Camino safety is important for everyone who walks. You want to be able to finish what you set out to do. These are our best tips to keep you safe as you walk the Camino de Santiago, and give peace of mind to your loved ones back home. Even with careful planning unexpected events can occur while you are on the Camino. Keep emergency contacts with you while you are walking.
- Take your phone and let it serve you on the Camino, rather than staying connected to work or distractions. Keep valuable information in your photo library and cloud storage.
- Keep Spain's emergency phone numbers handy in your phone.
- Find your home country's embassy contact information, and keep it handy in your phone.
- Know how to prevent and treat common Camino injuries. Download this free Emergency Medical booklet written especially for the Camino.
- Get this type of travel medical insurance.
- Have a translation app on your phone.
- Learn a little Spanish with a free app on your phone.
Will I Be Safe on the Camino?
What You Need to Know to Stay Safe
Most seasoned pilgrims will readily tell you they felt safer on the Camino than in their home towns. If you compare stats on violent crime you will understand why they feel this way. People living along the routes are generally helpful to respectful pilgrims. Incidents of violence are very rare.
What Type of Help Might I Need?
More often pilgrims need some help along the Way regarding injuries or illness. Be sure to train physically and touch base with your doctor before undertaking your journey. Take care of yourself as you walk by eating well and getting the rest you need. These excerpts from our Guidebook are full of valuable tips and emergency contact information.
Take Your Phone
Though some popular guide books might tell you to leave your smart phone at home, we disagree. There is good reason to observe a “technology fast” and unplug from your daily life schedule and routines while you walk. Your phone can serve you in many ways, rather than enslave you. It provides you with a valuable connection to transportation, lodging, and many types of help. You, and your family and friends back home, will appreciate the peace of mind that comes from having a way to call for help if you need it. Right now our favorite USA phone plan for international travel is TMobile.
Another good reason to have your phone is to have access to digital information about the Camino. We suggest you take photos of your passport and other important documents. Take your credit card numbers and contact information in case of loss or theft. We take photos of guidebook pages and maps to have available in our "photos library" for reference even when there is no internet available. Also, store copies of these important digital files in cloud storage in case something happens to your phone.
Emergency Contact Information for Camino Safety
Keep These Numbers Handy
- All emergencies: Call 112 (no area code needed)
- Municipal police: Call 092
- National police: Call 091
- Tourist police in Madrid: Call 91 548 85 37
- Emergency helpline in English: Call 902 102 112
- Your Country’s Embassy
Find Your Country's Embassy Contact Information
Most countries have several consular offices throughout Spain. However, emergency consular services to citizens are generally provided by the main embassy only:
- United States Madrid Tel: 91 587 2200; http://madrid.usembassy.gov/citizenservices/emergency-assistance.html
- United Kingdom Madrid Tel: 91 714 6300; https://www.gov.uk/government/world/organisations/british-embassy-madrid
- Ireland Madrid Tel: 91 436 4093; https://www.dfa.ie/irish-embassy/Spain/
- Canada Madrid Tel: 91 382 8400; www.spain.gc.ca
- Australia Madrid Tel: 91 353 6600; http://spain.embassy.gov.au/
- South Africa Madrid Tel: 91 677 53 51 46; http://www.dirco.gov.za/madrid/en/
- New Zealand Madrid Tel: 915 230 226; https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/embassies/
Safety Tips to Prevent or Treat Injuries
What do you do if you get sick? Or what if you are injured on the Camino? Knowing how to help yourself, and knowing when to go for help are important safety tips for your Camino. We have a favorite resource to recommend: Camino First Aid: How to Survive and Thrive (and Help Your Fellow Pilgrims) on the Camino de Santiago. It's downloadable free from our Camino Resource Library. Read through it as a worthy reference about preventing and treating the most common Camino injuries. You will be entertained and informed by the authors, Tom and Em Hill.
Subscribe to our email list, and you will receive access to our Camino Resource Library. Download the Camino First Aid book from the Library. Because it is digital, you can have it with you in your smart phone library to use as a handy reference if you need help along the way. It is full of great Camino advice in general, in addition to the professional first aid guidance with excellent diagrams. They help you diagnose your injuries, know how to treat them, and know when it is time to seek professional help from local medical personnel.
Travel Medical Insurance: Do You Need It on the Camino?
It's a good idea to have travel medical insurance in case something injury or illness. Minor medical treatments are not expensive in Spain even if you elect not to buy insurance. Non-EU citizens must be prepared to cover clinic and hospital bills. Canadian citizens should note that when booking their flights to Spain, travel insurance may be more expensive if you fly through the U.S. than if you fly directly to Europe from your home country. We look for a policy that includes coverage for the travel expenses connected to medical treatment, plus coverage for treatment for illness while you are traveling internationally. Consider what amount of risk and insurance coverage will give you peace of mind. You can purchase travel medical insurance from World Nomads. Get details below, or go to our page on Travel Insurance.
Safety Tip #7: Learn a Little Spanish
On our family’s first Camino journey, we stopped counting different languages we encountered at #17. The most common language spoken on the Camino is English, but it will be helpful to have a translation app on your phone.
The most common language used on the Camino is definitely English, but remember, after all, you are in Spain, and it is a nice gesture to learn how to say a few things to the residents along the Camino, and helpful to you as well. Speak as best as you can with a smile, and that will go a long way to show you are trying. Free apps are available to help you with this. You will hear many other languages along the Camino. In fact on our first trip we lost count at 17. Group interaction at pilgrim gatherings and meals often goes like this: A French native speaker says something in French to an Italian, who also speaks French, Italian and English, and the Italian translates into English, while a German, who also speaks English and French, translates the response back into French! It is great fun and all part of the Camino experience. Our Guidebook gives details about helpful translation apps available for your phone.