Best Starting Points for One Week Route on the Camino de Santiago

The Pilgrimage to Santiago along the Camino de Santiago is a one of a kind experience. While many would love to walk the entire way, it is not always easy to get away from our day-to-day duties and responsibilities for a whole month. So here following on from the post listing the best start points for two weeks on the Camino is the best starting point for one week.

Rather than giving up the journey altogether, many pilgrims opt to undertake a shorter one-week version of the Camino.

When time is limited, people want to make the most of the experience. Thus, the pressing question on the minds of to-be one-week pilgrims is that of the best starting point.

Where should you kick off your journey to get the best of the Camino de Santiago in a short period of seven days?

Camino Frances from Sarria

If you are in for the most classic of experiences, Sarria is probably the best place to start. It is just over 100km away from Santiago which complies with the minimum distance to receive the pilgrim’s certificate. Depending on your physical condition and preference, you can divide your journey into 5 to 7 stages. Personally, I recommend you to take it slow. You only have a few days on the road, so it’s important you savour it.

The main stopping points are Portomarin, Palas de Rei, Arzua, Melide, and Pedrouzo. The terrain is relatively easy yet varied supplying you with plenty of breathtaking views. The route will take you through a lovely countryside riddled with streams and rivers, hidden in the shade of oaks and chestnut trees.

Although there are a few asphalt roads on the stage from Portomarin to Palas de Rei, the next stage to Arzua will surprise you with beautiful eucalyptus forests. The road is winding but there are no significant ascents or descents that should worry you.

Perhaps the only downside of this route is it is very busy. Being the last part of the most popular of the Camino ways, it is also the busiest, depending on what time of year you walk. If you are looking for a more solitary experience this is not the route for you, as the number of pilgrims can leave you feeling overwhelmed. However, if this is your first time on a similar journey, you can enjoy an authentic pilgrim experience while having the safety of well-built infrastructure and services.

Camino Portugues from Tui

If you want to get a taste of two different cultures, Camino Portuguese might be the right choice for you. Tui, similarly to Saria, is a little over 100km from Santiago (118km) and can be walked in six to seven comfy stages of around 20-25 km a day. This way is probably the easiest regarding ascends and descends from all the Caminos, making it easy on your knees.

This route takes you through peaceful forests that wrap you in vivid greenery, rich farmlands, and lovely historic towns with plenty of stories to tell. The main stops on the way are O Porriño, Redondela, Pontevedra with its typical Galician old town center, Caldas de Reis and Padron. The way will take you to the coast, to the town called Arcade that is well-known for its Oyster Festival.

Compared to Sarria, this route is much calmer yet not too solitary, after all the Portuguese way is the second most popular Camino Frances. It offers a full dose of historical jewels as well as natural beauty which makes it one of the top one-week choices for pilgrims all over the world.

TIP: If you are traveling in summer and want to enjoy a bit more of the coast, start in the alluring seaside town of Baiona (128 km from Santiago) which lies on the coastal variant of the Portuguese way. After giving you 43 kilometers of stunning coastal views, it joins the original route at Redondela.

Camino Primitivo from Lugo

Starting in Lugo will allow you to experience the oldest recorded route to Santiago de Compostela. Due to its long history, the Camino Primitivo is sprinkled with Roman ruins and monuments. There is something worth seeing in almost every stage of the journey. Lugo itself is protected by the best preserved Roman wall in Europe. You will leave Lugo through the oldest city gate following the historic tracks that connect tiny old villages like Seixalvo, Xende, and Ferreira.

You will pass through cool green woods and extensive farmlands, following old paved Roman roads and picturesque medieval bridges. The Camino Primitivo joins the Camino Frances in Melide.

This is a great choice if you want to get a little bit of both worlds. A little taste of the original route will give you a couple of days of peace and solitude as well as the experience of the classic French way so many times referenced in books and movies around the world.

Via de la Plata from Ourense

Out of all the last 100km routes before Santiago de Compostela, Via de la Plata from Ourense probably offers the most fairytale-like experience. With 111 km, the distance can be conquered in 5 to 6 days, (7 if you want to take your time). It is the best choice for those seeking a bit of peace and quiet far from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

The city of Ourense is impressive in itself, conveniently located on both shores of Rio Mino and known for its 12th-century cathedral and natural thermal springs. The way takes you through lovely lush Galician countryside that bursts with greenery. The main stops along the way are Cea, Castro Dozón, Lalin, Silleda and Ponte Ulla.

You will encounter quiet woods, farmlands and sleepy ancient villages with lovely Romanesque churches and chapels. This part of the Camino is a real jewel in the rough.

Is There More?

Of course! There are plenty more! For example, if you want to complete the whole pilgrimage but only have seven days, Camino Inglés starting in Ferrol is perfect for you.

The whole pilgrimage is no longer than 120 km. While the first kilometers can be a bit industrial, the stage between Miño and Hospital de Bruma will make up for any asphalt roads you had to cross.

