FAQ’s – Frequently Asked Questions
Please browse this section and our “Useful Info & Travel Tips” section carefully before contacting us with questions.
Please browse this section and our “Useful Info & Travel Tips” section carefully before contacting us with questions.
There are 2 basic requirements on arrival at the Pilgrim’s Office in Santiago
You will have to present your pilgrim’s passport (credencial de peregrino in Spanish) to demonstrate that you’ve walked at least the final 100 km into Santiago. This document will have been duly stamped and dated at least twice a day in Galicia (once a day before reaching Galicia is OK).
You will be asked whether you have done the Camino for either “religious” or “spiritual” reasons. If you answer “no”, you will be given a different certificate, issued by the Santiago city hall (not the Cathedral) not written in Latin, etc.
The Confraternity of Saint James has a good description of the history andcurrent significance of this interesting document, at http://www.csj.org.uk/compostela.htm
Toiletries, small towel, a change of underwear, socks and wicking layer shirt, a warm fleece jacket (night temps at altitude are low!), travel sheet/sleeping bag liner and pillow case, etc.
On the Pyrenees Trekking trip, most days we stay at hotels and only 2 nights at mountain huts. Huts provide warm blankets and pillows, so a sleeping bag is not necessary. However, some people prefer to bring a very light weight one anyway. No matter what, we recommend bring your own travel sheet/sleeping bag liner and pillow case, these items weigh very little.
You must pay any applicable charges to ensure we receive the full amount due for the trip. When paying by PalPal using non-euros currencies, you must add 3.4% to the amount due to cover the service charges PayPal applies to cross-currency payments. If you pay by bank transfer, just ask the bank to ensure the payment amount is received in full – and that you pay for any applicable charges.
We can only accept payment in euros. This is easy to do. When paying by PalPal, just enter “euros” as the payment currency unit and the system automatically calculates the amount in your local currency. This is the amount you will pay. If you pay by bank transfer, just ask the bank to ensure the payment in received in euros – they will charge you the equivalent amount in your local currency.
This is a very personal matter and it depends on which trip you’ll do (see below). No matter what, comfort and support are key. Keep in mind you’ll be walking 5 or more days consecutively. Also, mud and water may be present on any of the trails, so Gore-tex or a similar breathable waterproof membrane is recommended, at least for the main pair (see below). In addition, we recommend a second lighter-weight, more breathable pair of footwear for walking on dry days or if you have a blister. Some models of sport sandals can fill this role. Lastly, make sure your main pair are well-broken in or you’ll be asking for blister trouble! Flat-soled tennis-type/basketball-type/skateboard-type sports shoes/sneakers are inappropriate for walking along any of the trails used by Iberian Adventures. Our general recommendations are:
Camino de Santiago trips: lightweight walking/hiking boots or shoes of the waterproof/breathable cordura/leather variety with stiffened vibram-type soles, for protection against the elements and comfort over a wide range of environmental and trail conditions. For most people, a high level of ankle support is not so important on the Camino as trail conditions are relatively easy.
Mountain Area “Hiking/Trekking/Walking” trips: you should use somewhat stiffer boots (very rigid boots are not advisable since you will not be carrying heavy packs and use of crampons is not necessary) with good ankle and lateral torsion support, a big difference in your comfort and safety when the trail gets a bit rougher – unavoidable at some point on all walks or treks through mountain and rural areas.
In Spain, the credencial is widely available at the main cathedrals, certain churches and many pilgrim’s refuges along the Way, generally for a recommended donation of €0,75. In our route notes we will explain how to do this at the start point town. You’ll just need to take your passport.
It is also possible to get one before leaving home, through a local Association of the Friends of the Camino de Santiago; through a church, or via the UK’s Confraternity of St. James
We use the word “hiking” to refer to walking in the mountains on day excursions – meaning you return to your hotel to sleep at night. “Trekking” refers to trips where 1 or more nights are spent in mountain huts, requiring you to carry a bit more gear and being prepared to sleep in less comfortable conditions (bunk beds, simpler toilet facilities, etc.). “Walking” is a term used in the UK – when others might use “hiking”.
Pyrenees Trips – On the Guided Pyrenees Trekking trip, on the first 2 days our routes take us up from 1300 m to near 2000 m. In the following days, we’ll be spending 2 nights in mountain huts at 2587m and 2200m. We reach our highest elevation on day 6 when we cross the border from France back into Spain through a pass at 2805m. On the Pyrenees Multi-Sport trips, we’ll be enjoying activities at anywhere between 1000 and 1800m.
