Spanish Camino de Santiago is the collection of roads that pilgrims walked to get to the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, a highly regarded religious destination. People walked via various Caminos, from England, France, Portugal, and Spain.
Now, it’s a great opportunity to spend over two weeks on foot as a spiritual journey or an excellent spot for your cycling trip. There are dozens of Caminos out there, so you may not be able to visit every spot in this list in one go. However, most of our top six most interesting places on Camino de Santiago are situated on popular routes.
Santiago de Compostela Cathedral
This city is where all Camino de Santiago tours merge. Visiting Santiago de Compostela is necessary to complete most routes, and it’s required to get an official Compostela certificate that shows you’re a real pilgrim.
If you’ve walked over 100 kilometres to this town, you may as well attend the pilgrim mass. And even if you’re not religious, you have to check out the cathedral. It’s a work of art. When you explore it inside and out, you’ll understand why people in the middle ages walked for months to see it.
Leon lays on Camino Frances, one of the longest and busiest routes. It’s over 240 kilometres away from Santiago de Compostela, so it can be the beginning of your hike. If you don’t want to embark on a month-long journey that is full Camino Frances, start at Leon.
You have to check out the city first though, including the 13th-century cathedral - a marvel of Gothic architecture. Even for a non-believer, walking under its spiked arches is a great experience. But the town has a lot of other historical landmarks to explore too.
Saint Jean Pied de Port
If you can spare over a month to finish Camino Frances, you can walk to Santiago de Compostela from Paris, Le Puy, or Arles. However, many don’t have the time to finish that trip, so Saint Jean Pied de Port is considered a conventional place to start.
A medieval village in the Pyrenees near the Spanish border, this is an ideal place to explore if you love mountains and medieval architecture. But note that it can be rather crowded at the peak of the season because of the sheer amount of pilgrims coming through, which does however make it a great place to make friends for the trip.
If you want to experience just a bit of Camino Frances, you should either go for the road from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela or from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Pamplona.
These short mountain trips will take you across the Pyrenees, and are a great way to detox from the corporate world. They only take five days too.
If you’re traveling through Galicia, you have to experience its culture.
Schedule your trip to get to Pontevedra in time to see one of their multiple festivals. You’ll hear plenty of bagpipes, and may be able to feast on seafood if you visit the town during the lobster or oyster festival.
The end of the world
Not all ways at Camino de Santiago finish at Santiago de Compostela. One starts at the city and leads you towards Finisterre, or ‘the end of the world’ in Spanish. And if you’ve walked for days to Santiago, you may as well add a couple of days to your journey to see the magnificent Spanish coast.
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