English Route

English way to CompostelaWe are going on the English Way to Compostela, known like that because of the great amount of pilgrims from the British Islands.

It was from the 12th century onwards that pilgrimages from the Nordic countries and the British Islands started. The first one known goes back to 1147 with the arrival of a squad of crusaders who travelled to the Holy Land.

    The expedition took part in the conquest of Lisbon and helped the first king of Portugal in his fight against the Arabs. Before taking part in the battle, the members of the expedition visited the tomb of the Apostle in Compostela. That was the beginning of the English Way in the Western capital.

    Scandinavian, Flamencos, English, Scottish and Irish arrived in our coasts, crossing the Basque, Cantabrian and Asturian ports, but mainly those of Ribadeo, Viveiro, Ferrol and A Coruña.

    It is a fact that in the late 16th century there was in Viveiro (Lugo) a hospital dedicated to Santiago, where travellers, poor people and pilgrims were taking in ‘for being in a passing way of Asturias and Vizcaya and many other parts towards the Royal Hospital of Santiago, Portugal and many other places’.

Puertos de Ferrol y A Coruña

    But, owing to their exceptional strategic importance, Ferrol and A Coruña are considered to be the entrances to the so-called English Way to Compostela. The Way has 74 km from A Coruña to Santiago and 118 from Ferrol.

    The British came by boat during the long Hundred Years’ War against the French, not only pilgrims but also merchants as it was proved with all sort of discoveries carried out in Santiago and in the offerings at the Church of Santiago de Compostela.

    Pilgrimages disappeared under the kingdom of Enrique VIII because of the break-up between the English and Roman churches.

    In the archives of the hospitals of the route, there is evidence of deceases of English, German, Italian, French and Scandinavian people, which is a proof of the passage of pilgrims from these countries to Compostela.

    We walk the English Way and see all what pilgrims saw. We do not intend to follow the way step by step. We want to stop and see the traces of the work of men that have been respected so than anyone who contemplates these stones of history can also feel the amazement of the traveller before the beauty in the environment of our route.

1: Ferrol - Neda

Ferrol - 14 Km.

The English Way goes around eroded mountains and old medium-height summits. It starts in the Port of Ferrol, in As Curuxeiras, where it was placed since the 11th century. It must be understood as the heart of this city.

    Ferrol had exemptions since the 12th century, granted by Alfonso VII. Enrique II handed the city to Fernán Pérez de Andrade, coming back to the crown and becoming the marine and modern Ferrol.

   St Francisco Church remembers the convent founded by Pérez de Andrade in the 14th century. The present church from the 18th century has a Latin cross floor and interesting images by José Ferreiro can be contemplated inside.

    The naval dockyard was built in the middle of the 18th century and so was the new city. The military facilities were built on solid ground, being the Marine Training Barracks the most standing element. The Magdalena district, which was born up in this century, has a reticulated layout with six parallel streets cut by nine cross ones and two squares in the centre.
   Centro Cultural Torrente Ballester

    The old Hospital de la Caridad, which was erected in the late 18th century to attend pilgrims and ill people, is nowadays Torrente Ballester Cultural Centre.





Concatedral de Ferrol


   St Julian Church (Ferrol shares the bishopric with Mondoñedo) was built by Sánchez Bort in the second half of the 18th century.
    Virgen de los Dolores Church lies at Amboage Square.

    The Town Hall at the Plaza de Armas was built in 1953 and houses the local museum.

Iglesia de Las Angustias en Ferrol- Foto Carlos Rodríguez

    After the Plaza de la Constitución and Cantón de Molíns, the visitor gets to the Angustias neoclassic Church.

    In this way there were hospitals of the Sancti Spiritus order in Ferrol, Neda, Miño, Paderne and Betanzos. The Andrade contributed to pilgrimages building and restoring bridges in Xubia, Pontedeume, Lambre, Betanzos and O Burgo.


    We go on a parallel route to the estuary of Ferrol. In Xubia, we find the magnificent St Martiño Romanesque Church, heiress of the old Monastery of O Couto that was erected in the 8th century and restored in the 12th century.

Monasterio de O-Couto-Xuvia

    The church, with three naves and a three-apse head, has artistic corbels that make it special. The Romanesque façade is protected by a portico of the 18th century.
Xubia and this monastery were the first stop for pilgrims coming from Ferrol.



