The Camino Ingles is a medieval era pilgrimage trail in Galicia in Northern Spain. It is quieter, shorter and less popular than the epic Camino Frances, but it has a unique beauty and is not without challenges. In the time of the virus it has the advantage of being completely in one province, Galicia. Galicia exited the most stringent features of the lockdown in mid-June as opposed to 1st July like the rest of Spain. This post has been updated with new information for the new normal in Spain. Be sure to check the latest conditions and rules of your Government about travel to Spain.
Is it a valid pilgrimage?
Ferrol to Santiago is more than 100 kms. So you will qualify for the Compostela! The Compostela is a certificate awarded by the Pilgrim’s Office of the Catedral de Santiago to pilgrims who have walked the last 100km to Santiago, and have the sellos to prove it. Cafes, albergues and hostals are open, though with less capacity, but you can still get a stamp or sello along the way, on your credencial.
Is it safe?
The Camino Ingles goes through rural Galicia. It is uncrowded and safe. You can call 112 anywhere in Spain to get English speaking operators at the police or Guardia Civil. Take normal precautions to safeguard your valuables. Install the AlertCops app on your mobile phone to call the Guardia Civit for help anywhere along the way.
Do I have to camp out?
No! you do not have to camp out. There are public and private albergues, hostals and well-priced hotels. Note that capacity in the albergues has been reduced due to the need for social distancing. All Xunta albergues can now be booked online and Booking is recommended.
What are the distances per day?
The distances per day are from 15 – 30 kms, but there are options if you cannot walk 30 kms on a single day. Additional albergues and hostals along the way give you more options especially on days three and four. You can also take a taxi and go off the camino if needed. For example, at Bruma, you can find accomodation either at Meson do Vento or even Ordes.
Where does it join the Camino Frances?
The Camino Ingles is a totally different route. It never joins the Frances! Oh, except at Santiago of course.
I’m vegetarian! What will I eat?
There are vegetarian options, or you can buy cheese, bread, fruit and vegetables in abundance. Of course, Galicia is famous for its seafood and pork, so you will miss out on that. If you are not vegetarian, be sure to try the pulpo, the delicacy of the region.
Do I have to be religious?
No, the vast majority of pilgrims are not religious. You can be as religious, or spiritual, or not as you like. If you want to attend Mass be aware of the new timings, restricted numbers and necessity to wear masks.
Is there enough challenge or is it too easy?
120+ kms is do-able in 6 days. Every day has steady uphills and downhills. It is not a stroll in the park, and you do need a moderate level of fitness to enjoy it.
Do I have to carry a backpack?
No! You can have it ported from stage to stage. Correos offers a great service for 20 E. But you should carry at least a day pack for food, water and valuables. Because of the virus, you must carry a sleeping bag as albergues no longer provide blankets.
Can I drink the water?
There are plenty of fountains along the way to refill your water bottle. I would rather not drink from the public fountains in Santiago, but along the way, it is fine. Do carry a cup to collect water from the fuente, as you want to avoid touching surfaces that may harbour germs,
Can I cycle the Camino Ingles?
Yes and No. Yes, you can physically cycle the route, though you may have to dismount occasionally to navigate streams or steep muddy uphill slopes. No, you will not qualify for the Compostela, as cyclists need 200 kms to gain the Compostela.
What cities does it pass through?
There are no cities or large towns on the route. Betanzos is the only largish town. You can start at Ferrol or A Coruna, and Sigueiro is the last larger town before Santiago. For all these places, wear a mask when you cannot maintain a distance of 1.5m from others.
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