There are hundreds of books and guides written on the subject of the Camino de Santiago, fiction and non-fiction. Many are written by people who have returned from Spain and have a story to tell. There are also guides, written to help future pilgrims. I usually get recommendations from Amazon and read them on Kindle. Here are some of my favourites. This list is by no means a “best of”. I am sure to have left out many others, so please let me know some of yours. I’m also searching for new reading material.
John Brierley’s Pilgrim Guide Books
The “bible” of the Camino. It has some great information about destinations, terrain, albergues. I would seriously recommend you buy this if you are starting your preparations, but don’t follow his lead verbatim. It is your Camino after all!! Not only do I own the larger edition, but I also own the maps-only guide for the Camino Frances. This can be more useful for those who are more familiar with the route. You can find details here.
Camino de Santiago – Practical Preparation and Background by Gerald Kelly
Gerald’s guides are fantastic. Not only does he provide a guide about the Camino Frances, but only on the Aragones, Baztan, and Via de la Plata. Check out his site here. You can also buy his guide in print form. He goes into great detail about history as well as how to get there and common questions asked. All he asks for in return is €2.00.
Camino de Santiago – Way of St James from the Pyrenees to Santiago – The Rother Walking Guide
I have used this guide for my previous two Caminos. It has been translated from German and it is becoming popular in recent years. Once purchased, you are provided with GPS points which can be downloaded straight to your phone. You can find details. here.
Cuaderno del Peregrino – Camino Frances
Not only is this incredibly compact (it fits in your pocket), but it provides you with plenty of pages to write notes. There are maps showing each village and a list of each albergue. I use it to take note of any recommended town or albergue for my next adventure. Recommended to me by L over on Somewhere Slowly. Details here
Buen Camino! Camino de Santiago: A Father-Daughter Journey from Croagh Patrick to Santiago de Compostela – by Peter & Natasha Murtagh
This is the story of an Irish father and his 18-year-old daughter and their 900-kilometre walk together across northern Spain along the ancient pilgrim route to the tomb of St James. Peter and Natasha’s journey starts in Ireland by climbing Croagh Patrick, before setting off immediately afterward for the Pyrenees in France. There, they start walking the Camino to Santiago de Compostela. I bought this a few years back on Kindle first and then in print. Details can be found here.
Camino de Santiago in 20 days – My Way on the Way of St James – Randall St. Germain.
Camino de Santiago In 20 Days tells of Randall’s journey on the French Way. His walk was not only one of personal enlightenment, but it was also a challenge. He walked an average of 26 miles for 20 days straight. He also carried a backpack that weighed about 30 pounds. This is a book about really walking the Camino de Santiago, unlike anything presently out there. I found the book funny and entertaining. I wouldn’t encourage anyone to walk the Camino in that time frame however. Details can be found on his blog www.caminomyway.com
Walk with the Sun Till Ur Shadow Disappears – Terry McHugh
This book is written over the course of two Caminos as the writer cut short his first pilgrimage due to injury. I’m a big fan of this as it is written from the heart and you can really feel it. All proceeds have gone to charity which is another great reason to buy the book. It is partly a journal, a guide, and a history book. On reading, any prospective pilgrim will find the story and information helpful. Details can be found here.
A Million Steps by Kurt Koontz
Kurt Koontz thought he was well prepared for his 490-mile walking trip on the historic Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain. He was fit and strong. He had a good guidebook and all the right equipment. His pilgrim passport would grant him access to the shelter of hostels along the way. But all that, however helpful, did not begin to encompass the grandeur of his external or internal adventure. A Million Steps climbs over the high meadows of the Pyrenees, quests through the unceasing wind of the Meseta, and dances in the rains of Galicia. While following the yellow arrows that mark the route, Koontz also navigates through his personal history of addiction, recovery, and love. Details here.
I’m Off Then: Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino de Santiago – Hape Kerkeling
Overweight, overworked, and disenchanted, Kerkeling was an unlikely candidate to make the arduous pilgrimage to Santiago. But he decided to get off the couch and do it anyway. Lonely and searching for meaning along the way, he began the journal that turned into this utterly frank, engaging book. Massive in Germany, the translation in English made this a worldwide hit. The film will be out shortly, I believe Details on the book here.
Pilgrim Tips & Packing List Camino de Santiago: What you need to know beforehand, what you need to take, and what you can leave at home – by S Yates.
The title tells you everything. The book is a one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about packing. There are also some great tips and I can’t see this book leaving any questions unanswered. You can buy it on Kindle here.