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How to choose the right Camino de Santiago route?

How to choose the right Camino? Which one is the best Camino de Santiago route for me?

Our Camino travel specialists have compiled a list of useful tips to help you choose the right Camino de Santiago route:

Q. It is my first Camino and I’m looking for a social experience

If the social element of the Camino de Santiago experience and meeting fellow pilgrims along the way is important for you, the Camino Frances is your best option.

The Camino Francés, or French Way, is the most popular Camino de Santiago route, starting in Saint Jean Pied de Port, so it is also the best Camino for those looking for that unique social experience or who have never walked the Camino before. It takes 36 days to walk from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela but you can walk shorter stretches and also add rest days. We recommend you add at least one day every week to rest.


According to statistics from the Pilgrims Office in Santiago, approximately 60% of those receiving the Compostela certificate walk the Camino Francés. The second most popular would be the Camino Portugues (approximately 20%) and the Camino del Norte (over 6%).

“Wonderful guide, great hotels, excellent food and drink. No hassle walking tour.” Christina Hayward, Walking the Camino Frances

Q. I don’t have much time. How do I choose the right Camino for me?

You don’t have to start your Camino walk in Saint Jean Pied de Port, you can start at any stage of the way and create an itinerary adapted to the time you have available.

In fact, many pilgrims start their trip from Sarria, in Galicia, to walk the last stretch (111kms) of the route; this can be done in under a week. If you rather cover this distance at a more relaxed pace, at we can organise an ‘easy walking’ itinerary so you can cover the distance over 10 days.

If you have two weeks you could start your walk further away in Ponferrada, for example, and so on. Sarria is the most popular starting point of the Camino, followed by Porto on the Portuguese CaminoSaint Jean Pied de Port, and Tui. León and O Cebreiro are also very popular starting points on the Camino Frances.

There are thousands of kilometres of Camino trails across Spain, Portugal and France so there are many options for those looking for a quieter route. If you only have a week for your trip and you’d like to walk to Santiago, you could walk the Portuguese Coastal route from Baiona, the less known Via de la Plata from Ourense; or the Camino Ingles from Ferrol in just a week. You will still meet pilgrims but far less than on the Camino Francés.

If you’d like to have the best of both worlds you could start in Lugo city: walking a couple of days along the Camino Primitivo and then joining the Camino Francés half way to Santiago. This will allow you two quiet days and three days of socialising as you approach Santiago. For a truly off the beaten track experience, our new Camino de Invierno is an ideal route.

We also have options for 4-night short breaks to give you a taste of the Camino, including the Camino Inglés from A Coruña.

“Trip of a lifetime” Paula Tinsley, Camino Frances from Sarria


Q. I’ve done the Camino Frances before, what could I do next?

If you are already familiar with the ‘classic Camino’, the Camino Francés, you have plenty of other routes to explore. Our suggestions: you could opt for the Camino Portugués, the second most popular, or the alternative Portuguese Coastal Camino or the fascinating Camino Espiritual where you will travel by boat one of the days.

Another great option would be to walk the traditional Camino to Finisterre and Muxía, starting or finishing in Santiago de Compostela and heading to the Atlantic Ocean. You could also try any of the fantastic Camino routes in France such as Le Puy.

If you would like to try something completely different, you could walk another ancient trail such as the Via Francigena or St Francis Way in Italy for instance. The Via Francigena across Tuscany is one of the most spectacular sections of this epic trail.

The Rota Vicentina Fishermen’s Trail in Southern Portugal is a beautiful non-Camino coastal trail, perfect for Autumn months.

“Route great. The locals were very helpful and friendly even though they had no english and we had no portuguese…One lady who was picking fruit in her garden gave us a supply of fantastic fresh fruit.” Padraig Lynch, Portuguese Coastal Camino

Q. I love cycling. Which Camino Route is right for me?

You can cycle most of the Camino routes. In general, our Camino cycling packages cover an average of 50 to 60km per day, depending on the terrain; that means double the amount of km you would cover walking. We recommend cycling the Camino only for those familiar with cycling and basic bike maintenance.

