A trip to Santiago de Compostela

Jan 9, 2013
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We’re planning to venture to Santiago de Compostela in the spring. We have a Hymer and a Smart car. Until recently, we towed the car by means of an A frame, but have just bought a Woodford trailer to ensure we are legal in Spain.

Any advice on the best route? Should we take the coast road or the Camino Francés through Pamplona, Burgos and Leon?

We haven’t even decided whether to cross to France or Bilbao or Santander yet. We’ve heard reports of very rough crossings.
 
Jul 5, 2013
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Via Burgos and Leon is a better and quieter road, but scenery can be a bit boring because you are mainly up on he plain. And both of those Cities are good to stop at and visit. Both have free Aires within walking distance of the city centre. We especially liked Leon. Few tourists but mainly for the locals, lovely atmosphere. Helped that we found a good tapas bar. The coast road has better scenery but is twistier

We visited Santiago de Compostela last spring and were very disappointed with it. Designed to suck money out of visitors. The weather did not help - blowing a gale and heavy showers so horizontal rain. Stopped at the large car park Aire. About 12 Euros a night I think. Has water and dump and is easy bus ride into centre. We will not be returning.
 

cliffandger

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We loved Santiago de Compostella. We stayed the night before in an Aires in the town of Milladoiro - it's in the car park of a sports centre - with a short walk into town. We spent Saturday night there - visiting four bars, eating amazing tapas in each one and spending a total of €20 on the whole evening!

We drove the van into the Park and Ride in Santiago the next day, and caught the bus into town. As @peterc10 says, it is full of tourist tat, but so are many other places - you have to look past it, albeit stopping to buy a fridge magnet on the way.....

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I had always wanted to see it after reading the brilliant book by Tim Moore 'Travels with my donkey - one man and his ass on a pilgrimage to Santiago' - and I wasnt disappointed.

We were in the cathedral when the Pilgrims Mass was going on so had unfettered access to the Statue of St James in the High Altar...

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An amazing experience - followed by octopus and wine, served in Pilgrims cups in a wonderful back Street bar, recommended in the Rough Guide book...
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As I said - what disappoints one, pleases another - I hope this helps!

I may be prejudiced though, as others know, ( @Anthea M ) I go out of my way to find religious relics, and they don't come much more important than St James Bones, although I have seen Christ's blood in Germany..... Wood from the manger in Rome.... St John The Baptist's head in Amiens..... Three complete papal skeletons in Croatia..... I could go on.....

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Minxy Girl

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We've been and to be honest thought it wasn't the nicest of places ... loads of tourists and pilgrims as you'd expect but other than the 'relic' which draws in the religious crowds, it didn't have much else to offer non-religious tourists ... we certainly wouldn't go back, feel the same about Lourdes ... lots of religious 'hype' but nothing of substance to see in reality.
 

jumartoo

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We cycled to Santiago from the Pyrenees so it had a different meaning for us and we saw the botofumero swinging at the service. Even though we're not religious it was a fantastic sight. We stayed two days and saw everything there was to see. The following year we cycled from Seville on the Via de la Plata but stopped short of Santiago as we'd "done" it! It's not somewhere we needed to see again.
 
Sep 10, 2012
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There must be something that causes thousands to treck there every year but I couldn't see it. Probably worth a day of anyones time but thats about it.
Now the North and West coast of spain thats another story. Great area to visit, meander along the coast and cut inland to the mountains, rugged west coast and try to take in some of North Portugal. We spent 3 weeks and could have taken twice that.
As for the ferry as we left the English channel I just took a pill and went to bed.
 
OP
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Many thanks to you all. It’s something I’ve promised I’ll do since our daughter was very ill (and recovered) in 1995. I think it should be walked really, but I’m too old for that. We’ll try to look beyond the tat.
 

jumartoo

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It's not the destination, it's the journey!!!

That's what makes thousands walk across, up, down Spain to arrive at Santiago. It's the "finding themselves" using their own energy to propel themselves for hundreds of kilometres and the friendships they make whilst doing it.

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May 15, 2008
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We have been to Santiago de Compostela twice (guess where my forum name comes from:)) and we were once lucky enough to see the Botafumeiro swinging which is mightily impressive.

https://caminoways.com/see-botafumeiro


For a confirmed atheist I have a strange fascination with religious buildings and their history,the town is not especially interesting but the market is worth a look and the Cathedral is impressive.
 
Aug 18, 2011
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Via Burgos and Leon is a better and quieter road, but scenery can be a bit boring because you are mainly up on he plain. And both of those Cities are good to stop at and visit. Both have free Aires within walking distance of the city centre. We especially liked Leon. Few tourists but mainly for the locals, lovely atmosphere. Helped that we found a good tapas bar. The coast road has better scenery but is twistier

We visited Santiago de Compostela last spring and were very disappointed with it. Designed to suck money out of visitors. The weather did not help - blowing a gale and heavy showers so horizontal rain. Stopped at the large car park Aire. About 12 Euros a night I think. Has water and dump and is easy bus ride into centre. We will not be returning.

Just shows how we are all different,,we loved it,,Stopped on a site in the city,,weather unusually sunny,,,BUSBY.
 
Aug 18, 2011
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Many thanks to you all. It’s something I’ve promised I’ll do since our daughter was very ill (and recovered) in 1995. I think it should be walked really, but I’m too old for that. We’ll try to look beyond the tat.

40 day walk from Biarritz,,(14 days if your a BBC celeb and get a lift most of the way) Would imagine providing the weather was ok it would be very enjoyable,,BUSBY,,

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Aug 18, 2011
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We've been and to be honest thought it wasn't the nicest of places ... loads of tourists and pilgrims as you'd expect but other than the 'relic' which draws in the religious crowds, it didn't have much else to offer non-religious tourists ... we certainly wouldn't go back, feel the same about Lourdes ... lots of religious 'hype' but nothing of substance to see in reality.

Very good at marketing The Catholic Church,,,bet they could sell Time Share and Double Glazing successfully,,BUSBY:):)
 
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They sell tickets to the kingdom of heaven, if you can sell tickets to that place, you can sell anything.:LOL:

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Minxy Girl

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They sell tickets to the kingdom of heaven, if you can sell tickets to that place, you can sell anything.:LOL:
... but having seen some of those wanting to go there I'm not sure I'd want to join them anyway! :ROFLMAO:
 
OP
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We’re about to set off in our Hymer. Any advice on the best route would be welcome. Should we follow the coast or strike inland? With quite a large vehicle, a good road is an issue.
 

jumartoo

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Any N road in Spain is good for any vehicle. The Camino Frances follows the route of major roads (or rather it's the other way round) and there are plenty of places to visit and park up for the night.

As a "walk" some parts are awful but it's not a walk it's a pilgrimage!

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OP
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Well, we did it. We went by the coastal route, and returned via Leon and Burgos. We stayed at As Cancelas site in Santiago which was fine - a good location, adequate pitches and clean.

We visited the cathedral, which was fine. Then the next day we attended Mass. There were people there from all over the world. Even the priests. The service was cheerful and business like. This was a working cathedral. I didn’t expect to see the censer swinging but after mass, a group of men surrounded the rope trailing from it and started the process. Unbelievable.

We got there the easy way. I respect those that walked it. We passed many as we drove back. The weather was atrocious to cap it all. I think a previous writer got it right. It’s the journey that matters. Doesn’t matter what faith or no faith you hold.
 
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