Different Routes to Camino de Santiago - Spain, France and Portugal
Have you ever considered going on a hike and do the Camino de Santiago? Here’s a Look At Camino de Santiago Routes.
While often considered the only Camino de Santiago, the French Way, or the Camino Francés is, without a doubt, one of the most traveled routes, with over 60% of travelers using the road to reach their destination. The start point of the Camino Francés is Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, which is located on the French side of Pyrenees. The route traverses through sizeable mountains, lush hills, and open hills as it heads to Santiago de Compostela. The course features well-established albergues (lodges and inns built for travelers), locals accustomed to international hikers, and lots of amazing food options.
For experienced and prepared hikers, the Camino Francés route, which covers about 500 miles, will take nearly 30-days to complete. It is worth noting that this route receives a lot of foot traffic, which means that there are plenty of opportunities to meet with other travelers and a fair share of other people most of the year.
Camino del Norte
Snaking through Spain’s verdant north coast, Camino del Norte starts at the border city of Irun and passes through Santander, Oviedo, and Bilbao. The route is well-accentuated by rugged mountains, tiny fishing villages, and dramatic coastal cliffs.
While Camino del Norte passes through several major cities, it doesn’t have a lot of accommodation options. As a result, travelers are advised to plan ahead of time and stick to a schedule.
This northern route covers over 500 miles through hilly terrain and takes about 35 days for seasoned hikers to traverse.
This is the only known route that starts from Portugal. Also known as the Portuguese Way, the Camino Portugués is the most accessible hiking route and follows a relatively flat, but beautiful, terrain. It starts in Lisbon, heads to Porto and then up into Spain. A lot of people prefer starting in Porto and make their way up north, trekking along forested highlands and the Atlantic coastline.
From Lisbon, the Camino Portugués is about 390 miles long. Please note that motorways connect most of this section.
Camino de Santiago (Camino Scallop Shell): Most of Camino de Santiago’s sections are marked with signs that bear the iconic Scallop Shell. On this route, trekkers are directed along Camino Portugués.
Via de la Plata
Via de la Plata is 620 miles long, making it the longest in Spain. It follows an old Roman road that leads from the north in Seville to Santiago de Compostela. This trekking route, which passes through Zamora, Salamanca, Caceres, Merida, and several other Spanish cities, is recommended for history lovers in search of a different kind of adventure. The route boasts Spain’s rich history of Roman and Moorish art, architecture and so much more. To plan your route visit Santiago Ways.
The Camino Ingles is one of the shortest Camino routes. Also referred to as the English Way, Camino Ingles is a Y-shaped route that trekkers can start from either Ferrol or La Coruna, in Galicia to the northwest of Spain.
From La Coruna, the route is only 46 miles long, which is too short for it to earn you a Compostela (for a hiker to receive an official completion certificate from the Santiago de Compostela-based Pilgrim’s Office, they must cover over 62 miles.)
If you start your journey in Ferrol, however, you should earn the certificate since it is 70 miles long and takes about five days to complete.
Camino Primitivo is a spur of the Camino Frances and is a popular detour for travelers looking to visit the impressive cathedral in Oviedo. Also known as the Original Route, Camino Primitivo is the most direct route to Santiago de Compostela from Oviedo and reconnects with the Camino Frances 40 miles out of Santiago.
Lastres, a fishing village to the north of Spain, sits on the shores of Biscay Bay in the independent region of Asturias.
The route, which is 200-miles long, traverses through Asturias mountainous terrain and isn’t for the weak of leg or faint of heart since hill climbing through some of the roughest weather is guaranteed – even during summer months. Those who have what it takes will undoubtedly appreciate this stunning detour.
For some hiking pilgrims, the journey does not end at Santiago de Compostela. Some of them continue their journey, trekking another 55 miles to Finisterre, a rocky peninsula whose name means “the end of the world.” Compostela awards pilgrims who reach Camino Finisterre an extra accreditation for their efforts.
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