Camino
Pilgrims making their way to Roncesvalles |  <i>Gesine Cheung</i> Arriving in the beautiful city of Santiago de Compostela after completing the Camino Trail |  <i>Edwina Parsons</i> Riders taking a break on the Way of St James Hiker and cyclist on the Camino in Spain |  <i>@timcharody</i> The scallop shell can be found all along the Camino |  <i>Gesine Cheung</i> Very happy Camino walkers in France |  <i>Allie Peden</i> Enjoying the view of Conques Classic Tuscany scenes abound as you walk along the Via Francigena in Tuscany |  <i>Tim Charody</i>

Camino Trails

Walk or Cycle the Iconic Camino de Santiago Routes

The Camino de Santiago is without a doubt the most famous pilgrimage trail in Europe. In the 9th century the tomb of the apostle St James was unearthed in Compostela. The site became the focus of a pilgrim trail beginning in France and crossing through Northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela. 

If you’re new to the Camino community or even if you have already collected your Compostela certificate, welcome. There is a lot to understand about the Camino and here we try to explain it as best as possible so you can explore the Camino your way.

Whether you have 5 days or 50; prefer Spain, Portugal, France or Italy; are a walker or a cyclist; prefer a self guided trip or want to join a small group tour of like minded travellers - there is a Camino experience waiting for you. 

Browse through our complete list of various Camino trails or skip ahead to the route of your choice.


QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE TO THE CAMINO

With so many Camino trails available it can be confusing for travellers to know exactly which one they should do. 

What exactly is the Camino? Why are there so many routes? Which one should I do? When should I go? Have you got any tips? 

Our helpful guide will answer many questions for you, so download your free copy now. Or contact us to speak to an expert.
Quick Reference Guide to the Camino Trails of Europe

Spanish Camino Trails

The end point of many Camino journey's is the city of Santiago de Compostela, which is the capital of an autonomous community in Spain's northwest. Naturally Spain has the majority of Camino routes snaking their way through the countryside to reach this spiritual destination. The umbrella name for a Camino trail in Spain is the Camino de Santiago.

The main Camino de Santiago trails in Spain are the Camino Frances, the Camino del Norte, the Camino Primitivo, the Camino Ingles, the Camino dos Faros (the Lighthouse Way) and the Camino Sanabres.

Watch the inspiring video of walking the Camino de Santiago trail

Thinking about a walk along Spain's famous Camino? Discover why others do it, what it's really like on the trail and why you should consider travelling with UTracks. This short film covers the popular Sarria to Santiago section. Learn more at http://www.UTracks.com  View the Sarria to Santiago trip: https://www.utracks.com/Spain/Walking/Camino-Sarria-to-Santiago View all Camino trips: https://www.utracks.com/Camino View all UTracks trips: https://www.utracks.com/advanced-search  UTracks have over 450 trips across the active travel spectrum: from relaxed cycling in the Loire Valley, to discovering iconic Camino trails, to challenging hikes around Mont Blanc.   Walking or cycling, 2-star or 4-star, small group or self guided, land, river or sea - UTracks can help you explore Europe exactly the way you want. Learn more at https://www.utracks.com/  Follow UTracks: https://instagram.com/utrackstravel https://twitter.com/UTracks_Travel https://www.facebook.com/UTracks https://www.pinterest.com.au/utracks/ https://www.utracks.com/blog


Camino Frances

Pilgrims walking across the Pyrenees from France, or beyond, typically followed a route similar to what is today known as the Camino Frances, or the French Way.

The Camino Frances is by far the most popular route. The full trail starts in the charming French town of St Jean Pied de Port and continues for 36 days. On average, over 60% of all people who walk along a section on any of the seven main Camino pilgrimage routes follow this path to Santiago de Compostela.

These numbers are bolstered by the fact that the most popular starting point for today’s travellers is the delightful town of Sarria, which conveniently sits 115km from Santiago, just enough for people to earn their official Compostela certificate and complete within a week.

The Camino Frances is also the longest of all the widely recognised Camino routes, offering hardier pilgrims and walkers a tougher challenge, and a more complete Camino experience passing by a multitude of churches and famous towns, such as Pamplona, Logroño, Burgos and Leon, as well as a variety of landscapes from the mountains of the Pyrenees to the Rioja winefields, the vast meseta and the rolling green hills of Galicia.

