If your plans include covering the Way of Saint James –one of the oldest and most famous routes in Europe– and you’re looking for help to organise your journey and ideas for accommodation, you may be interested in reading this content on the bono Iacobus. It offers you seven alternative itineraries through Galicia all ending at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. All the routes will lead you along historic paths and are organised into stages. What’s more, you will stay at a different country house lodge every day with breakfast and dinner included. Along the way you will encounter picturesque villages, lush forests, Roman bridges, typical old buildings such as granaries, etc.
8-day route (7 stages) on the French Way (165 kilometres)
The French Way –a World Heritage Site– is the most popular route for reaching Santiago. The stretch proposed on this pass leaves from O Cebreiro (Lugo, Galicia). On your journey you will discover monuments such as the Samos Monastery (one of the oldest in the West), the chapel of El Salvador (with a cypress tree that is over 1,000 years old) or museums like the Terra de Melide, housed in an old pilgrims’ hospital.At the end of each day, you will have access to accommodation ranging from restored country houses with hundreds of years of history, to a former mill or an old wolf-hunting lodge. In the rural dining rooms you can savour local products such as aguardiente liqueur from Portomarín.
8-day route (7 stages) on the South-east Way - Silver Route (184 kilometres)
The Silver Route was already being used during the times of the old Roman Empire to connect the south with the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula. This route starts in Verín (Ourense, Galicia) and proposes stops in charming villages such as Xinzo de Limia or Allariz or in the city of Ourense, where you simply can’t miss the wonderful thermal water springs and baths. Along the way you can visit the medieval fortress of Monterrei, the Colegiata de Sar church or the enigmatic Templar building at Armeá.You can spend the nights in a restored 17th century pazo (a type of Galician traditional house) with all the comforts, in houses with secret hidden staircases, in a former apothecary with extensive gardens… Remember to try the famous San Cristovo de Cea bread.
6-day route (5 stages) on the Portuguese Way (115 kilometres)
The route starts in Tui (Pontevedra, Galicia) and will lead you into ancient dense forest, through pretty towns like Redondela or give you the chance to relax in the thermal town of Caldas de Reis. You can also stop in the city of Pontevedra, where you can visit the church of the Pilgrim Virgin, a reference point on the pilgrimage.Get ready to stay in a stunning traditional house (pazo) complete with 80,000 square metres of stunning gardens and underground tunnels, or in a hundred-year-old house with its own forest. When it comes to meal times, you can’t miss the chance to try the Arcade oysters or the famous Padrón peppers.
7-day route (7 stages) on the Northern Way (193 kilometres)
This route along the Cantabrian coast is perhaps the most historic and one where nature is the star feature. The pass proposal starts in Ribadeo (Lugo, Galicia), where you escape to spend some time on the stunning beach of As Catedrais. The route passes through monumental cities like Mondoñedo as well as monasteries that are well worth a visit, such as the Vilanova de Lourenzá or the Sobrado de Monxes, one of the most iconic in Galicia.The rural accommodation on this route offers you places ranging from an 18th century manor house surrounded by oak forests and located on the banks of the Tambre river, to charming houses complete with wood burning ovens, or a traditional lareira (a hearth for cooking and heating the house). You simply can’t leave without first trying the capons and cheese from San Simón in Vilalba or the famous cheese from Arzúa.
6-day route (6 stages) on the Primitive Way (156 kilometres)
As its name suggests, it is the first known pilgrimage route to Santiago and the full route leaves from the city of Oviedo (Asturias). In this case the pass proposes starting in A Fonsagrada (Lugo, Galicia), where you can see the fons sacrata (sacred fountain), whose origin is associated with a miracle of St James the Apostle.One of the must-visit places along the route is Lugo, the oldest city in Galicia, with more than 2,000 of history and where you can’t miss the chance to take a stroll along the ancient Roman city wall, declared a World Heritage Site. Neither should you miss the Church of Santalla de Bóveda with one of the most interesting early medieval murals in the Iberian Peninsula.An example of the accommodation you could opt for is a manor house set in 70,000 square metres of land with indigenous trees like oak, chestnut, holly, birch and ash.
3-day route (3 stages) on the English Way (75 kilometres)
The English Way was one of the most frequently used pilgrimage routes to reach Compostela along the coast in medieval Europe. This variant departs from the pretty coastal city of A Coruña (A Coruña, Galicia) with some essential sights such as the Tower of Hércules, one of the oldest active Roman lighthouses in the world and listed as a World Heritage Site. You can go inside and admire the spectacular surroundings. You can also visit several charming towns and villages, staying in places such as a house on the riverbank associated to the Eco-Museum Costa da Egoa – Molinos de Batán. Once there you can take a trip along the Abelleira river to see 14 water mills with dams and waterfalls.
5-day route (5 stages) on the English Way from Ferrol (118 kilometres)
If you choose this option, you will start your journey in Curuxeiras, in Ferrol Port. You will pass through maritime towns, such as Pontedeume, where you should definitely pay a visit Andrade castle’s keep. You will also stop at Betanzos, with areas of outstanding beauty next to the Mendo and Mandeo rivers, as well as some pretty churches such as Santa María del Azogue and San Francisco. One of the loveliest beaches on this route is at A Magdalena in San Martiño.The accommodation offer includes a convent that dates back to 911, but since refurbished and boasting all the comforts.
These are the seven routes you can do with the bono Iacobus pass to reach Santiago de Compostela, although there is also an extra option which consists of taking a seven day journey from Santiago to the pretty village of Muxía following the Costa da Morte.You can take out the bono Iacobus for use the whole year round, except in August and Easter Week. For more information or to buy it, you can call 902 190 160 / +34 981 568 521, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit this website. Grab your backpack and some comfortable shoes and come and discover Galicia by doing one of these small stretches of the Way of Saint James. At the end of each stage you will be picked up by car and taken to your rural accommodation. You can order a picnic for each day’s journey. We can assure you it is an experience you will remember forever.