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Route

Technical Characteristics:

Tour Profile: Hard.  Longer distances and hilly terrain with sometimes as much as 30 kilometers per day requiring a maximum of 7.5 hours of walking

Distance: 798.7 km

Travel Season:  Daily arrival from April 1 to October 31, 2022

Accommodation:

Small hotels in the Camino itself of 2* and 3* standard. In Santiago two nights in centrally located small hotel.

This is not a standard walking tour. People from many countries across Europe have been travelling along the Camino de Santiago for centuries. The Camino itself is part of our history and cultural heritage. Out of all the long distance routes that exist, only the Camino de Santiago has been given the recognition of World Heritage by the United Nations because of its historical and spiritual significance. Countless millions have walked it over the last thousand years and yet it has remained largely unchanged. It continues to cross the same rivers, climb the same mountains and pass by the same villages, chapels, churches and cathedrals. You will be walking the full length of the classic Camino de Santiago. Starting in Saint Jean Pied du Port where many pilgrims begin their walk will give you the chance to soak up the history that surrounds this long distance route.

Itineraries

Day 1

Arrival to Saint Jean Pied de Port

Day 2

Saint Jean Pied de Port - Roncesvalles 24.8 km

The French Way, Camino Francés, starts in St Jean Pied de Port in the French Basque Country. This stage, the first, could be viewed as the most difficult as it crosses the Pyrenees. This part of the route is known as “Ruta de Napoleón” passing by orchards and country houses and then through Alpine-style meadows, towards the border and the descent to Roncesvalles.

Day 3

Roncesvalles - Larrasoaña 27.7 km

From Roncesvalles the Camino continues through beech and oak woods. You will also cross two mountain passes: Alto de Mezquiriz and Alto de Erro. You will then descend towards the village of Zubiri and its medieval ‘Puente
de la Rabia’ (the Rabies Bridge) over the River Arga, continuing all the way to Larrasoaña.

Day 4

Larrasoaña - Pamplona 16 km

The Camino runs alongside the river Arga valley. As we approach Pamplona, the landscape becomes more obviously influenced by mankind. Finally, you will reach Pamplona, famous for its Running of the Bulls festival, San Fermín.

Day 5

Pamplona - Puente de la Reina 24 km

You will leave this beautiful city behind you as the Camino takes pilgrims towards the ‘Alto del Perdón’ (Hill of Forgiveness) pass. From here, you will enjoy stunning panoramic views of Pamplona and the valley before descending towards Puente la Reina (Queen’s Bridge).

Day 6

Puente de la Reina – Estella 21.1 km

The Camino to Estella is very uneven and quite agricultural, and is cultivated with cereals, vineyards and olive trees dotted out amongst small towns and villages.

Day 7

Estella - Los Arcos 21.7 km

Your Camino to Santiago continues to the town of Los Arcos. Just outside Estella you will find Bodegas Irache, the Wine Museum and its free wine fountain. Most of your walk today will be along quiet tracks, among vineyards and cereal fields. From Villamayor de Monjardín to Los Arcos, you will cover approximately 12 km without coming across a single village.

Day 8

Los Arcos - Logroño 27.8 km

Today you are leaving Navarra and moving into La Rioja, whose wine is famous worldwide. The first place that we come to in this region is Logroño, a city strategically situated on the border between Álava and Navarra.

Day 9

Rest Day in Logroño

Day of rest in Logroño to relax and see the sights.

Day 10

Logroño - Nájera 29.4 km

From Logroño to Nájera, you will follow the routes of two motorways, which go through landscapes which are dominated by vineyards. Today should be a relatively easy way.

Day 11

Nájera - Santo Domingo de la Calzada 21 km

The Camino takes you along some quiet country roads with the La Demanda Mountain range to the South. Finally, you will arrive in Santo Domingo de la Calzada, a beautiful and old town with an interesting medieval center.

Day 12

Santo Domingo de la Calzada - Belorado 23.9 km

Today we are back alongside the N-120, coming across lots of crop fields and small brooks and oak woods. Your stop for the night is Belorado, a small and pleasant village in the Burgos province. Visit the Santa María Church where you will find images of St James.

Day 13

Belorado - San Juan de Ortega 24.1 km

Today´s journey will be along earthen tracks and peaceful trails on your way to the little town of Villafranca Montes de Oca. This stage is similar to the previous one in terms of landscapes. However, after a short while you will get into the woods of the Oca Mountains.

Day 14

San Juan de Ortega - Burgos 27.3 km

Today´s walk will continue following your Camino to the town of Burgos. After the quiet spots of Atapuerca Mountain Range, you will make you will make your way to the Valley of the Pico River. Once you get to Burgos, take your time to visit the impressive gothic Cathedral and the old city center.

Day 15

Rest Day in Burgos

Day in Burgos today to take a break from the route and see the sights.

