The Many Ways to Santiago

When most people think of the Camino de Santiago, they usually are picturing the most popular route, the Camino Francés (the route featured in the Martin Sheen film The Way). However, there are many Caminos leading to Santiago!

In Medieval times, pilgrims simply left their front door and walked to Santiago, using whatever roads and paths were safest and most direct. While today the Francés route is the most developed, other Camino routes also offer a wonderful pilgrimage experience.

Read more about the Camino’s history

SPAIN and PORTUGAL

1) Camino Frances (800km, St-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Santiago)
2) Camino Finisterre (90km, Santiago to Finisterre and Muxia)
3) Camino del Norte (825km, Irún to Santiago)
4) Camino Portugués (610km, Lisboa to Santiago)
5) Vía de la Plata (1000km, Sevilla to Santiago)
6) Camino Aragonés (170km, Samport Pass to Puente la Reina)
7) Camino de Levante (1300km, Valencia to Santiago)
8) Camino Inglés (110km, Ferrol to Santiago)
9) Camino Primitivo (320km, Gijón to Melide)

FRANCE

10) Chemin de Le Puy (730km, Le Puy to St-Jean-Pied-de-Port)
11) Chemin de Paris (1000km, Paris to St-Jean-Pied-de-Port)
12) Chemin de Vézelay (900km, Vézelay to St-Jean-Pied-de-Port)
13) Chemin d’Arles (740km, Arles to Samport pass)

Many other connecting routes exist from various locations in Europe.

Choosing a Camino Route

With the many pilgrimage routes available in Spain and France, it can be overwhelming to choose which route is right for you. Here are a few questions to help guide your exploration:

  • Do you want to walk with other people, or by yourself?
    The Camino Francés route is very popular and you guaranteed to walk with many others during the popular seasons.
  • Do you want to stay in pilgrim accommodations (inexpensive hostels) or do you prefer to have private accommodations, or to camp?
    The Camino Francés is the best set up for staying in inexpensive dormitory pilgrim accommodations each night, as there are many hostels and very frequent distances. The Camino del Norte and Camino Portuguése route also have reasonably-spaced hostels but some private accommodations may be necessary. The Portuguése and Norte routes are more remote and so better suited for camping than the Francés route.
  • How much time do you have to walk?  Is it important for you to reach Santiago? What aspect of the Camino are you most interested in (mountain scenery, good wine, camaraderie)?
    View three itineraries of varying length to complete the Camino Francés (26 days, 31 days, 40 days)