To finish in Santiago de Compostela, or not?

Santiago de Compostela

The question was:

I will be heading out on my first Camino in May and need some advice with my plan. I only have three weeks and can’t walk the whole way so… should I plan my route to end in Santiago or start in St. Jean get as far as I can and return at a later date to finish it off. I would like to know I walked the whole way but will not have that time available for years to come do do it in one shot.

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9 Replies to “To finish in Santiago de Compostela, or not?”

  1. I am in a similar situation and eagerly await reading folks thoughts! I am also looking in to other/shorter routes.

    1. My first Camino was from St Jean to Santiago with no stops and there is something to be set for walking the whole route uninterrupted. Second time round we did a section and entered Santiago by train – just not the same. Consider doing the Portuguese Camino from Porto to Santiago which is much shorter and very beautiful.

  2. I was in the situation two years ago. I had three weeks time and I decided to start in Leon (logistically easier to start than in some village before). It took me ca. 2 weeks to go to Santiago and after a stay for 2 nights I went further three days to Finisterra.
    I absolutely enjoyed it. This was also the reason why one year later I had another three years and started in St. Jean then and walked to Leon to finish it. Or at least I almost walked to Leon (I skipped two passages in the Meseta).
    I would recommend to do it like this. If you don´t really know if you really like it, then you have at least finished it for the first time. If you start in St. Jean and don´t like it, then you never know how it would be like to get to Santiago. 😉

    1. Of course I meant another three “weeks” one year later and not “three years” 😉

    2. So similar to my experience, Started in Logrono, went to Santiago and Fisterra in 2011, in 2012 walked SJPP to … Logrono!

  3. I recommend starting in St Jean, and coming back later to finish. That way you have something to look forward to and something pushing you to come back again.

  4. I walked from Oviedo and arriving in Santiago I just had to carry on as I had the time to do so. In Finesterre I had the feeling I had to go on to Muxia. This was the ‘greatest’ end to my Camino. So if you can, go on and keep walking. As Tom said in the movie The Way.. it’s just a long walk!

  5. I had a little over three weeks and walked from St. Jean to Burgos, then took a bus to Leon, and again to O Cebreiro… walking the final week to finish in Santiago. Honestly if I had to do it again I would have tried to spend more time earlier on, since closer to Santiago it gets really crowded and more of a rush for beds. I would suggest to walk three weeks and then come back and do the rest later… early on I enjoyed the continuity of walking and meeting some familiar faces along the way, something we lost completely when we took a bus in the middle.

  6. There are of course many possibilities to solve this problem, but I think taking the bus (as P. Coelho and others have done) and skipping parts of the Camino is not a good idea, because (a) you will lose part of the experience (the walk from Burgos to León is in many ways remarkable, not to say wonderful, except for some small parts, as for instance between León and Boadilla del Camino), and, in addition, (b) you will have to leave Camino friends behind.

    The following two are, to my mind, the best options: 1. Start in St. Jean, then walk as far as seems good to you, then come back another year to continue. 2. Start in, say, Logrono and then walk all the way to Santiago.

    Personally, if confronted with your dilemma, I would without doubt choose the first one of these two options. Then you’ll have few regrets, many good memories and in addition something to look forward to.

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