Over 300,000 people arrive in Santiago de Compostela each year and claim their ‘Compostela’ certificate of pilgrimage, proof that they have completed the famous Camino de Santiago.
Pilgrims come from far and wide, with the Pilgrims Office in Santiago counting over 100 different nationalities some years. Young and old, religious and secular, solo travellers and groups of friends… the Camino appeals to everyone but what is it that attracts so many people to the Camino each year? What is their motivation? And what is required to ‘do’ the Camino?
1 The first cultural trail in Europe
Whether you believe the Camino to be a pilgrimage, a pre-Christian trail or an interesting historic route, one fact is clear: the Camino de Santiago is Europe’s first cultural trail and therefore unique.
The Council of Europe declared it a Cultural Route in 1987 and later became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pilgrims of all backgrounds, classes and of course nationalities have made their way to Compostela for centuries; while entire cities and towns were built along the way to host, protect and offer safe passage to pilgrims.
In a way, walking the Camino you are part of the living history of these unique trails.
2 Thousands of miles
Since pilgrims used to start their journey to Santiago from their own homes and towns, many routes have developed over time. While the best-known route is the Camino Frances, starting in St Jean Pied de Port on the Spanish/French border at the foot of the Pyrenees… there are thousands of miles of Caminos across Europe.
There are Camino routes from Portugal, from other parts of Spain, from France, etc… each of the trails has its own uniqueness, must-sees and special history. All roads lead to Santiago!
3 A Camino for everyone
The Camino is as long or as short as you’d like it to be. You don’t have to walk for a full month to complete the Camino. You can start at any point along the route and walk as much or as little as you can.
Just bear in mind that if you’d like to receive your pilgrim certificate at the end, you will need to cover at least the last 62miles (100kms) into Santiago de Compostela, on any of the Camino routes. 124miles (200kms) if you are cycling.
4 Up for a challenge and time out
On a recent survey with CaminoWays.com customers, we found that while 28% of walkers did the Camino for religious or spiritual reasons, 28.2% did the Camino as a challenge, to test themselves; and nearly 18% did it to get away from it all.
Time is a modern luxury and the Camino is a wonderful switch off button for most of us.
5 Foodie encounters
Food is one of life’s greatest pleasures and travel affords us the chance to discover new places through new dishes and flavours. The Camino trails are enriching both culturally and gastronomically. After a long day walking, your body deserves a tasty reward.
Many pilgrims have said that people make the Camino such a special journey. When was the last time you spend days walking and chatting with your best friend? Whether it is your travel companion, kind strangers or newly found Camino friends… people will make your experience memorable.
7 Life lessons
There are many simple but valuable life lessons to learn from the Camino: make the most of the journey, appreciate each moment, be kind, share, things will work out in the end…
As pilgrims often say: the Camino provides.
For more information about the Camino de Santiago routes or to request a quote, contact the CaminoWays.com travel specialists at [email protected] or visit https://caminoways.com. 50connect readers can take advantage of an exclusive discount – just quote 50CONNECTCAMINO to receive €20 discount of trails for 2019.
This content is sponsored byLast modified: June 10, 2021