Steeped in history and snaking through some of Europe’s most historic and beautiful landscapes, the legendary Camino de Santiago is one of travel’s ultimate journeys. Every year, thousands of pilgrims, adventurers and ramblers follow the well-trodden trail to Santiago de Compostela in Northern Spain, and the iconic route has plenty of unforgettable experiences to offer travellers. Under the guidance of industry leader Follow the Camino, be sure to tick off these five highlights along its routes:
1// Burgos Cathedral
Sitting proudly alongside the cathedrals of Léon and Santiago de Compostela, Burgos’s beautiful offering has long been one of the three key stops on the classic Camino Francés
. A gothic masterpiece and UNESCO World Heritage Site, the cathedral is one of Spain’s most important, due in no small part to its array of treasures and relics, including a Gothic altarpiece and the tomb of legendary Spanish leader El Cid. Time your visit to see — and hear — the Papamoscas, an ancient statue whose mouth opens to chime on the hour.
The starting point of the Camino Podiensis
, the stunning, red-roofed town of Le-Puy-en-Velay in Southern France is particularly worth a pit stop. Sip local verbena liqueur in a quiet square, before exploring the architectural gems. In addition to the 12th
-century cathedral, major landmarks include the Saint Michael d’Aiguilhe chapel, perched almost precariously on top of a soaring rock, and an iron statue of the Virgin Mary, gazing over the town from her own mount.
Want to visit the ‘end’ of the world? Fisterra (Finisterre
in Spanish, meaning ‘land’s end’) is so called because pilgrims finished their journey here, at one of Spain’s most westerly points. Honouring the traditional route to the Atlantic, modern pilgrims can still make their final stop on the Camino Finisterre
at this quaint fishing village, and take in the spectacular ocean views. Look out for the symbol of the Camino, the scallop shell, which has its roots in this corner of Galicia, and was once tangible proof that a pilgrim had made it all the way.
4// Pintxos and sidra
Skirting the Basque and Asturian coastlines is the Camino del Norte
, one of Spain’s wildest and most rugged stretches. Yet between the rolling green hills and rocky cliffs, a vibrant foodie culture thrives: pinxtos,
the Basque Country’s answer to tapas, are deliciously varied appetisers and best served with the region’s favourite tipple, sidra
(cider). Travellers can take a break and tuck in at charming villages such as Getaria, or the bustling city of Oviedo, on this traditional route to Santiago.
For an alternative take on a traditional route, follow the Camino Portugués
Surf & Turf, which winds its away along the Portuguese coast up to Santiago, taking in some of the country’s most beautiful beaches. Catch some waves at Praia de Cabedelo, one of Portugal’s best, or simply kick back and take a well-deserved rest. Once refreshed, jump on a bike and complete the section from Porto to Santiago on two wheels for an extra active adventure.
Follow the Camino was the first tour operator to offer the Camino de Santiago by creating manageable sections along the main routes to Santiago de Compostela, making it accessible to people of all ages and fitness levels.
Each of our trips last six or seven days, with a manageable number of miles to walk or cycle each day. You’ll spend each night in carefully selected and regularly assessed authentic accommodation (family-owned hotels, guest houses or historic pensiones), while enjoying the social and cultural scene with the freshest local food and drinks.
Airport transfers, accommodation in a private room with bathroom, breakfast and dinner included, plus daily luggage transfers, comprehensive map and walking notes, 24/7 emergency helpline, bilingual tour guides.
T: +44 20 3411 0701