Is it safe to walk the Camino alone?

This is one of the most asked questions in our group, “Is it safe to do the Camino de Santiago alone?” So we went to talk to a number of people who have been through this experience to tell us what they think.

To walk the Camino de Santiago alone or not? Today the pilgrims are the ones writing the article. We asked several people what they felt when they ventured alone on the Santiago trails. These are the answers from Claúdia, Pedro and Bruno.

Did you feel any kind of uneasiness along the Camino de Santiago when by yourself?

Generally speaking, no. All along the way, apart from one or two exceptions in more isolated places, I always felt super safe.
I think the most important thing is to go with the right spirit. In my opinion, bad things attract bad things and vice versa, and that was always my first thought.

I think it’s important to talk about this, especially being a woman. I see this question asked a lot by women who would like to walk the Path alone, but who deprive themselves because they are afraid and feel insecure. Well, insecurity is everywhere, all you have to do is to get out of bed. It may be a somewhat radical thought, but I am of the opinion that we should go, even if we are afraid. And being afraid is good! It keeps you alert and allows you to absorb and experience things differently.

When I told everyone that I was going to do the Camino alone everyone twisted their noses at me to the point of calling me crazy. I had no specific reason to do it that way, it was simply something I really wanted to do and so I didn’t wait for anyone, I just went and did it because it was what made sense to me at the time.

I won’t lie that in less crowded areas I would look over my shoulder, because obviously those would be places more likely for something worse to happen. I only had one situation in which I was really afraid, in one of those more isolated places, a small forest where it would be strange for an apparently “normal” person to walk and where I came across a man with a somewhat suspicious look, who passed by me, I greeted him and went on. But my instinct told me that something was not right and so I looked over my shoulder and he was just standing there looking at me. I hastened my pace and held on tightly to my stick, just in case I needed it. Ah ah.

But I always trusted a lot in myself, in my “resourcefulness” and ability to defend myself, and above all I trusted a lot in the Way. When they tell us that even if we go alone, we are never alone, that is the purest truth. People come and go along the way to bring us exactly what we need at that moment. And in my opinion, that is what the Path is and what it makes sense for it to be. We meet people, we go through stages with them, half accompanied, half alone, and I think that is the magic of doing the Way alone: there is room for everything and to experience every part of this journey in the most diverse ways.

Pedro Miguel Martins: Was it safe to do the Road to Santiago alone?

Doing the Road to Santiago alone was very safe.
I started the journey alone, without planning stages or places to stay and eat, except for the day before I started the journey, when I booked my stay in Porto.

I did the journey in February (2022), which is considered a low season, which in itself means there are few walkers.
However, along my way, both in Portugal and in Spain, I met people and some walkers with whom I exchanged impressions, chatted and at the end of the day in the hostels there were some walkers with whom I crossed paths for several days.

It’s worth mentioning that, unlike in Portugal, where there was no PSP nor GNR on the way, in Spain the Guardia Civil was present with a patrol and a support van, either for information or just to chat or take a picture. By the way, the Guardia Civil patrol was very friendly and hospitable, and being present (I crossed paths with them for several days).

I never ran into any danger during the ten days of walking, but I emphasize the importance of the existence of forces of authority on national territory along the way to give even greater security to the walkers.

Bruno Cardoso Durante: On the Camino de Santiago, did you feel any kind of fear along the way because you were alone?

Not really, because I ended up not being alone.

I set out on this adventure alone, but on the second day, during one breaks, I started chatting with a group of people who were doing the same.
Since then, they have been my travel companions and we arrived at the destination together.

As far as I know, it is quite common to meet people or groups on the way who are alone and therefore make a larger group. To me, this was one of the most interesting aspects of the trip.
The only thing that I remember making me feel fearful (but not frightened), was the fact that I could not easily find a place to sleep. I was marking day by day the places where I was going to sleep and it wasn’t always easy.

I think it’s hard to feel afraid since the road is full of people who can always help you or make something easier. Of course it always depends on the time of the year when you do the walk… I did it at the end of September, I believe that in the winter months it can really make a difference and then some fears may appear, either because of the weather, or the shorter days, or the fewer people we meet along the way.

Is it safe to walk the Road to Santiago unaccompanied?

Every experience is different. But these hikers are comfortable doing the hike alone. Many start out alone, like Bruno, but they find company along the way. Others, despite some fear, continue their journey. And you, have you ever done the Road to Santiago? Talk to us!

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