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Although the Camino de Santiago, or Way of St James, has traditionally been a religious pilgrimage, many people choose it as a walking holiday for other reasons. Some walk The Way for fitness and as a personal goal in their journey to better physical health. Others choose to walk the Camino for the mental benefits of unplugging from their daily lives, allowing them time for peace and self-development. For many, it’s a chance to clear their heads or to feel a connection with nature.
While those travelling on the Camino for religious reasons are now in the minority, people walking the Camino are still known as pilgrims, or ‘peregrinos’ locally. People walk in groups, alone, or with a partner. It’s also possible to check Camino de Santiago map in detail to plan accordingly. The Camino is well known for its sense of community and sociable atmosphere. Pilgrims passing by will greet each other with a welcome of ‘Buen Camino!’, loosely translating as ‘Have a great experience on the Camino’ and so, conversations with strangers are easily started.
The Camino de Santiago is not just one route; it’s a network of routes. Throughout the middle ages, thousands of pilgrims walked from their homes to make their pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. This paved the way for many disparate routes across Europe, all coming together like branches of a tree to arrive in what is now a developed city around the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. An exception to this is the Finisterre Way which begins in Santiago, walking towards the coast to Cape Finisterre or the ‘End of the World’ as it was known in ancient Roman times.
Which Camino de Santiago Route is Right for Me?
People choose their Camino de Santiago route based on various criteria. The most common being eases of access, weather, landscape and how busy it is. Section 1 of the Camino Frances can be quite mountainous; most of the Portuguese Coastal Way is close to the sea, while the last sections of the Camino Frances and Camino Portuguese are well travelled. Some people want to walk the whole route from start to finish and others will do it in sections. As it can be overwhelming to determine which route is the most appropriate based on your personal preferences. Follow the Camino can quickly help you chose the best route for you. Below we have summarized each of the main routes. If you would like to find out more, please don’t hesitate to contact us here to discuss your Camino Tour.
The Camino Portugues, or the Portuguese Way, has in recent years become the second most popular route leading to Santiago de Compostable. Nearly 20% of pilgrims traveled along this route in 2016. Boasting fantastic cities such as Lisbon, Porto and Pontevedra, it also passes by stunning coastlines with beautiful, sandy beaches. The Portuguese Way begins in Lisbon and journeys inland, to the north, passing close to the Catholic pilgrimage site of Fatima. Reaching Porto, it then travels further north towards the Spanish border, crossing at the beautiful old town of Tui, and onwards for just over 100km into Santiago. If you’re looking to get away from the crowds, but still want lots of amenities during your walking days, then the Camino Portuguese is a great option.
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