100 books like The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago

By David M. Gitlitz, Linda Kay Davidson,

Here are 100 books that The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago fans have personally recommended if you like The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of A Hug for the Apostle : On Foot from Chartres to Santiago de Compostela

Beebe Bahrami Author Of The Way of the Wild Goose: Three Pilgrimages Following Geese, Stars, and Hunches on the Camino de Santiago

From my list on the culture and history of the Camino de Santiago.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an award-winning writer, anthropologist, and trekker. Much of my writing is centered on France, Spain, and Portugal and the trails of the Camino de Santiago. My passion for the Camino and its rich legacy arose over three decades ago as a study abroad student in southern Spain when I first heard about the Camino and journeyed across Spain, France, and Portugal. I knew then that my life would forever be bound up with going deeper into the rich histories, cultures, and places of these many-layered geographies. I'm best known for my travel memoirs (Café Oc, Café Neandertal), guidebooks (Moon Camino de Santiago, The Spiritual Traveler Spain), and widely published travel essays. 

Beebe's book list on the culture and history of the Camino de Santiago

Beebe Bahrami Why did Beebe love this book?

A Hug for the Apostle: On Foot from Chartres to Santiago de Compostela documents in engaging detail and voice a very long walk, from Chartres to Santiago de Compostela in the mid-1980s, before the Camino was well known and had dedicated infrastructural support. Dennett’s intrepid account is not only about this journey but also about the historical and cultural roots of the Camino, with a strong respect for, and colorful detail of, locals and their cultures, pilgrims, and the places through which she walked.

By Laurie Dennett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Hug for the Apostle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Hug for the Aposlte: On foot from Chartres to Santiago de Compostela by Laurie Dennett Foreward by His Excellency Mr. R. Roy McMurtry Hardcover book published by Macmillan of Canada, copyright 1987


Book cover of The Pilgrim's Guide to Santiago de Compostela

Beebe Bahrami Author Of The Way of the Wild Goose: Three Pilgrimages Following Geese, Stars, and Hunches on the Camino de Santiago

From my list on the culture and history of the Camino de Santiago.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an award-winning writer, anthropologist, and trekker. Much of my writing is centered on France, Spain, and Portugal and the trails of the Camino de Santiago. My passion for the Camino and its rich legacy arose over three decades ago as a study abroad student in southern Spain when I first heard about the Camino and journeyed across Spain, France, and Portugal. I knew then that my life would forever be bound up with going deeper into the rich histories, cultures, and places of these many-layered geographies. I'm best known for my travel memoirs (Café Oc, Café Neandertal), guidebooks (Moon Camino de Santiago, The Spiritual Traveler Spain), and widely published travel essays. 

Beebe's book list on the culture and history of the Camino de Santiago

Beebe Bahrami Why did Beebe love this book?

This is a comprehensive and colorful translation into English of the Latin 12th century pilgrim’s guide, book five of the Liber Sancti Jacobi, purportedly written by the French monk Aimery Picaud. Melczer not only translates this practical and feisty medieval guide, but his footnotes are copious and at times even more colorful than the main text, adding more context and understanding to the experiences of the medieval pilgrim and the medieval landscapes of France and Spain.

By William Melczer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Pilgrim's Guide to Santiago de Compostela as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The Pilgrim's Guide to Santiago de Compostela" presents the first complete English translation of Book Five of the Liber Sancti Jacobi or Codex Calixtinus. This twelfth-century guidebook traces the route from southern France to Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. The medieval Christian world knew three major pilgrimage sites - Jerusalem, Rome, and Santiago de Compostela. Between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries Santiago de Compostela was by far the most popular. Pilgrimage to Compostela was a once-in-a-lifetime human adventure. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims came year after year through France and across the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela near the…


Book cover of Pilgrim Stories: On and Off the Road to Santiago: Journeys Along an Ancient Way in Modern Spain

Beebe Bahrami Author Of The Way of the Wild Goose: Three Pilgrimages Following Geese, Stars, and Hunches on the Camino de Santiago

From my list on the culture and history of the Camino de Santiago.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an award-winning writer, anthropologist, and trekker. Much of my writing is centered on France, Spain, and Portugal and the trails of the Camino de Santiago. My passion for the Camino and its rich legacy arose over three decades ago as a study abroad student in southern Spain when I first heard about the Camino and journeyed across Spain, France, and Portugal. I knew then that my life would forever be bound up with going deeper into the rich histories, cultures, and places of these many-layered geographies. I'm best known for my travel memoirs (Café Oc, Café Neandertal), guidebooks (Moon Camino de Santiago, The Spiritual Traveler Spain), and widely published travel essays. 

