The French Way, or Camino Francés, is the most popular and sociable route of the Camino de Santiago walk. It is the itinerary chosen by 60% of pilgrims, and there are many books and movies showing it, like “The Way”.
After the discovery of the remains of Saint James de Apostle in 812, Santiago de Compostela became a pilgrimage destination. The French Way started to be a route towards the sacred city during the Reconquista period. It was considered to be a safe way into Spain, for those pilgrims coming from Northern Europe. Moreover, the route followed the same path as an ancient Roman road. This way, even if the French Camino is not the oldest route (this is the Primitive Way, or Camino Primitivo) it became the most popular itinerary of the whole Camino de Santiago.
Those travelers who have enough time to walk more tan 800 km, from St-Jean-Pied-de-Port (France) to Santiago de Compostela, are welcome to go over the full French Way. Even if the starting point is this small village located right in the border, just the first walking day is in France. All the rest of the stretches will take us to discover the rural areas of Northern Spain, but also some of the most popular cities. From Pamplona (one of the most visited cities of the country because of San Fermin festivals), Logroño, the place to taste the best Rioja Wine; Burgos, and its beautiful Gothic cathedral; Astorga, where will be able to see the legacy of Gaudí, the architect. León and its lovely squares, or the castles in Ponferrada. And of course, Santiago de Compostela, the final destination of the route.
What if you only have a couple of days to walk the Camino de Santiago? That is no problem all. The minimum required to get the Camino Certificate (Compostela) is 100 km. For this reason, most of the pilgrims choose Sarria as the starting point of the walk. This last stretch, that can usually be completed in one week, has some popular spots: Portomarín and the story of the reservoir; Melide and its traditional dish (octopus!); the local cheese in Arzúa…
There are many different Camino de Santiago tours, weather you choose to walk the full French Way or its last 100 km from Sarria: from self guided tours that include standard accommodation, upgraded, or even low cost (in “Albergues” or Hostels). If you consider that walking days are too long, we can split them in two. We also organize guided group tours on the Camino, with an experienced English speaking guide.
All our tours on the French Way include accommodation, luggage transfers from town to town, pilgrim passports, walking notes and 24/7 phone assistance. The itineraries are completely flexible in terms of dates, length and services included.
Those travelers who want to live the most unique experience, meet many other fellow pilgrims from all over the world, get to know the most popular towns of Northern Spain, and discover our culture, traditions and gastronomy, will really enjoy the Camino Francés.