El Camino de Santiago, The Way of St James

El Camino de Santiago de Compostela (in English: The Way of St. James) is a network of routes across Spain and Europe which all lead to Santiago de Compostela, in the northwest of Spain. In the Middle Ages, these routes were walked as a pilgrimage to the tomb of the apostle St. James.

Nowadays, tens of thousands walk or cycle the Camino de Santiago every year in an epic journey of 500 miles. People from all over the world with all kinds of motivations: sport, culture, religion, nature, adventure etc., travel El Camino de Santiago, or parts of it, in a lifetime experience. El Camino de Santiago has been declared World Heritage by UNESCO and the First European Cultural Itinerary.

 The main routes of El Camino de Santiago – The Way of St. James are:

The French Way (in Spanish: Camino de Santiago Frances) which goes from the French side of the Pyrenees through the interior of northern Spain as far as Santiago de Compostela, in the Spanish region of Galicia. It’s the most famous and followed route of El Camino de Santiago.

The Northern Way (in Spanish: Camino de Santiago del Norte) which from the Basque Country follows the northern coast of Spain and the mountains of Asturias until Santiago. It has breathtaking landscapes and it’s less crowded.

The Silver Way (Via de la Plata) starts in Seville in Andalusia, southern Spain, and follows an ancient Roman route merging with El Camino Frances in its final part.

The Primitive Way or Original Way (Camino de Santiago Primitivo) crossing the high mountains of Asturias.

– The Portuguese Way (Camino de Santiago Portugues) from the Portuguese city of Porto.

This website covers general aspects of planning your pilgrimage along Camino de Santiago – The Way of Saint James and provides information and tips for future pilgrims. We focus especially on the French Way and also on the Northern Way because they are the most popular but we hope to add further information on the other routes in time.

Map of El Camino de Santiago or The Way of St. James

Camino de Santiago, the Way of St. James: A long tradition

For centuries and centuries, indeed since the very beginning of Christendom many pilgrims have followed St. James’s footsteps across Spain and they still continue to arrive in Santiago de Compostela.

Camino de Santiago means freedom, culture, sport, nature, tradition, challenge, peace but above all it is freedom. Numerous emperors like Charlemagne, popes like Calixtus II, kings like Alfonso II, brave knights like the Spanish “El Cid” or the Knights Templar, noblemen, thousands of priests, farmers, beggars, travelers, the healthy, the sick, the blind, the lame, the rich and the homeless; all of them were pilgrims in el Camino de Santiago and all of them were treated the same, because no one knew if the dirty, tired and blistered pilgrim that just arrived in the village before sunset was a king, a bishop or a pauper. They were and still are all pilgrims always looking for something, always bringing new ideas.

31 thoughts on “El Camino de Santiago, The Way of St James”

  1. Fiz este caminho frances,com meu filho de bik em 12 dias, foi uma viagem de encontro com Deus, viagem de agradecimentos a tdis e a td, vou fazer novamente a pé com minha mulher agora em setembro se Deus quizer

  2. Jose,

    Que bom que voce e seu filho fizeram essa viagem.
    Voce poderia me informar sobre se levou dinheiro ou cartao de credito, checques de viagem?
    Tambem aonde voce comecou a viagem.

  3. I’m interested in joining a group. I’m from south Africa.

    I look forward to hearing from you


    1. Hi Steve.

      I am thinking of doing the way of St. James next August. I have already done three times. The first time i walked from Roncesvalles to Lolgroño. The second and the third time I walked from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela. I am 44.
      I won´t be sure if I do it this summer ´til I talk to my wife because she wouldn´t like me to do it alone.
      Shall we chat about the possibilty of doing a part of the WAY together?

      1. Hello Jose!

        A friend and I are planning on doing it sometime in June 2016. This is the first time we do it. Do you mind chatting with me so you can give me some tips. I’m really not sure where to start planning this trip. I will appreciate your help and may be we can join you. Hope to hear from you Jose

  4. I would like to know the distance from Leon to Stgo. I’m about to celebrate my 88th birthday, and apart from being quite deaf, I’m fine.
    I’ll only have one problem when I get there, and that is that I’m allergic to Incense, so how do I overcome the bota Fumeiro at the pilgrim’s 11 o’clock Mass on arrival?
    Que Dios os bendiga, M.E.Y-C.

    1. Although it will compromise your view a bit, if you are terrifically sensitive I suggest you sit well to the rear of the enormous church. The incense stays mostly up front in the crossing, and if you are still bothered anyway you can easily escape. You won’t miss the Mass in this case, as the BF is deployed at the very end. Also, it isn’t necessarily used–I was made to understand that it was a bit of luck to see it in action on a random weekday.

  5. Hi to all of you.

    I’ve made a desicion to do mine pilgrimage.

    I am 25 years old, never did anything simulat but for last two I have a wish to do so.
    Unfortinately I do have two weeks free time and only what I can do is Original way.
    Please help me how to make my trip easier!?!?

  6. I don´t mind chatting with you.
    Well, about where you can start, it depends on two heads.
    The first point, it is how long both of you will be walking. I mean If you want to walk about 10 days you will start closer than if you walk 3 weeks.
    The second point, it is where you would like to arrive. Of course, I strongly recommend you to arrive to Santiago.

  7. Hello my name is John
    Im wanting to do the camino starting in France ending in Santiago
    Im 52 years old
    I would like to know which if any are easier ways to go
    and also best time of of year to be there
    I dont mind people so if its busy time i dont mind because im planing this trip alone and want to meet people
    Look forward to your reply
    please email me

  8. El camino Francés (The French route ) is the only one I have done. It has lots of facilities and there are quite a lot of people. I think the best time of the year is from June to September.

  9. Hello, I am starting El Camino on August 16, 2015 and wanted to get an idea of what temperatures am I expect to encounter from SJPP to Burgos?

  10. Hi all! I am starting my research and would really love to make this trip happen but I can’t start the camino till mid October. Would that be a bad time to begin?

    1. I think it would be a terrific time to go, and I wish my schedule would allow me the same. Summer crowds dispersed, awful summer heat over. Just remember to reckon with fewer hours of daylight and increased chance of rain.

    1. Once you get to the albergue ( look for the envelop) and call the company before 9 pm they come pick up your bag and drive it to your next stop Cost 5 to 7 euros

    2. Do you mean you want to send luggage on to Santiago to be picked up when you finish your Camino? Or do you just want to send your backpack on to the next stop every day? If the first, I have no idea.
      If the latter, Luggage transfer companies—generally just a guy who happens to own a van and may well operate a local albergue—are popping up all over the Camino. They advertise heavily by way of signs stuck to every flat surface and sometimes have people handing out flyers at busy stopping places. In any case, you can’t miss’em. The disadvantage to this is that it forces you to commit to a destination every morning, which denies you the chance to change plans or get held up for any reason.

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