Our Trips on the Camino Primitivo and Camino Francés

We offer guided and self-guided trips on the 2 most historically important of the various “standard” routes that were used over the centuries to reach the tomb of the Apostle. We might summarize the differences between our trips this way:

The Camino Primitivo or “Original Way”

The Camino Primitivo or “Original Way” is the oldest of all the Ways, following the route taken by King Alfonso II in the 9th century, considered the first “official” pilgrim. This Camino covers more mountainous and wilder landscapes with fewer towns and villages, fewer chapels, churches and pilgrim’s refuges. The more challenging terrain and relative scarcity of services results in noticeably fewer pilgrims and a sense of authenticity sometimes lacking on the busier French Way. The natural environment of the most remote areas in Spain is one of the major attractions of this route and while fewer in number, wonderful artistic-historical sites are still plentiful.

See our description of the lands crossed by the Camino Primitivo

The Camino Francés or “French” Way

Camino FrancésThe Camino Francés or “French” Way is the route which eventually became the most popular, and is now followed by the majority of modern-day pilgrims. This Camino follows somewhat gentler terrain (still plenty of good climbs though!) and due to its popularity over the ages, there are many more hamlets, villages and towns, and therefore lots of interesting artistic-historical sights. The Camino Francés is the most well-known of all the Caminos and naturally you’ll find many more pilgrims sharing the trail. One thing we really like is that it passes through a greater variety of landscapes, ecosystems and climate, making for an interesting transition as you follow the Way westward.

See our description of the lands crossed by the Camino Frances

Camino Frances

  • The most popular of all the Ways, used by 90% of all pilgrims today. Can be quite busy.
  • Somewhat gentler terrain, with more relatively level sections
  • More populated terrain, many more towns and villages, more services, more churches, chapels, historic sights.
  • Greater variety of terrain, ecosystems and local cultures.
  • Warmer temperatures in general. Rain less likely over first few days.
  • GUIDED TRIP: On 1st 3 days, walk most beautiful stages and visit most interesting sights between León and Sarria.
  • GUIDED TRIP: Walk final 115 km from Sarria to Santiago to qualify for the Compostela certificate of completion

Camino Primitivo

  • The oldest of  all the Ways. Used by a small percentage of pilgrims today = fewer people sharing the trail.
  • Hillier terrain with fewer level sections, especially over first few days.
  • Less inhabited, more rural terrain, some areas quite remote and wild = benefits from more nature, sense of solitude like medieval pilgrims.
  • More Celtic influence – both Asturias & Galicia.
  • Cooler temperatures in general, a greater possibility of rain throughout.
  • GUIDED TRIP: On 1st 3 days, walk most beautiful stages and visit most interesting sights between Oviedo and Lugo.
  • GUIDED TRIP: Walk final 105 km from Lugo to Santiago to qualify for the Compostela certificate of completion