Whenever we hear about the Camino de Santiago it is always presented to us as an immersive experience that will take us at least a month of walking. And this is something that is not always possible for everyone.
But nothing could be further from the truth. Doing the Camino when you only have a week available is possible. You can even get the precious Compostela if you complete a minimum number of kilometers. And you will also have many starting points to choose from!
Today we want to tell you about the different options available when you have less than a week to do the Camino de Santiago, as well as what you must take into account so you can take your Compostela home with you.
Table of Contents
Can I get the Compostela in just one week?
Like the vast majority of pilgrims, at the end of your experience you will want to take a certificate as a souvenir that proves that you have completed your journey. This is known as the Compostela (also erroneously called “compostelana”), a document issued by the Church that can be collected at the Pilgrim Service Office, after presenting the Pilgrim’s Credential duly stamped from our starting point.
But the question that many pilgrims ask themselves on their first Camino is: Do I need to complete one of the variants of the Camino de Santiago in its entirety to get the Compostela? Or can I request it in the same way starting from any point?
The answer is very simple: if you do the Camino de Santiago on foot, you must complete at least 100 kms, while if you do it by bicycle, the mandatory minimum will be 200 kms.
And luckily, in both cases these distances can be perfectly covered in less than 7 days. That is why it is so important that you correctly stamp your Pilgrim’s Credential from the starting point and every day through the different towns you walk through: only in this way will you be able to demonstrate that you have completed the required distance.
The Camino de Santiago in 5 days
If despite having little time you want to live the experience of the Camino and get your Compostela, you will have many options to choose from. Keep in mind that each stage comprises an average of about 25 kms, so 5 days would be enough to complete the minimum 100 kms required and reach your destination. What’s more, in some cases it will even be enough for you to complete a full official Camino.
That is why we are going to see the main options that you will have according to the Camino you choose, with their corresponding starting points so that you can reach your destination in 5 days.
The French Way from Sarria
If you only have 5 days to do your Camino while you want to share the experience with many other people, the French Way from Sarria is the most popular option. And also the preferred one by those who are embarking on the Camino for the first time, since it has many services and shelters separated by short distances.
To start your Camino from Sarria you can go directly to Santiago in the first place and from there move to this town. Sarria is so popular with pilgrims that you will have no problem finding transportation. Of course, do not forget to start stamping your Pilgrim’s Credential as soon as you arrive so that it is recorded that you have done the required 100 kms.
The Portuguese Way from Tui
The second most popular option is the Portuguese Way. In this alternative way you will also have the company of other pilgrims at all times, and you will find all the services you need.
5 days will be enough to walk the distance that separates Tui, the first town in Spanish territory, from Santiago de Compostela. From the natural border of the river Miño with Portugal the mandatory 100 kms await you to obtain your accreditation. You should not miss the Cathedral of Santa María in its historic center, a small preview of everything that awaits you at the end of your route.
The Portuguese Way along the Coast from Vigo
The Portuguese Way along the Coast is a variant of the traditional Portuguese option that is gaining followers every year. If you have 5 days you can start your route from Vigo, instead of from Tui. In the next stage from Redondela, however, you will continue your journey along the classic Portuguese Way, so it is possible that you will find more influx of pilgrims on this second stage until the end.
You can enjoy the city of Vigo on your first day of walking. About 8 km from the center, near the Church of Valadares, you will find the landmark that sets the mandatory 100 km. In addition, you will be able to witness wonderful views of the estuary, from where you can distinguish the famous Cíes Islands or the Rande bridge.
Northern Way from Villalba
From the town of Villalba there are about 120 kms to the Cathedral of Santiago awaiting us along the Northern Way, on a route without many difficulties that joins the French Way at Arzúa.
If you want to enjoy a quieter and less crowded path in the early stages, this alternative is perfect. In addition, in Villalba you will find the perfect place to try the cheese and wine of the area, which will give you the energy you need to start your way.
Primitive Way from Lugo
The Primitive Way leaving from Lugo is a similar option to that offered by the Northern Way in 5 days: a route that is quiet in the first stages, in which we will enjoy the tranquility of rural Galicia, and that then you will continue in the company of other pilgrims to their encounter with the French Way.
Lugo is a good starting point to make the Camino to Santiago in 5 days. Here you can see its famous Roman walls, declared a World Heritage Site. You can try as well its tapas in the different bars in the city center before leaving for Compostela.
The Winter Way from Monforte de Lemos
The Winter Way is no longer limited to this season of the year, but always ideal thanks to the beauty of its landscapes and its route through the Ribeira Sacra.
In 5 days you can do this route from Monforte de Lemos, walking through vineyards and green forests that will bring you closer to Santiago de Compostela along a quiet and solitary itinerary that will allow you to disconnect from everything.
The English Way
Although this route is divided into 6 stages, if you have only 5 days and are in good shape, you can complete it without problem from Ferrol, where it started.
For those who want to do a full official Camino de Santiago but have little time, the English Way is an option that will also allow you to take the opportunity to see the cities of Ferrol and Coruña, in a little crowded route that passes through these so important and historical towns in the north of Galicia.
The Way of Fisterra and Muxía
The last option that we bring you and the most alternative is to make the Camino to Fisterra and Muxía from Santiago: a route in which Compostela will be the starting point on your way to the end of the world.
If you dare to complete this tour, in just 4 days you will be able to enjoy the best of the Costa da Morte (Death Coast) in a rural setting that runs between fishing villages. How about taking the opportunity to taste the best fresh seafood in the area? Your body will surely appreciate it.
As if that were not enough, completing this Way to Fisterra and Muxía you can also take your accreditation and request your corresponding Fisterrana or Muxiana when presenting the stamped credential in each of these locations.
What is the best Camino de Santiago to do in a week?
As you can see, there are many options if you have less than a week to become an official pilgrim, since just by traveling a minimum of 100 kms you can receive your Compostela that certifies your experience.
Your choice will depend on what you expect to find yourself during the rout or on your physical condition. In this way, if you want to socialize and meet many other pilgrims in the same situation, the French Way is always the favorite and busiest one, followed by the Portuguese Way.
If you are in top shape and looking for a challenge, then the Primitive Way will give you the excitement you need, as it presents greater difficulty. And if you prefer to get to Santiago comfortably and then enjoy its coast walking to the end of the world, the Way to Fisterra and Muxía is our recommendation: you will have plenty of time to enjoy good seafood and the Galician coast in its wildest state.
Any of the different Caminos de Santiago offers you something different, there is no doubt about that. So it will only be up to you to choose the perfect one. And if you need help planning it, advice, or just more information, remember that you can contact us whenever you want.
We are experts on the Camino de Santiago!