*You might also want to read our blog post: Cycling the Camino, how it works. We recommend avoiding cycling the Camino Frances in the busiest months (so there will be fewer walkers on the trail) and opting instead for routes that are less busy such as the Camino del Norte or Portuguese Coastal Camino. In addition, these are two fantastic Summer routes, stopping in wonderful coastal towns and cities.

“The bicycles were nicer than we anticipated and they lodging was fantastic. Luggage transfers were executed on time and without issue. It was just a fantastic journey with Camino Ways taking care of the details.” Douglas Herr, Cycling the Camino from Leon


Q. I am a very experienced walker, I’d love a challenge!

If you feel you’d like to walk more kilometres than those we have allocated to each section, let our travel specialists know. However, we feel the itineraries are well balanced, challenging enough and give you the chance to wind down in the evenings. The Camino Primitivo from Oviedo, across the mountains, could be a good option for you, as it is one of the most challenging sections. However, this is a quiet, off the beaten track route.

The Camino del Norte from San Sebastian to Bilbao might also be a suitable section for you. The St Francis Way in Italy is a stunning but challenging trail. You can also check out our walks in Ireland at and our treks in the Canary Islands at

Q. I’d like to walk a coastal route but also see Santiago?

If you are looking for a Summer Camino de Santiago route with coastal tracks, there are a couple of fantastic options: the Portuguese Coastal Camino, starting in Porto, follows the Atlantic coastline to Baiona in the first week, then continues along with the seaside villages and towns of the Rías Baixas until you reach Pontevedra.

You could also choose the Finisterre and Muxía Camino, the only route starting in Santiago, to discover the fabulous Costa da Morte with its pristine villages.

Or you could start in Ferrol and walk the Camino Inglés: the first couple of days following the bay before heading inland towards Santiago de Compostela. Summer is the best time to travel these routes.


Q. I’d like to walk a Camino along the coast but don’t need to finish in Santiago?

Then the Camino del Norte is perfect for you, particularly between the cities of San Sebastian, Bilbao and Santander; and further on the green Northern coast to the seaside town of Ribadesella.

“Worked like a well-oiled machine. Approachable, professional and friendly.” Nicholas Osbourne, Camino del Norte in the Basque Country

Q. Do you have any other coastal walks?

We do. We have stunning non-Camino coastal walks such as the Lighthouse Way (challenging) and Cantabrian Coast Way in Galicia; as well as the Rota Vicentina Fishermen’s Trail, in the South of Portugal. The Rota Vicentina is ideal for Autumn and Spring months, while the trails in Galicia are best discovered from May to September.

Q. I’m travelling on my own but I’d like to have a social experience

If you are travelling on your own but are looking to meet people and make friends, we would recommend you choose the Camino Frances. You can either book a self-guided tour on any of our Camino de Santiago routes or join one of our Camino guided tours departing from March until October.

right camino

Q. I’d prefer a quieter route. Which is the best Camino for me?

To give yourself time to reflect and be mindful you could opt for one of the quieter trails. The Via de la Plata and the Camino de Invierno are two great alternative routes that will give you plenty of time to walk and get away from the noise of everyday life. Walking the last section of the Via de la Plata your Camino journey will take you from the peaceful City of Ourende through forest tracks all the way to Santiago de Compostela.

Many of the most popular Camino routes will be quiet at different times of the year but you need to be mindful that there will be less services and accommodation available in quieter months. Ask our travel specialists.

-I would love to walk with family or friends

Walking with a group can be a great bonding experience. The Camino Frances is the perfect route for your group Camino trip and will have all of the services you need in order to stay together on this wonderful trip. You could opt to cycle the last 200km from Ponferrada to Santiago. Our groups’ travel team are here to help you plan the perfect Camino itinerary for your family and friends.

“Walking with friends and relatives on an ancient religious pathway through Spanish villages was a lifetime experience.” Virgilio Go

For more information to help you pick the right Camino de Santiago route for you or to book your trip, contact our travel experts.


  1. By Sarah

    Hi Armando,

    Thank you for getting in touch and for providing this information – I am passing your details on to our sales team who should be in touch shortly to talk through your options as regards routes. The great thing about traveling with is that we are very flexible and can accommodate your specific needs. Hope to speak to you soon!

