Camino; El Camino; Camino de Santiago; The Way

Written by Shenda

Camino – when most people ‘google’ this word they are looking to find out about the Camino de Santiago.  This pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela is also sometimes referred to as El Camino or The Way.  Whatever you want to call it this ancient pilgrimage is a growingly popular route for people of allwalks of life.

Definition of Camino Camino de Santiago

Camino, like many words when translated from Spanish has a number of meanings in English.  The main meaning is as a track, path or road.  It also can mean a literal way, route or journey.  Figuratively it means path or course.

El Camino, Camino de Santiago and The Way all refer to a specific path that is the Way to the tomb of St James in Santiago de Compostela.  This piligrimage walk has been walked for centuries by millions of pilgrims and over this time various routes to Santaigo have developed.

Camino de Santiago Routes and Stages

The Camino has 8 main routes to Santiago de Compostela.  The most popular route is the Camino Frances (63% 2016) which starts in St Jean Pied de Port crosses the Pyrenees and northern Spain to Santiago.  This route we have broken into 8 manageable stages as unfortunately not everyone has the luxury of getting the time to complete this route in one go.

The next most popular route is the Camino Portuguese (19% 2016) which starts in Lisbon and winds its way up through Portugal before crossing the border into Spain and onto Santiago.  This route we have broken into 5 manageable stages.  We have also got the alternative Portuguese Coastal Route should you wish to experience some of the beautiful coast of Portugal and Spain before heading inland to Santiago.

The other routes then in no particular order are the Camino del Norte (6% 2016) which stretches along the northern coast from San Sebastian to Oviedo, passing by Santander and Bilbao.  This route we have broken into 4 manageable stages.  To continue onto Santiago you would then follow the Camino Primitivo or Original Way (4% 2016) which goes from Oviedo through the Galician countryside to Santiago.  This route we have broken into 2 manageable sections.  Traversing the Galician countryside also is the Camino Ingles or English Way (3% 2016) from either A Coruna or Ferrol to Santiago in 1 section.

The longest route through Spain is the Via de la Plata (3% 2016).  This route goes from Seville in the south of Spain and makes its way up the western side of Spain through Salamanca to Santiago.  This route we have broken into 10 manageable sections.  In Spain the other main route then is the only one that starts in Santiago, the Camino Finisterre – Muxia.  This route takes you to what was once known as the end of the world and you can just stop in Finisterre or you can continue on to Muxia if you haven’t had enough walking!

The final main route then is in France, the Via Podiensis also called Le Puy Route.  This route goes from Le Puy en Vale to St Jean Pied de Port where pilgrims can then join the Camino Frances.  This route we have broken into 6 manageable sections.

How long is the Camino de Santiago? Walking the Camino

The Camino has various routes and these are all different lengths as you can imagine.  There is also often differences in the distances between guide books as there is no set kms for any of the routes.  Whilst walking you may also find some of the routes at different stages may have diversions that will either lengthen or shorten the walk.

Traditionally a pilgrim would start their pilgrimage at home so the distance would be vast and greatly varying!  A thing to remember however, when you set out to do the Camino de Santiago is that it is not about covering as many kilometers as possible but more about taking time to rest, letting your mind relax and appreciating the scenery along the Way.  On the Camino there is a great sense of camaraderie and so taking time to talk with other pilgrims and even stopping to talk with local people is a special part of this trip.

We do however provide kilometers and how many days you would need to complete a trip to assist people with booking their Camino journey.  The Camino Frances is 776kms and takes approximately 35 days to complete.  When doing the full Camino Frances people often like to book in a rest day or two to rest their feet and enjoy some of the beautiful towns along the way and this is something we can assist you with.  The more rest days you book in the longer your trip will be but also possibly, the more enjoyable!

For the 8 sections that we have broken the Camino Frances into the kms are as follows:
St Jean Pied de Port to Pamplona 69kms; Pamplona to Logrono 95kms; Logrono to Burgos 123kms; Burgos to Sahagun 123kms; Sahagun to Leon 55kms; Leon to Ponferrada 101kms; Ponferrada to Sarria 96kms and finally Sarria to Santiago 115kms.

The following table has the total kms information for the other routes:

Camino Route Total
Camino Portuguese 598kms
Portuguese Coastal Route 171kms
Camino del Norte 466kms
Camino Primitivo 315kms
Camino Ingles 119kms
Via de la Plata 991kms
Camino Finisterre 90kms
Via Podiensis 752kms

If you would like to take on the Camino and are not sure which route to do why not get in touch with our expert Camino consultants who will be able to speak with you and advise you on which route and section may be best for you.

Feel free to call us on

+353 1 687 2144

or email to arrange a time to chat.

Originally published on 27th September 2017

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