THE ST JAMES WAY | CAMINO DE SANTIAGO
MAIN ROUTES OF THE WAY OF ST. JAMES
FRENCH WAY OF ST. JAMES
The history of the French Way of St. James goes back to the year 1135, when information about the route appeared for the first time in the Codex Calixtinus. This document contained the distances that separated the Apostle James’ tomb from the main cities of Europe. Down through the centuries, the Way of St. James became the busiest route in Europe thanks to the influence of Christian culture. More and more pilgrims wanted to visit the tomb in Santiago de Compostela, which added to the route’s importance and turned it into one of the most renowned worldwide.
Today, the French Way of St. James is the most popular route among pilgrims, with a length of approximately 743 km divided into 33 stages. The route begins in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and crosses the Iberian Peninsula. Due to its great popularity, the French Way of St. James is well equipped and provides trekkers with all the services they require.
PORTUGUESE WAY OF ST. JAMES
The Portuguese Way of St. James is one of the most popular Camino de Santiago routes. Starting in Lisbon, the Portuguese Way of St. James crosses the country as far as Galicia, in the north of Spain, where it connects with the French Way of St. James.
The Portuguese Way of St. James is a pilgrimage route with a long history. The first pilgrim to travel along this route is believed to be the bishop of Braga, Paio Mendes, in the 11th century. From then on, the Portuguese Way of St. James became more and more popular, being travelled by many pilgrims to reach Santiago de Compostela.
In the 13th century, the Portuguese Way of St. James became the most popular route for pilgrims from Portugal. This was due in part to the fact that Portugal’s King Afonso III ordered hospitals and hostels to be built for pilgrims in the cities of Lisbon and Porto.
PRIMITIVE WAY OF ST. JAMES
The Primitive Way of St. James is one of the oldest routes in Spain. It is believed to be the first route used by pilgrims to reach Santiago de Compostela. The route begins in Oviedo, in the north of Spain, and goes through the Picos de Europa mountains before reaching Santiago.
The Primitive Way was rediscovered in the 20th century by the Spanish archaeologist Celestino Mutis, who excavated the route and discover the remains of ancient pilgrims. Although the Primitive Way of St. James is the oldest route, it is now the Camino de Santiago route with the fewest pilgrims. However, the situation is changing since, year after year, more pilgrims are deciding to take this route to Santiago.
ENGLISH WAY OF ST. JAMES
The English Way of St. James is one of the pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain. It traditionally begins in Ferrol and goes through the province of A Coruña as far as Santiago.
The English Way of St. James is one of the busiest pilgrimage routes in Spain. There has been a drastic increase in the number of pilgrims in recent years, with more than 100,000 people completing this Camino route in 2017.
The most popular starting point on the English Way of St. James is the city of Ferrol. Ferrol is an important port city in Galicia and has a long pilgrimage history. Ferrol was the starting point for many pilgrims travelling to Santiago by sea.
The last stage of the journey takes pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia and the destination of the English Way of St. James.
FISTERRA WAY OF ST. JAMES
The history of Fisterra, "finis terrae" (Land’s End) in Latin, goes back well before the start of the pilgrimages. This is the location, according to some scholars, of the city of Dugium, with the mythical Atlantis, where the Nerii, a Celtic tribe from the south of the Iberian Peninsula, settled. The choice of this area was not by chance since Cape Fisterra was believed to be the end of the known world. They then began to erect numerous settlements and buildings to worship the sun god, which arose every day from the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
There was an important altar and spiritual centre dedicated to the sun, the Ara Solis, a temple that attracted both Celts and, later on, Romans. According to legend, it was the Apostle James himself that ordered the temple to be destroyed due to its connection with pagan worship. Finally, when the people refused to do so, a great flood destroyed the Ara Solis and razed the settlement to the ground. All that was left were two oxen, which managed to escape from the place. However, their luck did not last long since they were later turned into stone, as a divine punishment, giving rise to the present-day isles of Bois de Gures.
As you can see, the only itinerary that starts in Santiago is not a modern invention, as many people may think. Recent excavations at the Chapel of San Guillermo have demonstrated the close link with the Apostle and with other, much older traditions and forms of worship.