  2. By Sarah

    Hi Roberte, thank you for getting in touch. We have many seniors on the routes and you will meet many pilgrims on the Camino Frances as it is the most popular route to Santiago. If you are interested in doing the short Camino I will pass your details on to our sales team who can discuss with you in detail all about the route so you can decide if it’s the right one for you, thank you & Buen Camino!

  3. By Armando

    I am 69 and my wife is 65
    We have 2 weeks for travel
    I would like to take it slow
    Maybe have longer stays in some places
    So I would like at least a 7 day walk with some rest I between those days

  4. By Roberte Rivard

    I will be 80 years old in 2021 and next year I would like to do the short camino of 111 Kms. Are there many seniors doing this route.?

  5. By Maria

    Hi Jacqui, the best routes for winter would be the Camino Frances and Camino Portugues, as you’ll still meet pilgrims along the way. Let us know if you need further assistance. Kindest regards.

  6. By Jacqui Kirkman

    What’s the best route if you are walking in winter?

  7. By Lisa

    Hi J-F, thank you very much for your tips. I will pass them along to the travel team here and I am sure our readers will also find them useful. Best of luck on your next adventure. Kindest wishes, Lisa from

  8. By J-F

    Hello all,

    Just a small note for those wondering how long it takes starting from Saint-Jean Pied de Port, I managed to finish in 26 days. Only had 30 days vacation and did not take any days off in the big cities. Near the end was doing around 40 km per day but my body was used to it by then. Started solo and by the end we were a group of around 6 that finished together. I don’t recommend the way I did it unless you plan on going back and doing it properly a second time. :)

  9. By Maria

    Hi Dennis, thank you for getting in touch. As the accommodation is booked in advance for your trip, you would need to stay with the schedule. However the distances are carefully planned depending on distance and services available. In addition, we would recommend adding rest days after 6/7 days so you can spend more time in the bigger towns/cities allowing you to explore. Let us know what you think. Kind regards.

  10. By Dennis Murphy

    Hello. It appears that if I book a tour with you I must stay on the schedule outlined by you. My schedule is flexible and I wanted the ability to spend more time at a destination if I chose to do s. Is that possible or must I travel as you outline? Thanks.

  11. By Maria

    Dear Ana, thank you for getting in touch. In order to receive your Compostela certificate you will have to walk at least the last 100kms of any of the routes in to Santiago. That would take about 4-5 days to walk. Let us know if we can assist.

  12. By Ana Rodriguez Cepero

    Hi, need information on doing the walk in 3 days? Where and when can we do this in a group and still receive a apostille?
    Thank you,

  13. By Maria

    Hi Cari, thank you for getting in touch. We organise trips for groups of all sizes. How many people have you got in mind? Our customer team will email you some details. Kind regards

  14. By Cari

    Like to do The French way will like to do it with a group of people. Do you put together groups? Will like to do it in September 2018.

  15. By Lisa

    Hi Madeline, thank you for your message. I think the route you are speaking about is called the Voie des Piedmonts starting in Carcassone. The closest route to that that we provide is the Arles Way from Montpellier to Puente de La Reina. Which town would you be planning to start from and how much time would you have available to walk? If you send me this information I can send you a sample itinerary. Kindest regards, Lisa from CaminoWays.

  16. By Madeline

    Hello, do you know anything about the Chemin de St Jacques de Compostelle that runs through the Ariege Pyrenees ? I am going to a wedding near there and would like to walk in the area.
    Thank you!

  17. By Lorraine de Beer

    I have 21 days and would like to walk 350km . Where would I start the camino?

  18. By Maria

    Hi Chad, are you starting from St Jean Pied de Port or Pamplona? The Napoleon route across the Pyrenees is not recommended this time of the year: We recommend you take the valley route from St Jean to Valcarlos or start from Pamplona. Let us knwo if you would like to organise the trip for you: Kindest regards

  19. By chad

    I am considering heading to Spain in about 10 days to do the 30 day walk – What would be your recommendation at this point in the season. Say roughly March 18 to April 18?? Like peace and quiet as well – lots of thinking and discerning to do.

