as you would in your everyday life: if someone makes you feel weird or uneasy, immediately get away from them or attract the attention of others.

As you can see from the very very few postings in this topic (about 1% of that in the others about blisters, equipment etc!) the camino is very safe and NOT infested with criminals and nutters. Any endeavour that it worth doing contains a small element of risk, so I can't give you any concrete assurances, but the vast majority of people will help you as much as they can. Have a wonderful time!!!
I've never had any problem about that. In a few Caminos.

But your wallet can dissapear in, or outside the Camino. The rule is simple, not to leave on everyone's sight your valuables.

But it's possible that any "pilgrim" is ready to take something from others.

Buen Camino,

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain
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Sorry to hear about your experiences eva but I have to say I think you are overdoing the drugging thing. Actual instances of such things are, in reality, considerably more rare than the media will lead us to believe - even in large cities, never mind on the camino.

It is always wise to be vigilant and if in a group then it is good practice to watch out for each other; but I wouldnt let such concerns spoil a trip. Remember for the great majority of people in spain pilgrims are just that...pilgrims. In a fiercely catholic country that can have incredible significance.

There will always be opportunists and lone women can attract some strange folks...btu the camino is sufficently well populated to avoid unneccessary problems with just the usual cares you would exhibit anywhere.
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On 18th June I was in Trabadelo and met a female pilgrim who told me of a bad experience she had had the day before with a man who had pulled his pants down and had masturbated in front of her. She turned away and started to run. The man chased her. Fortunately she was near a road and managed to flag down a car; at this point the man fled. She reported it to the local police but they were clearly not interested and told her that she was foolish to go walking alone, especially during siesta time in the afternoon. She was clearly shaken; not just by the experience with the man, but most particularly by the attitude of the police. For myself, I never had any bad experience at all at any point between Roncesvalles and Santiago.
catferguson said:
For myself, I never had any bad experience at all at any point between Roncesvalles and Santiago.

Granted that I am a 65 year-old male, I too did not have any problems walking alone from Santander to Oviedo and on the Primitivo. A cropped haircut and a big stick may have had something to do with it! For the first time in my life, I did have another male make a pass at me in an Albergue when we were alone together! The gentle removal of his hand and a comment from me about my wife acted as a sufficient deterrent. No names, no packdrill!
I would guess that a man with his pants down would be very vulnerable to a poke from a hiking pole if he got too near!! Easy to say, but under stress most of us - even men - would run.

Walk well and safely!
Tio Tel
The probability of assault on the Camino is rather low. Take a look at the crime stats at . Anglophone countries lead the pack in many crimes. Although these are skewed by the willingness of the public to report a crime, and of the police to pursue the crime, they are still of value. ... per-capita
Total crimes per capita by country ... per-capita
Assaults per capita by country ... per-capita
Rapes per capita by country

Any way you look at these, Spain is pretty safe.

Now for the non-linear diatribe. We are all on the Road for different reasons. We all have different Caminos. What you get on your Journey is different than what I get on mine. Some go to resolve the next phase of their life, many of us work through issues we didn’t even know we had. No experience is lost on the seeker. Something is to be gained every day, whether it seems good at the moment or bad. Of course we limit our exposure to danger, and don’t consciously go looking for trouble. But when trouble finds us, how do we respond, what do we learn, what path do we take on our inner Camino? The answers are yours alone, as your Camino is yours alone. The Way within and the Way without. Que vayas con Dios en tu Camino de las Estrellas.

Buen Camino,
Absolutely agree with Johnny on this ... necessary to keep the natural awareness of a human outside, especially if in strange territory - and also a sense of proportion.

In England the Glastonbury music festival takes place over a few days most years and 60,000 + people cram in and live in tents and a lot of them get completely wasted. There are thefts, the occasional assualt and one year a man was killed ... terrible you think, well, true. But were you to compare Glastonbury over a weekend with any UK town of the same population and the difference is revealed - in a town that size the crime would be nearly a hundred fold as high .. and it would appear to be the same on the Caminos .... what level of crime would you expect annually with a population - all visibly carrying sellable goods - of , what? 180,000?

and yet we hear of just a few cases here and there - and considering the network of pilgrims passing on information I don't think many are not known of ...

Matthew 10:16 "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."

good avice :wink:
Just back from the Camino Frances, and as a male walker I heard of no less than 4 incidents of a predatory sexual nature happening to solitary female walkers in June and early July , all of which were confirmed to me by the women themselves...One happened near Lorca, another in the tail end of the Meseta, one just before puenta la reina and the other just before Gonzar.
These all took on a similar form, a guy in a car, pulling up and exposing himself whilst masturbating. The incident near Lorca was slightly more disturbing in that the 'flasher' went further, and actually tried to physically impede the path of the woman and then tried to detain her against her will , which resulted in her dropping the ruck sack and fleeing the scene. All happened in isolated locations accessible to a main road. The cops were informed of only two of the incidents and in both cases told the women concerned that they had " a pretty good idea" who may be responsible. Apparently there are a number of predators scouring the camino. Guardia Civil want the incidents reported, because they believe that whilst many of these individuals are repeat offenders of the same type of intimidation, they fear that some are building themselves up to something of a more serious nature.
How to Successfully Prepare for Your Camino
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Emily, I'm really sorry to hear about your experience. It must be horrible to feel so violated.

