Would you like to do the Camino de Santiago, you are over 60 years old and you are wondering if you could do it? We have some good news for you, and that is that yes, of course you can do it, although you have to do it by keepa few tips in mind. If you are reading this, it is probably the first time that you do the Camino de Santiago, and in this article we want to answer all your questions and inform you in this article we want to answer all your questions and inform you about everything you need to know if you are what you should know if you are undecided, because of your age, to enjoy the Camino.
Preparation: Am I too old for this?
For a pilgrim over 60 years old to do the Camino de Santiago is not impossible, although in the first place it is advisable to consult your doctor about your state of health.perhaps by having a medical checkup and a stress test. Be that as it may, of course, it is possible: consider that, according to the official statistics of the Pilgrim’s Office of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. In 2019 (we are not counting 2020, with the Camino “semi-closed” because of the COVID-19 pandemic), 19% of pilgrims were over 60 years old. 19% of the pilgrims were older than 60 springsso do the math.
Next, it is important to train for at least two weeks or more beforehand.At first, we will take short walks, and then gradually increase the daily distance. For example, start with 5 kilometer walks round trip, and gradually increasing the distances up to 15 or 20 kilometres a day.. Everyone knows their limits. For this training it is advisable to be accompanied, especially when the distances begin to be considerable. As you walk along, you will surely you will feel a sense of physical well-beingwhich is what you will ultimately you will find during your experience on the Camino..
The routes: how hard is the Camino?
As you well know, the Camino de Santiago is a set of routes that lead to Santiago de Compostela, with different origins. There are several routes, with different mileages, levels of difficulty, some with more services than others, but all well signposted. It is important to choose the right route, perhaps looking for those with fewer slopes and generous services.
The most walked are the French Way from Sarria y the Portuguese Way from Tui with its last 100 kilometres and the mythical arrival in Santiago de Compostela, are not very steep and are very well equipped with services, such as restaurants, bars, hostels, guesthouses, hotels, luggage transport services, taxis, etc.
Just as important as choosing the route is choosing the right time of year. Avoid doing the Camino in very hot months such as June, July and August, which are also the months that have statistically more pilgrim traffic. The ideal is to do the Camino between March and May and even between September and October.
Planning: how many kilometres can I cover per day?
You can jump in and start the Camino without having it organized, but it is advisable to plan the division of stages beforehand. On average, pilgrims walk between 20 and 25 kilometres a day, an affordable distance where you will almost always find villages, towns and places to stay. However, if you prefer to do less kilometers per day, and take the Camino more slowly, it is also possible, as there are always intermediate locations where you can stay.
In the different guides that you will find on the Camino de Santiago you will see that they establish a division of stages, but you should know that it is indifferent, and you can customize and adapt the stages according to your interests. If you do shorter stages, you will be able to rest more, get to know the places you pass through better and extend your pilgrimage experience. Many pilgrims even improvise and take a whole day of rest, especially in Jacobean cities with a lot of charm and good gastronomy, of which there are many: it is a very good option, especially if you have accumulated fatigue and, of course, time.
As for accommodation and rest, if you have already defined the stages, you should now think about booking accommodation.
On the different routes of the Camino de Santiago you will find all kinds of accommodation, from the cheapest and with fewer services, such as hostels, to rural houses, hotels with many stars and even Paradors.
As for the hostels, there are public and private ones, with their own characteristics, and in this articlewe will tell you about them. Please note that in hostels and their shared facilities privacy and comfort are limited, and you may prefer to have a private room with your own bathroom, so we recommend staying in guesthouses, hotels or similar.
You can do the different stages on single days, such as weekends: this is a good option to do it with family or friends, as they may not have as much free time as you do. It has the advantage of the close company of your loved ones, and even assistance, as many pilgrims who choose this option decide to take a support car that will also serve to return home after the stage. Besides, you won’t need accommodation.
If you prefer the traditional and authentic way, which is to do the Camino all the way, there are also pilgrims, usually groups of friends, who carry or hire a support car, which can be used to stock up or even be assisted in any eventuality.
The organization: what to bring and how to do it?
The image of the typical pilgrim is that of the walker with a rucksack, walking stick and hat. Of course, your backpack must come with you, whether you carry it yourself or hire a backpack transport service.
In the first case, it is recommended to carry a backpack weight between 10% and 15% of our body weight. The key is to take the essentials, because for a Camino of, for example, 5 days (last 100 kilometers, in general), we can not take everything we want. In this articlewe recommend what you should take in your backpack.
In the second case, you can take a backpack or a suitcase, as the luggage transport service works very well, picking up your luggage at your departure accommodation first thing in the morning and taking it to the next one. This way you will be free to carry your backpack on your walk, but you should always carry a small backpack to carry your water, very important to avoid dehydration, food and other essentials. Consult herehow this very common service works nowadays.
We advise you to carry poles, both to help you on the climbs and to slow you down on the descents: your knees will thank you for it. Some people prefer not to use them, or use them on occasion. Nowadays there is a great variety of walking sticks, from the typical wooden ones to the most sophisticated folding ones. Again, we’ll tell you more about it in this post.
Finally, beware of sunstroke. Wear a hat or cap, as well as sunscreen, as you will be exposed to the sun for several hours. And we insist, lots of water and drink it often.
In short, someone over 60 years old, and if they are also retired, has more time, less worries and more life experience, so the Camino de Santiago will be an optimal experience to enjoy, share, live and feel. You will feel rejuvenated, enjoying a form of “slow” tourism, in contact with nature and with yourself. We, as always, can help you to organize your Camino if you have decided to do this millenary route suitable for everyone.