Pilgrims crossing the Pyrenees near Roncesvalles |  <i>Gesine Cheung</i>

Camino del Norte (Northern Way)

The Northern Way follows the northern coast of Spain through dynamic cities such as San Sebastian, Santander and Bilbao. This Camino travels to Santiago via the towns of Gijón and Ribadeo, however many early pilgrims preferred to connect with the Camino Primitivo in Oviedo thanks to King Alphonso II making it a safer and more well known path. The full Camino del Norte starts in San Sebastian and takes 41 days to reach Santiago de Compostela.

Given its coastal route, the Camino is also referred to as the “Ruta de la Costa”, Route of the Coast, and it became an important way for Christian pilgrims when the Camino Frances became dangerous due to the Moorish invasion of the Iberian Peninsula. Following the coast was also deemed easier than trying to traverse the Cantabrian Mountains and it provided a cooler option in summer.

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

Camino Primitivo

The Camino Primitivo is thought to have been the very first pilgrimage route to Santiago, hence it is also known as the Original Way.

On hearing that the bones of the Apostle James were miraculously unearthed in Santiago, King Alphonse II of the Asturias made the treacherous journey in the 9th century from Oviedo via Lugo to Santiago and eventually was accredited with confirming the relics.

This pilgrimage path has always been considered more challenging, crossing mountains and passing through dark woods. The Full Camino Primitivo takes 17 days to complete.

Today, the Camino Primitivo links the Northern Way with the French Way, joining it in Melide. The path offers a quieter trail through beautiful natural settings and gorgeous rural farmland, passing through the authentically friendly villages of northern Spain.

On the Camino Primitivo near Oviedo |  <i>Andreas Holland</i>

Camino Ingles, English Way

The Camino Ingles, or English Way, came about in the 12th century when boats of pilgrims from England, and Nordic countries, arrived in the north of Spain to embark on their pilgrimage to Santiago. Those that came via the ‘seafaring way’ would land at A Coruna, which is the shortest and most direct route to Santiago (96km). This is not long enough for today’s pilgrims to earn their Compostela hence most begin from Ferrol, which is 110km from Santiago.

The Camino Ingles is the least travelled at an average of only 4% of all pilgrims taking this route. There are no major cities along the route, just tiny villages where locals often speak Galician over Spanish.

Hiking the Camino in Spain |  <i>Edwina Parsons</i>

Portuguese Camino Trails

For many pilgrims, the Camino Portuguese is more spiritually connected to the Camino than any other way. The Camino is all about the apostle St James, and Portugal, it is said, is where he first preached. It is also believed that his final journey to Santiago was via Portugal when his bones were brought back from Jerusalem following his beheading.

The Portuguese coast drips in history. It is along this coastline that Christopher Colombus returned to announce his discovery of America and the architecture of Porto and the University of Coimbra showcase an exciting and vibrant period that once existed in Portugal. 

There are two key Camino trails in Portugal: the Portuguese Way and the Coastal Way

Visit Porto on a cycling or walking trip along the Portuguese Camino |  <i>Jaclyn Lofts</i> Portuguese Camino sign showing the way to Santiago de Compostela in Spain |  <i>Jaclyn Lofts</i> Typical Portuguese food on Camino Portuguese tours |  <i>Jaclyn Lofts</i>

 


Portuguese Way

The Portuguese Way was first used by Queen Isabel of Portugal in the 13th century when she made her pilgrimage to Santiago.

The Portuguese Way extends from the capital, Lisbon, across the border to Santiago, although the majority of today’s travellers begin from the city of Porto since this section has more way marks and auberges to assist true pilgrims.

This way is second only to the Camino Francés in popularity, with an average of 16% of all modern day travellers and pilgrims choosing to undertake this Camino to Santiago.

Happy cyclists on the Porto to Santiago self guided cycle |  <i>Pat Rochon</i>

Portugal's Coastal Way

If you want to experience the Camino Portuguese, the Coastal Way is a gorgeous and quieter alternative to the traditional Portuguese Way

Follow the Atlantic coastline of northern Portugal as you walk or cycle your way towards Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Along the way, enjoy almost continuous sea views, sample the flavours of Portugal in charismatic seaside towns and fishing villages, and recharge your batteries by taking regular dips in the sea.

Complete Portugal's Coastal Way on a self guided cycle; or do a self guided walk from Baiona or Viana de Castelo (near Porto) on a 12 day pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

Arriving in the beautiful city of Santiago de Compostela after completing the Camino Trail |  <i>Edwina Parsons</i>

Camino Trails in France

Of the four main pilgrimage routes in France to St Jean Pied de Port, where pilgrims would connect with the Camino Francés, the Via Podiensis, also known as The Way of Le Puy or more simply, the French Way of Saint James, is by far the most popular.

