Camino de Santiago in Spain: the 7 most frequented pilgrimage routes

For centuries, every year pilgrims have flocked to the Spanish city. Numerous routes have sprung up over time, bringing the total to more than 60 routes to Compostela in Europe. Did you know, however, that the Camino Francés is not your only option to travel through Spain and reach Santiago de Compostela? Here we briefly present the routes of the Camino de Compostela in Spain.

If you haven’t already done so, you’ll probably want to download our checklist to easily prepare your backpack and not forget anything while having a reasonable weight on your back: click here to download the checklist for free!

Map of the route of the Camino de Santiago in Spain and their frequentation

➽ Map of the route of the Camino de Santiago in Spain

Chemin de Compostelle Espagne - carte

Source :

➽ Frequentation of the routes of Compostela in Spain

Chemin de Compostelle en Espagne - chiffre fréquentation

Source :

#1 : El Camino Francés (the french way)

The French Way is the most popular and most traveled route to Santiago de Compostela. In total, this route is 780 kilometers long. The route starts from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in the French Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela, passing through Roncesvalles on the Spanish side of the mountains, then on to Pamplona, Logroño, Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Burgos, Sahagún, León and Villafranca del Bierzo.

#2 : El Camino Portugués (the portuguese way)

With this itinerary, the pilgrim begins in the city of Lisbon, in neighboring Portugal. As with the other routes to Santiago de Compostela, there are two options for taking the itinerary. The first route passes through Lisbon to Azumbaja, Cartaxo, Santarém, Golegã, Tomar, Ansiao and Coimbra while the second route passes through Torres Vedras to Caldas da Rainha, Batalha, Pombal and Coimbra. Both routes have approximately the same length, 630 kilometers.

#3 : El Camino Portugués de la Costa

The Portuguese Coastal Route follows the Atlantic coast from Porto until it joins the Portuguese Route at Redondela, passing through Viana do Castelo, A Guarda and Vigo. Used since the 16th century by pilgrims, this route attracts many pilgrims every year for its magnificent landscapes, its moderate difficulty without great differences in altitude, its proximity to the coast and the quality of its infrastructure. The total distance from Porto to Santiago is 271 km.

#4 : El Camino del Norte (the Northern way)

The Camino del Norte begins in Irun in the Basque Country, on the French-Spanish border, and continues through Cantabria, Asturias and parts of Galicia to end in the city of pilgrims. The itinerary partly follows the ancient Roman road Via Agrippa, whose every stone, tree and monument tells a fabulous legend that history lovers will love. It is a quiet and less known itinerary. However, it is one of the longest and most difficult itineraries at 853 kilometers. The route starts at the Hendaye Bridge and then passes through San Sebastian, Zarautz, Guernica, Bilbao, Laredo, Santander, Santillana del Mar Comillas, Llanes and Ribadesella. From here, the walker can choose the route along Oviedo or along Aviles and Luarca.

#5 :El Camino Inglés (the English way)

The English Way is described by many as the most romantic route and was traditionally used by pilgrims from England, Ireland, Scotland and Scandinavia who sailed by sea to Ferrol or A Coruña. From there, they would take the Camino de Santiago by land. Today, the English route begins in Ferrol and continues for 122 km to Santiago de Compostela, passing through Fene, Pontedeume, Miño, Paderne, Betanzos, Mesia, Ordes and Oroso.

#6 : El Camino Primitivo (the primitive route)

The so-called primitive route is considered the first pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. It is the route taken by King Alfonso II from the city of Oviedo. The Camino Primitivo is 321 kilometers long and is not the busiest route, so good signage may be lacking. The route passes through Grado, Salas, Tineo, Fonsagrada, Lugo and Palacio de Rais, where the road crosses the Camino Francés.

#7 : La Vía de la Plata and its variant el Camino Mozárabe

The so-called Silver Route or Via de la Plata was once a Roman road linking the colony of Itálica in southern Spain to Astunica Augusta in the north. This pilgrimage route begins in the province of Seville from where it goes north to Zamora via Cáceres, Plasencia and Salamanca to Santiago de Compostela. After the city of Zamora, the walker has two options, via the west and Ourense to Santiago or via the north to Astorga, after which you will join the Camino Francés.

The Camino Mozárabe is a longer variant of the Vía de la Plata and goes from Granada to Córdoba. It later joins the Via de La Plata to Merida.

The other routes to Santiago de Compostela in Spain

There are many other possible routes in Spain. Here is a non-exhaustive list:

  • El Camino Aragonés
  • El Camino de Baztan
  • La Ruta de los Calatravos
  • El Camino Catalan
  • El Camino de Fisterra et de Muxia
  • El Camino de Invierno (chemin d’hiver)
  • El Camino de la Lana
  • El Camino Lebaniego et Vadiniense
  • El Camino Levante
  • El Camino de Madrid
  • El Camino Olvidado
  • El Camino Torres
  • El Camino Vasco del Interior

Who said you didn’t have a choice? =)

Photo Credits :

The comments area to exchange on Compostela

Just like on the routes of Compostela, this blog is primarily intended to exchange and share our experiences. Do not hesitate to leave your comment below.