NORTHERN WAY OF ST. JAMES
The Northern Way of St. James is one of the Camino de Santiago routes that runs through the north of Spain. It is one of the oldest routes and, therefore, one of the most popular among pilgrims.
The route starts in the port of Irun, near the French border, and runs through the provinces of Gipuzkoa, Vizcaya, Cantabria, and Asturias, before reaching Santiago de Compostela.
The Northern Way of St. James is a highly varied route that enables pilgrims to enjoy a unique experience. They can visit cities such as San Sebastián, Bilbao or Oviedo, and enjoy the natural landscapes of the Cantabrian coastline and Picos de Europa mountains.
Throughout the route, the Northern Way of St. James gives pilgrims a chance to visit some of Spain’s most important monasteries, such as that of Santo Domingo de Silos or Santo Toribio de Liébana.
The Northern Way of St. James is a route that is suitable for any time of year, although the summer months are the most popular among pilgrims.
WINTER WAY OF ST. JAMES
The Winter Way of St. James is an alternative Camino de Santiago route located in the north of Spain. This route was created due to the harsh winter weather, which meant that it was difficult and dangerous for pilgrims to complete the Way of St. James.
The Winter Way of St. James is a much safer, and less difficult, route to take in the winter. Today, the Winter Way of St. James has lost its seasonal nature, and more and more pilgrims are travelling along it all year round. This is because the Winter Way of St. James features a lot of beautiful scenery and heritage treasures. The Winter Way of St. James is especially recommendable in spring to avoid overcrowding along the Camino de Santiago.
VÍA DE LA PLATA (SILVER WAY)
The Vía del Plata (Silver Way) is an ancient road that crosses the Iberian Peninsula from south to north. This old commercial route was used by the Romans to transport goods and troops from the city of Gijon, in the north of Spain, to the city of Mérida, in the south of Spain.
The route is dotted with numerous cities and towns, including León, Zamora, Salamanca, Plasencia, Caceres, Mérida, and Seville.
The Vía de la Plata is one of the most popular routes for pilgrims wanting to walk to Santiago de Compostela. The route has an approximate length of 889 kilometres and runs through some of Spain’s most beautiful landscapes.
Most pilgrims that want to travel along the Vía de la Plata begin their journey in the city of Seville. From there, they pass through Caceres, Plasencia, Zamora, and then head towards Galicia.
The Vía de la Plata is a unique experience for those wanting to walk along one of Europe’s oldest routes. It is an opportunity to see some of Spain’s most beautiful scenery while meeting other pilgrims undertaking the same journey.
SANABRIA WAY OF ST. JAMES
The history of the Sanabria Way of St. James is closely linked to that of the Vía de la Plata, one of the Iberian Peninsula’s main roads. This route, which links the south with Santiago de Compostela, was used by the Romans and, later, by Christian pilgrims.
The Sanabria Way of St. James begins in the locality of Granja de la Moreruela, Zamora, where there is a Cistercian monastery, which proves it links with the Camino de Santiago.
Throughout history, this route has been travelled by travellers and traders that made use of the roads linking different parts of the Iberian Peninsula. They also used drovers’ roads and merchants’ routes throughout the country, especially so-called “veredas,” routes chosen by Galician farmers to go down to Castile during harvesttime.
Frequently Asked Questions on the Way of St. James
Where does the Way of St. James start?
The Way of St. James is one of the most popular routes among pilgrims looking for a spiritual adventure. Depending on the route you choose, the Way of St. James can have a starting point in different places. However, the most popular route, the French Way of St. James, starts in the picturesque French locality of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. Pilgrims have to cross the Pyrenees to reach Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. However, if they want to skip the effort, they can also begin in Roncesvalles. From Roncesvalles, the route continues on towards Logroño, Burgos, León, Ponferrada, O Cebreiro, Sarria, and Santiago de Compostela. Each of these places provides pilgrims with a unique experience, and the Way of St. James is an adventure that you will never forget.
Which is the shortest Way of St. James?
The Way of St. James from Sarria is one of the shortest routes, and also one of the easiest to do. You can complete in on foot in just 5 days since it is only 111 kilometres long.
Which is the longest Way of St. James?
The French Way of St. James from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Santiago is the longest Camino de Santiago route, with a length of 743 kilometres and 33 stages. The second-longest is the Northern Way of St. James, with 824 kilometres and 18 stages.
