Camino Ways

280 thousand people walk the trail every year, and it means something different to each of them. Whatever the reason pilgrims decide to embark on the journey, everyone agrees it’s a cleansing experience for body and mind.  We wanted to tell that story while also showcasing the beautiful Galician landscape and the stunning city of Santiago de Compostela. Our video follows the trail through the countryside all the way to the end of the world in Finisterre. Today the most popular route is the French Way, which is the Classic Camino experience. 

 

Here are 20 interesting Camino de Santiago facts you should know before you set off:

1 -Camino de Santiago means Way of St James and refers to the different routes leading to Santiago de Compostela, in Galicia.

2 -Santiago de Compostela means St James of the field of stars.

3 -There are many Camino de Santiago routes, starting in France, Portugal and Spain.

4 -Traditionally pilgrims used to start their ‘Camino’ from their own homes.

5 -The yellow scallop shell and yellow arrows mark the way to Santiago. Careful: the scallop might be facing different ways depending on the regions.

6 -The Camino Primitivo from Oviedo is the oldest Camino de Santiago route.

7 -However, the most famous Camino route is the Camino Francés or French Way starting in St Jean Pied de Port, in the French Pyrenees.

8 -The trail from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago is 800kms long and takes approximately five weeks to complete but you can start your Camino at any point.

9 -You need to walk at least 100kms into Santiago to receive your Compostela certificate.

10 -This makes Sarria (111kms away from Santiago) the most popular starting point for walkers.

11 -You will need to cycle at least 200kms to Santiago to receive yourCompostela certificate. Cyclists on the Camino are known as ‘bici-grinos’ (bike-pilgrims).

12 -Over 200,000 pilgrims arrive in Santiago each year and receive their Compostela certificate. Many more walk different sections of the routes. You have to travel for religious/spiritual reasons in order to receive the Compostela.

13 -If you walk the Camino for cultural or non-religious/spiritual reasons, you can receive a certificate of welcome.

14 -The pilgrim passport (credencial) needs to be stamped at least once a day; or twice a day if you are starting your Camino in Galicia.

15 -The stamped pilgrim passport is required to stay in first-come first -served ‘albergues’ (public hostels), and walkers take priority over cyclists. Public albergues can not be booked in advance. At CaminoWays.com we book accommodation with local guest houses and hotels so you don’t have to worry!

16 -The 12th century Codex Calixtinus is the oldest Camino de Santiago ‘guidebook’.

17 -The Camino is a long-distance trail with thousands of kms across Europe. The ways will combine off-road tracks with country trails, small roads and pavement, particularly getting in and out of bigger towns and cities.

18 -KM 0 of the Camino is actually not in Santiago but in Cape Fisterra, by the Atlantic Ocean, considered to be the ‘end of the world’ and a place of magical powers for pre-Christian communities.

19 -25th July is St James Day, a holiday in Santiago and Galicia. If 25th July falls on a Sunday, it will be considered to be a ‘Holy Year’ or Ano Xacobeo.

20 -Santiago de Compostela old town is a UNESCO-listed heritage site since 1985 and its University dates back to 1495. The Council of Europe named the Camino de Santiago as the first European Cultural itinerary in 1987 for its important role encouraging cultural exchanges since the Middle Ages.

 

Which Way

There are many Camino de Santiago routes coming from different points across Europe; the most popular come from France, Portugal and different parts of Spain. Each Camino route has its own history and uniqueness:

The last 100km of the Camino de Santiago along the French Way is the classic 7-day Camino experience. You will walk from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela across the green Galician countryside, meeting many pilgrims along the way.

The French Way is the most famous route of the Camino, featuring in movies such as Martin Sheen’s The Way and books such as Paulo Coelho The Pilgrimage. The French Way, Camino Frances, starts in the French Pyrenees and crosses the Rioja wine region, passing fantastic cities such as Pamplona and Burgos, before reaching the stunning mountains of León and finally Galicia.

This is the second most popular Camino route. Starting in beautiful Lisbon, the Camino Portugues takes walkers across beautiful villages, unspoilt rural landscapes and UNESCO sites in Portugal such as Porto before reaching the South of Galicia.

