Camino de Santiago routes – which one to decide on?

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The Camino de Santiago shouldn’t be a single route like many individuals suppose referring to the favored Camino Frances. It’s a community of pilgrimage routes that begin somewhere else throughout Europe and end in Santiago de Compostela. The truth is, you can begin strolling to Santiago from wherever in Europe. The primary disadvantage of strolling a non-established route is that there shall be much less or no infrastructure for pilgrims (route marking, albergues, and so forth.). Will probably be harder and difficult to stroll.

The favored routes are properly marked, have sufficient infrastructure for pilgrims, and don’t require very thorough planning – you simply select a route and observe yellow arrows all the way in which to Santiago. Strolling one of many well-established routes doesn’t essentially imply that there shall be many individuals, you possibly can select one of many less-popular Caminos de Santiago and benefit from the tranquility of the stroll. 

As of February 2022 we’ve accomplished all 7 well-established Camino routes: Camino Frances, Camino Portuguese, Camino del Norte, Camino Primitivo, Camino Ingles, Camino Finisterre-Muxia, and By way of de la Plata. We’re planning to stroll extra Camino routes in 2022. We need to begin our Camino yr with the Portuguese Camino that we’re going to stroll the second time in Could however this time with our daughter who shall be 8 months then.

A map showing different Camino routes in Spain
Completely different pilgrimage routes of the Camino de Santiago

On this submit, we focus on seven most important Camino de Santiago routes and 5 lesser-known routes (there are way more routes, however these 5 are well-marked and have extra infrastructure). Out of those 12 routes to this point we’ve walked seven; Camino Portugues (from Lisbon), Camino Primitivo, Camino del Norte,  Camino Finisterre-Muxía, By way of de la Plata (214 km from Seville to Mérida), Camino Inglés, and Camino Francés. We’re planning to proceed our Camino journey and full extra routes.

Completely different routes of the Camino de Santiago

Properly-established Camino routes Lesser-known Camino routes
Camino Francés Camino de Madrid
Camino Portuguese Camino Catalán
Camino del Norte Camino Mozárabe
Camino Primitivo Camino de Levante
Camino Inglés Camino de Invierno
Camino Finisterre-Muxía Camino de Gran Canaria
Vía de la Plata
Properly-established and lesser-known Camino de Santiago routes

There are seven well-established routes of St.James; Camino Frances (the French Approach), Camino Portugués (the Portuguese Approach), Camino del Norte (the Northern Approach), Camino Primitivo (the Unique Approach), By way of de la Plata (the Silver Approach), Camino Inglés (the English Approach) and Camino Finisterre-Muxía. 

The well-established Camino routes

Lengthy-distance routes Center-distance routes Brief-distance routes
Camino Portuguese from Lisbon – 616 km Camino Portuguese from Porto – 260 km Camino Inglés – 110 km
Camino Francés – 790 km Camino Primitivo – 321 km Camino Finisterre – 118 km
Camino del Norte – 825 km
Vía de la Plata – 1000 km
Properly-known Camino de Santiago routes organized in response to their distances
A pilgrim's day on the Camino YouTube thumbnail
Our brief video is a few day of a pilgrim’s life on any route of the Camino de Santiago

The primary Camino routes in response to their recognition*

The variety of pilgrims on completely different Camino routes in response to the data from the Pilgrim’s Receptions Workplace in Santiago de Compostela. The numbers usually are not 100% correct as a result of they register solely pilgrims who acquired their Compostelas on the Pilgim’s Workplace. There are all the time individuals who don’t acquired for his or her Compostelas e.g. we acquired our first Compostelas solely after finishing our sixth Camino.

I present the numbers are for 2 completely different years 2019 and 2021 to provide you an thought about how busy the Ccamino routes had been earlier than the pandemic. In 2019 in whole 347 578 pilgrims arrived in Santiago de Compostela after finishing one of many Camino routes. In 2021 the whole variety of 178 912 pilgrims arrived in Santiago which is a half of the pre-pandemic years. The recognition of the Camino routes was just a little bit affected by the restrictions as properly.

Camino route In 2019 In 2021
Camino Francés 54,5% – 189 937 pilgrims 54,8% – 98 090 pilgrims
Camino Portuguese (Central + Coastal routes) 27% – 94 649 pilgrims
Central route: 20,5 % – 72 357
Coastal route: 5,6% – 22 929
23,5% – 42 189 pilgrims
Central route: 19,1 % – 34 247
Coastal route: 4,4% – 7 942
Camino del Norte 5,5% – 19 019 pilgrims 5,3% – 9 595 pilgrims
Camino Ingles 4,5% – 15 780 pilgrims 6,1% – 10 980 pilgrims
Camino Primitivo 4,5% – 15 715 pilgrims 5,6% – 10 143 pilgrims
By way of de la Plata 2,6% – 9 201 pilgrims 2,2% – 4 046 pilgrims
Numbers of pilgrims on completely different Camino de Santiago routes in 2019 and 2021

The Pilgrim’s Reception Workplace in Santiago doesn’t have precise numbers for the Camino Finisterre-Muxía. Folks often stroll this route after ending one of many different (longer) Camino routes. After finishing the Camino Finisterre they don’t go to the Pilgrim’s workplace to get their Compostela.

Camino routes organized by distances

  • By way of de la Plata – 1000km
  • Camino del Norte – 825km
  • Camino Francés – 790km
  • Camino Portugués from Lisbon – 616km
  • Camino Primitivo – 321km
  • Camino Portugues from Porto* – 260km (Central Route), 280km (Coastal Route)
  • Camino Inglés – 120km
  • Camino Finisterre-Muxía – 115km

*I made a decision so as to add the route from Lisbon as a separate Camino as a result of nearly all of pilgrims begin strolling the Portuguese Approach from Porto.

