Skip to content

Posts from the ‘guidebooks’ Category

Wise Pilgrim App soon to go to print

unnamedThe much-liked Wise Pilgrim series created by Michael Matynka is now going to print, nearly 5 years after the first mobile application for the Camino was published. The series is very popular among those who choose to walk the Camino without a physical guidebook. It can be downloaded  on iPhone and Android and an app is available for most routes. I use the Camino Frances app while in Spain and it is great for letting me know how near the next town is and what accommodation is available. However, a printed copy will be great news for those of us (sometimes myself) who tend to forget to charge their phones before walking the following day. The guidebook is not expected to be heavy. About 100 city maps are due to be included and other information normally found in other guidebooks have been deleted. I look forward to it.

An IndieGoGo campaign has been created with backers receiving the first edition hot off the press.

With all the above said, if you still prefer to keep your guides on your smart phone, I would recommend you downloading one of the Wise Pilgrim apps – here. And if you would like to help out the IndieGoGo campaign and receive one of the first copies of the guidebook, you can read all about it – here.


It’s been a quiet week..

Hi folks. I am home from Santiago just over a week now and I have been hit with a bad dose of the Post Camino BluesI find myself waking up earlier than normal and also wondering what I was doing this time last week. My backpack is never far just in case I need to throw it on. I guess the only way to counter-act this dreaded condition is to meet with people who feel the same and keep writing.

In other news:

My 2016 Camino Finisterre in one page: I have just finished writing about my times on the Camino Finisterre. The link to each day can be found in the Camino Finisterre 2016 at the top of the page. I will be posting a more general post about that route in the coming days.

The LWIBloggies: The Littlewoods Blog Awards were held last night and the travel award was won by a smashing travel blog called Check out their site if you can. Congratulations to all winners on the night, they can be viewed hereI have quite bit of work to do to reach their level but I am happy plugging away here, doing what I love. And I’m delighted to have reached the final with all your votes.

A little look into the future: I have started browsing through the Brierley’s booklet for the Camino Portuguese. I really want to walk the Coastal route from Porto to Santiago, and then on to Muxia. This should take up to 18 days. Plans are afoot! It is meant to be a beautiful trail with very few peregrinos. That said, I missed the social aspect of the Camino Frances on the Camino Fisterra. Hmm…lots of decisions to make before the start of the New Year.

Dublin Festival of History: And finally, Dublin City Council are holding a number of free events from September 23rd to October 8th during the Dublin Festival of History. One such talk is “The Irish and the Camino de Santiago: 800 years of history” and is being held in Cabra Library on the Navan Road on October 6th. You must book in advance. Full details can be found here. So if you are from the area, it would be great to attend.

Google Maps of Albergues on the Camino Frances

If you wish to carry your mobile phone on the Camino, or have in the past, then the following resources may prove useful to you. Some argue that the information in Brierley’s book is sufficient but in this day and age when every ounce in your backpack is counted, there is a case for leaving it at home. I would be in that camp.

Below are links to maps of all albergues on the Camino Frances. The information is correct to December last. All details have been taken from which is an amazing website and I encourage you to visit that site when you are planning your Camino.

I didn’t include hotels, hostales, or pensions in these maps so I would advise you to check out or the spreadsheet of all accomodation on the Camino forum.

I will include this in my Camino links section, which you can access at the top of the blog. I hope the maps prove useful to you as they have for me.

Books & Guides – Some of my Favourites

There are literally hundreds of books written on the Camino de Santiago, fiction and non-fiction. Many are written by people who have returned from Spain and want to tell their story. 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.

download (1)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!! Details can be found here. Not only do I own the larger edition, I own the maps only guide for the Camino Frances. This can be more useful for those who are more familiar with the route. Details can be found 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 was originally written in German and has been translated. It’s becoming popular in recent year, but not near as popular as Brierley. The difference between this and other guides is you are provided with GPS points downloaded to your phone. Details found here.

download (7)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


download (2)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 afterwards 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. It is one of the more popular books written on the Camino and I would recommend it. Details can be found here.

download (3)Camino: Laughter and Tears along Spain’s 500-mile Camino De Santiago – John Clark
Traveling overseas and backpacking around Europe seemed like an out-of-reach dream for John Clark, until he learned of the Camino de Santiago in Spain, a 500-mile pilgrimage across the country that dates back more than 1,200 years. With encouragement from family and friends, never having traveled outside the United States, the self-proclaimed homebody from Texas hopped on a plane at age 53 alone and headed for the Iberian Peninsula. It wasn’t just the beginning of a month-long journey, but also, as he would discover, the beginning of a new life. Details can be found here.

download (4)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

51dxhBKOhML._AA160_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.

download (6)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.

51tuFBleHcL._AA160_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.

download (5)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 question unanswered. You can buy it on Kindle here.

Camino Guidebooks….

I have been on the Camino Frances three times now. I suppose one of the first things I decide on before going is “which way do I go”. Well, there are plenty of yellow arrows and it is next to near impossible to get lost. However, a lot of people, including myself, like to have some sort of guidebook to read up on where we are going, and where we have been. They are very useful and I would always carry some sort of book while there.

John Brierley’s books lead the way for most pilgrims. However,  it acts as some kind of bible for some people. Pilgrims tend to follow the start and end points in the book and miss out on the great little towns in between.


I brought this along on my first trip in 2011. It was pretty heavy, even though it contains pretty much “everything” related to the Camino. So for last year’s trip, I left it behind and brought along the Michelin guide. This is much lighter and contains maps and information on albergues. It is very much a stripped down Brierley guide and I used it every single day. At the time of writing, it is battered, worn and covered in notes in biro. The signs that it has done its’ job.


So I brought along this in 2012 and this year. I recommend it highly.

I have bought, this week, another Brierley guide which contains Maps and very small notes on each stage. It is 40 pages short compared to the original 250+ page book. However, the “recommended” stages are the same as the full guide and are different to the Michelin guide.


However, if you would rather not buy a guidebook and you want to keep your weight to a miniumum, I think would interest you. Or you can download a Smartphone app.  There are many different options.