Officially-Appointed Representative of the Paradors, Pousadas, Chateaux & Hotels Collection and Keytel Hotels

Camino de Santiago

 The Way of Saint James

Every year, thousands of people from all over the world endeavor to embark upon the Way of Saint James. This thrilling adventure provides the perfect combination of; personal challenge, companionship, sport, nature and culture. All along the route you’ll not only discover cathedrals, monuments and monasteries, but also areas of natural beauty with picture-perfect landscapes. On foot, by bicycle or on horseback, the journey through Spain to Santiago de Compostela is an incredible experience which everyone is always eager to repeat.
Whether you are looking to undertake the Camino de Santiago or just part of it, the Paradors provide perfect ‘stop overs’ en route. These unique state-owned establishments: country houses and meticulously restored and converted castles, palaces, convents and monasteries in their superb settings are only a short distance away. The luxury of the hotels combined with the awe inspiring challenge of the journey makes this a once in a lifetime experience.
The Way of Saint James – which was declared a World Heritage by the UNESCO in 1993 – consists of a network of different roads. The route is perfectly signposted and can be done in stages. Whilst continuing along the route you’ll discover that every day is different; the variety of landscapes which one sees on route is just one of the contributing factors. Over the years the route itself has also evolved and there are many variations that may now be taken. Please find below the details of some of the most popular routes:
 
The Way of Saint James – French Route
The Saint James Way – French route appears to be the most popular of the variations. It begins in the Pyrenees and has two variants depending on where you choose to enter: Somport (through Aragon) or Roncesvalles (through Navarre). Both routes meet in the town of Puente la Reina, and then continue on towards Galicia through the regions of La Rioja and Castile-León. 
  
 Red points show the position of local Paradors.
 
Paradors en route:
·         Parador de Santo Domingo de la CalzadaThis hotel, a former pilgrims’ hostel established in the 12th century by a local saint, Dominic, is situated south of Bilbao on the old pilgrims’ route to Santiago de Compostela.
 
·         Parador de Santo Domingo Bernardo de FresnedaThis Parador, situated south of Bilbao on the old pilgrims’ route to Santiago de Compostela is located in the hospice of a former convent built in the 16th Century and provides the ideal base from which to explore the beautiful landscapes of La Rioja wine region.
 
·         Parador de LeónThis magnificent Renaissance structure is just one of many historic buildings in León, an ancient city founded by the Romans and later the capital of the medieval kingdom of León, and was intended to provide accommodation for pilgrims making their way to Santiago.
 
·         Parador de Santiago de CompostelaBuilt in 1499 by order of Ferdinand and Isabella to house visitors to Europe’s most famous pilgrimage city, the Hostal dos Reis Católicos, as this magnificent 5-star Parador is known, a 15th-century pilgrims’ hospice, is considered to be the oldest hotel in the world. This is a popular choice for the modern-day pilgrims looking to enjoy a little comfort and pampering as a reward for their labours.
 
 
Other Paradors within close proximity:
·         Parador de Olite
·         Parador de Sos del Rey Católico
·         Parador de Lerma
·         Parador de Benavente
·         Parador de Villafranca del Bierzo
·         Parador de Monforte de Lemos
·         Parador de Santo Estevo (Luintra)
 
 
The Way of Saint James – Northern Route
The Way of Saint James – Northern Route was first used by the pilgrims in order to avoid travelling through the regions that were once occupied by the Muslims in the Middle Ages. As a large part of the route runs along the coastline against a backdrop of mountains with breathtaking views overlooking the Cantabrian Sea, one of the greatest attractions of this route is its landscape. When Oviedo is reached, there is either the option to continue on the Northern Route or alternatively take the Primitive Route (Original Pilgrims’ Way).
 
  
Red points show the position of local Paradors.
 
Paradors en route:
·         Parador de HondarribiaThe Parador de Hondarribia, dominating the town from its highest point, occupies an ancient castle originally built by King Sancho II of Navarre in the 10th-century.
 
·         Parador de LimpiasComprises a 19th-century palace designed by Emilio de la Torriente for a local nobleman, plus a light and airy modern wing, designed in the Bauhaus style.
 
·         Parador de Santillana Gil BlasThis beautiful old stone building, built in the 17th and 18th centuries, was the ancestral home of the Barreda-Bracho family, and is located in the main square of one of the most attractive and well-preserved old villages in Spain.
 
·         Parador de SantillanaThis attractive Parador, which originally served as an annexe to the nearby Parador de Santillana Gil Blas, beautifully maintains the traditional local style of architecture, with stone arches, pantiled roof, wooden balconies and beamed roofs.
 
·         Parador de GijónThis attractive Parador, occupying a lovingly restored century-old water mill, and still surrounded by water, is in the beautiful Isabel la Catolica Park in Gijón.
 
