What places does Santiago visit in Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, Santiago visits several places.

We know that Santiago (the boy) has become a shepherd in order to travel, and that he lives in Spain. We learn, also, that he has visited Andalusia in his travels. Andalusia is a large region found on the southern tip of Spain, and its capital is Seville. There are several "autonomous communities" in Spain, and Andalusia is one. Of these communities, Andalusia is the most populated, and it is a particularly large region. So as Santiago travels, there is a great deal of territory he can cover, traveling with his sheep.

A specific town to which Santiago travels is found on the southernmost coast of the Andalusia region (on the tip of Spain) and is called Tarifa. Located in the Cádiz province, Santiago mentions taking his sheep to this location to find grazing lands. The welfare of his animals is at the center of all that he does—for Santiago is a responsible and caring shepherd, and their health and safety, after all, guarantees his ability to survive as well. It is also here that Santiago travels to visit the gypsy to see if she can decipher the meaning of his recurring dream.

The boy travels through the desert to an unnamed oasis. However, it is not too much farther beyond that Santiago finds the Pyramids of Egypt, the place that has been shown in his recurring dream. At the end of the novel, Santiago reaches the Pyramids, and then receives information from one of the thieves that robs him that lets him know he must return home, to the same church ruins where the story began.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What places around the world did the boy travel to in Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist?

Santiago, the boy in The Alchemist, didn't travel around the world, but he did pass through most of Spain and the northern tip of Africa (below the Mediterranean Sea). There is an interesting map of the area in the Reader's Guide at the back of the 1998 version from  Harper/Collins Publishers. Santiago starts in Tarifa, Spain, then he crosses over to Tanger, Morrocco. The Oasis that he gets to after traveling with the caravan is in Faiyum, Egypt; and the pyramids are near Cairo, about 60 miles away. In the end, his treasure is actually back in Spain, so he travels back the way he had gone before. After finding the treasure, then his goal is to go back to Faiyum to get Fatima, the woman he loves. It takes Santiago about 2.5 years to accomplish this task, so it certainly seems like he travels all over the world. The journey, no matter how long it takes, is certainly the main teacher here, and not getting to the destination.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Last Updated on