Day 16

Burgos - Hornillos 18.8 km

The Camino will continue among the immense crop fields of the region. On your way to Hornillos del Camino, you will cross small woods of holm oak and conifers, but in general there are not many trees in this section. Hornillos del Camino is a typical Camino village of medieval origin.

Day 17

Hornillos - Castrojeriz 21.2 km

After your night in Hornillos del Camino, you will continue walking in the peaceful vastness of the Plateau, with only nature and huge crop fields around you. After leaving Hornillos, the Camino de Santiago gradually climbs up before descending to the valley of the River Bol and the cozy town of Castrojeriz, where you can visit the 9th century hilltop castle.

Day 18

Castrojeriz - Frómista 25.5 km

The Camino will leave the plains of the Burgos region and reach the highest point of the Spanish Plateau: Alto Mosterales. After crossing the Pisuerga River you will enter the Palencia province and the vast plains of ‘Tierra de Campos’. Approaching Frómista you will walk along a stretch of the Canal de Castilla, an 18th century canal.

Day 19

Frómista - Carrión de los Condes 20.1 km

This stage of the Camino passes through areas strongly influenced by man. The route for today carries on parallel to the road and offers little protection against rain, wind and sun and for this reason you will find rest areas along the way.

Day 20

Carrión de los Condes - Terradillos 26.8 km

For 13 kilometers, your Camino will follow natural tracks along the old Roman road called ‘Via Aquitania’ and also along a stretch of the original paved road. The ‘Via Aquitania’ used to link Bordeaux and Astorga and was frequently used by French pilgrims on their way to Santiago.

Day 21

Terradillos - El Burgo Ranero 26.9 km

In this section of the Camino you will have the opportunity to take the ‘Vía Traiana’ which is another trail to Santiago, starting in Bordeaux. In Sahagún you will leave Tierra de Campos behind moving on through the cereal and grain-covered plateau of León.

Day 22

El Burgo Ranero - Mansilla de las Mulas 24.5 km

From El Burgo Ranero, you have an easy walk today. Your path continues through the beautifiul village of Reliegos before descending slowly into the town of Mansilla de las Mulas.

Day 23

Mansilla de las Mulas - León 18.6 km

Today, you will come across crop fields before reaching the first signs of industrial activity, as you approach the wonderful city of León. From Portillo Hill you will be able to make out the beautiful city of León ahead.

Day 24

Rest Day in Leon

Enjoy your rest day in Leon today. Visit León’s many attractions including its famous gothic Cathedral, and the impressive San Isidoro Church and Museum.

Day 25

León - Mazarife 23.1 km

Crossing Leon city along wide avenues towards the impressive historic building of the San Marcos Pilgrim Hospital (now a four star Parador hotel) and crossing the river Bernasga, much of today´s walk is on the “Paramo” harsh flat plain which is irrigated by a series of interconnecting canals.

Day 26

Mazarife - Astorga 30.1 km

A flat and relatively easy section takes you to the interesting historic town of Hospital de Orbigo where you can take a coffee break. Later on the walk becomes a solitary affair as there are few villages along the way and some hills to climb before descending into the stunning town of Astorga. It is well worthwhile arriving early to Astorga to explore this wonderful town.

Day 27

Astorga - Rabanal del Camino 21.4 km

Today you are leaving the plains of Castile behind and heading towards the mountains of Leon. As you walk across this region known as the “Maragatería” of poor ochre soils and big stone houses you will come across several small villages where you can stop for coffee breaks and buy food. In Rabanal del Camino there is a small Benedictine monastery which invites pilgrims to sing Gregorian chants and pray.

Day 28

Rabanal del Camino - Molinaseca 26.5 km

Today you head up to the highest point on the whole journey: the Foncebadon Mountain Pass at 1505 meters. The icon of the day is the Cross of Iron “Cruz de Ferro” where pilgrims have left stones as they pass for centuries. The way up can be steep in places but most people find the descent into Molinaseca more tiring as you will descend nearly 900 meters! You will enter the region of El Bierzo, a fertile and well-watered valley, with its own benign microclimate. Molinaseca is one of the most beautiful villages of the Camino.

Day 29

Molinaseca - Villafranca 30.7 km

Today you start by negotiating the rather chaotic city of Ponferrada which is the largest town you will come across before you reach Santiago. Later you will cross the flat valley of El Bierzo, famous for its fertile land: where vineyards are grown, and fruit trees such as apples, pears, cherries and chestnuts are in full blossom in spring time (beware hay fever sufferers!). Finally you will arrive at the seniorial and conventual old town of Villafranca, with palatial streets reminiscent of Genoa or Florence.

Day 30

Villafranca – O’cebreiro 30.9 km

More mountains are ahead of us but today we walk up the valley leading us towards Galicia to finish at the foot of the mountains. Tomorrow we will climb into Galicia so rest well.

