It has happened to all of us at some point that we have been excited with the idea of a trip but we do not have all the time in the world. The Way of Saint James is not an experience that we should face in a hurry, but with this small guide of the ideal Ways to do in this year 2022 according to your availability that worry is over.
Let’s see which are the ideal Ways to do in 15, 10 or 5 days so you don’t have to worry about anything but enjoying this unforgettable experience. And remember, all itineraries are approximate and depend on the pace and stamina of each pilgrim. Our itineraries are flexible and can be adapted to your time, so if you don’t find anything that suits you among our recommendations, contact us to find out more about how we make our tailor-made Ways.
French Way – From León to Santiago
The most classic Way with a spectacular beginning: the views of the Cathedral of León. Known as Pulchra leonina (Latin for “Leonine beauty”), its imposing presence, its walls decorated with stained glass windows dating from the 13th century stand out, filling the Leonese monument with thousands of shades of light. You will not regret choosing León as the start of your French Way: 15 days and 300 kilometers full of symbolic monuments of the Jacobean history await you.
Those pilgrims who, in addition to living a unique experience, want to meet travelers from all over the world, get to know the most beautiful cities of Northern Spain, and soak up our culture, traditions and gastronomy, will undoubtedly enjoy the French Way.
Portuguese Way – From Porto to Santiago
Whether you decide to do the inland or coastal variant, Porto is the start of this popular route. And it has a lot to offer: its bustling streets make Porto one of the most beloved cities among our pilgrims. Its colorful buildings on the banks of the Douro River are home to multiple cultures, and its diversity makes this original Celtic village the cultural nerve center of the entire Portuguese territory.
Do not miss the opportunity to visit the Sé do Porto Cathedral, a few meters from the tourist area of Ribeira. Let yourself be amazed by its quiet stone cloisters before starting a journey that exceeds 200 kilometers and will take you for 7 days through the Portuguese country and another 7 days through Galician territory.
Primitive Way – From Oviedo to Santiago
The Primitive Way is little known among the most novice pilgrims who decide to make the French their first experience. And we believe it deserves special mention, since there is no Way with more history than the one that runs between Oviedo and Santiago.
The Primitive Way is the oldest pilgrimage route, hence its name, and one of the most important in the early years of the Jacobean cult. In fact, no other route is known to date older. Its origin dates back to the 9th century, when King Alfonso II of Asturias began his pilgrimage. It is because the tomb of the Apostle had just been discovered so he decided to leave Oviedo to Santiago de Compostela to visit it.
It was not much later when the construction of the Cathedral of Oviedo began, in a Gothic style similar to that of León, which we mentioned previously. This monument will be our symbol of departure, with a great tower that seems to touch the sky on clear days.
This will be the beginning of a Way in which you will travel 313 kilometers during 15 days, in which its nature and history will transform your trip.
Northern Way – From Gijón to Santiago
Who hasn’t dreamed of walking through the green north of Spain? With some of the most breathtaking scenery among the Jacobean routes, the Northern Way is characterized by its spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean. From the cliffs of the Cantabrian coast you will be able to capture the best sunsets in some stages before entering the Galician community, from Ribadeo, the point where the route begins to move away from the coast to head to your destination, Santiago.
It is quite a popular and well-known Way, and many of its pilgrims opt to do its full version from Irun but that would take us a total of 35 days that only the most experienced pilgrims can achieve. Therefore, we opted to start in Gijón, an old coastal town that has grown to be a reference of the Cantabrian maritime heritage. It separates you 347 kilometers and 16 days from the Galician capital, full of contact with the wildest nature of both lands.
Winter Way – From Ponferrada to Santiago
The Winter Way is probably one of the most unknown of all the Jacobean routes. It does not help that its name is misleading, because this Way is ideal for all seasons except -curiously enough- winter. It owes its name to an alternative route that was taken in Roman times to avoid the snows of O Cebreiro.
It is the only Way that crosses the four Galician provinces, so you can see the full potential of this wonderful territory and discover treasures such as the Bierzo, the Ribeira Sacra or the Deza region.
Starting in Ponferrada, with 263 kilometers ahead, this Way is usually completed in 11 days. But from Galiwonders we want to encourage you to do its Easy variant in order to enjoy 15 days of pure paradise that you are about to discover.
French Way – From Sarria to Santiago (Easy variant) or French Way from Ponferrada
If you don’t have that many days but still want to get away from the classic version of the French Way from Sarria, we recommend that you start in Ponferrada. You will enjoy the opportunity to start your trip with the views of the Templar Castle, which attracts the attention of visitors and locals alike. You will also be able to see the region of El Bierzo, which originally contained both Galician and Leonese lands within its borders, and which is characterized by its undulating landscape of endless pastures bordered by centuries-old vegetation.
