The Way of Saint James: The Caminos de Santiago de Compostela

The Camino Walking Routes in Spain

The Camino de Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route – The Way of Saint James– is made up of a series of routes across Spain, Portugal and France, all of which end in the city of Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain. And this week four of the Christian pilgrimage routes in northern Spain were added as Unesco World Heritage sites. The newly added routes comprise almost 1500 kilometers along Spain's northern coast and through the Basque Country and Rioja regions in Spain.

Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela itself is a Unesco World Heritage site, and a must see for travelers in northern Spain and Portugal. Santiago boasts a stunning cathedral where the pilgrims receive the Compostela, which is the certificate for pilgrims who have walked at least the last 100 kilometers of the Camino, or biked at least the last 200 kilometers. Santiago also has a beautiful historic district, almost entirely pedestrian and brimming with bars, restaurants and small shops, the little touristed market–the Mercado de Abastos–and some of the best food in Spain, especially seafood.

Food in Santiago de Compostela

One of the best known dishes from Galicia (the region Santiago de Compostela is in) is Pulpo gallego (Galician style octopus), which is almost more commonly found inland than on the coast. Other popular traditional seafood found on menus and in markets include lobster, various types of crabs, berberechos (cockles), percebes (Goose barnacles), and a range of clams and mussels. The pleasure of simply walking into a traditional restaurant or bar in Santiago and finding myriad delicious–and amazingly fresh– seafood options on the menu cannot be underestimated. Some of the best seafood here is the least dressed up. For seafood lovers, Santiago, and Galicia as a whole, allow you to eat seafood multiple times per day (in the market and tapas bars) and in multiple courses (restaurants in Galicia, and in Spain, believe in multi-course meals, always).

And the wine? Galicia is the land of Albariño. The DO for Albariño is Rias Baixas which is a series of sub-zones near the coast and inland. Rias Baixas Albariño-based wines pair very well with the local seafood. There are also quality wines made in the Galician wine regions of Ribeira Sacra (mainly the Mencía grape), Valdeorras (Godello and Mencía) and Ribeiro (white and red grapes).

Walking the Camino de Santiago With Food and Wine

I have been to Galicia many times. And I lived there for 6 months in 2007. I've always loved the land, the people, the language–they speak Galego–the wine and the food. After much research and many visits to Galicia we have finally decided to begin offering food and wine tours and experiences in Santiago and along the Camino. The beauty of the Camino routes is that we will offer walking routes from 2 to 15 days with food and wine stops, cooking classes, wine tasting, winery visits, and artisan food producer visits along the way. We will also offer luggage transport services for walking the Camino. That means no bags to carry, and when you reach your hotel for the night, your belongings will be there waiting for you. We work with hotels ranging from nice to luxury. Kind of like glamping. Really it is the food and wine of the Way of Saint James with extremely nice beds every night.

Another bonus: If you don't feel like walking you can call the driver at any time and get a ride to that day's destination. Maybe it sounds like cheating, but it's not. It's doing the Way of Saint James your way.

 The Caminos

The Caminos