“El Camino de Santiago” (The Way of Saint James) is the pilgrimage route to the Cathedral of “Santiago de Compostela” in Galicia in north-western Spain. Legend has it that the remains of the apostle James have been brought there.

The St. James Way has been around for many centuries. Each year thousands of travellers set out from several starting points across Europe to make their way to Santiago. The city is equally popular as Rome and Jerusalem as a pilgrimage destination.

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 St. James Way can also be done by bike or on horse. 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.

To obtain the official certificate, the "Compostellae", a minimum of 100 kilometres is required for walkers. Acoording to religious pilgrims, the achievement of the Compostela will provide one with the right of "indulge", a reduction of the punishments one has to undergo for their sins.

Many of the villages and cities that The Way crosses owe their existence to the pilgrimage. Consequently their history, as well as numerous stories and traditions, are associated to the practice. In the majority of these places, hostels that provide shelter to the pilgrims have been established.

The Pilgrim's Pass (“Credencial del Peregrino”), which is stamped on arrival, gives the right to use all facilities in a hostel for one night. Due to the increasing popularity of the St. James Way, more and more of these hostels have been established over the last years.



Today, the majority of travellers undertake the journey for reasons other than religion. They are often motivated by the adventure and physical challenge of walking for weeks in a row in a foreign country, as well as the experience of leaving home behind and living a simpler life for a period of time.

The St. James 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.

The Spanish part of the St. James Way is registered in the UNESCO list of word heritage sites.