Having said that, there is crime anywhere there are people, and especially in these hard times, so the advice not to be naive is good advice. You can not leave valuables laying around. Cameras, ipods, computers, money belts, expensive gear all are good pickings for someone who is hungry. Take those items at your own risk and don't flash them along the Camino any more than you'd flash them in the ghettos of New York City or Los Angeles.

The ONLY thefts I heard of on my Camino were done by FELLOW PILGRIMS who befriended a group and got their trust. When the people went to the shower, the "nice companions" offered to watch their belongings. They returned (3 of them) to find all of their cash, creditcards, cameras, ipods, and in one case entire pack GONE! (along with the friendly "pilgrims.") Their Caminos were over. This happened early on, in Pamplona. I felt sorry for them, but at the same time thought they were incredibly naive to trust basically everything they owned to people they had only met a day before.

So don't be stupid and you should be ok.
Make friends, but trust nobody with your cash.
Take it into the shower with you in a ziplock bag and don't take your eyes off of it.

As far as walking alone, there are plenty of people to walk with.
You don't even have to walk WITH people... you can walk 2 blocks behind them, but they can hear if you call out. I didn't hear of one instance of assault on my Camino. I'm not doubting your story at all... it's frightening... but they've apparently caught the guy.

As for men masturbating in front of people.. I had that happen to me in broad daylight on the Burnside Bridge at rush hour... it can happen anywhere. My favorite response to THAT is the one my girlfriend used when a guy pulled up in a car and showed himself to her and her 5 year old daughter. Without missing a step, she laughed, pointed at his "tool" and said loudly, "Oh LOOK Megan.. like a penis, only SMALLER!"

He drove off in a huff!
Annie that sharp quip by your pal walking on the bridge was very amusing; I wonder though about whether the women walking in the remote and rural areas where these incidents occurred would have been quite so confident or fearless? I met two of the women who had this experience on the Camino and initially there was a lot of laughter filled bravado about it, but later they both said that IN FACT they were petrified that saying or doing anything quite as witty would tip, what is by definition a volatile situation in a country where 'machismo' is still a predominant cultural norm, into violence... :?
Well, I see my post was confusing.
Actually, the incident with my friend happened in a supermarket parking lot.
And she's known to be fearless.
She's also about 6 foot tall and weighs over 200 pounds, so the guy would have been an idiot to accost her! roflol!

The fellow that was masturbating on the bridge happened to ME, and I was on a bicycle. There were people all around. I was mostly surprised that he was doing this in the middle of rush hour and no police were in sight. I didn't say a word, just pedaled faster and acted like he didn't exist. I agree that it probably isn't smart to say something like that if you're alone, but I've always hoped for the chance.. it was so classic! :lol:
If I were alone, I'd probably be scared to death...
I walked alone quite a lot on Camino Frances and felt completely safe. One day I was actually thinking just how safe I felt when I looked up to see a man walking toward me with a huge scythe. Oh... I thought this would be the end of me but no he just said a friendly Buen Camino and walked on. :lol:
Camino Way markers in Bronze
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk. Discount is taken at check out, only by using this link.
no black hooded cloak and looking at an hour glass then .. :|
This thread, although originating a long time ago, continues to be very popular with readers. I think there has been a lot of constructive discussion, which I hope hasn't frightened anybody off.

The one thing I wanted to add, is that unless you travel in the dead of winter, the choice to be 'alone' is up to you. I arrived on my own in France in September 07 and pretty much all of the time on the whole Camino I could have walked with people, or very near to them, if I had wanted. In practice, sometimes I wanted to be on my own and sometimes not. But the point is, that if you don't want to be alone, you don't need to be, even if you set out on your Camino alone. Eg...before I even started, I spotted some pilgrims at Bayonne airport, drank beers with one of them while we waited for the train to St Jean, and ended up walking with her for the whole of the first week (yay lovely Natascha, if by any chance you are reading this!). She got me over the pass, even though I was terribly unfit, and was the most fantastic company and support. And the story continued, with wonderful people all along the Camino, most of whom I met again in Santiago as if by magic (a common occurrence apparently).

I would encourage any woman to do this walk. There are small risks, and in idyllic places surrounded by nice people it can be easy to become a little bit complacent, leave your wallet lying on the bed while you go in the shower, etc. Just basic common sense and a low-key but consistent vigilance will keep away most bothersome possibilities. Keep the risk of flashers etc in proportion: this thread goes back years, and the incidents are very few. Spanish people are incredibly proud of the Camino and their country, and want to keep it safe for us.

So... DO IT! Buen Camino xxxx
Since leaving on August 18, we have met two women who have been flashed on the Camino. It was after Hospital de Orbigo and the man has not been caught. There was also the report of a rape, although I cannot verify it. So I suggest you find a walking partner on that stretch. the flasher is probably not dangerous, but one never knows. There seems to be more crime on the Camino this year than when we walked 3 years ago.
Anniesantiago said:
Since leaving on August 18, we have met two women who have been flashed on the Camino. It was after Hospital de Orbigo and the man has not been caught. There was also the report of a rape, although I cannot verify it. So I suggest you find a walking partner on that stretch. the flasher is probably not dangerous, but one never knows. There seems to be more crime on the Camino this year than when we walked 3 years ago.