If you happen to don’t have sufficient time to finish one of many routes you possibly can stroll the final 100 km to Santiago on any Camino. 100 km is the required minimal for getting the Compostela.

Camino routes and surroundings

Sea, seashores, coast; Camino del Norte, Coastal Route of the Portuguese Camino, Camino Finisterre-Muxía, Camino Inglés (starting).

Mountains, hills; Camino Primitivo, some components of the Camino del Norte (Asturia, Cantabria), the start of the Camino Frances.

Fields, plains; Camino Portuguese from Lisbon, the Central Route of the Camino Portuguese from Porto, Vía de la Plata, Camino Francés.

Forest; Camino Finisterre-Muxía, Camino Inglés, the Galician a part of all Camino routes.

Historic cities and cities; pilgrims can see cultural sights and monuments on all Camin routes. Camino Francés, Camino Portuguese from Porto, and Camino del Norte have extra historic cities and cities.

How to decide on the most effective route for you?

Which Camino route is the most effective? is likely one of the most regularly requested Camino questions we get. It depends upon a number of points.

  1. Resolve how far you need to stroll – brief, center, or long-distance route. You all the time can begin a route not from its official starting however from the purpose on the route that fits you the most effective.
  2. Select the most effective route for the month you need to stroll – not too sizzling, not an excessive amount of rain.
  3. Decide what you need to see; coast, seaside, forest, mountains, historic cities.
  4. Resolve if you need to stroll a busy and really social Camino route or somewhat have a solitary stroll.

Seven well-established Camino routes

As I already talked about we’ve walked all seven “common” routes; Camino Portugués from Lisbon, Camino Primitivo, Camino del Norte, Camino Finisterre-Muxía, Camino Inglés, Camino Francés and part of By way of de la Plata (214 km from Seville to Merida). We give our private opinion on these seven Camino routes. We haven’t completed the Vía de la Plata our ideas on that route are based mostly on the primary a part of it from Seville to Mérida.

A map with different Camino de Santiago routes through Portugal and Spain
Map of the primary routes of the Camino de Santiago; Camino Frances, Portuguese Camino, Camino del Norte, Camino Primitivo, By way of de la Plata, Camino Ingles, and Camino Finisterre

Camino Francés (the French Approach)

  • Distance – 790km
  • Days required – 28-35
  • Start line – Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port (France)
  • Areas –  Navarra, La Rioja, Castilla y León, Galicia.
  • It may be mixed with – Camino Primitivo (from León), Camino Finisterre-Muxia (from Santiago de Compostela)

Principal cities and cities on the route

There are numerous historic cities and cities on this route; Pamplona, Logroño, Burgos, León, Astorga, Ponferrada, Melide, Santiago de Compostela . When you’ve got sufficient time I’d positively advocate spending a few days in a few of them there’s a lot to see there.

Greatest strolling months

This route could be walked all yr spherical, there are a lot of albergues that keep open all yr. A benefit of strolling the Camino Francés offseason is that there shall be not many individuals. As for the climate, Could-June and September-October are most likely the most effective strolling months. It will get very popular and really busy in July and August. Within the final years, September (particularly the start of the month) has grow to be a highly regarded month for strolling the French Approach.

We choose strolling any Camino earlier than the height season, in spring. Many albergues do the whole cleansing and sanitization earlier than the start of the brand new season which suggests your possibilities of getting mattress bugs are a lot smaller than on the finish of the season.

Camino Frances route map
French Camino de Santiago from St.Jean Pied de Port, plus connection path to Oviedo (to affix the Camino Primitivo)

The French Approach was established as a pilgrimage route within the eleventh century. This Camino route was described intimately in Codex Calixtinus – a Twelfth-century “guidebook” devoted to the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Later the route misplaced its recognition till the nineteenth century when it was rediscovered and used as the primary pilgrimage option to Santiago. Within the second half of the twentieth century, the Camino Francés reached its recognition. These days about 186 000 pilgrims stroll this route yearly. Many individuals don’t stroll the whole route however the final 100km from Sarria.

The Camino Francés is the busiest Camino route. For many individuals the Camino de Santiago = Camino Francés. The recognition of this route was the primary cause we didn’t need to stroll it however in the long run, I made a decision to do the French Approach to have the ability to examine it with different Camino routes. I walked it in September and there have been many individuals. For 90% of all pilgrims I met, it was their first Camino de Santiago. For me, it was my seventh Camino route and overcrowdedness did hassle me a bit to start with. It could be an excellent Camino to stroll for individuals who don’t need to stroll alone however couldn’t discover anyone to stroll with. There are numerous individuals who do the French Camino alone it’ll be simple to discover a firm.

The French Camino out of all routes has the most effective infrastructure and probably the most albergues. A few of the albergues are open all yr spherical which suggests this route could be accomplished offseason, in winter months. Some folks suppose that this route is the most effective to stroll as a primary Camino de Santiago and it’s true however different routes corresponding to Camino Portuguese from Porto or Camino Ingles are appropriate for first-time pilgrims as properly. 

It’s attainable to mix the French Camino with the Camino Primitivo. There’s a break up in León; one route continues west in the direction of Santiago, the second route goes north to Oviedo (the start of the Camino Primitivo) following the Camino de San Salvador. The Camino de San Salvador is about 130 km. It’s identified to be fairly difficult on account of a number of steep ascents and descents on the route. There are only a few pilgrims who take this route.

