I will be a first time "pilgrim" in July of the Camino de Santiago (Way of St James) and am deciding on the various routes. Can someone explain what differences are encountered on the routes - how strenuous, distances between places, popularity, for example?
I've been researching routes for my trip to the Camino in June/July. It appears that the most popular routes are the Northern way and the French way. Here are the differences between the two.
The French Way
The Northern Way
So to sum this up, if you want a truly spiritual, authentic Camino experience which includes meeting a ton of people and hearing their stories - take the French route. If you like challenge, don't mind solitude and want gorgeous scenery - take the Northern route.
Update: From Sergei's answer the french way is the red one and the nothern way is the blue one.
Here is an overview of the routes closer to Santiago. The red route "Camino Francés" is "The Way", the well known one. Very busy at the end. It starts in St. Jean Pied de Port, France. I'm starting there in the end of April to walk the 800km to Santiago.
The other routes are not as popular therefore the infrastructure isn't as good as on the Camino Francés.
Thanks to Hermann from www.pilger-faq.de.vu