What is a credential? How can we get a credential?
The credential or pilgrim’s passport as it is often called, is the most important document you need on the Camino de Santiago. You can often purchase these for a couple of euros within a town along the path at either a travel agency or church. With the credential, allows access to sometimes free accommodations or cheap albergues/hostels along the way.
Pilgrim Passport and patch from Cutie on The Camino
Where can I get stamps (sellos) for my credential?
The pilgrim is meant to carry this passport and get it stamped . Sellos or stamps can be obtained at most hotels and inns, restaurants and bars, churches, museums, city halls, police stations and at all albergues. If you’re wondering what the sellos look like, you might check out the site Los Sellos del Camino (Spanish).
A note about sellos: Generally one sello per day is sufficient but the Pilgrims’ Office in Santiago advises that all pilgrims should obtain two per day during the final 100 km if on foot or the last 200 km if on bicycle. On the francés this would be Sarria (112 km) or Ponferrada (205 km) respectively. Please note that this applies even to pilgrims who have started outside the 100 and 200 km limits.
The credentials and stamps are very important to the Camino de Santiago. This is to keep a record of travel and to prove completion of the Camino. Upon showing proof of completion to the Pilgrim’s office in Santiago de Compostela, the pilgrim will receive the Compostela, the certificate of completion.
What is the Compostela?
In most cases peregrinos will be interested in obtaining the ‘official’ documentation for having completed the Camino whether or not they are walking the Camino for out and out religious reasons. The words used on the Archdiocese’s website are: “devotionis affectu, voti vel pietatis causa” – “the motivation being devotion, vow or piety”. This document is called the Compostela .
To obtain the credential you must find the Pilgrim’s office in Santiago de Compostela ( Pilgrims’ Office, Rúa Carretas, 33). You can obtain your Compostela by presenting yourself, some form of official identification (like your government-issued travel passport) and your completed pilgrim’s credential. Remember: you must have documentation showing that you have walked at least the last contiguous 100 km (or cycled the last 200 km). Many hikers tend to start in the small city of Sarria, which is located along the Camino Frances route. It is a very popular starting point for many hikers since it is easily accessible by bus and rail from many cities in Spain and as well, many people generally do not have the time to complete a longer Camino de Santiago.