Issues we appreciated concerning the Camino Frances

  • It’s low-cost to stroll the French Camino. There are numerous public albergues and albergues for donation alongside the route you will discover one for each night time.
  • This route goes by way of some wonderful Spanish cities corresponding to Pamplona, Logroño, Burgos, León, and Astorga.
  • It’s a really social Camino daily you get to know new folks by the tip of the stroll you understand just about all people on the route.

What we didn’t like

It’s a really busy route within the peak season folks begin chasing for beds to verify they get one after they arrive. It’s not a giant drawback should you finish your day in a giant metropolis there are many hostels and accommodations however should you’re strolling to a small place I’d advocate reserving a mattress upfront.

The surroundings, the a part of strolling by way of the well-known Meseta (plains and fields with nothing) was not my favourite. It’s simply not my form of surroundings, I choose mountains, forests or the coast. I do know some folks actually get pleasure from this half.

Issue stage

Understanding that for many individuals it’ll be their first Camino de Santiago I’d say 4 out of 5. It’s a protracted route, the space of 790km is already a giant problem. If you happen to stroll in summer season it will get very popular within the Meseta and there’s no shade to cover you need to begin your day actually early at 5.30-6.00 am. There are some days with steep and lengthy ascents and descents which could be a drawback for some pilgrims.

Surroundings overview

The center part of the Camino from Burgos to Astorga is thru the Meseta with wheat fields dominating the panorama. For days you stroll by way of plains with occasional bushes and villages. There are only a few rivers, lakes, or large water our bodies on this route. My favourite half was the start of the Camino from St.Jean Pied de Port to Pamplona (over the Pyrenees) with lovely mountain views and luxurious inexperienced forest. I actually appreciated the a part of the route from Astorga to O Cebreiro for a similar cause; mountains, forest, small villages. Total I’ve discovered the surroundings on this route a bit monotonous.

The pilgrims monument on the French Route of the Camino de Santiago
The pilgrims’ monument on the preferred Camino de Santiago route – Camino Frances

Camino Portugués (the Portuguese Approach)

  • Distance – from Lisbon – 616km, from Porto (Coastal Route) – 280km, from Porto (Central Route) – 260km.
  • Days required – from Lisbon – 25-27, Coastal Route from Porto – 12-14, Central Route from Porto – 11-13.
  • Start line – Lisbon or Porto.
  • Areas – Portugal;  Estremadura, Ribatejo, Beira, Douro Litoral and Minho. Spain; Galicia.  
  • It may be mixed with – Camino Finisterre-Muxia (from Santiago).

Principal cities and cities on the route

Portugal – Lisbon, Santarém, Fátima (different route by way of Fatima), Coimbra, Porto, Barcelos (Central Route), Ponte de Lima (Central Route), Viana do Castelo (Coastal Route), Caminha (Coastal Route). Spain – Vigo (Coastal Route), Tui (Central Route), Pontevedra, Santiago de Compostela.

Greatest strolling months

The most effective time for strolling this Camino route is between the tip of April and July and September-October. In July and September, it may be fairly sizzling on the Lisbon-Porto stretch. August is okay should you begin strolling from Porto. If you happen to stroll from Lisbon it’ll be very popular, the route goes by way of the fields and plains with no shade. We walked the Portuguese Camino from Lisbon in Could and had superb climate; heat, even sizzling some days, no rain, the surroundings was lovely with many wildflowers and bushes in blossom. 

Portuguese Camino de Santiago route map
Portuguese Camino de Santiago route map from Lisbon. Coastal and Central routes from Porto

The route was established between the tenth and the eleventh centuries. It follows the outdated Roman roads from Portugal to Northern Spain. Between the Twelfth and the 14th centuries, St.James was a patron saint of Portugal. These instances many church buildings had been in-built his identify and plenty of pilgrims from Portugal walked to Santiago de Compostela. These days the Portuguese Approach is the second hottest Camino de Santiago route.   

The Camino Portuguese begins from the Sé Cathedral in Lisbon however as I already talked about most individuals stroll from Porto. We walked from Lisbon and that a part of the Camino positively has much less infrastructure; the route is marked properly however there usually are not many albergues (particularly public) on the stretch between Lisbon and Porto which suggests you find yourself paying extra for lodging. It’s attainable to mix the Portuguese Camino from Lisbon with the Camino de Fátima. Each routes go the identical means from Lisbon until Santarem the place they break up. From Fátima it’s one other two days to get again to the primary Camino route. The Fatima route is about 20km longer. If you happen to resolve to stroll by way of Fátima you’ll stroll for 4 days not on the primary Portuguese Camino route.

From Porto, there are two routes; the Central (authentic) route and the Coastal (new) route. Each routes merge in Redondela, each have albergues and route markers. The Coastal Route is 280km, the Central Route – 260km. Most pilgrims stroll the Central Route, solely about 20% of people that stroll the Portuguese Camino observe the Coastal Approach. Its recognition grows yearly. After Porto on the Central Route you received’t see the ocean, the Coastal Route goes alongside the coast all the way in which until Redondela.

There may be one other route possibility on the Portuguese Camino – the Non secular Approach (Variante Espiritual). From Pontevedra, it goes in the direction of the coast and joins once more with the primary Portuguese route in Padrón. This manner is 1 day longer than the usual route, it includes two strolling days and sooner or later on a ship.

Issues we appreciated concerning the Portuguese Camino

  • We walked in spring the fields had been coated in flowers
  • Lovely sea surroundings on the Coastal Route
  • Attention-grabbing historic cities on the Central Route
  • Not too many individuals (only a few from Lisbon to Porto)

What we didn’t like

  • Our most important dislike is for the Lisbon-Porto half; not sufficient albergues on the route, lengthy distances between them.

