We know that many of you will be submerged in a sea of doubts when it comes to choosing the route of the Camino de Santiago that you are going to do? any way seems the most beautiful!
And it is not for less, since all of them have a special charm. High mountains, green valleys full of rural villages, rugged coasts, paradisiacal beaches, countless architectural and cultural elements… And it all depends on the tastes and preferences of each pilgrim.
In this article we will try to break down the strengths of the main routes to help you with the first step, choosing the best Camino de Santiago.
We start with the classic among the Jacobean routes, The French Camino de Santiago which starts in Roncesvalles and arrives in Santiago de Compostela after 799 km.
With a varied combination of regions, landscapes, climates, heritage, gastronomy, architecture, etc., it is the most travelled route in history and in our modern times. This makes it a generous route in terms of accommodation, restaurants, information and signposting, where you will find many pilgrims like you.
As you cross different landscapes, you will find high mountains but also wide plateaus, with wide rivers and small streams. It is suitable for any pilgrim, although obviously you always have to take into account the limitations of each one, because if you do it in its entirety you will be walking for about a month.
However, you can always do a shorter section, such as the ones from Sarria, which will offer you bucolic trails without steep slopes. last 100 kilometres from the town of Sarria, which will offer you bucolic trails without big slopes, which is what makes this section one of the most beautiful and easy ones.
The central Portuguese Way
The main of the routes coming from Portugal, a historical route and that has the incentive to walk and enjoy the landscapes and the culture of our neighbouring country.
Although there are almost 650 kilometres in total between Lisbon and Santiago de Compostela, you can also cover shorter stretches, such as the stretch from Oporto or Tui, in Spain. In fact, in this last locality begins its busiest and best equipped part in services, which corresponds with those last 100 kilometresof this route.
It is a route that does not offer large slopes or slopes, and the location of the accommodation allows you to plan short stages. You will continuously pass through small villages and urban centres, as well as landscapes that will give you beautiful panoramic views, crossing large rivers such as the Miño.
Its mild temperatures encourage walking and, once the end of the stage is reached, rest and enjoy all the food and wine that offers the north of Portugal and the south of Galicia.
The Portuguese Way along the coast
This is a variant that runs parallel to the Galician Atlantic coast. It joins the central Portuguese Way in the town of Redondela.
There are many pilgrims who come to the Portuguese Way along the coastattracted by the beauty of the maritime landscapes and the tranquillity of a route that is still little known. During the tour you will pass through incredible coastal villages that will offer you their best gastronomy, cliffs, beaches, forts, mountains and estuaries that will surprise you.
Overall, it is a fairly accessible and easy to walk stretch. There are no big slopes, so it is ideal if you are starting on the Camino de Santiago.
As it is a relatively recent route, the signposting at some points may be scarce or confusing. We recommend you to bring a map with the route to avoid getting lost.
The Epilogue to Finisterre
The Way to Finisterre is the only Jacobean route in which Santiago de Compostela is the beginning and not the goal. It is the most mystical and spiritual path, where everyone who walks it is amazed by its wild nature, its history, its legends, its sunsets and the impressive landscapes of the Galician Costa da Morte.
It is a relatively easy route that we highly recommend to all pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago, as it will take you to the ends of the Earth, where you can find the two “kilometres 0” of the Camino de Santiago, in Muxía and Finisterre.
The North Road
It is the longest route of the Camino de Santiago, 820 km divided into a total of 34 stages, from Hendaye to Arzúa, where it joins the French Way to Santiago de Compostela.
It runs mostly along the coast of the Cantabrian Sea, passing through mountain areas, valleys and forests that leave pilgrims in awe of its beauty. There is no doubt that it is one of the most exciting and attractive of all the roads that exist.
But in spite of its great scenic richness, it is also one of the most The North Wayis also one of the most difficult. The stages are long, with steep slopes and mountain passes where you will have to be extremely cautious.
On the other hand, it has less infrastructure, something that for many pilgrims will be even more attractive to walk through virtually untouched and undeveloped landscapes. In short, the Camino del Norte is completely different from any other route of the Camino de Santiago. A challenge that, we assure you, will be worth it.
The Primitive Way
The Primitive Way is the oldest of all the existing routes, a little crowded Way that follows in the footsteps of the first pilgrim, King Alfonso II the Chaste, who made his pilgrimage in the 9th century from Oviedo, the beginning of this route.
The main attraction of the Primitive Wayis its scenic splendour and its great ethnographic richness. You will walk with total tranquility, passing through small towns and villages, falling in love with the hospitality and simplicity of its people.
It is also, like the Camino del Norte, a more difficult route, not suitable for those pilgrims who are starting on the Camino de Santiago or people who are not too accustomed to physical activity.
It is characterized by long stages, with hard and steep slopes, ascents and descents for several kilometers, what many walkers call leg-breakers. A real challenge for the pilgrim.
We hope that this information has helped you to get an idea of the main characteristics of the most popular routes of the Camino and encourage you to take the first step to do the Camino de Santiago.