Sunday, December 23, 2012


Before the introduction of the World Wide Web in the 1990’s, very few foreign (non-Spanish) pilgrims walked the old pilgrimage trails to Santiago. 
A few English speaking 19th and 20th century academics, interested in medieval art and pilgrimage history, sought out the old roads to document the art, architecture, history, legends and folklore along the Way.  Some wrote about their passion.

 In 1917 American Art Historian Georgiana Goddard King completed her three part study, “The Way of St. James” based on three years wanderings on foot, by cart, mule, and other conveyance on the pilgrimage roads to Santiago.

In 1923 Harvard Professor Arthur Kingsley Porter compiled 10 volumes of the “Romanesque Sculpture of the Pilgrimage Roads”.

In 1957, the Irish Professor of Hispanic studies, Walter Starkie, wrote “The Road to Santiago-Pilgrims of Saint James” which was based on his four journeys on el Camino between 1934 and 1955.

1n 1982 Don Elias Valina Sampedro, the Cebreiro parish priest who reanimated the Camino pilgrimage roads in Spain, published his guide for walking the Camino trails to Santiago.  1,868 pilgrims received the Compostela that year, but this was accredited mainly to the visit of Pope John Paul II.

In 1985, the pilgrim’s office received 690 pilgrims.   As usual, the majority of these were Spanish pilgrims.

In 1987 the Brazilian author Paulo Coelho published his book The Pilgrimage which inspired hundreds of pilgrims from South America to cross the sea to Spain in search of their own [metaphorical] sword.  Once the book was published in different languages, devotees from other parts of the world followed suit.  2905 pilgrims received a Compostela that year

Most modern St James Confraternities were formed in the 1980’s and this helped to boost the numbers of foreign pilgrims to some extent but they were still in the minority. 
It is interesting that there were so few pilgrims from the Americas, Oceania, Asia and Africa that numbers were not recorded until the Holy Year of 1999 when 4160 pilgrims were recorded as being from the ‘Americas’. 
Considering that the numbers of pilgrims rose by almost 1000% in Holy Years, one can presume that in ordinary years, the number of pilgrims from the Americas didn’t exceed double digits. (There is no record of the exact numbers from each country as the pilgrim office clumped all people from South and North America and Canada into one group).  

Although the Compostela certificate was introduced in the 1950’s, early records were lost and the only available records of walking pilgrims arriving in the city date to the 1970’s.  The late Don Jaime of Santiago’s cathedral found an old record book kept by his predecessor which showed that in 1967 37 pilgrims earned the Compostela and in 1971, which was a Holy Year, 491 pilgrims received the certificate.

There was a sharp rise in pilgrim numbers in 1989 when the Pope visited Santiago and 5760 Compostelas were issued.  Of these, 3367 were Spanish pilgrims, more than all of the other countries added together. 

World Wide Web

But, the winds of change were blowing across cyber-space and more than books, magazine or newspaper articles, more than confraternities spreading the word or visits by the Pope, the advent of the World Wide Web in 1991 started an exponential explosion of information about the Camino pilgrimage that would accelerate the pilgrimage into almost Haj like status! 

In 1994 Internet ‘blogging’ was introduced and a young American journalist, Justin Hall, was credited with being one of the earliest bloggers. From a few fledging Camino blogs, there are now millions written about every route possible, by people from all over the world. 

The Google search engine was born in 1998 which enabled people interested in the Santiago Pilgrimage to find websites, blogs or books with the click of a mouse!
When Facebook really caught on in 2004, Camino related pages soon became popular and the Camino de Santiago page has over 11 000 members.!/groups/elcaminodesantiago/


Many pilgrim writers found publishers for their books and a slow trickle of new titles started appearing on the bookshelves.

