There are well over a dozen different Camino routes to Santiago de Compostella that originate from all over Europe. I am taking the most traveled route, the Camino Francés. I chose this option because, as a solo traveler her first time on the Camino, I wanted to take the route with the best services and markings as well as one where I would regularly see other pilgrims.
The Camino Francés starts in St. Jean Pied de Port in Southern France, crosses over the Pyrenees into Spain and then turns west towards Santiago. It is 780 kilometers or roughly 485 miles from point to point. People start at various points along the route, Sarria being the closest starting point to Santiago where you can earn your Compostella (a beautiful certificate) because of the requirement that you must walk at least the last 100 kilometers. I decided that I would break my Camino into segments done over two to three years since I am not able to take the required 5-6 weeks off to complete the trek in one long walk.
I plan to walk from St. Jean Pied de Port to Burgos in the 16 walking days that I have alotted. Of course, there is no guarantee I will be able to do that. It is 283 kilometers or 175 miles. I know that my first day will be a short, but very steep uphill of 7 kilometers and my second day, which will include both rigorous up and downhill walking, will be 17.5 kilometers. I already have reservations for the first two nights. However, after that, I will play it by ear, but will need to average 18.5 kilometers each day in order to reach my goal of Burgos. If I don’t make it, on my last walking day, I will bus to Burgos from wherever I am and spend the night there. When I return next year, I will return to where I left off and walk on!
In the map above you can see the many different Camino routes marked with dots. I marked the Camino Francés route in green and my starting and hopeful ending points with red x’s.