Introduction to the Camino de Santiago
The Way of Saint James
James was the brother of John; both were part of the close-knit group of 12 apostles selected by Jesus Christ to help him spread his Gospel of repentance and forgiveness. John wrote several “books” of the New Testament of the Bible including the Gospel of John, the three epistles or letters of John, and the famed book of the Revelation. Three men named “James” played prominent roles in the early decades of Christianity after the death and resurrection of Christ. Two were apostles and one, the brother of Jesus, was author of the book of James that appears in the latter part of the New Testament. James the brother of John is the Church father for whom the Camino, the Way of Saint James, is named.
Two different legends explain how the body of James arrived on the Iberian Peninsula in the city of Santiago de Compostela. Regardless of the means of his miraculous arrival in the northwest corner of Spain, the enduring impact is the spiritual attraction the remains of James give to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. This is evidenced by the long trek pilgrims have been making to venerate or honor those remains for over 1000 years.
A ”Compostela” is a certificate of accomplishment given to pilgrims who complete the trek. According to the Roman Catholic Church, the Compostela certificate has proffered a special remission of sins to the pilgrim since the Early Middle Ages—starting in the 5th and 6th centuries.
The Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela is the objective of the pilgrim. The route taken is secondary and myriad routes have been forged over the centuries, from north, south, and east, and many points between. The French Way is the most traveled, not surprisingly since most of Christian Europe would logically arrive from the north and northeast. Second in popularity was the Camino Portuguese, the route we will be hiking.
The Portuguese Way is 625 kilometers (390 miles) long and starts in Lisbon, but the Compostela is granted for anyone walking a minimum of the last 100 kilometers. Our objective is to trek the last 120 kilometers, starting in Valença, Portugal.
Visitors come from all over the world to embark on this trek, some for spiritual reasons, some to mark a life turning point, others seeking contemplative value by pressing a very deliberate “pause” button, some simply out of curiosity or the thrill of a challenging, long-distance hike. Whatever the reason, only good can arise from hiking through a foreign land in the company of friends, rubbing shoulders with walkers from all points of the compass, and slowing the pace of life to engage in the oldest form of transport known to man.
Join us for the inaugural WAI pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago, the Way of Saint James.
- All land travel as outlined—a bus is available to the group every day throughout the itinerary
- Superior tourist-class or better hotel accommodations (no hostels)
- 19 meals: all breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 4 dinners as denoted (BLD)
- 6 Camino walk routes as listed, with opt out opportunities every 2 hours
- 1 additional walk in Portugal
- Walking fees for those collecting IVV credit (both Portugal and Spain) if sanctions approved
- 1 Camino Credential per person
- WAI guide service throughout (2 guides)
- Cultural & historical expertise of national guides (at least 2) throughout
- All tipping for guides, coach drivers, and group meals
- Pricing is based on double occupancy; a limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $550. We also offer a roommate matching service.
- Guimarães, Portugal walking tour
- Ponta de Lima, Portugal walk
- Valença, Portugal walking tour
- Combarro sunset guided tour
- Pilgrim Botafumeiro mass in Santiago de Compostela
- Santiago de Compostela walking tour
- 3 cultural tapas lunches
- 2 cultural dinners
- Countless opportunities to visit churches and religious monuments along the Camino
- More fun and educational stops than we can list!
- Day in Porto (Day 1)
- Galicia Seafood & Sunset Dinner (Day 5)