Hi Annie,

Can you describe me this man?
Where exactly did these women meet him?
Do you know exactly when?

Buen Camino, y como yo le coja le ...

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain.
the "camino rapist" rumor makes the rounds about every third year. No one can verify anything, or really say where they heard it, or anything...

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Rebekah Scott said:
the "camino rapist" rumor makes the rounds about every third year. No one can verify anything, or really say where they heard it, or anything...


Reb, I heard about someone who was disturbing women in that point of the Camino. I just want to know about, to cut him off. I don't like it.

May be I call your friend Roger, and someone else, to know about.

Por cierto, someone from this phorum, from Belgium, is walking the Camino de Madrid, yesterday just after Segovia, may be in a week in your territory.

Buen Camino,

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain.
I personally think that I would approach this question in the way that I have already approached most things in life. Expect the best. What experiences will you lose by giving in to rumours and vague posibilities? I began the Camino alone in 1999 and ended up in a group of 13 people speaking 9 languages. This year, I walked the Camino Portuguese alone for the most part (and deliberately as I wanted to walk slower) and never once did I feel threatened. Certainly you have to remember that you are not invincible and although the Camino might give your a spritual sense of being protected, you still have to be aware of the possible dangers: more likely theft or nasty dogs! This is not to say that I haven't run into objectionable people either then or now, but that is one of the things a woman has to become accustomed to in life anyway and learn to deal with, not with fear but derision. Would be molestors do this because they want a reaction and most are exhibitionists anyway - sad individuals terrified of a threatening reaction from you. Give them one they aren't expecting (masturbator under gateway in Valenca on the border of Portugal and Spain only this year easily dismissed by me with the Portuguese version of "charming!" With luck he - shall we say - "withered away". Certainly he disappeared quite quickly when I got my camera out. )
I am not making light of would-be molestors, but it is exceedingly rare, and perhaps considerably more so than in your own town. So, someone flashes you. He's probably just the village idiot. Laugh and move on. Don't dress "provocatively": the north of Spain is still remarkably conservative compared to where you live or even the south of Spain. On the Camino Frances the chances are that there is a no more than 250 metres between you and the person behind you and a whistle isn't such a bad idea. You might need it if you fall and sprain your ankle. It's much more likely.
Tracy Saunders
Just reading the replies to my post.

No, I cannot describe him other than a younger, short, dark'haired man which describes about 75 percent of the population here.

Regarding whether or not the rape report is rumor or truth I cannot say.

Regarding whether or not the flasher report is truth, all I can say is that the girl who was telling us she was flashed was very upset and frightened and I cannot think of any reason she would lie.

While a flasher may be a comedy to a woman my age and with my experience, I can see how it could be very upsetting to a young, inexperienced girl.

That is all... maybe I will go back and walk that stretch and see what manifests...
What about safety while traveling alone in winter? Due to unforeseen circumstances it now appears I may be solo December/January 2010. I plan on getting a prepay cell ... any other advice?
hewink said:
What about safety while traveling alone in winter? Due to unforeseen circumstances it now appears I may be solo December/January 2010. I plan on getting a prepay cell ... any other advice?

Hi Hewink,

I've walked a couple of Caminos in winter, one of them with terrible storms of snow.

- Of course always with a mobile.
- Every evening you have to ask the hospitalero for the next not-closed albergues.
- Be careful with the time that sunlight disappear.
- Heating is important, not for you, but to help you to dry your clothes. Be sure it works before the hospitalero leave the albergue if he does.
- In some towns, bars, restaurants and so on use to close by annual holidays just in winter. It's normal, I would do the same. But, may be you will find no place to take dinner. So, always carry some food to avoid ... you know what I'm talking about.

All these are about walking, and about safety ... you will have no problems. Don't worry about.

Buen Camino!! Enjoy it.

Javier Martin
Madrid, Spain.
2 Camino guides, €5 each
Clearing out some books before my move to the new office in a few weeks.
Just wanted to chime in, not saying much different than what's been said. I'm a woman, and I walked the Camino Frances solo a few years back when I was 23 years old, and had absolutely no problems. There was never a moment that I felt unsafe, and it was a great experience. I used common sense; I made sure that there were always pilgrims within shouting distance and didn't walk at night by myself. I had my wallet stolen but that was because I was stupid enough to leave my purse in a bar. I actually ended up getting my purse back through a series of what can only be described as miracles, with everything inside (including credit cards and passport), except for my cash. Since I was so careless, I was just happy with how it turned out, and I doubt that it was another pilgrim who stole my cash.

But yeah. I felt completely safe at all times walking alone as a young woman. Never had any problems with people behaving inappropriately towards me or creeping me out. Would do it again in a heartbeat!
Having said everything I said, I would like to be sure I am understood... I feel MUCH safer walking anywhere on the Camino and anywhere in Spain than I would in a large city in the United States.

