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Camino de Santiago travel guide
The Camino is a vast network of tributary roads and paths along which pilgrims flow from across Europe, before being channelled across northern Spain to the ancient city of Santiago de Compostela and the shrine of Saint James, Spain’s patron saint. The pilgrimage began in the 9th century, but it has not always been popular; in 1976, just seven pilgrims were awarded the Compostela certificate of completion. Now, over 200,000 pilgrims make the journey on foot, bicycle or horseback each year – and there are as many reasons for completing the route as there are pilgrims.
Everyone who walks this ancient trail is a pilgrim – though not all are religious. The trip, however, is always spiritual – it is a journey into rural Spain, of simple pleasures, of pushing limits, of making friends, of self discovery.
Trekking for a week or longer is a kind of meditation for many; a chance to escape the distractions of the modern world, to be immersed in the beautiful landscapes of Galicia and Castilla y León. The scallop shell, with its grooves all leading to a single point, lines the route – guiding modern pilgrims to their final destination. ¡Buen camino!
Read on in our Camino de Santiago travel guide.
Is the Camino de Santiago for you?
Walk the Camino if…
Don’t walk the Camino if…
Brief history of the Camino de Santiago
This pilgrimage trail is otherwise known as the Way of St James, or St James’ Way and dates back over 1,000 years, with worshippers walking from various points to eventually congregate at the Santiago de Compostela cathedral, where the much revered apostle, Saint James the Great is believed to have been buried. Read more
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More Camino de Santiago articles
Pilgrims tend to plump for the summer months, but there are more options. Do read on…
There are many Camino de Santiago walking routes – but we’ve focused on the classics.
Accommodation on the Camino is varied in style, situation and, indeed, spiritual outlook.
Novices tend to start with the French Way, the easiest of the Camino’s many trails.
The Portugal Way is one of the most popular routes on the Camino, with the option to walk inland or along the coast.
The Northern Way is an attractive route for those who want a quiet and coastal Camino.
As with any long-distance walk, you don’t want to rush into the Camino de Santiago.
You really can kayak the Camino de Santiago, following a spectacular coastal route.
Cycling the Camino de Santiago is becoming a very popular way to traverse this iconic route.
Forget images of lone pilgrims – one of the best ways to hike the Camino is on a small group tour.
Can you walk the Camino de Santiago with children? It’s a question we hear quite a bit.
From blisters to beer stops, and from packing to pace, discover our experts’ advice.
We can help with guidance and planning for the Camino de Santiago with some advice.
Some tips and advice on being a responsible pilgrim while exploring the various routes.