What is the path like?

All the routes are varied, from footpath to metalled highway.  Some of the footpaths are gravelled, some remain deep mud, some are strewn with boulders. Some road stretches remain (though local authorities along the Camino francés have recently made big efforts to create separate pilgrim footpaths alongside the highway).

The pass over the Pyrenees from St Jean-Pied-de-Port reaches 1,400 m, as do the Montes de León and the pass at O Cebreiro.  For the height profiles of the le Puy route, the Paris route, the Camino Francés, and the Via de la Plata, click here.

The southern part of the Via de la Plata follows the old roman road from Seville to Astorga. Many sections of it are exposed; you cross several roman bridges, and the many of the roman mile-stones are still visible.

The standard waymarks on all the Spanish routes are yellow arrows, painted on walls, trees, telegraph poles and rocks. They are generally plentiful, and it's hard to get lost.  Sometimes you will see the standard Camino de Santiago shell symbol as a sign or tile, or local variants of this.

Image showing Marker of the Way of St James

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Confraternity of Saint James,
27 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8NY, United Kingdom.
Tel: (+44) (0)20 7928 9988
Company Limited by Guarantee, Registered no. 4096721 — UK Registered Charity no. 1091140
Founded in 1983 to promote the pilgrim routes to Santiago de Compostela

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