The best books about the Camino de Santiago from someone who walked it

Who am I?

The pilgrim’s journey to the ancient Catholic shrine at Santiago de Compostela had fascinated me ever since I first read about it. For centuries, pilgrims had made this arduous journey, the majority of them on foot, along a trail in northern Spain that stretched for over five hundred miles. Many had written of the transformation they underwent as a result of making this journey. Even though I am not a Catholic, I decided to undertake the journey myself in 2011 in the company of my son – and then decided to write about what I had experienced and learned as a result of my journey. Having written my book I became interested in learning what others who had done this journey had to say about the Camino. What was their experience, what perspective did they offer, were they also changed (as I was) by undertaking this “pilgrimage”?


I wrote...

Strangers on the Camino: Father, Son - and Holy Trail

By Sanjiva Wijesinha,

Book cover of Strangers on the Camino: Father, Son - and Holy Trail

What is my book about?

Strangers on the Camino is an entertaining account of a once-in-a-lifetime journey along Spain's ancient pilgrim trail - the 500 mile long Camino de Santiago. This is no ordinary travelogue but a very readable book that provides an intriguing insight into the challenging journey of a father and son who walk the Camino together.

Replete with interesting snippets and anecdotes about the rich ethnic, cultural, military, and religious history of Spain, Strangers on the Camino will interest those who have walked the Camino as well as those preparing to undertake this journey themselves. Wijesinha’s descriptions of the route they walked, the cities and towns they passed through, the refugios and alburgues in which they stayed – all these give a real sense of what it is like to make a six-week journey by foot over this unique pilgrim trail that takes one through the mountains, mesetas, and mists of Spain.

The books I picked & why

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A Pilgrim's Guide to the Camino de Santiago (Camino Francés): St. Jean - Roncesvalles - Santiago

By John Brierley,

Book cover of A Pilgrim's Guide to the Camino de Santiago (Camino Francés): St. Jean - Roncesvalles - Santiago

Why this book?

This was easily the most useful item we took with us on our own Camino. The maps in Brierley’s guidebook were easy to follow, the descriptions were comprehensive, the recommendations were up to date.

In writing this guidebook, Brierley has balanced philosophical questions about pilgrimage with a host of practical details. Breaking up the journey from St Jean Pied de Port (which is where the majority of pilgrims start their journey) to Santiago de Compostela into thirty-three stages, he has meticulously researched each stage providing a map and contour guide for each - so the walker knows what kind of route, distance and elevation to expect each day. In addition, he provides helpful listings of accommodation and eating places along the journey.

A Pilgrim's Guide to the Camino de Santiago (Camino Francés): St. Jean - Roncesvalles - Santiago

By John Brierley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Pilgrim's Guide to the Camino de Santiago (Camino Francés) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

2020 edition

Now updated to include newer maps and photos, this comprehensive guidebook to the Camino de Santiago and its offshoots contains 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 all the advance preparation they need. The maps feature contour guides to help distinguish the terrain that will be crossed each day, while full information on all pilgrim hostels, as well as details for alternative accommodation, allow travelers to plot adequate nightly stopping points. All reference information is…


The Way, My Way

By Bill Bennett,

Book cover of The Way, My Way

Why this book?

Bill Bennett’s book is written in a typically frank, down-to-earth Aussie manner – yet the author manages to combine humour with humility. He writes with an engaging yet self-deprecating style about his thoughts and emotions, the entertaining characters, and unusual situations he encountered along the journey - as well as the highs and lows of his journey. These are all described without reservation, giving the reader an insight into not only his journey but also his own personal struggles.

The Way, My Way

By Bill Bennett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Way, My Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“I’d never done anything crazy like this before – a pilgrimage walk. I was not a hiker, and I wasn’t a Catholic. In fact, I wasn’t even sure I was a Christian. On the last government census when I had to state my religion, I'd said I was a Buddhist, mainly because they’ve had such a hard time in Tibet and I felt they needed my statistical support. I was also not an adventure traveller. For me, adventure travel was flying coach. All this backpacking and wearing of heavy boots and flying off to France to walk ancient pilgrimage routes…


A Journey of Days

By Guy Thatcher,

Book cover of A Journey of Days

Why this book?

Guy Thatcher's book contains useful information and evocative descriptions of places along the trail, people he met, the weather he encountered, and his everyday experience - together with pertinent observations and views. If you have done the pilgrimage, you will enjoy revisiting it through this book. If you are thinking about doing the pilgrimage, it will set the scene and encourage you to undertake it.

