Each year thousands of travellers set out from several starting points across Europe to make their way to Santiago. Legend has it that the remains of the apostle Saint James are situated at this place.
The city is as popular as destinations like Rome and Jerusalem.
Pilgrims on their way to Santiago can often be recognized by wearing the scallop-shell, which is used as a symbol for the St. James Way. By far, most pilgrims are walkers, but The Way can also be done by bike or on horse.
Today the majority of travellers undertake the journey for reasons other than religion. They are often motivated by the adventure and physical challenge of weeks of walking in a foreign country, as well as the experience of leaving home behind and living a simpler life for a period of time.
The Way leads its travellers over a variaty of roads and landscapes; from rocky mountain paths to wide river valleys, through dry highlands and endless small dusty farm roads. Large parts of the trail have been renovated, but some roads remain in their original state.
| Many of the villages and cities that The Way crosses owe their existence to the pilgrimage. Consequently, their history, numerous stories and traditions are associated to the practice. In the majority of these villages hostels have been established that provide shelter to the pilgrims.
The Pilgrim's Pass
("Credencial del Peregrino"), that is stamped on arrival, gives the right to use all facilities in a hostel for one night. Due to The Way's increasing popularity, more and more of these hostels have been established over the last few years.
The trail in Spain is marked by painted yellow arrows as well as bollards and signs with a modern version of the scallop-shell on a blue background. The Spanish part of the St. James Way is registered in the UNESCO list of word heritage sites.
To obtain the official certificate, the "Compostellae", a minimum of 100 kilometres is required for walkers. It is the conviction of religious pilgrims that the achievement of the Compostela will provide them the right of remission after their death.