If you have arrived at this post it is because you are planning to do the Camino de Santiago, but you have no idea where to start. The world of the Camino de Santiago is an intricate and complex adventure that invites us to ask ourselves questions such as: Which path to choose, how do we prepare for the adventure, what will be our necessary equipment for each route, or what sites we will be able to see on this journey. For this reason, and because we want to answer all the possible questions about this adventure, we bring you a complete Camino de Santiago Guide, so that you can solve your doubts.
History of the Pilgrim’s Way to Santiago
Behind the Camino de Santiago on foot hides a legend that has overwhelmed Christianity since its first dawns in history. According to history, the Apostle James the Great, son of Zebedee, traveled to the lands of Roman Hispania, in order to preach the Gospel on the peninsula, to finish his evangelization by the now holy Galician lands. In spite of his perseverance, the success was scarce and his disciples not too abundant, so he decided to return to Jerusalem, to, however, be imprisoned, tortured and executed in Palestine.
To being executed, it was forbidden to give a Christian burial to the Apostle, so that his disciples, in the clandestinity of the night, loaded into a boat the marble tomb of Santiago, and sent him, without crew, to the sea, where he would be transferred to the Roman port of the river Ulla, to take in chariot to the forest of Libredón, where the oxen stopped by themselves, and there he was given burial.
In 813, Pelayo, the hermit, saw a star in the forest and told the bishop of Iria Flavia, where Santiago’s sepulchre would later be found in a Roman Compósitum. Faced with this, the first pilgrim in history emerged, who was none other than King Alfonso II the Chaste, who, faced with such overwhelming news, wanted to depart for the holy tomb of the Apostle along with his court, where a small church was erected, thus giving history the origins of the first Way of St. James.
From this point on, the Christians soon added their granite to the mountain of history, when, in order to protect the tomb of the Arabs, at that time with their empire on the rise, they began to make a pilgrimage towards the Holy Sepulchre, thus becoming a centre of pilgrimage back in 821 A.D. under the instructions of the Charlemagne emperor.
Thus, from the tenth century onwards, the signs of pilgrimage multiplied and were dispersed and reproduced throughout Europe, where pilgrimage routes emerged from all corners of the continent, as well as from Christendom, who contributed their own customs to the already historic pilgrimage, making it one of the most important of Christendom.
However, with the arrival of the 15th century, the pilgrimage suffered a clear decline, as fewer and fewer Christians began their journey to visit the Holy Sepulchre, almost forgotten after the wars, epidemics and famines of the time. However, in the last century, the road has been revitalized, to end up being, once again, one of the most visited places in the entire peninsula, and one of the most frequented trips by believers and agnostics who seek a journey of self-discovery and adventure, which have been contributing with their new customs and their infinite habits their grain of sand for what is already one of the largest mountains in the history of mankind.
Why do the Way of St. James?
There are many reasons for doing the Camino de Santiago, and these do not necessarily have to be the most typical. Of course, we can do the Camino de Santiago to reach the goal and enjoy what awaits us there. But we can also do it to enjoy a long walk with our friends, to see how we can survive being nomads for a few weeks, to visit places we had never seen before in a way we had never experienced, etc. We bring you the Camino de Santiago guide
Doing it with friends is the most fun, yes, but there are people who choose to do it without anyone. The reasons someone may have for doing so are also very varied, but they all have to do with the fact that the person wants to find themselves on the Way of St. James and get to know each other better. Seeing how we can manage on our own in conditions that we do not know, makes choosing to do so just a great show of courage and self-confidence.
Regardless of the reasons and motives we have to embark on this wonderful adventure. The truth is that doing the Camino de Santiago is a unique and unrepeatable experience that deserves to be lived by all of us.
Where it starts and how many kilometres it runs
The truth is that there is no fixed point at which to start walking, and therefore there are no specific kilometres. Perhaps one of the most popular starting points for the Camino de Santiago is Roncesvalles, which is on the French Way. This road is 139 kilometres long until we reach Logroño. There we will take about a week to cover if we organise ourselves in the right way. In this Camino de Santiago guide we recommend that if we choose the French way, we would have to leave by San Juan Pie de Puerto.
However, we can also choose other routes or paths depending on whether we want to do it on foot, on horseback or walking. In this way, we will be able to choose routes such as the Way of the Stars, the Via de la Plata or the Coastal Way.
What are the stages of the Camino de Santiago?
