Where the original Camino de Santiago starts

There is a wide network of pilgrim routes leading to the Cathedral of Compostela, but many wonder where the Camino de Santiago officially begins. The truth is that you cannot establish a single place as a point where the original Camino de Santiago starts from.

Map showing where each of the Camino de Santiago routes begins and ends

In ancient times, the Camino de Santiago departed from the door of each pilgrim’s house. However, at present, following the recovery of the Camino de Santiago routes, which occurred at the end of the 20th century, each of the official pilgrim’s sections have a point from where the Camino de Santiago begins.

Many pilgrims think that Saint Jean Pied de Port is the starting point on the Camino de Santiago. This is because this is the place where the Camino Frances begins, which is the most popular route among pilgrims.

If you are interested in doing the Camino Frances from Saint Jean Pied de Port, here, in Santiago Ways we can take care of organizing the tour for you. Tell us who you would like to live the experience with and on what dates and we’ll take care of everything else.









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If the Camino Frances is not your thing and you prefer to make your pilgrimage on another of the many official routes, read on. Below we explain where the Camino de Santiago departs from on each of the main routes.

Where the Camino de Santiago del Norte starts from

The Camino del Norte, as well as the Camino Primitivo, are the two oldest pilgrimage routes. Both routes, like the Camino Frances, are listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.

You could say that Oviedo is the place where the original Camino de Santiago begins, since from there the first pilgrims departed to Compostela. However, this route, being much more difficult than others, was soon abandoned, so it cannot be said that it is the route that most pilgrims have used.

Map with the route from Irun, where the Camino del Norte begins

In that sense, Irun, from where the Camino del Norte begins, is a much more in demand as a starting point. Pilgrimage with the Cantabrian Sea as a backdrop is one of the great attractions to choose Irun or San Sebastian as starting points of the Camino de Santiago.

Where the Camino Ingles begins

This is one of the shortest routes on the Camino de Santiago. From Ferrol, where the Camino Ingles begins. From this Galician municipality to Compostela, there are approximately 120 kilometres. Therefore, it is one of the favourite routes among pilgrims who have a few days to pilgrimage but want to complete an entire route.

Where the Camino de Santiago begins: Other routes

Below we indicate other locations from where the Camino de Santiago de Compostela begins. Each of them is the starting point of official pilgrim routes and, therefore, we can also consider them as places from where the original Camino de Santiago begins.

  • Lisbon where the Camino de Santiago Portugues starts.
  • Porto, where the Camino Portugues de la Costa starts.
  • Seville, where La Via de la Plata starts.
  • Ponferrada, where the Camino de Santiago de Invierno starts.
  • Alicante, where the Camino de Santiago del Sureste starts.

Of course, all the cities we mentioned in this article refer to the first stage of each route. But you should know that on all the routes you can join from any location along the route.

For example, 1 in 4 pilgrims choose Sarria as the starting point for their pilgrimage. This is because Sarria is located only 100 km from Santiago de Compostela, therefore, we must also consider Sarria as one of the traditional points from which the Camino de Santiago Frances begins.

You see that establishing where the Camino de Santiago begins is quite relative and depends, to a large extent, on which route you choose. However, no matter where you choose to start the Camino de Santiago, in Santiago Ways we can help you organize your pilgrimage. Contact us and we will provide you with more information.

Buen Camino!