The current pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela (the ‘Way of St. James’) is actually the ancient Camino Francés (the ‘French Way’). It was originally where a collection of several routes from France joined.

The Camino Francés was the main artery that started in the Pyrenees in the north of Spain and leads all the way to the shrine of the apostle of St. James. It passes cities such as Pamplona, Estella, Logroño, Burgos, León, Astorga and Ponferrada.

The route in Spain is around 700 kilometres long. It’s easy to follow, as it’s marked with symbols of the scallop shell. It has a blue background with yellow arrows.

In many villages and town walkers pass through there is affordable accomodation and food available. However, you do need to have the official Pilgrim’s Credential (‘Credencial del Peregrino’) to get access to these. You can also take the route by bike, or even on horseback.

The accreditation (the Compostela)

The Pilgrim’s Credential pass is required to obtain the accreditation at the end of the route, the ‘Compostela’. You can get your pass stamped at various places along the route to prove you have walked the route, or part thereof. You can only get the Compostela if you’ve walked 100 kilometres on foot, or on horseback. If you’re riding a bike, it’s 200 kilometres…

You can walk the route all year round. Depending on which route you choose, you can walk it on your own, or with an organisation.