Camino de Santiago

  • Camino Primitivo - © By Flickr user JuanJeitor
  • Camino Primitivo - © By Flickr user JuanJeitor
  • Approaching Santiago - © By Flickr user Untipografico
  • Galician Mountains in the Distance, Camino Frances - © By Flickr user Fresco Tours
  • Camino Frances - © By Flickr user Fresco Tours
  • Camino Frances - © By Flickr user Juanpol
  • Camino Primitivo - © By Flickr user JuanJeitor
  • Compostella Seashell - © By Flickr user Fresco Tours
  • Via de la Plata, Caceres Province - © By Flickr user Cotallo-nonocot
  • Roman Bridge, Extremadura - © By Flickr user Alepheli
  • Santiago de Compostella - © By Flickr user Jule_Berlin
  • Typical Route Sign, Camino de Santiago - © By Flickr user Fresco Tours
  • © Wakopedia member xrimichii
  • Loud Sky   - © Nicky Basford
  • © Nicky Basford

Key information: Camino de Santiago

  • Famous network of routes across Europe, converging on northern Spain, all leading to the Catholic pilgrimage site at Santiago de Compostela.
  • Choice of routes all several hundred kilometres passing through varied countryside.
  • Meander across plains, crossing beautiful, remote mountain ranges.
  • Stay in villages and towns along the way. Examine a plethora of cultural gems.
  • End up in the great pilgrim city of Santiago deeply spiritual for some, moving and thought-provoking for all.

Walkopedia rating

(Top 100)
  • Walkopedia rating89
  • Beauty31
  • Natural interest15
  • Human interest16
  • Charisma31
  • Negative points4
  • Total rating89
  • Note: Negs: popularity, you are seldom alone

Vital Statistics

  • Length: 6 weeks - single day
  • Maximum Altitude: n/a
  • Level of Difficulty: Variable
Via de la Plata, Caceres Province - © By Flickr user Cotallo-nonocot


The Camino de Santiago is actually not one trail, but dozens, leading across Europe and converging on the Christian pilgrimage site, the stunning Santiago de Compostela, in Galicia, Northern Spain.

Within Spain, there are a dozen official routes, the most-walked of which, The Camino Frances, covers some 780km from St. Jean-Pied-du-Port, near Biarritz, France, to the shrine. Though it reached the height of its popularity between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries, archaeology shows that there has been a pilgrimage route here from prehistory, and the Roman trade route to the Atlantic, the via Lactea, also followed, roughly, the Camino Frances. Its religious use had all-but died out by the 1980s, and was, ironically, revived by the paths increasing popularity with leisure walkers, now hosting some thousands of pilgrims each year once more.

Being so long and so varied, this is a hard route to sum up, except in terms of its extraordinary historical significance. Its many branches, well-marked with bright yellow arrows and scallop shell motifs, afford experience of everything Northern Spain has to offer, from great historic cities, through wild mountain landscapes, the hot central plain, the delightful wine country of the Rioja, bucolic farming idylls, rough coastal paths and small-town treasures, to the blowsy, elegant faade of the reputed burial-place of St James, who, almost single-handedly, apparently, drove the Moors from Spain several centuries after his death.

See our dedicated pages for the main routes, which include:

  •  The Via Jacobi (the route through Switzerland).

Other routes, which we plan to write up over time, include:

  •  The Camino Finisterre: after visiting Santiago de Compostela, many pilgrims then take the opportunity to do the three-day walk, via Negreira and Olveiroa on to Finisterre which, as it name suggests, was widely thought to be the end of the world in ancient cultures (though in fact Portugal boasts Europes most westerly promontory). This is a lovely, green, 81km walk, far less populous than the Camino Frances, but refugios are rather inadequately placed, meaning that it has to be divided into one easy, flattish day of 21km and two quite punishing, more uphill, days of 30km. Being easily accessed by bus, Finisterre itself is quite crowded but its great western sunsets are justifiably famous.

Map of the Ways of St James in Europe

Source: Manfred Zentgraf, Volkach, Germany; licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported at

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.


We have a lot of helpful practical information and tips about this walk, covering everything from the best books and maps, to timing and weather, geting there, possible problems, whether you need a guide and where to find them, and useful websites. This section is only open to members.

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Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.


Name: Administrator
Posted on: 22/09/2011

“The Pilgrim Trail to Santiago de Compostela, which runs (amongst other routes) from Le Puy in SW France 1000 miles to Santiago de Compostela in NW Spain. But for a few days of moderately strenuous walking it is more a test of commitment than strength. Central Spain can be HOT or COLD. And some of central Spain is flat and boring. But Santiago and such as Leon and Burgos and Pamplona are great cities with great traditions and structures. Some of us think the cathedral in Leon is perhaps the world's greatest Gothic church. The 500 miles in France runs through some of the beautiful landscapes in France. You can do it all at once (6 weeks ±) or a few weeks each year. /// Any walker who considers him/her self a walker must do it. ///// Another great walk: the Robert Louis Stevenson walk in France's Cevennes."
We'd like to hear from the Walko friend who contributed this, but, anonymity.

Name: caminotravel
Posted on: 04/03/2013
I'm from Spain, and i Love the Camino. I would like to contribute with my experince

Walkopedia says: Thank you, we would love to hear your thoughts on the Camino!

Name: senderismoytrekking
Posted on: 03/02/2015
List of Guided Tours at Camino de Santiago:

Name: xrimichii
Posted on: 05/12/2017

There are many different routes to get to Santiago de Compostela. Generally the most popular are also the most crowded and declared official routes. However, there are some secondary routes that lead to the main Caminos.

Name: slaclau
Posted on: 09/07/2018

I love walking the Camino de Santiago, specially the Camino del Norte as I think its the most beautiful Camino, specially during the summer.

Name: slaclau
Posted on: 09/07/2018

Try to book the Camino de Santiago

Name: Administrator
Posted on: 29/11/2018

Nicky Basford says: “In July 2015 I walked part of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route, starting from the French side of the Pyrenees crossing into northern Spain. Not only was I struck by the extraordinary heat, temperatures reached 100 degrees some days, but also the humbling and challenging experience of journeying for miles each day, accepting all the inevitable discomfort in order to be just a little nearer to your destination at the end of it. Small comforts became large, like a tree offering shade in an otherwise barren landscape. The parched cardoons, or artichoke thistles, by the roadside began to feel like metaphors and the sun-baked ‘way’ stretching into the distance, a reminder of my journey towards something, of pilgrimage.” Nicky Basford, painter.

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Approaching Santiago - ©By Flickr user Untipografico

share your experiences

Add your experiences, suggestions and photos. We would be delighted to receive your writing and ideas (which will be attributed appropriately where published).

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

Galician Mountains in the Distance, Camino Frances - ©By Flickr user Fresco Tours...

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