Just use your head and you will be fine.
I am a female that walked the Camino alone in May 2008 and I felt safe. I used common sense and kept my money and passport on me at all times. I carried a cell phone as a precaution too. Luckily, I did not have to use it. People were loving and generous all along the way. Buen Camino :arrow:
We have just finished the C Frances with four etapes of about two weeks each, one etape a year. We had no problems with security or theft at all. We did not see any pilgrims with such problems.
What we did see however, twice, were pilgrims who seemed a little 'strange'. One man in a hostel was behaving in a strange fashion, seemed a bit mentally ill, said that he had walked the camino several times but we never saw him again.

Another man was definitely walking the camino, was dressed in very worn clothes, and said that he had walked it many times. I have to be careful what I write here as I must be fair. He seemed very intense to me. Two female pilgrims told us that they found his personality a bit strong and intense. Rightly or wrongly I felt some concern for them. we heard later from one of the peregrinas that she had done a double walk one day to get away from someone whom she did not like. It may have been him, it may have been someone else.

I think each pilgrim has to be able to say that they want to walk alone, that they are prepared to leave someone behind and, if necessary , to lose someone by walking ahead, getting a taxi or taking a day out. the camino is too important an experience to spoil by feeling uneasy or unsafe.
Similarly I feel we all need to respect each other by knowing that the person we walk with today may not want to do so again tomorrow or ever. Some people dont want to talk all day but love company at night. Some people talk all day but then crash at night. Our current hobby horse/profession/beliefs/reason for walking may not be to other people's liking.

I suppose what I am saying is that I think the Camino is a very safe place for pilgrims and for female pilgrims but there are strange people out there. We may need to protect each other and we may also need to back off and give walkers space.
...just for the record: A couple of the most strange and intense people I´ve encountered on the caminos were women.
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Point taken. I stand corrected ! It is true that I assumed that we were talking about men but then I think the focus of the discussion is whether or not it is safe for lone females on the walk.
Hi there, I walked the Camino Frances & El Salvador last year in May and June for 7 weeks, alone. As protection I had pepper spray with me (in handy reach) and a very tall walking stick at hand. I am very happy to say that in all of the 7 weeks I didn't have one bad experience. I enjoyed walking alone immensely and would do it again in a heartbeat! Be prepared, by all means, just as I was, but don't be timid. Walk with confidence, strength and joy! And have as wonderful a time as I had! X
I walked on the camino the 13th of Jun to 10th of June, mostly on my own.

After passing Burgos, there were quite many very “relaxed” pilgrims around. Many of them I seemed to meet only in hostels, and many got up much later than the others - .

I suspected at least two times that someone could try to make me to get drugged. First, there was a group of 4-8 young men whom I seemed get round too many times to feel it was a coincidence. One tried to offer me three times something that he called tea. I felt alarmed especially, when I walked with them, and they seemed “to get lost” easily. They looked very neat and were otherwise lovely and polite, and I also saw them in a group of older people, which made me to trust in them at first.

Another time I was eating in a restaurant in a smallish village, and a pilgrim eating with me told I am acting strangely. I did – my hands shook a bit and I felt hilarious about minor things. The same pilgrim drank accidentally my water and started to act the same; she cried next morning for practically nothing. Of course, it could be that we were both very tired because of heat and walking, and therefore cautious.

Also, I am sure that some pilgrims took pictures of me and maybe also the others at some point without permission. Why – I have no idea. I thought it was impolite and odd if not really illegal or dangerous.

I still hope none of these experiences stop people going there. One only needs to take care and it might be the best to stay in a group to have a safe feeling on the trip.
Sarkkukkoko posted:
o, I am sure that some pilgrims took pictures of me and maybe also the others at some point without permission. Why – I have no idea. I thought it was impolite and odd if not really illegal or dangerous.

I have found a cultural divide here between many (not all) North American and between European pilgrims, partly owing to differing privacy laws and general customs. I soon learned to ask permission but many will honestly have no idea that it be found objectionable by anyone.
No one should feel unsafe walking the Camino. That said, we should all be aware of our surroundings. There are a few strange folks on the Camino but those types of individuals are a part of our Human society. Peregrino's who feel threatened in anyway should seek support of other Pilgrims or the local police.

During my hike this Spring, I can only think of two instances of potential trouble. Once in Foncebadon, we encountered a very large drunk fellow who was somewhat threatening mostly because He was so drunk. The other case was a story where a young man alledgedly bothered a young women in the Albergue. We heard the story but did not witness the event. We encountered this fellow later in the day, my walking partner took the diplomatic approach of letting the younger man know what was being said about him without being judgmental. We never saw him again.

The other reason I am responding to this old thread is the comment of the Camino being safer than large American cities. I live in a large American city and can not help but take offense to this comment. I am sure it was meant to help females walking the Camino feel safe but Large American cities are not unsafe places. I live in Chicago and welcome all those who read these threads to come visit this beautiful, friendly and safe city.

How to Successfully Prepare for Your Camino
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
I'm with you Joe, about the safety of American cities....however, after traveling as much as I did last year through Spain on the Camino and into the Middle East through India and SE Asia and onto Japan, there is only one place I have ever felt fear for my safety (okay, was on the Camino, and I've already shared that story elsewhere and on my blog) and that was in the Tenderloin area of San Francisco. There was a very real presence of evil when I was walking the two or three blocks to my hostel. Nothing happened, but I could definitely sense it. Being aware of your surroundings is important. Listening to your gut is even more important, probably more so when traveling internationally in different cultures.