1991:  Spanish Pilgrimage - A Canter to St James - Robin Hanbury-Tenison

1994:  Off the Road: A Modern-Day Walk down the Pilgrim’s Route into Spain  - Jack Hitt

1994:  Road of Stars to Santiago: Stanton, Edward

El Camino: Walking to Santiago de Compostela by Lee Hoinacki

1997: Foot by Foot to Santiago de Compostela - Judy Foot

1998:  On Pilgrimage - Lash, Jennifer

In 2000 there was a flurry of new titles:

Actress and author Shirley Maclaine’s book ‘My Camino’ sent New Age pilgrims off to the Camino in search of their personal saints or proof of their previous lives.  

On the Road to Santiago: Tuggle, Bob

One Million Footsteps Across Spain, Walking El Camino De Santiago: Jr. L. Carroll Yingling

Roads to Santiago: Cees Nooteboom

Diary of a Pilgrim - Emma Poë.

Pilgrim's Road: A Journey to Santiago De Compostela by bike: Bettina Selby

Also in 2000, The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago - by David M Gitlitz & Linda K Davidson was released. It is still considered to be the Camino Bible that discusses the history, tradition, folk lore, saint's lives, art, architecture, geology and fauna and flora of the Camino Frances from Somport and from Roncesvalles.
The couple walked to Santiago in 1974, 1979, 1987 and 1993 accompanying groups of student-pilgrims on academic, medieval study programs. In 1974 they did not meet even one other pilgrim on the road to Compostela. In 1979 the met an elderly Frenchman who was fulfilling a vow made in the Second World War.

In 2006 Hape Kerkeling, a German comedian, published a book a book about his experiences on the Camino 5 years earlier.  The following year the number of German speaking pilgrims rose by 25%.

(More books here:

English Forums:

In February 1999 the Saint James Group was formed at (based in the website

The Camino Forum Santiagobis was started on in October 2000.

In 2004 the Santiago-Today forum was started: // 

One of the earliest websites I found on the Internet was The Friends of Santiago based in the US, managed by Linda Davidson.

They also offered the first Forum that I joined – GoCamio - which is now hosted by the American Pilgrims on the Camino. 

Another early excellent website with wonderful photographs and sounds of the Camino was Caroline Mathieson’s site:

And Carl Sesto’s wonderful Blog with photographs at:


2011:  The latest film is a ‘Hollywood’style movie called THE WAY featuring Martin Sheen and his son Emilio Estevez.
Since the release of this film, the number of pilgrims from the US has gone up 80%. Numbers from other English language countries has also risen sharply.
You’ll find a comprehensive list of films, dvds and documentaries here.

In 2012 over 200 000 pilgrims will have received the Compostela.  Close to another 750 000 will have walked parts of the many Camino trails in Europe. 

For a historical timeline of the Camino visit:

Friday, October 26, 2012


In 2001 I took a 6 week Spanish course at our local University in preparation for my first Camino. 

We learned to count to 100, say the days of the week and months of the year, all the colours, name all the rooms in a house, the buildings in a town, to introduce ourselves to Senor Gonzalez and to make appointments, shop, cook and entertain in Spanish.  We learned to say, "My hamster is behind the sofa" and "the bird is on the window sill".

I typed out five pages of verbs and their conjugations - I, You (singular), He, she, You (formal), We, You (plural) and They.  We learned about common verbs, AR verbs that change, ER verbs, IR verbs, O-UE verbs, E-IE verbs, IR verbs E-I.  Accompanying these are pages and pages of present tense verbs, stem-changing verbs etc etc e

It makes my head spin just to look at all the pages on Grammatical structures, Interrogative sentences, rules on gender, diphthongs, cognates and so on. 
No wonder I didn't remember much Spanish when I finally got to Spain.  There I learned to ask for a coffee and the toilet and to say, "Beun Camino" to all passing pilgrims.

In 2006, in preparation for my walk on the Via Francigena in Italy, I did a 6 week Italian course at the University.  I wasn't very good at it and the strange thing was that although it wasn't a difficult course, all the long forgotten Spanish words kept popping out!  Instead of saying Grazie, I was saying Gracias! 

