How it Works:

Documenting Your Camino

This page covers what you need to know about documenting your Camino journey. You will want to know about two important pilgrim items:

The Compostela
The Credencial

Photo of six different Credenciales, or pilgrim passports, from the Camino de Santiago in Spain and France

Photo of the Compostela given in pilgrims who complete the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, from 2016

The Compostela

The Compostela is the certificate issued by the Catholic Church that acknowledges that a pilgrim has completed the Church’s requirement for making the pilgrimage to Santiago. Specifically, to qualify to receive the Compostela, a pilgrim must walk at least the last 100 kilometers into Santiago, or cycle at least the last 200 kilometers into Santiago.

The 100 kilometers can be on any of the several Camino routes, but they must be the last 100 kilometers of the route that bring a pilgrim to the Cathedral in Santiago.

The other requirement to receive the Compostela is that when asked the purpose of one’s pilgrimage, the answer must be for religious or spiritual reasons. Someone completing the journey for cultural or recreational reasons will receive a different certificate which acknowledges their journey, just not as a pilgrimage.

In order to receive the Compostela, the pilgrim presents the Credencial, or Pilgrim’s Passport, to the Pilgrim’s Office in Santiago. There is no cost for the Compostela, although donations are gladly accepted. You can get a document tube to protect your Compostela for €1, available at the Pilgrim’s Office and shops in the area.

The Credencial

Pronounced cray-den-see-AL

The Credencial (in English, the Credential) is also known as the ‘Pilgrim’s Passport’, and it serves the dual purpose of documenting the pilgrim’s journey, and granting access to the pilgrim hostels, or albergues, along each of the Camino routes.



Photo of two pilgrim passports, or Credenciales, from the Camino de Santiago in France and Spain

Pilgrim Associations

Here are the links for the Pilgrim Associations for the English-speaking countries:

England / Scotland

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