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Experience the scenic splendour, the magnificent Romanesque architecture and the cultural history of this ancient pilgrim's route across Northern Spain


Activity Level: Moderate

Walking 9-25km daily

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Experience the scenic splendour, the magnificent Romanesque architecture and the cultural history of this ancient pilgrim’s route across Northern Spain. This is a walk of outstanding cultural and historical significance and great natural beauty. Its acclaim includes being declared the First European Cultural Itinerary by the Council of Europe in 1987 and Santiago de Compostela as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993.

The tour begins in Bilbao and we walk the most fascinating and scenic sections of the trail from high in the Pyrenees through stunning beech forests and wooded valleys, across the vineyards of Rioja, the high tablelands of Castilla y Leon and the beautiful verdant hills of Galicia to our final destination Santiago de Compostela.

We operate with a maximum of 12 guests which enables us to provide you with a high level of personalised service and to select hotels and restaurants for their boutique style and service.  We provide a support vehicle which is used throughout the tour. The vehicle is used to transfer guests from the hotel to the beginning of our chosen sections of the walk and to transfer your luggage to the next night’s accommodation allowing you to walk with only a day pack and enjoy the amazing scenery and cultural immersion in comfort. On most days the bus is also close by in case anyone wished to opt out of walking. You’ll walk approximately 200 kilometres of this iconic ancient pilgrim’s route across Northern Spain in the 15 days taking in the most spectacular and culturally significant sections and regions.

Because food and wine is an important hallmark of all our tours we place a strong emphasis on exploring the regional cuisine, whether it be a picnic lunch, fantastic casual cafe, bar snacks or indulging in delicious dinners to highlight the local specialties and delicacies.

We have a local expert guide who has walked the Camino many times and, depending on the numbers in the group, an Epicurious travel guide on the tour.

Food & Wine

As food and wine is an important hallmark of all our tours, we place a strong emphasis on exploring the regional cuisine with our picnic lunches or fantastic casual cafe and bar snacks, and indulge in delicious dinners in each region to highlight the local specialties and delicacies.

In the Basque region of France we dine at the stunning Relais and Chateau restaurant of our hotel and indulge in the renowned tapas in San Sebastian. In Navarra the cuisine of hearty stews, game and local trout are perfect after a day of walking.  Fresh local vegetables such as white asparagus, pulses and beans dominate soups and stews while chorizo lends flavour to these robust dishes. Casseroles of pork and lamb are roasted in wood ovens. Lunches consist of a mixture of fabulous picnics of regional produce or tapas in small bars and cafes.  A picnic may include fresh sour dough, olives, tomatoes, local cheese selection, locally cured meats, seasonal fruit and sweet torta de Santiago.

How itUnfolds

DAY DAY 1: Bilbao – St Étienne de Baïgorry

The day starts with a 10am pickup from hotels in Bilbao for our 3-4 hour bus journey to St Jean Pied de Port, an ancient cobbled town and the last stop in France for pilgrims crossing the Pyrenees. En route, we stop the beautiful seaside city of San Sebastian and enjoy our first pintxos (tapas) lunch. On arrival in St Jean Pied de Port we visit the Pilgrims Office to collect our Pilgrims Passports for our journey to Santiago.

DAY DAY 2: St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles

Walking distance: 17km

Today we trace the ancient pilgrim’s route along an old Roman road that once connected Astorga to Bordeaux. Crossing the Pyrenees, today’s walk offers some of the most magnificent scenery on the Camino. Entering into Spain we arrive in Roncesvalles, the first stop for pilgrim's after crossing the border.

DAY DAY 3: Roncesvalles to Pamplona

Walking distance: 21km

From the village of Roncesvalles we commence our walk through the beautiful lower regions of the Pyrenees Mountains towards the small town of Zubiri. We walk through beechforest, charming villages and lovely open farmland. After a short climb to Alto Ero we begin a lovely decent into Zubiri where our vehicle is waiting to transfer us to Pamplona.