A Journey of Days

By Guy Thatcher,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Journey of Days as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Journey of Days: Relearning Life s Lessons on the Camino de Santiago, by Guy Thatcher, takes us for a 700-kilometre walk along the camino in northern Spain, an age-old pilgrimage route walked by young and old alike for centuries. He walked the camino hoping to discover the reason for the compulsion that drove him there.

This is an elegantly presented, intelligent book. Your goal may not be to walk the camino, as Thatcher has done, but you ll come away informed, inspired and touched by this beautiful narrative. The real story is the pilgrims met along the way. This…


The Camino Ingles: 6 days (or less) to Santiago

By Susan Jagannath,

Book cover of The Camino Ingles: 6 days (or less) to Santiago

Why this book?

For anyone who would like to walk the Camino Ingles (the 'Short Camino' - or the 'Road less traveled by'), Susan Jagannath's book is the ideal companion.

I liked the way she began each chapter with an apt quotation. In addition to encouraging and motivating the reader to undertake this journey, she provides much practical advice about planning and preparation, and then proceeds to describe her own journey along this ‘One Week Camino’ together with a lot of useful information about places to stay and things to see as well as addresses, phone numbers, and webpages. The e-book is regularly updated – which makes it essential reading for the prospective pilgrim

The Camino Ingles: 6 days (or less) to Santiago

By Susan Jagannath,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Camino Ingles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE 2022 UPDATE

Are you thinking of walking a Camino? But a bit overwhelmed by the thought of the Camino Frances? Walk the Ingles, the shorter, sweeter, safer, and just as authentic hike in a post-pandemic world.

Get checklists, printables and fully updated information sheets on the "new normal" from the reader bonuses.

The Camino Inglés is a smart choice if you want to walk in 2022.

The Camino Inglés spans one province, Galicia, and its capital is Santiago de Compostela, the hallowed goal of the centuries-old pilgrimage. The Cathedral is now open to visitors and pilgrims.

Did you want…


A Soldier to Santiago: Finding Peace on the Warrior Path

By Brad Genereux,

Book cover of A Soldier to Santiago: Finding Peace on the Warrior Path

Why this book?

As a military veteran myself, Brad Genereaux’s story deeply touched me on many levels.

He talks about the three things a veteran loses when he or she leaves the military – a sense of Purpose, a supportive community, and a feeling of self-worth. Serving in uniform, soldiers give their all for their country, yet once their service is over many find themselves inadequately supported and unable to settle back into civilian life.

A Soldier to Santiago is the honest story of a stiff, formal, no-nonsense Senior Chief Petty Officer of the US Navy - someone who’d spent years building walls inside himself to compartmentalise the violence and tragedies that had been part of his 22-year military life. Once he left the service he found himself descending into a dark depressive hole without purpose, identity, or mission in life. 

In his own words, he discovered “I fit in….nowhere”.

Brad’s pilgrimage along The Camino helped him change from being a totally military-minded, mission-oriented person trying to fight his demons and forget the images of war that kept haunting him - into a much calmer human being. Step by step as he walked along the pilgrim trail, the walls of his negativity and his lack of faith in humanity began to crumble away and he discovered what many of us have done on this pilgrimage – it is impossible to walk this journey without journeying into oneself.

Having come through an internal storm Brad found himself at peace; he could forgive others and also himself. He began to make a purposeful effort to see the good and positive in the world rather than the dark cloud of negativity he’d been focusing on for so long. This is one man’s story of how he found peace along the pilgrimage to Santiago. I strongly recommend this book. I believe that reading it will encourage others, especially Veterans and those who once were Warriors, to consider undertaking a journey along the Camino.

A Soldier to Santiago: Finding Peace on the Warrior Path

By Brad Genereux,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Soldier to Santiago as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Has life passed you by? And you fit in—nowhere?

"I gave the best years of my life to a cause—to a belief that proved false. I loved living on the edge. The thrill of standing the watch. Rushing into harm’s way on behalf of my country. For over 22 years and with pride, I represented America by wearing the cloth of the nation. When my service was all over? Life had passed me by and . . . I fit in — nowhere." — Senior Chief Petty Officer Brad Genereux

Is forgiveness and peace within the grasp of those who…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Camino de Santiago, Spain, and France?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Camino de Santiago, Spain, and France.

The Camino De Santiago Explore 14 books about the Camino de Santiago
Spain Explore 159 books about Spain
France Explore 691 books about France

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Way of Saint James, Volume I, The Death of a Pilgrim, and What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim if you like this list.