The Camino Catalano-Aragonés arose as a way for pilgrims from Languedoc (south-eastern France) and Italy who preferred to enter the Iberian Peninsula via Sant Pere de Rodes and La Jonquera in order to to travel to Santiago de Compostela.
These pilgrims did not always choose the simplest and shortest route. They often chose longer routes that allowed them to visit renowned monasteries and to venerate the images or relics they housed. In Girona, many pilgrims visited the tomb of Saint Narcissus, while in Barcelona, many went to pray at the tomb of Saint Eulalia. The fame acquired by the monasteries of Sant Pere de Rodes, Poblet and Sant Cugat were decisive when it came to creating this itinerary.
In 959, the Abbot Caesareus was one of the first pilgrims reported to have travelled to Santiago starting from the Monastery of Santa Cecilia de Monsterrat. From then onwards, there are records and testaments of a large number of pilgrims in the archives of Sant Pere de Rodes, Vic, Sant Cugat and Lleida (which at one time boasted seven pilgrims’ hospices), demonstrating that these places formed an alternative itinerary for the Camino de Santiago. Once in Lleida, pilgrims set off towards Fraga, Zaragoza and Logroño, where they joined the Camino Francés, having crossed the lands of Aragon that were under Moorish control at the time.