DAY DAY 4: Pamplona to Santo Domingo de la Calzada

Walking distance: 18km

We transfer to the small village of Zariquiegui, where we begin our for the day walk. Our path takes us through rolling countryside to the village of Puenta La Reina, where we enjoy lunch. In the afternoon we continue to the small town of Cirauqui. From here, we transfer to the stunning town of Santo Domingo de la Calzada.

DAY DAY 5: Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Laguardia

This morning we have time to explore Laguardia before taking a trip to the renowned Marqués de Riscal winery for a guided tour.

DAY DAY 6: Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Burgos

Walking distance: 12km

We transfer to just outside Villa Franca Montes de Orca, which stands at the edge of the Montes de Orca, a forested, mountainous region. A path leads up through trees and meadows where we enjoy a magnificent panorama over forests to distant mountain peaks. Finally we come to a clearing and the church of San Juan de Ortega. From here, we transfer to Burgos and spend the afternoon exploring the ancient city and its magnificent cathedral of Santa MarÍa.

DAY DAY 7: Burgos to Leon

Walking distance: 12km

We begin our walk a short distance from the town of Hontanas. Following the Garbanzuelo stream and we pass the ancient ruins of the lost village of San Miguel and St. Anthony’s Convent, before arriving into the historic town of Castrojeriz. Our waiting vehicle transfers us to the town of Leon and your bed for the night.

DAY DAY 8: Leon

Today is at leisure and you a free to explore the tree-lined boulevards and medieval architecture of Leon or take a day to relax and put your feet up at our hotel.

DAY DAY 9: Leon to Villafranca del Bierzo

Walking distance: 25km

After a well-deserved rest day, we set off with gusto for a full day of walking. From the town of Astorga we cross the historical region of Maragateria before climbing the Montes de Leon – where our efforts are rewarded with some of the best views of the Camino. Walking through the village of Rabanal del Camino, we continue to Cruz de Ferro, where pilgrims traditionally place a stone at the base of the famed iron cross. From here we are transferred a short distance to the town of Villafranca del Bierzo.

DAY DAY 10: Villafranca del Bierzo to Monforte de Lemos

Walking distance: 15km

Today we begin our walk at the town of Las Herrerias, and pass through chestnut groves, orchards and open hills until finally arriving into the region of Galicia. Our path slowly winds its way uphill, providing beautiful vistas, before we arrive at the mountain top hamlet of O’Cebreiro, nestled between the Os Ancares and Serra do Courel mountain ranges. From here we transfer to Monteforte de Lemos.

DAY DAY 11: Monteforte de Lemos

Walking distance: 19km

Transferring back to O’Cebreiro this morning, we set out along a mountain ridge, taking in stunning views, before gradually descending along country lanes into a landscape studded with farms, villages and small land holdings. We finish today’s walk at the village of Triacastela and transfer to Monteforte de Lemos for the night.

DAY DAY 12: Monteforte de Lemos to Lugo

Walking distance: 23km

Transferring to the town of Sarria, we begin a gentle day of walking through gently undulating terrain, passing pristine streams, chestnut stands and green pastures before our final descent to the banks of the River Mino and across the bridge to Portomarin. From here, our waiting vehicle transfers us to our accommodation in the city of Lugo.

DAY DAY 13: Lugo to Arzua

Walking distance: 22km

This morning we drive a short distance to see the Vilar de Donas, the former monastery church of the Order of Santiago located in a quiet rural setting west of Portomarin. Afterwards, we have coffee in the town of Palais de Rei and continue on the Camino along country lanes and through sleepy hamlets, stopping for lunch in the town of Melide. We finish the day near the historic town of Arzua.

DAY DAY 14: Arzua to Santiago

Walking distance flexible

From Arzua the Camino passes through eucalyptus forests before continuing to San Marcos, Monte de Gozo and finally arriving at Santiago de Compostella. This city founded on myth and legend is unquestionably one of the most beautiful and intact in Spain.

In the afternoon you have the option to join a tour of the cathedral before a final celebratory dinner with the group.

DAY DAY 15: Depart Santiago

Tour end.

JourneyHighlights

Spectacular Pyrenees scenery crossing from France into Spain
Explore the medieval villages along with their art and architecture
Sip the red wines of La Rioja and taste the tapas bars of Leon’s historic quarter

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