This is my map of all the known Camino routes through Spain and France as of February 2020. It was a labour of love to create and hope you have fun discovering the routes that you might not have known about. There are over 40 routes on the map (43 when I last counted) which start at all different points around Spain and Portugal. The Camino Frances of course starts in St Jean Pied de Port in France.
The inspiration behind this map is to show pilgrims that there are many other routes other than the popular ones like the French Way. Most pilgrims that arrive in Santiago will still have came via the Frances. Maybe my map will help raise some awareness for the lesser know routes!
Mapa de Caminos de España y Portugal
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History of the Camino Map of Spain and Portugal
I had the idea to make a map based on the fact I couldn’t find one online! I have always been fascinated with map making and decided to make my own showing all the Camino paths that currently run through Spain and Portugal.
Many people think there is only one Camino de Santiago, indeed that’s what I thought too when I first embarked on my Camino Frances in the summer of 2016. It wasn’t long before I discovered there are many other ways to Santiago that also share the famous yellow arrow! Since then I have hiked the Camino Portuguese and the Via de la Plata from Seville to Santiago.
I intend on hiking many more Camino de Santiago too!
So let’s talk about all the Caminos that run through France and Spain!
Camino Frances – Way of St James
This is the most popular route that just about everyone knows the Camino Frances! Even the BBC made a TV show about it. Hollywood made a famous movie too called the Way and there have been hundred of books written about it too!
It stretches from St Jean Pied de Port across the Pyrenees and into northern Spain. I also made a PDF map planner for this famous route. It’s usually the first Camino that people tackle. It’s popularity has truly soared over the years!
I hiked the Camino Frances in 2016 and blogged everyday.
Camino Portuguese (from Porto, Lisbon and beyond!)
The next most popular Camino is the Caminho Portuguese or the Central Way. Traditionally most people start from Porto which is 260km south of Santiago and will take most people 10 to 14 days to walk.
The Portuguese Camino has grown massively in terms of popularity and there is now infrastructure that matches the Camino Frances! Lisbon is becoming and increasingly more popular starting point although the infrastructure is still on the light side. This would take you through the nice little cities of Tomar and Coimbra too. It’s about 600km from Lisbon, so you are looking at month.
The main way from Porto has some variants.
The Caminho do Costa or Portuguese Coastal Camino
This is becoming popular too and hugs Portugal’s wild Atlantic coast. There is less infrastructure but things are improving.
The Camino Portugués Variante Espiritual or Spiritual Way
Another alternative to the Central Way that is often linked up with the Coastal Way. Again there is not so much infrastructure, but would appeal to pilgrims seeking more solitude and coastal walking.
Central Way South of Lisbon?
The Central Way seems to start as far south as the Algarve but it’s not a well trodden path down there and it’s very early days for this part of the Way. Maybe it’s one for the future and Faro would be a likely starting point for this route.
The Camino Norte or Northern Way
This is probably the next most popular route to Santiago and runs along the northern coast of Spain. It’s one of the next Caminos on my hit list!
The route starts in Irun which is right next to the Spanish/French border. It then hugs the northern coastline of Spain through some famous cities like San Sebastian, Bilbao and Santander. It’s known for being pretty rugged with a lot of ups and downs. The infrastructure along the route is pretty good and it can get busy during the popular months of July and August. I am planning on hiking it in September, so hoping for a quieter Camino but still being in summer!
Via de la Plata or the Silver Way
This is another Camino that I hiked in 2019, all the way to Astorga and then onward to Santiago via the Camino Frances. Many people who walk the VDLP actually turn off at Granga and take the Sanabres Way to Santiago. I’d say 95% of the other pilgrims I met took that way, but I wanted to continue all the way to Astorga.
The route is gaining popularity and the infrastructure is pretty good too, but it’s a lot calmer than the busier Caminos up north! There is much less English spoken on the Via de la Plata too, so it’s good for practicing your Spanish! You typically would start from Seville in the spring time to avoid the intense Andalusian heat of the summer – this area is known as the frying pan of Europe! Definitely recommend this Camino!
Camino Primitivo (the Original Way)
The Primitivo is the orginal Camino that was first walked in the 9th century! It’s popularity over the years did retreat but it’s back now and is one of the fastest growing Caminos in terms of number of pilgrims.
The route is 320km which is around 2 weeks walking for most people. The route is one of the most mountainous of all the Caminos, so the best months would be the summer ones. Expect plenty of snow if you are tackling this one in the colder months!
The Primitivo has a very good network of public albergues which makes it’s very appealing for those on a tight budget. It’s one of the Caminos that I plan to do one day!
Camino Inglés – The English Way
The original route for pilgrims travelling from England. They would set sail from the English coast to the town of Ferrol, which is the jumping off point for this 115km Camino.
The Camino Inglés has often been referred to as a beginners Camino because the Way is well marked and it’s relatively short. You could walk this comfortably in one week or even five days. Another Camino on my to do list! Also the Camino Inglés is definitely becoming more popular as it’s over the 100km requirement for getting the Compestela.
The Compostela is a certificate that you receive for walking at least 100km to the cathedral of Santiago. You have to ensure that you get two stamps in your pilgrim passport. These can be collected from your accommodation, bars, restaurants, shops and even petrol stations!