Navigating the Camino: pilgrimage to Santiago by sea

Tips to do the Camino

Navigating the Camino: pilgrimage to Santiago by sea


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Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela by sea. This is the proposal of the Narthmarinas group to arrive in Santiago in the same way as the Apostle: crossing the waters. Today we’re talking about the initiative Sail the Way, in which the pilgrim travels by sailing instead of on foot, bicycle or horseback.

Tradition tells us that after the death of the Apostle James in Palestine, his disciples Atanasio and Teodoro moved the Saint's body by sea to the town of Iria Flavia, nearby to Padrón. From there, his body would be carried inland to the current Compostela, where every year thousands of people from all over the world make their own pilgrimage. This first maritime pilgrimage serves as inspiration for Sail the Way, an initiative that undertakes the Jacobean Route sailing through different ports in the northern part of the peninsula.

Recognised by the Cathedral of Santiago, this new Jacobean route provide a minimum of 100 nautical miles (approximately 200 kilometres) for navigating pilgrims to reach Compostela. And, in keeping with the spirit of the Camino, the last 10 kilometres to the Cathedral must be done on foot.

Like the traditional itineraries, pilgrimage by sea as several credential points, which are located at the ports of Euskadi, Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia, integrated into the Northmarinas network: Hondarribia, Donostia, Orio, Getaria, Mutriku, el Abra, Santurzi, Bermeo, Santander, Gijón, Viveiro, A Coruña, Muxía, Muros and A Pobra do Caramiñal. There the crew can also collect the Credential issued by the Cathedral of Santiago that will accredit them as pilgrims.

3rd Sail the Way Journey

To promote this new route, Northmarinas organised on Tuesday in Santiago de Compostela an act to present the 3rd 'Sail the Way' Journey. From 10 to 29 July, around 30 sailing vessels will cross twelve stages of the Camino de Santiago, from the French port from La Rochelle to Muros and a section on foot from Monte do Goze to Santiago de Compostela. "With this journey, we seek to promote the pilgrimage by sea, living the spirit of the Camino de Santiago in another way and discovering, at the same time, the beauty, culture and traditions of the North Coast," Jesús González-Aller, representative of Northmarinas, relates in the presentation.

The event was attended by the Consellería do Mar de la Xunta de Galicia, Rosa Quintana, who was pleased that this maritime route has become a reality. "Sailing the Camino de Santiago is a new way of experiencing pilgrimage, of seeing Galicia and uniting sea culture, tradition and tourism," he recounted in a speech.

This positive experience is corroborated by nearly 300 pilgrims who have already participated in 2016 and 2017 in one of the two Sail the Way Journeys held. "The moment of departure is the most exciting," José Pombo confesses, a participant in the trip last year. "For those who like sailing, nature and the sea, it is a one-of-a-kind experience," his colleague Javier Cristobo adds, as seen in this video summary of the 2nd 'Sail the Way' Journey.

A Camino for any time of year

Although this promotional initiative will take place in the summer, the promoters of the Jacobean Route at sea remind us that this is an itinerary can be done continuously throughout the year. This was recognized by Carlos Sanlorenzo, general secretary of the National Association of Nautical Companies and Maritime Ambassador of the International Maritime Organisation in Spain, who took advantage of the event to remember the great passion for sailing that exists in Europe. A reality that, from his point of view, will help to internationalise this Route.

And you? What do you think about a pilgrimage to Santiago by sea? We’d love to hear about your experiences and opinions through comments or through our social networks: FacebookTwitter and Instagram. And whether by air, by land or by sea, safe travels!

Frederick Kirk
I would be interested in the jacobean route by sea, can it be done any time of year, and where starting etc. Is the boat manned by regular crew, costs etc,

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