His chance finding gave birth to what would become Santiago de Compostela as millions of devout men and women came to venerate the saint’s bones throughout the Middle Ages. In the last twenty years the monumental route has struck a chord not only with pilgrims but also walkers from over sixty countries with diverse backgrounds and motivations. In 1987 the Council of Europe proclaimed the Camino as Europe’s First Cultural Itinerary. On our 12 day tour we´ve selected the most beautiful and representative sections of the Camino.
Starting in Roncesvalles (on the France-Spain border), we will cover the Camino Frances thoroughly as the route passes from the wooded Pyrenees of Navarra to the fertile wine territory of La Rioja, the rolling wheat fields and high tablelands (meseta) of Castilla and León and then to verdant rolling Galicia. Each region also offers its own gastronomic highlights which we´ll take great pleasure in introducing you to. Expect to enjoy a magnificent array of wildflowers in the spring and early summer. On our last night we stay in the spectacular, world-famous 5-star Hotel Reyes Católicos located at the foot of the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.
- Level: Easy
- Walking Days: 12
- Total Distance: 78.6 miles/132 km With optionals 116.6 miles/188.7 km
- Weather: In May and June the Camino bursts with wildflowers, temperatures are mild (15-25ºC/60-78ºF) and days are long and sunny. May is more unpredictably wet. October can be a wet, cool (13-20ºC/55-68ºF) month. September is typically dry and sunny with temperatures ranging from (18-25/65-80).
- Note about the Compostela: Some tours guarantee that you can acquire the Compostela, a document conferred by the Pilgrim's Office in Santiago de Compostela certifying the completion of the pilgrimage for religiously motivated pilgrims who meet various requirements. The office is very explicit in its policy: to receive the Compostela one must have traveled the last 100 km (62 miles) continuously on foot. It is not sufficient to do the distance piecemeal from Roncesvalles to Santiago.
Day 1: Pamplona - Roncesvalles - Burguete - Pamplona.
After meeting at our hotel in the heart of Pamplona’s historical district, we’ll head up to the Pyrenees and the French border. From there we’ll descend on foot to Roncesvalles, the tiny hamlet where the medieval epic Song of Roland places the defeat of Charlemagne’s army and the death of Roland. We’ll visit the 13th century Royal Collegiate pantheon, church, museum and chapel of Santiago. Our walk will continue through the forest to Burguete, a typical Navarran mountain village and Hemingway’s preferred stop over for trout fishing (see The Sun Also Rises). Upon return to Pamplona, we’ll dine in one of the city’s award-winning restaurants specializing in elaborately prepared pinchos or finger foods. Walking Distance: 5.5 miles/8.2 km. Includes: (D).
Day 2: Pamplona - Sierra Del Perdon - Eunate - Puente La Reina - Cirauqui - Estella.
The day starts with a guided walking tour of Pamplona paying special attention to the famous streets associated with the annual "running of the bulls". We'll pass the town’s 14th century Gothic cathedral. Afterwards the walk will quickly leave behind the city and enter tranquil rolling prairie as we ascend to the Sierra del Perdón. Upon reaching the enigmatic, 8-sided Romanesque church of Eunate we’ll picnic on local specialties and then continue to Puente la Reina (famous for its stone bridge) and to Cirauqui where the Camino unites with a section of 2000 year-old Roman road. The day ends in Estella, a lovely small town split in two by the Ega River and surrounded by small hills all topped with either castles (or their ruins) and churches attesting to its long history and as a crucial center of commerce. You’ll have free time in the afternoon to relax or visit the nearby winery Bodegas Irache. Walking Distance: 7 miles/11.3 km with optional12.9 miles/20.8 km. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: Estella - Torre El Rio - Viana – Logroño.
