Sanitago de Compostela, the Route of St. James, Northern Spain
Since the 11th century, the route through northern Spain and extending into France has been a must for Christian devotees of St. James to solidify their faith and give a fine work-out to their thighs.
For the best coverage of the routes and the idea of pilgrimage, see the wealth of material posted by the Confraternity of Saint James. If you don't know anything about the Pilgrim's Passport or Credental del Peregrino, you're going to need to read the Camino FAQ.
If you like to read about other people's pilgrimages, how about the Dublin Pilgrimage to Lourdes. I also recommend The Italian Odyssey, the story of a couple's pilgrimage on the Italian part of the Via Francigena.
How about non-religious pilgrimage? You can follow the pilgrimage of playwright Henrik Ibsen, hiking without luggage.
How about a quick walk to the Chapels of Lombardy? See alpine pilgrimage chapels clustered together in beautiful rural settings in Northern Italy.
Just Plain Good Reading
Anthony Dyer runs a mountain trekking site for northern Europe and also has some great photos from mountain treks.
Looking for More on European Hiking?
If you'd like to start your own search for hikes in geographical areas that appeal to you, here are some tips:
- Terminology for the physical aspects: While the word "hiking" may work in web searches, much of the world uses "rambling" to describe long-distance hiking. Try "trekking" as well.
- Terminology for the trail: Try "footpath" as well as "trail" in your search.
The Last Word on Walking in Europe