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COVID Walking the Camino during Covid, how is it?

Past OR future Camino
I plan to walk this year 2020 in September
I am planning to start my Camino early September, and have been holding off booking things till I had some certainty I was able to do it with all of the Covid issues. For anyone walking now, or planning to soon, can you share how things are, and what additional challenges Covid is giving in planning and undertaking the walk. I hVe now committed to this and will start the French Way early September. Have just booked my flight to Biarritz from the UK
 
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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I am planning to start my Camino early September, and have been holding off booking things till I had some certainty I was able to do it with all of the Covid issues. For anyone walking now, or planning to soon, can you share how things are, and what additional challenges Covid is giving in planning and undertaking the walk. I hVe now committed to this and will start the French Way early September. Have just booked my flight to Biarritz from the UK

I think you might find some existing threads helpful. Try this area of the forum.
 

David

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2005
Last edited:

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Latest of any of those posts is over two months old.

OP was a request for what it is like now, both on Camino now and for those soon to go, what extra planning are they doing.
I think this link is better - "pilgrims walking now" - https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/search-forums/🚶pilgrims-walking-now.307/
No, David, there are lots of posts today in that section. I think you may have only looked at the first thread, or at when the threads were started. But yes, the link you posted will also help.
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
On the front page of the forum, right under the Announcements, there is a link to Pilgrims Walking Now. It collects recent threads that have the prefix "Live from the Camino".

(Edited to recognize that David already gave the link directly)
 
Last edited:

DebbieM

New Member
Past OR future Camino
April 2020
I am planning to start my Camino early September, and have been holding off booking things till I had some certainty I was able to do it with all of the Covid issues. For anyone walking now, or planning to soon, can you share how things are, and what additional challenges Covid is giving in planning and undertaking the walk. I hVe now committed to this and will start the French Way early September. Have just booked my flight to Biarritz from the UK
me too. am flying from stansted all being well at the end of August. hope to see you on the Camino
 

didi2L

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I am planning to start my Camino early September, and have been holding off booking things till I had some certainty I was able to do it with all of the Covid issues. For anyone walking now, or planning to soon, can you share how things are, and what additional challenges Covid is giving in planning and undertaking the walk. I hVe now committed to this and will start the French Way early September. Have just booked my flight to Biarritz from the UK
We literally just walked into Santiago today. The camino was amazing! We started in Pamplona in early July and had no issues. We barely passed 6-10 pilgrims a day, the albergues were practically empty and often we were the only ones in a local restaurant for the pilgrim menu. It started to get nuts from Sarria. We had great difficulty finding accommodation, restaurants were full, the camino was literally crowds all around us though everyone has really tried to keep social distancing. Arriving into Santiago was quiet this morning but got gradually more crowded as the day progressed. We queued for the Cathedral about 20 min to see the inside but would never have been able to attend the evening pilgrim Mass because the line was too long. We got to the credential office about 30 minutes after opening and there had been about 400 people ahead of us. When we went back to pick it up they were handing out numbers over 1400. It is crazy crowded here and quite difficult to find a table for dinner. This week we've experienced the need to show the covid passport to eat indoors. All that said, don't avoid doing this, plan ahead after Sarria, be creative and flexible with accommodation and be patient because everyone really is trying. Buen camino!
 
Past OR future Camino
I plan to walk this year 2020 in September
We literally just walked into Santiago today. The camino was amazing! We started in Pamplona in early July and had no issues. We barely passed 6-10 pilgrims a day, the albergues were practically empty and often we were the only ones in a local restaurant for the pilgrim menu. It started to get nuts from Sarria. We had great difficulty finding accommodation, restaurants were full, the camino was literally crowds all around us though everyone has really tried to keep social distancing. Arriving into Santiago was quiet this morning but got gradually more crowded as the day progressed. We queued for the Cathedral about 20 min to see the inside but would never have been able to attend the evening pilgrim Mass because the line was too long. We got to the credential office about 30 minutes after opening and there had been about 400 people ahead of us. When we went back to pick it up they were handing out numbers over 1400. It is crazy crowded here and quite difficult to find a table for dinner. This week we've experienced the need to show the covid passport to eat indoors. All that said, don't avoid doing this, plan ahead after Sarria, be creative and flexible with accommodation and be patient because everyone really is trying. Buen camino!
Thankyou so much for that comprehensive reply, that’s really helpful. I have actually started to reserve accommodations from St Jean, and recognise this will be important for the last week. Can I ask Where was your start point?? I am planning to fly into Biarritz and then start from St Jean. Is this the route you did??
 