I volunteer at least once or twice a month in downtown Portland, OR on a citizen watch patrol and trust me, there are pockets of good and pockets of bad and when alcohol or drugs are involved, it doesn't matter if it's a "good" area or not. I spend lots of time in Seattle too. I've never felt unsafe walking through the streets of Seattle at night. Same with NYC, Baltimore, DC, Boston....I could go on.

As a solo female traveler, it is important to:
1) Be aware of your surroundings
2) Listen to your gut
3) Know yourself

If you don't feel comfortable in a situation, don't feel bad, don't apologize. Remove yourself from it and find a safe place for yourself.

(stepping off soapbox)
I'm editing my post because I don't want to offend you, Joe, and I apologize if I did.
It was not my intention :|

Statistically, however, I maintain large cities in Spain are safer than large cities in the United States.

In the end, I've found if you expect the best behavior in people, they almost always display it.

Not offended in the least. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. It appears, I am also very defensive about my city. Come visit Chicago some time you will love it.

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Chicago Tribune
August 17, 2011
A teenager six months pregnant was shot and killed on a street in the Marquette Park neighborhood late Tuesday, but doctors were able to save her baby, authorities said.
Just for the Marquette Park neighborhood in July:
Jul 30, 2011 Chicago Tribune
Cops: Man arrested after officers see him shooting at vehicle
Police have arrested a man after tactical officers saw him shooting at a vehicle in the Marquette Park neighborhood on the Southwest Side and found him after searching a nearby block.
Police have arrested a man after tactical officers saw him shooting at a vehicle in the Marquette Park neighborhood on the Southwest Side and found him after searching a nearby block. About 11:05 a.m., tactical officers saw the man shooting at a...

Jul 30, 2011 Chicago Tribune
West Side man shot, killed in Marquette Park
A West Side man was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting while walking on a Southwest Side street Friday morning, police said today.
A West Side man was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting while walking on a Southwest Side street Friday morning, police said today. The 22-year-old victim was walking in the 7100 block of South Rockwell Street in Marquette Park about 11:52 a.m. Friday...

Jul 29, 2011 Chicago Tribune
15-year-old seriously wounded in Marquette Park
Tribune reporter
A 15-year-old boy was seriously wounded overnight in a shooting in the city's Marquette Park neighborhood on the South Side. The shooting happened about 10:15 p.m. on the 6500 block of South Campbell Avenue, police said. Preliminary reports stated the...

Jul 28, 2011 Chicago Tribune
2 wounded in Marquette Park neighborhood shooting
Two men were shot and wounded as they sat in a car in the Southwest Side’s Marquette Park neighborhood this afternoon, authorities said. A 24-year-old man was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in serious-to-critical condition after being shot...

Jul 13, 2011 Chicago Tribune
4 wounded in separate South, West Side shootings
Tribune reporter
Four people were wounded in separate shootings over the afternoon and evening on the city's South and West sides, officials said. The latest shooting happened shortly before 8 p.m. on the 3800 block of West Roosevelt Road in the city's Lawndale...

Jul 11, 2011 Chicago Tribune
Boy, 13, shot in Marquette Park
Tribune reporter
A 13-year-old boy was shot and wounded this morning in the city's Marquette Park neighborhood on the Southwest Side, police said. The boy told police that he was standing on the street in the 7200 block of South Campbell Avenue at about 12:25 a.m.,...

Jul 3, 2011 Chicago Tribune
Dad tells how he stopped son's kidnapping at North Ave. Beach
Armando Uvalle said he had noticed a slender man standing a few yards behind him as Uvalle watched his six children playing near the water at North Avenue Beach.
Tribune reporters
Armando Uvalle said he had noticed a slender man standing a few yards behind him as Uvalle watched his six children playing near the water at North Avenue Beach. The man held a briefcase and a bag, and he seemed to mutter to himself, said Uvalle, 30....

Jul 2, 2011 Chicago Tribune
3 killed, 11 hurt in overnight violence
Tribune reporter
Three men were killed and 11 other people were wounded in incidents around the city beginning late Friday. One fatality occurred in a shooting about 11:15 p.m. Friday in the University Village neighborhood, where two males were shot, one fatally, in the...
Chicago is a big city. Its problems are not unique. But Marquette Park seems like a good place to avoid if safety is one's concern. I'll take the Camino any day. :D

Unfortunately, newspapers tend to print the bad news not the daily good acts that takes place in the city. These articles are appealing to a certain type of reader who tends to enjoy reading about the seedier side of life and others misfortunes.

Chicago is a beautiful, diverse city full of friendly, courteous people who welcome visitiors. If you have never been, I invite you to come see for yourself. You will never regret it. September is the best month to visit, in my opinion.

I did not notice anywhere in your post where a Peregrino was injured, assaulted or exposed to unwanted views or attention while visiting Chicago.

