The Camino de Santiago de Compostela (The way of Saint James) is a collection of old pilgrimage routes which cover all Europe. All of them have Santiago de Compostela (Galicia) in north west Spain as their final destination.
The way of Saint James has been one of the most important Christian pilgrimages since medieval times and it has existed for over 1000 years. It was considered one of three pilgrimages on which all sins could be forgiven, the others are the Via Francigena to Rome and the pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
According to legends, it is said that Saint James’s remains were carried by boat from Jerusalem to northern Spain where they were buried on the site of what is now the city of Santiago de Compostela. In the middle ages the route was highly travelled and after years of decline, but since the late 1980’s the way attracted again a growing number of modern-day pilgrims from all around the world.
The route was declared the first European Cultural Route by the Council of Europe on October 1987 and inscribed as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 1993.
There is not a single route, though a few of the routes are considered main ones, as the Camino Frances, which starts in Saint Jean de Port and finishes in Santiago de Compostela about 780 km later. However you can start anywhere and finishing in Santiago, even you can continue past Santiago to the sea at Finisterre, which was thought to be the end of the world in medieval times.
Santiago de Compostela
The Camino de Santiago is for everyone: young, old, fit, unfit, religious or otherwise and most people who does the route tells about a great experience for them in many senses. And now as the post title says, Prince Phillipe and Princess Leticia of Spain got the “compostela”, that is a certification that proves that you have done at least the last 100 km to Santiago and that is what they have just done. I haven’t done it yet, but if I do it sometime I think I would do the same route as them!