Camino de Santiago Routes
Map of the Camino de Santiago
Camino de Santiago Map: Routes & Stages
Main Camino de Santiago Routes
Choose your Camino de Santiago length and stages
There are many ways to Santiago de Compostela. Whether you are walking the Camino or cycling, the most popular routes are also the most crowded and declared official routes. However, there are some secondary routes that lead to the main Caminos. The Camino de Santiago length depends on the route you choose. The most popular route for the Way of St James is the Camino Frances, a 500 miles walk from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela.
There are 9 main Camino de Santiago Routes for your Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela to Santiago de Compostela:
Camino Francés (French Way) This is the most popular route for those who walk the camino de Santiago, starting at St Jean Pied de Port and finishing in Santiago de Compostela. It's divided in 33 stages with a total distance of 764 km. The main Camino de Santiago stages for the Camino Frances are:
In the Middle Age, the Camino Frances or Camino Francés became the main pilgrimage route for those who wanted to go to Santiago to see St James’ grave, moved by their Christian faith. It's also the most popular way to complete the Pilgrim passport to get the compostela. The French route became more popular and important until it was declared the most famous route worldwide, and the most important at an economic and social level.
Nowadays, the Camino Francés is the most famous worldwide routes to Santiago and the most walked (in 2016 268,000 pilgrims coming from all over the world reached Santiago). Since it´s the most popular route, it has the best signposting and the biggest amount of pilgrim hostels (albergues) and services, although in summer it can get quite overcrowded. Knowing this, pilgrims must be quick to book their Camino Francés during the months of June to August.
Camino Portugues (Portuguese Way) It starts in Lisbon, Portugal and stretches across the Western Coast of Spain, finishing in Santiago de Compostela.It's divided in 25 stages with a total distance of 620 km.
Pilgrims that started their way in Portugal walked to the north for more reasons than the spiritual ones. Cultural and economic reasons create human links between these neighbor territories that are still alive today. It is a route full of history that brought cultural and commercial exchanges between Galicia and Portugal. There is documentary evidence of royal and nobel pilgrimages such as the Elizabeth of Portugal’s pilgrimage, who after walking through this way in the 14 century gave her empress Holy Roman Empire crown to Santiago’s altar; after her death, she was buried in Coímbra with some pilgrim staff as she wanted.
Many people choose walking the camino portugues, but it's also a popular route for cyclists. The main starting points are Lisbon and Porto in Portugal, although Tui, in Galicia, is also a popular starting point to this way of St James.
Camino del Norte (Northern Way) This is a popular route that goes through the cost, from the East to the West, bordering the Cantabrian Sea through the main municipalities of Northern Spain. The Northern Way has 34 stages and a total distance of 824km. It starts in Irún and it goes to Santiago de Compostela going through different cities such as San Sebastián, Bilbao, Santander or Gijón before arriving at Galicia. In Gijón we have to make the biggest decision: we can go through Oviedo and then through the Primitive Way; or we can go through Avilés and then enter in Galicia going through Ribadeo, a coastal village of Lugo that is 180 kilometers from Santiago.
It is one of the first ways to Santiago, with the Primitive Way. It is more or less as old as the Camino Frances. This was the most used way for European monarchs to reach Santiago de Compostela. Nevertheless, it gradually lost prominence because of the stabilization of Southern Spain that came with the Reconquista, and also because of the promotion of the French Way that the monarchy of the 12 century did. However, this way always had pilgrims that sometimes arrived at Basque Country and Cantabria by boat; this helped to consolidate this route also Known as Camino de la Costa (Coastal Way).
Camino Primitivo (Primitive Way) The Primitive Way is the first pilgrimage route, with a total of 14 stages and a distance of 313 km. In 813, just after founding St James’ grave, Alfonso II King of Gallaecia, nicknamed the Chaste, walked to Galicia starting his way in Asturias. He went through some Asturian villages before getting to Lugo, then he continued to Santiago. When he arrived he ordered to build a church to house St James’ mortal remains, this church is today the famous Catedral de Santiago cathedral. His steps to Santiago were followed by many people.
It is a Wonderful option to discover the true roots. It starts in Oviedo and crosses Western Asturias to get to Galicia through Lugo. From Melide it follows the same route as the French Way. The Way goes through mountainous areas hardly populated, beautiful landscapes and paths. We have to highlight Oviedo, Lugo and also Santiago de Compostela.
Camino Inglés (English Way) The Camino Ingles has a total distance of 119 km and 6 stages. It started in the medieval ages because of the strategic position of Ferrol and A Coruña, these two cities were the entrance ports to Galicia. Lots of people from Scotland, Ireland and from many Scandinavian and European countries came to Spain to buy and sell goods. They arrive at these two main ports and then they used to walk to go to different Galician cities and villages; Santiago was not their main objective. But in the mid-14 century, taking advantage of the commercial flows of that time, pilgrimage started to be more and more popular among sailors, they wanted to get to know some of our Christian sanctuaries.