In addition, you will have the opportunity to visit the Médulas, a fantastic natural artifice accidentally created by the ancient Roman legions and that today looks like a scenario taken from Mars. In addition, you will learn all about the busiest Way in the world, since its route perfectly preserves architectural and cultural vestiges of the history of one of the most crowded pilgrimages in the world. All this and more during 10 days in which you will walk a total of 205 kilometers.
Portuguese Way – From Barcelos (Interior route) or Esposende (Coastal route)
Whether you decide to do the Portuguese Inland Way or the Coastal Way, both are excellent options for those who have already done the French Way and are looking for a popular but different Way.
If you start in Barcelos, your visit will show you an important part of Portuguese culture. From the famous Portuguese galo, iconic representation of the Portuguese country, to its gastronomy and architecture, which highlights its precious oil and the Matriz de Barcelos Church.
A spectacular start for the Interior route that will take you through 186 kilometers and 9 days of charming Portuguese and Galician villages where you can marvel at its nature and locals.
If, on the other hand, you decide to do the Coastal route, you will start in Esposende, a coastal village known for being the favorite summer destination of the neighboring towns. With winds and miles of beaches, it is ideal for water sports such as surfing. For pilgrims, however, it is an idyllic and tranquil start to our Way for the next 211 kilometers and 11 days of travel.
Atlantic Way – From Ferrol to Finisterre
From Galiwonders, the English Way was not enough for us and we decided to join the English Way with the Finisterre Way to create the Atlantic Way, a route that offers the best of the north coast of Galicia. From Ferrol to Finisterre, passing through the city of the stars Santiago, this route will allow you to get to know both the Galician interior and the incredible cliffs of the province of A Coruña.
Do not miss the opportunity to visit the Fragas do Eume Natural Park as you pass through Pontedeume, or the ancient city of Betanzos, which keeps secrets about the Galician history among its narrow streets. But above all, enjoy 10 days and 206 kilometers of travel in which the destination is not only Santiago, but the end of the world.
Padre Sarmiento Route – Pontevedra to Santiago
The Route of Padre Sarmiento is a wonderful route of 190 kilometers that runs through the municipalities of Pontecesures, Valga, Catoira, Vilagarcía, Vilanova, A Illa, Cambados, Sanxenxo, Meaño, O Grove and Poio along the coast. In its final stretch it joins the spiritual variant of the Portuguese Way, following the itinerary that Fray Martin Sarmiento made to Santiago de Compostela, on his return to Galicia on the occasion of the Holy Year of 1745.
It is a route that can be done in just 10 days, with spectacular views of the Rías Baixas and highly recommended for groups looking for something very different from the classic French or Portuguese Ways. Of course, avoid it in high season because otherwise you will not be able to avoid tourists soaking up the sun on the beaches.
English Way – A Coruña to Santiago
The English Way is one of the shortest routes of the Camino de Santiago and, at the same time, one of the most traditional.
It has its origins in medieval times. Devotees from England and other parts of Northern and Western Europe (Scandinavians, Scots, Irish, …) arrived by boat to Ferrol or A Coruña, from where they undertook their way overland to Santiago de Compostela. The pilgrimage became a mass phenomenon in the 11th century, about 300 years after the discovery of the tomb of St. James.
You will start in the noble city of A Coruña, which in itself contains countless monuments and places not to be missed. It is a short Way, only 73.8 kilometers, so it is ideal for those who want to know corners of Galicia and pilgrimage to Santiago but do not have so much time to do the more classic versions of the Camino de Santiago.
Finisterre Way – Santiago a Finisterre
The Way of Finisterre is an extension of the road from Santiago de Compostela to Cape Finisterre or to Muxía. It is the only route with origin in Santiago de Compostela.
Finisterre was considered the last habitable stretch of the world, before the discoveries took place. It was also believed to be the westernmost point of Europe. The Romans and Celts used to contemplate, from Cape Finisterre, how the sun went down in the immense ocean. Nowadays, it is the pilgrims who put on the skin of the Romans and Celts, enjoying the sunset as they did.
Many pilgrims opt for the Way of Finisterre and Muxía, to know the incredible stories that hide these two municipalities and enjoy both sunsets. Besides tasting the delicious seafood of the Costa da Morte, of such intense flavor and great quality. Only 4 stages separate Finisterre, passing through places like Negreira and Cee. And two more to Muxía. In total, 111 kilometers full of views that will leave you with your mouth open.
Vía de la Plata – From Ourense to Santiago
The Vía de la Plata was an ancient Roman road connecting the cities of Mérida and Astorga. By the Middle Ages, the route had been extended to the Andalusian coast and served as a means of communication between the south and north of the Iberian Peninsula. The variant of the Way that follows this route begins in Seville; this is the most important of all the routes that bring pilgrims from southern Spain.
This is undoubtedly the longest Way: Seville and Astorga are separated by 700 km. To get to Santiago, you have to add about 300 more. However, if you do not have the time it takes to do this route, you can start in Ourense and reach your destination in 106 km and 6 days.