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 the Camino – 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 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.

104 replies on “The Way of St James”

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

I look forward to hearing from you


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?

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

Good day. I am planning to walk the last 200 km to Santiago starting 1 August 2016.
Have you made your plans yet?

Hi Steve, I am also from SA, although in the Uk this year. I will be doing the French Way around Mid September this year. Have you done your Camino yet? Would love to chat to anyone, especially if you are going around my time in September. I may go mid June depending.

Leaving from Florida May 31st to walk part of the St. Frances, from Triacastela and Samos . I’m so excited. I’ve got two weeks so not really sure exactly where I’ll begin. Buen camino, folks!

Groups can be good and a hinderance, depending on your purpose and ability. Some are fast hikers, others more leisurely, shall we say. You will meet new folks and lose them and regain them along the way. Look for John Brierley’s guidebooks: most excellent intro and what to expect on the Camino. Mine is well used. Keep a small journal for yourself, and to remind you of all the pictures you took!
Watch “The Way” movie, very well done and much underappreciated. Filmed on the trail, you will recognize some spots.

I am embarking on my first ever trip out of South Africa.
I am terrified and so excited and full of joyous anticipation!

Steve, best to you when you do go. I’m interested in going to Africa. It’s been on my heart since March. If you know of any opportunities that could use a missionary for a week or two, please let me know. I am totally new at this, but if doors open, I’ll be there. Liz

Hi Steve,

I’m considering doing this later in the year, likely around November …. What’s your timeframe for this?

Hello Diana,

Would love to join you. Its my first time and i am planning do it Porto-Santiago in 5 days. Do you think that is ambitious? Lets talk as i am planning to do it Last week of November. I am so clueless as well.

i am from Philippines but currently working in Middle East. I am traveling alone and I would like to join as well a group. I read someone wanted to do it like late November. My timetable is to do it in 5 days walking 50 kms a day. I just hope i can do it. What about your plan?

hi felix!
i just gathering info and found u here. have u executed the above plan? im hoping to do it next year wanted to check and wondering about the visa?

Whats your time frame. I am also traveling alone would like to have some company. I am from Philippines. Lets chat and so we can plan with Diana.

Have you done it yet? I’m in NJ and trying to plan this pilgrimage. Hoping to find people prepping for the same.

Im new at this . i would like to do it in june but dont have a Clue where to start. . Any suggestions. I need help.

Hey Guys,
Just got back to South Africa from my Camino.
Walked from Leon to Santiago.

Need any help or info please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Buen Camino.

I am going on my first Camino next year and was thinking about starting in Leon. How long did it take you, and any unknowns or interesting spots?
Thank you so much

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.

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.

I grew up in a catholic school and remember faithing with incense, but now days l can tolerante it, I guess after so many years I build up a resistance to it….I praise you for at the age of 88 and still eager to do it…when are you planning to go? My husband and are going to be there around tepee 20th of April, we plan to do the last leg to Santiago…

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!?!?

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.

Get a good guidebook. I can heartily recommend John Brierley , it might even be available locally. It will show you what to expect and is well worth the money and effort to get before you go. And break in you r boots early! Wool Sox!

See you on the Trail…

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

Hi Im Alex, I just wanna ask when do plan to do the trip?…my plan is May 2017…though it is still a long ways from now…im already doing some preparation, logistic wise and physical conditioning…and im also planning to go by myself…i will be 58 by then…so if you r sked will be same as mine…so if you are interested to have a hiking buddy, shoot me an email and we can discuss more about it…[email protected]

Hi anon. I too am planning the trip in mid May 2017 from St Jean in France and then to St Jacques. Planning to take 5 to 6 weeks. I know the region so want to enjoy it all by foot. I really want to do it all on my own as its spiritually more meaningful. The combination of solitude and Mother Nature is quite powerful. Having said that, I am happy to talk to people for short periods along the way. Keep an eye out…I am Italian but can speak English, and French. I’m 6’2 thick black hair blue eyes.

U went El Camino in 2015, or U are still thinking of going?
I am 54, and I have plans to go in May/Jun this year.