Camino Cheat Sheet: A quick guide to choosing your Camino

Are you thinking of walking the famous Camino trails in Europe? We've compiled a Camino cheat sheet to help you pick the perfect Camino trail for you; answering FAQs.

 

Cape Finisterre, Galicia Spain |  <i>Marissa Ward</i>

 

Which European country is the most popular for its Camino trails?

There are pilgrim trails all over Europe that lead to Santiago with Spain being the most popular country because of its famous trails that all lead to the cathedral city of Santiago. Within Spain, the most popular route is the French Way or Camino Frances that extends from the Pyrenees to Santiago. You can travel the entire length or do smaller sections of the Camino Frances. If you'd like to explore other routes, consider the English Way (the route pilgrims from England walked), the Camino Primitivo (the original pilgrimage route to Santiago) or the Camino Norte (follows a northern, coastal route). Beyond Spain, there is the Portuguese Way from Lisbon and the French Way of St James from Le Puy to the Pyrenees. 

 

I enjoy learning about history, will I be able to experience it via Camino trails?

The Caminos will take you back through time, with historic relics scattered across the trails. But if you’re the type that likes to get into the nitty-gritty of a trip, tease out the origins and understand its evolution, the original trail was taken by King Alfonso II, the Camino Primitivo should satiate your thirst for knowledge.

 

Are the Camino trails only for religious individuals?

While the ancient pilgrim routes attract a lot of religious people, many individuals also walk the Caminos to experience the culture, history, stunning views, and cuisine. You don’t need to be a person of the cloth to enjoy it.

 

Pilgrims making their way to Roncesvalles |  <i>Gesine Cheung</i>

 

Can I experience the meditative nature of the walking?

The Meseta, or plateau region, provides the ideal landscape for walkers wanting to experience that walker’s rhythm on the Camino. Feel it on the Burgos to Leon stage.

 

Are there food pilgrim routes?

The food traditions have evolved a long way since the first pilgrims walked the Camino. With a refined gastronomy scene that includes Michelin Star restaurants, you’ll want to combine your passion for food with our selected walks on the Food Lover’s Spanish Camino.

 

I'm short on time, are the flexible options available?

It’s no accident that the most popular starting points are Sarria and Tui, which are near the Portuguese border. Both provide the minimum 100km distance required to qualify for a Compostela certificate and to finish a stage within 8 days. There are many options available - contact us for additional information. 

 

I'm more of a highlights kind of person, what's a good option?

There’s nothing wrong to want to tick everything off your travel list. You may never get back to this part of the world so if you don’t want to miss out on anything ‘important’ check out the Best of the Camino.

 

I don't want to miss a thing, what do you recommend?

You shouldn't have to miss a thing! Annual leave allowance might be your only reason not to do the full trail 36-days traverse from the Pyrenees on the French/Spanish border to Santiago across northern Spain. If so, consider –  Santiago to Atlantic extension to make sure you covered it all.

 

Pilgrims on the Camino del Norte, Spain |  <i>Andreas Holland</i>

 

I'm looking to do things differently, what is a lesser busy trail?

The Camino Norte originates from the 9th Century and was one of the original Camino routes for pilgrims walking to Santiago de Compostela. If you're looking for a lesser busy area and want to take in classic cities like San Sebastian and Bilbao + follow gorgeous stretches of coastline, consider the Camino Norte.

 

Can I experience the Camino in the winter?

Cast your attention to the Portuguese Way, which departs daily (except for a week over the Christmas and New Years' break). If you're able to, try to experience walking into Santiago on a cooler January’s day as the summer months of July and August are very hot.

 

Is walking the only way to experience the Camino trails?

While walking is a popular option, you can also cycle the Camino. This is ideal for anyone looking for a challenge and wanting to see a lot more in a shorter period.

 

Will I be able to trek the mountains during the Camino walks?

Did you know that Spain is the second most mountainous country in Europe? Trekking the mountainous border from France to Spain, crossing passes and taking in isolated churches and monasteries that few of the 200,000+ pilgrims will ever see is what you can expect on the Camino – Pyrenees walk.

 

Don't see your question here or require additional information? Feel free to contact us.

 
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