2021-10-27T19:33:02+02:0025 de May de 2020|Pilgrim tips|Comments Off on Which Way of the Camino de Santiago to choose?
“I want to do the Camino de Santiago, but I don’t know which route to choose”. I’m sure veteran pilgrims recognize this issue. And yes, this is one of the most frequent doubts that usually have all those who decide to do the Camino de Santiago.
The truth is that it’s a complicated question, because all the roads are beautiful! All the routes that reach Santiago have their charm, so when choosing a route we must take into account more factors than the beauty of the route.
If you are thinking about walking the Camino but are still not sure which route to choose, this article is for you. In the following lines we explain everything you should take into account when choosing Camino.
What are the routes of the Camino de Santiago?
Are you familiar with the expression: “all roads lead to Rome”? Well, similar to Santiago de Compostela! There is a wide variety of ways to get to Santiago.
It is the most recognized and most traveled route. Consequently, it is one of the itineraries that has more services and accommodation. It is a path absolutely full of contrasts, as it starts in France, crosses the Pyrenees towards Navarre and crosses the entire Iberian Peninsula horizontally to Santiago. In its complete route, it accumulates 33 stages.
Another very busy and contrasting route. And it is not for less, since the route of the Portuguese Way allows you to walk stretches in two different countries, learning and enjoying every step of the different cultures. It consists of a inland itinerary y another along the coastof generally reduced difficulty.
This is undoubtedly one of the star routes for lovers of the coast. It is a long route, as it starts in Irún and runs along the Cantabrian coast until it reaches Galicia. It is a route of incredible green landscapes, in which you will be accompanied by the Cantabrian Mountains and the sea.
It is one of the shortest roads. It starts in Ferrol or A Coruña. It crosses the province of A Coruña in a southerly direction until it reaches Santiago. Its land part is short, but keep in mind that as its name suggests, the pilgrims who gave life to this route began their adventure by embarking to the Galician coast.
The oldest pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. In this itinerary with tradition, you will follow the steps of King Alfonso II “The Chaste”, who decided to make a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela from Oviedo in the year 813, when he heard the news of the discovery of the tomb of the Apostle St. James.
The stories tell, that this way was invented as an alternative way to get to Santiago when the snow did not allow to cross O Cebreiro. It starts in Ponferrada and is the only route that passes through the four Galician provinces.
The Way to the “end of the world is the epilogue of the Camino de Santiago. It is a very symbolic and emotional path, as it is the “end” of the paths. Undoubtedly, you must have walked to Santiago de Compostela before to do this route and experience it in a magical way.
What should I consider when choosing a path?
One of the most important things to keep in mind is the physical physical preparation you have. Not because there are unacceptable routes! But precisely, so that you don’t set yourself too hard goals. There are very long routes, so it is preferable to make small fragments of 5 or 6 days of walking. In this aspect it is also important to choose according to the time you have available. If you have many days, you will be able to take on more stages than if you have few.
Another important issue is age, both yours and your companions, if any. As far as you are concerned, it ties in with the first recommendation: your preparation. Think that the Camino de Santiago is an experience to enjoy and not to suffer, so you should not set yourself hard goals. In case of going accompanied by the little ones we recommend that you choose an itinerary with a smooth and easy route and a good number of services (for example: French, Portuguese or English Way). If you go accompanied by your pet. If you are going with your pet, think also not to make a very hard way or with many stages.
It is also essential to think about what time of the year you are going to do it. For example, the French Way in its section through the Pyrenees and at the entrance to Galicia, can be impracticable in winter. On the other hand, the Portuguese Way does not present any problems due to weather conditions. One important thing to note, however, is that in winter you will always have fewer services available, so it is advisable to choose any other season.
Another essential thing to think about before choosing a route is how you are going to do the route. Depending on whether you walk or cycle, you will be able to do more or less kilometers per day, so you will be able to evaluate longer routes.
Which is the most authentic route?
The most historically authentic routes are the Primitive Way, the French, the Portuguese and the English. With special mention to the first two and the French one in particular. Thanks to the French Way, Spain today has a very important historical and artistic heritage.
Our recommendation is that if you have never done the Camino before, opt for one of the routes with more services and with a simple route (French or Portuguese Way). They also coincide with some of the most historic and authentic itineraries. They are also a good option, short and simple itineraries (although they do not have so many services) as the English Way or some sections of the Northern Way. If, on the other hand, you are already a veteran pilgrim or a hiking enthusiast, you can opt for slightly harder or longer routes, such as the first sections of the French or the Vía de la plata, and the Camino Primitivo.
And most importantly…
We can recommend and advise you, but the most important thing to keep in mind is your personal taste. “And you, which one do you want to do the most, which one do you want to do the most?”
If you have already faced the decision of which path to choose, we invite you to share your experience in a comment. Your reflection can be very valuable for other future pilgrims!