The Camino de Santiago route, also known as the Way of Saint James, is a famous pilgrimage route dating back to the IX century. The route essentially started with King Alfonso II walking from Oviedo to Santiago de Compostela - a beautiful Spanish city in the Galicia region.
The Camino de Santiago is a whole network of routes that start in different towns in Spain (or some even in France and Portugal) and all lead to the infamous Santiago city. The Camino routes are increasingly popular among tourists who decide to spend their holiday walking or biking through one of the selected routes. But is it worth the hype, you ask? Let’s find out.
Camino de Santiago Routes
There are various Camino de Santiago routes to choose from, each differing in length, difficulty levels and the sights or attractions you will be coming across. Going on one of these already established routes is therefore fairly easy to plan - you just need to decide how many kilometres you want to walk per day and book accommodation for each day accordingly. You may also use a Camino de Santiago travel agency that will do the planning for you.
The most popular Camino de Santiago routes are Camino Francés, Camino Portuguese, Camino del Norte and Camino Primitivo. Camino Fances or the French Way is the most popular route among pilgrims - around 55% of them choose this route. It starts at a French town called Saint Jean Pied de Port near the Spanish border and finishes in Santiago de Compostela.
The route itself is 790km which is quite long for a Camino beginner, so many decide to only walk the last 100km of this route from a town in Spain called Sarria. Otherwise, some pilgrims tackle longer routes of Camino de Santiago by bike.
When choosing a route it is important to not only look at their length but also the difficulty levels. For instance, Camino Primitivo (the Original Way) route, is only taken on by a small percentage of pilgrims due to its difficulty - even though the route is only around 321km. The difficulty of the routes is typically measured by how many steep hills you will have to tackle. However, whichever route you choose, you are certain to be presented with the most breath-taking Spanish nature, visit unique tourist attractions and emerge into the local culture.
Why are Camino Routes so popular?
Many pilgrims call the Camino Routes an amazing and addictive experience. The Camino de Santiago is also recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage route. The popularity of this historical route is not a surprise, knowing that many people from across the globe come to Spain to go on the infamous cultural exchange experience. The route is not only popular because of its historical significance, however, there are many other factors making it an attractive holiday destination.
First of all, the different difficulty levels of Camino de Santiago routes allow people of all ages and fitness levels to go on this experience. Many of the routes are family-friendly, but the more difficult ones are great for those looking to challenge themselves.
Additionally, all of the routes are incredibly safe and easy to plan - they all lead through towns and villages or other popular attractions, there’s always places to stop at for a quick snack. The nature of a walking holiday is also fairly cheap, since you don’t have to worry about commuting or visiting pricey museums, which is also a huge benefit.
Lastly, the Camino de Santiago route lets you experience Spain from a whole new perspective as well as allows you to get back in touch with nature and recharge your batteries.