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A Pilgrim's Guide to the Camino de Santiago: St. Jean * Roncesvalles * Santiago

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  513 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Now updated to include newer maps and photos and weighing less to support carefree traveling, these comprehensive guidebooks to the Camino de Santiago and its offshoots contain all the information needed by modern-day pilgrims wishing to walk the sacred Way of St. James. Overview route planners plus daily stage maps and detailed town plans help sojourners with as much adva ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 1st 2009 by Findhorn Press
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Oct 01, 2009 rated it liked it
Buenos días, peregrinos!

The loudspeaker blasts this message at 6:00 am in the refugio in Burgos, waking up any pilgrims who managed to sleep through the zipping open of their neighbors’ sleeping bags. Other refugios just turn the lights on at 6. At the 12C Cistercian monastery in Santo Domingo, the den mother shooed the pilgrims out at 7 with a broom and various herding gestures.

Granted, the book is not a memoir but a guidebook, it still does not quite capture the flavor of pilgrimage. It lists
Laura Leaney
Dec 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
This seems like a helpful guide - but since I've yet to take my trip, I may have to adjust my rating post-pilgrimage. The cultural information is minimal, so I'll read up on my history before I go. The maps here seem clear, and I like how Brierley has delineated the various choices by color (main road, alternative side roads, quiet paths, et cetera). I think he's packed a ton of information into a relatively slender volume (flora/fauna/altitudes/distances/albergue locations). Still, every gram c ...more
Beth Foote
May 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: camino-books
I love to read travel guidebooks, especially those written with a particular voice and point of view. That’s why I enjoy Rick Steves. Such accomplished travelers inspire me to pack my bag and take an adventure.

“A Pilgrim’s Guide to the Camino de Santiago” has a definite voice: it’s the voice of John Brierley, who is up front about his interest in the “Inner Path” of the Way of St. James. The guidebook’s subtitle is, “A Practical and Mystical Manual for the Modern Day Pilgrim”. Accordingly, alon
Bill Vinhage
Apr 25, 2013 rated it liked it
The maps and lists of albergues and hotels are very useful. Brierley's preachy exhortations, not so much.
Jens Beyerholm
May 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Best guide regarding "el camino" I read so far.
The path maps, terrain maps, and other essential information like distances and town names are excellent in this book. The lists of accommodations and cafes were surprisingly accurate. I especially appreciated the price listings for the accommodations, and the street maps for the bigger towns/cities.

I agree with some other reviewers that the author's commentary and 'spiritual guide' portions were sometimes intrusive and patronizing, however well-intended.

I personally ditched every page not deali
Fritz Nordengren
Jun 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Many pilgrims describe Brierley's book as the de facto guide for the Camino and in web posts, often say they leave it at home or abandon it along the way as they try and shrink the weight of their pack. I think for the first time pilgrim -- and I am one -- its a great introduction to many of the specific details.

The guide breaks the 500 mile (780 km) trek into stages, and offers possible alternate routes and day trips along the way.

