Doing the Camino de Santiago as a family

There are many reasons to encourage us to do the Camino de Santiago: to overcome our goals, as personal growth, for religious reasons, to enjoy art, culture, gastronomy… Whatever your motivation is, it will surely become an unforgettable experience for you. But it will be even more enriching, without a doubt, if we live it with those we love the most: our family.

Do your family members share your dream of becoming pilgrims? Have you thought about telling them about it? In today’s article we will give you some good reasons why doing the Camino de Santiago as a family can be an excellent idea.

Throughout our years of experience organizing tours, we have met different types of pilgrims. Some prefer to do the pilgrimage alone as a personal challenge living the experience on their own, others do it accompanied by their partners and many are those who integrate into a group making great friendships. But undoubtedly the most fortunate are those who can enjoy it in the company of their spouses, parents and children. In general, the Camino helps us to strengthen family ties: we overcome difficulties together, we learn to share what we have, we feel more united and we open ourselves to confidences.

In the case of children, it is feasible to do the Camino de Santiago from pre-adolescence (eleven or twelve years old).

As long as the itinerary is not too hard, children usually adapt very well to the conditions of the Camino. Perhaps due to the fact that they are more receptive and have a greater desire to improve than adults, they tend to enjoy the experience very much.

You should not forget that, as happened in your childhood, the memories that occur at this stage of life become indelible. Forests, bridges, streams, millenary churches and beautiful landscapes that they will treasure in their memory as beautiful images of what they have experienced. Children grow up very fast and there comes a time when they prefer to travel with their friends, spend more time studying and ultimately lose interest in undertaking what once excited them so much. Could this be the best time?

However, before starting your family tour you should take into account some aspects:

* Although doing the Camino de Santiago is very important to you, you should not impose your wishes on any of your family members. It must be a decision in which everyone is in full agreement, since becoming a pilgrim should always be chosen of your own free will.

* If you are going to make the trip with your children, think about hiring an organized tour. For children, rest is essential, so they should stay overnight in hostels and hotels. In hostels for pilgrims we must adjust to predetermined schedules, get up early at a certain time or share showers and toilets. These inconveniences may not mean much to an adult but it is not ideal for children.

* Opt for a route whose stages are not too long. In our tour modalities we have some itineraries planned especially for children or older people who can not make long walks (for example our Camino Tranquilo).

* Enjoy the Camino de Santiago with your family by choosing a tour that includes group activities, visits of touristic and cultural value, etc. Take the opportunity to get to know new places with your family, learn about the historical and artistic value of what we see or delight ourselves with the flavors of the typical cuisine of the regions that make up the Jacobean route.

* Be respectful of Nature and the environment. During our tour we will cross rural sites of great scenic beauty. If we have a considerate attitude and do not pollute these places, we will also instill in our children respect for Nature.

* Provide your children with equipment and clothing adapted to their needs and the time of year. It is especially important to have trekking shoes, light but resistant soles and the exact size to avoid friction and chafing on the foot.

* Take a camera to keep some pictures of the best memories of your trip with your loved ones. I’m sure you’ll love to look at them on your return.

We hope our tips today have helped and encouraged you to do the Camino de Santiago. Are you an experienced pilgrim? If so, we encourage you to write us your recommendations for pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela with your family, Ultreia pilgrims!

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