Issue stage 

4 out of 5 for the route from Lisbon to Porto on account of lengthy stretches by way of nothing and lengthy distances between albergues. 3 out of 5 for the half from Porto to Santiago, simple stroll with no hills or mountains to overcome, many albergues and amenities on the way in which, comparatively brief distance – 260-280km. The primary problem for us right here was the strolling floor, strolling on asphalt and cobblestones, each are arduous in your toes if it wasn’t for that we’d fee it as a straightforward 2 out of 5.

Surroundings overview

Countryside with many crop fields and vineyards and a few historic cities on the half between Lisbon and Porto, the Central Route from Porto has an identical surroundings. The Coastal Route from Porto is all concerning the sea; seashores, coast, fishermen’s villages, and so forth.

Scenery on the Coastal Portuguese Camino route
The surroundings on the primary day of the Portuguese Camino from Porto following the Senda Litoral

Camino del Norte (the Northern Approach)

  • Distance – 825km
  • Days required – 30-35
  • Start line – Irún
  • Areas; the Basque Nation, Cantabria, Asturias, Galicia
  • It may be mixed with – Camino Primitivo (from Gijon) and Camino Finisterre-Muxia from Santiago.

Principal cities and cities on the route

San Sebastián, Guernica, Bilbao, Portugalete, Castro Urdiales, Santander, Santillana del Mar, Comillas, Llanes, Gijón, Avilés, Ribadeo (Coastal Route), Santiago de Compostela.

Greatest strolling months

June to September is an effective time for this route, July and August is the busiest time, many vacationers in seaside cities, and probably the most pilgrims on the Camino however a benefit of strolling throughout these two months is that every one public albergues are open for that interval. We walked this route in October and more often than not had superb climate; heat and dry.

Camino del Norte route map
Camino del Norte route map from Irun to Santiago de Compostela. Plus break up to Oviedo the place it joins with the Primitive Approach

The Camino del Norte is likely one of the oldest Camino routes, it was a well-liked route within the Center centuries throughout the Moorish invasion as different routes, situated extra to the south, weren’t secure because of the Moorish troops progressing to the north of Spain. These days this route is gaining recognition as an excellent different to the overcrowded Camino Francés.

The Northern Approach is the second-longest route on this group. It’s our favourite route. We’re large followers of the ocean and actually loved the stroll, particularly the primary half of it by way of the Basque Nation and Cantabria. The route presents spectacular coastal surroundings, we discovered it’s a nice different to the French Approach; the space is about the identical, 800km vs 825km, the route is much less crowded, it follows the coast (the French Approach goes all the way in which inland), goes by way of historic cities and cities with many attention-grabbing sights.

Camino del Norte is taken into account to be more durable than Camino Frances due to a number of ascents and descents on the way in which but it surely doesn’t have any mountain passes just like the French route. The route is well-marked all the way in which and has a number of different route splits.

It’s attainable to mix Camino del Norte with Camino Primitivo, the route splits simply earlier than Gijón, it’s two strolling days to Oviedo the place the Primitive Camino begins. The path to Oviedo is well-marked and has albergues for pilgrims like every other Camino. The Camino del Norte merges with the Camino Frances in Arzua, 40km earlier than Santiago de Compostela.

Issues we like concerning the Camino del Norte

  • Lovely sea surroundings
  • Nice meals (particularly within the Basque Nation)
  • A number of attention-grabbing historic cities and cities
  • Not too many pilgrims

What we disliked

  • Many public albergues within the Basque Nation are opened solely in July and August, exterior this era pilgrims must pay extra and keep in personal albergues.

Issue stage

4 out of 5; lengthy route, many ascends and descends on the way in which, a few levels with lengthy distances between cities, albergues, locations to cease for meals, and so forth.

Surroundings overview

About 60% of the stroll is alongside the coast; lovely sea surroundings, seashores, inexperienced hills, cozy cities, and just a little little bit of forest, principally in Galicia. Strolling this route we regularly regretted not having sufficient time to discover some components of the Camino, we’d like to remain longer than only one night time in a number of locations on the way in which, lots of them are actually on our bucket record to go to.

A beautiful coastal scenery in Asturias on the Camino del Norte route
The beautiful surroundings on the Camino del Norte, some of the lovely Camino de Santiago routes

Camino Primitivo (the Unique Approach)

  • Distance – 321km
  • Days required – 12-15
  • Start line – Oviedo
  • Areas – Asturias, Galicia
  • It may be mixed with – Camino Finisterre-Muxia (from Santiago)

Principal cities and cities on the route

There are only a few cities and massive cities on this Camino; Oviedo, Lugo, Melide, Santiago de Compostela

Greatest strolling months

June – August are the warmest months with the least rainfalls however as a result of a lot of the route goes over the mountains the climate there’s fairly unpredictable, we walked this Camino in June and acquired a variety of rain. 

The Camino Primitivo or the Unique Approach was the primary Camino ever walked, in response to the historic manuscripts Spanish king Alfonso II walked from Oviedo to Santiago de Compostela within the ninth century.

Camino Primitivo de Santiago route map
The Primitive Approach of Camino de Santiago route map.

It’s usually named the hardest Camino on account of the truth that the route goes by way of the mountains in Asturias. It’s partly true the Unique Approach does have many ascends and descends (some are fairly lengthy and steep) however the whole distance of the route is sort of brief, for us, the Northern Approach was more difficult. The Primitive Approach might be the closest to the wild hike Camino, more often than not you stroll on the strolling path by way of the forest or over the mountains, previous small villages and cities (however not as many as on the opposite routes). There may be not a lot strolling on the highway or on the asphalt which is nice as a result of the asphalt could be very arduous in your toes however when you have any knee points it could be tough to finish this route on account of many ups and downs.

