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Jun 17

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Camino Santiago De Compostela & 3 Other Pilgrimage Trails

Pilgrimages are particularly long journeys that have been around for centuries and have brought people together from all over the globe with the same moral or spiritual purpose in mind. This is still a common practice today, although the reasons people have for embarking on one is now widely vary and include everything from being faith based to looking for a fitness challenge. Whether you set out on Spains Camino Santiago de Compostela, the Shikoku path in Japan or any other international pilgrimage trail, you are sure to gain a rewarding experience that will stay with you for years to come.

Camino Santiago de Compostela, Spain

The Camino Santiago de Compostela is one of the most popular and known Christian pilgrimage expeditions in the world. Traditionally, travelers walk the 500 miles over approximately 30 days to reach their final destination, the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. However, bikes and horseback are also known for getting pilgrims to the site believed to be the burial grounds for the Apostle James. Over the course of your time on the Camino, you will have the opportunity to see some of Spain’s most beautiful landscapes and architecture, be captivated by history and culture and, hopefully, find some inner peace.

Shikoku, Japan

It is the Buddhist faith that first brought people on the pilgrimage to the 88 Sacred Places of Shikoku in Japan. A few thousand visitors a year attempt the 670-mile walk around the island, completing it in about 40 days. Walking in a clockwise direction around Shikoku, pilgrims customarily visit the 88 main temples that were built to serve the common people (fishermen, carpenters, housewives, etc). The spiritual belief behind this pilgrimage is that you are passing through four different stages, beginning in the Dojo of Awakening Faith, moving into the Dojo of Religious Discipline, then the Dojo of Enlightenment, and finally, the Dojo of Nirvana

Cammino di Assisi, Italy

Pilgrims who travel on the Cammino di Assisi are following in the footsteps of St. Francis and St. Anthony. The trek is roughly 185 miles and is typically done in just about two weeks. The journey begins in Dovadola and passes through some of the greatest views and countryside of Italy before ending in Assisi where you will have the chance to visit the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. The trail can be difficult in areas, winding through the Apennine mountains, and walkers are suggested to be physically and mentally prepared.

St. Paul’s Trail, Turkey

St. Paul’s Trail in Turkey is about 310 miles and follows the path said to be taken by the Apostle Paul in an effort to spread the Christian faith. This is a fairly new pilgrimage, in terms of being developed, and is still considered remote and untainted by tourists. Visitors will walk through preserved villages, wander around Roman ruins, facilitate deep canyons and happen upon picturesque waterfalls and peaceful lakes. If you’re looking for a challenge, St. Paul’s Trail certainly offers one since it begins at sea level and ascends as high as 7,200 feet.

Departing on a pilgrimage may not sound like the ideal relaxing vacation you had in mind, but it’s really meant to be a change from the norm and challenge those who make the effort to step outside of their physical and mental comfort zone. As people conquer miles and miles of trails like Camino Santiago de Compostela and Cammino di Assisi each year, they gain the ultimate sense of achievement and may even find a strength they didn’t know they had within.

My name is Tiffany Olson and I absolutely love all things travel related. I have plans to trek Camino Santiago de Compostela next summer and I can’t wait for the adventure. When I’m not blogging or dreaming of foreign lands you will usually find me cooking, reading, or hanging out with good friends.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2013/06/17/camino-santiago-de-compostela-3-other-pilgrimage-trails/

1 comment

  1. Alicia

    Thanks for sharing Tiffany! I’ve done the Camino and 88 Temples! Hooked on pilgrimages : )

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