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Rent a house in Santiago (1 month minimum)
300m from the cathedral and around the corner from the fresh food market in Santiago. Perfect place to tele commute from (1GB symmetrical connection).
Past OR future Camino
I plan to walk this year 2020 in September
me too. am flying from stansted all being well at the end of August. hope to see you on the Camino
Do Please post updates Debbie as your experience will be really helpful for me as you will be around a week ahead of me. Can I check a couple of things with you? Right now my understanding is I can enter France and Spain with proof of double vaccination using the NHS App. Is that your understanding too?
when arriving in Biarritz on the Ryanair flight it looks like I will be too late to travel to St Jean that evening by public transport. Have you found any public transport travel options to get you onto St Jean after you’ve flown in??
 

didi2L

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Do Please post updates Debbie as your experience will be really helpful for me as you will be around a week ahead of me. Can I check a couple of things with you? Right now my understanding is I can enter France and Spain with proof of double vaccination using the NHS App. Is that your understanding too?
when arriving in Biarritz on the Ryanair flight it looks like I will be too late to travel to St Jean that evening by public transport. Have you found any public transport travel options to get you onto St Jean after you’ve flown in??
Not sure our travel into Spain will be helpful since we flew Ryanair from Luxembourg (home) to Madrid. We then took the train to Pamplona where we started. We had the EU covid passports and the Rapid test results handy and at the ready for every encounter during travel. Once arriving here we kept waving them at staff who barely even noticed and waved us on. We were a bit baffled that no one really wanted to verify anything. It seems it was most important at the boarding end of things where everyone we passed had to verify both documents. We talked with several people coming from the UK and they didn't seem to have any issues arriving but I'm not aware of their details and what travel requirements they had to meet. I hope some bit of this is helpful.🙂
 
Past OR future Camino
I plan to walk this year 2020 in September
Not sure our travel into Spain will be helpful since we flew Ryanair from Luxembourg (home) to Madrid. We then took the train to Pamplona where we started. We had the EU covid passports and the Rapid test results handy and at the ready for every encounter during travel. Once arriving here we kept waving them at staff who barely even noticed and waved us on. We were a bit baffled that no one really wanted to verify anything. It seems it was most important at the boarding end of things where everyone we passed had to verify both documents. We talked with several people coming from the UK and they didn't seem to have any issues arriving but I'm not aware of their details and what travel requirements they had to meet. I hope some bit of this is helpful.🙂
Ok thanks for that. All feedback is good, thanks for replying. Hope it’s going well
 

Happy Penguin

Rainy day in Castilblanco
Past OR future Camino
2021
Not sure if it is right place to post this but today on the 7th of August at 10:30 am the line/ queue for the Pilgims Mass at 12 is more than 300 pilgrims long (I counted). It doesn't end on this square, continues in one of the side streets. Many people won't be able to attend the Mass.
Yesterday 1663 pilgrims arrived to Santiago. If not for the masks I could think Covid was just a bad dream...

Btw: no queue to visit St James tomb.

Update: all 'tickets' to the Pilgrims Office to get the Compostela today had been distributed by noon time (according to the guard at the entrance)

20210807_101422.jpg
 
Last edited:

domigee

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Right now my understanding is I can enter France and Spain with proof of double vaccination using the NHS App. Is that your understanding too?
when arriving in Biarritz on the Ryanair flight it looks like I will be too late to travel to St Jean that evening by public transport. Have you found any public transport travel options to get you onto St Jean after you’ve flown in??
Hi! Yes, the NHS App. showing I had the two vaccinations was recognised. In addition, because I flew directly to Spain, I had to fill-in their ’health form’ online.
I don’t think it is necessary if you arrive in Spain on foot, maybe other people can confirm this?

