Guide, Routes and Tips for the Camino de Santiago

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Before leaving... Which way to choose?

We have traveled all the routes of the Camino de Santiago to know exactly what are the conditions you will find . We can recommend the best way according to your conditions and requirements so that everything is perfect. You can also walk short routes to meet the minimum 100 kilometers to get the Compostela.

Remember you don't have to travel the Camino with an entire route. You can complete as many stages as you want, for instance starting from a intermediate point or walking just the final stages. Just keep in mind that you will be given the Compostela only if you have walked at least 100 km.

Choosing the right way is important to ensure you have a good experience. There are many factors that can help you decide on a route and it is important that you consider them all. Let's see some points that you should keep in mind before choosing the Way of Saint James.

The Way of Saint James is a pilgrimage, but also a touristic ad cultural route. As such, you must take into account the locations and points of interest you will visit. If you already know several points of the Bay of Biscay, you may be more interested in touring the south, for example. Take a look at the areas you will go through and the heritage of each one and consider which one attracts you the most.

Not all the ways to Santiago are the same. It is obvious that each one passes through different locations, but also their durations in days and miles are different. To give you an example, the Via de la Plata is the longest way to Santiago, with 596 miles (960 km). Before choosing a path, you must make sure that you have enough free days to dedicate yourself to the Camino. In addition to the total duration in miles or kilometers, each way has its own number of stages. To continue with the same example, although the Via de la Plata is the longest, it is also the one that consists of shorter stages. Analyze these data and think about how you prefer to travel your Jacobean route.

The starting place is an important factor when deciding which way to choose. Choosing a starting point close to where you live will save you time and money. If you live in Seville, it may be best for you to do Via de la Plata. If you live in Irún, the Camino del Norte. The same happens with the intermediate locations of each Way. Choosing a departure point with good connections will easy the planning and will make you trip more economic. Discover the locations of each route and choose the one that suits you best in this regard.

What are the differet routes in the Way of Saint James?

The Way of Saint James has always been a route that can start from different starting points, in different parts of Europe. Today, there are several different routes you can follow to get to Santiago. All of them have their own pros and cons and they are properly marked. You simply have to choose the one that suits you better, either by the points of, by the duration and difficulty of the stages or by the place from which you want to start.


The origin of this tradition: History of the Way of Saint James

WE KNOW that the Way of Saint James is a pilgrimage with many centuries of history. But where does it come from? Who were the first pilgrims? Why did they make a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela?

When did the Camino de Santiago begin?

The history of the Camino de Santiago can be traced back to Roman times, more specifically around the 9th century. Many theories assure that the road to Santiago already existed in pre-Christian times, it is not until 812 when the Way becomes a way of devotion to the Apostle Saint James the Greater.

According to some theories and studies, the Way of Saint James already existed as a route for some pre-Christian peoples, such as the Celts. According to the archaeological remains and the studies that have been carried out of them, it is known that Santiago de Compostela was already a pre-Christian necropolis: that is to say, that in Santiago there were dolmens and other funerary elements of previous times before Christ. These funerary monuments typical of the Celtic culture, reveal that some Celtic peoples already visited Santiago for religious reasons, unconnected to the Christian religion.

Source: Unknown

The remains of Saint James are discovered in 812, so many people take this year as the starting date of the Way of Saint James as we know it nowadays. At the end of this century, Christian cultures in Europe echo this historical finding. This is how many devotees begin to show interest in the remains of Apostle James and, moved by religion, begin their pilgrimage to Santiago from different parts of the Christian Europe.

The date when these remains were found is pretty certain, but the history behind the finding is not so clear. At the time of the discovery, there was already a belief that the remains of Saint James the Greater were located in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula. The most widespread legend about how the remains of the Apostle were discovered involves the hermit Pelayo and Iria Flavia as a location. According to this theory, a hermit named Pelayo would have seen a star over the forest of Libredón and communicated it to the bishop of Iria Flavia, Bishop Teodomiro. Both went to the place where Pelayo had seen the star and, upon arrival, discovered an old chapel where the remains were found.

The Way of Saint James became a crossroad of cultures, increasing the cultural contacts bwwteen different parts of Europe.

It is remarkable how in less than two centuries, the pilgrimage to Santiago increased considerably. Already in the 11th century, the number of pilgrims to Santiago is really high. It is an exceptional increase for the time, due to the precariousness of the communication routes in Europe in these years. In fact, the Way of Saint James itself became a way of crossing between cultures, increasing cultural contacts among different parts of Europe.

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The Compostela
The certification of the Camino



What's the origin of the Cathedral of Santiago?

One of the key aspects of the Way of Saint James is, obviously, the Cathedral of Santiago - the final point of this long pilgrimage to Santiago. Like many other historical cathedrals, its construction process was very long - it took many centuries to build it and many changes in its architecture were mad during this time.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

In the case of the Cathedral of Santiago, its origin first dates back to the 11th century, around the same time that the remains of the Apostle Saint James are found. Alfonso II was the King of Asturias and he certified between 820 and 830 that the remains found were belonging to the Apostle James. In these years, it was considered that kings and queens were chosen by the God. Thus, the fact that Alfonso II certified that these remains were Saint James' meant that this truth was irrefutable.