In between walks in Spain I've tried online lessons, bought Spanish Words and Phrases books as well as CDs which I listen to in the car.  Most of them are aimed at tourists and have lots of words and phrases that a Camino pilgrim will never need. 

Last year I started taking small groups of pilgrims on the Camino and decided that I should take Spanish classes again.  I contacted my friend and Spanish teacher Reinette Novoa and after a couple of weeks of useful verbs, adjectives and grammar rules I told her that all I really wanted was to learn words and phrases applicable to walking the Camino.  I didn't want to be able to ask where to launder my suit or where to take my car for a service!  She suggested I write out in English the words and phrases I needed and she would provide the Spanish and pronunciation.  It worked like a charm!  I learned more in two weeks than I'd learned in all those weeks of lessons and listening to CDs!.

I then had the idea that she and I use these lists and collaborate on writing an English-Spanish Words and Phrases book for pilgrims on the Camino.  We decided to call it CAMINO LINGO - which means that although it is not a perfect English-Spanish book, it is pefect for the Camino pilgrim!

 In the Introduction we started with the polite words one would need in Spain, like hello, thank you and please - hola, gracias, por favor etc.  Then a few not-so-polite words like 'bugger off', 'shut up' and 'F#@* off'!    The five chapters follow a pilgrim on the Camino from packing the backpack, flying to Spain, arriving and asking questions, using bus or train to get to the start, checking into a hotel or albergue, washing clothes, eating, shopping, walking the trail, sightseeing, making friends and arriving in Santiago.  There is a chapter on health and medical as well as cycling words, money, banks and  post office.  Five appendices offer basic pronunciation, a menu reader, and an extensive English-Spanish dictionary with over 650 words and phrases aimed at Camino pilgrims.

My friend Sandi Beukes, who did the drawings for YOUR CAMINO, offered to do the illustrations for CAMINO LINGO as well and her delightfully quirky drawings bring the chapters to life. 

In text boxes Reinette gives advice to the pilgrim.

 Reinette says:
If you don’t have sufficient words to ask for something - smile, make a questioning face and use hand signals. You can also show Spanish people the words and phrases in this book.
Blisters    las ampollas  ahm-poh-yas
(Point to your blisters!)

Pilgrimage Publications have agreed to publish the book in print and eBook form and I know that it is going to be a great help to English speaking pilgrims on the Camino. 
CAMINO LINGO should be available before Christmas.

Sunday, September 09, 2012



The Backpack Myth

I feel really sorry for our modern day walking pilgrims.  Unlike their medieval counterparts who left their material baggage at home and carried only the barest of necessities, today’s pilgrims feel compelled to carry a change of clothing as well as laundry wash, pegs and a wash line; extra shoes and socks, or sandals, waterproof rain gear, fleece jackets and sleeping bags.  They carry toiletries, medicines and a first aid kit.  Many have a computer, tablet or smart phone with internet access and GPS. Most pilgrims have a camera and need chargers for their equipment. To carry all of this stuff they need to have a backpack.

Not only do they have to endure the weight of heavy backpacks they often have a smaller bag around their waist to carry other modern conveniences like credit cards, money cards and cash, as well as important documents like their passport, return air ticket, guide books and itineraries.  As a result, they often suffer tendonitis, stress fractures, blisters and back ache and, in some cases, have to cut short their pilgrimage. 
The worst thing about all of this is that pilgrims have been led to believe that this is a normal part of the pilgrimage tradition and that without their full backpacks they will be judged as less than worthy, un-authentic pilgrims, or will have a less meaningful Camino.  (Cyclists and those on horseback are exempt from this guilt trip as they don't have to carry backpacks.)  Medieval pilgrims would have been amazed to see today's pilgrims slogging across the Camino with huge packs on their backs!

