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Pilgrimages

An introduction to the Camino de Santiago

What is the Camino de Santiago?

The Camino is a network of routes which all converge in the city of Santiago de Compostela, where it is believed that the remains of the apostle Saint James the Great, are interred.

These routes are popular with walkers, cyclists and tour groups. The individual’s reasons for undertaking this walk, range from personal challenges; to being at one with nature; being able to enjoy a relatively cost-effective holiday and still the most popular, spiritual upliftment.

The Way of St James

In English, the Way of St James is the Spanish equivalent of the Camino de Santiago.

James, son of Zebedee or also known as James the Greater was born in Galilee and was one of 12 apostles. He is the only apostle whose martyrdom is recorded in the New Testament.

Being a member of Jesus’s inner circle, he was beheaded under order from King Herrod Agrippa I, and his body was taken to Santiago de Compostela according to Spanish tradition.

The shrine in the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela attracts thousands of pilgrims, from all corners of the world.

How many routes are there?

In Spain, there are 15 routes.

In Portugal, one route and

In France, there are seven routes, all of which make up the Camino de Santiago

Focus on the Camino Frances

Arguably, the most popular of all the routes, since it draws record numbers of pilgrims throughout the year. Known for its well-marked paths and easy access to facilities, this route is especially popular for solo travelers, and generally, first-timers will start their Camino experience here.

The route has its traditional starting point in St Jean Pied de Port, which is located in southwest France and at the foothills of the Pyrenees. According to popular guidebooks, the route all the way to Santiago de Compostela, the traditional endpoint is divided into 32 stages and covers a total distance of approximately 790km’s (491 miles). The daily routes are flexible enough and offer regular respite for pilgrims and if those distances seem too hefty, a pilgrim is able to split up stages, since Albergues are located at regular intervals on the entire route.

QUICK FACTS

  • A network of routes popular with walkers, cyclists and tour groups
  • The Camino de Santiago comprises 23 routes (currently marked)
  • The Camino Frances, one route in the network, covers a distance of 790 km’s or 491 miles

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