  20. By Joffre

    I’d like to spend around 12-13 days from the last week from March, finishing in Santiago.
    Can you give me some recommendations, which route also getting good weather. Where to begin and airports for starting and finishing?in Spain.
    Thanks a lot for the help!

  21. By Lisa

    Hi Wanda, thank you for your message. If you walked the last section of the Camino Frances ( you would reach Santiago after 6 nights and then you could continue to walking to Finisterre which takes 5 nights ( It is a lovely idea to spend an extra night in Santiago de Compostela at the end of your journey also. Our travel team can give you the full itinerary for both routes if you contact them at Buen Camino, Lisa from CaminoWays.

  22. By Lisa

    Hi Mark, thanks for your message. The Portuguese Coastal Way from Porto is wonderful. The full route will take you 13 nights or you could opt to do the last week from Baiona. Here is the link to the full route – The best airports to fly into would be Vigo or Porto. You can reach out to our travel team at anytime for a full itinerary or more options. I have personally done this route and it is very manageable with so many lovely stops along the way. Buen Camino, Lisa from

  23. By Mark

    I have walked the French way twice. I have 2 maybe 3 weeks. I want to walk from Portugal. Can you suggest best route and airport .

  24. By Lisa

    Hi Ethan, thank you for getting in touch and it is great to hear that you are planning your Camino. The weather all depends on the route that you choose to take. You can hover over the icons on our interactive weather map here: Some of the French Way will be inaccessible for these months due to the snow but other routes like the Via de la Plata and the Portuguese Coastal Way could be nice options. For access, more details and availability you can reach out to our travel team anytime for more information at I hope that this helps a little. Best wishes, Lisa

  25. By Ethan Earnshaw

    I am considering part of the route in Dec/Jan. What will the weather be like?

  26. By Maria

    Hi Rachel, September would be a great time to do one of the routes with coastal sections such as the Finisterre Way for instance, or the Portuguese Coastal Way Is it your first Camino?

  27. By Rachel

    Hello, I have a week in mid-September and would like to opt for a more social and scenic route: any suggestions? Thanks!

  28. By Lisa

    Hi André, thank you for sending us this video. It is very informative. Kind regards, the CaminoWays team.

  29. Hi. I am André Pena, the Dean of the Galician Institute of Celtic Studies. Head of History and Archeology, City Council, Narón.
    I send you this video of the Department of Tourism of Narón, about the Pagan Past and the Christian present of The Camino, following the sun

  30. By Lisa

    Hi Janet, thank you for your message. If you have 2 weeks you could complete the Portuguese Coastal Way. It is a beautiful route and you will meet other pilgrims along the way, depending on the time of year that you are planning to walk. Here is the link with all of the information: The other option would be to walk from Ponferrada to Santiago on the French Way: This is the most popular Camino route and you will certainly meet pilgrims along the way. If you need more information or travel specialists are always happy to help. You can reach out to them at Kindest regards, Lisa.

  31. By janet ohara

    I have about 2 weeks and am in good shape…no aches or pains would like the experience of meeting people but don’t want to take a month off..any suggestions?

  32. By Lisa

    Hi Sofia, great to hear that you are planning your trip. The first section of this route is quite hilly and you will need to do some preparation walks to make sure you are prepared. The second section joins the French Way at Melide so you will meet plenty of pilgrims once you get beyond Lugo. If you want to speak to one of our travel team about the route you can contact Good luck with your adventure. Kindest regards, Lisa.

  33. By Sofia

    Hi! I’m planning to do the Camino Primitivo in early July. As I am doing it solo id like to have company but I don’t want to do the CF since
    I’ve heard it’s very crowded. Is the CP very hard for first timers?