Back on topic, I feel that the Camino is a very safe place for women to travel alone.

hello all,
my name is Hagit, and ive been planning my solo camino the following October for a while now. Was pretty happy n joyfull, up untill i ran into this chain of comments... fear crawled in, and now im not sure. I realize it is very rare for these things to happen, but as a woman traveling alone i understand im more of a target then others. Im not worried about the theft reports, that happens everywhere, and i geuss its a part of some journies, but the asulting and the sexual harrasment are more troubeling.
Are there recent updates i should know about? areas i should be more careful in?
Im leaving soon, so your fast respons will be appriciated.
Thank you!
Greetings from the Pilgrims' Office in Santiago

Our advice is for your go on your camino without fear. It is very rare indeed for us to hear about pilgrims being troubled and every day we see many female pilgrims who started their pilgrimages alone.

Walk with confidence and enjoy yourself.

Buen Camino

Here is what you should know:

1) Bad things happen all over the world, including the Camino.
2) Listen to your gut. If it is telling you that a situation is not good, then listen to it and leave. Don't worry about being rude. Better to be safe than sorry.
3) Be on the lookout for creepy men who might flash you, or masturbate near you. I had the latter experience in Cacabelos last spring. They tend to pop up (no pun intended) in areas that are less populated or where they can hide.
4) Don't be afraid to yell, scream or call the police (if you have a cell phone). Get a description (or better yet, take a picture with your camera...if you have one...and it is safe to do so) and figure out where you are (landmark, mileage marker, city, etc) so that when you talk to someone on the phone, you can give a good description.
5) Now, go walk. :)
Camino Way markers in Bronze
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk. Discount is taken at check out, only by using this link.
I've done almost 1,000km on the VDLP by myself and never, ever felt threatened by a man. Or anyone. Just some dogs! I do have a whistle on my backpack; it could be used in a variety of circumstances.

My friend started out on the Camino Frances alone, last I heard from her was Sept 21st 2011 at Villa Franca, on way to San Juan. That was 8 days ago now, and her last email says, 'keep track of me.' I feel a friend's responsibility but also don't want to jump to's likely she is fully absorbed in her adventure on the Way.

Should I be worried? Are there stretches on the Camino with no internet access?

Any feedback is helpful...

best, Molly
MollsGee said:
Should I be worried? Are there stretches on the Camino with no internet access?

Do not worry. Internet is not something you should count on while on the Camino. I told my mother that I was fine unless she heard from the US Embassy. There are no guarantees you will have internet access every day. I had it about every other day, sometimes more, sometimes less.
Yes yes yes!

I walked the Camino twice, always alone. In summer it was so busy that I never felt truly 'alone' but when I walked in winter this year, it was practically empty and I often walked on my own without seeing anyone all day. It was fine, I never felt worried or in danger, even when I was walking in the dark.

As for the money and other stuff being stolen - it has never happened to me or any of the people I met on the way, so I can't really comment. I guess it is important to be sensible about where you leave your stuff and how you keep it safe - just like on any other travels...

Finally, I think the Camino is best as a solo experience - you open up to meet completely new people then :)

Buen Camino!

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Oh my. Now I'm scared again. What an emotional journey this has been already and I don't leave til May. God be with all of us. need to get nervous as the last post concerning any actual or rumored harrassment was several years ago. All of the more recent ones are very reassuring.
I have been reading old comments. Do folks have new (2012/2011) experiences? I am new to the forum so please excuse me if there were more recent comments on this subject :D
I got the impression in early May that there were more pilgrims than usual on the camino. I guess safety also comes with numbers. If you take normal precautions - as if you were at home - you will be absolutely fine and have the trip of a lifetime!
Buen camino!
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Stefania13/14 said:
I have been reading old comments. Do folks have new (2012/2011) experiences? I am new to the forum so please excuse me if there were more recent comments on this subject :D

Like anywhere in the world, even where you live, crimes happen. If you're looking for stories about crimes on the Camino, you'll find them; I'm quite certain that out of the more than 150,000 pilgrims some have had their property stolen or been in a brawl... However, these events are the rare exceptions. Take the same precautions you do at home and you'll be fine. Bring your valuables-passport, money, credit card and camera- with you everywhere in a small shopping bag...the rest in of no interest anyway
Hello Stefania,

I have just returned two weeks ago from walking from SJPDP to Muxia and i saw many,many lone females walking THEIR Camino.

They all looked fine to me. They might have been a little uncertain at first but once they got their confidence well, there was no stopping them.

I would say that there was as many females on the Camino as males.

What i would do when approaching a lone female (and you could meet them in some isolated spots) i would approach on the other side of the path to what they were walking. When i got to within less than a yard/ metre from them and about to overtake them, i would call out 'Hola', 'Buen Camino, buenos dias', 'good morning' and carry straight on. I would not stop.

Hopefully, this approach would not alarm them. As i walked past, they could then suss out if i was a 'nutter' or 'seems ok'. I never stopped.

Now if i met them later at a bar for a coffee break or at an albergue later on in the day then of course i would say hello and just maybe have a brief chat. I would not want any female to think that i was 'hitting' on them.

As stated, they all seemed to be doing very well to me. If in doubt i would take the precaution of carrying a stick or walking pole.

In terms of 'lost property' or stolen property; this does happen. i had a lovely Canadian Tilley hat 'disappear' from my bunk bed. I was mentioning it to a couple from Finland that i had got to know quite well and one of them mentioned that one of their walking poles had gone 'missing'.

