Thousands walk the Camino de Santiago each year, with over 260,000 receiving their Compostela pilgrim certificate in 2015 alone. But did you know there are many Camino routes across Europe, all leading to Santiago de Compostela?
While most pilgrims choose the famous Camino Frances, featuring in movies such as Martin Sheen’s The Way and countless books; there are many off the beaten track Camino trails waiting to be discovered. The CaminoWays.com walking and cycling specialists share three different ways you can experience the Camino:
NEW: CAMINO DE INVIERNO The Camino de Invierno is a new official Camino route. This trail was traditionally taken by pilgrims in the Winter months to avoid the mountains of O Cebreiro, where they were likely to encounter snow. Instead, pilgrims would follow lower tracks along the meandering River Sil from Ponferrada into Galicia.
21st century pilgrims are rewarded with exceptional landscapes and fascinating history on this peaceful and relatively undiscovered trail to Santiago: from the UNESCO-listed Las Medulas, shaped by gold-mining in Roman times; to the impressive river canyons and terraced vineyards of the Ribeira Sacra valley, and stunning Romanesque churches.
The full Camino de Invierno route from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela can be completed in just 13 days, or you can choose to walk the last week into Santiago.
PRICE: From €656 per person sharing for 6 nights, walking from Ponferrada.
MORE DETAILS: Camino de Invierno.
CAMINO IN FRANCE Of the Camino routes in France, the Le Puy Caminois probably one of the most traditional and also spectacular. Starting in the 11th century cathedral of Le Puy en Velay, in the centre of France, the route is over 700kms long and takes over a month to complete, however many pilgrims tackle one or two stages at a time.
One of the most spectacular sections of the Le Puy Camino takes walkers from the breathtaking medieval village of Conques to the city of Cahors and its iconic Pont Valentre over the Lot River, one of the most impressive bridges on the whole Camino route.
PRICE: From €741 per person sharing for 7 nights, walking from Conques to Cahors.
MORE DETAILS: Le Puy Camino from Conques.
CAMINO ON TWO WHEELS Not many know most of the Camino de Santiago trails are also suitable for cycling. In fact, approximately 10% of all Camino pilgrims are ‘bicigrinos’, or ‘bike pilgrims’. On two wheels you will experience the Camino at a different pace, covering more ground; to give you an idea you will be cycling from 40 up to 70 kms per day. At CaminoWays.com we only recommend it if you are a confident cyclist.
In order to receive their Compostela pilgrim certificate, bicigrinos have to cycle at least the last 200kms into Santiago de Compostela. If you are looking to cycle the Camino, we recommend avoiding the busiest months on the famous French Way or opting for less popular routes, that will have less walkers on the path.
You can cycle the French Way from Pamplona to Santiago (660kms) in 15 days; or from Leon to Santiago (280kms) in just a week. We also have an ‘Easy Cycling’ option covering the last 200kms from Ponferrada to Santiago in a week, with easier cycling days, ranging from 23 to 50 kms per day.
PRICE: From €769 per person sharing for 7 nights cycling from Ponferrada to Santiago.
MORE DETAILS: Cycling the Camino Frances.
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Standard packages include half-board accommodation (dinners during walking days), luggage transfers from hotel to hotel and holiday pack including pilgrim passport and route information.
Flights, airport transfers (available upon request), transport, travel insurance (highly recommended).