If you want to experience the Camino once in your life and you don't have a lot free time, the Camino de Santiago from Sarria is the plan you are looking for. Many pilgrims who want to make the Camino for the first time or who have a limited budget decide to walk only these final miles.
If you want to get your Compostela, Sarria is the closest point that allows you to obtain this certificate. The Compostela is awarded in Santiago de Compostela to those who have traveled a distance of at least 62.13 miles (100 kilometers). To obtain the Compostela, you will have to carry the pilgrim's credential with you. This credential will be sealed in every stage, in different establishments like shelters or churches, to certify that the Way has been completed. You should bear in mind that the Compostela from Sarria can only be issued to pilgrims who arrived on foot or by horseback riding. The minimum distance for cyclists is 124.27 miles (200 km).
There are approximately 62.13 miles (100 kilometers) separating Sarria from Santiago de Compostela. This last part is shared with differen ways- the Northern Way and the French Way.
Each of the different stages of this part of the Camino has a distance of just over 12 miles (20 kilometers) that must be traveled daily, so the route can be completed in approximately 5 or 6 days.
Some pilgrims want to hurry their experience and do it in 4 days. Even though this is possible, it is advisable to take at least 5 days, to enjoy the experience to the fullest.
This route has its origin in the French Way, since many pilgrims who do not want to make the original pilgrimage or do not have time for it, decide to go for it. Compared to its original route with a distance of 764km, this one has only 111km of walking.
69 miles (111 kilometers) separate Sarria from Santiago. There are different stages where you will be able to see all the charm of Galicia and the magic of the Camino de Santiago. This is the final stretch and the point where different ways meet. Pilgrims come together to see their goal getting closer after several days, but it is also the starting point for many other pilgrims. It is recommendable to complete this route in 5 days. Even though it is possible to do it in less time, this is the best way to enjoy the Camino de Santiago calmly.
This is a very relaxed stage, with the only outstanding difficulty of a wavy surface during the firs 8 miles. The Church of Santiago is a good place to stop - it is decorated with the typical Santiago scallop shells. When you arrive in Portomarín, you will find points of interest such as the Escalinata or the Chapel of Neves.
On your second day you will find a hill up to Sierra de Ligonde (around the 7th mile), and then a gradual descent. When arriving to Palas de Rei, it is highly recommended to visit the Pambre Castle, only a few minutes away from the route and one of the most emblematic places of this section.
This is probably the most challenging stage of this way, but also the most rewarding one. It is the longest stage and it presents a hard surface, with ups and downs, making it diffitul to keep a regular pace. Actually, every year there is a half marathon in Melide (called "Os 21 do Camiño", where runners mix with pilgrims. You can enjoy both Melide and Arzúa's gastronomy - try the octopus in Melide, and cheese in Arzúa.
This is a beautiful stage with areas that pass in the middle of beautiful forests. In addition to admiring the nature and the rural roads, you will find places like the Fountain of Santa Irene, known by pilgrims as the "Fountain of Eternal Youth" or the beautiful surroundings of the Noa River waterfall.
Get ready for the wonderful feeling of contemplating the Cathedral of Santiago. From the 9th mile you can begin to see the Cathedral towers for the first time. You will cross part of the city after reaching the Monte do Gozo, the Fontiñas neighborhood and San Pedro street. You will notice how a spark of joy begins to be felt in your stomach with every step you take. As you walk, you can't help but smile while you feel the splendor of reaching the finish line in Plaza del Obradoiro and looking at the Cathedral.
Depending on your strength and your available days, you can complete your Way by extending it to Finisterre. This is the perfect closure to a wonderful experience, in a place so magical that it was considered the end of the world.
This itinerary starts from Santiago, has a length of 74.5 miles (120 km) and is distributed in 4 stages between 12.4 miles and 15 miles each (20 and 24 km). It is advisable to consider this option before starting the Way, so you have some foresight about the days you will need for this adventure. Whatever you decide, this extra stage of the route will undoubtedly add more incredible moments to your experience. Remember: the adventure of the Way of Saint James not only ends in Santiago.
