Sculptures and Baroque Architecture, Santiago de CompostelaA half-day tour of Santiago de Compostela and The Camino Way (‘Way of St. James’)

The Camino Way is a historic pilgrimage route that passes through France and Spain, stretching nearly 500 miles in total. The destination is Santiago de Compostela Cathedral where the tomb of Saint James (one of Jesus’s Apostles) is located.

The seashell symbol on Camino de Santiago

Why do people walk The Way of Saint James?

Thousands of people still take this scenic pilgrimage route every year for all kinds of reasons; be it a bucket list challenge, charity fundraiser or self discovery and healing. If you walk the final 100km of The Camino Way you can collect stamps for every kilometre completed and receive a certificate at the end.

Walking Camino de Santiago A small shrine on the Camino de Santiago Camino de Santiago map

Related: A fascinating day trip to Fatima from Lisbon, Portugal

The Camino Way cruise ship excursion

I booked my half-day tour through P&O Cruises (who kindly sponsored some of my experiences on this cruise for an Instagram takeover) from the port of A Coruña – though it is possible to visit on a cruise from Vigo too.

A Coruna Port Coach tour of Camino Way and Santiago de Compostela

The Santiago de Compostela tour was around 6 hours long and began with a coach journey north for around an hour, including a refreshment/toilet stop where we were given a granola bar, banana and bottle of water.

Our tour guide explained The Camino Way in great detail during the journey, passing around a map and explaining the 3km section we would be walking.

See more: Day tours from Santiago de Compostela or Compare reviews of Cruise Ship Excursions to Santiago de Compostela

Walking The Camino Way in rural Galicia

We were dropped off near O Pino, an area of rural farmland east of Santiago, where cows roam freely in the road. It didn’t take us long to spot the symbol that guides pilgrims – the seashell – which represents all the different pilgrimage routes that meet in one place, the Cathedral of St. James.

Seashell symbol of The Camino WayO Pino near Santiago de Compostela, Spain

As we began walking The Way of St. James we passed many friendly folk who’ve been walking for days and were tantalisingly close to finishing.
We also noticed many nearby farmhouses have converted their properties into cafes, bars and B&Bs to capitalise on the constant passing trade.

Beer bar stop off for pilgrims near Santiago de Compostela

After dodging a heavy April shower (it is Galicia after all), we boarded the coach to Santiago de Compostela.

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A self guided tour of Santiago de Compostela

The tour guide showed us into the main square of Santiago de Compostela before giving us free time to explore the small city. I headed straight to the Cathedral to see what thousands of people walk for weeks to experience. I can imagine what an achievement it must feel to walk along the cobbled streets as the twin spires emerge before your eyes.

Side street in Santiago de Compostela

The Cathedral was actually a bit of a building site inside, I can only assume necessary restorations works are taking place for a building that’s welcomed people for over 800 years. That didn’t stop people from taking those important steps up to St. James’s tomb where you can ‘embrace the Apostle’ by cloaking your arms around his statue.

Bars and cafes in Santiago de Compostela Santiago de Compostela pretty gardens

To finish off our time there we called into a local cafe and explored the pretty side streets and gift shops that make up much of the city centre.

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Is a day tour of Santiago de Compostela worthwhile?

This cruise ship excursion and perhaps most other independent day tours to Santiago de Compostela are a great taster for those interested in The Camino Way – particularly if you’re not able to do the full route or would like to in the future. The section we did was very flat and people of all ages were able to keep up at our leisurely pace.

Read on: Ports of call adventures – including Santorini, Kotor and the Norwegian Fjords
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  1. It was an excellent excursion with an over view of the Camino Way. Not sure if I could manage the whole route, but would love to walk the last 100km.

  2. What a beautiful tour Ed. Dazzling.

  3. Very interesting stuff

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