The Primitive Way to Compostela is the first Jacobean itinerary and it’s where it takes its name from. Oviedo was the main point of origin of the Primitive Way, but it was also followed by pilgrims from other parts of northern Spain and Europe.
The routes from the old Kingdom of Asturias were the first to take the pilgrims to Santiago. The Northern Way was not only used by the Asturians living along the shoreline. This medieval route also gave pilgrims access to the sanctuaries of Oviedo and Santiago de Compostela. Although perhaps not as well-travelled as the French Way, the Northern Way was certainly bustling with activity until the 18th century. These pilgrims came by land from France or by sea from Northern Europe to the ports of the Basque Country and Cantabria, before setting out on their journey towards the sanctuary of San Salvador of Oviedo and the cathedral of Santiago.