The Northern Way is a stunning coastal Camino: it starts in chic San Sebastian, in the Basque Country, and follows the lush Northern coast of Spain into Cantabria and Asturias. You will get the chance to sample the region’s delicious cuisine and go for a swim in one of the many beaches along the way.

The Original Way is the oldest and first Camino route. This is a mountainous and more challenging Camino route, starting in the city of Oviedo and crossing the mountains of Asturias into Galicia. You will get rewarded with peaceful and magnificent views. Highlights also include city of Lugo with its spectacular UNESCO Roman wall.

The English Way is the route traditionally taken by pilgrims from Britain and Ireland who would have arrived by boat to the Northern shores of Galicia and continued on foot towards Santiago de Compostela. This is a short Camino, starting in the port cities of Ferrol or A Coruña. Along the way, you will stop in lovely historic towns such as Pontedeume and Betanzos.

The Camino to Fisterra or Finisterre Way is the only route starting in Santiago and takes pilgrims to the ‘end of the world’, Cape Fisterra, on the rugged and beautiful Atlantic Coast. The Cape, on the Costa da Morte, has a mystical allure for pilgrims.

Via de la Plata is the Camino for adventurers, the road less travelled. The trail starts in the fascinating Andalucian city of Seville and heads North across rural landscapes but also passing beautiful historic cities or wonderful culture and rich Roman heritage such as Merida, Salamanca and Ourense.

Our Arles Way route starts from Montpellier, in the South of France. This trail takes walkers along one of France’s most remote and unspoilt beautiful landscapes, the Larzac Plateau; as well as stunning villages such as St-Guilhem-le-Désert and wonderful Toulouse, the pink city.

The Le Puy Camino is a truly spectacular trail, starting in Le Puy-en-Velay in the heart of France with its imposing cathedral and volcanic landscapes. Le Puy Way is the most popular Camino route in France and a classic trail, passing some of France’s most beautiful towns such as Conques, Cahors and the Lot Valley.

This was the route traditionally followed by pilgrims coming from the north of France and Europe and the trail has been an important road since Roman times. This Camino takes you through the famous Loire Valley and Bordeaux wine region, as well as the city of Tours, a popular pilgrimage destination since the Middle Ages.

Starting in Burgundy, the Vézelay Way to Santiago starts in the shrine of Mary Madgalene and a magnificent abbey of Vézelay. This trail joins the Camino routes coming from Paris and Le Puy near Ostabat where pilgrims can continue all the way to the Pyrenees and join the French Way.

The Geneva Way is one of the most recent Camino routes, starting in the Swiss city of Geneva at the foot of the Saleve Mountain. This is a route of beautiful mountain views, passing gorgeous countryside, dotted with lovely villages where you can sample the local cuisine. It joins the Le Puy Way.

The Cluny Camino starts in the French town of Cluny, by its medieval abbey, and crosses the Beaujolais hills towards Le Puy-en-Velay to join the Le Puy Way to Santiago.

 

All Camino de Santiago routes take you to Santiago de Compostela, St James of the Field of Stars, the capital of Galicia and a pilgrimage destination for many centuries. Pilgrims from all over the world have travelled to the city since the 10th century to atone for their sins and visit the tomb of St James, allegedly buried in Santiago’s magnificent cathedral 

full of charm and character. Its stunning UNESCO-listed Old Town has a lively atmosphere, both by day and at night! Santiago is also an important University town, with many students settling in the city for the school year. It is one of the oldest universities in Europe (established in 1495) and you will find some of the University buildings in the Old Town.

There is plenty to do, see and taste in Santiago de Compostela; after visiting the cathedral and getting your Compostela certificate at the Pilgrims Office, take time to explore this wonderful historic city.

A stroll in the Alameda Park, the popular Abastos food market, relaxing Bonaval Park, pinchos along the Rua do Franco, the Museum of Galician People, Museum of Modern Art… are some of the activities not to be missed while in Santiago!

 

If you are interested in the Camino Way please call us on 0504 22200

Credit:www.caminoways.com

 

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