We expect pilgrims to favour quieter routes such as the English and Finisterre Way over busy trails like the final 100km if the French Way. The idea of less people around us will make us feel safer and it will also mean that it is easier to maintain social distancing.
Although this will not be an issue while on the Camino itself, it will play a role when choosing our coffee stops and restaurants for the tasty ‘menu del dia’ or pilgrim’s menu. Large towns along popular Camino routes usually attract high numbers of pilgrims for rest breaks. It could mean hikers choose to stop outside of the traditional lunch stops, or in cafes and restaurants that have better social distancing measures in place.
We have seen an increase in self-guided trips as opposed to guided group trips as pilgrims feel safer walking in small numbers with family members or close friends rather than a large group of 20 people travelling from different parts of the world. People are also keen to reconnect and embark on reunion breaks with relatives where they can finally spend quality time together instead of talking through computer screens.
We expect a shift in demand towards private room accommodation with ensuite bathrooms (Hotels, rural houses and pensiones) over albergues which provide bunkbeds in dorms and shared bathroom facilities. All accommodation providers in Spain have introduced changes to reduce the spread of Covid19 as per the Spanish Government guidelines.
Food and Drink
Along the Camino, outdoor terraces of small cafes and restaurants will be more popular than inside as people feel safer outside. These outdoor areas which are an important part of the Spanish culture and lifestyle will see smaller crowds in order to adhere to social distancing rules.
Who knows, take away coffee on the Camino may become an option in bigger towns even though it goes against the idea of slowing down and taking time to enjoy your drink and views with fellow walkers.
Like in many other areas of life, we are experiencing unprecedented behavioural change and we will have to get used to some new ways of doing things. It will take a long time until we can shake hands or hug a fellow pilgrim on the Camino but a new way of expressing the special camaraderie will surely emerge such as singing or elbow bumping!
What it will not change in the future is the excitement and happiness the Camino experience brings to us and that unique way of greeting fellow travellers along the way with those two magic words that keep us going: “Buen Camino”.
To start planning your first Camino, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.