About The Camino Frances
The Camino Frances is the route of the Camino de Santiago par excellence. It is the most traditional and most popular route. The Camino Frances is the most well-known path in the world, to a large extent because it is recognised on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The Camino Frances crosses the north of the Iberian Peninsula from Saint Jean Pied de Port, the last French village, to Santiago de Compostela. A total of 760 kilometres divided into 33 stages of approximately 25 kilometres each.
Although at the end of the Camino de Santiago is, of course, the tomb of the apostle James the Elder, the beginning of the pilgrimage can be made from any point of the route. Each pilgrim chooses a starting point depending on the time he or she has or on their physical capacity.
Both Saint Jean Pied de Port and Roncesvalles, the first Spanish town on The Camino Frances, after passing through the Pyrenees Mountains, are considered as traditional starting points. However, Burgos, León, O’Cebreiro or Sarria are also common starting points among the pilgrims who travel along The Camino Frances.
In this guide of The Camino Frances, we will talk about the most important aspects of this route, as well as the main reasons why it is widely recognised as one of the most demanding for those who want to live an unforgettable experience.
We’ll specify what their stages are, how long they are and what points of interest are especially noteworthy. Follow closely if you want to know everything there is to know about The Camino Frances.
Why choose The Camino Frances?
Without any doubt, if you had to highlight the main reason why it is worth choosing The Camino Frances is that of its popularity. Indeed, from all possible routes, The Camino Frances is the one that brings together more people.
This means that it is the most likely route to meet people who, in many cases could accompany us throughout our lives.
It must also be said that, as a consequence of the fact that it is the busiest, The Camino de Santiago Frances is the best prepared in terms of infrastructure, superior to the rest of the routes. It also has eight alternative routes with which we can put together a path to our liking.
It is also true that it is the one that has more hostels along its route and that, in general, more facilities are available. It is also necessary to say that it is the oldest one since its origin (like most suggested routes) responds not only to religious motives but also to commercial ones.
That’s why from the time of the early Middle Ages it became a busy and popular route throughout Europe. Thus, another point in favour of this route is its historical baggage represented by an urban, rural and cultural heritage that comes from several centuries ago.
Information about the The Camino de Santiago Frances route
The Camino Frances has a total distance of 760 km. It begins in Saint Jean Pied de Port and in the municipality of Roncesvalles, in Navarra. As we have said, The Camino Frances arose in the period we know as the early Middle Ages. Specifically, between the 9th and 10th centuries.
It all begins with the discovery of the tomb of the Apostle of Christ, James. Apparently, after his death, his disciples would have moved him from Jerusalem to a place called the Sacred Peak.
This was the beginning of a route that not only gathered the faithful who wanted to go to Santiago as a sign of penance or the quest to fulfill any promise they had made to the apostle.
It was also a trade route that made the whole of Europe prosper because it granted a relatively safe path in the turbulent times of the Middle Ages. This indicates that the route of The Camino de Santiago Frances is a route with a great Gothic and Romanesque heritage.
The quietest ways of The Camino Frances
If you do not know, we want to tell you that, when walking on a route linked to Santiago there are several alternatives. Of course, The Camino Frances is the most popular. However, we would like to clarify at this point which are the quietest ways by those who wish to take advantage of some of these unforgettable routes.
The Journey of The Camino Frances
During its complete journey through the Iberian Peninsula, The Camino Frances crosses nine provinces of Spain: Navarre, Huesca, Zaragoza, La Rioja, Burgos, Palencia, León, Lugo and A Coruña. Throughout the journey, you can follow the traditional route or take alternative ones.
Basically, eight large alternative routes can be targeted. These are: Port of Ibañeta via Valcarlos, Cirueña via San Milán de la Cogolla, Burgos via Olmos de Atapuerca, Burgo via Santovenia de Oca, Carrión De Los Condes via Palencia and La Mansilla De Las Mulas via Vía Trajana.
Along The Camino Frances, pilgrims can visit Benedictine monasteries and Templar castles with Gothic and Romanesque styles. It will cross lush forests and rivers that whisper in its path. You will pass through numerous charming towns and be enveloped by medieval legends and Celtic magic.
Map of The Camino Frances to Santiago
Below, we have attached a map which would be necessary for The Camino Frances to Santiago:
Profile of The Camino de Santiago Frances
The Camino Frances is highly difficult. This is due in large part to its unevenness and to the areas that it crosses where, if the climatic conditions are not favourable, it can become a hard passage. It has to be said that it also is very long.
It has a total altitude of 3000 metres, that is to say, along with its various stages we will encounter high mountain passes.
This information is especially relevant for people who want to take the Camino on a bicycle because it will require a high-intensity training programme before completing it.
There are, however, many incentives to do it because despite the challenge it implies it is an unforgettable experience that gives us wonderful landscapes and a very special connection with what surrounds us and with ourselves.
Since it is the route that has more tradition, it is the itinerary of the Camino de Santiago that has better infrastructure and is better signposted.
It has a wide network of public hostels, private accommodation and accessible services. In addition, many of the provinces have improved signals in recent years.
At the same time, as it is the most famous itinerary, it is also the busiest. Fortunately, the route is quite long so that, although the rhythm of each person is very different, the presence of other pilgrims on the way does not spoil the religious or spiritual meaning for anyone.
It is true that, sometimes, due to the overcrowding of The Camino Frances, many pilgrims forget the essence of the Camino de Santiago, which is to enjoy the tour and enter a long-distance race for accommodation.
That means starting the day in the small hours or not enjoying the beautiful landscapes and urban areas that cross the route.
At this point, you should not forget that The Camino Frances has an extensive accommodation infrastructure. Both the network of hostels and the tourist accommodation are of the highest quality.
Enjoy the incredible experience of touring this medieval route should be the only concern of the pilgrim who chooses to make this itinerary of the Camino de Santiago. If you wish you can book with us and we will take care of all the travel logistics.