Watch the beautiful video of Walking the French Way of St James Camino trail

The French Way of St James is considered the most beautiful of all the Camino routes. View the French Way of St James trip: https://www.utracks.com/Camino/French-Way-of-St-James  The French Way of St James is considered the most beautiful of all the Camino routes that make their way to the Spanish city of Santiago. This film shows exactly why - and the benefits of doing it on a self guided trip with UTracks. View the French Way of St James trip: https://www.utracks.com/Camino/French-Way-of-St-James View all Camino trips: https://www.utracks.com/Camino View all UTracks trips: https://www.utracks.com/advanced-search  UTracks have over 450 trips across the active travel spectrum: from relaxed cycling in the Loire Valley, to discovering iconic Camino trails, to challenging hikes around Mont Blanc.   Walking or cycling, 2-star or 4-star, small group or self guided, land, river or sea - UTracks can help you explore Europe exactly the way you want. Learn more at https://www.utracks.com/  Follow UTracks: https://instagram.com/utrackstravel https://twitter.com/UTracks_Travel https://www.facebook.com/UTracks https://www.pinterest.com.au/utracks/ https://www.utracks.com/blog


French Way of St James: Le Puy Way

The earliest recordings of pilgrims on the French Way of St James, or Le Puy Way, dates back to 950AD. However the popularity of the trail today can be traced to more recent times when the long distance GR65 hiking route was created in the 1970s. As more modern day travellers began to seek ways to Santiago, the French Way of St James stood out as the most spectacular, taking in some of the most scenic parts of France.

The French Way of St James begins in Le Puy-en-Velay and travels across the high plateaus of the Massif Central, the volcanic highlands of Velay, through rustic villages, past impressive castles, quaint villages, a myriad of monuments and through picturesque French countryside. For today’s travellers it is one of the most beautiful of all the ways. Unlike the Camino Francés, it avoids major cities and towns.

Wandering through the village of Conques

Italy Camino Trails

Ancient history and Roman ruins, romantic cities and rustic villages, world-famous cuisine, rich culture and mind-blowing natural beauty - it's easy to see how Italy has gained its reputation as one of Europe's premier holiday destinations. Now imagine doing the iconic Camino trail in Italy.

The key Camino trails in Italy are the Via Francigena, St Francis Way and Sicily's Magna Via Francigena.

Watch the tantalising video of Walking Italy's Via Francigena trail

One of the world’s most rewarding walking trails, the historic Via Francigena is an ancient road and pilgrim’s route stretching more than a thousand kilometres through France, Switzerland and Italy, finishing up in the Eternal City of Rome.  The Italian section of this iconic trail cuts a path through some of Italy’s prettiest regions, combining rich history and Roman ruins, medieval cities and traditional villages, world-famous cuisine and mind-blowing natural beauty to discover on foot or by bike.  Find your Via Francigena walking or cycling trip at  https://www.utracks.com/Camino/Via-Francigena


Via Francigena

The Via Francigena, or Francigena Way, connects Canterbury in the UK to Rome in Italy, passing through England, France, Switzerland and Italy. The name translates to ‘the road that comes from France’. In the Middle Ages, the Via Francigena was an important road and the major pilgrimage route to Rome from the north for pilgrims wanting to visit the Holy See (Vatican) and the tombs of the apostles Peter and Paul.

The Francigena Way starts high in the Swiss Alps in Lausanne and crosses the historic Saint Bernard Pass, making your way down through the spectacular alpine landscapes of the Aosta region, through the lush agricultural plains of Piedmont and Emilia-Romagna and into the famous rolling hills of Tuscany. before going through Orvieto to Rome where you can collect your testimonial.

For those pilgrims who are fans of Italian cuisine (who isn't!), there's also the Food Lover's Via Francigena that includes wine tastings and world class restaurants along the best sections of the Italian Camino.

Pilgrim walking into St Peters in Rome at the end of the Via Francigena |  <i>Tim Charody</i>

Sicily's Magna Via Francigena

The Magna Via Francigena was officially re-opened in 2017 in celebration of its rich historical legacy as a trade route connecting Africa and the Middle East to Europe. It runs through ancient landscapes to extraordinary villages clinging to the cliffs and some surprisingly green hills among lakes and rolling mountains.


