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+34 974 35 4917 info@iberianadventures.com

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Which Camino?

A comparison of the Caminos we run trips on

The Routes….

We offer guided and self-guided trips on the 3 most historically important of the various “standard” routes that were used over the centuries to reach the tomb of the Apostle.

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.

 

The Camino Francés or “French” Way

The 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.

 

The Camino del Norte or “Northern Camino”

Also known as the Camino de la Costa or “Coastal Camino”, this is the 2nd oldest of all the Ways to Santiago, and avoided the Pyrenees entirely,  entering Iberia from France along the Atlantic, running westward along the Peninsula’s northern coastline. There are 500 kilometers of glorious green coastal terrain, with magnificent views of sea and mountains, on pretty paths through verdant meadows along clifftops, linking quaint fishing villages with marvelous sandy beaches – undoubtedly some of the best in Europe – rocky inlets and quiet coves. On finally reaching  the border between Asturias and Galicia, the route turns southwest, heading inland towards Santiago.

A Summary of Differences between our Trips on these Ways:

Camino Frances – Across the Pyrenees routes and Final Sections from León

  • 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 until reaching Galicia.

Camino Primitivo – Highlights from Oviedo to Lugo and Final sections from Lugo

  • The oldest of  all the Ways. Used by a small percentage of pilgrims today = fewer people sharing the trail.
  • Hillier terrain with few level sections, especially between Oviedo and Lugo. After Lugo, similar to the Camino Frances.
  • 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.
  • Compared to the Camino Frances, cooler temperatures in general, a greater possibility of rain throughout.

Camino del Norte – coastal sections

  • The 2nd oldest of  all the Ways. Used by fewer people than the Camino Frances, but similar to the Camino Primitivo.
  •  Gently  rolling terrain. Easier than the both the other routes, but still plenty of ups and downs!
  • Beautiful coastal paths along clifftops and going down to visit many beaches, coves etc.
  • Celtic influence – both Asturias.
  • Compared to the Camino Frances, cooler temperatures in general, a greater possibility of rain throughout.

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