Camino de Santiago – Way of St. James

The free, great and safe hike mainly in the North of Spain that I warmly recommend to anyone. It is really a pilgrimage for many, but there are many who hike, like me, just for the sake of it, enjoying the nature and the casual chats with other hikers. And you feel equally welcome without a religious cause.

It is very easy to find your way, as the shell is the symbol of the camino and is showing the way. There is no need of maps and no risk of getting lost really. Anyway, the way passes through many villages and even a few bigger cities, so you can always get advice. Also, as you pass through so many villages, there is no need to carry your food (as I am used to when hiking in the north of Finland or Scandinavia).

ImageSometimes you walk on small paths, sometimes on dirt roads, sometimes next to road. Regardless, the scenery varies a fair bit, and is amazingly beautiful most of the time. To me it was funny to pass through villages that were marked on a map and only had 2 inhabitants.But even in the smallest villages you can usually buy something to eat or drink.



I actually did not walk the whole distance but started in Leon. It was a good place to start, but if I’d do it again, I’d start somewhere close to the French boarder as the closer you get to Santiago, the more crowded it gets. I think the atmosphere changed when there were heaps of people everywhere, some only doing a day walk, compared to seeing people here and there on the way, joining them for a while and actually having something in common.


Also, on the walk you stay in refugios, shelters for the pilgrims. Traditionally these shelters have been free but everyone was able to make a donation. I suppose too many did not donate, so nowadays most of the refugios cost a few euros. It is still cheap but it also is a very basic accommodation. Some of them are more like huts with a few bunk beds in, some have many small rooms, some big dorms (the biggest dorm we slept in on the right). If you are a sensitive sleeper, take your ear plugs! However, the closer to Santiago you get, the more you have to race for a bed. That was a bit of a turn off for me. So you get up at 5am or so and start your walk in order to be queuing to get a spot of rest by Image12-2pm (queuing on the left). To be honest, we started our walk always about at 5 am anyway, as it was nice to walk when it was still cool, then have siesta at the shelter and have a bit of time to either chat with other travelers or look around in the village in the evening. This really was a great way to get an idea of traditional Spanish life style in the North!



  1. […] With children the walks are not that long, it usually is not practical to take a stroller in the forest, and then they’ve been wanting to walk themselves and the endurance is what it is. But at all ages there is something to explore, as long as the distance and pace are adjusted. Please find a few good options to start with in Helsinki on this list. One day we’ll return to Camino De Santiago. […]

  2. Villages with only 2 inhabitants – sounds like you’d acquire such great stories! After having spent a long weekend in Santiago de Compostela and seeing all the pilgrims there, I hope to get to do a portion or all of the Camino someday. 🙂

    1. It is worth it!

  3. […] met loads of great new people on the Camino de Santiago, so even the queuing was […]

  4. […] post on the Way of St James and being forced to use my severely rusted Spanish skills today has made me reminisce the months I […]

  5. […] post on the Way of St James and being forced to use my severely rusted Spanish skills today has made me reminisce the months I […]

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