From Ferrol to Santiago there are 120 kilometres full of history and heritage where green is the main colour of all stretches. Calm is always with us along this way because it is not as crowded as the other ways. There are two possibilities, you can start in Ferrol or in A Coruña the only difference is the number of stretches. The last two stretches are the same for both itineraries.
Vía de la Plata (Silver Route) The Via de la Plata is a 960km divided in 33 stages walk full of Roman history. Vía de la Plata used to be the way used by the former empire to cross Western Hispania from Mérida (Augusta Emérita) to Astorga (Artúrica Augusta). It was the main way of communication of Western Hispania and it became the way to go from the South to Galicia’s capital city in the late middle ages.After the Southern re-Christianization of the Mozarabic areas this way became larger and larger up to reach Southern Spain. In the past it was used to communicate Andalusia with the North. In the 10 century, after the sacking of the cathedral’s bells by Almanzor, Christian prisoners had to take them to the South, to Cordoba. But it was after the return of the bells through this way and also after the Reconquista of Al-Andalus when this way from Mérida and Andalusia to Northern Spain became more and more popular.
Camino Sanabrés (Sanabrés Way) The Camino Sanabrés walk goes for 369 km and 13 stages. This way is also known as Mozarabic Way. It is a route that goes through lots of old Roman roads used by many different cultures such as Celts, Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, and also Christian pilgrims to reach Santiago de Compostela. Historically, it went parallel to Vía de la Plata, which was the road that linked the South with Santiago. In Zamora, lots of pilgrims decided to go through this way to avoid going through Astorga so they arrived at Galicia through Ourense.
his way starts at Granja de la Moreruela, in Zamora, where the Cistercian order built their first monastery in the Iberian Peninsula. Previously, this village was known as Santiago de Moreruela that proves its link with St James. Not just faithful people walked through this route, also travelers and traders used this route to link some outlying areas such as the center of the peninsula with Northern Spain. It was also used as cañada real (a way used by shepherds and their cattle) and merchant’s route, highlighting the ones known as “reals” that were the ones chosen by Galician farmers to go to Castilla in the cutting time. This is the reason why next to it there are lots of hospitals and hostels and also temples and monasteries.
Camino de invierno (Winter Way) Pilgrims who reached Ponferrada in winter used to find typical winter sceneries, snow-covered mountains and paths full of water and mud that make difficult continuing the way. This fact and the fact of having a bad weather were the reasons why pilgrims wanted to find an alternative way to enter in Galicia in a less hard and less risky way.
This itinerary is full of places to visit and heritage treasures. It has lost the seasonal nature of its name to become a route used in all seasons. We recommend you this route, especially in spring because is the best moment to appreciate the different sceneries, and in summer to avoid the overcrowded French Way.
Camino Finisterre (Finisterre-Muxía Way) The Camino from Santiago to Finisterre is divided in 4 stages and a distance of 120km. Fisterra is a Latin word (finis terrae) that means the end of the land. The history of this place is anterior to the beginning of the St James route. Some experts think that the old city of Dugium is linked with the famous city of Atlántida where the Celtic tribe called Nerios was settled. This settlement came from the South of the Peninsula and they were neighbors of Ártabros. The reason for choosing this village was not a coincidence. Until the Middle Ages, people believed that Finisterre cape was the end of the world. It is believed that it existed an altar devoted to the Sun called Ara Solis in a temple were Celts and the Romans used to go. According to the legend, it was St. James who ordered to destroy this temple because it was considered a pagan temple. A great flood destroyed Ara Solis and devastated the settlement, just two oxen survived. Then those two oxen became rock as a punishment and became the current islands called Bois de Gures.
St. James’ disciples were also here, in Duio, asking for the necessary permission to bury St James’ mortal remains. The governor distrust them so he ordered to put them in jail, but they escaped and went back to Iria Flavia.
It is the only way that starts in Santiago. It is not a modern itinerary as many people think. Many recent excavations near to the Ermita de San Guillermo hermitage showed that this is linked with St James and with other old traditions and worships.
Some of the Camino de Santiago secondary routes are:
- Camino de Madrid Camino Aragonés
- Camino del Salvador
- Camino de la Lana
- Camino de Levante
- Camino Vasco del Interior
- Camino de la Montaña
- Camino de Le Puy
- Coastal Camino Portugués
- Camino de Bayona
- Camino de Baztanés
- Camino del Ebro
- Camino Catalán por Zaragoza
- Camino Catalán por S. J. de la Peña
- Camino del Sureste
- Camino de Cádiz
- Camino Mozárabe