The Camino Francés is a legendary pilgrimage route that weaves through the picturesque and stunning landscapes of northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela. The Camino Francés route, also known as the French Way, has been a spiritual path for countless travelers for over a thousand years. It is therefore the most popular route of the Camino Santiago for good reason. The Camino Francés route extends 780 kilometers from its starting point in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France, to the ultimate destination of Santiago de Compostela, Spain As you follow the footsteps of countless pilgrims in Spain who have sought meaning, connection, and adventure along this Camino Francés route for centuries, you’ll discover not only the scenic beauty of the route but also the rich tapestry of cultures, traditions, and stories that have shaped its identity.
Camino Frances route
The Camino Frances route. often referred to as the “French Way,” is the most popular Camino de Santiago route. This Camino de Santiago pilgrimage takes you during approximately 780 kilometers from its starting point in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, in the Pyrenees Mountains of France, to Santiago de Compostela, in northwest Spain.
The Camino Francés route begins in the French Pyrenees and winds its way through the beautiful Basque Country, La Rioja wine region with its capital Logroño, Castilla y León, and the Galician coast with its beautiful beaches and charming towns that is for example O Cebreiro, a picturesque village in the mountains. Along the way, you will pass through highlights such as charming villages like Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, historic towns such as Pamplona and Leon, and stunning natural scenery.
The most popular part of the Camino Francés is the last 100km, where pilgrims start walking from Sarria and will continue the route to Santiago de Compostela. This is a wonderful route for people looking for a social experience or for those new to the Camino. Walking along ‘’The French Way’’ camaraderie is very important and common. Meeting a diverse group of pilgrims from all over the world is part of this Camino the Santiago.
The ultimate goal of the Camino Francés route is Santiago de Compostela, where the magnificent Santiago Cathedral stands as a symbol of spiritual fulfillment and accomplishment. Pilgrims gather to witness the awe-inspiring Botafumeiro ritual, a swinging incense burner that fills the cathedral with a fragrant cloud, marking the end of their pilgrimage.
The sections of the Camino Francés
This is the complete Camino Francés route. All the stages are included, but there are possibilities to split some of these stages.
St-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Pamplona
The first section of the Camino Francés, starts in St Jean Pied de Port, a pretty small and walled town in the French Basque Country. From this town the route crosses the Pyrenees and will finish in Pampolna, world-famous for its Bull Run, San Fermin.The section is one of the most challenging parts. But on the other side it is also the most beautiful parts, especially if the ‘Napoleon Route’ has been taken. This route passes through the Roncesvalles Pass (1450m). A climb that is all worth it when the breathtaking views of the Pyrenees are seen. More than 20.000 pilgrims have already started their experience, their Camino the Santiago, in St Jean Pied de Port. You can be one of the next ones.
Pamplona to Logrono
This section of the Camino Francés will start in the city Pamplona, famous for its annual San Fermín Bull Run festival in early July. Your route will finish in the charming city of Logroño, located in the heart of La Rioja’s celebrated wine region, where authentic Spanish tapas await your discovery. From the pilgrim sculpture at Alto del Perdón, you will enjoy panoramic views of Pamplona behind and the vast countryside ahead, before continuing on your Camino Francés route. On this section of the Camino, you will walk across the mountains of Navarra and La Rioja vineyards, passing medieval bridges, castles, churches, and picturesque villages along the way, such as Puente de la Reina, Cirauqui, Estella-Lizarra and Viana. Stop at Bodegas Irache and the Wine Museum for a rest and a quick sip at the free wine fountain.
Logroño to Burgos
Walk the next stage of your Camino Francés route, starting from Logroño and heading to the historic city of Burgos. This stage is about 120 kilometres long and takes you through magical landscapes, picturesque villages and a rich variety of Spanish history and culture. As you walk on, you will traverse the serene countryside, explore charming towns and encounter the majesty of Burgos Cathedral, an iconic landmark along your route.
Burgos to Leon
Begin your ”French Way” from the historic city of Burgos to the magical city of León, walking around 190 kilometers. This stage of the Camino Francés takes you through rolling landscapes, rural villages and lush nature, offering a serene and reflective journey. Along the way, you will encounter the majestic beauty of the Meseta, a flat plateau region, and explore the charming city of León, where the magnificent cathedral is located. Let your Camino experience continue.
Leon to Ponferrada
Start the next chapter of your Camino de Santiago route, beginning from the fascinating city of León and walking to Ponferrada, a route of about 200 kilometers. This Camino Francés stage passes through a mosaic of landscapes, from the hilly terrain of the Meseta to the rustic beauty of the Bierzo region. Along the way, you’ll pass through charming villages, discover historical sights and cross paths with fellow pilgrims. As you reach Ponferrada, where the Cruz de Ferro awaits, let this stage help your bonding with the Camino and your fellow travelers. An unique experience.
Ponferrada to Sarria
Continue your pilgrimage of this Camino Francés, from the historic city of Ponferrada and walk about 200 kilometers to the charming town of Sarria. This stage will take you through the picturesque landscapes of Galicia, known for its lush green hills and picturesque villages. As you walk the route, you will encounter the iconic Cruz de Ferro, experience the unique Galician culture, pass the unique mountain village O Ceibreiro and cross paths with fellow pilgrims. Sarria marks the 100-kilometer mark, an important milestone, and your journey to the final destination Santiago de Compostela with its magical cathedral approaches.
Sarria to Santiago
This stage can be seen as the most popular Camino Francés route. During this route you will walk approximately 100 kilometers. This section is the highlight of your pilgrimage, taking you through charming Galician villages, green landscapes and historical sites. As you walk this route, the anticipation of reaching Santiago grows with every step. When you arrive at Santiago’s magnificent cathedral, you join an ancient tradition, complete your pilgrimage and experience a deep sense of accomplishment.