Trip of the week: walking the Camino de Santiago

Think of this hike as a ‘gentle fell’ in the Lake District but with ‘glorious Spanish sunshine’

Pilgrims walking along on the Way of St. James in Spain
Pilgrims have trekked the Camino since the ninth century
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Pilgrims have trudged the Camino de Santiago in northwest Spain since the ninth century, says Jeff Prestridge in The Mail on Sunday. If you like a walk, and your knees are up to it, it could be “up your street”. Think of it as like “gentle fell walking in the Lake District – but instead of the rain, there is glorious Spanish sunshine on your back”.

There are several routes to choose from, and while some people insist that the Camino should only be tackled from one of its starting points on the French side of the Pyrenees, that takes time –and a certain comfort with heights.

The more practical option is to do the Camino’s last leg, which winds from Sarria to Santiago. At 71 miles long, it’s still a “fulfilling” walk and, most importantly, it still qualifies you for “a well-earned certificate at the end”. Besides, if you really love it, you can always come back and try the whole thing.

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Many young people do the Camino by staying at hostels along the way, but if you use the travel firm Macs Adventure, it will book your accommodation for you and arrange luggage transfers, so you can walk unencumbered. Once you set off, it’s just a matter of following the yellow arrows and stamping your Camino “passport” at cafés and churches along the way.

You may get lost (I did), but it’s hard to go completely off track, as there are normally other “Camino pilgrims” doing the route too. They come from all over the world, and meeting them is what makes the journey so special. The food is pleasingly rustic (“if you like chorizo, this is the place to come”), and the scenery is “beautiful”, with eucalyptus trees that soar “to the heavens”.

To add to all those delights, you can expect to “lose a pound or three in weight” and “learn more about yourself (good and bad)”. The route ends at “the awe-inspiring” Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. When I finally made it, “I shed a tear”.

An eight-day itinerary starts at £625pp on a b&b basis. Flights and transfers extra (

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