Saint James Way | Hiking and travel routes in Spain
The Saint James Way or Way of St. James (Spanish: Camino de Santiago) is considered one of the three most important Christian pilgrimages and exists for over more than thousand years.
The most traditional way to discover, enjoy and cover this route is on foot. There are different pilgrimage ways to choose from, but all end in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, the city where it is said that the apostle James the Great is buried.
The average a pilgrim does on foot each day is between 25 and 30 km.
Taking the Camino Frances (French Way), the most popular route of all, the Camino de Santiago can be covered in almost one month.
This means a total of about 750 km separating Roncesvalles in the province of Navarra (Navarre, Spain) and Santiago de Compostela (Galicia, Spain). Starting point are the French Pyrenees.
Of course you can also join the St. James Way during any of the different stages. One of the stages covers Santo Domingo de la Calzada in La Rioja and Villafranca de Montes de Oca, province of Burgos (Castile and Leon), with many fountains and historic monuments along the route.
The next stage passes Atapuerca, a village which has become very well known due to the importance of archaeological finds regarding the human origin and evolution and reaches Burgos with its gothic Cathedral and chapel, which is dedicated to Santiago, and also many churches.
Not only the Camino Frances – French Way – passes through Burgos, but also La Ruta del Cid.
Another of the stages towards Santiago de Compostela and its Cathedral, is from Leon, a city rich of Romanesque, Gothic, Plateresque, Renaissance and Modernist monuments such as the Cathedral with the spectacular façade and portal, being the symbol of the city, to Astorga. It is a beautiful, bi-millenary town set on a hill and about 45 km west from Leon.
Astorga disposes of an important historic and artistic centre, the destination of the Roman way that started in Emerita Augusta, today called Merida. Besides a prominent Roman centre with the remainings integrated into the modern structures, Astorga is crossroad of two main routes of the area: The Via de la Plata and the Way of St. James (Camino de Santiago or Ruta Jacobea). Worthwhile seeing is the cathedral with its mixture of Renaissance, Gothic and Baroque, next to the palace (Palacio Episcopal) built by the architect Antonio Gaudi, and the Roman wall.
Spring and Autumn is likely to be the best time of the year to discover the whole route or part of it, as the climate tends to be good for walking and there are not too many pilgrims and tourists on the way. To avoid the heat, pilgrims usually start walking very early in the morning. Doing the pilgrimage on foot means travelling with light clothing, comfortable footwear and light backpacking.
If you want to celebrate an event along the Saint James Way in Spain, or are looking for a teambuilding activity or have thought of an incentive trip for your business partners, clients or employees, don´t hestitate to get in touch with us.