The Camino de Santiago (the way of St. James) is a recognized pilgrimage to the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in Galicia, Spain. It has been established as one of the “three great Christian pilgrimages of Christendom” together with Jerusalem and Rome.
Every year, tens of thousands of travelers embark on the pilgrimage both as a religious undertaking and as a fantastic hiking vacation.
The original pilgrimage is around 500 miles and takes a month to complete. In today’s busy world, most opt for shorter but rewarding routes. A good tour operator will be able to arrange your accommodation so you just have to walk and soak up the history, the views, and the land.
Camino de Santiago Ways
There are several Santiago routes known as Santiago ways. Let’s look at some of the most popular Santiago ways and what you can expect.
There are several routes from France that take you to the tomb of St. James in the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral. Here are some of the most popular.
- French Way from St Jean Pied de Port– Starting in the beautiful French city of St Jean Pied de Port in French Basque country, you hike across the Pyrenees mountain range reaching Pamplona on the France, Spanish border. Pamplona is known for bull runs.
This route is known for being one of the most difficult but also one of the most beautiful. The views, and the medieval villages, forests, and the land make every step worth it.
- French Way from Sarria– This hugely popular route arguably captures the essence of the full 500 mile pilgrimage condensed into around 80 miles. The route is very rural and it is easy to imagine what it must have been like to hike in medieval times. This is the minimum distance required to obtain your Compostela certificate.
Portugal is another hugely popular starting point for the Santiago de Camino. It features rural and coastal routes taking you through some of the most beautiful cities, and ancient history sites that few travelers and tourists see.
- Portuguese Way from Coimbra– This route begins from Coimbra and finishes in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Porto. Along the way, you will walk on Roman Roads, through beautiful vineyards, and hike along the glorious Atlantic Coast.
- Portuguese Way from Santarém– Starting in Santarém and finishing in Coimbra this part of the Camino de Santiago is known for its beautiful historic towns and farmland. It is a great way to get to know and fall in love with the country of Portugal.
- Portuguese Way from Porto– This route begins in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Porto and takes you to Tui in Galicia. Along the way enjoy idyllic forests, the glorious Atlantic coast and medieval villages and towns. It is a glorious trek to the final destination of the Tomb of St. James.
The Camino de Santiago has everything you want in a glorious hiking vacation. It is also a spiritual journey as you make your own pilgrimage to the Tomb of St. James. Ensure you walk it as soon as you can.