Which Way of St. James is the most difficult?
The Northern Way of St. James undoubtedly has the most difficult stages due to its lonely stretches as well as the harsh terrain.
Which is the easiest Way of St. James?
There are many routes leading to Santiago de Compostela, but the easiest and simplest is the one that starts in Sarria. This route is part of the 29th stage of the French Way of St. James and is only 110 km long, which makes it ideal for those who do not want to walk great distances.
Although the Way of St. James is a very popular route, many pilgrims have not yet travelled along it. If you are thinking of doing the Camino de Santiago, then the route from Sarria is the ideal one for you.
Which is the most beautiful Way of St. James?
The French Way of St. James is undoubtedly the most beautiful Camino de Santiago route. It is an impressive route that covers 743 kilometres in 33 stages, featuring a variety of landscapes that is simply spectacular. Each day is a new stage and each one is completely different from the previous one, which makes it very exciting.
¿Which Camino de Santiago route goes along the coast?
The Northern Way of St. James, also called the Way of St. James along the Coast, is a route that runs through the west of France and the Iberian Peninsula. It is a beautiful, peaceful route that is deal for nature lovers.
How many kilometres do you cover in the Way of St. James?
Are you thinking about walking along the Way of St. James? If so, you are probably wondering how long it takes to do the Camino.
The truth is that this is not an easy question to answer since it all depends on your level of fitness, your pace, and the terrain you are travelling through.
If you are doing the complete French Way of St. James, from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Santiago de Compostela, you can expect it to take between 33 and 25 days. If you are doing the Camino from León, you can expect it to take about 5-6 days. If you are doing the Camino from Sarria, you can expect it to take around 6 days.
Of course, you can also do the Camino by bike. If you are doing the French Way of St. James from Roncesvalles, you can expect it to take between 14 and 18 days.
In general, it is advisable to have a good level of fitness if you are doing the Camino on foot, since you can expect to walk between 20 and 30 km per day. However, if you are cycling, you can expect to travel between 60 and 80 km per day.
As you can see, the time it takes to do the Way of St. James depends on many factors. The only thing that is sure is that you will enjoy every minute of the way, regardless of how long it takes you.
How long does it take to do the Way of St. James from Sarria?
The route from Sarria usually takes around 6 days. Sarria is the starting point of the minimum distance required to obtain the Compostela, a diploma that certifies you have completed the Way of St. James.
How many stages are there from Sarria to Santiago?
The route that begins in Sarria is 114 kilometres from Santiago. The trek is divided into six stages, each of which is relatively easy to complete in one day. All the stages end in large towns with all the necessary services, and there are many hostels and boarding houses where you can spend the night.
How many kilometres do you have to walk per day to complete the Way of St. James?
Are you thinking about walking the Way of St. James. If so, you will be wondering how far you have to walk each day.
The general recommendation is walking about 20-30 km per day on average. However, if you want to obtain the Compostela, the official diploma that certifies you have walked at least 100 km, then the number of kilometres will depend on how many days you have available.
In any case, walking the Way of St. James is a unique and unforgettable experience. Therefore, enjoy it as much as you can!
Where does the 6-day Way of St. James begin?
If you have 6 days available, you can begin your route in Sarria. The route that starts in Sarria is 114 kilometres from Santiago. The trek is divided into six stages, each of which is relatively easy to complete in one day. All the stages end in large towns with all the necessary services, and there are many hostels and boarding houses where you can spend the night.
What is the best time of year to do the Way of St. James?
Spring is the best time of year to do the Way of St. James. The fields are green, there is an average amount of people, and the temperature is ideal for walking. If you are not allergic, then summer is the best time of year to do the Way of St. James. There are more pilgrims, but the temperatures are hotter.
Where does the Way of St. James end?
The Way of St. James is a unique and unforgettable experience. It is a way of connecting not only with Spanish history and culture, but also with your inner self. Although the Camino ends in Santiago de Compostela, there is an epilogue known as the “Jacobean Extension” or Way of St. James to Fisterra.
In the past, pilgrims would come on foot to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, where the saint’s bones are kept. The Way of St. James is a unique and unforgettable experience. It is a way of connecting not only with Spanish history and culture, but also with your inner self.