  34. By Lisa

    Hi Christopher, it is great to hear that you are planning to walk the Camino. If you have 2 weeks and it is your first time on the Camino then you could either opt to do the French Way from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela (find the full itinerary here: This would give you a nice social walk. You will meet many other pilgrims on this route and enjoy walking through the small villages in Northern Galicia. The other option would be to complete the Portuguese Coastal Way from (See the full itinerary here: This route is quieter until you get to Baiona and then you will start meeting more pilgrims. It is a beautiful route that starts by the coast and only takes 13 nights to complete. You will work your way in land. To discuss the best options and get some tips you can reach our to our travel team anytime on I hope that this is helpful as a starting point. Buen Camino!

  35. By Christopher

    My girlfriend and I are planning to do a part of the Santiago de Compostela walk upcoming August.

    We will have aprox. 2 weeks for it, starting on the 12th of August and finishing at the end of the month.

    We are interested in both having a social experience and in seeing the most beautiful part of the trail. To keep it short, people and socializing will be important, but far more important will be the nature itself (hoping for some stunning views to take some awesome shots), as it will be a somehow romantic adventure for us two, in contact with mother nature in all its beauty. We love to walk and are physically fit.

    Which part of the trail would you recommend us most?
    What other important recommendations can you give us? (With or better without a tent? Any precautions? Anything we should definitely do or avoid?).

  36. By Lisa

    Hi Rosa, thank you for your email. The Portuguese Coastal route is a stunning trail. The route will be more social in summer time and September with more walkers along the way but the section from Porto until after Vigo is much quieter than the French Way. If you are hoping to meet pilgrims everyday and looking for the most social route than the French Way would be the best option. For more details about the route you can contact our travel team at Kindest regards, Lisa.

  37. By Lisa

    Hi Julie, thank you for your comment. April is a lovely walking month. The Porto to Santiago stretch is very beautiful and you will meet other walkers along the way. As you get closer to Santiago you will begin to meet more people as you walk each day. The trail from Porto up to Vigo will be quieter. If you want to speak with our travel team they will best advise you on times, dates and give you more information about the route itself. You can reach out to them at Enjoy your journey. Buen Camino, Lisa.

  38. By Rosa


    Would you recommend a woman travelling alone to walk the Portuguese Coastal Way? I’m looking for a quiet but social 2 week journey.

  39. By Julie

    I am thinking to do the Portuguese way from next week and don’t want to be walking alone/sleeping alone at albergues. Should I take the Porto-Santiago stretch or will it be alright to start in Lisboa?
    Any other concerns about taking this route in April?

  40. By Lisa

    Hi Dan, the Northern Way is a beautiful route and you will enjoy all of the stunning towns along the way. It is a long trail at 808 kms and we usually suggest doing it in 36 nights or just over 5 weeks which means you will walk between 16 – 23 kms per day but our travel team can tailor any of the itineraries for you if you only have a month available and if you are thinking of walking the whole route I would suggest reaching out to them at Kindest regards, Lisa.

  41. By Dan

    Hi there,

    I’m thinking of walking the northern route. Is a month enough time? Your video also implies it’s more for experienced walkers, what does that mean?

  42. By Lisa

    Hi Annette, the Portuguese Way is a beautiful route and this will be a lovely time of the year to walk. From Lisbon to Porto you might only meet a few pilgrims along the way but once you walk the trail past Porto up towards Tui you will start to meet more and more pilgrims. To get a more accurate picture of the route I would suggest talking to one of our travel team. You can reach out to them at Kindest regards, Lisa.

  43. By Annette

    Hi I am planning on walking the Portugese was in July and August from Lisbon is this a good idea? Many Pilgrims to walk with?

  44. By Joe

    appreciate the quick response. would you recommend any of the less busy routes that is feasible to do during 10 days? This is my first time doing the camino, but I am not dead set on doing the most popular route.

  45. By Lisa

    Hi Joe, thank you for your comment. If you have 10 days you could do the last week of the French Way from Sarria to Santiago and spend an extra night or two in Santiago at the end. It is a beautiful city with lots to do. Here is the link for more information on this route – Be mindful that Easter can be a busy time on the Camino so please get in touch with our travel team to check availability on Kindest regards, Lisa.

  46. By Joe

    This is really well presented. I was hoping to do a portion of Camino in April over Easter break. I have about 10 days off between 7 and 17. Any suggestions based on weather?