When I take that Ryanair flight that arrives too late for the train to St Jean, I stay the first night in Bayonne, at the hotel Côte Basque’. It is right next to the station so I can take the first morning train.
Alternatively, you could try Express Bourricot.
They pick you up from the airport and drive you straight to St. Jean. It works out much cheaper if there are several of you of course.
 
Original artwork based on your pilgrimage or other travel photos.
When you walk the Camino, and suddenly a pandemic appears

didi2L

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Not sure if it is right place to post this but today on the 7th of August at 10:30 am the line/ queue for the Pilgims Mass at 12 is more than 300 pilgrims long (I counted). It doesn't end on this square, continues in one of the side streets. Many people won't be able to attend the Mass.
Yesterday 1663 pilgrims arrived to Santiago. If not for the masks I could think Covid was just a bad dream...

Btw: no queue to visit St James tumb.

View attachment 106281
We arrived yesterday and faced the same issue with large crowds. We also had no line at St James tomb. For those arriving and wanting to eat, it's a good idea to make reservations. Buen Camino!
 

Happy Penguin

Rainy day in Castilblanco
Past OR future Camino
2021
If I may share my opinion, I don't think those starting Camino far away from Santiago, like SJPP, Pamplona, Burgos etc need to worry about reservations. Maybe for the first 1 or 2 nights. I walked entire Camino from SJPP in July and almost never booked. In my opinion, at this time, great majority or the crowd in Santiago comes from the last 100 km. When I walked I got the impression that after Sarria the number of pilgrims skyrocketed 10x fold. Even O Cebreiro at 160 km from Santiago with mere 25 beds didn't fill up completely. And those who will walk the last 100 km in September won't even see that because in August there is a wave of Spanish pilgrims who always take time off from work in August, very rarely in September.
The idea of booking all nights in advance takes away a lot of the Camino spirit, don't be afraid and go with the flow! The Camino provides and will provide. You can keep an extra 50 euro in your back pocket for that unexpected 'pension' when Camino will be temporarily busy providing to other pilgrims :)

Photo: yesterday's sky between Muxìa and Finisterre

20210806_152253.jpg
 

MikeJS

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Francis (2011), Norte (12), VdlP (16). Sureste/Invierno (17). Olvidado/San Salvador/Primitivo (19)
If I may share my opinion, I don't think those starting Camino far away from Santiago, like SJPP, Pamplona, Burgos etc need to worry about reservations. Maybe for the first 1 or 2 nights. I walked entire Camino from SJPP in July and almost never booked. In my opinion, at this time, great majority or the crowd in Santiago comes from the last 100 km. When I walked I got the impression that after Sarria the number of pilgrims skyrocketed 10x fold. Even O Cebreiro at 160 km from Santiago with mere 25 beds didn't fill up completely. And those who will walk the last 100 km in September won't even see that because in August there is a wave of Spanish pilgrims who always take time off from work in August, very rarely in September.
The idea of booking all nights in advance takes away a lot of the Camino spirit, don't be afraid and go with the flow! The Camino provides and will provide. You can keep an extra 50 euro in your back pocket for that unexpected 'pension' when Camino will be temporarily busy providing to other pilgrims :)

Photo: yesterday's sky between Muxìa and Finisterre

View attachment 106286
Definitely true about the last 100kms. I normally plan to make a stop just outside the 100km place then walk the last 100km with no more than 2 over night stops (sometimes only 1!) so as to avoid the crowds.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
We also had no line at St James tomb
I read that you have to follow a set course: through the Holy Door, down to the crypt and/or to the statue with no hugging allowed, and out again. No possibility to stay in the Cathedral when you enter through the Holy Door. Is that true?

And when you enter through the Platerías portal but not for a pilgrims mass, can you stay inside as long as you want?
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I read that you have to follow a set course: through the Holy Door, down to the crypt and/or to the statue with no hugging allowed, and out again. No possibility to stay in the Cathedral when you enter through the Holy Door. Is that true?