Sierra de Gredos Trips – On the spring-autumn itinerary, the walks from the northern valley base range anywhere from 1200 m to 2000 m; on the second part of the itinerary on the southern side of the range, most of the time you’ll be walking at 500 – 1000 m. On the summer itinerary, you will probably spend most days hiking between 1800 and 2200 m.
We schedule our trips in the central Pyrenees from mid-June to mid-July, when the weather is generally stable and most of the snow has melted from the trails at high elevations. From mid-July to August, the probability of late afternoon thunder storms rises. Down in the valleys the daytime temperatures can exceed 30ºC, but at the elevation where the mountain huts are located it will be cold at night, down to near freezing. Please see our weather section with links to various websites with forecasts to our main hiking and walking areas.
As part of your holiday package, we provide you with a Spain-based contact person(s) who can always be reached by cell (mobile) telephone. This person can be called at any time if you need to resolve any questions or problems regarding your tour. However, please be aware that cellphone coverage is not 100% in Spain, and there may times when either you or the Iberian Adventures contact is temporarily unavailable. If you do not receive an answer, leave a message and you can be assured that you will receive an answer shortly.
There can be days when there are no available accommodations at the end of a walking stage and a taxi is required to get to your hotel. In this case we provide instructions on where & how to find a taxi near the walk end point. Hundreds of our clients have done this with no problem so don’t worry, it’s easy! You pay the taxi yourself, usually approximately 15€ per taxi (up to 4 passengers). In this case, the following morning you will be returned (at no cost) to where you stopped walking the previous day.
On certain itineraries, the 1st day of walking requires a short taxi transfer from your hotel to reach the walk start point. On other days, a taxi may be required to return to the end point of the previous day’s walk. In these cases, we pre-arrange the taxi (time detailed in walk notes) and the cost of the transfer is included in your tour price (unless the itinerary specifically states otherwise).
Once you begin the walking days of your tour, if your itinerary involves walking from one hotel to another, your luggage is transported for you, usually by taxi or sometimes by hotel staff. Just leave your bags down by reception or the front desk when you check out in the morning (by 8:30 am for Camino de Santiago), before leaving the hotel to start walking. When you arrive in your new hotel that afternoon or evening, you will find your bags waiting for you. Due to space restrictions, each participant is limited to one medium-sized piece and a small carry-on bag.
After payment of the deposit, we’ll send you:
After payment of the trip balance, we’ll send you:
When you check in to your hotel on the first night of the tour, you will receive it from hotel staff
This concept enables you to enjoy your holidays without the restrictions and constraints one has as a member of a group on a “guided” trip. You start each morning whenever you like, walk at your own pace and stop wherever you like along the way. We provide the logistical support to make it work.
Unless you expressly request a single room, we will do our best to match you with someone of the same gender to share a twin room, in which case you will pay the twin room price. If we cannot find anyone else for you to share with, you will have to pay the supplement for a private single room.
Not a problem! Many participants on our tours sign up entirely on their own. Our guides are experts at making cohesive groups, group dynamics is usually great and participants end up making long lasting friendships.
The average age of participants on our tours range from 45 to 65. We have sometimes teenagers accompanying their parents and adults over 80 who are in very good shape. The gender gap is fairly evenly split with slightly more women than men. About 40% of participants sign up alone, 40% sign up with a partner, and 20% as a family
Along the Camino routes we start the first day with a warm up of about 8 to 12km. and progressively lengthen the walks to 15, 18 and 20 or 24 km per day.
You just have to let us know what are your special requirements about your diet and we will take care of it.
On Guided Camino de Santiago trips, we have a support vehicle that is available for you to hop on to when you need. On mountain trips, if it occurs during the hike or other activity, our professional guide will do their best to treat your injury and help you to complete the itinerary if possible. Obviously on self-guided trips you will have to treat your own blisters and rest as needed!
You must make your own way to the tour start point hotel and from the end point hotel onward. The 2 principal ports of entry into Spain are Madrid and Barcelona, served by air from many international cities.Except for our Pyrenees trips (meeting point is Barcelona), you’ll need to take a domestic plane, train, bus or taxi to the start point. In most cases of train and bus travel, prior bookings are not necessary as these are not heavily trafficked routes and tickets can be purchased locally shortly before departure time.
