Camino de Santiago: a must-do spiritual journey
More than a thousand-year-old tradition that encourages hundreds of people to undertake a challenging, yet incredibly spiritual journey to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, in Galicia. We invite you to take part in a virtual trip to Santiago with us.
The Way of St James
First of all, what does “Camino de Santiago” mean? “Camino” means “The Way” and refers to the pilgrimage routes leading to Santiago de Compostela, the city in the northwestern Spain that harbors the shrine of Saint James the Great, one of the apostles of Jesus. And Santiago is nothing other than the name of the Saint. In fact, break it up in “Santo Thiago”, it corresponds to Saint James. This name has plenty of variations, but this is whole another story.
Camino de Santiago Routes
There are several ways directed to this destination —starting in Spain, France, and Portugal, among others— although the most busiest ones are without a doubt the French Way, starting in St Jean Pied de Port, and the Primitive Way, starting in Oviedo, in Spain.
Camino de Santiago map
Surprisingly, the final destination (Km 0) of the Camino is Cape Fisterra — from Latin finis terrae, meaning "Land's End" — a place once thought of as the end of the world.
In order to be identified as a pilgrim, everyone who “officially” wants to start the Camino must obtain the pilgrim passport, called credencial, which gets stamped every time the pilgrim stops in a city or a hostel. The last 111 kilometers is the minimum a pilgrim must travel to finally earn the stamp proving the accomplishment of the Camino. Everyone is free to choose the Km s/he wants to walk each day. All along the way, copious hostels (albergues) offer cheap but modest sleeping accommodations to the travelers.
On the Road to Santiago: The Way of a Pilgrim
Many will agree that Santiago pilgrimage is all about the journey, not the destination. Walking the ancient pilgrimage route will magically catapult you back in time and will change you for good. Although the difficulties of such a long journey, the weight of a bulging backpack, and the overall lack of everyday comfort will undoubtedly put you in your place, be sure to travel at your own pace and the fatigue will be soon compensated by the pleasure of meeting people from all over the world along the way.
Pilgrims have been walking the Way for over a millennium, traveling dozens and sometimes hundreds of miles to get to the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela. Originally, the completion of the Camino granted the so-called compostellana, a document giving the pilgrim plenary indulgence. Whether you wish to put your demons to rest, to challenge yourself, or to share this experience with complete strangers, doing the Camino will get you on the right track.
Last but not least, the old town of Santiago de Compostela is a UNESCO-listed heritage site since 1985, and the very Camino de Santiago has been appointed as the first European Cultural itinerary in 1987.
July, 25, we celebrate Saint James the Great.