Don't despair if you can't or don't want to carry a pack every day.  Saint James won’t judge you; the Pope won’t judge you, and when you arrive at the pearly gates St Paul won’t judge you.  The Pilgrim Office in Santiago won't judge you either because they don’t care how your backpack reaches Santiago. You can send your pack ahead in a stretch limo and you will still earn the Compostela, as long as you have walked or ridden the required mileage to Santiago.  It is only the pilgrim fundamentalists who will judge you!  It is they who have this unwritten rule about carrying a backpack.

In fact, there are only three rules for walking the Camino as a ‘pilgrim’.

1.    If you want to stay in the pilgrims shelters – private or traditional – you will need to have a pilgrim passport or ‘Credencial’.


2.   Credenciales are for pilgrims who walk, cycle or horseback ride the Camino to Santiago.

3.   If you want the Compostela, you have to walk the last 100km, cycle or ride the last 200km to Santiago with a religious/spiritual motive.  If you profess to walking for any other reason, you can request a different certificate;

That's it - no other rules.  Nothing about having to walk a certain distance each day, or having to walk 800km, 1200km, 5000km; nothing about having to sleep in the most basic pilgrim hostels or eating frugal meals, and nothing at all about having to carry a backpack.

NB:  Although there is no rule about carrying a backpack, a few traditional pilgrim albergues won’t accept a pilgrim who doesn’t have a backpack.  A friend whose pack didn’t arrive with him on a flight from South Africa was refused entry to the Church albergue of Jesus y Maria in Pamplona because he didn’t have his backpack.  (I wondered what Jesus y Maria would have thought about that!)  He eventually found a bed at the Paderborn albergue run by the German confraternity.  So if you decide to send your pack ahead and walk with just a day-pack, aim for the private albergues.  On the other hand, the albergue in Grañon doesn't turn away any pilgrim - even if they arrive in a bus with no credencial.  This basic albergue in the bell tower of a church, with vinyl covered mattresses on the floors, is one of the most popular on the Camino.

When pilgrim 'refugios' were first mooted at the 1987 conference in Jaca to cater for the 'pilgrim revolution' predicted by Don Elias Valiña Sampedro (father of the modern Camino) the idea was that only pilgrims should stay in the refugios.  The idea was never that pilgrims should only stay in the refugios foregoing all the established hospitality B and B's, pensions, hostales etc.  The only way to tell between a pilgrim and a tourist was the credencial and the backpack. A few albergues won’t accept you if you have sent your backpack ahead – that is their prerogative.  But, there really is no rule about having to carry a backpack. 

So where did this myth begin? It's not a tradition and it doesn't come from medieval pilgrims - they didn't carry backpacks.  The only medieval pilgrim who carried a heavy load was the criminal - sent on a long journey lugging a large load as punishment. Walking to Santiago was enough.  Only the purist would weigh themselves down with a hair shirt or extra load.

Many historical and cultural books and websites on the Camino have photographs of statues, sculptures, stained glass windows and other works of art depicting pilgrims from the early 12th century to around the 18th century.  I have never seen an example of a pilgrim carrying a large backpack - have you?  If you have, please send me the source!


Other Modern Myths:
There are medieval myths and modern myths about the Camino.  Modern myths include those that quote the numbers of people that walked the pilgrimage roads to Santiago in the middle ages - ranging from 500 000 to 1 million pilgrims a year, depending on which website you read.  That would represent half the population of Europe in the 14th century.

There is the one that claims that Goethe said, “Europe was built on the roads to Santiago”.  The Goethe Foundation states that there is no evidence that this is a quote from Goethe, but like all urban legends, once it was written and repeated ad infinitum by successive writers, it ended up in the annals of fact.

The First Guide Book:  It is repeatedly claimed that the Codex Calixtinus with the Liber Sancti Jacobi was the first guide book written for pilgrims to Santiago.  Think for one moment about that.  Look at the size of the book in the wrapping.  That is the Codex found in the garage of the cathedral electrician who stole it a few years ago.  It is a monstrous book, far to heavy for any pilgrim to carry with them. 