If you are feeling rebellious and yearn to swim against the flow, starting in Muxia, following to Finisterre, and making your way to Santiago from the east is a fascinating option.

The way is waymarked both ways, so you do not need to worry about getting lost or confused. Plus, you are bound to encounter many pilgrims with intriguing stories. The whole route is slightly over 100km and filled with inspiring coastal views, eucalyptus forests, and farmlands dotted with quiet forgotten settlements.

Not everyone is interested in getting all the way to Santiago, so if you are one of those who simply want to enjoy the hike, you have plenty of options to choose from. For instance, any stage in the Basque Country (whether on Camino Francés or Camino del Norte) is definitely worth checking out. Serious hikers will enjoy the mountainous challenge that comes with it while enjoying the spiritual serendipity of the Camino.

17 thoughts on “Best Starting Points for One Week Route on the Camino de Santiago”

  1. I was fortunate to walk Camino Frances in 2019. I am blessed for the experience. Each day since a Camino memory randomly pops up in my day. The trek changed me. I will always be forever grateful for the lessons learned, the amazing natural beauty and people on the journey. I have found it to true for me, Camino starts when one returns “home”.

  2. My wife and I so appreciate your newsy, totally relevant updates. The 120 miles we covered from St, Jean in 2019 was the highlight of our decades together. Thank you for some interesting one week options!!

  3. Sarria?? NO! NO! NO! It is a tour, not a pilgrimidge! You are surrounded by day tripping hikers with their buses sitting and idling every quarter mile! Forget it! Start at SJPDP and do a week every year!

  4. My wife and I started our Camino in Sept’18 from SJPdP to Estella. Part 2 was Estella to Burgos in May’19. Probably the most enjoyable ‘holidays’ we have had in our 45 years together. Covid hit and ruined our plan to complete the Camino by Sept’20 but we can’t wait to get back, hopefully this year.
    If you only intend doing a week or so start at St John. You will want to go back and complete another section. Everyone is on a high starting their walk. Day 1 can be brutal if hot but break it at Orisson if you want to ease yourself into it. You get the first real Camino community experience in Orisson with the communal dinner.

  5. Is the Camino Portugese via Tui will provide you a certificate as well similar to Camino Frances via Sarria? Thanks.

  6. I started in SJPdP in 2011 and had to stop in Burgos due to a bad knee. I so much wanted to go back to finish the walk, but didn’t have the opportunity until 2014. After having lived for some time in a war zone with no possibility to practice walking, I started directly after coming back home. Wise from my first experience, I skipped the hardest but most beautiful part – the Pyrenees which I already had done once – and started in Pamplona. I finished in Santiago four weeks later. That was absolutely gorgeous.
    Two years later I did the via Podiensis from Le Puy-en-Velay to SJPdP, the most beautiful trail! 2018 and 2019 I did most part of Le Chemin du Piémont Pyrénéen, starting in Beziers and following the Canal du Midi. I hope I will be able to do a four or five weeks trail this summer.
    My suggestion to all pilgrims is to try to have as much time as you can, and do a full walk if possible. It’s not until 5-6 days that I am really into it, and starting to enjoy 100%. And I found some really good friends during my walking.

  7. Thank you for the post! it is so helpful! my first Camino I want to start this October about 20th. I have only 8 days. So Im looking where to exactly start! Loved the comments as well. If have any unique suggestions, ill appreciate 🙂

    • Hello Tania, where did you start from eventually? 🙂 I’m also thinking about 8 days of walking. Any experience shared is worthwile 🙂 Thank you!

  8. Where you start depends on whether you want to get your Compostela on that trip. For me, the best part of my Camino Frances, as hard as it was, was the trek over the Pyrenees Mountains from Saint Jean Pied de Port. Watching the sunrise over the fog-blanketed mountains was a special treat.

  9. I walked the Camino Frances in September 2022. It’s true the first day is brutal. Don’t skip the Meseta, Beautiful and the solitude is mindblowing.
    After Saria everything changes. Suddenly literally hundreds of tourists who seem to talk and make noise all day long. After 680 km of peace and quiet where everyone is considerate of the others, the atmosphere changes.
    Choose a short route that starts everywhere except in Saria.

  10. I began my journey from Burgos in 2017. I walked 510 kilometers in 21 days at the age of 69. I met the most remarkable people on my pilgrimage. Now at the age of 75, I would love to walk the 800 km from SJPDP but I need to convince the wife.

  11. I know that weather is a factor, but I have a week at the end of February open and I would love to walk the Camino, even for a short while. Is there a route that is best at that time of year?

  12. Walked the Sanabres last year and saw two wolves! highly recommend walking from ourense! Beautiful–FREE–hot springs! Best advice I ever received on my 6 Caminos was to NEVER start at Sarria! It is a commercial joke!


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