What is the Camino Catalán?

sant-pere-de-rodesThe Camino Catalán (Cat: Camí de Sant Jaume) is the name of the Camino de Santiago route that takes pilgrims across Catalonia: from the Mediterranean coast to La Rioja. There, pilgrims can join the French Way and continue walking to Santiago de Compostela, in Atlantic Galicia.

In the Middle Ages, the main ways to Santiago followed the old Roman road network, connecting cities with important political and religious status, since they were the safest and most popular. It is believed that pilgrims walked to Santiago from Catalonia and further afield as far back as the XIII century, but there were many different routes.

This could be due to the fact that, during the first centuries of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, pilgrims travelling from Catalonia had to adapt to frequent changes in the border between the Muslim and the Franc-Catalonian areas, as the so called ‘Reconquista’ hadn’t yet been finalised. This was an added difficulty to pilgrims and many chose to access the Iberian Peninsula via the Western side of the Pyrenees instead (along the French Way).

Divided in four walking stages, today’s Camino Catalán to Santiago starts at the seaside town of Port de la Selva in the Costa Brava and takes walkers across the Catalonian countryside and then West to Aragón before finishing in La Rioja. Along the way, travellers walk by towns, cities and countryside with striking landscapes, such as Montserrat, Girona, the Ebro valley and La Rioja region.

Catalonian Way Itinerary

This is the complete itinerary for the Camino Catalán (Cat: Camí de Sant Jaume), with traditional stages. Please note that “splits” have not been included in the table.

Sections Town Km Section Summary
Section 1 Port de la Selva
Figueres 30 The first section of the Camino Catalán starts in the seaside town of Port de la Selva in the Costa Brava. This trail takes a 500m ascent to start with, just so walkers can appreciate the breath taking views of the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes, overlooking the Mediterranean. Walking across the Catalonian countryside, the route gives travellers the opportunity to visit Figueres, birthplace of Salvador Dalí, as well as the medieval city of Girona and admire Catalonia’s rich heritage along the way. After the initial climb, this itinerary continues on relatively flat ground until the last walking day, where a steep ascent takes walkers to Vic (1249m), the final point of this stage.
Bascara 17
Girona 33
Amer 22
Sant Esteve d’en Bas 23
L’Esquirol 19
Section 2 Vic 19
L’Estany 21 From Vic, the Camino Catalán to Santiago takes walkers to the heart of Catalonia with its spectacular landscapes, historic towns and ancient Roman roads. This section of the Camino Catalán is quite hilly, including a fair bit of climbing. The steepest section leads to the top of the spectacular Montserrat (serrated mountain), Catalonia’s ‘holy mountain’ and a stunning natural park. Legend has it that Montserrat is the location of the Holy Grail in Arthurian mythology. The charming medieval town of Cervera, in Lleida, with its old university and wall is the final destination for this walking trail.
Artes 23
Manresa 20
Montserrat 25,5
Igualada 27
Montmaneu 23
Section 3 Cervera 16
Belpuig 25 The third section of the Camino Catalán starts at the medieval town Cervera and finishes in Zaragoza city, leaving Catalonia to head into Aragón. After walking across the vast desert-like landscape of Los Monegros, the Camino Catalán reaches the shores of the Ebro River, taking walkers from one village to the next on a fairly flat walk all the way to Zaragoza (Saragossa – called ‘Caesar Augusta’ by the Romans). Explore this magnificent city, where Muslims, Christians and Jews have left their distinctive mark: check out the city’s old quarter, the Basílica del Pilar, as well as the cathedral, the Aljafería Palace and other stunning examples Mudéjar Architecture.
Lérida 34
Fraga 29
Candasnos 24
Bujaraloz 21
Pina de Ebro 34
Section 4 Zaragoza 35
Alagòn 25 The last section of the Camino Catalán to Santiago leaves the city of Zaragoza with its rich heritage and leads walkers into La Rioja, a region famous for its wines. The walking trail now follows the course of the Ebro River (called Iber by the Romans- giving its name to the Iberian Peninsula). The biggest river in Spain, the Ebro was for centuries a vehicle of culture and communication. A hike across the hilly landscape of Navarra follows, taking you to Tudela before reaching the relaxing and fertile vineyards of La Rioja. Logroño, capital of La Rioja, is our final walking point, where pilgrims can then join the French Way and continue on their way to Santiago. Buen Camino!
Mallén 28
Tudela 22
Alfaro 21
Calahorra 26
Alcanadre 19,6
Logroño 27

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