Reasons to take the challenge of walking the Camino trail

You may take one look at the challenge of walking for 780km across a large part of Spain, have a little chuckle and then dismiss it without even a second thought.

Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 8.03.45 PM

However, you would be missing out on seeing some of the most beautiful sights that Spain has to offer if you decided not to complete the Camino trail.

A route of the Camino de Santiago – the Way of St James in English – the trail represents a traditional pilgrimage that actually begins in France (Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to be precise) and finishes in Santiago de Compostela.

For a bit of a history lesson, the Camino trail was first taken by people who wanted to visit the relics of the Apostle James after they were unearthed way back in AD800. However, the relics can still be seen in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela even today.

If you choose to seek out these relics by following in the footsteps of so many pilgrims before you and walk the Camino trail, you are in for quite a few delights along the 780km route.

In fact, your adventure will take you along a pair of mountain ranges, across vast plains that is bound to leave you in awe and through a collection of orchards and vineyards. There will also be opportunities to immerse yourself in Spain’s modern culture, with walks along bustling highways and visits to vibrant cities like Burgos, Pamplona and Leon.

Of course, to truly enjoy the Camino trail you should be prepared for the journey.

For example, there is a good chance you will be moaning and complaining if you spend the entire first day walking uphill from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in footwear not suitable for climbing in.  make sure you are prepared before you go (Brantano has a variety of walking boots, which are worth a look).

Take note that the majority of the Camino trail also takes place across the top of Spain. Even though the country is known for its sweltering temperatures and year-round sunshine, you will likely feel the chill being so high above sea level.

Combat the cold weather by popping some base layer clothing under your typical hiking wear. Don’t forget to pack your camera either. After all, you will be passing Gaudi’s extravagant palace in Astorga, the extraordinary cathedral of Burgos and the monastery of San Marcos in Leon on your way from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and Santiago de Compostela. What better way to remember these excursions than having them stored permanently on film?