They then told me a story about someone they had met on the camino who had his blanket taken from his bed whilst he went to have a shower! So much for the pilgrim spirit......

I would like to think that the 'pilgrim' who acquired my hat got great benefit from the hot sun. As they deprived me of it just as as the sun was at its hottest period for a few days. Fortunately, a kind hospitalera at the CSJ albergue in Rabanall gave me a spare baseball cap to see me on for a few days whilst i bought something a little better.

I did enquire at the pilgrims office in Santiago whether they had a lost property box and maybe some pilgrim had accidentally picked my hat up by mistake in the early morning light, realised their mistake and deposited it there in the lost property box. No such luck.

Keep your money, passport etc in a money belt strapped around you. i had a waterproof one that i used to take in the shower and it never let me down in the 6 weeks i was on the Camino.
(Pity i could not have fitted my hat inside it!)

Stefania, you will do fine. Enjoy YOUR Camino
Hi Stefania: I am currently on my Camino Portugues, I am travelling alone but you never alone, you make friends everyday, some you talk to, some you walk with and some you meet time and again as you walk. I feel very comfortable. I am loving it!!.
Buen Camino 8) 8) :arrow:
Cote :arrow:
Hi all,
I am a young female, who did a spring Camino Frances in March of this year (2012). Before leaving I read this exact thread with much interest (and a little worry!) , all the great advice was very comforting but also reminded me to be vigilant, which I am now thankful for.

Firstly, I would have to say that the periods when I was walking alone on the Camino were the most wonderful, peaceful times along the Way , and I am grateful for these special moments of solitude and contemplation , so infrequent in life! I started with 2 girlfriends, but we often walked at different speeds so split up at different points over our 5 weeks.

This being said, however, unfortunately there were incidences of sexual harrassment towards 3 women I met along the Way, including one of my close friends who started the Camino with me. As such I do have to reiterate that single women must remain vigilant at all times when walking alone, and as we quickly learnt, always make sure there are others not too far ahead or behind (which I understand is quite easy in the summer months!)

These 3 incidents in March of this year all involved what were most likely local men, exposing themselves and following the women, in remote areas along the Way. The instance with my close friend happened when we parted ways for a section of the Estella – Los Arcos section, where the road splits between a high path and a low path, after the wine fountain. My friend, on the low path, had a man come out of the trees, masturbating and taunting her, he then followed her along the path as she tried to run away. This was quite terrifying for her, as there was no other pilgrims close, and because the creep in question kept following her for some time.

This being said, I do want to reiterate that you shouldn't be put off spending periods alone, as I did myself on many occasions (and many other solo women I met) but again, its important not to let you guard down and to make sure their are other pilgrims safe distances away if you need them.

As others have said, it is most certainly a percentage game, there are so many other women who have no issues at all, but I think its important to acknowledge that there are still some sad creeps taking advantage of female pilgrims along the Way, as with one in my group.

Despite this however, we all had a wonderful time overall, and Stefania, you will have to try especially hard to be alone all the time with so many wonderful pilgrims along the way! If I hadn't spent some time in (almost) solitude I wouldn't have had to opportunity to meet the incredible, inspirational new family I made along the Camino!

Buen camino!
Re: safe to travel alone for female? pepper spray?

how awful! this is what I am most afraid of as a single famale walker .... is it legal to carry pepper spray in Spain? Or to check it in with your luggage? Having said that, I have no idea of where to buy the stuff.... Cheers, Cris
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crisnelson said:
how awful! this is what I am most afraid of as a single famale walker .... is it legal to carry pepper spray in Spain? Or to check it in with your luggage? Having said that, I have no idea of where to buy the stuff.... Cheers, Cris

You can get bear spray at most outdoor stores. From what I've been told by other walkers, blowing a whistle and going at them with walking poles does a good job in making pervs go away. They're looking for targets who are scared and will run away. It's a power thing. But, they don't want to get caught. So, if you draw attention to them, make a lot of noise and don't act like a wilting flower they're very likely to turn tail and run and await a more docile target.

Keep in mind that if something like this happens, at the next town you reach you should report where it happened, a description and any other details to the local authorities so they can be on the lookout.
It has been advised many times...
Take a loud sports/police type whistle and hook it on your pack strap so it is very handy.
Blowing this whistle will get rid of most perverts very quickly.
The normal call for help is two blast. Repeat

They do not know if you are a police decoy or if there are people with you just out of sight.
It will also bring any pilgrims who are nearby to you as everyone recognizes it as a danger/call for help signal.
This is good advice anywhere you travel...not just on the Camino.

If possible get a photo to show local police.
Hello. I see that the posts on this subject are all quit old. I'm hoping to walk the last stretch of the coming into santiago in May 2013. Can anyone tell me if it is relatively safe now, for a woman on her own?
I've just seen the more recent posts! I should have read a little further- the whistle is a good idea, I carry one with me when walking but fortunately have never needed to use it.
Just want to add I came back Sunday night from doing 300km alone on the Via de la Plata and everything was safe and fine as always. Never felt threatened in the least.

