Francis Tapon is one of the world’s most renowned hikers and backpackers. Author of Hike Your Own Hike, Tapon has traveled the world’s most famous routes, traveling tens of thousands of miles, taking even more pictures, and writing about his experiences for the world to see. Tapon wrote a poignant article on El Camino de Compostela after traveling for 50 days across Spain, detailing his likes and dislikes regarding the most famous pilgrimage route in Europe. In this article, we expound on each of the things he found as positives while traveling the Way of St. James.
1) You can take a shower and sleep in a bed everyday for just $5/day.
This is one of the main draws associated with El Camino de Compostela (The Way of St. James). Most travelers aren’t looking to rough it in the wilderness for 25 days. They want to enjoy the experience and can do so more easily with the inclusion of basic amenities, such as a daily shower and a nightly bed to sleep in. Additionally, for those with back issues, sleeping on the ground might be out of the question, so The Way of St. James offers an attainable challenge to tackle.
2) You don’t need to carry any food, because you’ll have access to cooked restaurant meals every few hours.
Similar to showers and beds, having locally cooked meals is a major draw to the international crowd found along this route. This offering accomplishes two benefits in one, allowing you to travel much lighter while enjoying much better tasting food.
3) You don’t even need to carry water! You cross a piped water supply about every 45 minutes. You won’t need to purify it either.
Unless you are a veteran hiker or backpacker, water supply and management can be a HUGE issue. You won’t have to worry about it here.
4) No need to carry your trash with you for days since you’ll pass a trash can about every 10 minutes.
While this could be seen as a negative by some, the convenience of easy access to disposal sites makes it simpler for the environmentally responsible to be… environmentally responsible.
5) As a result of all this, your backpack could be as light as 1 kg (2.2 pounds).
Hiking is much easier when you are carrying a lighter load. While you always have the option to carry additionally non-essentials, the Way of St. James will not require you to bear a heavy burden.
6) You don’t need a map or navigation skills, because the route is well marked.
We all have directionally challenged people in our life, people who can’t follow directions as simple as, “Go straight until you reach the massive yellow sign that says ‘Stop Here!’” Feel free to recommend this trail to those friends. And if that’s you we just mentioned, Congratulations! you just found your calling.
7) The wide path lets you walk side-by-side with your companion(s), making for easy conversation.
Almost anyone you ask will tell you that the social interactions found amongst an international crowd are what makes El Camino de Compostela so special. Whether it’s the wide paths or $5 hostels (called albergues), the route is tailor-made for obtaining memorable experiences with your fellow travelers.
8) You’ll never have to bushwhack.
This one’s pretty simple. If you don’t like bushwhacking, you’ll like this trail.
9) You’ll never have to hitchhike to resupply.
I think this one is pretty much a universal positive. No one wants to run out of supplies.
10) It’s flat, easy hiking nearly everywhere, with occasional gentle climbs/descents.
This hike is an incredibly accessible experience for everyone, from the young to the elderly. Anyone can have an amazing experience along The Way.
So there you have it… Frank Tapon’s 10 great reasons to head to Spain for your next backpacking or hiking trip. For those that don’t love the whole solo backpacking thing, I highly recommend checking out options for El Camino de Compostela tours. Happy Travels!
My name is Tiffany Olson and I absolutely love to travel. El Camino de Compostela is on the top of my travel list. I hope to make this trip sometime next summer and can’t wait for the opportunity.