74 miles (119 km) / 6 days on foot

The English Way (or Camino Inglés)

A coastal route far away from the crowd

Learn all the details of this quiet route that runs entirely in Galicia. Discover all  the stages of this journey, starting from Ferrol or A Coruña. This route has two different paths, that finally merge in Bruma , 40 km away from Santiago.

Remember you don't necessarily have to complete the entire route. If you want, you can choose any intermediate departure point and complete the number of stages or miles you want. You will receive the Compostela upon your arrival at the Cathedral of Santiago if you cover at least 100 km.


Image: Torre de Hércules, A Coruña

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The English Way (or Camino Inglés)

74 miles (119 km) / 6 days on foot / 2 days by bike

 

The English Way runs from Ferrol or A Coruña (Galicia) to Santiago de Compostela and is one of the shortest routes meeting the minimum distance to get the Compostela (the official certification that confirms you have done the Camino). Experience the route followed by British and Irish pilgrims to reach Santiago de Compostela.

For many years, thousands of pilgrims took this route, generating a ulture of pilgrimage by sea. In both Galician cities you can still see the traces of this cult - immense in heritage jewels such as the churches of Santiago and Santa María (in A Coruña) or the Caridade Hospital (nowadays the Cultural Center Torrente Ballester, in Ferrol), as well as vestiges of hospitals for pilgrims and other old routes.

QThe pilgrims who came through the sea, especially from the British Isles (hence the name of this route) arrived more quickly than pilgrims who had to walk the French Way, but not too easily. Both routes were complicated: the terrestrial one because of the orography and the thieves that populated the roads; the maritime one because of the risk of navigating in small boats fully loaded. The British pilgrims embarked in the ports of Bristol, Newcastle, London, Southampton, Galway or Dublin for the Galician coast, to find refuge and spirituality in the many hospitals and monasteries that welcomed them on this route.

The lands you will cover in this route are noteworthy for their cultural heritage, which you will find from the beginning of the route. The Tower of Hercules, a Roman lighthouse declared as World Heritage Site, awaits you in A Coruña. It is this lighthouse that used to guide the ships that arrived crossing the Atlantic. When entering through Ferrol, there are two monumental military constructions located on both sides: the castles of San Felipe and A Palma.

camino inglés

The English Way: everything you need to know

This route of pilgrimage has two different names - the English Way or Camino Inglés, in Spanish. This was the path followed by the English and Irish pilgrims to reach Santiago de Compostela, after disembarking in the ports of A Coruña or Ferrol.

Thus, this path has two possible starting points: A Coruña or Ferrol. Both cities are located far enough from Santiago, so you can get the Compostela at your arrival. Well, actually, A Coruña is less than 62.14 miles (100 km) away from Santiago. Nevertheless, in 2016, the Cabildo granted the possibility of getting the Compostela for the pilgrims coming from A Coruña. If you do so, you will only have to visit the Jacobean spaces in A Coruña as an additional requirement. In case you come from outside Spain, you can complete the distance left in the country or region where you start from.

If you decide to start in Ferrol, you will have 6 stages ahead. If you leave from A Coruña, you will only have 3 stages. Both roads join in the vicinity of Mesía (A Coruña), in the Hospital de Bruma, and continue towards Santiago. It is not too demanding a route, so it is suitable for all pilgrims, and is well signposted. However, there are only 5 public shelters in the whole English Way, and this can be a nuisance in times of great influx of pilgrims (like in summer). However, the scarce offer of public accomodation services is balanced by the high offer of private accommodation - hotels, hostels, or rural houses.

Ferrol

Betanzos

Image: Luis Miguel Bugallo

Pontedeume

Image: Kullman

Bruma

Image: Miguel Branco

Stages of the English Way

From Ferrol

Stage 1
Ferrol – Neda (9.3 miles / 15 Km)

Thanks to the safety of its port -protected by three fortresses and favored by the geographical conditions of its estuary- many pilgrims arrived at Ferrol. This city is deeply linked to the sea and the navigation, and it offers a beautiful old town, the Ferrol Vello, declared an Good of Cultural Interest ("Bien de Interés Cultural"). It is essential that you visit the Fortress of San Felipe, the Cathedral of San Julián or the Barrio de la Magdalena. Then you will continue to Neda, a medieval town famous for its tasty bread.

