10 Things to See on The Camino Frances
As the most popular of the Camino de Santiago routes, the Camino Frances, also known as the French Way, serves as the best introduction to all the wonderful culture, food and people that populate the Camino de Santiago. While the route is full of unmissable sites and unique experiences, we’d highly recommend that you add the following 10 things to see on the Camino Frances to your list.
Highlights of the Camino Frances
1. The Belorado Caves
The Cave of Fuentemolinos is an awe-inspiring natural phenomenon featuring flowing forms, stalagmites and stalactites. The trickling sound of water from the river that runs through the cave adds to the atmosphere of tranquillity inside it.
2. Wine and Tapas in Logroño
You can’t make a list of the best things to see on the Camino Frances without mentioning Logroño. Logroño is probably best known for La Rioja wine, a deep red synonymous with the region. Every year the locals here host a harvest festival where visitors can experience the ‘treading of the grapes’. Logroño also boasts some of the best tapas available in Spain, and it’s extremely good value for money.
3. The Best Highlights of the Camino Frances Include Others
The Camino Frances is also the most sociable Camino route. You’ll encounter many other pilgrims from different nationalities and backgrounds, especially on the last 100km into Santiago. The magic of the Camino is the sense of community it creates among walkers. Be prepared to make new friends and share some laughs on your journey. To give you an idea of what awaits you on the Way of St James, you can read about a typical day on the Camino.
4. Heritage in O Cebreiro
The mountain ranges of O Courel and Os Ancares surround the quaint village of O Cebreiro. This tiny town earns its place on our list of things to see on the Camino Frances because it is home to perfectly preserved pre-Roman dwellings known as ‘Pallozas’. Here, you will get a real feel for how Galicians lived here in centuries past. Make sure to visit the folk museum housed inside a renovated ‘Palloza’.
5. Bodegas Irache Wine Fountain
Bodegas Irache is a winery located just outside Estella that is over 100 years old. The company installed a wine fountain on one of the walls of the winery that dispenses free wine for pilgrims. This simple act captures the spirit of the Camino. Be sure to get here early, as although 100 litres of wine are dispensed daily; it can still run out!
6. The Templars Castle
The Templars Castle in Ponferrada was named by the Knights of Templar, who used it as a stronghold after they placed the town under protection in the 12th century. The magnificent structure is home to the Templar Library, which includes work from Leonardo Da Vinci in its impressive collection. The Templars Castle is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the Camino Frances.
7. Monte do Gozo
One of the main highlights of Camino Frances is Monte de Gozo. As you reach the summit of Monte do Gozo, you will spot the three spires of the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela for the first time. This hill is about an hour’s walk from the end of the Camino, and ancient pilgrims would have yelped with exaltation here upon spotting the finish line of their pilgrimage.
8. The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela
The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela represents the final chapter of what has hopefully been a wonderful journey along the French Way. It is here that the remains of St James are said to be buried. The stunning Romanesque architecture is world-famous, and the interior of the building is breathtaking.
9. Museum of Pilgrims
If you have completed the Camino as a pilgrim, what better way to celebrate than by learning more about the ancient trail and the pilgrims whose footsteps you followed along the Way? Here you will also learn about St James and the importance of the Camino in the development of Santiago.
10. Collect your Pilgrim Certificate
You’ll need to walk over 100km or cycle over 200km in order to claim your pilgrim certificate when you reach Santiago de Compostela. This document is a commemoration of the journey you have completed. Don’t forget that you’ll need to get a pilgrim passport and have it stamped twice every day in order to get your ‘Compostela’.
We hope you enjoyed this article about 10 things to see on the Camino Frances. For more information about the Camino de Santiago routes or to book your very own Camino adventure, please don’t hesitate to contact us.