This post is sponsored by Moon Travel Guides.
Planning the 780 kilometre Camino de Santiago walk across northern Spain just got a whole lot easier. In April 2019 Moon Travel Guides released a new book – Moon Camino de Santiago: Sacred Sites, Historic Villages, Local Food & Wine in a format every walker will appreciate.
Back in 2007 when my daughter hiked the Camino de Santiago for the first time, it was next to impossible to find good information. I remember buying a book about walks in Spain as it offered up a page or two about the hike. That was all we could find in the travel section of a large chain bookstore. There was very little on the internet – unless you were adept at reading foreign languages. Now that Moon has published this book about the Camino, you can literally plan your entire trip from the comfort of your home.
What the Moon guidebook offers
The Moon guidebook accomplishes a lot in its 520 page, 8 X 5 inch format. It’s small enough and light enough that it can easily be tucked into your backpack for the whole Camino. And you’re going to want it every step of the way.
The book comes with a waterproof map that has been thoughtfully designed. On one side of the main map are four smaller maps – each covering around 100 kilometres of the route. The location of albergues, cafes, churches, bars, hotels and points of interest are all included. On the flip side of the map are four additional maps along with an elevation profile of the entire walk.
The Top 20 Experiences on the Camino de Santiago Walk
The book starts off with the Top 20 Experiences on the Camino. Photos, a short description and a link to the page where you can get more information are included. If you take a quick look at the book every day you won’t miss a single highlight. One of the newer highlights is a stop at the Bodegas Irache Wine Fountain for a free tasting of local red wine. The fountain, located at km 659.8, is turned on every morning at 9 AM.
The book is broken down into seven sections starting in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and finishing at Cape Finisterre. The day-to-day itinerary includes a description with mileage, suggested spots for meals, filling of water bottles and options of where to stay. If there are special events, they are mentioned. Cafes and accommodation that are particularly good are given a red star – so they’re easy to pick out as you’re thumbing through. Every few pages has at least one photograph to break up the book and make it visually interesting.
While I’ve never hiked the Camino myself, I’ve done enough long distance walks to know that getting into and out of larger towns and cities is fraught with route-finding issues. The book does a great job of helping you through the busy centres. A detailed city map is included – for example in Pamplona – with the Camino highlighted in red. Also included is a written description – Leaving Pamplona – in case you need more specific instructions.
Detours, festivals, villages and sacred sites along the Camino
If you’re not in a rush to knock off 30 plus kilometres a day, you’ll really appreciate the information throughout the book on detours worth making, festivals to hit, historic villages to linger in and sacred sites to see. There are write-ups on each of these with the location provided.
Essentials on the Camino de Santiago Walk
There is an entire section at the back of the book devoted to essential information about the Camino. You’ll find suggested equipment, a packing list, how far to walk, starting points – and super useful information including getting from the airport to the Camino. There is travel advice for solo trekkers, women travelers, LGBTQ+ travelers, and travelers of colour, senior travelers and even the Camino with children. A few pages devoted to useful Spanish words is also included.
I have spent several hours going through the book and am amazed at the attention to detail and the amount of work that has gone into it. As an author, I shudder to think of how much fact checking had to happen. And the detailed on-the-ground research is mind-boggling – but in the end that’s what made it the incredibly useful book that it is.
How much is the book?
As a parent I would have felt far more comfortable sending my 22 year old daughter out on a six week journey with this book in her backpack. While you can figure out the Camino on the ground, I think you’ll enjoy a far richer, less stressful experience with all the information you need at your fingertips. Kudos to Beebe Bahrami, the author on this excellent guidebook.
Disclosure: While this is a sponsored post, all thoughts and opinions about this exceptional book are mine.
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