Stage 2
Neda – Pontedeume (10 miles / 16 Km)

Here you will leave behind the estuary of Ferrol and welcome the one of Ares. Thus you will arrive at Pontedeume, the city of Andrade, lineage of the Galician nobility. Here you will find numerous vestiges, such as the beautiful Torreón dos Andrade or the Castelo dos Andrade. In this town you can also cross one of the longest medieval bridges in Europe and, if you have time, you can go to San Xoán de Caaveiro, a beautiful monastery located in As Fragas do Eume, a thousand-year-old native forest, bathed by the Eume River. For those with a sweet tooth: in Pontedeume you can try the manguito eumés or the Pontedeume cake, similar to Santiago's

Stage 3
Pontedeume – Betanzos (12.5 miles / 20.2 Km)

In this stage you will have to make an effort, because it runs along steep paths. The good thing is it will allow you to cross medieval villages and Atlantic forests full of beauty. The city of Betanzos (capital of one of the old provinces of the Kingdom of Galicia) awaits behind historical and artistic walls. It is essential to visit its churches (especially the Church of Santiago) and taste the famous tortilla from Betanzos.

Stage 4
Betanzos – Bruma (17.2 miles / 27.8 Km)

In this stage you will have to count on provisions, because you will cross forests and roads for several miles - nature will be your only companion. In addition, you will go up and down in long stretches, so it's convenient that you make appropiate breaks to catch your breath.

In Bruma you will join the pilgrims who have decided to start the English Way in A Coruña.

Stage 5
Bruma – Sigüeiro (14.9 miles / 24 Km)

You're nearly nearly there. In this stage, unlike the previous one, you will find descendant roads, and numerous services available for the walkers. In Ordes you can visit the Church of San Paio de Buscás or San Xiao de Poulo, and the medieval bridge in Sigüeiro. If it's the right season, don't forget to try the trout from the river Tambre in Sigüeiro.

Stage 6
Sigüeiro – Santiago de Compostela (10.3 miles / 16.7 Km)

This is the last stage of the English Way, it's not too hard and it's about 4 hours long. The entrance to the city is not ideal, because you will have to cross an industrial area, but Santiago will encourage you during your last miles until you enter the Praza do Obradoiro and finally see the Cathedral. Once you have rested, visit the old city calmly. Go discover its numerous churches and monasteries, but also the Mercado de Abastos and the many establishments in the old town, where you can taste some of the most recognized dishes of Galician cuisine.

From A Coruña

Stage 1
A Coruña – Bruma (20.8 miles / 33,6 Km)

Pilgrims who decide to start in A Coruña will meet their companions of the English Way in the town of Bruma, just over 18.5 miles (30 km) from the herculine city. The tourist, patrimonial and gastronomic offer of A Coruña is very high, so it is advisable to stay at least one day to enjoy the city. The route starts from the Church of Santiago, one of the oldest temples in the city, and goes to the town of Mesón do Vento. Some gastronomic essentials: fish in A Coruña, and bread from the town of Carral, a place situated on the route.

In Bruma, the pilgrims who have started the English Way in A Coruña will join the pilgrims who left Ferrol to make the last three stages together.


Reasons to choose the English Way or Camino Inglés

The history of the pilgrimages for this route starts in the 12th century, after the visit of a squad of English, Germans and Flemings who went to the Holy Land, documented in 1147. After this first trace, there are other historical pilgrimages along the English Way, like the one of the Irish monk Nicholas Bergsson, who describes his trip on foot from Iceland to Rome, passing through Santiago. This feat would take him 5 years.

Pieces of pottery and English coins from the 14th and 15th centuries, found in the excavations of the Cathedral, testify the presence of northern pilgrims in Compostela for centuries. In the 16th century, Henry VIII broke with the Catholic Church because of his divorce with Catherine of Aragon. This was the point when the English Way started falling into oblivion. Later on and little by little, the Camino Inglés was revitalized, especially in recent years, thanks to the attractiveness of the cities of A Coruña and Ferrol. The medieval beauty of other towns, like Betanzos or Pontedeume, is also attractive and key to understand the English history of the Way of Saint James.

