A new book, Pilgrimage: The Great Pilgrim Routes of Britain and Europe, documents 10 European pilgrimages, as detailed and photographed by Derry Brabbs. The Yorkshire photographer has perfectly captured many highlight attractions and landscapes of the increasingly popular European pilgrimage routes. While The Camino, which stretches through France and Spain to Santiago de Compostela, remains the firm favourite for many pilgrimage walkers, there are many other routes that offer a great alternative for a self-guided walking holiday. There are many reasons to choose a pilgrimage route, including historical, cultural and religious interest, good way-marking and the chance to meet people while enjoying a solo walking trip. As well as a variety of options on the Camino walking route, there are some superb alternatives. For example, Derry reports that his favourite pilgrimage is the Via Francigena.
You can walk various sections of the Via Francigena, which connects Canterbury in England, with Rome in Italy and crosses two countries of France and Switzerland.
The 205-mile Rouen to Mont-Saint-Michel pilgrimage leads walkers to, of course, stunning Mont-Saint-Michel. The Pilgrims Way, in the Surrey Hills of England, extends from Winchester in Hampshire along the entire length of the North Downs to reach the city of Canterbury in Kent.
Another British pilgrimage walk is the St Cuthbert’s Way, which follows a beautiful route through Northumberland and the Scottish Borders to reach the Holy Island, one of Europe’s most famous historic and religious sites. The Telegraph newspaper listed St Cuthbert’s Way as one of its five top UK pilgrimage walks. In Germany, the Via Coloniensis is a pilgrimage walk in Germany that starts Germany in the city of Cologne. Meanwhile, Bavaria is home to the Munich Way of St James and starts from the capital Munich. The Via Di Francesco pilgrimage route stretches between La Verna and Assisi in Italy.
In Japan, walkers can choose to follow in the spiritual footsteps of 11th century imperial pilgrims on the Kumano Kodo Trail to the Grand Shrines of Kumano. Or how about visiting the highlights of Japan’s 88 Temple Pilgrimage route? Find out more in this Adventure of the Week: Shikoku Pilgrimage Trail blog.
The book Pilgrimage: The Great Pilgrim Routes of Britain and Europe would make a great Christmas present for a keen walker.