Beebe's book list on the culture and history of the Camino de Santiago

Beebe Bahrami Why did Beebe love this book?

Pilgrim Stories is an engaging anthropologist’s account of gathering and making sense of pilgrim experiences and stories from all walks of life, before, during, and after their pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela. It is a wonderful work that captures the complex and transformative pilgrimage process as it plays out on individual and collective physical, psychological, and spiritual levels. 

By Nancy Louise Frey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pilgrim Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Each year thousands of men and women from more than sixty countries journey by foot and bicycle across northern Spain, following the medieval pilgrimage road known as the Camino de Santiago. Their destination is Santiago de Compostela, where the remains of the apostle James are said to be buried. These modern-day pilgrims and the role of the pilgrimage in their lives are the subject of Nancy Louise Frey's fascinating book. Unlike the religiously-oriented pilgrims who visit Marian shrines such as Lourdes, the modern Road of St. James attracts an ecumenical mix of largely well-educated, urban middle-class participants. Eschewing comfortable methods…


Book cover of The Way of Saint James, Volume I

Beebe Bahrami Author Of The Way of the Wild Goose: Three Pilgrimages Following Geese, Stars, and Hunches on the Camino de Santiago

From my list on the culture and history of the Camino de Santiago.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an award-winning writer, anthropologist, and trekker. Much of my writing is centered on France, Spain, and Portugal and the trails of the Camino de Santiago. My passion for the Camino and its rich legacy arose over three decades ago as a study abroad student in southern Spain when I first heard about the Camino and journeyed across Spain, France, and Portugal. I knew then that my life would forever be bound up with going deeper into the rich histories, cultures, and places of these many-layered geographies. I'm best known for my travel memoirs (Café Oc, Café Neandertal), guidebooks (Moon Camino de Santiago, The Spiritual Traveler Spain), and widely published travel essays. 

Beebe's book list on the culture and history of the Camino de Santiago

Beebe Bahrami Why did Beebe love this book?

The Way of Saint James: In Three Volumes is three volumes of adventure and rich history, art history, folklore, and intrepid exploration along the Camino trails in France and northern Spain through the eyes of this Bryn Mawr College art historian in the early 1900s. She is broad in her understanding of the lands, monuments, and peoples through which she travels and a maverick at a time when few men, let alone women, made this journey. Her insights into history and culture remain important today.

By Georgiana Goddard King,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Way of Saint James, Volume I as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Unlike some other reproductions of classic texts (1) We have not used OCR(Optical Character Recognition), as this leads to bad quality books with introduced typos. (2) In books where there are images such as portraits, maps, sketches etc We have endeavoured to keep the quality of these images, so they represent accurately the original artefact. Although occasionally there may be certain imperfections with these old texts, we feel they deserve to be made available for future generations to enjoy.


Book cover of Pilgrimage in Medieval England

ffiona Perigrinor Author Of Reluctant Pilgrim: The Book of Margery Kempe's Maidservant

From my list on why you wouldn’t want to travel with Margery Kempe.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’d already published a scholarly book about the household of a medieval widow, who was just a decade older than Margery Kempe and lived sixty miles away, so the time, place, and mindset seemed very familiar. As a Jungian Psychoanalyst I’m interested in how individuals find the central meaning in their lives. Clearly for Margery it was the search for God, although she doesn’t appear to have been a kindly soul. When I read that she twice quarreled with her maidservant, I realised the maidservant could tell her own tale. And so she did, and sometimes it seemed she was dictating it to me! Characters really do speak for themselves... 

ffiona's book list on why you wouldn’t want to travel with Margery Kempe

ffiona Perigrinor Why did ffiona love this book?

If you want to know the reality of medieval pilgrimage, read this book. I learnt a lot from it and got a real feel for this group of people. Webb describes the multiple reasons for going on pilgrimage, as a penance, fulfilling a vow, looking for a cure or a blessing, or just having a good time. She introduces us to a wider variety of individuals than Chaucer’s famous pilgrims and describes the most important shrines in England, like Walsingham and the St Thomas shrine in Canterbury, as well as numerous small shrines with local cults where country folk went to worship in the hope of finding their lost keys or cattle. You might discover, as I did, there is still one near you!