Think about the value of a codex, painstakingly written by hand, only a few copies made of the original.  Think about literacy in the 12th century.  How many pilgrims could read?  There are many theories about the Codex.  One is that it was written for the Duke of Acquitane who was planning a pilgrimage to Santiago.  The guide was rediscovered in 1886 by P. Fidel Fita after it had been lost for 750 years. 

Types of pilgrims:  Another myth is that all pilgrims were poor, mendicant, penitential miscreants footslogging alone to Santiago with nothing but the rags on their backs.  The fact is that there were as many different types of pilgrim then as there are today, maybe more.  There were lords and ladies with their entourages, kings and queens with their servants and slaves, ecclesiastic pilgrims journeying with their clerics, knights travelling with their ladies. Servants would walk ahead and secure the best accommodation and source the best eateries for their masters.
Some poor wretches had to carry the lords and ladies in litters much of the way.  Many pilgrims went on horseback; others had donkeys or mules to bear their loads. There are historical accounts of caravans of pilgrims on the roads to Santiago. Most of the classic pilgrim stories that have come down to us were written by pilgrims on horseback - like the Codex Calixtinus and the diary of the 17th century pilgrim, Domenico Laffi. 

Yes, there were more ordinary pilgrims than wealthy pilgrims.  Some were penitential pilgrims, others were paupers and vagabonds, but there were also adventurers, merchants, artists, stone masons and craftsmen, musicians, and travellers who were merely interested in visiting new lands.  The majority of pilgrims did not walk alone but walked in groups for safety sake. 

You should not walk with a group: (This only applies to pilgrims to Santiago.  If you are planning on a pilgrimage to Rome, Guadalupe or the Holy Land, you can go with an organised group).  
Most large towns and cities had guilds that organised guided group walks to Santiago.  It was much safer to travel this way and, like the tour groups of today, pilgrims walked with like-minded people and supported each other on the journey. 
St Bona of Pisa led 10 such groups of pilgrims from Italy to Santiago in the 12th century and was made an official pilgrim guide by the Knights of Santiago.

Those that could afford it had their baggage transported on horseback, donkeys, mules, carts, carriages and so on.  They probably delighted in shopping along the way for exotic items of clothing and souvenirs to take home to their friends and families.  The rest of the raggle-taggle carried no more than a bundle over their shoulder or a scrip – a type of satchel strapped across their torso - in which they might have just enough money for their sorry needs, a letter of safe-passage from their church and a scrap of bread to have with their gruel or broth at night.  No self-respecting pilgrim would have risked carrying a large backpack bulging with his worldly possessions.  Such gross displays of material wealth would have seemed obscene to his fellow pilgrims and tantalising to the robbers on the way.

  Today, the modern day pilgrim has no option but to carry this heavy load unless he can afford to have some of it transported each day.  Many pilgrims who can afford it do this walk with a small daypack containing their necessities for the day, their rain gear, a jacket, first-aid kit, food and water, a guide-book, camera, and maybe sandals to change into when they reach their overnight stop.  The rest of their stuff is sent ahead each day by baggage transfer companies.

Pilgrim fundamentalist accuse them of ‘cheating’.  Cheating whom?? 
A recent post on a Forum commented that people who send stuff ahead should not have beds in the albergues:  “they should keep beds vacant for the pilgrims who have exhausted themselves carrying their possessions.”  Why - that is their choice?  

One pilgrim remarked, "I saw many pilgrims with small backpacks.  I carried 12 kg and walked at least 30 km every day." 
Why?  Why did they do that, and why do they infer that they are more worthy than those with smaller packs or who walk shorter distances?
It is entirely up to you how many possessions you carry on the Camino. You can’t expect special treatment just because your pack is over sized and you are exhausted at the end of the day.  You won’t earn extra Brownie points with the Pilgrim’s Office in Santiago either.  Besides the Compostela certificate, there are no rewards for walking the Camino.  (If you are a Catholic you can earn an indulgence just by visiting the cathedral and fulfilling laid down requirements but you don't have to walk there.)

