For a thousand years, millions of people have walked the legendary Camino de Santiago, experiencing the spirit of the Camino, and life as a pilgrim. Here are 10 things you need to know about the Camino de Santiago.
1. Camino de Santiago means Way of St James and refers to the different routes leading to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. Santiago de Compostela translates to St James of the field of stars.
2. There are over 20 different Camino de Santiago routes across Europe and beyond – all roads lead to Santiago! The French way is the most popular and well-known route.
3. A person who walks the Camino is known as a pilgrim or peregrino in Spanish. A pilgrim needs to walk a minimum of 100km of any Camino to receive their compostela certificate
4. The scallop shell is the universal symbol of the Camino de Santiago and is used on many of the Camino signs. Most pilgrims choose to wear a scallop shell on their rucksack to show that they are a Camino pilgrim.
5. In medieval times, a pilgrim would begin their pilgrimage from their home AND walk back from Santiago de Compostela.
6. A pilgrim doesn’t need a map to walk the Camino de Santiago. Instead, they follow the yellow arrows that are painted along the way, just like Dorothy following the yellow brick road in the Wizard of Oz.
7. Over 500,000 people walk the Camino de Santiago and receive their compostela certificate every year.
8. Pilgrims greet each other with Buen Camino, which translates to Good Way, on the Camino de Santiago. They have joined the Buen Camino Tribe.
9. KM 0 of the Camino is not in Santiago, but at Cape Finisterre by the Atlantic Ocean, which was once considered to be the end of the world in medieval times, and a place of magical powers for pre-Christian communities.
10. St James Day falls on the 25th July and is a holiday in Santiago and Galicia. On the years where the 25th July falls on a Sunday, it will be considered to be a Holy Year or Ano Xacobeo.
If you plan to walk the Camino de Santiago, check out my book, A Wild Woman’s Guide To The Camino de Santiago. I share everything you need to know before you begin your Camino. Read at A Wild Woman’s Guide To The Camino De Santiago or click the link below.