After visiting Estella’s most important monuments, the walk enters a dense forest of evergreen oaks, passes through fields of lavander, grapes and the curious white asparagus; the latter a local specialty grown completely underground. In Torres del Río we’ll visit another architectural wonder of the Camino: the 12thC Holy Sepulchral Church. We’ll continue by van to the walled, border town of Viana and then on to Logroño, capital of the La Rioja region - home of Spain’s most celebrated red wines. You’ll note a difference in the La Riojan cuisine as we dine tonight in the old quarter. Walking Distance: 4.5 miles/7.3 km. With optional 11.6 miles/18.8 km. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Logroño - Najera - Santo Domingo De La Calzada.
From Logroño we shuttle to Nájera born out of red earthen cliffs and where a 12th century apparition of the Virgin Mary in a cave led to the construction of a spectacular monastery. From here we'll walk among pines, cultivated fields of wheat and wine, past villages and perhaps encounter a flock of sheep before reaching Santo Domingo de la Calzada. We'll stay in the town's luxurious parador, a stone's throw from the Cathedral which we'll visit after some relaxing free time in this small town. 5.4 miles/9 km with optional 9.1 miles/15 km. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: Santo Domingo De La Calzada - Monte De Oca – Burgos.
Today's walk ascends and traverses the Montes de Oca, densely populated by oaks, pines, birds and small mammals. This section was dreaded in the Middle Ages as a particularly dangerous hang-out for bandits and wolves and many pilgrims lost their way in the forest. A 12th century monk, San Juan de Ortega, constructed a monastery (by the same name) in the heart of the lonesome area in order to assist pilgrims. After reaching the monastery on foot we'll visit the saint's tomb and point out a mysterious Romanesque capital which depicts the Nativity and draws hundreds of people each Spring and Fall. We'll continue by mini-bus to stately Burgos, built along the Arlanzón River. Its Cathedral, regal entrance, palaces, castle and monasteries are all emblematic of Gothic Spain. A guided walking tour of the city will reveal the city's past grandeur. Dinner will be on your own tonight in this enchanting Castilian city and final resting place of Spain's great epic hero, El Cid. Walking Distance : 7.5 miles/12.3 km with optionals 11.4 mile/18.8 km. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 6: Burgos - Hontanas - Fromista - Carrion De Los Condes.
The meseta (high tablelands) walk is a true highlight. Surrounded by interminable fields of cereal grains and with no signs or sounds of civilization to distract you, we’ll walk to our picnic spot, a small outpost in the middle of nowhere, before continuing to the village of Hontanas. By van we’ll visit Frómista and Spain’s most pristine example of Romanesque architecture. You’ll have the option of reaching the village on foot along a 17th century canal. Tonight we sleep and dine in style at the exclusive San Zoilo monastery in Carrión de los Condes. Walking Distance: 8.5 miles/13.7 km With optionals 11.5miles/19.2 km. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Carrion De Los Condes – Leon.
The sun will rise upon our backs as we wend our way through cultivated wheat fields and pass from village to village in the gently rolling Leonese countryside. We’ll visit a well preserved 3rd century Roman villa whose mosaics and architectural floor plan are quite remarkable. Once in León city, founded as a Roman outpost, we’ll have a guided walking tour of the old quarter housing two jewels of Romanesque and Gothic architecture (San Isidoro and the Cathedral). The latter is particularly famous for its luminescent 13th and 14th century stained glass windows. Walking Distance: 5.3 miles/8.5 km With optional 6.5 miles/10.5 km. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8: Leon - Puente Orbigo - Astorga - Castrillo De Los Polvazares - Rabanal Del Camino.
