THE Camino de Santiago de Compostela is one of the oldest and most famous pilgrimage routes of the world. With almost 800 kilometers of distance, the traditional path starts in the French city of Saint Jean Pied Port and goes to the city of Santiago de Compostela, at Spain.

Certainly, the Camino de Santiago it may just be a challenging route for travelers; a destination for the curious who just want to know a more primitive side of Europe, where peasant and religious habits remain intact; or even as a mystical journey in search of self-knowledge.

Also, there is not just one way to Santiago de Compostela. But the most famous is the French mentioned above.

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However, there are still other known means, such as the Portuguese Way (Origin of the path in Braga and Porto), the Southeast-de la Plata path (which passes through Ourense), the Fisterra-Muxia way it's the english way (coming from the port of La Coruña). All with their difficulties and a common destiny.

How to get


Without a doubt, the most modern way to reach the city of Santiago de Compostela is by plane. This is because the municipality has an airport located 11 kilometers from the center.

But it is also possible to arrive by bus from Madrid, Salamanca, Seville or Barcelona. Another way to reach the city is on foot, by bicycle or on horseback.

Along the way, hikers pass through various terrains with pastures and crops, paved roads and open trails along the way. It may seem complicated, but it is practically impossible to get lost, as there are several yellow signs and arrows that guide travelers to their final destination.

The Camino de Santiago

1. Photo: Illustration

Curiosities


According to the precarious accounts of early Christianity, it was these lands that James chose to carry the message of Christ shortly after his death in Jerusalem. James, brother of Saint John the Evangelist, would have arrived in Iberia, a province of the Roman Empire, and stayed there for five or six years.

Furthermore, James preached from the coast to the interior and, back in Palestine, he was beheaded at Caesarea at the hands of the Jewish king Herod Agrippa, who forbade even his being buried. His remains were thrown outside the city walls.

But shortly before he died, James asked two of his disciples, Athanasius and Theodore, that his body be taken back to Iberia. His remains were then deposited in a marble tomb and taken by boat to the town of Iria Flavia – today Padrón – on the banks of the Ulla River.

The journey continued overland to a forest called Libredón, where he would have been buried in 44 AD and forgotten for centuries. In 813, surprisingly, a hermit named Pelayo, according to legend, being guided by a shower of stars, arrived in the forest of Libredón.

At the exact spot where the stars fell, the apostle's body was buried. Therefore, a Spanish king had a stone chapel and a monastery built on the site. Thus, the myth of Saint James and one of the most famous pilgrimage routes was born.

St. James Way

To visit the tomb, people set out on a journey full of dangers that, little by little, ended up being called the Caminho de São Tiago do Campo das Estrelas – a reference to the lights of Pelayo. It was then that around the tomb, the city of Santiago de Compostela grew.

Santiago de Compostela

2. Photo: Ramon Bacas

Santiago de Compostela

3. Photo: Ramon Bacas

Santiago de Compostela Way

4. Photo: Ramon Bacas

Pilgrimage Route - Spain

5. Photo: Ramon Bacas

Path of faith - Spain

6. Photo: Ramon Bacas

Santiago de Compostela

7. Photo: Ramon Bacas

Pilgrimage Route - Spain

8. Photo: Ramon Bacas

pilgrimage city

9. Photo: Ramon Bacas

Santiago de Compostela

10. Photo: Ramon Bacas

Camino de Santiago de Compostela

11. Photo: Ramon Bacas

Spain

12. Photo: Ramon Bacas

Saint Jean PiedPort

13. Photo: Ramon Bacas

Saint Jean PiedPort

14. Photo: Ramon Bacas

Saint Jean PiedPort

15. Photo: Ramon Bacas

Camino de Santiago

16. Photo: Ramon Bacas

Camino de Santiago

17. Photo: Ramon Bacas

City of Santiago de Compostela

18. Photo: Ramon Bacas

City of Santiago de Compostela

19. Photo: Ramon Bacas

When is the best time to do the Camino de Santiago?


Finally, the best time to make the pilgrimage to Compostela is during spring or autumn in Europe. In this case, as the Way is located in the Northern Hemisphere, the departure must take place between the beginning of May and the first fortnight of June (spring period), or between the second fortnight of August and the beginning of September (autumn period) – taking into account the type of climate that best suits you.

In addition, it is not recommended to travel outside of these months, since the summer in the Iberian Peninsula has high temperatures and the winter has snowfall, especially in higher altitude regions.

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» Travel through Andalusia, discover Cordoba in Spain
» Andalusia, the most culturally rich region in Spain
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