·         Parador de RibadeoThe Parador de Ribadeo, with its privileged position at the mouth of the estuary, provides an ideal base for local activities, such as fishing, boating and golf, and the perfect place to stop whilst carrying out the Camino.
 
·         Parador de VilalbaThe Parador which ispartly housed in a 15th-century tower and partly in a more modern extension, using traditional stonework is a good base for exploring the surrounding area, including the cathedral town of Lugo, the pilgrimage centre of Santiago de Compostela and the miles of glorious beaches along the wild Atlantic coast.
 
·         Parador de Santiago de CompostelaBuilt in 1499 by order of Ferdinand and Isabella to house visitors to Europe’s most famous pilgrimage city, the Hostal dos Reis Católicos, as this magnificent 5-star Parador is known, a 15th-century pilgrims’ hospice, is considered to be the oldest hotel in the world.  This is a popular choice for the modern-day pilgrims looking to enjoy a little comfort and pampering as a reward for their labours.
 

Other Paradors within close proximity:
·         Parador de Cangas de Onís
·         Parador de Fuente Dé
·         Parador de Cervera de Pisuerga
·         Parador de Ferrol

 
The Way of Saint James – Primitive Route (The Original Pilgrims’ Way)
This route follows the original taken by King Alfonso II “The Chaste” in the 9th-century to visit the tomb of James the Apostle when it was first discovered. It starts in Oviedo and passes through the woods and valleys of Asturias, to link up with the French Route in Palas de Rei.
 
 Red points show the position of local Paradors.
 
Paradors en route:
Parador de Santiago de CompostelaBuilt in 1499 by order of Ferdinand and Isabella to house visitors to Europe’s most famous pilgrimage city, the Hostal dos Reis Católicos, as this magnificent 5-star Parador is known, a 15th-century pilgrims’ hospice,is considered to be the oldest hotel in the world. This is a popular choice for the modern-day pilgrims looking to enjoy a little comfort and pampering as a reward for their labours.
 
Paradors within close proximity:
·         Parador de Gijón
·         Parador de Ribadeo
·         Parador de Vilalba
·         Parador de Villafranca del Bierzo
·         Parador de Monforte de Lemos
·         Parador de Santo Estevo (Luintra)

 

THE WAY – The Way of Saint James
An image of Martin Sheen & Emilio Estevez. [Image courtesy of vocation-network.org]

The Legend of the Way

“It was a vision of dancing stars that revealed the exact burial place of the apostle St. James, who had preached along the roads of Roman Hispania. That ‘Campus Stellae’ is Compostela, where people have been making their way since the Middle Ages. Alchemists believed that those who gazed upon the Pilgrims’ Way would be transformed into golden beings blessed with immortality.”
The want of adventure? A personal challenge? Seeking the discovery of places of cultural interest? Spiritual motives? Or just looking for a different, original way to travel? These are just a few of the reasons why millions of pilgrims have decided to embark on the Camino de Santiago route for many years now. It is a route through Spain that for many people is indescribable and that almost all are keen to repeat and retell their tales.
It is this exciting and unforgettable adventure that has led to the creation of THE WAY, the latest movie from the director Emilio Estrevez, released in the UK in May 2011. The film follows Tom (played by Martin Sheen), an American doctor who travels to Jean Pied de Port, France, in order to collect the remains of his recently deceased son Daniel (played by Emilio Estevez himself) who was killed whilst caught up in a storm in the Pyrenees whilst walking The Camino de Santiago, also known as The Way of Saint James. Armed with his son’s guidebook and backpack, Tom delves on the 800km pilgrimage in attempt to reconnect to his son and complete the journey himself. He soon finds however that he is not alone on this journey as while walking he meets other pilgrims from all around the world who are likewise broken and looking for greater meaning in their lives: an Irish writer (James Nesbitt) who has been suffering from a bout of “writer’s block” included. Tom and his companions share the experience of hardship along “The Way” and consequently create a somewhat unexpected everlasting bond whilst learning some of life’s most valuable lessons; the difference between “the life we live and the life we choose”.
 
 An image from Emilio Estevez's "The Way." [Image courtesy of TIFF]
THE WAY is believed to be a very personal journey for Emilio Estrevez who recently when interviewed by ‘Hollywood News’ expressed:
‘I know something about losing a son on the Camino,’ says Estevez, whose son, Taylor, relocated to Spain after meeting his wife there. ‘So for me it was a very personal, very spiritual experience. Reconnecting with my son on that level was very gratifying.’
The film which is setting amongst stunning scenery of rolling mountains and majestic monuments of cultural heritage was filmed entirely in France and Spain along the Camino de Santiago. Many of the main actors, Martin Sheen included, and Emilio Estremez stayed in the some of the Paradors on route: the Parador de Leon and Parador de Santiago de Compostela. Part of the filming also took place in these magnificent buildings. One of the suites within Santiago de Compostela was used, along with one of the most emblematic public lounges, which was converted into a reception hall. The awe-inspiring façade of this building was also used in the making of the film.