The Way of St. James, of Camino de Santiago, is a medieval pilgrimage route. There are paths originating all over Europe, but they all lead to the same place: Santiago de Compostela, the Church of St. James. St. James was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus and the patron saint of Spain. He came to Spain to preach shortly after Jesus' resurrection, and then returned to Judea in 44AD to be martyred. Legend has it that St. James' body was miraculously returned to Spain. He was especially looked to when Spain was fighting the Moors in the Middle Ages. For people who want to take approximately a month to walk through the Pyrenees, there are two popular routes. The French way originates at Roncesvalles, on the French and Spanish border. It crosses south of the mountains on the Castilian plateau and terminates at Santiago de Compostela approximately 800km later. The Northern Way is older. It has been in use since the 9th century when most of Spain was occupied by the Moors. The Northern Way begins on the sea in Hendaya and hugs the coast until Oviedo, where it turns inland to Compostela. This route is just over 700km in length. Modern pilgrims on the Way of St. James will find the path well-marked with yellow arrows. There are also a multitude of hostels and rest houses on the way. There are also one to two week walking tours where you not only walk on the Way of St. James, but also visit historic Spanish towns and sample local cuisine.
Way of St. James