The closest you can start the hike is 100km away

A lot of younger hikers and pilgrims cannot afford the time to do a full month long hike. What they do instead is start their Camino from a city that is at least 100km or more. For example many people on the Camino Frances path start at Sarria, which is 115km and a 5 day hike to Santiago de Compostela. The only problem is that the final 100km stretch is usually when the hike becomes quite busy with activity, making it very important to wake up early and arrive to your albergue on time.


In Santiago de Compostela, at the Pilgrim’s office where you receive your Compostela or Certificate of completion, the office staff know how to spot whether or not you started at least 100km away. They look for several key and important stamps that if you don’t have those then they get very suspicious. Some people for whatever reason have tried to cheat the system by starting in St. Jean de Pied and taking a bus between major cities. The only problem with this is that they do not get the stamps from the small cafes and places in between. While these stamps are not necessarily all that important, it is important though to get at least two stamps per day if you start around 100km away.

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16 Responses

  1. BigDad 20. Sep, 2011 at 4:27 pm #

    Does this apply to all different routes for the Camino or just the Camino Frances route?

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  2. CaminoDeSantiagoGuide 21. Sep, 2011 at 9:53 am #

    This applies to all routes!

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  3. Maria 05. Jan, 2012 at 4:41 am #

    I am puzzled as to how to get to Sarria from Brussels. Some websites say it is possible to fly to the airport of Sarria, but then the airport that’s indicated seems to be (OPO) and that’s in Porto, which is quite a long way from Sarria… Any ideas? Thanks a lot in advance!

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  4. Paul McHugh 08. Jan, 2012 at 5:06 am #

    I am traveling to Spain on April 22, 2012. I’m flying into Barcelona. I’m flying back to the U.S. on May 4th. What I would like to do is start my walk in St. Jean de Peid, walk the first day then get a bus or train to Sarria and walk the rest of the way from there. Is that a reasonable plan? How many days would it take me at an average or leisurely pace? How would I get from Reconselves (sp) to Sarria? I would appreciate any help I could get and even better find some fellow hikers interested in traveling during the same period. Thanks Paul

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    • CaminoDeSantiagoGuide 17. Feb, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

      Hi Paul, sorry about the late reply. April 22 to May 8 is not a lot of time. If you want to walk the minimum recognized amount of 100km from Sarria to Santiago then that would take 5 days. The geography of Spain matters. Barcelona is on the East of Spain, and St. Jean Pied-de Port is at the North East bored of Spain on the French side. To go just to St. Jean and then bus to Sarria, which is in the West, would take a long time. I would suggest taking a train to Sarria. it should take a whole day to do so. Whenever I walk to Sarria I just take the overnight train from Madrid. You should try this if you choose not to go to St. Jean.

      To walk from Sarria to Santiago is about 5 days. Around 20-25km per day in around 6 hours per day. Feel free to ask me anything more. Buen Camino!

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      • Susan 09. Feb, 2015 at 10:47 pm #

        Hi I am going in September to Spain I plan to start my walk in sarria to santiago .i am flying from California to Madrid I’m having hard time finding route to take on train to sarria from Madrid airport I believe it’s t-4 then? Can you help me out
        Thanks

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  5. Rick H 08. Feb, 2012 at 10:19 pm #

    Does anyone know how many days it takes to walk from St Jean De Peid to pampalona? Is it advisable to start the last week of March? what would the weather & trail be like at that time? Thanks you

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    • CaminoDeSantiagoGuide 17. Feb, 2012 at 8:35 pm #

      Hi Rick, Its about 70km between St. Jean Pied-de-Port and Pamplona. This is about 2-3 days worth of walking, depending on how much you choose to walk per day. You can start the Camino during March but make sure to have a raincoat since its springtime. The weather should be relatively pleasant. Cloudy and cool mostly with some sun. You probably won’t find as many people on the trail as in may and June. But still its definitely a great time to walk.

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  6. Martin Curran 22. Feb, 2012 at 3:55 am #

    I am hoping to do the last 100km or so in the summer. I was hoping to start in Sarria. I would be travelling from Ireland, does anybody know the best way to get there? Thanks

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    • CaminoDeSantiagoGuide 23. Feb, 2012 at 5:53 pm #

      The best way to get there would be to fly to Madrid. From there you have to go the Chamartin train station to catch the overnight train to Sarria. Good Luck and Buen Camino!

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  7. Michele 20. Mar, 2012 at 6:48 am #

    Martin, did you consider flying to Santiago then taking a bus (approx 2 hrs) to Sarria? Are you booking accommodation in advance?i am thinking of doing the same route but hoping to do it in 4 days, do you think this is possible – in particular with regard to accommodation on the way?

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    • CaminoDeSantiagoGuide 30. Mar, 2012 at 10:45 am #

      Hi Michele, I personally always like starting in Madrid and taking an overnight train to Sarria. I prefer seeing Santiago at the end of the trip than at the beginning. There is a bus that you can take to Sarria though. Also, It is possible to walk in 4 days, you may be a late arrival at some of the albergues, but you can usually find one anyway.

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  8. Catherine 18. Apr, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    I have seven days to hike. What would you suggest I do — 1. fly into where? 2. travel to see the most varied hiking experiences? 3. Other ideas that you know that I am clueless about…. :-)

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  9. Jan 26. Apr, 2012 at 9:36 am #

    I am planning to fly into Madrid the first of October and take a train to Sarria to start my camino. What should I expect as far as weather and cowds along the way? Should I make reservations or just show up. Jan

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  10. Anna Em 10. Nov, 2014 at 9:06 am #

    Hi! Wondering about a suggestion…I’m taking my twin nieces on a Camino in late June 2015. They will be 13. We’re still trying to choose our 100+k route – Ourense? Baamonde? Ferrol? Lugo?

    Any relatively short suggestions and input welcomed!

    Bom Caminho!

    Anna Em

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  11. Susan 09. Feb, 2015 at 10:51 pm #

    Hi I am planning walk from sarria to santiago in September I am flying from California to Madrid can someone tell me what train I take from airport to sarria I hear it’s an overtime trip any tips greatly appreciated

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