The Camino de Santiago or the Way of St. James is a Christian pilgrimage to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain. Its believed the that the remains of the apostle St James are buried in the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. The Camino de Santiago remains as one of the most significant Christian pilgrimages since medieval times
During the Middle Ages the pilgrimage was highly traveled however, the Black Death or Plague up to around the 16th century led to its decline. There's been a steady increase in pilgrim numbers since then, with around 200,000 pilgrims walking the Camino each year; most of which walk the last 100kms to Santiago de Compostela. This is the minimum distance required to walk the Camino to obtain your Compostela.
The Camino de Santiago attracts a growing number of modern day pilgrims from a variety of religious and cultural backgrounds. While the most common method of travel is on foot, others choose to ride a bike, some even travel as some of their medieval counterparts did, on horseback. In addition to those undertaking a religious pilgrimage, the majority of pilgrims are adventure hikers who walk the route for non-religious reasons.
The most popular route for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago is the Camino Francés or Way of St. James. Historically, most of the medieval pilgrims came from France - Paris, Le Puy and St Jean Pied de Port. The most popular starting point is on the French/Spanish border at the town of St Jean Pied de Port. The distance from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostella is approximately 800 km.