Near Neda, we find the As Aceas de Lembeie Mill, moved by the tides

Albergue Neda

On the banks of the River Xubia there is now a pilgrims lodging.

Sta-María y Concello de Neda

S-Nicolas- NedaSt María Church dates from the beginning of the 18th century.
The Town Hall with a tower of the 18th century preserves the rests of the Sancti Spiritus pilgrim’s hospital of the 15th century.


We leave Neda visiting St Nicolas Church (14th century).



1A: A Coruña - Bruma , (Variante )

The other big route of the English Way starts in the city that was considered as ‘head, guard and key of the Kingdom of Galicia’, Puerto de A Coruña - Foto Carlos Rodríguez

A Coruña. It is known that already in 1434 about three thousand English pilgrims entered the port of A Coruña. In the city there were hospitals for pilgrims from Los Angeles, Santa Catalina and San Andrés.

31 Km.

A Coruña


Torre de Hercules - A Coruña    The most characteristic identifying element of A Coruña is the Tower of Hercules, Roman lighthouse of the 2nd century restored in its present shape by Eustaquio Giannini in the late 18th century.



    Pilgrims disembarked in El Parrote, taking Santiago Church as their first destiny


Iglesia de Santiago en A Coruña

    It is a Romanesque church of the early 13th century, founded by King Alfonso IX. The Gothic façade, 15th century, has images of St James and St John and a magnificent rose window. The council of the city met before this church.

Castillo de San Antón y Jardín de San Carlos - A Coruña

    A Coruña preserves important elements of military architecture such as the rests of the walls (16th and 17th century), St Carlos Garden, bastion that formed part of the New Fortress for defending the city, and St Anton Castle (an old island) that houses the Historical and Archaeological Museum.Colegiata de Sta Maria de Campo- Coruña


As for religious architecture, Santa María del Campo Collegiate Church (12th and 13th centuries), placed in the Old City, was frequented by pilgrims to entrust themselves to the Apostle before the hard route they were undertaking. There was an absolute devotion to the Virgen del Portal in this Collegiate Church.


Concello de A Coruña - Foto: Carlos Rodríguez

Regarding the modern times, we have to mention Maria Pita Square and the Town Hall (beginning of the 20th century) and its famous balconies, which made A Coruña deserve the nickname “la ciudad de cristal” (‘the glass city’).

Castro de Elviña - A Coruña

    One could leave A Coruña through Eiris and Elivña fields, where the battle between the English and French armies took place in 1809. There is a monumental ‘castro’ in Elviña that preserves rests of walls, houses and wells of the Galician-Roman age.

O Burgo

  Iglesia y puente de O Burgo

O Burgo was manor and port of the Templars. The Romanesque three-apse Church dedicated to the Apostle Santiago.
The medieval bridge was rebuilt in the late 20th century.


Iglesia de Cambre- A Coruña

    In Cambre we find Santiago de Sigrás Romanesque Church, which was restored at the beginning of the 17th century. Years ago there was a pilgrims’ lodging here.







Santa Maria de Cambre - A Coruña

    Then, we get to St María de Cambre Romanesque Church, 12th century. It formed part of the monastery founded in the 10th century with an original ambulatory behind the high altar that allowed pilgrims a bigger nearness for prayer. It has three naves and an interesting façade.

Hacia BrumaPazo de Anceis - Monumento a los martires de Carral

    We pass the Pazo de Anceis (17th century) and leave Carral, where there is a memorial to the martyrs that gave their life in 1846 in defence of freedom.







A Calle- Sarandóns- A Coruña

    In A Calle, in the parish of Sarandóns, there is a plaque in a building from the 16th century reminding of King Phillip II visit in 1554.

    From Hospital to Bruma, both ways join towards Compostela.

2: Neda Miño

From Pontedeume - 23 Km.

Fene, museo del humor y astillero

The Way gets to Fene that shows two important aspects: its industrial character, represented by Astano factories, and the cultural aspect focused on the Humour Museum.

iglesia de San Martiño do Porto. Y la amplísima playa de Cabanas iglesia de San Martiño do Porto. Y la amplísima playa de Cabanas

Then, Cabanas, which is on the verge of the local capital and offers the magnificent Baroque façade of St Martiño do Porto Church and the large beach, where the grove goes into the sandy spot in an unrepeatable conjunction.

