Choosing The Right Route

If you are considering walking one of the historic routes in Europe you have many to choose from. The most popular is the Camino Frances which crosses northern Spain from the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela in the far west and if time and funds permit through to Muxia and Finisterre.

There are many starting points. One is from the French side of the Pyrenees from St Jean Pied de Port, up and over the Pyrenees and into Spain. Some people avoid the Pyrenees and start at Roncesvalles in Spain, others start closer to Santiago due to time constraints. Many also break up the Camino into sections and walk each section as their holidays permit eventually arriving in Santiago. I met two French sisters who had started at the original starting point for the Camino Frances namely Le Puy in central France and over 6 years walked the complete route; about 1530 km.

The time of the year is critical as the weather and crowds can greatly impact on your experience. So do some research.

What is the “right route”?

There are so many traditional pilgrim routes there is no one answer. Nearly 1000 years ago people travelled if necessary by sea from England, Ireland, Scandinavia and then walked from every virtually Christian country as a way to do penance or to gain spiritual strength. I have met people who walked out the front door on their homes in Holland, Belgium, Hungary and many other places and walked until they reached a traditional walking path and kept going.

I met one man walking from Portugal to Jerusalem and have friends who have walked from Canterbury in England to Rome.

So do your own research, join a discussion group and find out if is a pilgrims information centre in your country. If not the Confraternity of St James in the UK is a good resource.




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