The Way of St James, or St James’ Way, quite often known by its Spanish name the Camino de Santiago, is the pilgrimage to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in north-westernmost Spain where the apostle Saint James the Great is said to be laid to rest. There is no one route – the Way can be one of any number of pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela – but there are a number of main ones.
The Way of St James has been one of the most important Christian pilgrimages since medieval times – the others being the Via Francigena to Rome and the pilgrimage to Jerusalem – and it has existed for over 1000 years. The legend is that St. James’ 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.
Since the late 1980s it has attracted a growing number of modern-day pilgrims from all around the globe.
The route was declared the first European Cultural Route by the Council of Europe in October 1987 and inscribed as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 1993.