Camino de Santiago trips: If the start point city is León, it is best reached by air from Madrid and Barcelona on Iberia Airlines (www.iberia.com), or by train (www.renfe.es) from Madrid and other Spanish cities. The León airport is a 15 min (20€) taxi ride to the city centre. The León train station is a 5 min (10€) taxi ride to the city centre.
If the start point city is Sarria, it is best reached by air to Santiago de Compostela (see end-point below) and then by bus via Lugo (change bus required) (min. 3 hrs/ approx. 12€ – we provide timetables). We can arrange a taxi pickup at the Santiago airport (approx. 2 hrs/ 90€ – 2014 price, paid directly in cash to the driver). It is also possible to reach Sarria by train (www.renfe.es) from Santiago or León, although connections are limited.
For other start points such as Burgos, Pamplona or St. Jean Pied du Port, please consult us.
The end point – Santiago de Compostela airport has flights on several Spanish carriers including Iberia & Air Europa, as well as Ryan Air and other foreign airlines, to Madrid, Barcelona and various other Spanish cities. There is also train and bus service to Madrid and other destinations. The Santiago airport is a 15 min (20€) taxi ride from the city centre.
Pyrenees Hiking & Multisport trips (guided trips only): in 2014, the start & end point is Barcelona and/or Bilbao (several airlines fly in and out of Bilbao to major Spanish airports and some European destinations).
Sierra de Gredos Trips: To reach Avila – the start point city ‑the most convenient way is to fly into Madrid’s Barajas Airport. From Madrid, Ávila is best reached by train (about 75 min. / 20€). There are several departures daily. From Madrid’s Barajas Airport, a 15″ taxi transfer gets you to Chamartin Railway Station to catch the train. See timetable on RENFE’s website (www.renfe.es).
There are bus services back to Madrid (about 2 hours / 15€) from San Esteban del Valle or Arenas de San Pedro, the end point of the spring-autumn itinerary. The end point of the summer itinerary is Avila (you will be taken there by taxi from Hoyos del Espino ) – take a train back to Madrid. We can also arrange a taxi transfer all the way back to Madrid from your last night’s inn or hotel.
We do NOT provide airport transfers as part of our standard tour packages. However if necessary, we can arrange a local taxi or minibus service for airport / train or bus station pickups and transfers, as well as transfers between major Spanish cities, etc. and tour starting / ending points. Please consult us
As an example, on our self-guided trips, with payment made direct in cash to the driver.
Camino de Santiago self-guided trips
Sierra de Gredos self-guided trips
No. You’ll have to arrange these on your own:
Flights – For international flights, consult your local travel agent or use an on-line booking portal. Carriers serving domestic airports in Spain as well as some European destinations include Iberia (www.iberia.com); Air Europa (www.aireuropa.com), RyanAir (www.ryanair.com); EasyJet (www.easyjet.com); AirBerlin (www.airberlin.com) and Vueling (www.vueling.com).
Train - Spanish National Railways is called RENFE. Train tickets can be purchased 60 days or less in advance on their site (www.renfe.es) or locally.
Bus - ALSA is the principal bus company in Spain, go to www.alsa.com for timetables and advance ticket purchase. If you can’t find your destination please consult us as some areas are served by other companies.
We recommend that you reserve your place on the trip at least 4 months in advance to ensure a spot on your selected trip and date, as the number of places is limited.
Yes, you MUST provide proof of travel insurance in order to participate in our trips. This type of insurance is relatively inexpensive and in addition to emergency medical assistance, such policies should provide cover specifically for the activities you’ll be doing on your trip and would typically cover you if you are unable to walk or cycle due to illness or injury. Extremely important is cover for trip cancellation (if you have to cancel prior to departure due to illness or injury, etc.) and travel disruption (during the trip);
We consider adequate travel insurance to be essential and we require you to provide us with details of your policy (insurer, policy number and medical emergency telephone number) so that we can assist if the need arises while you are on our trip.
You should ensure that the insurance cover you purchase covers the activities Iberian Adventures provides during your holiday and is adequate for your particular needs. We will not accept liability for any damage, costs, losses or expenses which you incur as a result of your failure to do this.
Our walks and hikes have been completed by many others before you. Chances are good you can do it too, provided you are not extremely overweight or have other health issues that preclude you. If you are not currently physically fit, you may need to establish a training regimen to make your trip more enjoyable. See our advice on Fitness Preparation for some pointers. Also, check our difficulty level rating to make sure you are choosing a trip that is appropriate to your physical condition.
Please see our Notes on Clothing and Equipment and our Suggested Packing List