Alfonso II, also known as Alfonso The Chaste, is considered the first Jacobean pilgrim to Santiago. He was the one who ordered the construction of a church in the place where the remains of the Apostle James were located. Thus, under his mandate, the first germ of the Cathedral of Santiago was originated. Throughout time and little by little, the church of Santiago became an important center of Christian pilgrimage throughout Europe./p>

Apart from the authority of the King of Asturias Alfonso II, the finding of the remains also had the confirmation and consent of Charlemagne, the great emperor of Europe during this time. During his government, Charlemagne faced the Arabs, who threaten to cross their borders. Thus, the discovery of the remains of Saint James was used as a Christian campaign against these religious conflicts in Europe. Thanks to Charlemagne's action, the Way to Santiago became even more popular and reached practically every corner of the Christian Europe.

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What is the Way of Saint James about?

SINCEthe beginning of the Way of Saint James, many things have changed. Over the centuries, the reasons for pilgrimage to Santiago have changed - the Camino has undergone changes, but also many aspects of the Jacobean are still intact.

The Way of Saint James is a route that runs from different points in Europe and in all cases ends at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. This route is traveled by pilgrims from many parts of Europe. Although it has always had a strong religious component, the Way of St. James is a cultural way, a point of contact among different Europea cultures. Actually, it has been declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

The Way of St. James is a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela from different parts of Europe and the reasons for doing it may lie in religion or cultural interest.


Walking the Way of Saint James for cultural reasons

Since its origin in the 11th century, the Way of Saint James has been a crossroad among different cultures. Already at that time, devotees from different parts of Europe walked to Santiago. Thanks to this multicultural movement, ideas, news and culture were exchanged between different countries. Did you know that the Camino contributed to the arrival of artistic styles from Europe into Spain?

Today, many things have changed, but the spirit of the Way of St James remains the same. Pilgrims from all over the world decide to start this journey from countless countries from all corners of the world: United States, France, Italy, Germany, United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, China, Argentina, and many more. Embarking on this adventure is a cultural experience, where you can meet people of all kinds, discover the history of Santiago and Galicia and fall in love with all the culture you will find along the Way.

Walking the Way of Saint James for religious reasons

Although the religious side of the Camino has lost importance in comparison with its Christian origins, we must not forget that the origin of the Way of St. James falls in the devotion to the Apostle Saint James the Greater.

Religion is an important reason for making a pilgrimage. Both the historical origin of the Way and the importance of the Cathedral are important incentives to walk the Way of Saint James.

In addition, the Way has a strong spiritual factor. It is a long route to Compostela. We have time to think and to develop our own spirituality. Many people consider that the Way of Saint James is the best way to know oneself and develop a spiritual side.

Walking the Way of Saint James for touristic reasons

In case its rich history is not enough, the Jacobean route also has an immense touristic value. It does not matter what route you choose: in all of them you can go through the most fascinating points of the peninsular geography.

The Way of Saint James is positioned as the ideal way to get to know countless places in Spain: big cities, charming towns, nature areas, corners with almost forgotten legends and much more.

In addition to points of cultural interest, we must not forget the intangible cultural assets, such as gastronomy. In short, the Way of Saint James is a way of doing original tourism, since it is a mixture between tourism and experience.

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Doing the Camino de Santiago in a group

Never Walk Alone

You can enjoy the Camino de Santiago alone or in company, depending on the type of experience you want to enjoy. A pilgrimage to Santiago in solitude is something more spiritual, since you will enjoy a time for yourself and for putting your thoughts in order. In addition, even if you go alone, depending on the Way you choose, you will meet more or less pilgrims at each stage, so you can enjoy some company if you wish, as long as you choose a fairly busy route such as the French Way or the Portuguese Way. Whether you want to join a group on the Camino de Santiago or do the Camino de Santiago with an already scheduled group, do not hesitate to contact us so we can help you organize it.

When doing the Camino de Santiago in a group, a series of extra cautions must be taken into account. Having, for example, a luggage transfer service can be very useful to make the experience perfect for everyone.

If you are going to do the Camino de Santiago alone or in a group, you can also be accompanied by an Official Guide of the Camino de Santiago. The guides of the way are professionals guaranteed to guide the pilgrims through the best routes, explaining the importance of each one. Thus, you will not only be able to save time by going along the best paths, but you will also learn everything there is to know about them.

When going in a group, it is also useful to hire a support car. These vehicles serve to ensure that pilgrims reach their destination even if they suffer a mishap. If a group member sprains an ankle or simply feels unwell, the support car will take them to the accommodation for that stage and the rest of the group can continue on their way.

Doing the Camino in a group is a great experience, but it requires some organization. The best thing in these cases is to have the support of an agency, which can be in charge of reserving the best dates and managing all the services that the group will need. This way you will avoid unexpected surprises, such as not having accommodation for the whole group in the same hostel or having to do separate stages.

If you want to hire a scheduled Camino de Santiago or if you want to receive a quote to do the Camino de Santiago, contact our agency specialized in the Camino. You just have to leave your data and we will call you to listen to all your needs and help you make the Camino de Santiago in a group.

Tips for the Camino de Santiago

Physical and mental preparation See more
When to do the Camino See more
How to do the Camino See more
Clothing and Footwear See more
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