Walking a pilgrimage for a reward (a heavenly reward) was a Catholic, medieval invention, intended for an illiterate and superstitious population.  By the time of the Reformation the whole concept had been challenged and debated to death – and caused not only a split in the church but Religious Wars and the slaughter of thousands.  Pilgrimage for reward became an unsavoury concept connected as it was to the sale of indulgences, the trade in false relics and the fraud and corruption that went with it. 

I am not a mendicant pilgrim.

Today pilgrims once again trek the pilgrimage trails to Santiago de Compostela.  Are they mendicants?   99.9% are not.  I am a pretty average pilgrim.  I'm not wealthy but it costs me at least €800 to fly to Europe from South Africa.  I need to budget between €30 and €40 a day whilst on the Camino (another €600) plus the hiking gear, boots, clothing, pack, sleeping bag etc.  So I am not a poverty stricken pilgrim.
I am not a Catholic penitential pilgrim.

How many pilgrims walk because they hope to earn time off purgatory and earn a place in heaven?  Not many.  Purgatory is a foreign concept to most non-Catholics and even modern Catholics are not that familiar with it.  According to it was invented in the early 12th Century: “One of the first documents to mention purgatorium was a letter from the Benedictine Nicholas of Saint Albans to the Cistercian Peter of Celle in 1176”.   
Martin Luther wrote:  Nor have we anything in Scripture concerning Purgatory. It too was certainly fabricated by goblins.” Confession Concerning Christ’s Supper as found in Martin Luther’s Basic Theological Writings.

I do not walk the Camino for rewards.

Do pilgrims believe that they will earn some sort of reward by walking the Camino?  And, if they do, will the reward be greater if they carry a backpack the whole way?  Once again, I doubt it – so I don’t understand why they have allowed themselves to be duped by the backpack myth.  Perhaps the pilgrims who walk with no reward in mind is the ones to be most admired.  They face all the hardships of a long trek far from their homes with no enticing reward in sight!
I do not judge my fellow pilgrims.

I don't believe that pilgrims who do not carry backpacks or who carry small packs and send their excess stuff ahead are less worthy than those who choose to carry a heavy backpack.  I do not believe that they are any less of a pilgrim, any less worthy, or that their Camino will somehow be diminished because they prefer not to carry all their possessions on their back every day on the Camino.

You are a pilgrim to Santiago - with or without a backpack.  What is in your heart is much more important than what is on your back -  don't let anyone tell you differently!

For more myths read:  

Friday, August 31, 2012


Over 15 000 fiestas and festivals are held in Spanish villages and towns throughout the year. Many are religious, celebrating local saints, some are Regional and others are National events such as Semana Santa (Easter), Corpus Christi and Christmas.

Prohibited during the forty years of the Franco era Carnaval is celebrated in many Spanish towns a week before Ash Wednesday.


5th January is Three Kings Day procession.  In Spain it is the kings that bring the children their presents and although the official day is on 6th January, the Procession of the Kings takes place the night before.   The 6th January is a National holiday and many shops are closed.

April & May 
Some of Spain’s biggest festivals take place during April and May starting with Semana Santa or Holy Week which is celebrated all over the country.  Many shops will be closed and transport is scarce.

May or June 
Corpus Christi is celebrated around Spain.  The feast is celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday so the dates change each year.

St James’ Feast Day – 25th July – is celebrated in most towns and villages along the Camino.

12th - Dia de la Hispanidad - Spain's national day, also known as Columbus Day

All Saints' Day, celebrated throughout the country. Most shops will be closed. Spanish people from all over the country return to their birthplaces to remember their deceased relatives.

24th Dcember - Christmas Eve (Nochebuena), a far bigger event than Christmas Day. Expect most shops to close early on the 24th and remain closed until the morning of the 26th.

25th December - Christmas Day - a quiet day, with most shops closed, though many bars open in the afternoon.

28th December - Santos Inocentes, Spain's version of April Fools' Day.


If you are walking the Camino Frances there is a good chance that you will come across a special feast day or festival in some of the towns villages.  Most small villages have their own, special feast days or festivals and some of these don’t appear on official guides to fiestas.

If the fiesta is a popular one, you might find it difficult to secure accommodation.  During San Fermin (the Running of the Bulls) in Pamplona, rooms are almost impossible to find even in surrounding villages and the costs triple or quadruple during the festival.

Another busy time is the September Wine Harvest Festival in Navarra.  Although most of the festivities are celebrated in Logroño, rooms are booked out in neighbouring villages and you might need to book rooms ahead of time during the weeklong festival.

The Camino Frances passes through four main Regions - Navarra, la Rioja, Castilla y Leon and Galicia.  Here are some of the many fiestas held in villages and towns along the Camino.  The list is far from complete and dates might change with each year.  If you would like to add a fiesta or festival, please let me know.


In La Rioja, Spain’s most famous wine-producing region, the fiestas are generally held towards the end of September especially around the 24th on St Matthew’s Day. The most celebrated, and biggest, of these is in Logroño. Here the grape harvest is commemorated for a whole week with parades, concerts, street theatre, ball games, bull fights, fireworks and wine tasting.

Valcarlos : Pilgrimage of La Magdalena : April 25

Valcarlos : Bolantes Luzaide : Sunday and Easter Sunday.

Valcarlos : Santiago : July 25

Burguete : Food Fair : September

Burguete : The bonfires of San Juan : Mid-summer night

Zubiri: San Esteban : August 3

Pamplona : San Fermin : July 7 for a week

Pamplona : San Saturnino : November 29

Muruzabal : San Esteban : August 3

Puente la Reina : Santiago : July 25

Puente la Reina : Pitchfork fiesta : September last week

Estella: Virgin of Puy : May 15

Los Arcos : San Vicente : January 22

Viana: San Felices O De La Fundación : February

Viana:  La Virgen De Cuevas : Easter Monday

Viana: Santa María Magdalena : July 22

Viana:  Virgen de Nieva: September 7 for one week

Logrono: St Barnabas (Patron Saint) : June 11

Logrono : Wine Harvest Festival : Mid September for 7 days

Najera: San Prudencio  : April 28

Najera : San Juan y San Pedro : June 24 to 29

Najera: San Juan Mártir y

Najera: Santa María La Real  16 to 19 September
Santo Domingo de la Calzada: Santo Domingo: May 12


Villoria : Lunes de Aguas: April 8 – 12

Belorado :  la Virgen de Belen : January 25

Belorado: San Vitores : August 25 - 26

Belorado :Accion de Gracias: September  1st Sunday 5 days

San Juan de Ortega: Romeria Monasterio de San Juan:June 1st Saturday

Attapuerca: Battle Navarra vs Castilla August - penultimate Sunday

Attapuerca : Festival of Accion de Gracias :August 24 & 25th

Burgos : San Anton : January  17

Burgos : San Lesmes : Last Sunday in January

Burgos : Carnaval : February

Burgos : Burgos Carnaval : Start of Lent

Burgos : Pedro and San Pablo : July 6 for one week

Hontanas : Immaculate Conception : December 8

Castrojeriz : San Juan  : June  

Castrojeriz : Garlic festival : July  18

Castrojeriz : El Sejo : September

Boadilla : San Genaro : September 19

Fromista : San Telmo: After Easter Sunday

Fromista : The Virgen del Otero : September 8

Villacarza del Sirga : Nuestra Señora del Rio : June 8th – 10

Villacarza del Sirga : la Virgen Blanca : August 15

Carrion de los Condes  : Carnaval : Before Ash Wednesday

Carrion de los Condes  : Fiestas de San Zoilo: August

Carrion de los Condes : Our Lady of Bethlehem: September 8th

Sahagun : Romeria la Virgen del Puente/San Marcos : April 25

Sahagun: San Jaun : May 31 – 3rd June

Sahagun : Corpus Christi : June 10

Sahagun : San Antonio : June 13

Sahagun : Asuncion de Nuestra Señora : August

Sahagun : Pilgrimage of Bread & Cheese : October 5

Calzada del Coto : San Roque : August 16

Calzada del Coto : San Esteban : December 26

Bercianos : St Vincent : January 21 – 24

El Burgo Ranero : San Isidro  : May 15

El Burgo Ranero : San Pedro Apóstol : June 29

Mansilla de las Mulas  : Feast of Slaughter : February 10

Mansilla de las Mulas  : Dia De Asturias : August 15

Mansilla de las Mulas  : De La Virgen De Gracia : Sunday after 8 September

Leon : Carnaval : End January/1st week February

Leon : San Juan and San Pedro : June 21

Leon : San Marcelo : October: 28

Leon : San Froilán : October 5

La Virgen del Camino  : La Virgen: September 14 - 16

La Virgen del Camino : San Miguel: September 29th

La Virgen del Camino  : San Froilán : October 5th

Hospital de Orbigo: Romeria of Nuestra Señora del Rio: February 3

Hospital Órbigo : Honroso: End of June

Astorga: Carnaval: February

Astorga: Virgin of Castrotierra: June

Astorga: Fiestas of Astures & Romans: Last week July

Astorga: Santa Marta: August

Astorga: Romeria of la Zuiza/ Batalla de Clavijo: Every 3 years

Astorga: Santa Martas : Last Week of August

Santa Catalina de Somoza: Festival: August 1st week

Riego de Ambrós: Corpus Christi's

Riego de Ambrós: Mary Magdalene: July 22

Molinaseca: Our Lady of Sorrows: August 15 - 18

Molinaseca: Water Festival: August 17

Ponferrada: Carnaval: February

Ponferrada: Noche Templaria : Various – summer

Ponferrada: Nra. Ms. de la Encina: September 2 to 9

Camponaraya: Virgin of Solitude: 3rd Sunday of September

Cacabelos: Bendición del Pan  : February  2

Cacabelos: Easter Monday

Cacabelos: The Festival of la Quinta: April 2 – 25

Cacabelos: Harvest Festival: August : Last Sunday

Cacabelos: Carnaval

Villafranca del Bierzo: Santo Tirso: January 28

Villafranca del Bierzo: Fiesta do Maio: May 1

Villafranca del Bierzo : Festival of the Tourist: August – 1st Weekend       

Villafranca del Bierzo : Santísimo Cristo de la Esperanza :14 September + 3 days

Trabadelo: St Tirso & St Antonio Abad: January 28 & 29

Trabadelo: San Nicolás de Bari: December 6th

Ambasmestas: Virgen del Carmen : July 16

Vega de Valcarce: Santa Maria Magdalena:   August 1st Sunday

Vega de Valcarce : San Roque: August 16

Ruitelán: San Froilan: October

La Faba: San Andrés


Piedrafita O Cebreiro: Holy Miracle: September 8 – 9

Triacastela : San Mamede  : August 17

Sarria: Entroido en Sarria: February 19 – 20

Sarria: Medieval: June 23 - 25

Sarria : San Juan: June 22 – 25

Sarria: Santa Barbara : August 6 – 7

Portomarin: la Feria del Aguardiente : Easter Sunday

Portomarin: Cristo das Vitorias: September 1 – 3

Palas de Rei: San Cristobal: July

Palas de Rei: Honra Ó Ecce Homo: September 14 - 15        

Melide : Feast of St. Anthony   : June 13

Melide : Festividad del Carme: July 16

Melide : San Roque: August 15 to 21

Melide : Feast of San Caralampio: September 2nd Sunday

Arzua: Carme en Arzúa: June

Santiago: San Lázaro : April 11

Santiago : St. James : July 25 

Corcubion: Medieval Costa da Morte :          July 21 - 23

Fistera : Santísimo Cristo : April  21 – 15


Photos:  GoSpain -