Day 31

O´cebreiro - Triacastela 20.7 km

The climb into O´Cebreiro is often exaggerated, 7.5 kilometres of ascent can be very pleasant on a clear day as it offers wonderful views of the Bierzo to the south. At the top of the hill you will reach the magical village of O´Cebreiro, one of the highlights of the Camino. There are two smaller climbs after this (taking us up to 1335 meters) before descending into Triacastella. The landscape is changing as we enter the green mountainous region of Galicia. There will be plenty of ups and downs ahead but mountains as big as this we will not come across.

Day 32

Triacastela - Sarria 26.1 km

This is one of the most beautiful sections of the Camino. In Samos you can visit the great Benedictine Monastery. From Samos the Camino takes you through wooded areas crossing small villages, rivers in peace and quiet. You will reach the busy town of Sarria at the end of the day.

Day 33

Rest Day in Sarria

Your final rest day is in Sarria, before the exciting final stretch on to Santiago.

Day 34

Sarria - Portomarin 22.9 km

Initially you climb up steeply out of Sarria, through ancient oaks, birch trees and chestnut trees. You then walk through many hamlets dotted along areas of cultivated land, grazing pastures and woodlands, in the direction of Portomarín. The walking is done along quiet country lanes and natural pathways offering good shade from the sun or shelter from rain. Finally you descend steeply into Portomarín and cross the great river Miño on the banks of which you will see the remains of the old site of the village. You will find several cafes along the way to stop, rest and have something to eat or drink.

Day 35

Portomarin - Palas de Rei 26.1 km

There are several kilometres of road walking on this next stretch and the first half of the stage is steadily uphill to the Sierra Ligonde. The Camino criss-crosses the road travelling along tree lined lanes avoiding much of the road noise. There are pine forests, corn fields, meadows and oak and chestnut trees on this stretch of the Camino. You will also go through a number of small villages full of rural character and cross the rivers Ligonde and Portos, along the way. Towards the end of the walk, you are greeted by the scent of the eucalyptus trees. After climbing the Alto do Rosario, you will finally descend into Palas de Rei.

Day 36

Palas de Rei - Arzúa 29 km

Today we cross six river valleys and a glorious 70% is on pathways mostly though woodland that helps keep the noise of traffic down and energy levels up. Melide makes a good halfway stop where you can try its renowned octopus dishes “pulpo a la gallega” for lunch. We can recommend “Pulpería Ezequiel” on the main street, on the left hand side. Leave some energy for the final climb into Arzúa.
This area is full of mediaeval castles, as well as Romanesque churches and settlements. In the early XIVth century the area was quite dangerous for pilgrims: a nobleman called Álvaro Sánchez de Ulloa would attack them from the nearby castle of Felpós to demand unjust charges for the rights of passage, sometimes even resorting to violence. Don’t worry, he no longer lives here!

Day 37

Arzúa - O´Rua 17 km

This is a short stage. Two thirds of today we walk on natural paths with good shade offered by the mixed woodland with pine, eucalyptus, birch, oak and chestnut trees. Amongst them are meadows and small orchards near the many small villages you go through. There are several steep climbs along the way, particularly leading up to the Alto de Santa Irene. In between we have a largely level path with just three shallow river valleys. The Camino now becomes busier with pilgrims as we near the fabled city of Santiago. Arzúa has two Romanesque churches. The main one, on the square, is dedicated to St James. It has a remarkable Baroque tower added in the XVIIth century.

Day 38

O´Rua - Santiago de Compostela 23 km

Today is the last stage. The first few kilometres are through dense eucalyptus forest. Enjoy the shade and peace they exude. As you approach the city, groups of pilgrims and asphalt roads take over. The long climb up to Monte Gozo can be particularly tiring. There are some very steep climbs along the way. Just when you think you are there, there is another hill to climb! Depending on the time of year and the day of the week, there could be big crowds as you approach. Enjoy the excitement of being part of it all! Passing through the outskirts of the city will be rewarded as you enter the historical centre. Follow the other pilgrims and the many signs to make your way towards the Cathedral. If the Cathedral is crowded, find a quiet church or square (there are many) to offer your thanks for your safe arrival and return early the next morning when the Cathedral is empty and quiet.

Day 39

Departure or extra days in Santiago

Departure today after breakfast, or book extra nights to enjoy more time in Santiago.

Prices

    Included:

    • 38 nights’ accommodation in a room with its own bathroom
    • 38 breakfasts  
    • Luggage transfers between hotels (one item of luggage per person)
    • Detailed maps and road book
    • Itinerary description, full of advice, recommendations, suggestion and important information about your accommodation.
    • Pilgrims Passport
    • Emergency support

    Not Included:

    • Transfer from Santiago airport to starting point in Sarria

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