There are many 8 main Camino de Santiago routes. Which one will you walk? Let’s go over your options so you can decide the best route for you!
El Camino Francés – The French Way
This is by far the most popular route of the Camino de Santiago. The route is clearly marked and offers albergues (pilgrim’s hostels) all along the route, making it ideal for a first-time pilgrim. Like the name implies, the French Way begins in France in the picturesque Pyrenees village St. Jean Pied de Port. The route takes an average of 33 days to walk without rest days, totaling about 500 miles (790 km).
El Camino del Norte – The Northern Way
If you want dreamy coastal landscapes and a less crowded path, the Northern Way could be a GREAT choice for you. However, this route is more difficult than the French Way with many ups and downs and less flat terrain. The scenery is highly rewarding, though! This route is 515 miles (830 km), starting in Irun, Spain, which lies in Spain’s northeastern corner bordering France.
El Camino Primitivo – The Primitive Way (The Original Way)
If you’re one who appreciates a challenge, the Camino Primitivo could be the route for you. This is the oldest Camino route walked by King Alfonso II the Chaste in the 9th century from Oviedo. This route begins in Oviedo in Asturias, Spain. Asturias is the most mountainous region of Spain, making this Camino particularly challenging. With the high altitude comes beautiful views! The Camino Primitivo passes through the Cantabrian Mountains, showing off Spain’s secret gem, the Picos de Europa. The route is 160 miles (260 km) with the last two days linking with the Camino Frances.
Via de la Plata – The Silver Way
If you’re looking for a long, solitary experience walking through Spain, this is could be one of the best Camino de Santiago routes for you. The Via de la Plata starts in Sevilla in Andalucia. From this point in southern Spain, pilgrims walk 621 miles (1000 km) to Santiago de Compostela. The route isn’t as difficult as far as terrain goes. It’s mostly flat except for when you reach Galicia, the final region of the route, but you’d be in it for the long haul!
El Camino Inglés – The English Way
If you’re looking for a unique, short and sweet adventure, the Camino Inglés could be a great fit. The upside is that nearly as many people walk this route, so the trails wouldn’t be as crowded. With that being said, you wouldn’t qualify for a pilgrim’s certificate of completion since you have to walk at least 62 miles (100 km) to qualify, and the English way is only 46.6 miles (75 km). You can start from A Coruña if you want to walk this route and also get the certificate, though.
It’s also good to know that you can choose to walk a section of any of these routes. If you have less time or don’t want to spend weeks on the trail, you can walk a portion of the trail and pick up where you left off the next year. It’s up to you and what works best for you. With that being said, there is something extremely rewarding about taking the time to complete an entire Camino the whole way through.
Whichever route you choose, it will be an incredible adventure.
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