Why you should do the Primitive Way

May 24, 2022

camino primitivo

Walking the Camino de Santiago is an unforgettable experience for many reasons. Whether you are looking for an outdoor activity, you like physical challenges or if you have faith reasons, you will always find an option on the Camino.

And although it is not the most popular route (and with this comes the advantage that it will not be as exploited either), there are many reasons why doing the Primitive Way may be the alternative that you did not count on.

Let us convince you.

Because this is the original Camino de Santiago

Although many people believe that the French Way is the original Camino de Santiago, this is not the case. Actually, the first pilgrimage route for which there are historical references is the Primitive Way.

Its origin dates back more than a thousand years and is attributed to King Alfonso II of Asturias, nicknamed “el Casto” and considered the first pilgrim. This king decided to undertake a route from his court in Oviedo to Santiago de Compostela in order to venerate the recently discovered remains of the Apostle Santiago.

After him and during the following centuries, Christians from all over Europe did the same and used this route to reach the same destination, giving rise to what we know today as the Primitive Way. This route enjoyed popularity until the Middle Ages, a time when the French Way began to gain more followers because it was more accessible and less physically demanding.

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For its green landscapes and natural environment

paisajes camino primitivo

Something that cannot be denied of the Primitive Way or Camino Primitivo is the natural beauty in which it is wrapped. If you dare to undertake this route, you will walk between meadows, forests, hillsides and a unique environment far from the big cities and dotted with small villages where you can stock up very occasionally.

However, you should choose carefully the time of year when you are going to do the Camino Primitivo. Although winter is the preferred option for the most intrepid pilgrims and those who seek solitude at every step, if you do this route at this time of year you may come across many closed hostels and, therefore, no place to sleep.

That is why most walkers prefer to wait for spring or the summer months to live this experience. Not only because the weather will be more pleasant, but also because there will be more daylight hours during the day to walk.

Because it is not as crowded as other routes

Although sharing each day of the Way of Saint James with more people can be very entertaining, it is also very rewarding to walk it alone. In fact, this is the preferred option for many pilgrims who want to enjoy the spiritual side of the experience.

The good thing about the Primitive Way is that it offers us both options. Until its union with the French Way at Melide, the stages are long and lonely. Perhaps the only company you will enjoy is that of the cattle that graze freely in the meadows that you cross as you pass, while the silence and tranquility of these days fills you.

These sensations contrast with the atmosphere that you will find in the last stages, already on the French Way, in which the hustle and bustle of many other pilgrims will be with you you all the time.

Because it is a physical challenge

camino primitivo

Let’s be honest: if you are not in good shape and you expect the Camino de Santiago as a long but light walk, the Primitive Way may not be for you. The stages of this route will be longer than usual and with few services at your disposal, some of them of almost 30 km.

In addition, the slopes are quite pronounced, as is the case of Puerto del Palo, at the height of Pola de Allande or Puerto del Acebo, at Grandas de Salime. Between 500 and 600 meters of unevenness await you in these stages so you better be prepared, because you will have to add accumulated fatigue and possible climatic adversities to this orography.

It is not surprising that, for these reasons, even the pilgrims who decide to face the challenge want to have some kind of support on each journey. Hence, it is common for many of them to want to have services that give them peace of mind, such as those that specialized agencies on the Camino de Santiago can offer.

Special insurances, telephone assistance at any time, a backpack transport service… These are some of the advantages that these experts can offer on the Camino de Santiago today, and that allow us to overcome hardships which the pilgrims of past centuries had to face.

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