Beautiful and unique gifts for pilgrims-to-be and memorabilia for pilgrims already finished with the Camino.
Buying presents can be hard especially for pilgrims. Many peregrinos while walking realise that they need very little in life. They live off a backpack for several weeks and stick to a routine of the Camino — wake up, eat, walk, sleep. Thus material things are no longer as important as before. However, there are practical gifts that can make the walk more comfortable. Plus, as you may know, it is highly advisable not to carry more than 10% of one’s body weight in the backpack. In order to travel with as little as possible, peregrinos are hesitant to purchase gifts for friends and family or souvenirs while walking the difficult trail.
However, would you still like to cheer up your favourite pilgrim? Then this list of top 13 things for Camino de Santiago pilgrim is the best place to start when shopping around.
I picked small and big pragmatic gifts and memorabilia, which are suitable for soon-to-be pilgrims as well as veteran pilgrims.
1. One-of-a-kind Camino de Santiago t-shirt
This list kicks off one of the most pragmatic gifts you can ever give — a t-shirt. Although, it’s a simple t-shirt in the Camino colors, blue and yellow, the unique scallop shell motif makes it very special to any pilgrim. It’s tightly linked with the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage and the ever-present scallop shell symbol leads The Way. Wearing this t-shirt, pilgrims can proudly show off their love for the Camino.
Camino t-shirt is a cotton poly mixture, which is comfortable to wear. It can be bought only online and ships worldwide for pilgrims everywhere.
2. Camino de Santiago guide book
This is the best option especially for first time walkers. The guide book includes up-to-date route and albergue information (which proves to be useful for repeated walkers as well), interesting historical facts and myths, points of interest and must-see places. This is a thoughtful and affordable gift, which the pilgrim can read in advance, but also take with them, because the kindle version weighs virtually nothing. Paperback coming soon.
3. A Road to Santiago
A Road to Santiago is unique service. This commemorative map is custom made, which means that there are no two same maps in the world. All and any items can be moved, changed or replaced. You can also add own photos to the map to make it even more personal. That’s pretty special, right?
You may think very little of these boring brown sticky substance on fabric things, but for pilgrims these represent rescue in the dark times. Just imagine walking daily for 30+ days. Your feet will get tired, beaten and prone to blisters. Plasters are little, thoughtful gifts, which you can easily get in any drugstore. Cost essentially nothing, but are often highly sought after.
5. Mini sewing kit
Would you have thought that sewing kit might be something useful for pilgrims? Well it is! Do not expect pilgrims to do much sewing on the road although occasional tears happen. Have you ever had a blister? Needle and thread are then your best friends, especially if you have another few hundred kms ahead of you.
The Camino high season is usually in summer or early autumn, which means that the occasional rain might occur. Lightweight poncho is a versatile gift, because it can be worn over a fleece, but a poncho and fleece can be worn separately. It’s easy to get out of the backpack and to put on quickly, and thus makes a good gift for any pilgrim. Trust me, when I say it will feel like a blessing when the torrential downpour starts falling down. Look for a poncho that is of the right weight and keeps the pilgrim and the backpack dry. No one appreciates wet socks. 🙁
A simple notebook can be the perfect gift for writers, scrapbookers, scribblers or avid note-takers. You can give it to pilgrims just going on the Camino along with a reliable pen, so they can properly document their travels. Or you can gift a returning pilgrim with one and maybe some stationary.
Look for ones that have a cute Camino motive on it such as this one.
8. Customisable necklace
Every pilgrim deserves a personalised gift, so why not make it a handmade necklace made out of high-quality metal? Get it here.
9. Gift card
Boots or walking shoes, backpack, sleeping bag are items that are a definite must on the road. I can’t stress enough how important are high-quality, well-fitting items that will last 4-6 weeks of daily walking. The ideal one, thought, depends on the wearer, which makes picking and choosing slightly difficult. Here’s where I would suggest giving the pilgrim a gift card. They can choose the most suitable and best fitting items.
10. Pilgrim’s passport (also known as credential)
If your pilgrim is on the less organised side, getting him or her the pilgrim’s passport will cross one thing off their list. You can think of it as of a loyalty program in a shop. But instead of collecting points for skinny lattes, you receive a stamp for every few kilometres. It is required if one wants to stay in albergues and oftentimes it becomes a treasured possession. The pilgrim’s passport can be ordered online in number of pilgrim associations and confraternities. Check your region: http://www.caminoadventures.com/where-can-i-get-a-pilgrims-passport
It’s beautiful, unisex and decorated with the Camino scallop shell. A leather bracelet made to last. Simple, yet eye-catching. Get it here.
Northern Spain is well-known for its delicious cuisine. No wonder many pilgrims miss the spicy food! Therefore, for those who feel at home in the kitchen, surprise them with the Camino de Santiago cookbook. You will be thankful for this gift, too, when you taste the recipes. Everyone wins!
13. Spanish phrase book and dictionary
If Spanish is not the pilgrim’s first language, some language studying in advance is highly recommended even if it means only learning a few polite phrases. In northern Spain, you might come across hearing some Basque and Galician, but most of the Spaniards speak Spanish.
- Good morning. – Buenos días.
- Hello, my name is John. – Hola, me llamo Juan.
- Please. – Por favor.
- Thank you. – Gracias.
I hope this was a comprehensive list of gifts for new and old peregrinos! Let me know, if you have any further suggestions!
What other things should pilgrim take on the Camino? http://www.caminoadventures.com/packing-list