On the way to Santiago we find a great variety of stages that will transmit us different sensations and diverse landscapes. Therefore, we wanted to make for you this classification:
Pilgrim’s Way to Santiago with coastal stages.
the greatest exponent of this type of Pilgrim’s Way is the North Pilgrim’s Way. In its route we will be able to observe the beauty of the Cantabrian Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The beauty of this type of roads is to get an unforgettable experience. We will be able to observe how the Way changes our vital experience and on the other hand, we can admire some landscapes without comparison.
Pilgrim’s Way to Santiago with rural stages.
these types of roads are characterized by a strong presence in the countryside. They are ideal if you want to have a strong connection with nature.
Historic Pilgrim’s Way to Santiago.
this path was taken by Alfonso II el Casto in the 9th century. For this reason you will be reliving history as it is the first known Way.
The most famous routes
The best known route is the French Way, it is also the most traveled. In addition, it is of interest not only religiously but also artistically, scenically and historically. However, this route poses a problem and is that it can be overcrowded so sometimes we can not find a free bed. The second best known is the Portuguese Way which is not so crowded and, in addition, we will have the benefit of knowing Galicia in depth. It is signposted in a correct way and we will not find problems with the accommodation.
The Way from Santiago to Finisterre and Muxía does not end in Santiago, it ends in Finisterre and it is something that can change us, but it does in Finisterre, better known as the end of the world. The Via de la Plata is known for being an old Roman road that links Astorga and Merida. It’s a quiet route, but it’s demanding so it’s only suitable for people who are really fit. The English Way is ideal to do it in summer because the temperatures are not usually very aggressive. The Primitive Way is the oldest and turns out to be the original route. It is not the most massive and therefore is a quiet way to do and is recommended especially for those who want to do it on foot.
Guide of differents Camino de Santiago
Guide to do the Camino de Santiago
The way to Santiago can be done both by bike or on foot, obviously the use of other means of transport such as car or motorcycle are not allowed. If you do it by these means you will be able to have a good time, but you will not be able to certify that you have completed the tour.
In addition, it is convenient that you set yourself challenges of personal improvement when it comes to carrying out the Camino de Santiago. Think that the Way was quite an odyssey in Antiquity for those who could afford to travel it, so it should be for you as well. This does not imply that you are endangering your safety.
But, for example, if you are able to do two stages in one day, do them. This is very attractive for young people and athletes because they can see their limits. Remember that you are in the countryside not in the city so take care of your physical condition and your hydration.
A good piece of advice is that if you can do it on foot (for longer than nothing, as it’s slower) you should do it. You’ll enjoy the scenery more and you’ll have a much more authentic experience of what the Camino de Santiago is.
Guide to organize and prepare the Camino de Santiago?
When making the Way of St. James you have to take into account countless tips and factors. It is not the same, for example, to do the Accompanied Way that alone and if you do it accompanied is not the same to do it in family that with friends or your partner. However, these four tips are basic to succeeding in your challenge.
Collect all the information about your route
Information is power and the more informed you are, the more you will enjoy the journey. Although the essence is an unknown journey and an adventure, the information will allow you to enjoy all the monuments it houses. This makes that you will not miss a single one. Also, you have to keep in mind that you can not be uninformed because that can involve losing and if you have never done a tour of these characteristics can cause a good scare.
Calculate the distance of your stages
Your body needs regularity and therefore you have to calculate the distance between each point of the Way well. You have to calculate the distance of your stages well. The Path can be a very pleasant experience, but for this it is necessary to have a certain dose of calculation and planning.
How many days do you need to do it?
In order to carry out any of the Paths it is normal that it takes a few days to cover it unless you are a professional sportsman. However, not everyone has the time to complete the entire tour. Holidays in Spain are certainly not how long they should be. Therefore, it is ideal to travel in 5 days or a week. If you want to get the Compostela for it you must travel at least the last 100 kilometers of the Camino de Santiago.
The distance of 100 kilometers is not too much to travel in 5 days or too little to do in a week so it is the ideal distance. In this way, you will be able to show off Compostela and, moreover, do it in a short time, in 5 days or in a week. You will even have days of holidays to visit the rest of Galicia.
Camino de Santiago Guide: On bike, or on foot.
It should be borne in mind that 80% of the people who make the Way of St. James do so on foot. However, many people abandon it because of over-exertion. Ordinary people aren’t used to driving so many miles. This does not mean that riding a bike is a guarantee that it will end, because, for example, you can puncture,
However, if the route is long and complicated to do on foot, it is best to do it by bicycle. Doing it on a bicycle will make you do less physical effort. As we have mentioned before, perhaps going by bike will make you miss the authentic and original experience of the Way of St. James and therefore, it is not the general recommendation. But, above all, enjoy, the Way is a unique unforgettable experience so the most important thing is to live it and of course, complete it.