What is the Camino de Santiago?

The Camino de Santiago or Way of St. James is one of the oldest pilgrimage routes in Europe, dating back to the 9th century. It is a network of pilgrimage routes that expand all over Europe that all lead to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great inside the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain.  

In the Middle Ages, the Way of St.James was one of the most important Christian pilgrimages on which a plenary indulgence could be earned. The Camino was a form of penance for those guilty of crime and sin. This historic pilgrimage has continued over centuries and today over 300,000 people from all over the world, set off from their homes to walk “The Way” to Santiago de Compostela. 

The Most Popular Routes Along the Camino de Santiago

The Camino de Santiago is a huge network of multiple routes with different starting points all over Europe. Each routes has its own unique history, sights, charm and challenges. There are around 9 routes to Santiago de Compostela starting from a range of cities and towns in neighbouring Portugal and Spain. 

When most people talk about the Camino, they are often referring to the most popular route, the Camino Frances (The French Way) which starts in the small French town of  St. Jean Pied-du-Port, located at the foot of the Pyrenees. This popular routes accommodates almost 200,000 people (numbers are increasing year after year) and it passes through Pampalona, Burgos, Leon and a number of picturesque hillside towns before reaching Santiago de Compostela some 500 miles (800km) later. 

Other routes are growing in popularity with the Camino Portugues the second most walked and the Camino Ingles and Camino del Norte growing in popularity. Another popular route is the Camino Finisterre, which many pilgrims walk as a continuation from Santiago. 

 

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