The Pilgrim's Certificates: Credencial and Compostela
"The Pilgrim's Passport (Credencial) and the Pilgrimage Certificate (Compostela) will be two of the most cherished mementos of your Camino journey"
Credencial: The Pilgrim's Passport
An old tradition of the Camino, obtaining a Credencial is one of the first things most people do before they start walking the Camino de Santiago.
Also known as The Pilgrim's Passport, the Credencial is a document which pilgrims on the Camino carry throughout their walk. Broadly speaking, it is a successor of the medieval safe conducts issued to pilgrims.
The credential is stamped in each town along your route and provides a record of the places where you stayed. This is an integral part of the Camino de Santiago experience and will make your Credencial one of your most cherished mementos of your Camino journey.
Most importantly, the credential serves as proof to the Pilgrim's Office in Santiago that you have walked the Camino in an uninterrupted fashion. On arrival at Santiago de Compostela you take your stamped Credencial to the Pilgrim's Office, who then issue you with a Compostela certificate proving you have followed the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage.
You can easily pick up the authentic document on arrival at the start of your walk:- Credencial authorised by the Cathedral authorities in Santiago de Compostela. We'll let you know where to collect them in your information pack.
Alternatively, you can use this link to pre-order the official credencial - http://www.caminodesantiago.me/where-can-i-get-a-free-pilgrims-passport-for-my-camino-de-santiago/. Do make sure you order well in advance of your journey and leave time for postage to your home location.
Compostela: The Pilgrim's Certificate
The Compostela is the certificate of accomplishment given to pilgrims on completing at least the final 100kms of the Way of St James. The Santiago de Compostela Cathedral has been issuing the pilgrimage indulgence since the Middle Ages.
Once you have made it all the way to the St James Cathedral, you will present your stamped credential at the Pilgrim's Office.
The Compostela entitles you to the traditional free pilgrim meal at the old pilgrim's hospital, the Hotel de los Reyes Católicos.
To earn the Compostela, you will need to have walked at least the last 100 km of the Camino. In practice, that means walking from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela.
Alternatively, you can also earn your Compostela by walking other Ways to Santiago such as the quiet Via de la Plata. If you have chosen to do the Camino by bike, you will need to have cycled at least the last 200 kilometres.
"The Official Credencial as authorised by the Cathedral authorities in Santiago de Compostela - collect at least 2 stamps each day"