The Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela


The Oxford Experience is a residential summer programme providing one-week courses in a variety of subjects aimed at non-specialists. It offers a choice of seminars each week over a period of six weeks.

The Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in the remote province of Galicia, north-west Spain, was one of the most popular in the Middle Ages, with people making the journey (mainly on foot) from all parts of Western Europe. Their aim was to follow the way of St James (Santiago in Spanish), to visit his shrine in the cathedral at Compostela. Today, the pilgrimage has undergone a remarkable revival in popularity, and over 300,000 modern pilgrims arrive in Compostela every year. The main routes pass through France and Spain, visiting many beautiful places. Our course will consider the history of the pilgrimage and look in detail at the route.

Programme details

Seminars meet each weekday morning, 09.15-10.45 and 11.15-12.45, with afternoons free for course-related field trips, individual study or exploring the many beautiful places in and around the city.

Introduction: religion, society and the individual in medieval Europe; saints, relics, pilgrimage and salvation.

The role of the pilgrimage to Santiago in the history of France and Spain.

The Way of St James: the ways through France to the Pyrenees. A look at the routes, and the towns, villages, churches and monasteries visited.

The Way of St James: the Camino Frances in Spain, and the places through which it passes. Other routes to Compostela.

Review, and the pilgrimage today: who goes, what is it like, and why do so many people from all over the world want to make this journey?


Description Costs
Programme fee (no accom–incl.lunch and dinner) £1070.00
Programme fee (with single en-suite accom and meals) £1565.00
Programme fee (with single standard accom and meals) £1380.00


Mr Michael Sibly


Michael Sibly is an Emeritus Fellow of St Anne's College Oxford and co-translator of two medieval accounts of the Albigensian Crusade. A graduate of Cambridge University, he has taught for OUDCE for many years, and until 2015 was Deputy Registrar of the University of Oxford.

Assessment methods

There are no assessments for this course.


Online registration closes on Friday, 1 May 2020 but please note that this course may be fully booked very quickly so early registration is recommended.


During your course, you will stay in typical Oxford student accommodation at Christ Church in buildings which range from the 18th to the 20th century.

The fee stated includes a bedroom with private bathroom facilities (shower, washbasin and toilet). Most are single but a few twins are available*.

There is also a limited number of standard rooms available, which all have their own washbasin and shaver point but shared bath and toilet facilities. Most standard rooms are single but there are a few ‘twin sets’ (two single rooms opening off a sitting room)*.

*If you wish to book a twin en-suite room or a standard twin set room each person should complete an application form and email it to us at as these rooms cannot be booked online. (Forms may also be posted to us at: The Oxford Experience, OUDCE, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford, OX1 2JA, UK)

Please indicate your accommodation preferences (either online or on your application form) together with a note of any mobility problems. Students should note that bedrooms are modestly-furnished, do not have air-conditioning and are arranged on a staircase of four or five floors.

We regret that we are unable to offer you accommodation at Christ Church prior to or following your course. Additionally, family or friends who are not enrolled in the programme cannot be accommodated in college.


If accommodation is unavailable in a particular week, we also offer places on a non-residential basis whereby participants can take classes and have meals at the college, having arranged their own accommodation elsewhere.

If you wish to enrol on a non-residential basis please complete an application form and email it to us at as this option cannot be booked online. (Forms may also be posted to us at: The Oxford Experience, OUDCE, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford, OX1 2JA, UK)