El Camino de Santiago is an ancient pilgrimage route through Spain, ending in the historic city of Santiago de Compostela. The remains of the Apostle St. James are said to reside inside the Cathedral here, and thus El Camino de Santiago (also called The Way of St James) has long served as an important pilgrimage for those of the Catholic faith. Even before the discovery of St James’ final resting place, the path was used by Romans and Celts as trade routes and during expansion into Northern Spain.
Today, the Camino is walked by those from all faiths and backgrounds, and for various reasons. Inspired Adventures is proud to take people on this pilgrimage, from Sarria to Santiago, in support of their chosen charity.
But, you probably already know all that, seeing as you’re wondering what to do after you’ve completed your Camino. Well, read on for our best suggestions to make the most of your post-Camino time.
Get your Compostela certificate!
Your pilgrim passport, which you’ve diligently stamped along the way, is the key to proving you’ve walked at least the 100kms necessary to receive your Compostela. On a Camino walk with Inspired Adventures, your guide will arrange this for you. Otherwise, you’ll need to obtain your Compostela from the pilgrim’s office.
Explore Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela is a hopping, historic town, well worth at least a whole day following the completion of a Camino walk. There are myriad restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops in old town you could easily spend the day getting lost in. You can celebrate your completion with a cafe con leche, vinto tinto, or any of the delicious seafood dishes Galicia is known for.
And if you haven’t had quite enough walking, there are some fabulous free (tip-based) walking tours to give you better insights into the layers of history in Old Town Santiago de Compostela.
Check out Madrid
Madrid, the busting, historic, capital city of Spain is a fantastic stop before or after your Camino. The Royal Palace, Prado museum, Parque del Retiro and other green spaces are all well worth a visit. After you’ve walked up a hunger, wander down Calle Cava Baja for some of the best tapas in town.
Once you’ve hit all the major tourist sites, and eaten all the tapas and jamón you can, head to the rooftop of the Círculo de Bellas Artes for a spectacular view over Madrid and an affordable copa de cava. Admission is a few euro and it’s best to head up in early evening to catch the golden hour and sunset from this vantage point.
Unwind in Barcelona
Ah, Barcelona. The bohemian heart of Madrid. You could, and should, see some of the major historic sites of the city. And once you’ve ticked those boxes, find a cozy rental or hotel and let yourself get lost wandering in the alleys and laneways sans itinerary. A few of our favourite stops in Barcelona:
The Picasso Museum. From his early days, through the blue period, to his Cubist works you’ll see it all here. The museum is also housed in adjoining medieval palaces in the old city – all the more reasons to include this stop on your Barcelona list.
Park Güell. Green space meets architectural fantasyland in this park designed by the famed Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. You’re free to enter the park without a ticket, but if you want to get up close to the buildings in Monumental Zone, you’ll need a ticket for 7 euro, which is best purchased online to reserve a time slot.
Espai Mescladís is a favourite coffee or snack pitstop. They are a social enterprise cafe with a gorgeous, relaxed courtyard where your purchase supports their cooking school and environmental initiatives.
Hit the beach! If the season is right, you’ll probably never have a more well-deserved float in the ocean than following your El Camino walk.
Keen to trek Camino for a cause? Check out our upcoming El Camino adventures