Travelling to Spain for the Camino de Santiago is an adventure you must do at least once. It involves walking The Way of Saint James, a pilgrimage undertaken throughout the centuries where pilgrims made the walk and sacrifice to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in north-west Spain. Here, the shrine of the apostle St James is believed to be located. The longest distance to make the walk is 790 km and takes 30 days on foot.
You’ll be pleased to know that shorter routes are available which may be more suited to your schedule and commitments.
Read on for these tips on travelling to Spain for the Camino de Santiago and make the most of your pilgrimage!
Walking, by Horse or by Cycle
To be an official pilgrim of the Camino de Santiago you must make your pilgrimage or trek on foot, on horseback or by bicycle. No mechanised transport such as a car or motorbike is allowed.
Decide your Starting Point
You can make your journey from one of several starting points. Unofficially, many believe the Saint Jean Pied de Port is the ‘true’ starting point of the trek. This is a small French village steeped in historic wonder situated on the French – Spanish border. Among French people, this is a very popular route for the Camino de Santiago.
There are plenty of other starting points, however, and many are country-specific to make it easier for you to make your own pilgrimage.
Use a Good Camino de Santiago Tour Operator
If you are travelling to Spain for the Camino de Santiago there are several advantages to using a good tour operator such as Santiagoways to make your trek. Should you run into an emergency they have your back. They can move your luggage for you and arrange your Pilgrim Credential, a passport-type document that provides information on your route, access to discounts for things like museum entry, and provides a record of all the places you have visited.
They also provide very good information on how best to approach your journey and what to bring.
History and Culture
As you travel from place to place you will follow a route deep in historic and cultural wonder. Many routes take you across unspoiled spaces of scenic beauty. Along the way, you will find medieval cathedrals, churches, and other monuments. You will meet new people many of them making the same journey. You will discover villages, towns, and cities that have a unique identity and vibrancy.
As the Camino de Santiago runs all year round though more popular in the warmer summer months, there are plenty of places to eat and get supplies.
Arriving in Galicia North-West Spain
When the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela comes into view it is always a time of strong emotions. You have reached the end of your journey on foot, on horseback, or by cycle, but in many ways, your spiritual journey is just beginning.
When you arrive at the gates of the cathedral you are greeted by a priest. Mass, which after walking all this way you really must attend runs twice daily.
Around you, travellers of all types have arrived and continue to arrive after you. Some will be carrying injury some will not. All will be feeling elated, relieved, and emotional at completing their own pilgrimage.