WHAT IS THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO – THE WAY OF SAINT JAMES?
The Way of St. James, called Camino de Santiago in Spanish, is a traditional pilgrimage route that leads to Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia – an autonomous community in northwestern Spain. Every year thousands of pilgrims from all over the world decide to travel to Santiago de Compostela. Some of them walk or cycle along the entire route that covers the distance of almost 1000 kilometres (620 miles), others do just a selected parts of it.
According to the Christian belief, the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is the place where one of the apostles of Jesus Christ, Saint James the Greater is buried. Since the Middle Ages the Cathedral has been the destination of the pilgrimage. Although, nowadays, the religion is not anymore the main reason for the pilgrimage, many pilgrims and tourists continue the tradition and the Camino has become very popular in the last decades.
WHY SHOULD I WALK THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO?
There are many reasons to walk this thousand-year-old route to Santiago de Compostela. Even though, traditionally the pilgrimage has been an act of religious penance, nowadays there are much more reasons to approach this journey. Most of the people decide to do it to explore better their own personality, to challenge their own fears and psychological handicaps, to meet people from different places and cultures, to relax in an alternative way, for health, sports and fitness, to enjoy the beautiful nature and landscapes, and finally, to live a very special and unique personal experience. There are plenty of reasons to walk the Camino. Whichever of them is yours, we encourage you to try it.
HOW MANY WAYS TO SANTIAGO ARE THERE TO WALK?
There are at least seven different ways that lead to Santiago. The most famous is The French Way – El Camino Francés that starts in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port/Donibane Garazi, in the French Basque Country, or alternatively in Roncesvalles/Orreaga, located on the Spanish side of the border. Other ways are: The Portuguese Way (El Camino Portugués), The English Way (El Camino Inglés), The Original Way (El Camino Primitivo), The Northern Way (El Camino del Norte), the so called Silver Way (La Vía de la Plata), the Winter Way (Camino de Invierno) or many others like a Tours route, Vézelay route, Arles route or Madrid route. The natural extension of the pilgrimage to Santiago is the route from Santiago to Fisterra – a small and beautiful village at the seaside known also by its Latin name Finisterre, which literally means “the end of the land/world”.