Some people know this trail perfectly, and yet they keep discovering it anew, traversing its successive kilometers marked with a yellow shell or an arrow, and they say that it is the most beautiful road in the world.
Some people have heard something about it, but have not yet dared to set off on this trail - the reason is sometimes lack of time or ... courage, because not only is it thousands of kilometers long and is often traveled alone, but also, as many claim, this is where real life changes begin, and we are not always ready for it.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of travelers embark on this road leading to the northwestern tip of the Iberian Peninsula. This is where the symbol of the Camino comes from – the scallop shell. Already a thousand years ago, people returning from this journey brought with them just such a shell, named after the destination of their journey, the grave of St. James the Apostle – St. Jacob.
They found it in the waters of the Atlantic, in which they washed their tired body to start a new life. It was also customary to burn their worn-out shoes and clothes on the ocean shore, and the shell hanging around their neck was proof that they had reached this medieval “end of the world”, leaving their old lives behind.
Camino in Poland
The oldest part of the route runs through Spanish Catalonia, but since the 1980s these roads have been recreated in Europe, entangling almost the entire old continent – from the farthest corners in the north, south and east, and meeting in one place – Santiago de Compostela in the north western part of the Iberian Peninsula.
Called in Poland – The Way of St. James – it is also often referred to with only one word – CAMINO. In 2004, the marking out and marking of the first sections of the Way of St. James, as part of the European network of Camino de Santiago. Today, nearly 6,000 kilometers of trails marked with the shell symbol run through our country.
Camino Polaco (Droga Polska) – is a route of 650 km – 25 stages from the Polish-Lithuanian border in Ogrodniki to Trzemeszno on the border of Kujawy and Wielkopolska. There are 3 churches on the route. st. James the Apostle: in Bakałarzewo, Olsztyn (cathedral basilica) and in Toruń.
Camino in Pomorskie
The shells of ancient pilgrims found scattered around Europe (we recognize them by the holes through which a thong was pulled) show where they came from. and, among others These traces made it possible to reconstruct the roads leading to one of the most important Christian pilgrimage sites, forgotten for many centuries after the Reformation, which have been filled with wanderers for over 30 years.
Such shells have been found in in Kołobrzeg and Elbląg, which confirms that in the Middle Ages also the inhabitants of Pomerania made pilgrimages to Santiago. Entries in the books in the Cathedral of Santiago also confirm the arrival at the tomb of St. James of the inhabitants of Pomerania. This became an impulse to recreate these historical routes also in Pomerania.
Two such roads run through northern Poland: Pomeranian Way of St. James, sometimes called Camino Polaco del Norte, Camino Polaco (Polish Road)
Camino Polaco del Norte
Pomorkie Way of St. James, sometimes called Camino Polaco del Norte, is part of the Via Baltica route. It refers to the route that used to start in Königsberg. Today’s road leads from Kretinga in Lithuania through Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast), Poland and Germany.
The Polish section of the trail has about 900 km of marked trail divided into 35 stages. The route leads from Braniewo to Szczecin and through Świnoujście to Rostock, where it connects with the Jacob Ways from Scandinavia, to lead together to Spanish Santiago. There are seven churches on the Polish part of the route. St. James: in Tolkmicko, Tuja, Niedźwiedzca, Gdańsk, Lębork (sanctuary), Łeba and Szczecin (cathedral basilica).
In the Pomorskie Voivodeship, the route runs through the Low Lands, the bird sanctuary of Gdansk’s Sobieszewo Island, and continues up the moraine hills. After leaving the Gdansk Oliwa Forests, we go through the Kashubian area with the Radunia Ravine near Żuków, the area of the Kashubian Lake District and the Kashuby Landscape Park. Next, the route leads north, towards the Baltic Sea and the shifting dunes of the Slowinski National Park, the mysterious Rowokol Mountain and the coastal lakes of Łebsko and Gardno, as far as the health resort of Ustka.
The unique microclimate of the region with a sea breeze rich in iodine and a rich history make the spa towns on the Pomeranian Way of St. Jacob is more. It is worth recalling Kołobrzeg, Kamień Pomorski or Świnoujście located in the West Pomeranian Voivodeship. The greenery of the forests, the smell of the gardens, the calmness of the waters of the surrounding lakes and the Szczecin Lagoon, the nature and landscapes of the Wolin National Park, and the cultural values of the region make hiking along the Pomorskie trail not monotonous.