Participants of the ‘Camino a vela’ arrived in Santiago de Compostela

by Lorraine Williamson
camino de santiago

There are many ways to discover the Camino de Santiago, normally walking, cycling, or on horseback. Moreover, there are several routes for the Camino de Santiago. However, there is also a route that does not go by land, but by sea. And that one has much in common with the original path. 

According to tradition, Apostle Santiago’s remains were transported by sea and thus arrived in Santiago de Compostela. Via the mouth of the river Arousa, accompanied by his disciples Teodoro and Atanasio in a boat.

For some years now, you can also reach Santiago de Compostela by sailboat or catamaran. But, anyone who wants to receive the ‘De Compostela’ certificate – which confirms that you have successfully completed the pilgrimage – must have sailed at least 100 nautical miles and completed the final kilometres on foot. It is not possible to bypass walking completely. 

Eighth edition 

During the eighth edition of the ‘Camino a vela’, 25 sailing ships carrying 110 pilgrims left La Rochelle, France, on 6 June. With pilgrims of different nationalities on board, including French, Spanish, Argentines and Mexicans. For three weeks, they sailed along the northern coast of Spain in what was the longest crossing of the eight editions. In the process, several places were visited:  Hondarribia, Bermeo Getxo in the Basque Country, Laredo and Santander in Cantabria and Gijón in Asturias. On 18 June, they arrived in Galicia, where they stopped in Ribadeo and from there called at Cedeira, A Coruña, Muxía, Muros, Boiro and Vilagarcía de Arousa, the last port of the sailing trip. 

Cogesa Expats

From this port in the mouth of Arousa, they left on Wednesday for the Traslatio route across the river Ulla by catamaran. The final leg ended on foot at the Plaza del Obradoir in Santiago de Compostela. There they arrived on Thursday June from 1.30 pm. 

Advantages of a trip on water 

Taking the route by boat has its advantages. A super good condition is not necessary. It is also possible to hire a boat with skipper. 

The last part of the pilgrimage does have to be walked. What is true for all routes is the bond that is created. ‘The camaraderie of the Camino on foot, is also transmitted by sailing and even strengthened at sea,’ the sailors proudly acknowledged. 

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