This isn't a book to sit down and read cover to cover, in my opi
Lucy Longpath
Sep 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent practical guide for walking the Camino Frances from Saint Jean Pied de Port on the French side of the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostelle. We used this book to help us find our way and for planning distances as it included information about height gains. It also had detailed information about available accommodation. It was well written and well presented and included interesting historical and cultural information as well as the practical information required to do the walk ...more
Craig M
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel, nonfiction
This book describes the 33 stages to the Camino walk. It really emphasizes the walk as a pilgrimage, so there are references to churches, monasteries, and other religious institutions on the route. There are lists of places to stay (mainly hostel types of places and places associated with the church). It definitely gives a good overview of the walk. I was hoping for more details about the places en route (which ones are interesting for other than religious reasons, and which ones might be worth ...more
Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hiking, pilgrimage
I am hiking the Camino de Santiago in September, and I will come back and update this review after I see how the guidebook does on the trail. However, this is the only guidebook I am taking - it is dense with information, tips, alternate routes, maps, and most importantly, elevation profiles for each "stage". The lightest paper guidebook for the Camino and, as a guidebook snob, for me it appears to be an excellent guide for both usability and readability. Time will tell, but in the meantime 5 st ...more
Jul 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Read the book for the guide, not his personal reflections. This book has a ton of information that is incredibly useful, but that's about it. I feel his personal insights need to stay out of the book as I feel he's pushing people to feel a certain way on their journey. Let people decide on their own how they should feel.
The brand new, 14th edition of this pocket-sized comprehensive classic is the only guidebook I'll carry with me on my camino. It includes maps and routes for each city along the way, a history of Spain, sightseeing suggestions, packing lists, survival tips, etc., in a well-written (though small print) book.
Jun 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loving this book. I have read all kinds of books about the Camino and this one is perfect because I can take it with me when I go. Filled with maps and information and even spiritual meditations. Sweet!
Jessica Rinker
Sep 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Technically I haven't finished reading this because its meant to be taken on pilgrimage, but what I did read was a great intro to what the camino is all about and what to expect when you get there. Has helped firmed up my decision to make it happen!
Erin Halvorsen
Sep 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Used this book when I hiked the Camino last year and found it to be indispensable. Even though the maps weren't too scale they were very detailed and as accurate as could be expected. Came in handy every single day.
Dean Johnston
Oct 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an absolutely essential part of our Camino de Santiago hike last year. The maps are as accurate as can be expected from a guidebook and the details are well thought out and perfect for pilgrims hoping to plan their day. Wouldn't hike the Camino without it.
Nov 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Good basic Camino guidebook. Looks to be one that may make it into my backpack for the walk.
Apr 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
When I am ready I will buy whatever this guy has updated. Nicely laid out guidebook full of great info and personal experience.
Sep 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Great guidebook for the St. Jean start.
Johann Ebersohn
Sep 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Excellent guid book for the Camino de Santiago. Just don't bee too rigorious to follow his daily planning and let the Camino guide you.
Sanjiva Wijesinha
Jun 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was easily the most useful item we took with us on our Camino. The maps were easy to follow, the descriptions were comprehensive, the recommendations were up to date.
Highly recommended!
Jul 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Invaluable guide on my recent walk. Not much else to say.
Apr 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
I've read enough to know this is a hard walk. And yet I'm tempted. Time to get into shape for when I retire in a few years..
Jan 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Reading again while I plan.
Stuart Lennon
Apr 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This guide is reputed to be the definitive - I would agree. Comprehensive, recently updated and packed with useful hints.
Rita Andres
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is a great guide for the Camino. I used it from Sarra to Santiago when on the Camino with Jenny, Holly and Karen.
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
With a nod to a new year and new decade, I began 2020 exploring my own community on foot. I knew its main thoroughfares, but I didn't always take time to walk each street. Come March of 2020, I pulled this guide from its place on my shelves. For two months, I have been using this as my daily journal, and it has served as both a delightful "escape" to Northern Spain's camino and a personal reflection on my path here at home.

John Brierly wrote this professionally with helpful tips addressing how
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in walking the Camino Frances
This was a great guidebook for doing the Camino Frances, which I completed from September 4- October 20, 2018. I used this guidebook as my Bible, although I often felt the distances were not correct. Who actually knows though? It was helpful as far as albergues and historical sites to see. What a grand adventure!
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The book provides plenty of information about history, culture and information about what your next hiking day provides. Information on side trips and must sees for those who love to do pre-reading the night before - this is the book for you. It is however not ultra light for those hikers who watch weights.
Ian Hunter
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It has good maps, accurate distances between Alburgues, packing lists, scenic highlights, activity and restaurant recommendations. A definite must have for the Camino.

Brierley tends to wax poetic throughout, a minor annoyance.
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