The Wrong Way: An alternative critique of the Camino de Santiago


  • Jeffrey Overall Associate professor of entrepreneurship and strategy in the Faculty of Business and Information Technology at the Ontario Tech University, 2000 Simcoe St N, Oshawa, ON L1G 0C5. 905.721.8668 ext. 2612. Email:


Authenticity; Camino de Santiago; escapism; pilgrim; pilgrimage; pilgrimage as a tourist product; social pressure;


Dating back to the 11th century, the Camino de Santiago, a spiritual journey to the site of the final resting place of the apostle Saint James, has been important to pilgrims for centuries. With the aim of escaping the monotony of daily life, the reasons for embarking on the pilgrimage have changed little. Although obvious societal changes have occurred since the 11th century, many modern pilgrims attempt to travel similarly as those from ancient times. However, pilgrims that do not conform to perceived ‘authentic’ behaviors are often derided and left feeling alienated. Through ethnography, I attempt to explore the themes of: authenticity, social pressure, and pilgrimage as a tourist product within the context of the Camino de Santiago. By uncovering the challenges of the modern pilgrim, the main contribution to knowledge of this research involves detecting how escapism may not address the root of one’s dissatisfaction.




How to Cite

Overall, J. (2019). The Wrong Way: An alternative critique of the Camino de Santiago. European Journal of Tourism Research, 22, 62–78. Retrieved from