It is common for pilgrims to use a Pilgrim’s Passport. What is this document and what is it used for? All answers.

What is the Pilgrim’s Passport?

The Pilgrim’s Passport (In Spanish: Credencial del Peregrino) is the official document that identifies you as a pilgrim.  Each day the hostel/hotel you stay in will stamp your credential. When you get to the Pilgrim Office in Santiago, this credential proves where you started and how long you were on the road. If you want a Pilgrim’s Certificate at the end of your Camino, this Credencial del Peregrino is required. 

You also need this credential to stay in church and official hostels. Private accommodations along the way will sometimes give you discounts if you show your credential, too.

Do I need a Pilgrim Passport (Credencial) on the Camino de Santiago?

Yes and no. Of course you can walk the Camino without a credential, but then you have to rely on pensions, hotels and private hostels, which are not available in every stage town. In France, where the infrastructure consists largely of private accommodation, the Credencial del Peregrino (French: carte de pèlerin) is less important than in Spain. If you’re on a tight budget, you definitely need one, because it gives you access to the cheaper official hostels.

I highly recommend taking one with you. Plus, a credential full of stamps is a very nice memento.

Where can I get a Pilgrim’s Passport ?

I recommend ordering the pilgrim’s credential before you travel. Official credentials (the pilgrim office in Santiago only accepts certain ones) can be ordered from the Way of St James associations for a small fee. Sometimes hostels and churches in starting point towns (such as St-Jean-Pied-de-Port) also issue pilgrim passports – but they aren’t always reliable. To play it safe, order one ahead of time. 

You can order your credential from the following associations:

Confraternity of St James in the UK (£5.)

If you order a credential through here make sure you order it at least a month in advance.

The pilgrim friends of the hostel in St. Gallen will mail you a very nice pilgrim pass for 15 francs.

German St. James Society in Aachen (10 euros).

Against donation at the Freuden des Jakobsweg in Vienna.

How many stamps do I have to collect in my Pilgrim Passport?

Personally, I only get my credential stamped at the hostel I stay in each night. In other words, I only collect one stamp per day. Some pilgrims go stamp-crazy and fill their pilgrim passport with stamps from bars and restaurants, too. I never really got that!

If you just walk the last 100 km, the minimum distance needed to receive the official pilgrimage certificate, you should get two stamps a day. That is the official rule. But, anyone who has been on the road for a long time, who started in Seville, France or even at home, only needs one stamp per day for the famous last 100 km. No one at the Pilgrims› Office in Santiago will question the motivation of a pilgrim who has spent weeks trekking across Europe.

Pilgrim's Passport

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