Beginning in Puente Orbigo, we’ll cross its long, stone bridge witness to various bizarre encounters including a 15th century knight, Suero de Quiñones, who in a demonstration of his unrequited love challenged all the knights who passed the bridge to a joust during a 30 day period. From the bridge we’ll walk to Astorga, a strategic Roman crossroads, and visit the town’s unique Episcopal Palace designed by Barcelona’s Art noveau architect Gaudí. On our way up to Rabanal del Camino, the small village in the Leonese foothills where we’ll stay for the night, we’ll visit Castrillo de los Polvazares, a well preserved Maragato village. Walking Distance: 6.6 miles/11 km With optionals 10.3 miles/17 km. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9: Rabanal Del Camino - Foncebadon - Cruz De Ferro - Molinaseca - Ponferrada - Las Medulas - Villafranca Del Bierzo
From the abandoned village Foncebadón, the walk ascends to the Cruz de Ferro (Iron Cross), one of the most important points along the whole Camino. At the base of the cross is a huge pile of rocks (a milladoiro) and pilgrims often leave their own stones; some say they are leaving behind their symbolic weights. Then we’ll descend to the charming riverside village of Molinaseca through huge chestnut trees and aromatic rock rose. In Ponferrada we’ll visit the Templar Castle and then have an optional visit to the remains of a Roman mine, Las Medulas, located in the Leonese mountains. We'll walk in the excavated area of tunnels and galleries. Today you’ll reach your hotel in Villafranca, a 17th century Renaissance monastery, on foot through fruit trees and grape vines. Walking distance: 7.2 miles/11.5 km With optional 9.5 miles/15.5 km. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 10: Villafranca Del Bierzo - O Cebreiro – Samos.
Villafranca del Bierzo is sometimes called the second Santiago for its Romanesque church dedicated to James and its Pardon Doorway. The morning walk is one of the Camino’s most hailed. We ascend along a corredoira, a stone pathway leading from village to village or from village to fields, among chestnuts to Galicia and the hamlet, Cebreiro. Here we’ll visit a pre-Roman style palloza, type of dwelling used by villagers until only recently, before continuing to the monastery of Samos. Founded in the 6th century, it’s one of Spain’s oldest. Today it’s a mix of Renaissance, Baroque and Neo-Classic styles. We’ll spend a quiet afternoon in the village of Samos (with an optional visit to a nearby water-powered stone mill), built along the Toribio River, and feast on Galicia fare. Walking Distance: 5.1 miles/8.2 km With optionals 9.1 miles/14.6 km. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 11: Samos - Portomarin – Arzua.
Galician landscapes are rolling, green, forested and largely rural. On today’s walk we’ll pass through various rustic hamlets on ancient pathways. Stone dominates in architecture and village life is largely agricultural. We’ll visit Portomarín whose medieval church was moved stone by stone (1956-1962) to its present location before the valley in which it lay was flooded to make a reservoir, before continuing on to Arzúa. Tonight’s quarters are in a sumptuous country mansion, a fine example of Galician nobles' homes of the 18th century. Walking Distance: 8.5 miles/14 km With optionals 11.5 miles/19 km. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 12: Aruza - Monte De Gozo – Santiago.
Today the journey comes to an end in Santiago. First we’ll walk to the Monte de Gozo where pilgrims have their first glimpse of the Cathedral’s bell towers. After a picnic lunch we’ll enter the city walking, visit the Cathedral and explain the pilgrims’ most important rituals. We’ll say goodbye to one another in an exquisite restaurant of the famous parador Hostal de los Reyes Católicos located just off the Obradoiro Plaza (of the Cathedral) and slumber within its luxurious walls. Walking Distance: 7.7 miles/12.5 km. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
When you book your vacation, an agreement is made between you, our company and others who provide services. Upon request we can provide you with our general terms and conditions governing the provision of these holidays. A upfront initial deposit of € 400 Euros is due within 7 days of the initial booking request. Final payment is due 60 days before the tour departure. Within 60 day full payment is due upon booking request. All prices, itinerary etc. listed are subject to change without notice. No unused portion of the vacation can be refunded. Cancellation penalties apply & change fees after booking is confirmed. Please refer to our general terms. Please inquire for pre or post tour add-ons/hotel stays.Prices based on current Euro to US Dollar conversion and is subject to change without notice.
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