If you decide to walk the journey of a lifetime on the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrim passport, the Camino de Santiago credential is an absolute must for the journey.
Most pilgrims purchase their passport at the start point of their journey. Pilgrim passports are usually available at cathedrals, other main religious buildings, and pilgrim accommodation. Which is why I was so delighted to pick up my pilgrim passport for my Portuguese Central Camino de Santiago at Porto Cathedral.
A Camino credential is needed for several reasons. Firstly, to gain access to special pilgrim albergues along the way. Secondly, many restaurants offer pilgrim dinners to pilgrims who hold a pilgrim passport; usually a three-course meal including wine for around €7.00 to €10.00.
If you walk the Camino, the most important function of the pilgrim passport is to record your journey along the Camino to prove how far you have walked as every Camino pilgrim who has walked the last 100km or cycled the last 200km is entitled to receive a compostela (certificate) if they can prove how far they have walked.
Your passport should be stamped at albergues, hotels, cafes, and restaurants along the way. I recommend that you have your passport stamped at least twice a day while you are walking the Camino.
When you arrive in Santiago, you can present your pilgrim passport at the Pilgrim Office and ask for your certificate. A forever memory of your Camino de Santiago.
Check out my book, A Wild Woman’s Guide to the Camino de Santiago for practical advice on preparing to walk the Camino de Santiago including snippets from my journey and stories from Camino pilgrims.