The Camino de Santiago ways (The Ways of St James) are the ancient pilgrimage routes along The Camino that lead to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain. According to legend, it is here in the Cathedral, that the remains of St. James (Santiago in Spanish) are buried. There is no definitive answer as to where the Camino begins, this is because ancient pilgrims began the journey from their own home. Today there are many different routes for modern pilgrims to choose from. These are our top 5 Camino routes:
1 The French Way Last 100km
This is The Classic Camino route and definitely the most popular. The French Way has been featured in many films and documentaries including ‘The Way’ starring Martin Sheen. The popularity of this ‘Santiago Way’ has led to a fantastic atmosphere with pilgrims from all over the world. The journey begins in Sarria meandering through elegant medieval towns and lush countryside. Finishing in Santiago de Compostela is the pinnacle of most Caminos and this is no different. If this is your first Camino, The French Way is for you!
2 The Portuguese Coastal Way
The Portuguese Coastal Camino is an amazing journey that is split equally between coastal trails and inland forest walks. This is a treat for the taste buds, as the culinary experience is ever changing as you move from Portugal into Spain on your way to Santiago. The route begins in Porto and follows the Atlantic Ocean and into Galicia. Enjoy the white beaches and fishing culture of the regions on this peaceful Camino.
3 The Northern Way
The Camino del Norte (Northern Way) starts in The Basque Country, in the trendy seaside city of San Sebastián. Those who enjoy fishing villages will savour this experience as you visit many colourful seaside towns, with amazing restaurants. Take a dip in the Ocean on one of the fabulous beaches on this route. WThe Northern route also passes through the city of Bilbao which is packed with things to see and do. If possible to should spend an extra night here to experience the city. The famous Guggenheim Museum is a real highlight, the architecture of the building is renowned and the exhibitions inside are plentiful and varied.
4 The Camino to Rome
The Via Francigena ( Camino to Rome) is an alternative take on the traditional routes, finishing in Rome. You’ll need around 16 weeks to complete the full route, however it’s possible to do it in sections. One of the most popular and beautiful sections is Tuscany. Walking from Lucca to Sienna over 7 nights, walkers enjoy the rolling hills and vineyards of the region. The Roman architecture that is dotted throughout the trail is different from other Camino routes, and the medieval towers in Siena are a must see. This historical, artistic cultural and gastronomic tour is a welcome addition to the Camino catalogue.
5 French Way Cycling
Did you know that you can also cycle the Camino de Santiago? Traditionally many pilgrims would have travelled on horseback, and although today some still do, cycling is a very popular way to get to Santiago. The greatest advantage to cycling is that you can cover twice the distance in the same amount of time. You’ll need to cycle 200km to get your ‘compostela’ (certificate of completion), and the French Way las 200km is the most popular way to do this. The trip begins in Ponferrada and moves across Galicia’s countryside, forest trails and villages to the sacred city of Santiago de Compostela
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