Spanish Camino de Santiago Itinerary

Spain 8

Day 1
ARRIVAL IN LEON
Leon is one of the most historic towns of Old Castile, a large province boarded by Galicia, Asturias, Palencia and Zamora. There is evidence of Roman occupation as well as occupation by the Moors; however it was the Knights of the Templar who built the castles and fortifications in the Middle Ages.  One of Leon’s glories is without doubt the Cathedral which was constructed from the 13th Century over a period of 200 years. The Collegiate Church of San Isidoro houses an impressive collection of early manuscripts. The old city walls are of a Roman and Medieval construction. Ensure you take the time to visit the old city.

This evening there will be a briefing with your tour leader.

Overnight in 2* Hotel, Leon

Day 2
LEÓN – VILLAFRANCA DEL BIERZO
Walking tour of León’s downtown to see some of its most interesting monuments; the 11th century Real Basílica de San Isidoro which is considered to be one of the greatest Romanesque treasures along the Pilgrims Way with remarkable frescoes painted in the ceiling of the basilica. The Gothic Cathedral, considered one of the best in Spain is famous for its wonderful stained glass. You will pick up credentials to be stamped along the Camino.

After a tapas lunch we take an afternoon transfer to Villafranca del Bierzo. We will visit Astorga on the way, an important town along the Camino. Some of it relevant monuments are Antonio Gaudi’s neo-gothic Bishop’s Palace, the Roman Walls, the 15th century Cathedral and Town Hall clock tower.

We will visit the stone built Castrillo de los Polvazares, a small and well preserved Medieval village with National Artistic Monument status. Stroll through its cobbled streets before beginning a warm up walk through heather lined tracks of the western Leonenes moors, followed by another short walk from the stone hamlet of Foncebadón. This eerie and affecting place features heavily in the Camino accounts of Shirley MacLaine and Paulo Coelho. Houses are built with thick stone walls to block the wind and steeply angled roofs to deflect snow. A few kilometres later we reach the Cruz de Ferro, a massive conical pile of stones brought by pilgrims that mark the pass over Mt. Irago. Adding a stone to the pile is an important ritual, many pilgrims bring stones from home to place here.

After El Acebo we descend to Riego de Ambrós, Molinaseca and Ponferrada with a beautiful Templar Knights castle. We are now in the capital of El Bierzo, a fertile pocket of verdant low hills and valleys ringed by large mountains. The area is justly famed for its wine, cured meats, preserved fruit and vegetables. Villafranca has plenty of Medieval mansions, churches, monasteries and a castle! This town can be considered the gateway to Galicia.

Total of 6 – 9 km warm up walk depending on time, aprox 2hrs. 30 min.
Overnight in 4* hotel, Villafranca
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 3
VILLAFRANCA DEL BIERZO – SAMOS
Morning transfer to Herrerias followed by a lovely but challenging walk up the lush Valcarce valley through dense chestnut and oak forests as well as tiny hamlets, winding our way between stone walls and meadows to the high pastures to cross the León/Galician border shortly before reaching the hilltop stone hamlet of O´Cebreiro. It feels like a fast rewind through history, finally settling at some misty, magical period of conical, thatch-roofed houses and cobble stone streets whose origins date back to prehistoric times. There is also a lovely 12th century church which is the subject of a fascinating legend. From now on bag pipe music and Celtic traditions will accompany us.

After a picnic lunch we walk downhill towards Triacastela, the path is shaded by birch, oak, chestnut and poplar trees through tiny hamlets hidden in the deep green Galician forest. Arrival to one of the oldest and larges 6th century Benedictine Monasteries in Spain, Samos. Its influence was once so great that it controlled some 200 towns, over a hundred churches and 300 other monasteries.

Walk 19km. aprox. 5hrs
Overnight in 2* hotel, Samos
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4
SAMOS – SARRIA – PORTOMARIN – LUGO
Short transfer to Sarria to start todays walk. From Sarria there are 111 kilometres left to Compostela, Pilgrims walk all of this distance in order to receive their Compostela, (certification of having completed the pilgrimage) from Santiago’s Cathedral office. This stage is considered to be one of the most beautiful with the path travelling through forest, meadows, fertile orchards and simple stone villages scattered over this rural landscape. After crossing the river Miño we arrive in Portomarín, perched on the banks of this great Galician river.

22.1 km. 5hours 15min
Overnight in 4* hotel. Lugo
Meals: breakfast, lunch

Day 5
FREE DAY IN LUGO
Visit the Roman walls of Lugo (2 kilometres of complete stone walls surrounding the old town centre), built in the 2nd Century the walls are well preserved and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will take a walk along the top, where the walkway is over 5 metres wide. Lugo has a pretty Cathedral and the old town area has plenty of terrace cafes to enjoy a sunny afternoon.

