Solo Safety Tips to Hike the Camino de Santiago

by | Nov 17, 2020

Architecture along the Camino de Santiago trail inSp
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Last updated on January 14th, 2024

Photo credit: Rebecca B

How to keep safety top-of-mind while walking solo

By Rebecca Brown, Guest Writer

I had an overwhelming desire to walk the way that pilgrims walked for centuries, years before the dots finally connected, and I got to experience a unique and unforgettable journey with some of the most amazing moments.

Of course, just like most women out there planning to travel solo, I instantly googled what a woman hiking alone can expect while exploring the network of pilgrimages leading to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

As I decided to push through some of my fears, I want to share my personal story with other women who are weighing whether they should hike the Camino de Santiago alone.

Statues of pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago trail

Fact Check

I was surprised to learn that almost half of the hikers walking the Camino were women! And more importantly, if you hike during high season in the usual walking hours, you are not going to be far away from the next pilgrim.

When I first got to the treks, I was amazed at how many people were on the trail. It was heartwarming to see that pilgrims meeting along the Way of St. James are very friendly and supportive. If you are feeling uneasy at any point, you can join small walking groups.

If You Go

What to Pack

  • Passport and health insurance information
  • Phone, charger, power bank, and a backup phone, if you can
  • Reusable water bottle and energy bars
  • Clothes that are breathable and moisture-wicking. Avoid cotton. Polyester and wool are better choices
  • A waterproof jacket and a hat
  • Sunscreen and bug repellent
  • First-aid kit
  • Sleeping bag

Where to Stay

Stay at one of the traditional albergues

What to Eat:

Galician Style octopus, known as pulpo á Feira
Galician garlic soup
Baked scallops

What to Drink

Orujo, a local brandy
Albariño, a local white wine

What gave me even more confidence was feeling a strong sense of camaraderie during my hike. Pilgrims would stop at any sign of another hiker needing assistance.

It may be comforting for you to know that the locals have been supporting pilgrims on the Camino for 1,000 years. As I learned during my journey, they are very happy and proud to welcome walkers and keep them safe along the way.

And there is another important fact to know: crimes along the Camino are extremely rare.

Bridge along the Camino de Santiago

A Well-Traveled Route Is the Way to Go

I picked one of the most popular sections – the Portuguese Way, so I could rest assured knowing others will be passing by often enough.

This was not my first solo trip, and I am not a fearful creature, but since I made my journey during a very sensitive time in my life, I have to admit I was feeling more confident staying within sight of others.

The Camino provided me with the perfect combo: I was enjoying the alluring sights alone, while still getting to meet some awesome people along the way. I even got to bond with one amazing woman on the trails, and we have been friends ever since.

When I analyze my experience now, I felt safe and secure along the entire route, and I experienced the friendliness and care from the residents of the towns I visited.

French Way, Camino de Santiago
Door along the Camino de Santiago trail

A Few Tips If You Are Traveling Alone

As I was going through a rough patch when I embarked upon this journey, I needed to disconnect from everything and focus on some soul searching and getting in touch with myself.

That’s why I wanted to spend most of the time discovering the trails of the Camino on my own. Still, to make sure my experience was a positive one, I decided to follow some general advice of more experienced female travelers:

  1. Pack Light: I packed only the necessary things, leaving the expensive stuff like watches and jewelry at home.
  2. Keep your belongings with you: Throughout my walk, I made sure my documentation and money were with me all the time, and always carried a charged mobile phone.
  3. Safety in numbers: As an extra safety measure, I was always within a shouting distance of other pilgrims and I avoided walking after sunset.
  4. Get a guidebook: If you plan to hike alone, getting a Camino guidebook can help you manage better while hitting the trails.
Sunset along the Camino de Santiago

Final Thoughts

When I completed the walk, I was so grateful I didn’t let fear stop me from enjoying magnificent places and soaking up the local culture. I enjoyed spectacular views of sandy Portuguese beaches, picturesque small villages, and met some amazing people while on the road.

While on my way home, I was going through all of the memories from this experience, and it was great realizing that when you dare to take upon an adventure and immerse yourself in life, you get to taste the fruits of your endeavour.

Whether you decide to walk for spiritual, cultural, or other reasons, exploring the Camino can strengthen you mentally and physically, and give you more confidence to embrace life and leave your comfort zone as often as you can.


Photos provided by Rebecca Brown

Need a Good Read About Spain?

Over the summer, our Book Club read and discussed Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in Andalucia, by Chris Stewart. Learn more about the book here or register for an upcoming book club event!

Follow JourneyWoman for curated articles, tips, news and content from our community and our partners.


  1. Dee

    I love this site, and am planning to walk the Camino way after my divorce.

  2. Nanci J Kersch

    I loved reading everyones stories about the Camino. I am going to Walk the Way of St. James in November on the Portuguese Way. I’m a Tropical girl but have my woolen and silk long-johns with me! I too, will let everyone know how I made out. I currently walk only 7 miles once a month with the SoFlorida American Pilgrim Camino group but am keeping up with my 5-6 thousand usual steps a day. I will take the Camino one step at a time. Thanks to everyone who have shared their stories before me. Ciao for now, Nanci J Kersch, Deerfield Beach Journeywoman member:-)

  3. gloria smith

    I’m a widow and have an insatiable desire to travel. When my husband passed away, I traveled to Portugal with my physician daughter who invited me to join her when she went for a sabbatical for her work. We eventually parted ways, and I continued on alone, traveling by rail through Italy and France.
    Last fall I joined a seniors tour to Viet Nam and Cambodia; again, traveling alone albeit within a tour group that afforded the option of participating in as little or as much as an individual choice.

    I’m physically active, reasonably fit, and in relatively good health, and trying (unsuccessfully) to ignore the nagging allure of the Camino

    My home is in Toronto Canada; I don’t want to do this trip in the heat of summer, so I’m thinking early fall – while weather is still relatively warm and dry.

    I would appreciate any/all information and/or suggestions you have to offer.
    thank you


We always strive to use real photos from our own adventures, provided by the guest writer or from our personal travels. However, in some cases, due to photo quality, we must use stock photography. If you have any questions about the photography please let us know.

Disclaimer: We are so happy that you are checking out this page right now! We only recommend things that are suggested by our community, or through our own experience, that we believe will be helpful and practical for you. Some of our pages contain links, which means we’re part of an affiliate program for the product being mentioned. Should you decide to purchase a product using a link from on our site, JourneyWoman may earn a small commission from the retailer, which helps us maintain our beautiful website. JourneyWoman is an Amazon Associate and earns from qualifying purchases. Thank you!

We want to hear what you think about this article, and we welcome any updates or changes to improve it. You can comment below, or send an email to us at [email protected].

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *