> Hillwalk Tours Blog > Hiking the Camino > Route to Santiago de Compostela: 9 highlights
POSTED BY August 16, 2021

Religion has long ceased to be the only reason people take pilgrims. The route to Santiago de Compostela is walked by pilgrims of all ages and backgrounds, each with their own reasons. Some want to get fit, others want to meet like-minded people and still others simply want to enjoy the landscapes and villages in the north of Spain. Whatever your reason for wanting to walk the Camino to Santiago de Compostela, one thing is certain: these 9 highlights are not to be missed!

Towns on the Camino de Santiago
Traditional pallozas in O Cebreiro

Pallozas by O Cebreiro

For a small village, O Cebreiro has a large number of attractions that are worthwhile. The traditional mountain huts, pallozas, can only be found in this part of Galicia. These houses were built before Roman times and are an important part of the cultural heritage in the region.

Melide market

Melide is one of the nicest resting places along the Camino de Santiago. Wall paintings from the late Middle Ages are a reminder of the ancient history of this town. During the Sunday market, the quiet Melide turns into a bustling destination along the route to Santiago de Compostela. Local farmers here sell their produce from the land and authentic dishes are served from stalls.

Traditional food in Melide, Camino Frances


One of the local specialties in Galicia is pulpo, a type of tapas dish of boiled octopus drizzled with olive oil and Spanish smoked paprika. The delicacy is served in pulperías, authentic restaurants that specialize in preparing octopus.

Read more about Delicious Galician Food You Need To Try!

Belesar dam

The dam and the reservoir of Belesar are a special attraction along the route to Santiago de Compostela. The impressive waterworks are more than fifty years old. Walking through the surrounding forests, pilgrims enjoy beautiful views of this architectural work of art and the mountainous landscape that surrounds it.

Samos Monastery on the Camino Frances

Monastery of Samos

The Benedictine Monastery of Samos was founded in the sixth century and is still in use today. It is an important stop for those interested in the history of the Camino and Galicia. The imposing structure consists of different architectural styles, such as the late Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque.

Iglesia de El Salvador

To the east of Santiago de Compostela is Vilar de Donas, a town best known for its old Romanesque church with fifteenth-century murals. Learn about the Order of the Knights Templar, to which the church belonged, and admire the architecture and ancient decorations of the sacred structure. The Church of El Salvador is a few miles off the Camino Frances route, but well worth the detour!

Cathedral Santiago de Compostela - Camino Frances
Cathedral Santiago de Compostela – Camino Frances

Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

Those who walk the last part of the Camino Frances route will undoubtedly be impressed by the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. This sanctuary is not only the spectacular end of the route to Santiago de Compostela, but is also one of the most important historical monuments in Spain.


The lively town of Sarria is a popular starting point for pilgrims who want to walk the last hundred kilometers of the Camino de Santiago. For many years, Sarria has been a place where pilgrims gather to prepare for the last leg of the pilgrimage route to Santiago. The city is known for its ancient churches and a great selection of restaurants.

At just over 100km from Santiago, it is also the perfect starting place to qualify for a Compostela, the official Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage Certificate.

Walking Tour Camino Frances
Hiking the Camino de Santiago

Cheeses from Arzua

A pilgrimage is a big undertaking, but that does not mean that you should not enjoy it along the way. Local food and delicacies give pilgrims the energy they need to walk the road to Compostela to the end. The town of Arzua is known for the cheeses that are made in the traditional way. Taste the flavors of the Spanish countryside at the various cheese farms along the Camino Frances!

We hope that you enjoyed this guide to the Route to Santiago de Compostela: 9 highlights. All these highlights can be experienced during our hiking trip on the Camino Frances. For further information, just get in touch.