Choosing to take on the challenge of the Camino de Santiago is a big decision, but you will not regret it. You are about to start on a physical and spiritual journey that will change your life.
It is a chance to experience some simply beautiful landscapes, emerge yourself in the history and culture, and also reconnect with yourself on a spiritual level that modern life rarely give space for.
Traditionally the Camino de Santiago was a religious pilgrimage, and for many it still is. It consists of a network of different routes, weaving across France or Portugal and Spain, leading you to the final destination of the cathedral at Santiago.
It is quite an achievement to finish it, as it can mean several days of walking. This can take quite some organisation, making sure you have a place to rest each night and places to eat, but Pilgrim Travel can help with all of that.
There are different routes for different levels
By far the most famous of the routes is the French Way, or Camino Frances. You can start in the town of Sarria in Galicia, Spain. Sarria is around 111km from Santiago which is the minimum distance you have to travel in order to qualify for having completed the pilgrimage.
It is perfect for beginners trying out their first camino, and will take you through some lovely towns and cities, historic villages and across landscapes that are so beautiful you will not want to leave.
There is also the Portuguese Way, or Camino Portugues, which is a more rural experience starting in the vibrant city of Lisbon and traveling up through Portugal and into Spain. Alternatively there is also the coastal option through Portugal, that is again very different. Instead of rural countryside – although you will have some of that too – instead you get to travel along a magnificent coastline with 150lm of cliffs.
If you do prefer the coastal views, the Camino del Norte – the Northern Way – that takes you along the northern coast of Spain. The five sections visit San Sebastian, Bilbao, Santander and Oviedo and is great for wine and amazing food.
These are not the only ones, there are other routes and many places to begin your journey.
Practical support when you need it
All that hiking or cycling is going to be tough, and so can the logistics of doing it, the route, following maps, making sure you have somewhere to stay, that any luggage can be transported to the next stop point for you.
You may even decide that you need a tour guide or want to join an organised group. This is a great way to meet new people and share new experiences with friends.
Coordinating it all doesn’t need to be a chore, you can book a specialist in the pilgrimage to help you. They will know all the best places to stay on the way and be able to navigate any language barriers too. So it is best to do this to save yourself a lot of hassle.
Reaching Santiago is a wonderful feeling
When you reach the end of your journey you will feel so proud of what you have achieved.
Santiago itself is a beautiful place, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and you simply must explore the town for yourself. Maybe even take a few days to recover and relax after your great adventure challenge.
You will never forget the places you have seen, the friends you have met, and the memories you have made on this journey. And once you have had a taste of it, you will probably find yourself wanting to try the other paths too!
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