Preparing for this experience depends on personal factors, but nothing should stop you from living this adventure. Each person is different and has their own needs. Going for a walk during the weeks prior to the Camino is recommendable to get fit. The section of the Camino that runs from Sarria is one of the busiest, and you will find pilgrims of all kinds experiencing this trip. If you are used to physical exercise (going to the gym or walkin regularly), you won't have problems to finish the Camino. The most common issues pilgrims experience are leg stiffness, backache (if you carry your backpack with you) or discomfort in their feet, due to the characteristics of the terrain.
Do not forget about the importance of the footwear that you will wear during the Camino. If you are going to invest money in the material that you will use on the Camino de Santiago, let it be in your footwear: it is essential that it be adequate and of quality, but also that it is not brand new. In case you buy some boots or sports shoes to do the Camino, remember that you should always use them before to mold them to your feet. Otherwise, you will surely suffer discomfort on the soles of your feet and blisters that can prevent you from reaching your goal.
As we said before, never forget the previous preparation, both in the days or weeks before starting this experience as well as before starting each daily stage. Especially if you are not used to exercise, it is advisable to do stretching and a brief warm-up before starting to walk. Do not forget to pay special attention to the calves and muscles of the thigh (quadriceps and hamstrings), since they are the main affected when walking for long hours.
This short route has an advantage that is often forgotten: a shorter duration implies less weight to carry on your back. Weather also has a great influence on this fact, since the needs of a winter climate are not the same as the summer ones. For this reason, it is very important to know what to take in your backpack
Depending on your preferences and the way in which you organize the trip, it is advisable to take earplugs (especially if we are going to stay in hostels with other pilgrims). A trekking stick is useful in case you are not used to walking on slopes.
Concerning clothing, it is recommended to wear polyester garments, as they are more comfortable, lighter and easier to dry and they are more breathable. Avoid tight clothes to avoid chafing, sores or blisters in sensitive areas of our body. You should consider the number of days you will dedicate to the Camino to know how many changes you will need. If you choose the Camino from Sarria, you will only have 5 stages to walk, so you won't need to overload your backpack.
Some other interesting elements to carry in your backpack are the following: toilet paper, tissues, sunscreen, a water bottle, sandals, a knife, vaseline to avoid blisters and a small first aid kit with the basic (bandaids, dressings, hypodermic needles, mercromine, pain killers, anti-inflammatories). Something useful to carry during the Camino is rosemary alcohol - it relieves pain of swollen feet and blisters.
The Compostela is just a complement to the many reasons why you should do the Camino de Santiago. Yet, it is also a memorable souvenir from this experience. You can get the Compostela if you walk a minimum of 62.12 miles (100 km) - leaving from Sarria, you will meet this condition. In order to get the Compostela once you arrive in Santiago, you will have to carry the pilgrim's credential with you all along the Way. It has to be sealed in each stage, in different points: monuments, hostels, establishments, etc.
To get your pilgrim's credential, you have different options with different schedules:
If you would like to do the Way of Saint James with your pet, the Camino from Sarria is undoubtedly one of the best options. Since it is an experience that doesn't last more than a week, it will be much easier for you and your pet to make such a journy. It will be an enriching experience that will unite you even more to your pet.
This route also has hostels and pensions that will allow you to stay with your pet, which will make things much easier when finishing each stage without setbacks. The average price per night ranges between 25 and 40 euros. Here you have a brief list with some of the pet friendly hostels along the Way of Saint James from Sarria:
SarriaPilgrims Hostel Paloma y Leña (Prado Novo, 4)
PortomarínHostel El Caminante (Rúa Sánchez Carro, 2)
Palas de ReiHostel Maite (Avda. Compostela, 90)
ArzúaPilgrims Hostel Vía Láctea (Rúa Xosé Neira Vilas, 26)
O PedrouzoHostel Codesal (Rúa Codesal, 17)
The French Way (Camino Frances) is the most popular one, but there are many other ways you should know.