Santiago de Compostela was proclaimed the first European Cultural itinerary by the Council of Europe in 1987. This route from the French-Spanish border was – and still is – taken by pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela. Some 1,800 buildings along the route, both religious and secular, are of great historic interest. The route played a fundamental role in encouraging cultural exchanges between the Iberian peninsula and the rest of Europe during the Middle Ages. It remains a testimony to the power of the Christian faith among people of all social classes and from all over Europe.

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Route of Santiago de Compostela: A Historic Pilgrimage

The Route of Santiago de Compostela, also known as the Camino de Santiago, is a UNESCO World Heritage site that spans across several Autonomous Communities in Spain, including Aragon, Navarre, La Rioja, Castile-Leon, and Galicia. This ancient pilgrimage route holds immense historical and cultural significance, attracting thousands of pilgrims and tourists from around the world.


The origins of the Route of Santiago de Compostela can be traced back to the 9th century when the tomb of Saint James the Apostle was discovered in Santiago de Compostela. This discovery transformed the site into one of the most important Christian pilgrimage destinations in Europe. The route became a symbol of faith, penance, and spiritual growth, attracting pilgrims from all walks of life.

During the Middle Ages, the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela gained immense popularity, with pilgrims embarking on long and arduous journeys to reach the holy site. The route became a network of trails, with various starting points across Europe, converging towards Santiago de Compostela. The pilgrimage experience was not only a religious endeavor but also a cultural exchange, as pilgrims from different regions and countries interacted along the way.

Over the centuries, the Route of Santiago de Compostela witnessed the construction of numerous churches, monasteries, and hospitals to accommodate and support the pilgrims. These architectural marvels, along with the natural landscapes, added to the spiritual and aesthetic appeal of the route.

Current State

Today, the Route of Santiago de Compostela continues to be a significant pilgrimage route, attracting both religious and non-religious travelers. The route offers multiple paths, each with its own distinct landscapes, cultural heritage, and historical sites.

The most popular route, known as the Camino Francés, starts in the French town of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and stretches for approximately 780 kilometers until it reaches Santiago de Compostela. This path takes pilgrims through picturesque villages, rolling hills, and historic towns, providing a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the rich cultural heritage of Spain.

The infrastructure along the route has been developed to cater to the needs of modern-day pilgrims. There are numerous hostels, known as albergues, where pilgrims can find affordable accommodation and connect with fellow travelers. Additionally, the route is well-marked with the iconic scallop shell symbol, guiding pilgrims along the way.

The Route of Santiago de Compostela is not only a spiritual journey but also a cultural experience. Pilgrims have the opportunity to visit magnificent cathedrals, such as the Cathedral of Burgos and the Cathedral of León, which showcase stunning Gothic architecture. The route also passes through charming towns like Pamplona, Logroño, and Ponferrada, where pilgrims can explore historical sites, taste local cuisine, and engage with the local communities.

Overall, the Route of Santiago de Compostela stands as a testament to the enduring power of faith, human determination, and cultural exchange. It continues to inspire and captivate pilgrims and travelers alike, offering a transformative journey through history, spirituality, and personal growth.

Hotels and places to stay

Rusticae Santa Coloma del Camino

Distance: 6,3 mi
Carretera Villadiego km1
9123 Sasamón

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