Choosing this route will allow you to do the Camino de Santiago in just one week. In addition, you will enjoy the two main Galician cities, and will get to know a part of Rías Altas. This area is very different from Rías Baixas - here you will appreciate the beauty of its steep cliffs and the fierceness of the sea. It is ideal for those who want to avoid a very crowded route, and it is completely signposted.

What to carry in your backpack and how to get ready for the English Way

The English Way is not one of the most arduous paths. It does not present any additional difficulties for people with reduced mobility or for pilgrims by bike. However, some of the stages run for miles through forests and roads, with hardly any basic services for pilgrims. For this reason, in some routes you should carry the necessary provisions in your backpack to walk for a full day. In addition to the basic material of the pilgrim, take some snacks such as energy bars, fruit or nuts, to recover energy. You will find several establishments in some of the stages, so it is advisable to stop to eat when you have the chance, so you don't overload your backpack.

Like in other routes, the English Way does not require special preparation, only certain previous organization. Do not walk when the night comes and remember to check avalability in accomodation establishments, especially during peak season. You can make intermediate stops to spend the night, depending on how you feel - if your knees or back hurt. And, above all, do not forget to taste the wonderful local dishes.


Curiosities of the English Way

  • There are documents that bear witness to the arrival in present-day Galicia - then the Kingdom of Galicia - of Crusaders and Templars who went to Jerusalem during the 11th century. During a stopover on the Galician coasts, they made a pilgrimage to Santiago to ask the Apostle for protection in the Holy Land. This tour was also made by knights from all over Europe, who moored their ships on the coasts and traveled by land the way to Santiago, to seek the protection of the Apostle in all his deeds.
  • If you have time, when arriving at Pontedeume (in Stage 2 of the English Way) you may plan an excursion to the Caaveiro Monastery. It is a Benedictine monastery located in the Natural Park of As Fragas do Eume, founded in the 10th century and considered the oldest in Galicia. Its location allows you to enjoy breathtaking views of the biggest Atlantic coastal forest in Europe, and the preserved remains are magnificent. A curiosity related to this monastery is that it even impressed the English poet Lord Byron, who visited it on several occasions.
  • During Stage 3 (which runs between Pontedeume and Betanzos) you will pass through A Ponte do Porco, an old pass between both towns. A place whose name originates from a medieval legend. This legend tells that the Lord of Andrade, Don Nuno, refused to marry his daughter Tareixa with Roxín Roxal, whom she was in love with. Instead, Don Nuno married her to Don Henrique Osorio. Roxín Roxal was about to leave, but Don Nuno de Andrade allowed him to stay in their lands, in the tower of Nogueirosa. There was then a huge boar ("porco bravo" in Galician) that frightened the inhabitants and destroyed the crops. The Lord of Andrade then organized a hunt to kill him. When they had confronted the boar, he attacked his attackers, killing Tareixa instantly, while her husband Don Henrique fled. The next day, the huge boar appeared dead with Roxin Roxal's dagger stuck in the back of his neck, exactly in the place that is now called Ponte do Porco.
  • In Stage 5, when you arrive in Sigüeiro, you will pass over a medieval bridge over the Tambre river. This was the scene of a historic event in Galicia: the uprising of Colonel Solís against the troops of the Narváez government, in 1846. The progressive military rebels were prisoners between Cacheiras and Sigüeiro, both neighboring towns of Santiago. They were executed in the town of Carral, which by the way you will also cross this route. There is a monument in the center of the town honoring the martyrs of Carral.

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Discover all the different ways

The Camino Frances is the most popular one, but there are may other ways you should know.

» Camino Frances 474 miles / 33 days
» Camino Portugues 388 miles / 25 days
» Camino del Norte 512 miles / 32 days
» Camino Primitivo 194 miles / 11 days
» Camino Ingles 73 miles / 6 days
» Via de la Plata 440 miles / 27 days
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