The Camino Frances route covers some 800 kilometers across the North of Spain. Heading west, following the yellow painted arrows & iconic scallop shells that waymark the road, travellers walk daily from village to town to city to hamlet, to the goal of Santiago de Compostela. Many will take 6 to 8 weeks walking the Camino de Santiago in its entirety, but most spend a week or two on the final section through Galicia. You might travel by bike or on horseback, but the majority of travellers are on foot.
People come to Spain to walk the Camino de Santiago for many reasons - many seek spiritual enlightenment, many more for adventure, freedom and the camaraderie of the road. We hear tell from our clients, stories of encounters with many others who become like a Camino family during the journey. This is just one of the many facets of the Way that makes the experience so very special.
The Camino is a journey that travellers of all faiths and backgrounds have undertaken for over a thousand years. The Way progresses towards the Cathedral in Santiago, where it is believed the remains of the Apostle St. James are interred. You’ll see many walkers carrying the scallop shell and maybe a walking stick, to symbolize their journey in honour of St. James. According to legend, scallop shells are said the have covered St. James body after it was found on the shores of the Galician coast.
Another delightful detail of the Camino is a document called the Credencial. This can be purchased for a few euros from the official hostals or albergues, and some churches on the route. The idea is to have it stamped at town halls, churches, though stamps are also available at nearly every bar, hostal, hotel, restaurant, and shop along the route. A wonderful momento of your trip, it also serves as proof to the Pilgrim's Office in Santiago that you have completed the journey. The Credencial entitles you to your own copy of the Compostelana, a certificate of completion of the Camino - bearing your name. You will find this an unforgettable experience that will live with you forever; and, is very likely to draw you back again and again to Spain, whether walking the Camino de Santiago or not!
Our small specialist team are all bi-lingual and have a close working relationship with our service providers in Spain. Working with you, we take a variety of factors into consideration and advise you on the best itinerary to suit your particular requirements, not least of which include your walking ability, time-frame and budget. Our first hand specialist knowledge comes into it's own here, as this is what we do every day.
Many companies offer standardised packages for walking the Camino de Santiago. We prefer to design each Camino experience according to the clients' walking ability, their accommodation preferences and wider interest in the rich history and culture of the Way.
There are many options for your journey. You can choose to take 3 days or 3 months out of your busy life. We have considerable experience tailoring walks up to one hundred days in length. There's our brand new "Mini Camino" - for those new to walking or requiring a 'flavour' of the Camino, right through to the most ambitious pilgrims, who might choose to begin well inside France on the Chemin St Jacques.
Many of our clients elect to complete the entire Camino Frances, in managable sections over a longer period of time - we are delighted to welcome them back annually, ready to plan their next stage of this incredible journey. There's also the option to go all the way to Cape Finisterre on the Atlantic Ocean, known to the Romans as the "End of the World".
Walking The Full Camino Frances (approx. 800 km). Traditionally, in medieval times, the journey to Santiago would start from your own front door, taking it every step of the way! However, nowadays the Camino Frances typically starts from just across the French/Spanish border at the small French town of St Jean Pied de Port. From here, a fairly tough climb takes you over the Pyrenees, (please note that there is the option of a lower easier route), and down into Spain.
The major cities of Pamplona, Leon and Burgos are spread at equal intervals along the road to Santiago de Compostela, with many small hamlets, villages and towns peppered in between. The entire route is burgeoning with culture, history and many sights to be seen. Our festivals section will give you an idea of some of the annual festivities you may encounter on the Camino. Tackle it as one journey, or break it up into smaller sections to be completed at your leisure...
The Final Section to Santiago (approx. 100 km). We are regularly requested to organise the walk covering the final stages of this route to Santiago, which then makes you eligible for the Compostelana certificate.
The Way enters Galicia through the foothills of the Ancares mountains range. This is an area that still preserves a traditional way of life. This is evident by the “Pallozas” ; the circular, stone-built dwellings with thatched roofs you’ll see in O’Cebreiro. Galicia is the green corner of Spain and it’s lush meadows support many family-run dairy and beef farms. The many wooded paths and lanes here have an enchanted quality, as you wind your way through green valleys with steep sides, through ancient villages and across stone bridges.
Hotels and Inns. M21367 usually chooses small, family run establishments on the Camino. Our accommodation providers are hand-picked and well known to us. We believe that our high level of personal service and customer care offers the best in the local food, culture and history.
A decade of working with folk along the Way, means we now have a fine working relationship with many small family run friendly hotels and inns. All the rooms have en suite facilities and lodgings are usually situated on your path as you are walking the Camino de Santiago. If your budget allows, we can suggest some superb accommodation upgrades, as we often work with the top-end establishments on the Camino.
Restaurants. We prefer to offer all accommodation on a Bed and Breakfast basis to allow you the chance to try local dishes in the immediate vicinity. This allows you the widest range of Spanish cuisine, the chance to soak up the local atmosphere, rubbing shoulders with international walkers and the local people. We will be happy to make recommendations of where to have dinner.
Luggage Transfers. This daily service is organised so that all you have to worry about is carrying a day sack with your essential items. We have worked with our transport company for many years as they offer an excellent service.
Typically from £445 pp for 6 nights, on a B&B basis with baggage transfers included.
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