The Francigena Way
The journey of a lifetime, spanning centuries of history and endless kilometers of mountainscapes, is the Francigena Way, a hike that covers over 2000 kms from Canterbury to Rome and takes anywhere from 100 – 200 days, depending on how quickly you travel. This pilgrimage will carry you through England, France, Switzerland, and Italy, with famous stop points such as Dover Castle, Notre Dame, Piazza del Campo Siena, and Cathedral of Saints Peter and Francis. Your journey through plains of soft grass, stone stairways carved into mountain sides, and thriving vineyards will be interspersed with time in grand cities such as Reims, France, Lausanne, Switzerland and Rome, Italy.
Be sure to explore the masterpiece of military architecture in Langres, France, rest in the gardens of Châlonsen Champagne, and spend quality time with the treasured works of art in the Siena Cathedral. Remember that hiking this mighty route is not a race, you can pause at any time to savor a special village or flower-covered field. Celebrate the epic accomplishment of completing this hike-of-a-lifetime by tossing a coin into Rome’s Trevi Fountain and enjoying a Pizza Bianca from one of the city’s many bakeries.
Before you begin this expedition, you need to get to Canterbury. So, you’ll first need to fly into London. You can fly nonstop to London’s Heathrow Airport from New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and Toronto. From Europe, direct flights are offered from Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid, Dublin, and Edinburgh. From London, you can cover the 60 miles to Canterbury on train or bus. The Francigena Way starts beside the south porch of Canterbury Cathedral, at the kilometre zero stone. From the Cathedral, turn left onto Burgate and walk along Church Street and Longport, beside St Augustine’s Abbey. After passing North Holmes Road and St Martin’s Church, turn right onto Pilgrim’s Way and begin to follow the signs for the North Downs Way. Now, keep putting one foot in front of the other, allowing a trusty guidebook to support you the rest of the way.