Overnight in 4* hotel. Lugo
Meals: breakfast

Day 6
PORTOMARIN – PALAS DO REI
Back to the Camino to continue on through lush Galician countryside to Palas do Rei. If we have good weather then lunch will be in Vilar de Donas, next to the 10 century Romanesque church which has been declared a National Monument. Back to the path to walk to Palas do Rei. After finishing todays stage our private mini bus will take you to a Galician XVII century Manor House where we will spend the next 3 nights. Time to relax and enjoy the gardens and swimming pool.

22 kms, 5 hours 15 min
Overnight in 17th century Galician Manor House,  A Golada
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7
PALAS DO REI – MELIDE – CASTAÑEDA
Transfer back to Palas do Rei to resume the walk at the point where we ended yesterday. The Camino goes along the ancient path through rolling green landscapes dotted with cows, stone walls and Romanesque churches. Pass through the town of Melide where we will have a picnic lunch and then continue walking 2 more hours to Castañeda.

22.2 kms, 5 hours 30 min.
Overnight in 17th century Galician Manor House, A Golada
Meals: breakfast,  dinner

Day 8
CASTAÑEDA – SANTA IRENE – O´PINO
Today we start walking from the Manor House. Excitement begins to build nearing Santiago de Compostela. There are noticeably more pilgrims as we walk along rural paths through a series of vegetable orchards, meadows and oak groves.

22.6 kms, 5 hours 40 min
Overnight in 17th century Galician Manor House, A Golada
Meals: breakfast,  dinner

Day 9
O´PINO – SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA
Walk through oak and eucalyptus forests with a picnic lunch in Lavacolla. From here we approach Compostela through country lanes. On reaching the Monte del Gozo (Mount of Joy); so named for the emotion felt by those who on arriving were rewarded with their first view of the towers of Compostela’s Cathedral. Still 5 kms away, the remaining walk is downhill. The path leads directly into the ancient centre, entirely declared a UNESCO World Heritage area. Entering the magnificent square of El Obradoiro is a magical moment for all who have walked the Camino.

23.3 kms, 5hours 50 min.
Overnight in 4* hotel, Santiago de Compostela
Meals: breakfast

Day 10
SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA – FINISTERRE – SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA
After breakfast we will head to Finisterre (about 1.5 hour drive) for a 6 km last walk along the cliff moorland in Finisterre. Return to Santiago de Compostela in the afternoon.

6 km, approx 1 hour.
Night in 4* hotel, Santiago de Compostela
Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 11
FREE DAY IN SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA
In the morning you will enjoy a guided tour of Compostela with an English speaking official city guide to learn of the history and culture. In the afternoon there will be time to stroll the medieval streets on your own. There are museums, terrace cafes, craft shops, a great variety of local restaurants and tapas bars offering good gastronomic dishes, etc… all within walking distance. The central market which is filled with fresh produce is also worth a visit.

Overnight in 4* hotel, Santiago de Compostela
Meals: breakfast

Day 12
DEPARTURE
After breakfast your tour ends. Transfer to airport by taxi costs approx 21€ (flat fee).

Meals: breakfast

Inclusions

INCLUDED WITH THIS TRIP

ACCOMMODATION
11 nights twin share accommodation in Hotels, Rural Bed & Breakfast, Manor House
(Single room accommodation is available on request at an additional cost of $620 pp)
Baggage transfer between hotels

MEALS
All food quality is carefully selected following the true local Spanish tradition. While travelling with us you will experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world.
Includes: 10 x breakfasts, 4 x combination of Tapas lunches and picnic lunches, 6 x Dinners with house wine and bottled water. Fresh fruit, dried fruits and nuts and bottled drinking water during walks

LOCAL GUIDE
Full time services of a local English speaking guide/tour leader.  Our guides are highly professional with an extensive knowledge of the territory. They know every hidden corner of the area and will give you the opportunity to experience all the unspoiled places and the real culture of Spain.

Walking tours with English speaking official guide in León and Santiago

TRANSPORT
A private mini bus with driver from Day 2 of the tour to arrival in Santiago de Compostela and trip to Finisterre, for everyday transfers and transportation of luggage. If you do not wish to walk on any day the mini bus is there as backup for you.

NOT INCLUDED WITH THIS TRIP

  • Visa fees – each member of the group must carry a valid passport (valid for at least 6 months beyond the duration of your trip) and have obtained the appropriate visas
  • Flights and airport transfers
  • Travel Insurance (compulsory) – You will need to give the policy number prior to departure
  • Tips, personal telephone charges
  • Items of a personal nature; postage, drinks and souvenirs
  • Entrance fees during free time
  • Additional optional activities
  • Other meals not mentioned
  • Medical Advice – Please refer to your GP or local travel clinic for up to date travel health advice for the area(s) you are visiting.

ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE
Arrival to Leon – A good way is to fly to Madrid and travel by train to Leon. The train journey is very picturesque and takes about 3.5 hours with several departures per day. A taxi from the train station to the Hotel in Leon will cost approx 15 Euros.
Departure from Santiago de Compostela – the quickest and easiest method is to fly to Madrid and connect with your international flight.