Legend goes that the ox-pulled cart that was being used to carry the headless body of James the apostle suddenly stopped at certain point on the road. No one could make the beasts continue marching. They then decided the martyr had already chosen his final resting place. James was buried there in Campus Stellae (field of stars), northwest Hispania.
Centuries later, around 800 AD, a church was first built in his honor, and by 1200 AD the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela was finally completed. Since then St. James is the patron saint of Spain.
Pilgrims converge from countless places
Every July 25th the day of Santiago de Compostela is worshipped by the whole Christianity and especially in Spain where the saint is deeply venerated. Celebrations are traditional in each and every city of the territory.
An ancient tradition carried out every year with increasing devotion by thousands of faithful people is the pilgrimage of the Camino de Santiago, that starts at certain points in Spain and travels up to the city of Santiago de Compostela, to reach the famous cathedral, where the remains of James the apostle rest in peace.
There are more than ten Jacobean routes, as they are usually called, some of them only a couple of dozen kilometers long, but the longest being more than 1,000 km. There are some routes that begin in Portugal, others in France, but the vast majority start in Spanish territory. Pilgrims choose the one that better fits their tastes, available time and physical abilities, with the goal to arrive in Santiago de Compostela by July the 25th, the national holiday.
Whatever the route they decide to do, they’ll undoubtedly enjoy unforgettable landscapes and views, and the sense of spirituality filling their souls.
Different routes, different people share the same devotion
Over the centuries more and more pilgrim ways have been added to the walk. Some of them starting in places as far away as Almería, in southeast Andalusia. This particular route crosses the entire peninsula, literally.
Not only St. James worshippers or catholic devotees decide to make the Camino at least once in their lives. People of different beliefs, even non-religious, choose to hike just for the fun of it. Among the several routes to do, travelers can choose the following:
The Camino Francés
The French Way is the most renowned route of all, and every year it is chosen by more than half of the pilgrims who decide to do the Camino. Many other ways, starting elsewhere in Spain join the Camino Francés in certain places.
The beauty of this route is immensurable: landscapes resembling those of fairy tales, ancient villages surrounded by vineyards and crop fields. The immense Pyrinee mountains accompanying the pilgrims during the first part of the Camino. Reaching the galician territory, at about the last third of the journey, the green and pleasant hills welcome the visitors announcing the city of Santiago de Compostela is near.
Some other ways, like the Vía de la Plata, the Camino Catalán and the Camino de Madrid join at some point with the Camino Francés. That’s why this becomes one of the most crowded when entering Galicia.
The Camino Portugués
This route starts in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, and crosses almost the entire country from south to north, where the Portugal-Spain border gives way to the galician province of Pontevedra. This way has gained noticeable popularity during the last years, its beautiful landscapes and soft weather makes this Caminoone of the most frequently chosen by pilgrims lately.
The Camino Inglés
The Camino de Santiago from Ferrol is one of the shortest ways, only 96 km long, and it’s also known as “The English Way”. It took this name since most pilgrims coming from the UK and Ireland used to disembark in the city of El Ferrol, on northern Galicia, to make the last part of the pilgrimage walking through the peaceful and majestic galician landscapes.
The Camino de Finisterre
This also relatively short Camino covers the distance from the city of Fisterra, about 90 km. The city formerly known as Finisterre, the latin term for “End of the Earth”, was believed by romans to be the last portion of land before that infinite ocean.
This way is very popular among pilgrims that enjoy coastal walks, since it goes by the Atlantic Ocean during the first third of its length
Bikers: cycling the Camino as an enjoyable option
Not only hikers make the Camino de Santiago each year. There’s an increasing trend for bike lovers to do it on two wheels.
Routes are usually chosen differently from those walking pilgrims that cover the traditional caminos, however it is common to see bikers along hikers on many roads, especially those near Santiago de Compostela.
Bike traveling times are considerably shorter, in many cases one or two days is enough to do the shorter ways and a week or so for those longer routes of the Camino de Santiago.
The secret to enjoy an unforgettable Jacobean Route
Anyone who wants to experience the spiritual uplift and enjoyment of making the Camino de Santiago will see his/her expectations highly fulfilled if he/she gets in touch with the right people to organize and prepare the travel.
Getting the service and guarantee of a solid travel agency, with years of experience gives the tourist pilgrim a pleasant experience with all needs covered. A reliable company, like https://santiagoways.com/ can make the difference.
The pilgrims will enjoy every detail of their travel without being concerned by hostages and accommodation, since all tourist aspects are covered by the company. In certain cases, luggage transfer can be asked for, just for the comfort and lightness of the pilgrims walk. There’s even an assistance vehicle and a 24-hour telephone number in case of need.
The Camino de Santiago, a rewarding spiritual travel any hiker should experience at least once in his life.