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The Camino Routes Explained



Written by Caitlin

Learn about the Camino routes that make up the Camino Ways network! Our Camino Expert, Eva, will help you to discover each of the main pilgrimage trails to Santiago de Compostela. This wonderful collection or routes is full of culture, history, food, friendship, fun, spirituality, and a sense of exploration.

map of routes of the Camino de santiago network

Which of the Camino routes will you choose?

The Camino Frances Route

The Camino Frances (or the French Way) is perhaps the most famous of the nine major Camino de Santiago routes. Its 800km of pilgrimage trail has inspired many artists, writers, and filmmakers. Walk in the footsteps of Paulo Coelho, bestselling author of “The Pilgrimage” and Martin Sheen in the movie “The Way”.

The Camino French Way traditionally starts in St. Jean-Pied-De-Port in France, before traversing the Pyrenees. From there it continues through the La Rioja wine region and along the rolling hills of northern Spain. The route finishes in the historical Santiago de Compostela, the tomb and burial place of St. James.

The Camino Portuguese Coastal Route

The Coastal and Central Camino Portuguese routes are some of the most well known and popular pilgrimage routes. They offer a different twist on the classic Camino de Santiago by including the wonders of Portugal on the way.

On the Portuguese Coastal route, you will walk along fantastic beaches before turning inland on a more traditional pilgrimage pathway. The cuisine is fantastic in Portugal and in Spain. You will have your choice of plenty of delicious wine to wash it down with too! Both countries are loaded with plenty of historic buildings and cultural sites, so there is something for everyone!

The Camino Primitivo Route

The Camino Primitivo, or Original Way, is a stunning and isolated trek through Galicia from Oviedo to Santiago de Compostela.

It is one of the most beautiful, challenging, and rewarding routes on the Camino de Santiago. It crosses a mountain range, climbing to 1100m above sea level. It’s well worth the climb for the spectacular views of the Embalse de Salime, the River Navia, and the surrounding mountains.

Take on the Primitive Camino for a more rustic and alternative pilgrimage on the Camino through Spain.

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The Camino del Norte Route

Learn about the Camino del Norte, the northern route of the Camino Ways network! Explore the Camino along the north coast of Spain from San Sebastian to Oviedo.

Before the Camino Frances route became the most well-known and popular one, the Camino del Norte and Camino Primitivo were the main pilgrimage routes. People would walk these ancient paths to Santiago de Compostella from all over Europe.

Loaded with fantastic beaches, incredible cuisine, delicious wine, and rich history, the “Ruta de la Costa” is one not to miss.

The Lesser-Known Caminos – Inglese, Finisterre, and Le Puy

Learn about some of the lesser-known Camino routes that make up the Camino Ways network! Discover the Camino Ingles route from Ferrol or A Coruna, the Camino Finisterre from Santiago to Finisterre, and Le Puy Camino from Le Puy to the Camino Frances in St Jean Pied du Port.

These routes are much less well known than the Camino Frances and the Camino Portuguese routes. This makes them ideal for pilgrims looking for a more quiet and authentic experience. You will see that these routes have fewer services on them too. There is less accommodation. You will find fewer restaurants. There are longer gaps between towns. This is because there are fewer pilgrims to drive development along the routes.

It is still easy enough to find accommodation, but you are still better to book through an agent to make sure that you know where you are sleeping each night!

We hope that this has helped you to understand more about the spiritual and religious walking routes of the Camino through Spain, Portugal, and France.

Whichever route you choose on the Camino de Santiago, you will have a unique experience each time. The seasons, the weather, whether it is a Holy Year or not, and many more factors are constantly influencing the Camino. For more help in choosing the route for you, or to start your journey – contact us, we are happy to help.

Buen Camino!

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Originally published on 28th July 2021

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