As the saying goes, all roads lead to Rome ... and with Santiago de Compostela it's pretty much the same! The most popular route - the French Way / el Camino Francés - starts from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Pont, and walking it'll take you about 35 days to arrive at Santiago, leaving some 790km of slow-travel behind. In Navarra, south of Pamplona the French Way merges with the Camino Aragonés, a 6 days' walk of 165km from Somport in the Pyrenees all the way to Puente la Reina. Starting from the Basque city of Irún, the Northern Way / el Camino del Norte follows mostly the Cantabrian coast line, a way which was very popular in early Camino days. From Irún to Santiago it's altogether 901km, the last 40km from Arzúa to Santiago are shared by both, the French and the Northern Way. The Primitive Way / el Camino Primitivo has its name for something - it's considered to be the toughest of all! And it's also the oldest, because from Oviedo it was the Asturian King Alfonso II who made the first pilgrimage to Santiago ( 343km ) when they found the remains of St. James. Compared to the Primitivo, the English Way looks like a real short-cut, but in the old days pilgrims coming from England already had a lengthly boat trip under their belts when they arrived in Ferrol, northern Galicia. And from Ferrol the remaining 119km are just enough to earn you the official pilgrim's certificate - the Compostela - when arriving in Santiago.
Coming from southern Spain, there's the Camino Mozárabe ( Mozárabes = Christians who lived under Islamic rule in Al-Andalus). Starting either from the beautiful Andalusian capital Sevilla ( 1000km to Santiago ) or even further east from the Mediterranean city of Almería ( 1420km ), this ( rather new ) Camino then connects in Mérida with the old Via de la Plata. Through western parts of Extremadura and Castile this very long Camino heads to Ourense in southern Galicia before reaching Santiago. Last not least, O Caminho Português, the Portuguese Way starts from Oporto ( 227 km ) heading north to enter Spain after having crossed the Minho River. From Tui it's only a 108km to reach Camino's final destination. And for those who really want to go all the way, there's still the Fisterra Way ... that'll be another 3 to 4 days ( or 90km ) "on the road", to finally reach the "end of the world", and a part of the Galician coastline called for some reason the Costa da Morte. Once at the Cape of Finesterre, these "hardcore pilgrims" will burn their hiking shoes or some of their clothes ... a symbol for starting a new and better life, leaving material things behind. And by the way, the number of more Caminos doesn ́t stop here - there are many more to be discovered, in and outside of Spain!