And when you enter through the Platerías portal but not for a pilgrims mass, can you stay inside as long as you want?
I entered through the Holy door and went down the crypt (no queue! 😁) but you weren’t allowed to go up and hug the statue, that was closed. That was in July.
I stayed for the 9.30 Mass, so yes, you could stay in the Cathedral. Maybe it has changed now.
We were all socially distanced during Mass, no crowds. But when I came back a week later, there were (very) long files of people outside waiting to enter the Cathedral.
 
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Past OR future Camino
I plan to walk this year 2020 in September
Hi! Yes, the NHS App. showing I had the two vaccinations was recognised. In addition, because I flew directly to Spain, I had to fill-in their ’health form’ online.
I don’t think it is necessary if you arrive in Spain on foot, maybe other people can confirm this?

When I take that Ryanair flight that arrives too late for the train to St Jean, I stay the first night in Bayonne, at the hotel Côte Basque’. It is right next to the station so I can take the first morning train.
Alternatively, you could try Express Bourricot.
They pick you up from the airport and drive you straight to St. Jean. It works out much cheaper if there are several of you of course.
Thanks that’s helpful. I had booked a hotel near the airport in Biarritz but will check the Bayonne option out.
 

didi2L

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I read that you have to follow a set course: through the Holy Door, down to the crypt and/or to the statue with no hugging allowed, and out again. No possibility to stay in the Cathedral when you enter through the Holy Door. Is that true?

And when you enter through the Platerías portal but not for a pilgrims mass, can you stay inside as long as you want?
Yes, that's what we experienced the other day. There was no queue but you walk in one door and exit the other end. We were able to remain there as long as we wanted. They had that area roped off from the rest of the church and with guards so we couldn't go into the rest of the Cathedral from there, we had to queue and enter through the main doors. Many pilgrims missed out on services because the tourists also queued and no distinction was made to prioritise pilgrims for the pilgrim service. Super disappointing!!
 

Lob58

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2019
Not sure if it is right place to post this but today on the 7th of August at 10:30 am the line/ queue for the Pilgims Mass at 12 is more than 300 pilgrims long (I counted). It doesn't end on this square, continues in one of the side streets. Many people won't be able to attend the Mass.
Yesterday 1663 pilgrims arrived to Santiago. If not for the masks I could think Covid was just a bad dream...

Btw: no queue to visit St James tomb.

Update: all 'tickets' to the Pilgrims Office to get the Compostela today had been distributed by noon time (according to the guard at the entrance)

View attachment 106281
Thanks for that update. When you said all tickets for the compostela had gone by noon, where tickets offered for the following day or did pilgrims have to return in the morning? We will be in Santiago tomorrow,, having walked from Leon to complete our camino interrupted last year. I can confirm what others had said, very quiet until Sarria and then hundreds walking. We booked all accommodation in advance.
 

Happy Penguin

Rainy day in Castilblanco
Past OR future Camino
2021
were tickets offered for the following day or did pilgrims have to return in the morning
If I understood well the guard at the entrance, you need to come back next day. Otherwise, people coming for the tickets on the following day most likely wouldn't get any, because the tickets would be already gone the day before.
 

Lob58

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2019
If I understood well the guard at the entrance, you need to come back next day. Otherwise, people coming for the tickets on the following day most likely wouldn't get any, because the tickets would be already gone the day before.
Thanks for the update, we will leave early in the morning to best the crowds
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Yes, that's what we experienced the other day. There was no queue but you walk in one door and exit the other end. We were able to remain there as long as we wanted. They had that area roped off from the rest of the church and with guards so we couldn't go into the rest of the Cathedral from there, we had to queue and enter through the main doors. Many pilgrims missed out on services because the tourists also queued and no distinction was made to prioritise pilgrims for the pilgrim service. Super disappointing!!
Yes, I think the queue I witnessed didn’t separate the actual would-be worshippers from the tourists wanting to see the Cathedral.🙁 If you do speak Spanish, please tell the guard at the door, they WILL let you in if you want to attend Mass. Unless it is full of course - when I was there we were all on single chairs socially distanced….
 

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