The Credencial or Pilgrim's Passport is one of the most important features of the Camino de Santiago. No walker or cyclist should start the Camino without it, since it is the document that accredits us as pilgrims (also known as the Credential).
Both personal and non-transferable, the Credencial grants us access to hostels and allows us to complete the Compostela, serving as irrefutable proof of our pilgrimage to Santiago. Today we shall clarify some of the issues regarding its origin, function and use, as well as where the Camino de Santiago Passport can be obtained.
What is the Credencial or Pilgrim's Passport?
The origin of the Credencial goes back to the Middle Ages, when every pilgrim was given a letter of safe passage that allowed them to travel freely and without risk along the Camino de Santiago. Since then this document has developed into a type of guide in which the pilgrim can record their journey.
Where can I get the Credencial?
Many pilgrims ask where or how they can buy the Credencial. There are a number of options available: the Passport can be obtained via the different Asociaciones de Amigos del Camino de Santiago de España (in Spanish), via associations abroad, in hostels and parish churches, and in the Brotherhoods of the Santiago Apostle. You can view the list here. Don't worry if you have still not obtained your Credencial when starting the Camino de Santiago. It can usually be provided at the first hostel or at tourist offices located at key points on the Jacobean Route. The price of the Camino de Santiago Passport ranges between 50¢ and €2. It can be obtained free of charge in hostels managed by the Friends of the Way Associations and in their local offices, in exchange for a donation for their efforts to maintain and improve the Camino.
In addition, pilgrims can apply for the Passport at the Oficina del Peregrino, located just a few metres from Santiago Cathedral at 33 Rúa Carretas. If you have any questions, you can contact us by email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do you use the Camino de Santiago Credencial?
The first page of the Credencial is used to fill out the pilgrim's details as well as displaying the stamp of the issuing body. The remainder of the document is filled with blank boxes which the pilgrim must use to collect the stamps that serve as proof of passage through the different stages of the Camino.
These stamps can be obtained in hostels, Asociaciones de Amigos del Camino, parish churches... and also at Correos. At certain branches you can even get special postmarks displaying images of iconic places from the area alongside the date of passage.
You can collect as many stamps as you want, although in order to present the Compostela upon arrival at Santiago Cathedral, there is a minimum requirement of having had your Credencial stamped twice daily throughout the last 100 kilometres for pilgrims travelling on foot or on horseback, and throughout the last 200 kilometres for those who travel the Camino by bicycle.
What is the Credencial for?
The Credencial for the Camino de Santiago serves a double function. On the one hand, it is the document that accredits us as pilgrims and grants us access to hostels. On the other hand, we can use it to complete the Compostela (which some also call Compostelana), the document that proves that you have completed the Christian pilgrimage by visiting the tomb of the Santiago Apostle.
How do you get the Compostela?
To receive the Compostela your Credencial must show that you have completed at least the last 100 kilometres to Santiago on foot or horseback, or at least the last 200 kilometres by bicycle. However, it isn't necessary to have completed the Camino in one go, but all locations must be accounted for. As such, we can undertake the Route in sections as long as it is taken up again from the place we left off. Skipping any stages between distances of 100km (200 km by bike) would not be considered a completion of the Compostela.
Other certifications for the Camino de Santiago
The Compostela is the only document that certifies the pilgrimage to Santiago. However, there are other certifications that may also be of interest to the pilgrim:
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¡Buen Camino! This is our wish at Correos! – that pilgrims can fully enjoy their Camino and discover new places, histories, people and experiences through our postcards.
We transfer your rucksack
So that you can travel light along the Camino de Santiago
We transfer your rucksack or suitcase from your accommodation at one stage to the next!! This way, your walk is more comfortable, your bag is lighter and you can enjoy every step of the Camino. We will take your luggage every day to your next hostel or hotel.
Bicycle transportation services
We send your bicycle to your starting or finishing point
Decide where you want to start the Camino and we will send your bicycle there from any branch of Correos. Once you finish the Camino de Santiago you can go to the nearest post office and send it back home again. Your bicycle will be insured and we package your bike without disassembling it.
For everything you want in or out of your rucksack
With our Paq Peregrino you can send suitcases or parcels to any point along the Camino (hostels, hotels, branches of Correos, etc) so that you have your personal belongings when you arrive. You can therefore have extra clothes or other items and not only the ones you carry along the Way. You can also send back whatever you have in your daily rucksack that you no longer need.
So that you have nothing to worry about other than just enjoying the Camino
Correos offers a prepaid card that is not linked to a bank account. In this way, you can defort walk the Camino without taking your credit or debit cards with you. You only have to put the money on the card that you are going to need and then top up again if your balance is low. This is a simple, safe and comfortable way of taking your money along the Camino.
Stamping Your Credential
So that you have the best stamps on your Pilgrim's Passport
Branches of Correos along the Camino de Santiago stamp your Credential or Pilgrim's Passport with our special stamps. Many of these stamps represent important tourist attractions from that particular place to help you remember your jorney.
Sending parcels along the Camino de Santiago
Send your parcels without having to go along to a branch of Correos!
You can send a parcel from any of the over one-hundred branches of CORREOS located along the Camino de Santiago and additionally from some of our “Tiendas Amigas del Camino”, a network of shops and accommodation from where you can send parcels any time of the day. This service will help you to get rid of things from your luggage that you no longer need. You can also buy souvenirs or some typical products without having to worry about carrying them with you.
Lockers in Santiago
So that you can freely visit the Cathedral or enjoy the city
Our Pilgrim's Office at Rúa do Franco, 150 metres from the Plaza del Obradoiro, has lockers. You can leave your rucksack, suitcase, bike or trekking pole before you go into the Cathedral or you can wander around Santiago without having to worry about your luggage.
To help you with anything you may need
We have over 150 branches of Correos along all the Caminos. We will be delighted to welcome you and help you with anything you need.