Camino Primitivo could be walked as part of Camino Francés or Camino del Norte each have connecting routes to Oviedo. This route merges with the Camino Frances in Melide, 52km earlier than Santiago.

Issues we appreciated concerning the Camino Primitivo

  • “Wild Camino” with a variety of strolling on the footpath, trails, by way of distant areas, only a few cities, no industrial areas and busy roads on the way in which.
  • Public albergues that may be discovered on the finish of each strolling stage, you possibly can simply full the entire route staying solely in public albergues, which makes the stroll cheaper.
  • The Camino goes by way of off the overwhelmed monitor areas with few vacationers moreover the pilgrims.
  • Locals are very pleasant and hospitable they’re not sick of hundreds of vacationers passing by daily.

What we disliked

  • We had been very unfortunate with the climate even supposing we walked the Camino in summer season (June), we had a variety of rain and dirt on the paths it was our solely dislike. In any other case, it’s a terrific Camino to stroll with good amenities and beautiful surroundings.  

Issue stage 

4 out of 5, many steep ascends and descends however the route is comparatively brief in addition to the strolling levels.

Surroundings overview

Lovely mountain and forest surroundings, the path goes by way of some distant areas of Asturias, with no cities or large cities on the way in which.

Embalse de Salime, a stunning emerald lake on the Camino Primitivo
Embalse de Salime, one of many highlights of the Camino Primitivo, the primary Camino de Santiago route

Camino Inglés (the English Approach)

  • Distance – 116 km from Ferrol, 74 km from A Coruña
  • Days required – 4-6
  • Start line – Ferrol or A Coruña
  • Areas – Galicia
  • It may be mixed with – Camino Finisterre-Muxia (from Santiago)

Principal cities and cities on the route

A Coruña or Ferrol (relying on the place you begin) and Santiago de Compostela.

Greatest strolling months

June – September, the start of October, the second half of Could, although in our expertise it may rain any time in Galicia.

English Way of Camino de Santiago route map
The English Camino de Santiago route map from A Coruna/Ferrol.

The historical past of this route goes again to the Twelfth century when pilgrims from England and a few Northern European international locations arrived in A Coruña by boat and continued on foot to Santiago de Compostela. These days most pilgrims begin in Ferrol, the primary cause is the space, from A Coruña to Santiago is just 74 km (in comparison with 116 km from Ferrol) which is 26 km too brief to have the ability to get the Compostela – a certificates {that a} pilgrim can get in Santiago after strolling greater than 100 km to Santiago de Compostela on any Camino route.

The Camino Inglés might be the most effective Camino for individuals who simply need to get a style of the stroll with out embracing a protracted journey. It’s simple to mix this route with a traditional (non-walking) seaside or sightseeing vacation and discover out if the Camino is your cup of tea or not, after finishing the English Approach you possibly can resolve if you wish to spend your subsequent vacation strolling. There aren’t any large cities or cities on the way in which extra of countryside surroundings and forest – conventional Galician panorama.

We haven’t walked from A Coruña however some sources say the route from there’s not marked very properly. Notice! If you happen to begin strolling from A Coruña you received’t be capable to get the Compostela for this Camino as a result of the whole distance is below 100 km. The Camino from Ferrol has correct marking and good infrastructure. 

Issues we appreciated concerning the Camino Ingles

  • A brief Camino route, it may be accomplished as part of a vacation or over a protracted weekend.
  • The English Approach is an ideal possibility for first-time pilgrims, it provides a good suggestion about strolling the Camino. After finishing it you possibly can resolve whether or not you prefer it or not earlier than planning to stroll one of many longer routes.
  • It’s a quiet route with not too many individuals.
  • There aren’t any large cities or industrial areas on the way in which extra of the countryside surroundings and forest.

What we disliked

  • The primary dislike was the strolling floor on this route, a variety of strolling on asphalt.

Issue stage

Although the Camino Inglés is a brief route I’d give it 3 out of 5 on account of a number of ascents and descents on the way in which.

Surroundings overview

A typical Galician surroundings, a combination of pasture fields and luxurious inexperienced forest with just a little little bit of sea surroundings and a few seashores to start with. Some components e.g. on the final day to Santiago had been really lovely.

Pontedeume, a beach town on the English Way of Santiago
Pontedeume, a small city on the Camino Ingles, the shortest Camino de Santiago route

By way of de la Plata (the Silver Route)

  • Distance – 1000 km
  • Days required – 40-50
  • Start line – Seville
  • Areas – Andalucía, Extremadura, Castilla y León, Galicia
  • It may be mixed with – the Camino Frances (from Astorga)

Principal cities and cities on the route

Regardless of the size there usually are not many large cities and cities on this route; Seville, Itálica, Mérida, Cáceres, Salamanca, Zamora, Ourense, Santiago de Compostela.

Greatest strolling months

April-Could, when it’s heat however not too sizzling but. In autumn it actually cools down solely in October. Strolling By way of de la Plata between July and September shouldn’t be a good suggestion, the temperature in Andalucía and Extremadura in August reaches 40C°-45C°, it’s very dry and sizzling.

Via de la Plata, the longest Camino de Santiago route
By way of de la Plata route map. The longest well-established Camino de Santiago route

The By way of de la Plata or the Silver Approach follows an outdated Roman highway that headed to the mines in Northern Spain. Later the route was used for a lot of different functions e.g. shifting inventory from south to north in summer season, buying and selling, migratory, and so forth. It was used as a pilgrimage path to Santiago between the tenth and the Twelfth centuries, later only a few pilgrims walked it. These days the route has good amenities and sufficient infrastructure although it’s nonetheless walked by solely 3% of pilgrims yearly.

