Spain’s northwestern province of Galicia is home to one of the most important Christian pilgrimage sites, second in importance only to Rome and Jerusalem. The city of Santiago de Compostela contains a massive Roman Catholic cathedral where the remains of the apostle St. James are said to lie.
For centuries, the routes that lead to the city from throughout Europe have been filled with pilgrims walking on foot to reach their destination. The most popular route, the French Way, takes about six weeks to complete and is lined with religious, cultural, and artistic monuments. Pilgrim hostels along the way offer low-cost lodgings, and the cathedral in Santiago offers La Compostela, a Latin document certifying that the pilgrim has completed at least the last 100 kilometers on foot.
Did You Know? The scallop shell is the symbol of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, probably because the shells are common along the Atlantic beaches just west of Santiago.
Next site: Zaragoza, Spain
Learn more: A Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela
Lori Erickson is one of America’s top travel writers specializing in spiritual journeys. She’s the author of the Near the Exit: Travels With the Not-So-Grim Reaper and Holy Rover: Journeys in Search of Mystery, Miracles, and God. Her website Spiritual Travels features holy sites around the world.