Where to Take Long Walks in Europe for Pilgrimage

Every year there are millions of Christian devotees who have travelled from afar in order to become one with God.  Their faith is what moves them to overcome all sorts of geographical terrain, each one posing its set of challenges.  However, at the end of every trail is a shrine or a holy site which can give them the spiritual uplifting they need.  To them, this is considered a vacation, one that allows them to actually experience something profound and enlightening.  For the most part, pilgrimage sites are found in Europe, with the Santiago de Compostuela being the most popular.  Located in Spain, it’s definitely a major tourist attraction to those who want to stray from the usual partying and drinking during the weekends, or even endless shopping and sightseeing among more popular landmarks in the continent.  There are several routes to be taken leading to this site, and people are often wondering how they can reach the site of interest. Of course, one can only perform a bit of research online to determine which routes prove to be highly suitable.   In the Way of Saint James alone, there are 5 different starting routes to be taken, and they are as follows.

  1. The French Way, also known as Camino Francés, is divided into 4 distinct starting points, namely Arles, Le Puy-en-Velay, Vézelay and Tours.
  2. The Portuguese Way, also referred to as the Camino Portugués, is considered to be the 2nd most important path.  It begins at Porto, located in the north-western part of Portugal, and crosses the Lima & Minho Rivers before pilgrims can finally set foot in Spain, leading to Santiago.
  3. The Spanish Way, dubbed as Aragonese, traces down from the Pyrenees section, specifically the Somport pass.  It then runs along the Aragon River, wherein pilgrims get to cross Navarre to the province of Puenta La Reina.  This route actually joins with the Camino Frances.
  4. The Northern Way is known as the Camino del Norte, and it starts from France, specifically at Irun.  It then follows Galicia, wherein one can then head inland towards Santiago, connecting with the Camino Frances as well.
  5. The English Way is called the Camino Inglés, and was a path that was reserved for pilgrims who opted to travel to Spain via ships and boats.

pilgrimage sites

Photo Credits:http://www.flickr.com/photos/justinknabb/5127099348/

Apart from the Santiago de Compostuela, there’s also the Via Francigena, which was considered to be a cultural route.  Of course, it is still unknown compared to the Saint James Way.  It actually runs from England, specifically in Canterbury, going all the way across the northern part of France, the Swiss Alps, and Italy then finally in Rome.  It also consists of a series of routes which use the Via Romana.

These are just some of the routes that pilgrims can take whenever they are looking for a spiritual journey or a good hiking adventure in Europe.

Leslie loves hill walking and writing his routes on the web.  He has been running the main Camino de Santiago and Walking in Scotland site since 2006. Click on Walking Holidays in Europe to know more about it.

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