This route shouldn’t be really helpful to stroll as the primary Camino because of the distance, fewer amenities on the way in which, lengthy levels. For planning this stroll it’s vital to bear in mind seasons. It’s very essential to hold sufficient water and use solar safety (sunscreen and hat) on By way of de la Plata. By now we’ve walked solely 214 km on this route from Seville to Mérida, we’re planning to complete this Camino in 2021.  

The route splits after Zamora; one goes to Astorga the place it merges with the French Camino one other continues to Santiago by way of Ourense (this half is also called Camino Sanabrés).

Issues we appreciated concerning the By way of de la Plata

  • Strolling floor, in comparison with another routes, on the By way of de la Plata there’s not a lot asphalt or highway strolling.
  • Some spectacular Roman ruins on the route, e.g. Italica, Mérida, and so forth.
  • Although the cities on the route are far aside in each place we stopped we may discover an ATM and a store/grocery store.
  • No strolling by way of industrial or city areas of massive cities, more often than not very peaceable countryside and fields.

What we disliked

  • Lengthy levels with nothing in between, no cities or villages, no even locations to refill water, you stroll common 20-25 km by way of the fields with nowhere to cease.
  • Public albergues are costlier on the Silver Route in comparison with the opposite Caminos, common worth 10€ per individual vs common 6€-7€.

Issue stage

I’d say 5 out of 5, a really lengthy route mixed with lengthy levels and little infrastructure in between, plus climate situations should you stroll this Camino in summer season it’s extremely sizzling.

Surroundings overview

Plenty of strolling by way of the fields, previous vineyards and olive tree plantations with some attention-grabbing Roman ruins on the way in which. In spring the world is roofed in wildflowers.

A typical scenery on the Via de la Plata; fields, gravel road, wildflowers
Spring is the most effective time for strolling the By way of de la Plata, one of many longest Camino routes

Camino Finisterre-Muxía

  • Distance – Santiago-Finisterre – 89km, Santiago-Muxía – 86km, Santiago-Muxía-Finisterre – 115km.
  • Days required – 3-5
  • Start line – Santiago de Compostela.
  • Ending level – Finisterre or Muxía
  • Areas – Galicia
  • It may be walked as an extension after finishing every other Camin route

Principal cities and cities on the Camino route

There aren’t any cities between the start and the tip of the Camino; Santiago de Compostela, Finisterre and/or Muxía

Greatest strolling months

June to September. We walked this Camino in November and acquired a variety of rain and stormy wind on the way in which to Finisterre.

Camino Finisterre from Santiago de Compostela
Camino Finisterre-Muxia route map.

The identify Finisterre comes from the Latin “finis terrae” which suggests “finish of the earth”, the origin of pilgrimage to Cape Finisterre goes again to pre-Christian instances when folks believed it was the sting of the world.

The Camino Finisterre is often walked as an extension after finishing one of many different Camino routes however it may be walked as a separate Camino as properly. It may be an excellent possibility for individuals who usually are not positive if they need/will be capable to stroll an extended route of the Camino de Santiago, some form of Camino check drive. The Camino Finisterre-Muxía is the one Camino de Santiago route that begins in Santiago de Compostela. There are two ending factors; Finisterre and Muxía, each are small sea cities at two capes. It’s attainable to stroll to each of them the Camino route connects two cities, it’s probably the most scenic a part of the route by the way in which. After finishing this Camino you may get the Finisterrana and Muxiana certificates. There are numerous albergues, eating places, and cafes on the route, even in peak season you received’t have an issue discovering a spot to sleep.  

Issues we appreciated concerning the Camino Finisterre

  • Lovely sea surroundings at Finisterre and Muxía
  • Relaxed vibe perhaps it feels that means as a result of most individuals who stroll this route have already completed one Camino and are fairly chilled.

What we disliked

  • Our most important dislike was an excessive amount of rain and robust wind we acquired on the route however I have to say we walked it in November, not the most effective time of the yr.
  • Only a few supermarkets and outlets on the way in which which makes it tough to make your personal meals.

Issue stage

2 out of 5 – brief route, frequent locations to cease for meals, many albergues, well-marked, some ups and downs on the way in which, one fairly steep and lengthy ascent on the primary day (if it wasn’t for that I’d give it 1 out of 5).

Surroundings overview

Forest and fields a lot of the means, lovely sea views on the stretch between Finisterre and Muxía and at each capes.

The Muxia lighthouse, the end of the Camino route
A lighthouse at Muxia, one of many ending factors of the Camino Finisterre-Muxia, a pilgrimage to the tip of the world

Lesser-known Camino de Santiago routes

We haven’t walked any of the next routes however contemplating strolling them sooner or later. On the Camino Frances, I met a few pilgrims that рфв began their Camino in Le Puy, France. Now the Camino de Le Puy is excessive on my record.

Camino de Le Puy

  • Distance – 730km
  • Days required – 28-32
  • Start line – Le Puy, France
  • Ending level – St.Jean Pied de Port from the place the route continues on the Camino Frances.

Principal cities and cities

To be trustworthy I’m not a giant skilled on France. Not like Spain that I’ve traveled extensively in France, I’ve been solely to Paris. It’s tough to evaluate which cities on this route are vital however I’ll strive. The Camino goes by way of Le Puy, Figeac, Moissac  Conques, Cahors.

