A travel guide review—Camino de Santiago: Sacred Sites, Historic Villages, Local Food & Wine

The TLC Book Tour had me really touring for this review stop…all the way from France to Spain along the Camino de Santiago.

About the book:


Publisher: Moon Travel; 2nd edition (May 24, 2022)

Paperback: 568 Pages

Over 1,200 years old, 500 miles long, and rich with tradition, history, and inspiration.

Embark on the trip of a lifetime with Moon Camino de Santiago.

Inside you’ll find:

  • Strategic trekking advice for walking the Camino, including where to start to get the Compostela certificate and excursions to gateway cities like Santiago, Léon, and Pamplona
  • Unique ideas for enriching your experience: Admire folkloric art and Romanesque churches, stroll through the stone archways and winding alleys of medieval cities, and soak up mountain views as you cross over the Pyrenees and descend into green valleys. See the archaeological site where Europe’s oldest humans were uncovered and breathe in the salty ocean air as you finish your journey at the shores of the Atlantic
  • Savor the local flavors: Enjoy authentic jamón serrano, tapas, and Galician wine, or grab cheese and freshly baked bread for a picnic lunch
  • The best detours, festivals, and villages along the way: Linger in Estella, witness the running of the bulls in Pamplona, visit the monastery in Nájera, or sip wine in Cacabelos
  • Essential planning information on when to go, how to get there, where to eat, and where to stay, from pilgrim dorms to private hotels, plus tips on hazards, precautions, and gear
  • Expert advice from Beebe Bahrami, who has walked the Camino more than 20 times, including valuable history and context of the pilgrimage and the sacred sites, landscape, culture, and local etiquette
  • Full-color photos and detailed maps throughout, plus a handy fold-out map of the entire route
  • Helpful resources on Covid and walking the Camino
  • Handy tools and background information including Spanish and French phrasebooks, visa information, volunteer opportunities, and tips for seniors, women traveling alone, religious and secular travelers, and LGBTQ travelers

Start your transformative journey with Moon Camino de Santiago’s expert insight, unique suggestions, and practical advice.  Moon was founded in 1973 to empower independent, active, and conscious travel. We prioritize local businesses, outdoor recreation, and traveling strategically and sustainably. Moon Travel Guides are written by local, expert authors with great stories to tell—and they can’t wait to share their favorite places with you.

For more inspiration, follow @moonguides on social media.

About the author:

Beebe Bahrami is an award winning freelance travel writer and anthropologist passionate for European, Atlantic, and Mediterranean cultures.  Widely published in travel, food and wine, outdoors and adventure, archaeology, spiritual, pilgrimage, and other cross-cultural topics, she has lived and traveled in the diverse cultures of Europe, North Africa, Southwest Asia, and across North America.

Her background in anthropology trained her in the cultures, languages, peoples, prehistory and history of the Atlantic and Mediterranean worlds.  She writes most on France and Spain and is often there unearthing new discoveries about these rich and multilayered places.
Her travel narratives include  Cafe Oc—A Nomad’s Tales of Magic, Mystery and Finding Home in the Dordogne of Southwestern France (Shanti Arts Publishing), Cafe Neandertal—Excavating Our Past In One of Europe’s Most Ancient Places (Counterpoint Press), and The Way of the Wild Goose—Three Pilgrimages Following Geese, Stars, and Hunches on the Camino de Santiago (Monkfish Book Publishing). Besides these narratives, she has also written several comprehensive travel guides on Spain and France, including The Spiritual Traveler Spain—A Guide to Sacred Sites and Pilgrim Routes (Paulist Press), Historic Walking Guides: Madrid (DestinWorld Publishing), and most recently, now in its second edition, Moon Camino de Santiago—Sacred Sites, Historic Villages, Local Food & Wine (Avalon Travel/Hachette Book Group). To learn more about my books, please visit her Books page.

Bahrami has two blogs:   The Pilgrim’s Way Cafe, dedicated to pilgrimage, trekking, and exploring the world at the pace of the spirit, on foot; and Cafe Oc, which explores the rich cultural and natural terrain of southwestern France, the Pyrenees, and northern Spain.

Her work has also appeared in BBC TravelWine Enthusiast, Archaeology, The Pennsylvania Gazette, The Bark, Best Women’s Travel Writing, Transitions Abroad, Perceptive Travel, Expedition, Michelin Green Guides, and National Geographic books, among others. To read more, please check out these articles.

What I thought…..

OK.  Everyone has seen The Way with Martin Sheen.   Everyone who has seen The Way  with Martin Sheen wants to walk the Camino.   After perusing through Bahrami’s guide, I definitely want to take this pilgrimage.

The guide starts with “18 Top Experiences” including filling your scallop shell (or your water bottle) with free wine, eating pintxos in Pamplona, and tapas in León’s Barrio Húmedo.   There’s an amazing photo in this section of hikers taking in the Milky Way.  (Legend has it that The Camino traces the galaxy.)

I am fully aware that I will probably never walk the entire Camino, but Bahrami includes each sections with “If You’re Looking For…”(21).  Want a physical challenge, take the mountainous routes.  Want an easy walk, focus on Sarria to Santiago de Compostela. (This is also the most popular trek.)  For solitude, start anywhere before Sarria.

There’s helpful tips along the way, too many to try to abbreviate here.  Just know this seems to be a very comprehensive guide, but one that is enjoyable to read from your couch.   Bahrami definitely maintains that anyone can conquer this sacred trail.

A map is included.

The Food…

No travel guide is worth its weight without pointing travelers in the direction of good food.   While Bahrami does highlight specific eateries, she also mentions tapas (everywhere), local markets, local festivals, and wine.

Spanish Tapas (from Goya)

In the Sarria section, she focuses on Galician food and wine (390).  These descriptions themselves made me want to set out on a pilgrimage:  tetilla  cheese, Caldo Gallego (a pork, bean and kale stew), empanadas, pulpo á feira (boiled octopus with paprika), and sopa de castaña (creamy chestnut soup).

pulpo á feira from https://www.spain.info/en/recipe/pulpo-feira/


Queimada is a ritual drink to get one ready for the Camino:  “a heated concoction of spirits, sugar, coffee beans, and orange and lemon peels that said to quemar (burn) out all the bad karma and energy and prepare you to approach Santiago with a clean slate” (19).

Queimada  from Wikipedia

To conclude, we really would love to take this on as an adventure.  After spending the day at the lake with me reading passages out loud, we decided to come home and watch The Way.  We were disappointed that it was not available anymore on Amazon.  Instead I rented Wayfaring – A Jaunt along the Camino de Santiago (2014) with Scott Herriott.   Sorry, but don’t waste your time with this one.  It’s like a really bad home movie.  Then we watched A Way to Forgiveness (2016).  It’s better but I really want to see the scenery rather than hear the personal why.

Who knows if we will ever utter the words ¡Buen Camino! but Bahrami’s guide definitely has us thinking about the journey.

For all my TLC reviews, click here.

Have you made this pilgrimage or do you know someone who has?


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