The Camino is statistically very safe. Hundreds of thousands of people walk and cycle the routes every year, most of whom experience no problems at all. However you should always be sensible and take care of yourself and your possessions as you would anywhere in the world. Your kit - rucksack, boots, stick - identify you immediately as a pilgrim, and the local people still respect the pilgrims' motivation and are generally happy to assist you whether it be in an emergency or if you just want directions.

The incident in 2015 of the disappearance of a female pilgrim along the Camino francés, and the subsequent discovery of a body and arrest of a suspect, were highly unusual and led to greater vigilance and monitoring of the Camino by the Guardia Civil, particularly in the summer months. You are encouraged to take note of any safety warnings being made on particular stretches and to act accordingly.

If you have concerns about safety, or about walking alone, here are some tips to help you stay safe:

Walk with other pilgrims or within sight of others: If you are nervous about walking solo, or you are an inexperienced walker, choose a busier route like the le Puy route or the Camino francés, where you will rarely be completely alone. There is a great sense of community among pilgrims, and there are usually others close by to help you if you need it, and to walk with if you choose.

Stay alert: Be aware of where you are and who you are with. If any strangers, including other pilgrims, do or say things that make you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, trust your instincts and seek assistance from other pilgrims, hospitaleros, or local people - or from the police if matters are serious.

Use your phone: There are apps you can download to keep your peace of mind. Alertcops is the citizen security alert service that the Spanish law enforcement authorities provide to assist people at risk. You can send alerts to the nearest nearest emergency centre, chat directly with a support agent (in English), or receive security news and notifications sent by public security services. You can also share your location with the people you want or with the public security centre. App Camino, for those doing the Camino Francés, allows you to report any incidents or impositions along your way.  

The universal European emergency number is 112 which will work in all EU countries even if your phone is out of credit (further numbers are listed below).

We also suggest that you take important contact numbers of your own, such as:

  • your government's nearest embassy or consulate in the country you are visiting
  • bank or credit card companies for reporting lost or stolen cards
  • mobile phone company
  • travel insurers
  • airlines and other travel providers/agents.

Always be careful with valuables: Keep them safe in large cities and don’t leave money, cameras, phones, passports etc unattended at any time. Use a securely-waterproof bag to protect such items when you shower.

Choose safe accommodation: There's generally safety in numbers since, in the albergues, everyone shares a large common dormitory, and there are usually hospitaleros on duty who often sleep in the building overnight. If, however, you find yourself as sole occupant of an albergue with no hospitalero in attendance, seeking more secure overnight accommodation, such as a small hotel, would be advisable.

Wear a reflective vest: Not just a sensible thing to do, but a legal requirement in Spain to wear one if walking on a road or close to traffic before first light, or after sunset. They are lightweight and cheap to buy, either before you leave, or from garages or supermarkets in Spain.

Insurance: Always buy appropriate travel insurance which covers health care, emergency repatriation and rescue.   

Keep copies: copies of your passport, travel insurance and any other important documents should be carried carry away from your purse or wallet. Consider leaving an additional set of copies with relatives or friends at home.

If something happens: Do not hesitate to call the authorities for assistance in an emergency, or to report crimes such as theft or flashing, both of which occur very occasionally. You will be helping other pilgrims by reporting all such incidents to the nearest hospitalero and the Guardia Civil. The main emergency number in Europe is a universal 112, but please see below a list of additional emergency numbers. If you need consular assistance please contact your Embassy. 

Spain Additional Numbers:

062 – The Guardia Civil   091 – National Police     092 – Local Police

Each of these services has their own areas of responsibility. However they advise that when in doubt simply phone them and they will decide which force should best respond.

061 – Health Emergencies         080 -  Fire Service

Victims of Crime: There is a dedicated an English-language telephone number for victims of crimes who wish to make a police report but do not speak Spanish. The number is (34)-902-102-112. It operates from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. daily.

France Additional Numbers:

15 – Health Emergencies    17 - Police     18 -  Fire Service

Finally, the Pilgrim forum run by Ivar Rekve has discussion threads on any up-to-date Camino safety issues.