Although everybody knows Camino Francés or French way, maybe you need to know about other Caminos and figure out which one is the most suitable for you.
Each Camino has got different features and charms. You had better know a little about them before choosing which one is your next Camino. Here you have some information about some of them to make your choice easier.
It is the most popular and crowded camino. It usually starts at Saint Jean Pied de Port in France. Although you don´t have to begin in France (walking the whole Camino Francés will take more than a month), you can make a shorter route and start wherever you want. In fact, many pilgrims decide to start their walk from Galicia (at Sarria), which means just a last stretch of 111 kms to Santiago de Compostela. This trip can be done in under a week.
This route is the best if the social issue is the most important for you. You can meet fellow pilgrims along the way and this can become a great experience. Besides, visiting and enjoying all the towns and villages is also a nice incentive.
Camino Portuguese and Camino Monacal
It is the second most popular camino. It has got two options. A classic Camino which starting point could be in Lisbon or in Porto and a coastal Camino called Camino Monacal starting in Porto. This coastal route follows the Atlantic coastline to Baiona (Galicia) in the first week and then continues along the seaside towns of outstanding landscapes of Rías Baixas. This route is a nice choice for summer time.
Camino Primitivo or Original Camino
This is a good option if you want to spend less than two weeks in your route, although it can be done in 5 days in a shorter trip. The rugged mountains of Asturias and the breathtaking views will fill up your eyes and mind for ever. If you want a wilderness experience, which is an off shoot of Camino Francés, this is your Camino. It starts in Oviedo but it merges with Camino Francés at Melide (Galicia) .
Camino del Norte
This is an alternative route to Camino Francés because both caminos start in France and have similar itinerary. However, many pilgrims agree that Camino del Norte is more challenging (heavier and tougher to walk because of the continuous ups and downs). Others say that Camino del Norte is more beautiful since in some parts you walk along the cliffs and the mountains.
This is a different Camino since it is usually done after arriving in Santiago. However, some pilgrims decide to start the Camino in Santiago, especially when they have already done some of the other routes. This route takes pilgrims to the coast at Fisterra, which means the Land´s End. This is a symbolic place where there are some pilgrimage rituals related to the Sun and the sea. Beautiful scenery and it can be done just in 5 days.
Other less popular routes are Camino Inglés and Camino the la Plata. Camino Inglés or English way starts at Ferrol in Galicia and Camino de la Plata in Seville (a much shorter route starts in Ourense). Those are usually done once pilgrims have experienced some of the other Caminos.
New year, new resolutions. Hope you have already made yours on the Camino!
Buen camino, amigos!