The Many Routes of the Camino de Santiago

You don't have to do the classic Camino Frances

Camino de Santiago routes through Europe
••• Camino de Santiago routes through Europe. Manfred Zentgraf/Creative Commons

A common myth about the Camino de Santiago is that there is 'one route'. People ask if you 'started from the beginning'. But these people are referring to the Camino Frances, the classic and most popular route but by no means the only one.

If you want to be truly authentic, you should start your camino from your own doorstep! That's what the original pilgrims would have done - they didn't have the luxury of airplanes and trains to get them to the so-called beginning.

For this reason, there are many routes to suit the diverse origins of the pilgrims. You don't even need to start anywhere near Spain! There are routes as far away as Poland, passing through Germany, Holland, and France and then into Spain. You can start from wherever is convenient for you. However, some routes are more traveled than others - find out about the various routes below.

You may also be wondering when to do the Camino de Santiago. Basically, avoid winter, summer, and Easter on your Camino. 

Most Popular Camino de Santiago Routes Within the Iberian Peninsula

  • Camino Frances
    The most famous and popular Camino de Santiago route. Eat in the best city for tapas in Spain and visit the fantastic cathedrals of Burgos and Leon. Plus, all the tapas in Leon comes for free! 
    Cities: Pamplona, Logroño, Burgos, Leon, Ponferrada
  • Camino del Norte
    A good alternative to the Camino Frances. Enjoy the unique Basque and Asturian cuisines as you make your way along the coast. When you arrive in Oviedo, you can change routes and join the Camino Primitivo.
    Cities: Irun, San Sebastian, Bilbao, Santander, Oviedo
  • Camino Aragones
    A different first leg that joins the Camino Frances. Good for those coming from Barcelona, as they can start the walk a bit earlier, but Jaca, the starting point, is harder to get for most pilgrims.
    Cities: Logroño, Burgos, Leon, Ponferrada
  • Camino de la Plata
    The longest and most difficult camino, starting from Seville. Many days are over 30km, meaning you need to be fit for this route. Best avoided in summer, when it will be painfully hot.
    Cities: Seville, Caceres, Salamanca, Zamora, Ourense
  • Camino Ingles
    The shortest Camino de Santiago route, starting in A Coruña or Ferrol, this was the way the English used to walk after taking a boat to Spain. 
    Cities: A Coruña or Ferrol
  • Camino Portugues
    Start your Camino in the fantastic Portuguese city of Porto!
    Cities: Porto, Pontevedra
  • Camino Primitivo
    A short route, starting in Oviedo. Can be treated as an alternative ending to the Camino del Norte.
    Cities: Oviedo, Lugo
  • Camino Fisterra
    An alternative ending, taking you from Santiago de Compostela on to Fisterra - 'the end of the earth'.
    Cities: None. Just small Galician villages!