A Traveler's Guide to the Camino de Santiago

••• Camino de Santiago. Image: Damian Corrigan

The Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage to the tomb of St James (Santiago) in the city of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, north-west Spain.

As a Christian pilgrimage, the Camino de Santiago dates from the ninth century, with the first pilgrims from beyond the Iberian peninsula making the journey in the 11th century.

But people have walked this route for far longer than this. Since Phoenicians times the nearby Cabo Finisterre was a vital trade point for those wishing to sell their wares by sea to Britain.

However, it is probably a myth to say there was ever a 'pagan pilgrimage' to Cabo Finisterre. There is no evidence (mere legends) that the area was worshiped by Celts as the 'end of the world'.

Camino de Santiago Today

Either way, today Cabo Finisterre has become a perfect secular goal to those who want to walk the Camino de Santiago. Though there are still devout Christians who walk the route, many more people do it for the chance to enjoy the fantastic northern Spanish scenery.

Modern pilgrims carry a 'credencial' or 'pilgrim's passport' which is stamped at each hostel or town that they pass through on the way to Santiago. Upon arrival at the Santiago cathedral, the credencial is exchanged for a certificate to honor the achievement.

These are the most common questions people tend to have about the Camino:

Camino de Santiago Essentials