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The posts I just read are from 2005 and 2006. I just completed my first Camino and found it to be the safests trip I have ever taken. I am 65 years old and travelled alone staying in albergues some private and sometimes municipal and the wonderful Hotel Ruta*Jacobea (10 km from Santiago) one wet night. I felt so secure and comfortable that I had to remember when I took my return trip to NY and then on to San Diego that I was not along the Camino. I think travelling the Camino alone is the best way to do it. You are never really alone along the Camino-some pilgrim always has your back.
I have walked from Roncesvalles to Santiago de Compostela on my own between 2007 and 2009. this year I walked St. Jean Pied du Port to Pamplona. I can honestly say that I think the Camino is the safest place on earth for a woman on her own. I plan continuing next year.

Buen camino
In 2005 I had a man invite himself to my hotel room after we had started chatting in a city park. On the same trip I had an older man (70's) invite me home to keep him company for the evening. I spoke enough Spanish to repel these offers, although not enough to achieve the indignant tone I was going for.

In Fall 2011 I heard of two incidences of a man exposing himself and masturbating on the trail. Weirdly it happened to the same woman (age 28) at two different places on the Camino.

I have personally seen a man in the distance masturbating, twice, a couple of years apart, in the same place on the trail. I think it was shortly after Logrono, when walking through some vineyards. He was up on a hill next to a small building - far enough away that it felt creepy but not threatening.

That's it for eight Caminos. I didn't hear of anything in 2012, spring or fall, and I have never felt personally unsafe. I'd say the Camino is safe for women, but like anywhere you have to carry yourself with confidence and be aware of what is going on around you.
I walked from Le Puy to Santiago and on to Finisterre starting in mid September 2012 and ending in early November 2012. I started alone and never felt unsafe. I did make many friends along the way so, many times, I wasn't really alone but there were definitely days when I walked alone by choice and caught up with friends at the end of the day. I didn't encounter anybody even remotely creepy in France but in Spain there were just way more people. Even in Spain though, the worst I can complain of was occasionally being hit on which was easy enough for me to brush off. It was never aggressive and for every creepy guy (only 3-4) i had legions of non-creepy men and women who kept an eye on me. You will also do this. I ended up with a group of women/girls who all started alone and ended up being a fun group. I always felt safe and if I had wanted to I could have chosen to always leave with someone I knew or a group of people so I could be in eyesight of someone at all times whether they were ahead or behind.

What I found was an overwhelming sense that everyone was looking out for each other. I had blister issues in the beginning so I was slower and if I felt anything it was the overwhelming kindness of strangers and the willingness of people to stop and make sure I was safe and OK.

I'm so glad I walked alone because it gave me the freedom to make/join groups and move on as I walked. I loved it. Every day. I miss it.

To any woman doubting walking alone or trying to convince a friend...go alone. You won't be alone and you'll end up with someone who walks at your pace and who wants to do it the same way you do. Buen Camino!
I walked the Camino Portugues alone this summer at 27 years old though I am a petite female who looks a bit younger. It was not a crowded route but there was ALWAYS help to be found. Villagers and other pilgrims liked to take me under their wing - going to great lengths to give me advice or try to assist me. At first I found this a little annoying because I like to think I can take care of myself; however, it taught me a beautiful lesson of swallowing my pride and accepting the help of others who may know better than I. Some days I would have older (60+ years old) local men who would be out walking & join me for a bit, and though there was a language barrier, I felt they were concerned with my safety and wanted to see that I was alright. Other pilgrims would make sure that I was invited to eat with them, get coffee with them, & walk with them. I was told by several groups of pilgrims that I could consider them my Camino family, which was very touching. Once a pilgrim who was quite a bit ahead of me waited at a tricky spot in the path where the trail had been flooded so he could help me across. Though I enjoyed the other pilgrims, I preferred to walk alone most of the day & I did not have a single incident where I felt threatened. I did carry a little canister of pepper spray & a pocket knife in quickly accessible pockets just in case though & plan to bring them on my next Camino. I try to expect the best but prepare for the worst. I feel very blessed to have been so safe and cared for along my way.
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I completed my Camino in 2011, and traveled from Burgos to Santiago. I didn't have any issues whatsoever at any point in time, but I do know of one instance when someone counted their money on their bed in Leon, at a public albergue, then proceeded to put their WALLET in their backpack and leave for church.

If I had seen them do that, I would have advised them to never leave moneys unattended - - same with passport, laptop etc. It's one thing to comfortable with one's surroundings, but a completely other thing to do something as this - - you can guess that when this pilgrim came back, his money was gone.

Just be prudent, and aware of your surroundings, but don't get to a paranoid stage as this will truly hamper the Camino experience. I'm glad to hear that the person who was harassing and stealing from pilgrims has been apprehended. In any location, there is a risk that people with less than stellar morals will be found, but in my 30 years of travel, I have never found a safer location to travel than the Camino. I followed the Camino Frances, the most popular route.

I am sorry for anyone who have had such bad experiences - but as you can read from the blogs, there events are far and few between.
I have not travelled the camino, but travelled alone through China for 38 days. My advice is take a whistle/rape alarm, use a regular route and make friends along the way. Apart from that and taking care to spread your money, cards, etc, and hiding your expensive items, have a small stash/purse that you don't mind giving away if needed. Otherwise. Buen Camino
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