The Camino de Santiago, known in English as the Way of St. James, is a network of pilgrims' ways or pilgrimages leading to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition holds that the remains of the apostle are buried. As Pope Benedict XVI said, "It is a Way sown with so many demonstrations of fervour, repentance, hospitality, art and culture which speak to us eloquently of the spiritual roots of the Old Continent." Many follow its routes as a form of spiritual path or retreat for their spiritual growth. It is also popular with hiking and cycling enthusiasts and organized tour groups.
Created and established after the discovery of the relics of James of Zebedee at the beginning of the 9th century, the Way of St. James became a major pilgrimage route of medieval Christianity from the 10th century onwards. But it was only after the capture of Granada in 1492, under the reign of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile, that Pope Alexander VI officially declared the Camino de Santiago to be one of the "three great pilgrimages of Christendom", along with Jerusalem and Rome.