Today we introduce you to one of the most important items you should have with you during your journey on the Camino de Santiago: the ‘Credencial’ or Camino Pilgrim Passport.
What is the Credencial?
The Pilgrim Passport or Credencial is the official accreditation that identifies us as Camino pilgrims and where we can record our own personal journey. The Credencial has its origins in the ‘safe conduct’ letters that were given to pilgrims in the Middle Ages before they embarked on their pilgrimage to Santiago.
Recording our journey on the pilgrim passport is proof that we are Camino pilgrims, giving those organising their Camino independently access to hostels, and it is also the proof required to request your Compostela Certificate once you complete your journey.
The Camino Pilgrim Passport has 16 pages, including a page where you can enter your details, basic instructions, several pages with a grid for collecting stamps and a page with the pilgrim blessing and prayer, which were first published in the 12th century Codex Calixtinus.
Where can you get your Camino pilgrim passport?
The official Credencial is issued by the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela and can be obtained from the Pilgrim Office, Associations of Friends of Saint James in Spain and abroad and from tourist offices along the different routes. The cost of the Credencial is generally €2.
At JWT Camino we provide you with your pilgrim passport as part of our Camino de Santiago travel packages both self guided and guided.
From 2021, a digital version of this valuable document is also available to Camino pilgrims.
Where can I stamp my pilgrim passport?
You can stamp your pilgrim passport along the way in churches, hotels, restaurants, tourist offices, ‘albergues’ and even grocery stores.
Bear in mind if you are only walking the last 100kms or cycling the last 200kms you will need to have two stamps on your Credencial each day. If you are walking the whole route or a longer stretch you will only require one stamp per day.
Digital pilgrim passport
From 2021, it is also possible to stamp a digital pilgrim passport that you can download as an app on your phone and stamp using QR codes along the different Camino routes.
This is how it works in three simple steps:
-Download the app to your phone
-Along the Camino you will find ‘reception points’ with a QR code to scan with your phone in order to stamp your digital passport
-Each QR code along the reception points is unique
Why do I need a Camino pilgrim passport?
You will need to have your Camino pilgrim passport with all the stamps required if you’d like to request a Compostela certificate or a Certificate of Distance at the Pilgrims Office in Santiago de Compostela, having completed your journey.
If you are walking the Camino independently and staying in public hostels, the Credencial is proof that you are indeed a Camino pilgrim and is required to book a bed. If you are travelling with JWT this will not be necessary but it is a reminder of the importance of the Credencial.
The Camino pilgrim passport is also a lovely memento or souvenir of your time on the Camino de Santiago, reminding you of the different places you passed and towns you stayed on this great journey.
We hope you find this article about the pilgrim passport useful, contact our JWT Camino travel team for advice and more details about our Camino de Santiago tours.Contact Us