Highlights of exploring the Camino trail of Sicily include visiting the charming towns of Prizzi, Racalmuto and Sutera and feasting on the regional cuisine of the island. This 8 day self guided walking tour of the Magna Via Francigena is a perfect route for discovering the rugged beauty of Sicily.

Aerial view of Catania and Mt Etna, Sicily, Italy |  <i>Kate Baker</i>

Via Degli Dei

Connecting two of Italy's most important art cities: Bologna and Florence, the Via Degli Dei is steeped in history and legends. The route follows an ancient Roman road that, back in the days, was nicknamed "Flaminia Militare". The large flagstones that used to pave the route are still visible today. The suggestive name - it translates as 'The Way of the Gods' - is inspired by the mountains along the route: Mt. Adone, Mt. Giove, Mt. Venere and Mt. Lunario.

 

This walk in the footsteps of pilgrims past has a surprising variety of natural habitats. A river valley is dominated by ancient spurs and huge beechwoods shade your way as you gently ascend to the Piana del Mugello. Small medieval villages and solitary farm houses dot the hills. Looking down from high up in the Mugello hills you are rewarded with your first glimpse of Florence, before descending on foot to this elegant city on the banks of the Arno.

Looking over Florence

St Francis Way

The St Francis Way is an Italian Camino route inspired by the life of St Francis of Assisi. It follows an ancient Roman road linking Florence to Rome, with scenic highlights of the walk being eastern Tuscany and the region of Umbria, also known as the 'Green Heart' of Italy. 

There are several stages of the St Francis you can walk. Start in Chiusi and head to Citta di Castello, then on to Assisi, Spoleto and Rieti before walking the final way into Rome to collect your Italian Camino testimonial.

The best parts of the St Francis self guided walk is that you get to follow in the footsteps of pilgrims from long ago and it is a relatively quiet and unknown route compared to other Camino trails.

 

Walking on the open landscapes of western Tuscany on the St Francis Way

Camino Trails in Switzerland

The section of the Via Francigena that crosses Switzerland is one of the most spectacular sections of the entire 1900km pilgrim route that was established by the Romans in the 1st century to connect the empire north of the Alps with Rome.

This section of the Francigena pilgrimage route will wow you with its spectacular views, delicious local cuisine and fascinating history. However, due to altitude and weather it is only possible to complete this trail during European summer. 

The town of Bourg-St-Pierre on the Francigena Way in Switzerland |  <i>Gaetan Tornay</i> The iconic St Bernard Pass marking the border between Switzerland and Italy |  <i>Kate Baker</i> The stunning Lake Bachalpsee above Grindelwald |  <i>kate Baker</i>

Via Francigena Switzerland

Starting in Saint-Croix on the French border, this cross-country trail crosses the Canton of Vaud, dotted with Roman relics and medieval towns before reaching the beautiful shores of Lake Geneva and Lausanne. The route continues past the UNESCO-listed vineyards of Lavaux, the Rhone Valley and finally crosses the spectacular Swiss Alps. 

The Swiss section ends at the historic Great Saint Bernard Pass on the border of Italy. Stay at the 1000-year-old hospice here that is famous for its use of St Bernard dogs in rescue operations, before descending into the Aosta Valley to continue on the road to Rome.

Hikers on the St Bernard pass |  <i>Kate Baker</i>

Cycling the Camino de Santiago Trails

UTracks offers a multitude of cycling options along the Camino de Santiago, the French Way of St James as well as the Portuguese Road, or Camino Portuguese.

Cycling the Camino de Compostela allows you to complete it in less time |  <i>Erin Williams</i> Cycling along the camino in Spain |  <i>Andrew Bain</i> Cycling through the morning mist along the Camino |  <i>@timcharody</i>

Cycling the Camino de Santiago in Spain

Starting from Roncesvalles near the French border, you can cycle along the most popular route all the way to Santiago de Compostela. We’ve divided this route into two convenient stages, the first from the foothills of the Pyrenees to Leon and the second starting in León and ending in the cathedral city of Santiago.

Cycling the clear paths near Leon on the Camino

Cycling the Portuguese Way

The Portuguese Way provides cyclists with a quieter and flatter experience. The spectacular route is packed with historic sites and monuments. Choose to cycle from Lisbon to Porto; or from Porto to Santiago de Compostela. Or, if you want the complete experience, go for the 16 day self guided tour along the Full Portuguese Way Cycle.

Cycling past the Church of the Pilgrim, Pontevedra |  <i>Pat Rochon</i>

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