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All you need to know to start the Camino de Santiago from Sarria

Written by Fiona

May 20 2024

The Camino Frances is one of the most popular pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, but it’s one of the longest routes, too. There are more than 491 miles to walk from the Pyrenees to Santiago and this can take up to 35 days to complete. Instead, many people decide to walk the Camino Frances from Sarria to Santiago.

From Sarria, you will still get the experience of walking an ancient trail but it will take you only seven days to complete. This scenic trail offers a transformative journey through picturesque landscapes, historic towns and spiritual experiences.

Remember that the Camino Francés is not just a physical trek, it’s a spiritual exploration. The path will take you through lush forests, quaint villages and rolling hills, inviting you to slow down, breathe deeply and connect with centuries of pilgrims who have walked before you.

Planning your journey

Before you set foot on the Camino Frances from Sarria, the first thing you need to do is start planning your journey. Despite being a shorter version, it’s still a long-distance trail and it requires your attention, from choosing and calculating walking distances and times to booking and more.

If you want to avoid all the hassle, you can book your whole Camino De Santiago experience with a specialised tour operator like Santiago Ways, who will take care of everything for you.

But in case you want to take care of everything, here’s how to prepare for this pilgrimage:

  1. Choose the right time: Spring and autumn offer pleasant weather, while summer can be a lot hotter and crowded. Avoid the winter months due to colder temperatures and shorter daylight hours.
  2. Pack light: Your backpack should contain only the essentials. Think lightweight clothing, sturdy hiking boots, a rainproof jacket and a comfortable sleeping bag.
  3. Accommodation: Along the trail, you’ll find albergues (pilgrim hostels), hotels and guesthouses. Try to book in advance.

Highlights of the Camino Frances

Also known as the French Way, the Camino Frances is more than just a pilgrimage route, it’s a spiritual journey and a physical challenge that will captivate your heart.

This route has a rich history that dates back to the Middle Ages, which means that pilgrims have walked this path for centuries before you, leaving behind stories and legends.

But you’ll share something in common with those ancient pilgrims, including the scenic beauty, from the rolling hills of Navarre to the rugged landscapes of Galicia.

Not only that, but you’ll find several ancient villages and towns where, along the way, you’ll encounter diverse cultures, regional cuisines,and warm-hearted locals. Whether it’s sharing a meal with fellow pilgrims or attending a traditional festival, the Camino is a cultural feast.

Spiritual connection and companionship

This trail has been walked for centuries by people looking for answers to questions they may only know, so it can be a pilgrimage of the soul. As you walk the Camino Frances you’ll have a lot of time to think about you, about God or your religion if you have one, about family and problems. You’ll most likely have moments of introspection, gratitude and awe.

Besides that, the Camino is a melting pot of humanity, a place where you’ll meet people from all around the world, each with their own reasons for walking. Conversations flow freely, bonds form and lifelong friendships are often forged.

Sarria: The Gateway

Sarria used to be just one of the many stages to get to Santiago de Compostela but nowadays it is a starting point for people that can’t walk the whole journey. This town is situated in Galicia and serves as our getaway in this case.

But the town has a lot to offer by itself. Sarria marks the 100km point from Santiago de Compostela, making it the minimum distance required to earn the Compostela certificate.

You can walk around Sarria’s cobbled streets and enjoy the medieval churches and centuries-old stone houses. The town has this sense of timelessness, inviting you to step back in history.

Here are other highlights of the town:

  1. Albergues and accommodation: Sarria offers a variety of albergues (pilgrim hostels), hotels and private lodgings. Secure your bed early, especially during peak seasons.
  2. Pilgrim’s Passport: You can obtain your pilgrim’s passport (credencial) at the Sarria tourist office or the local parish. This document will be stamped along the way.
  3. Local cuisine: Make sure to try the Galician delicacies. Also try pulpo a la gallega (octopus), empanadas, and the local Ribeiro wine.
  4. Meet fellow pilgrims: Sarria is one of the best places to meet other travellers from around the world. 

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