Greatest strolling months

Summer season months, June to August is the most effective time for strolling this Camino although it may get busy it’s higher to ebook lodging upfront. Could and September are good months for strolling; the climate is good and there are fewer folks on the route.

This Camino is the preferred pilgrimage route in France. The route is well-marked all the way in which from Le Puy to St.Jean Pied de Port. From what I’ve heard from different pilgrims there are fewer public albergues and lodging is total costlier than on the Camino routes in Spain. The start and the tip of the route supply lovely mountainous surroundings. The center half is thru the fields and hills. A lot of the pilgrims who stroll this route are French-speaking. It’ll assist loads should you can converse some fundamental French. The language barrier is likely one of the causes I haven’t walked in France that a lot. I attempt to steak to Spain and Portugal the place I can perceive locals and speak to them.

Off the overwhelmed monitor Camino routes in Spain

Camino de Santiago lesser-known routes
Lesser-known Camino de Santiago Routes; Camino de Madrid, Camino Catalán, Camino Mozárabe, Camino de Levante, Camino de Invierno, Camino de Gran Canaria. Plus Camino Francés and By way of de la Plata.

Camino de Madrid

  • Distance – 685km; from Madrid to Sahagún (the place it joins with the Camino Francés) – 321km, from Sahagún to Santiago de Compostela (on the French Camino) – 364km
  • Days required – 26-30 days; 12-14 days from Madrid to Sahagún and 14-16 days from Sahagún to Santiago de Compostela.
  • Start line – Madrid
  • Areas – Comunidad Madrid, Castilla y León, Galicia

Principal cities and cities

Madrid, Segovia, Valladolid (brief detour from the Camino), León, Astorga, Ponferrada, Melide, Santiago de Compostela.

Greatest strolling months

The second half of April – starting of June and September-October, although in September it may be nonetheless fairly sizzling round Madrid. Summer season months July and August usually are not the most effective time to stroll this Camino, it will get sizzling, between 35C° and 40C°.

Camino de Madrid is a comparatively new Camino route, it begins in Madrid and goes up north to Sahagún the place it joins with Camino Francés. Based on the guidebooks and web sites on this route, there’s little or no strolling on the highway or on the asphalt, principally strolling trails. Only a few pilgrims stroll this Camino, on the half Madrid – Sahagún you received’t see many individuals however from Sahagún the place it joins with the French Approach there shall be many pilgrims. Regardless of the small variety of pilgrims on this route, there are a number of municipal and personal albergues and hostels on the way in which, the route is well-marked. 

Camino Catalán

  • Distance – about 1147km (there are a number of route choices from Montserrat, all kind of the identical distance); 471km from Montserrat to Puente la Reina (joins with Camino Frances), from Puente la Reina to Santiago de Compostela (on the French Approach) – 676km.
  • Days required – 45-47 days; 17-20 days from Montserrat to Puente la Reina, 26-29 days from Puente la Reina to Santiago de Compostela. 
  • Start line – Montserrat monastery (one of many beginning factors)
  • Areas – Catalonia, Aragon, Navarra, La Rioja, Castilla y León, Galicia.

Principal cities and cities

Zaragoza (Camino del Ebro), Huesca, Logroño, Burgos, León, Astorga, Ponferrada, Melide, Santiago de Compostela.

Greatest strolling months

The second half of April – June, and September-October – heat however not too sizzling, not a lot rain.

The Camino Catalán just like the Camino de Madrid joins the French Camino after about two weeks and continues to Santiago following the preferred Camino route. On the half from Barcelona, you will notice only a few folks however as soon as you’re on the Camino Frances there shall be many pilgrims.

This Camino route has a number of choices, the primary break up is at Tarrega (earlier than Lleida); one route goes by way of Huesca to Santa Cilia de Jaca the place it joins the Camino Aragonés – an alternate route of the French Camino which matches to Puente la Reina the place it merges with the primary Camino Francés route. One other route goes previous Lleida to Fuentes de Ebro the place it joins the Camino del Ebro, the route continues previous Zaragoza to Logroño the place it joins the French Approach. Each routes have markers, there aren’t any/only a few conventional albergues on the Camino Catalán a part of the route however there are a number of lodging choices on the way in which that supply reductions for pilgrims. 

Montserrat monastery, Camino Catalán of Santiago
Montserrat monastery – the start of the Camino Catalán, off the overwhelmed route of Camino de Santiago

Camino Mozárabe

  • Distance – 1200km from Granada to Santiago, 1400km from Almería to Santiago, 406km from Granada to Mérida (the place it joins with By way of de la Plata), 600km from Almería to Mérida, 800km from Mérida to Santiago de Compostela.
  • Days required – from Granada to Mérida – 15-17 days (plus 30-33 days to Santiago), from Almería to Mérida – 23-25 days (plus 30-33 days to Santiago).
  • Start line – Almería or Granada
  • Areas – Andalucía, Extremadura, Castilla y León, Galicia

Principal cities and cities

Almería, Granadana, Córdoba, Mérida, Cáceres, Salamanca, Zamora, Ourense, Santiago de Compostela.

Greatest strolling months

Spring (April-June) and fall (finish of September-October).

This route was established (marked) as an official Camino route solely in 1999, it’s a brand new Camino with nearly no infrastructure for pilgrims, no albergues, solely pensions and accommodations, pilgrims can in a single day in sports activities complexes, colleges, church buildings and so forth. like within the old-times. It’s not a straightforward route with lengthy stretches between cities, only a few folks, sleeping association varies from daily from a resort room to a mattress in a sports activities corridor. The route is well-marked. Camino Mozárabe shouldn’t be really helpful to stroll for a first-time pilgrim. 