By Diana Webb,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pilgrimage in Medieval England as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The men and women who gathered at the Tabard Inn in Southwark in Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales" are only the most famous of the tens of thousands of English pilgrims, from kings to peasants, who set off to the shrines of saints and the sites of miracles in the middle ages. As they travelled along well-established routes in the hope of a cure or a blessing, to fulfil a vow or to see new places, the pilgrims left records that let us see medieval people and their concerns and beliefs from a unique and intimate angle. As well as the most…


Book cover of The Age of Pilgrimage: The Medieval Journey to God

ffiona Perigrinor Author Of Reluctant Pilgrim: The Book of Margery Kempe's Maidservant

From my list on why you wouldn’t want to travel with Margery Kempe.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’d already published a scholarly book about the household of a medieval widow, who was just a decade older than Margery Kempe and lived sixty miles away, so the time, place, and mindset seemed very familiar. As a Jungian Psychoanalyst I’m interested in how individuals find the central meaning in their lives. Clearly for Margery it was the search for God, although she doesn’t appear to have been a kindly soul. When I read that she twice quarreled with her maidservant, I realised the maidservant could tell her own tale. And so she did, and sometimes it seemed she was dictating it to me! Characters really do speak for themselves... 

ffiona's book list on why you wouldn’t want to travel with Margery Kempe

ffiona Perigrinor Why did ffiona love this book?

There’re numerous books on medieval pilgrimage, and even though I don’t agree with all of Sumption’s conclusions, I’m recommending this for its readability and fascinating anecdotes and quotations, drawn from contemporary accounts, which were invaluable for my research. It’s informative about both the devout and more worldly travelers, kings, queens, clerics and nobles, and the common people of the day.

One major drawback is that his focus is largely on France and Rome, while Jerusalem, Santiago, and the German pilgrimage sites don’t get the attention they deserve. But this just demonstrates how popular pilgrimage was throughout the Middle Ages and how busy the highways and byways were with crowds of pilgrims. I learnt that people were much more mobile at this time than I had thought.

By Jonathan Sumption,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Age of Pilgrimage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Brings alive the history of pilgrimage in Europe

We are apt to forget how much people traveled in the Middle Ages. Not only merchants, friars, soldiers and official messengers, but crowds of pilgrims were a familiar sight on the roads of Western Europe. In this engaging work of history, Jonathan Sumption brings alive the traditions of pilgrimage prevalent in Europe from the beginning of Christianity to the end of the fifteenth century. Vividly describing such major destinations as Jerusalem, Rome, Santiago de Compostela and Canterbury, he examines both major figures--popes, kings, queens, scholars, villains--and the common people of their day.…


Book cover of A Journey of Days

Sanjiva Wijesinha Author Of Strangers on the Camino: Father, Son - and Holy Trail

From my list on the Camino de Santiago from someone who walked it.

Why am I passionate about this?

The pilgrim’s journey to the ancient Catholic shrine at Santiago de Compostela had fascinated me ever since I first read about it. For centuries, pilgrims had made this arduous journey, the majority of them on foot, along a trail in northern Spain that stretched for over five hundred miles. Many had written of the transformation they underwent as a result of making this journey. Even though I am not a Catholic, I decided to undertake the journey myself in 2011 in the company of my son – and then decided to write about what I had experienced and learned as a result of my journey. Having written my book I became interested in learning what others who had done this journey had to say about the Camino. What was their experience, what perspective did they offer, were they also changed (as I was) by undertaking this “pilgrimage”?

Sanjiva's book list on the Camino de Santiago from someone who walked it

Sanjiva Wijesinha Why did Sanjiva love this book?

Guy Thatcher's book contains useful information and evocative descriptions of places along the trail, people he met, the weather he encountered, and his everyday experience - together with pertinent observations and views. If you have done the pilgrimage, you will enjoy revisiting it through this book. If you are thinking about doing the pilgrimage, it will set the scene and encourage you to undertake it.

By Guy Thatcher,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Journey of Days as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Journey of Days: Relearning Life s Lessons on the Camino de Santiago, by Guy Thatcher, takes us for a 700-kilometre walk along the camino in northern Spain, an age-old pilgrimage route walked by young and old alike for centuries. He walked the camino hoping to discover the reason for the compulsion that drove him there.

This is an elegantly presented, intelligent book. Your goal may not be to walk the camino, as Thatcher has done, but you ll come away informed, inspired and touched by this beautiful narrative. The real story is the pilgrims met along the way. This…


Book cover of The Crossway

Stefanie Wilson Author Of The Backpack Years: Two Memoirs, One Story

From my list on the healing power of travel.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love travelogues and wrote a dual POV travel memoir with my husband. Travel writing allows us to see the world through others’ eyes, and my favorites are by those who used travel as a way to escape or heal. I’m more invested when I know this person not just wants, but needs this journey. I understand this feeling. I empathize with them, I root for them, and I am happy for them when they reach their destination. I adore Eat, Pray, Love and Wild, and want to recommend five other memoirs that have stayed with me as examples of brave people who left home behind in search of something better.

