Each year it seems more and more people are taking to the Camino de Santiago in Spain for a different kind of holiday experience. This week, we caught up with the team over at TDactive Holidays to find out more about the various routes on offer and the benefits of an active holiday. Here’s what they had to say below;
What is the Camino de Santiago?
The Camino de Santiago is a large network of ancient pilgrim routes stretching across Europe and coming together at the tomb of St. James in Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain. With history dating back to the beginning of the 9th century, the network of routes grew as people set out from their own homes towards the cathedral in the heart of the Old Town of Santigao de Compostela. Today, the Camino de Santiago has developed into a social, cultural and scenic experience, as well as a pilgrimage with over 200,000 people making their way along the various routes each year from points all over Europe.
Which is the best Camino de Santiago route to follow?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question as there are so many fantastic choices. There are Camino routes coming from different points across Europe, each with its own unique history. The most famous route is the French Way, which developed as the main route to Santiago de Compostela from the 10th Century onwards when towns and villages began popping up along the way to host pilgrims.
How do you follow a Camino de Santiago route?
The scallop shell is one of the most iconic symbols of the Camino de Santiago and today it is used, along with the yellow arrow, to guide pilgrims heading to Santiago de Compostela. In general the routes are very well marked. The scallop shell and yellow arrows can be seen painted on trees, sidewalks, tiles and so on. The scallop shell is said to be a metaphor, its lines representing the different routes pilgrims travel from all over the world, with all walking trails leading to one point: the tomb of Saint James in Santiago de Compostela. However, the scallop shell is also open to interpretation in different regions so it is best to follow the yellow arrows as these are the most accurate road signs to follow.
How do I get my Pilgrim’s certificate?
Most people who embark on the Camino de Santiago, even if they are not religious, carry the ‘credencial del peregrino’ or Pilgrim’s passport. The Pilgrim’s passport is issued by Santiago Cathedral and the information and instructions are written in Spanish. The blank boxes mark the space for your stamps, which you will collect en route to Santiago de Compostela. You will need to get two stamps per day and walk at least the last 100km or cycle 200km into Santiago de Compostela in order to receive your pilgrim certificate. The stamps can be collected in hotels, bars, restaurants or churches along the way. On arrival in Santiago de Compostela, the last stamp can be collected at the Pilgrims Office, which is situated on Rúa Carretas. It is also here that you can request your ‘Compostela’ pilgrim certificate, proof of having completed the journey, and celebrate the accomplishment of making it all the way!
Camino de Santiago adventures with TDactive Holidays
Are you interested in ticking the Camino de Santiago off your travel bucket list? TDactive Holidays offer a range of Camino Walking Holidays which include flights, transfers, accommodation, meals and local expert walking guides. As all the planning is done for you in advance, all you have to do is turn up to the airport ready to take on the adventure of a lifetime. One of the main benefits of booking with TDactive Holidays is that you have your own local expert guide for the duration of all your Camino walks, meaning you have more time to take in the scenery without the fear of losing your way! TDactive Holidays have something to suit all Camino tastes.
If you would like to earn your Pilgrim’s Certificate along the French Way you can join TDactive Holiday’s “Camino de Santiago – the last 100km” Walking Holiday. If you would prefer to challenge yourself a bit more and walk along a less travelled path, then their “Camino de Santiago – the Portuguese Coastal Way” Walking Holiday, which covers 120kms over 6 days, is the one for you. Or perhaps you would prefer something more moderately paced, with ample time to enjoy all the delicious wine, tasty tapas and captivating culture along the famous pilgrim route? Well then look no further than TDactive Holidays’ “Footsteps of the Camino de Santiago” Walking Holiday.
Check out their amazing website for more on all of the TDactive Walking Holidays you can get involved in. If you’re planning a holiday (walking or otherwise), then don’t forget to pick up your multitrip travel insurance before you go.