  47. By Lisa

    Hi Ravi, thank you for your comment. In this case we would recommend the Northern Way. This route offers a fantastic mix of coastal scenery from San Sebastian to Ribadeo and forest and farmland in rural Galicia before arriving into Santiago. While this route is popular, there are not the same numbers of people walking this route, as such you would have company without the trail being too busy. Kindest regards, Lisa.

  48. By Ravi

    Hi, thank you for the great info
    I am looking to walk in July/August of this year, and am worried the Camino frances will be too busy. I want to have company but not be overrun with pilgrims. Which route do you recommend?

  49. By Lisa

    Hi Charlotte, it is true that the Portuguese Coastal Way is not as well known as the French Way which is the most popular route and featured in the most films but it is a beautiful trail and very well marked. I personally did Baiona to Santiago last May and we loved every minute of the experience. On this trail you get a wide mixture of terrains: coastal paths, forest tracks and quiet country roads. I plan on doing the second section from Porto to Baiona soon. Here is the link to the full way – Kindest regards, Lisa.

  50. By charlotte nøddeboe

    I wonder why there is so little dokumentary from the coastal rute? Is it not good?

  51. By Maria

    Hi Rebecca, it will depend on the kind of walking problems. We have ‘easy’ options on the last section, walking 10kms per day on average; but the trail will be the same (only covering less distance per day). The trail will be challenging but it is doable, to give you an idea, 71 people travelled to Santiago using a wheelchair in 2015. Let us know if you need any additional information. Kindest regards.

  52. By Rebecca

    Is the Way accessible to those with walking problems?

  53. By Maria

    Hi Orla, thank you for getting in touch. For October (but particularly for November when numbers decline) we would definitely recommend the last stretch of the Camino Frances (the most famous route) as it is where you will be able to meet other fellow pilgrims. As a second option, we would suggest walking from Tui to Santiago, the last 100kms of the Portuguese route (, which is the second most popular Camino route and also very social. If you are looking for the social experience, definitely the Camino Frances: We hope this helps, let us know if you need any additional information, quote, etc… Kind regards

  54. By Sully

    Hello, I have a week at the beginning of October/ start of November and am wondering which part of the Camino you would advise. i would like to finish in Santiago. Thank you

  55. By Eileenmullane

    First time.

  56. By Suzanne Overdorf

    We are a long married couple in our early 70’s, both of us in pretty good shape. We are interested in a week long walk of a portion of the Camino, probably in Fall 2016.. Which portion would you recommend that is scenic yet not very challenging terrain? Hiking hills might flare up old injuries or challenge our well worn joints! Thank you, this site is very helpful.

  57. By Maria

    Hi Mary, what about the last section of the Portuguese Way from Tui? that could be a good option as the walking days are not too long and is close to the coast so elevation shouldn’t be an issue, see here: Let us know if you need any additional information. Kind regards

  58. By Mary Owens

    I am recovering from a back/hip injury but can manage walking cross-country for 3 – 4 hours a day if the terrain is mostly on flat ground. I’d love to organise a week’s trip in early September for myself and two sisters. We are not fussy where we start or end – just somewhere that’s reasonably accessible to get to and from.

  59. By Maria

    Hi Libby, as far as we know, the books available for the Chemin d’Arles are all in French. The Society of St James in the UK has the only document published in English: We hope this helps!

  60. By Libby Ong

    2011 we took French way,2012 Portugal way. this June we arer going to try Le Chemin d’Arles. we are look for the English Edition for this book. can you help us?

  61. By Maria

    Hi Carlos, the most popular route is the French Way:, and you can start at any stage, depending on the time available. The Portuguese route is the second most popular with pilgrims: July is a great time to reach Santiago as 25th July is St James Day and Galicia’s Day. Let us know if you need an itinerary and quote. Kind regards. Maria


    will li to know morw about camino a santiag by july 2015

  63. By Maria

    Hi! October is a good time to walk or cycle the Camino. Which section are you looking to cover? Kind regards

  64. By cookie

    Can the trail be done in october. It is my first time n cando 10_15 miles at a time. M a hiker.

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