Panoramica de Puentedeume, A Coruña

We get to Pontedeume, centre of the Eume region, with a wide natural environment of extraordinary beauty.

Puentedeume - Foto Carlos Rodríguez Arias

We get to Pontedeume, centre of the Eume region, with a wide natural environment of extraordinary beauty.

We get into the bridge that is 600 metres long and was built by Fernán Pérez de Andrade in the 14th century.

According to the legend, the bridge is known as “A Ponte do Demo” and was built by the devil just in one night so that a young woman could see his lover for the last time in exchange of her soul. The bridge had a chapel and a pilgrim’s hospital thanks to the support of Pérez de Andrade known as ‘the Good’.



Pontedeume preserves the big battlemented tower, which is a rest of the fortress-palace of the Andrade (14th century) today turned into a cultural centre.



Iglesia de Santiago- PONTEDEUME

Santiago Church dates from the 16th century and was reconstructed in the 18th century. The house built by Bartolomé Rajoy, archbishop of Santiago de Compostela, also dates from the 18th century.

Torre Concello de Puentedeume

The Tower next to the Town Hall from the 18th century, As Virtudes Chapel and St Agustin Convent are other points of reference.

Castillo de Peña Leboreira o de Nogueirosa-glesia de San Martiño de Andrade

Outside Pontedeume, just on the top, dominating the village and the scene, we can see Peña Leboreira or Nogueirosa Castle (14th century), which has been recently restored. In the vicinity, we find St Martiño de Andrade Church with a beautiful apse of the 12th century.

   Iglesia de San Miguel de Breamo- puentedeume

Beside our route, near Pontedeume, we find Breamo, with St Miguel Romanesque Church (later 12th century), Latin cross floor, three apses and barrel and rib vaults, dominating the near sea.


 Already in Miño, in the surroundings of the route, we can visit San Xoan de Vilanova Romanesque Church.

 In A Fraga, there is an old restored mill.
Miño, puente y albergue

In Miño there is a medieval one-arched bridge over Baxoi River that had been ordered by Fernán Pérez de Andrade in the 14th century. Nowadays, it is restored.

The new pilgrim’s lodging is on the edge of the Miño estuary.

3: Miño - Bruma

We left Miño us a stage of 38 km.

Ponte do Porco

Ponte do Porco y vista Ria

In Ponte do Porco there is a bridge from the 19th century. But the original plan of the Way implies going up to Lambre River and get to the bridge, built in the 14th century by order of Fernán Pérez de Andrade, where history and legend fit together to get a magic place.
   In the surroundings, there are rests of an important industry of the 18th century, “Muíños da Misericordia”, which belonged to the lords of Pazo de Montecelo and where grain was milled for the dockyards of Ferrol.

    Iglesia de San Pantaleón das Viñas y Pazo

St Pantaleón de Viñas Church is Romanesque with half-point archivolts over two pairs of columns and rose window in the façade. Beside the church lies the ‘pazo’ that belonged to the Bermúdez de Castro and there is also a ‘castro’ behind.


Ruinas capilla de San Paio, Betanzos


St Paio Chapel, which is in ruins, is nowadays a warehouse. A great pilgrimage in honour of the saint was celebrated in this chapel on 24th August.




Os Remedios y San Mafrtiño, Betanzos

Dominating Betanzos from the old location of the city, we find St Martiño de Tiobre Church that preserves Romanesque rests such its side door. In Tiobre, we can also find Os Remedios or Nuestra Señora del Camino Sanctuary, a Renaissance temple with Latin cross floor built by García de Velasco in the late 16th century.

Ponte vella de Betanzos

Betanzos, capital of As Mariñas region, is one of the capital cities of the old Kingdom of Galicia. Pilgrims entered across the old bridge, A Ponte Vella, over Mandeo River. 
The immediate Arco da Ponte Vella corresponds to one of the three doors of the medieval wall of the city that are still preserved.

San Francisco, betanzos

St Francisco Church, Gothic of the 14th century, houses the tomb of Fernán Pérez de Andrade, the good, protector that were attended is hospitals dedicated to him.

