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Nature freak? These 5 pilgrim routes are the best for you!

Do you love the nature? Then these 5 pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela are the best for you!


Sometimes pelgrims ask me which Camino de Santiago offers the most beautiful nature. Of course that is very personal. What one person likes is not attractive to another. But I can say something about which pilgrimsroutes to Santiago de Compostela have more nature than others. You can read it in this blog.

What nature does to you during a pilgrimage? 

I have no doubt that nature contributes positively to the experience of a pilgrimage. Nature helps you to shut yourself off from the outside world. You hear sounds that you no longer hear in our busy and noisy society. Nature is an oasis of peace. Something that many pilgrims are looking for during their pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. What I can remember very well from my own camino is that nature could suddenly change in a day. Suddenly you walked between the yellow grain fields after days of climbing hills with green forests. A very special sensation. Because you move very slowly through the landscape, you are also more aware of the changes.

How was in in the past? 

Back in the 9th century, the pilgrim always walked the quickest, easiest and safest walking route to ensure he arrived in Santiago de Compostela in good health. He or she tried, for example, to avoid the forests of Montes de Oca, on the Camino Frances. At the time, many thiefs were hiding here looking for money. So dangerous to walk there.

What does nature look like on the Camino de Santiago?

The landscape is becoming increasingly urbanized in general, but the camino to Santiago de Compostela still today contains many natural treasures. Consider, for example, the bufones near Llanes, along the Camino del Norte. If you are lucky, you can see this spectacle live and see how the water can be sprayed up to 10 meters in the air. Or the spectacular mountains of Asturias, which you pass during your walking holiday on the Camino Primitivo. A pleasure for the eye and for the pilgrim!

The pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela has traditionally not been made as a tourist walking or cycling route or to pass idyllic places. As mentioned, it used to be the fastest, easiest and safest route to get to Santiago de Compostela. Mountains and rivers are still more or less the same as in the past. Of course they also adapt to the changes in the climate.

The five pilgrimages for nature freaks

So, if you love the nature a lot, which pilgrimage is the best for you? Obviously I have not counted the number of trees along every route to Santiago de Compostela or measured the kilometers of nature with a yardstick. But based on my knowledge and experience, I can say something about the five pilgrimages that are most suitable for you as a ´nature lover´.

1. Camino Primitivo

Also called the 'Original Route', as this was the first pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. When you walk the camino Primitivo, it becomes clear why this route is becoming increasingly popular. It is one of the most challenging routes, but also one with the most breathtaking views. The Primitivo camino starts in Oviedo. The first half of the route through the Asturian mountains is spectacular. You will cross the mountain ranges Tineo, Rañadoiro and San Isidro. Besides the amount of views you will see during this pilgrimage route, you will also find fewer villages and restaurants compared to the other pilgrimage routes. So you really walk in the nature most of the time.

2. Camino del Norte

Also called the coastal route, as you walk along the spectacular northern Spanish coast. You feel the sand under your feet every day! The camino del Norte runs along the beautiful north coast of Spain with beautiful views, high cliffs and of course the sea with breathtaking beaches. After the town of Ribadeo, this route continues inland through the valleys of Vilanova de Lourenza and Mondoriedo and over the plains of Vilalba and Guitiriz. In terms of nature also a very varied pilgrimroute to Santiago de Compostela.

3. Camino Portugues along the coast

If you leave from the city of Porto and you choose the route along the coast during your walking or biking holiday, then you have many kilometers of pure Atlantic coast ahead of you. The Portuguese have done a good job creating an immense coastal path that almost connects the mouth of the Duero River with that of the Miño River. Arriving in the city of Vigo, you continue your camino through the beautiful countryside of Galicia. Galicia is indescribably green, the sea impressively blue and there are amazingly beautiful places hidden: the beaches with breathtaking cliffs, picturesque harbors along the Costa de la Muerte (the Coast of Death, due to the numerous shipwrecks), the Rías Altas (the northern tidal rivers along the west coast), with fantastic beaches, impressive cities and pretty fishing villages, and of course the Rías Bajas (the tidal rivers further south along the same west coast), with numerous natural parks and small bays. A very nice camino for those who love the nature. And a camino which you can walk and bike

4. Camino Frances

A pilgrim route that also has a lot to offer in terms of nature is the camino Frances. If you have the opportunity to walk or bike the entire Camino Frances, you will see a variety of landscapes. To start with the stages through the Pyrenees. If you start in Saint Jean Pied de Port, although it is quite a physical challenge, you can enjoy the amazing nature. Then you cross the authentic Basque Country and you will pass through Navarre famous for its hilly landscape. This is followed by the vineyards of La Rioja, Spain's most famous wine, the deserted and quiet plains of the Meseta to walk or cycle your last 100 kilometers to Santiago de Compostella in green Galicia. We can't make it more beautiful for you as a nature freak!

5. Camino dos Faros

The Camino dos Faros is a 200 km long hiking trail in Galicia connecting Malpica to Finisterre along the coastline. A route that passes all the lighthouses and the main attractions in the Costa da Morte and in which the sea plays an absolute leading role. A route that runs through many different landscapes and always has the sea in the west in sight. Lighthouses, beaches, dunes, rivers, cliffs, forests with a wide variety of birds, fishing villages and viewpoints where you can enjoy breathtaking views. A tour that takes you to a world full of unique nature sensations. You'll find 8 more reasons to walk the Camino dos Faros here.

Annemiek Nefkens

Happy Holiday Manager and camino expert