Modern day pilgrims can embark on the much beloved Camino de Santiago de Compostela at any time of year, but many aim to reach the town’s iconic, world-famous Cathedral, the Obradoiro, for the feast day of St James on the 25th of July. It’s Galicia's national day and celebrations abound, but when it falls on a Sunday, it is considered to be a Holy Year (año Xacobeo). This year is just that, and with the next in 2021, there are two and a half months left to gain the indulgences granted during a jubilee year.
Santiago offers trekkers other rewards too: splendid and plentiful cuisine, Albariño (an excellent white wine) to accompany arguably the best seafood in Spain and a beautiful old town with cobblestoned streets and plenty of character. It’s also a good springboard for visiting other parts of the region and an excellent way of recovering from the physical challenge of a five-week-long trudge is to head 30km south to the Thermal Baths at Cuntis.
More than just hydrotherapy, the combination of minerals in the natural warm spring water has restorative qualities, guaranteed to relax tired muscles and heal over-worked feet. Stay at the four-star Hotel Castro do Balneario, a typical rustic, Galician, stone mansion house (www.termasdecuntis) overlooking the river. They offer off-peak deals for accommodation and treatment sessions at this time of year. Programmes include wine-therapy, anti-stress treatment, physiotherapy and special sessions for ex-smokers.