   Santa Maria de Azougue, Betanzos

St María de Azougue, 14th century, is also Gothic. It has three naves, three apses and altarpiece of flamenco school in the high altar.

Iglesia de Santiago, Betanzos

Santiago Church (Gothic, 15th century) was erected by Fernández Pérez de Andrade, the young. It has three naves and three apses and in the façade there is an image of St James on horse. In one of the chapels, Pedro de Ben Chapel, we can observe the magnificent plateresque altarpiece by Cornielis de Holanda.
   Praza do Concello, Betanzos

The Town Hall, the local tower (leaned to Santiago Church) and Pazo de Bendaña are outstanding civil buildings of the city.

    Hermanos García Naveira, Pasatempos

In the square dedicated to Brothers García Naveira, there is a memorial remembering these neighbours of Betanzos, famous for their philanthropic works related to education and society and for “O Pasatempo”, a journey through the wonders of the World reflected in Betanzos as the most original World thematic park.

    Iglesia de Santo Domingo, Betanzos

In this square we can also find St Domingo Church, 17th century, with a Baroque belfry built by Casas Novoa at the beginning of the 18th century, where the famous paper balloon has been rising for over 130 years. There is also a building, erected in the 18th century,Ponte As Cascas, Betanzos
    Leaving Betanzos over As Cascas Bridge, with a coat of arms of the city, we pass along Xanrozo, a place that gives name to the archpriesthood, leaving left the ‘castro’ with that name, where there was a medieval fortress already documented in the 10th century.



Once we pass Limiñón, already in Abegondo, we find St Esteban de Cos Chapel.

Santiago de Meangos y cruceiro

We pass near Santiago de Meangos Church and crossing Presedo Bridge we visit the church.

San Paio de Vilacova, Abegondo

Then, we pass next to San Paio de Vilacova hermitage and go up to Vizoño.

    Albergue de Bruma, Mesia

In Bruma, there was a pilgrim’s hospital dedicated to St Lorenzo. It was founded in 1140 and began to depend on Santiago hospital in 1175. Albergue y capilla de Bruma- Mesia

Nowadays, there is a modern lodging and a chapel in the surroundings.

In this place unite the two routes of English Way.

4: Bruma - Sigüeiro

30 Km.

De Bruma a Sigüeiro

  We are in the last section of the English Way, where thee nearness of Compostela makes us go faster in our journey and monumental references be less.

Cabeza de Lobo, Ardemil

Instead of Cabeza de Lobo, Church cruising with a beautiful Ardemil.
  Iglesia de Buscás, Ordes

Iglesia de Buscás- 2, Ordes 

In Buscás – Ordes there is an excellent Romanesque temple dedicated to St Paio.
  San Julian de Poulo-1 

A bit forward, in San Xoán de Poulo, we find the church, the noble house and the ‘cruceiro’. Long ago there was a hospital for pilgrims here.San Julian de Poulo-2


Santa Eulalia de Pereira

Another inscription in a house also alludes to Phillip II’s stay in that year.
    Puente de Sigüeiro, Santiago

Sigüeiro, capital of Oroso, is thought to be founded in the 12th century. The bridge over Tambre River, designed in the time the village was born, is highly significant.

5: Sigüeiro - Santiago

Last stage of 18 km.

Iglesia de Barciela

    Already in Santiago, we find Barciela Church . San Cristivo de Enfesta

And very near, St Cristovo Church in Enfesta, with two curious animals in its façade.

We pass along the Tambre industrial state in the surroundings of Santiago.

Entering the build-up area of Santiago de Compostela, in Meixonfrío, there was an institution to attend pilgrims long ago.

Xunta de Galicia, San Caetano

We also pass along the building of the Xunta de Galicia,

Convento de Santa Clara- Plaza de Cervantes

St Clara Convent, and Cervantes Square

San Martin Pinario, Puerta Azabachería, Santiago

St Martiño Pinario Square to enter Compostela’s Cathedral through the door of Azabachería.

   Catedral de Santiago de Compostela

We have come to the end of our long tour. Travellers from the misty lands in the North reached the long-awaited aim, the tomb of St James, in the heart of Compostela.