There is not only one way to Santiago. There are many Ways you could walk and even the main path consists of many parts, all unique in their own right. But there are special sections, which we feel are different from the rest. We want to introduce them to you, as they shouldn't be missed and will stay locked in your Camino memory.
The Sorginaritzaga Forest
Roncesvalles to Burguete
As you leave Roncesvalles, you enter this wonderful forest. It may be early in the day, but take your time walking through it, and savour the energy. The name of the forest means "oakwood of witches" and many of the local witches covens in the XVI century met here. Finally, sustained repression resulted in 9 women being put to death. Their energy has not been eradicated from this short magical stretch of forest.
From Burgos to León
Don't believe anyone that tells you the Meseta is boring. Yes, the vast expanse can make your days be very introspective, but the sweeping vistas to the horizon are stunningly beautiful. In spring, a sea of green that is mesmerising as the wind creates waves in the wheat. In autumn, the wheat has been harvested, the green has turned to gold, almost desert like, and the emptiness really should not be missed. If you've read The Alchemist, you'll know what we mean.
Villafranca del Bierzo to Trabadelo
Just after the amazing bridge over the river as you leave Villafranca del Bierzo, you have two choices. You can either walk straight, following the road leading to the highway or you can turn right uphill only a couple of meters after the bridge. A narrow paved path leads you steeply uphill for a short section, turning soon into a gravel path. This is where the 'Camino Duro' starts to reveal its outstanding beauty. Mainly walking alone through breathtaking nature, you'll enjoy fantastic views over Villafranca and will feel sorry for the other pilgrims walking next to the highway. In our opinion this section shouldn't be a choice but a must. But then the rewarding solitude would be gone as well.
Calzada del Coto to Reliegos
The Via Romana is a magical piece of history that you should not miss. Definitely much better than walking up the alternative route following the road. You'll need extra water and food, but you'll be rewarded with a very special stretch of the Camino. Yes, it can be hot and dusty, but it has a definite magic to it, and you'll feel a wonderful sense of satisfaction at having completed a stretch that so many people avoid.
Triacastela to Sarria via San Xil
As soon as you leave Triacastela in the direction of San Xil, (not Samos), 800 year old trees line the road and lead you with their magical energy. Have an organic breakfast stop at the Albergue Ecologico El Beso in the village of A Balsa, and experience the spiritual energy of their ancient chestnut forest. One hour later, in the village of Montan, is a wonderful donativo rest stop, offering a wide variety of fruit, juices, cakes, biscuits, coffee, tea and chai. Twenty minutes later is the extraordinary Alchemist, who we describe in our Spiritual Oases section.
The end of the world …
Santiago de Compostela to Fisterra
Arriving in Santiago can be an anti-climax for many people. For all who feel the cathedral in Santiago is not much more than an extraordinarily beautiful church, and is not the spiritual end of the pilgrimage, there is good news. You can walk further to the western-most point on the European mainland. The way to Fisterra, the former end of the world, has a very different energy. It’s like the dessert after a great meal with a certain lightness: the satisfaction of having reached Santiago, and now you are doing something extra, in a way something even more profound. Finally seeing the ocean after such a long way through the countryside is very powerful. The obligatory sunset at Cape Finisterre has the potential to blow you away and become one of the most romantic moments of your life.
… and even further!
Fisterra to Muxía
By now you might find Fisterra already too crowded and touristy, the small Santiago at the ocean. For those who seek further adventure a little off the beaten track, there is the option to walk even further north up the coast to Muxía. The main route is fairly well marked. Or you could try the coastal path, where you may get lost once or twice but you'll find yourself swimming naked in the Atlantic at an uninhabited bay or stumbling through strong smelling eucalyptus forests. But finally you’ll end up at a place which feels completely different to anything you've encountered on the Way so far. For us, Muxía is the ideal place to end the Camino, uncrowded and with real soul. Its strong Celtic traditions give it a magical energy where you can rest and absorb the lessons you have learnt.