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Damian Corrigan

Walking the Camino de Santiago with Kids?

By November 19, 2012

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I received a message recently from someone who wanted to walk the Camino de Santiago with his 12-year-old son. He wanted to know if it was a crazy idea or if he should go ahead with the planning.

When I walked the Camino, in March and April, I didn't see any children on the way primarily because they would have all been at school. I don't know how many children walk the Camino in the summer months (which is when this father wanted to walk), but I think the problem here would be that the summer months get so busy, with huge crowds racing to get to the refuges before the other pilgrims. I have heard of people getting up at 5am to arrive first. This sounds like a horrible experience to me - I can't imagine how a 12-year-old would feel about it.

Have you walked the Camino? Did you walk with children or see any on your way? What did you think? Share your experience below!

See also: Camino de Santiago Guide

Comments
November 20, 2012 at 8:04 pm
(1) Joseph and Gordon says:

We walked the Camino last year from September through October. It was incredibly hot and to be truthful,very rugged and rather dangerous. Add to that people on mountain bikes who have made it some sort of endurance race. It appeared that any religious significance attached to the Camino has pretty much disappeared. Witness the scores of hikers lying around in front of the Cathedral in Santiago who would never consider venturing inside. We are adults and I would question the wisdom of taking any child on the Camino. There are other places to walk all over the world which are probably more scenic and less treacherous.

November 21, 2012 at 12:22 am
(2) Jenny says:

I have walked 3 caminos and would simply love to walk the last part 100 kms with my 12 year old grandson, but finances don’t permit. I would encourage anyone with children to include them in the experience. I cannot believe the jaded view shown in the previous comment. The Camino is one of the safest places to walk and pilgrims walk mainly on gravel paths. I have seen many families walking the Camino and most children seem to love the experience. I also worked as a hospitalera in October and many families stayed at our albergue. The youngest child one 8 years old from Canada and the oldest one was 15 years old from Korea. They all appeared to be having a wonderful time. Recently a family of 8 from New Zealand walked from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago with their children ranging from 6 to 11 years old, plus grandfather of 83.

February 16, 2013 at 8:14 pm
(3) Kathy Hansen says:

I walked from Barcelona to Santiago then took a bus to the end of the world. This I did to celebrate my 60th birthday. It was a wonderful experience and I am proud of myself for finishing. It was hard at times easy at others over all great. I hope to start in France next time and finish in Barcelona so I can say I walked the entire way.

February 16, 2013 at 8:37 pm
(4) Kathy Hansen says:

I walked from Barcelona to Santiago then took a bus to the end of the world. This I did to celebrate my 60th birthday. It was a wonderful experience and I am proud of myself for finishing. It was hard at times easy at others over all great. I hope to start in France next time and finish in Barcelona so I can say I walked the entire way. I am glad I went….

January 1, 2014 at 5:41 pm
(5) Will Shepard says:

We hiked 600 km of the French route from the middle of June to the middle of July 2013 with three children. Our oldest son is 11, our daughter was 8 and we had a 8 month old in a hiking stroller. We found welcoming helpful people everywhere we were. The terrain was not very difficult although the rocks did present some obstacles for the strollers. We bused passed the meseta since we heard that it gets up to 40 degrees Celsius during the summer and there is little shade. We all enjoyed the camino so much that we are going back this summer at the beginning of June to do the meseta before it gets too hot to complete the whole route.

What is nice about taking the camino Frances with children rather than the smaller caminos such as the Primitivo or the Aragones is that there are more albergues to stay at along the path. They were roughly speaking 5 to 10 km between them which is not the case on the less traveled caminos. This allowed us to hike between 15 to 20 km per day rather than 30 km which is what many of the guide books suggest that people should walk. Thus my children did not get worn out and my wife and I avoided any major injuries. Our children did not get a single blister between using good liner socks as well as their hiking socks and I guess because they are so light upon their feet. My children loved the pilgrimage and thought every day was a new adventure. As for me, it gave me hours of quality time with my children that I would not have had otherwise since the older two are so independent at home.

January 26, 2014 at 11:21 pm
(6) Brenna says:

I would love to do this with my child. Thanks Will for the encouraging post!

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