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 (merely legends) that the area was worshipped 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. Read more about the pilgrim's credencial.
These are the most common questions people tend to have about the camino:
Camino de Santiago Essentials
Camino de Santiago Stage-by-Stage Blog and Pictures
I blogged my entire Camino de Santiago experience, writing a day.
My posts include practical information and musings on some of the themes and difficulties that run through the Camino.
Below are all of the entries in my blog that I made during the Camino de Santiago. As the 800km walk developed and I learned more about how the Camino works, my blogs became a little deeper, with more on the various themes and difficulties associated with embarking on the journey.
Is it possible to expect too much of the Camino?
Day 0: St Jean Pied de Port to Huntto
Meeting my first pilgrim.
Day 1: Huntto to Roncesvalles
A bad joke.
Day 2: Roncesvalles to Villava
A sign in the road taunts the pilgrims.
Day 3: Villava to Cizur Menor
A life-changing moment?
Day 4: Cizur Menor to Cirauqui
When a tune gets stuck in your head.
Day 5: Cirauqui to Estella
Is the Camino dangerous?
Day 6: Estella to Los Arcos
'Cheating' on the Camino.
Day 7: Los Arcos to Logroño
Why people 'cheat' on the Camino.
Day 8: Logroño to Ventosa
Taking a rest day.
Day 9: Ventosa to Santo Domingo
Following the little yellow arrows.
Day 10: Santo Domingo to Belorado
Irked by the 'cheaters'.
Day 11: Belorado to Atapuerca
Mood and what affects how far you walk.
Day 12: Atapuerca to Burgos
Do we have the same motives as previous pilgrims?
Day 13: Burgos to Hontanas
Looking around you in case you see a crazy Belgian girl
Day 14: Hontanas to Boadilla
The physiological effect of the Camino on the mind.
Day 15: Boadilla to Carrion de los Condes
Beds in high demand.
Day 16: Carrion de los Condes to Terradillos de los Templarios
When boredom sets in.
Day 17: Terradillos de los Templarios to El Burgo Ranero
An interesting meeting on the Camino...
Day 18: El Burgo Ranero to Mansilla de las Mulas
Love on the Camino.
Day 19: Mansilla de las Mulas to Leon
Preparing well vs overpreparing.
Day 20: Leon to Villar de Mazarife
A horrible time in Leon.
Day 21: Villar de Mazarife to Astorga
Commercialism on the Camino.
Day 22: Astorga to Foncebadon
People on the Camino to punish themselves.
Day 23: Foncebadon to Ponferrada
Carring emotional baggage.
Day 24: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo
Curfews and early rises on the Camino.
Day 25: Villafranca del Bierzo to La Faba
Day 26: La Faba to Triacastela
Buying the right equipment.
Day 27: Triacastela to Sarria
Giving yourself enough time.
Day 28: Sarria to Portomarin
The point of no return.
Day 29: Portomarin to Casanova
How the Camino has changed.
Day 30: Casanova to Santa Irene
Day 31: Santa Irene to Santiago de Compostela
Finishing the Camino.
Camino de Finistere
No rest for the wicked. On to The End of the World.