The Camino de Santiago is not just one route, it’s a network of routes for pilgrimage to Santiago. Throughout the middle ages, thousands of pilgrims walked from their homes to make their pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela where St, James is, supposedly, buried. This paved the way for many diverse routes across Europe, all coming together like branches of a tree to arrive in what is now a developed city around the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
1. Camino Francés
The French Way is the most popular Camino route. Although, the name can be confusing as the route is mostly walked across Spain! It is called French Way as it begins in France where many French pilgrims would have traditionally begun their Camino. Starting in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, on the French side of the Pyrenees, it’s by far the most travelled with over 60% of pilgrims getting to Santiago on its path.
2. Camino Portugués
The Portuguese Way has in recent years become the second most popular route leading to Santiago de Compostela. Nearly 20% of pilgrims traveled along this route. Boasting fantastic cities such as Lisbon, Porto and Pontevedra, it also passes by stunning coastlines with beautiful, sandy beaches.
3. Camino Primitivo
The Original Way is a scenic beautiful way, yet a challenging walk typically understood to be the first pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. While it’s not the flattest walk, it’s one of the most rewarding. The route starts off in Oviedo and travels in a south-westerly direction towards Santiago for about 328 km
4. Camino Inglés
The English Way is so called as it was one of the main routes for English pilgrims who sailed to the coast of northern Spain and travelled overland by foot to Santiago de Compostela.