Stefanie's book list on the healing power of travel

Stefanie Wilson Why did Stefanie love this book?

Guy left his demons in England and set out on a pilgrimage. After mental health issues and a year of being afraid to leave his home, Guy re-entered the world by trekking through 10 countries in 10 months, hoping the journey would heal him. He traveled down ancient paths through changing landscapes, and the charity of everyday strangers kept him and his hope alive.

He finally arrived in Jerusalem, and though neither his physical nor emotional journey ended in the climax he’d hoped, he’d gained understanding. I’ve experienced the clarity that can come with putting physical distance between you and your issues, and though they say not to run away from your problems, sometimes a really long walk can actually help.

By Guy Stagg,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Crossway as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner - Edward Stanford Travel Memoir of the Year 2019.
Shortlisted - Rathbones Folio Prize, Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize, and Somerset Maugham Award 2019.

'An extraordinary travelogue, strange and brilliant' - i

In 2013 Guy Stagg walked from Canterbury to Jerusalem. Though a non-believer, he began the pilgrimage after suffering several years of mental illness, hoping the ritual would heal him. For ten months he hiked alone on ancient paths, crossing ten countries and more than 5,500 kilometres. Travelling without support, he had to rely each night on the charity of strangers.

The Crossway is an account of…


Book cover of The Canterbury Tales

Eleanor Janega Author Of The Once and Future Sex: Going Medieval on Women's Roles in Society

From my list on illuminating the Middle Ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a medieval historian who specialises in social history, and more particularly on sexuality, propaganda, and apocalypticism. I fell in love with the period from my very first class during my BA, but even back then, I was struck by just how little we as a society pay attention to some thousand years of history. Even worse, we often tell lazy myths about the Middle Ages as a time of filth and ignorance that makes us feel good about ourselves. Since not everyone can get a Ph.D. like I did, I have dedicated my career to bringing the period to light. I hope this book list does just that.

Eleanor's book list on illuminating the Middle Ages

Eleanor Janega Why did Eleanor love this book?

I love this stupid, sexy mess of a book.

Oh, you think you know what the Canterbury Tales is about? No. You don’t. It’s about shagging in pear trees while your blind husband sits below you. It’s about weird non-binary people that your travelling companions don’t know what to make of. It’s about love and death and meaning and fart jokes. The Canterbury Tales is a brilliantly alive, deliciously bawdy, surprisingly disarming work that will help you understand what regular people in the Middle Ages wanted to read about.

For bonus points, get a hold of the Riverside Chaucer translation because medieval historians like to be thingy about that. I’ll take any version as long as you read it, though. 

Book cover of The Pilgrimage: A Contemporary Quest for Ancient Wisdom

Astrid V. J. Author Of The Companion's Tale

From my list on uplifting and transformational stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an award-winning and USA Today bestselling South African author, social anthropologist, and transformational life coach. Human transformation and the question of human social nature are key themes in all of my writing, which explores the experiences of people on the margins or with a background of overlapping cultures. I am a book dragon who loves reading adventures in almost every genre and that broad scope of my reading explorations has wormed its way into my writing style which, though broadly defined as fantasy, encompasses elements from other styles in a rich and ‘aromatic’ blend.

Astrid's book list on uplifting and transformational stories

Astrid V. J. Why did Astrid love this book?

This deeply moving tale in Coelho’s well-known philosophical style was my first-ever conscious encounter with key principles of transformation. I’d read some of his other books but although they were uplifting, this one resonated so powerfully I realised it contained keys to unlocking my own self-exploration. It touched me so deeply I created a list of quotes that resonated with me and kept them close, even learning some by heart.

By Paulo Coelho, Julia Sanches (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Pilgrimage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this gripping story, Paulo Coelho is on a quest for the ultimate in self-knowledge, wisdom and spiritual mastery.

Guided by his mysterious companion Petrus, he takes the road to Santiago, going through a series of trials and tests along the way, even coming face to face with someone who may just be the devil himself. Why is the road to the simple life so hard? Will Paulo be strong enough to complete the journey towards humility, belief and faith?

The Pilgrimage paved the way to Paulo Coehlo's international best-selling novel The Alchemist. In many ways, these two volumes are…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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