The famous pilgrimage routes of Camino di Santiago stretch across Europe into northern Spain on their way to Santiago di Compostela, and have been bringing the Christian faithful to worship at the tomb of St James (James translates as "Santiago" in Spanish) since medieval times. His remains lie in the crypt of the ornate Roman Catholic cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, which was begun in the 11th century on the site of a smaller shrine.
Of the several routes that lead to Santiago di Compostela, the longest starts in France and follows 650 miles (900 km) across northern Spain; others begin in central Portugal at Sintra, and southern Spain in Seville and Barcelona. The full route along the Way of St James can take up to a month and thousands of believers still make their pilgrimage each year. They can be spotted in the granite square outside the cathedral carrying crooked staffs topped with a clamshell – the symbol of St James.
However, not everyone has the luxury of being able to take time out of life to follow the entire route to Santiago di Compostela, but it is possible to enjoy parts of the pathway. One of the most spectacular sections of the pilgrimage trail was made famous by the 2010 movie The Way, starring Emilio Estevez, and runs along the spectacular Basque coastline between San Sebastian and Oviedo.
Known as the Camino del Norte (Northern Way), the trail winds over headlands, up and down rolling hillsides, and through famous Basque towns such as Guernica and Bilbao. A half-day stroll along the Camino del Norte from San Sebastian takes in panoramic views across the city’s crescent-shaped Bay de la Concha and the foothills of the Monte Ulia range, plus a lunch of pintxos (Basque tapas) and sparkling white wine txakoli in Pasaia San Pedro before returning to San Sebastian by motorboat.