Pilgrimage has always had a commercial aspect from taxes collected to maintain roads and bridges, vendors providing goods and souvenirs, locals offering rooms, and tour guides offering safe passage to groups. The large pilgrim churches along the pilgrimage routes in France and Spain survived mainly on donations and bequests made by pilgrims.
You can book your accommodation ahead of time and have your backpack transferred each day. Or you might prefer to walk with like-minded people in an organized group. You can book guided and unguided tours on the Camino.
Many historical books, movies and websites on the Camino show statues, sculptures, stained glass windows and other works of art depicting pilgrims from the early 12th century to around the 18th century. The majority of foot pilgrims wore a long, dark robe, carried a simple a shoulder bag called a ‘scrip’, a gourd for water and a staff.
Pilgrims who could afford it went on horseback and they were able to take extra changes in clothing and a few other comforts.
The one thing you won’t see in books or film are medieval pilgrims carrying a backpack! A pilgrim from the middle ages would be astonished to see today's pilgrims slogging across the Camino with huge packs containing their material baggage on their backs.
Most walking Camino pilgrims only need a small capacity pack to carry their clothing, medication and toiletries. If you intend sending your backpack ahead you could manage with a day-pack whilst walking but ensure that it is comfortable and secure.
More on "SLACKPACKING THE CAMINO"
Credencial del Peregrino – Pilgrims’ Passport
Best Time to walk a Camino
May and June
September and October
Where to start and how to get there
Starting at Jean
Route Napoleon or through Val Carlos
Starting at Roncesvalles
Starting at Pamplona
Starting at Burgos
Starting at Leon
Starting at Astorga
Staring at Ponferrada
Starting at O Cebreiro
Starting at Sarria
Getting back home
Different types of Accommodation
Reserving rooms online
Booking hotel rooms
Booking rooms in hostels
Posting luggage ahead
Camino Tour Companies
Walking stages and itineraries
Itinerary 1: 10km to 15km daily stages
Itinerary 2: 15km to 20km daily stages
Itinerary 3: 20km to 25km daily stages
Itinerary 4: The last 100km for not-so-able pilgrims.
17-day, 5km to 8km daily stages