Recommended Apps and Maps for Camino de Santiago
Looking for the best iPhone and Android apps to assist in walking the Camino de Santiago? These Apple and Android apps can help make The Way a little easier to understand, along with maps to help you navigate and plan your Camino journey through Spain, Portugal, and France.
RECOMMENDED CAMINO DE SANTIAGO APPS
In nearly every area, the Camino de Santiago is well-marked and – frankly – it would be difficult to become lost along The Way; however, there are many truly unique areas and landmarks to explore. Guidebooks can be helpful but many pilgrims prefer to use apps on their mobile devices. Below are a few of my most recommended apps for the Camino de Santiago in Spain, Portugal, and France.
BUEN CAMINO DE SANTIAGO
For many pilgrims, the preferred Camino app for iPhone and Android is Buen Camino de Santiago App.
Started in 2014, this frequently-updated app has grown to encompass most of the significant Camino routes throughout Spain, including the French Way, the Aragonese Way, the Baztán Way, the Primitive Way, the Portuguese Way from Porto, the Portuguese Way along the Coast, the Extension to Fisterra-Muxia, the Northern Way, the English Way and Winter Way.
Among the well-regarded features are mapping details displaying your exact location on each stage of the Camino, layout and topography of each stage for easy planning of your daily walks, and thousands of geolocated points of all types of accommodation (hostels, pensions, albergues), points of interest and important notices.
The team at WisePilgrim has done a great job of creating independently published guides, including their Camino apps for Apple and Android devices. Generally, this app has up-to-date information and one-click access to booking accommodations along the Camino routes. While many use this app, I find the navigation within the app to be more difficult than Buen Camino but your experience may vary.
Note: The beautiful map image displayed on this page was created by WisePilgrim and is also available for sale online as a print.
Many pilgrims from outside the United States will already be familiar with WhatsApp, one of the world’s most popular apps for messaging, calls, and sharing photos. Nearly every business along the Camino has a WhatsApp number, including hotels, hostels, taxis and luggage services, making WhatsApp a great way to stay connected, call for assistance or confirm your travel plans during the Camino. WhatsApp is free to use and available on nearly every platform, including KaiOS, the Apple AppStore iOS phones and the Google Play Store for Android mobile phones and devices. WhatsApp is regarded for its privacy policies and secure messaging practices, making this an essential app for global travel in the modern era.
One of the most powerful and most recommended map apps is GaiaGPS. Available for Apple and Android phones, GaiaGPS is my personal mapping application of choice for all of my hikes, including the Appalachian Trail, Florida Trail, and the Camino de Santiago. Unlike the Buen Camino app, GaiaGPS is a true GPS application – meaning that you follow maps that can be loaded from source files (see below), giving users much more control to view the topography and key elements of any trail.
I use GaiaGPS not only for its mapping features, but to log my hikes including distance, elevation gains, and pace. One of the best features is that the app works on your phone’s GPS antennae, meaning you do not need to use wifi or a cellular data connection while you are on the trail. If you are familiar with using paper maps, GaiaGPS will quickly become your favorite map application, along with its powerful companion app available for the Apple Watch.
RECOMMENDED CAMINO DE SANTIAGO MAP FILES
Since I carry a GPS / Rescue Beacon on all of my hikes, I prefer to follow the Camino using KML / GPX files that can be imported into my GPS or loaded on my favorite map application on iPhone or Android. One of the best sources of GPS files for the Camino de Santiago is the Dutch Confraternity of Saint James (Het Nederlands Genootschap van Sint Jacob-NGSJ).
KML files can be viewed by many map apps for iPhone and Android, including GAIAGPS and MAPS.ME, as well as Google Earth. GPX files may be uploaded to handheld GPS devices, including those by Garmin GPS and Magellan GPS.
For more information regarding my personal gear choices, please review my recommended gear or and recommended GPS device.
GPS (KML / GPX) MAP FILES FOR THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO
Husband. Father. Backpacker. Pilgrim. Author.
My recent treks include the Camino de Santiago through Portugal and Spain as well as section hiking along the Florida Trail and the Appalachian Trail. Provided I can do so safely, in 2021 I’m walking the California Missions Trail in the United States, as well as England’s ancient Pilgrims’ Way from London to Canterbury. Afterward, I’ll begin the Via Francigena, the historic way in Europe connecting Canterbury to Rome.