Camino de Levante

  • Distance – 1300km from Valencia to Santiago, 900km from Valencia to Zamora (the place it joins with By way of de la Plata), 400km from Zamora to Santiago.
  • Days required – 50-55 days; 35-38 days from Valencia to Zamora, 15-17 days from Zamora to Santiago.
  • Start line – Valencia or Alicante
  • Areas – Comunidad Valencia, Castilla La Mancha, Comunidad Madrid, Castilla y León, Galicia

Principal cities and cities

Valencia/Alicante, Albacete, Toledo, Ávila, Zamora, Ourense, Santiago de Compostela.

Greatest strolling months

The second half of April-June and mid-September-October, like with By way of de la Plata and Camino Mozárabe it’s not really helpful to stroll it throughout July, August, and the start of September.

Camino de Levante is one other very off-the-beaten-path Camino route with a handful of pilgrims yearly, lengthy solitary stretches by way of nothing, little infrastructure, and no albergues, solely pensions and hostels. It’s marked inferior to the opposite Caminos however the route is indicated more often than not. Not really helpful to stroll as a primary Camino. For this Camino, it’s fairly vital to talk and perceive some Spanish a lot of the route goes by way of non-touristy components of Spain.

City of Arts and Science, Valencia, Camino de Levante, Camino de Santiago routes
Metropolis of Arts and Science, Valencia, the start of the Camino de Levante

Camino de Invierno (the Winter Approach)

  • Distance – 275km
  • Days required – 10-13
  • Start line – Ponferrada
  • Areas – Galicia

Principal cities and cities

Ponferrada, Chantada, Santiago de Compostela.

Greatest strolling months

It was a winter route however the most effective time to stroll it’s really spring – April-June and autumn – September-October. In July and August, it will get fairly sizzling within the areas.

Camino de Invierno was utilized by pilgrims who walked the French Approach in winter to flee snow areas in O Cebreiro. The route was acknowledged because the official Camino route solely in 2015. Now it’s attainable to get the Compostela certificates after finishing this route like every other Camino. The route is marked however inferior to different Camino routes, there are a lot of lodging choices like hostels and accommodations however no albergues (just one personal albergue on the route). This Camino could be walked as a separate route or mixed with the Camino Francés instead and fewer crowded path to Santiago.

Plaza Obradoiro and the Cathedral at sunset
Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, the tip of all Camino de Santiago routes

Camino de Gran Canaria

  • Distance – 73km
  • Days required – 3-4 days
  • Start line – Playa del Inglés, Maspalomas, Gran Canaria
  • Areas – the Canary Islands

Greatest strolling months

the local weather of the Canary Islands could be very delicate, even in winter it’s not chilly and it doesn’t rain loads, this route could be walked all yr spherical however the most effective months are April-June and September-October, throughout peak season July and August some a part of the route could be fairly busy.

Camino de Gran Canaria is the one Camino that doesn’t end in Santiago de Compostela (besides Camino Finisterre which begins in Santiago). In 1965 Pope John XXIII gave to the town of Galdar (the tip of the route) a papal bull to rejoice the Jacobean Holy Yr. The bull provides to Galdar the identical privileges as Santiago de Compostela because of this regardless of the Camino de Gran Canaria doesn’t begin/finish in Santiago it’s thought-about to be one of many Camino de Santiago routes. It runs throughout the island and connects two island’s main church buildings devoted to Saint James. This Camino is an effective way to numerous seaside holidays on the Canary Islands with some mountaineering. 

Different Camino de Santiago routes

Camino Aragonés (the Aragonese Approach) – begins on the go of Somport within the Pyrenees, on the Spanish-French border, goes by way of Aragón for 170km until the place it joins Camino Francés at Puente la Reina. Complete distance to Santiago 853km.

Camino del Ébro – begins in Tortosa, Catalonia, 15km away from the Mediterranean coast, goes for 338km previous Zaragoza and a number of other different cities until Logroño the place it joins the French Approach. The route is much like Camino Catalán.

Camino de la Lana (the Wool Route) – it begins in Alicante, goes by way of Central Spain for 700km until Burgos the place it joins the French Route. Complete distance to Santiago – 1200km. After the primary 100km, the route intersects with Camino de Levante.

There are extra routes from completely different locations in Spain, France, and different European international locations however they’ve little to no infrastructure. Spanish routes often after a few days or every week merge with different well-established Camino routes. There are a number of Camino de Santiago routes in France; the Paris and Excursions Approach, the Vézelay Route, the Le Puy Route, the Arles Approach. 

FAQ about Camino routes

What number of Camino de Santiago routes are?

There are numerous routes from completely different cities and cities in Europe (Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, Italy and so forth.). There are seven well-established Camino routes with good infrastructure and route marking and plenty of routes which are kind of marked however don’t have many albergues for pilgrims you might need to remain in a resort, hostels and so forth.

Which Camino is the most effective for a first-time pilgrim?

Any established Camino route with good infrastructure. I wouldn’t advocate strolling By way of de la Plata as the primary Camino however every other route is okay. If you happen to simply need to strive it go for shorter routes e.g. Camino Inglés, Camino Finisterre, Camino Portugues from Porto.

Which Camino is the most effective to stroll with a toddler?

Out of 4 we’ve walked I’d say the Portuguese Camino from Porto is the most effective for a household stroll; it’s comparatively brief, has good infrastructure, doesn’t contain a variety of strolling on the highway, distances between cities usually are not lengthy, has good transport system (you all the time can catch a bus or prepare if wanted). If we ever resolve to stroll the Camino with a toddler it’ll be Camino Portugues.

Camino de Santiago books and guidebooks

Camino de Santiago planning sources

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