This unique approach to a classic pilgrimage route combines a passion for good food and produce, with the incredible history of the trail crossing northern Spain. With fully supported day walks on the best sections of the pilgrimage trail paths, including the original route from Oviedo, the essence of the pilgrimage is retained. The walking is combined with cooking demonstrations and numerous samplings of the local cuisine from the heart of Spanish modern cuisine in the Basque region to the small rural villages on the Camino, as the pilgrimage is commonly called. In the company of a local gastronomic expert, there will be many insights into the local culinary scene, with a dinner experience in a Michelin Star restaurant.
MODERATE – GRADE 3
This is a guided walk with average daily stages of 3.5 to 6.5 hours. The trip is graded moderate as it is mainly on well defined trails, with a few off path sections only. There are many ups and downs and walking poles are definitely a good idea. A good level of fitness is required to complete all the walks. As with all of our trips it is important that you are well prepared. We suggest that you undertake regular exercise – swimming, cycling, and jogging, two to three times a week for three months prior to your departure. As the trip is fully supported there is the option to skip some of the walks and ride with the support vehicle.
On arrival into Bilbao transfer to your hotel and check-in. In the early afternoon you will meet with your gastronomic host. Later we visit the impressive Guggenheim Museum before sitting down to our first special gourmet dinner at a men’s cooking club (sociedad gastronómica).
We'll transfer from Bilbao to Pamplona to enjoy a local coffee before taking a stroll along the Camino trail through Logrono. We will walk from Uterga to Puente de la Reina. Passing through the village of Eunate with its strong links to the pilgrimage in the Middle Ages. On the other side of the village is a fine example of a Roman road. After the walk we'll drive an hour to Logroño, with a short stop in Ciraqui to take in the ruins. In Logrono, our local guide will introduce you to the Camino history and share their favourite tapas bars. The choice is yours as to where you wish to dine this evening. (8km/4.9mi, ±150m/492ft, 2hrs)
The day will be spent enjoying a guided visit and wine tasting at Marqués de Riscal Winery and enjoying this special wine region before transferring by vehicle to Nájera, the former capital of La Rioja, for lunch. A walk from Nájera to Azofra, right across a classic Riojan landscape of wheat fields, sunflowers and vineyards, will build your appetite for the anticipated dinner at Echaurren Tradición, famed for its exceptional interpretation of local Rioja cuisine. Before that there will be time to explore Santo Domingo de la Calzada, visiting the impressive cathedral (and chicken coop!). (6km/3.7mi max, ±190m/623ft, 1.5-2hrs)
A short drive this morning before embarking on a walking route close to San Millan de la Cogolla. Alternatively, you can ride on the bus to visit the monasteries of Yuso (Baroque) and Suso (Romanesque). Mid afternoon you will reach Burgos and enjoy free time to roam the city before a guided visit to a traditional bota bag workshop. You may wish to visit the Gothic cathedral where El Cid is buried. For dinner this evening, a traditional meal of lechazo castellano at a lamb restaurant near the centre. (9km/5.6mi, +200m/656ft, -585m/1919ft, 2.5-3hrs)
After a short walk on the Meseta, we drive 2 hours to Leon in the morning where we'll take a fascinating guided visit to the Panteon in León. The Panteon Real is the home to sarcophagi of late royalty and lies beneath some of the finest examples of Romanesque frescoes in Spain. Following lunch we'll walk along the Camino right through the city, before driving into the Asturias to the town of Arriondas. To Spaniards, "Asturias" means rural, green, friendly, tasty and authentic. This is the place to relax, walk, swim and sample fresh products, straight from the garden, mountain meadows or the sea. Thanks to a relatively mild and humid climate, temperatures are pleasant, even in the height of summer, and the landscape is green year round. Rural Asturias is a patchwork of walled pastures, dense forests and farming villages, bordered by a magnificent coastline to the north and steep limestone massifs to the south. A rich cultural tradition, vibrant historical towns, pre-Romanesque churches and superb regional cooking combine to make travellers feel at home instantly.
Your accommodation this evening is a welcoming family-run hotel. On clear days, this historic building on the banks of the Sella River offers spectacular views of snowy summits in the Picos de Europa. Nearby is the renowned Michelin-starred restaurant run by chef Nacho Manzano: Casa Marcial, situated in the tiny village of La Salgar, where we’ll enjoy dinner this evening. (4km/2.5mi, ±100m/328ft, 1hr)
This morning we'll head to the coast to walk along the Camino Norte, a less travelled route on the Camino. The walk view today is quite spectacular as we walk from beach to beach along the limestone cliffs. Depending on the weather, we will either drive up to a viewpoint in the Sierra del Sueve or we will visit a pre Romanesque monument before we continue on to Oviedo where we will have an afternoon guided tour of the Historical Centre. Later, dinner will be light tapas taken at a cider bar. Here we will have the opportunity to taste this special beverage. (13km/8mi, ±100m/328ft, 3.5-4hrs)
Oviedo is a beautiful place. It boasts Gothic Cathedrals as well as Pre Romanesque UNESCO World Heritage listed monuments. This morning we will be joining the first walking route on the Camino Primitivo, otherwise known as the original pilgrims’ route, to Santiago. Follow Jacobean copper shells through narrow lanes, then out into the green Asturian countryside. Tarmac lanes and old foot paths take us between quiet villages, some of which still have pilgrims hostals and historic inns. A transfer takes us back to our hotel in Oviedo. (18.5km/11.5mi, +200m/656ft, - 300m/984ft, 5.5hrs)
This morning we transfer to Salas to pick up lunch supplies before we continue to the start of our walk at El Pedregal. The route takes us through beautiful countryside to reach the abandoned monastery of Obona, which was an important school and retreat for wise men in the middle ages. From here we transfer to our unique accommodation of a renovated old palace in historic Tineo. (15.7km/9.8mi, +350m/1148ft, -250m/820ft, 4.5-5hrs)
It's a challenging ascent today along one of the most famous stretches of the Camino. Our walk will take us along sections of the original high "ruta de los hospitales" and crosses steep slopes toward Puerto el Palo. Due to extreme winter weather, several pilgrims' hospitals were built on either side of this challenging mountain pass. Superb views will reward your walking efforts. This evening, regional specialities at the renowned Nueva Allandesa. We will overnight in Lake Granadas. (13.3 or 15km/8.3 or 9.3mi, +600m/1968ft, -150m/492ft, 4.5 or 6hrs)
This morning we shop for picnic supplies in Grandas before transferring to Fonsagrada.Today's section of the Camino has been surfaced, and is now tarmac from Grandas to Fonsagrada. After driving to Póboa de Buróna, a village which once had a castle and large pilgrims' hospital near to Fonsagrada, we will walk along one of the most ancient sections on the Camino, the high route which leads to O Cádavo. We end our walk in Paradavella. Afternoon transfer to our welcoming rural accommodation near Castroverde. (12.3km/7.6mi, +450m/1476ft, -675m/2215ft, 5hrs)
Today is an opportunity to have some time to explore a small rural area independently, relax in the garden and read a book. Alternatively, there is an opportunity to walk along the Camino Primitivo between Paradavella where the walk ended the previous day, and O'Cadavo. In the evening, we’ll be treated to a unique tradition: the “queimada”, a ritual followed in preparing this tasty beverage of coffee infused with liqueur (the Galician speciality called “orujo” – an eau-de-vie distilled from grape skins after they’re crushed to make wine). Overnight Castroverde. (12.4km/7.7mi, +300m/984ft, -250m/820ft, 3.5hrs)
Our last day of walking is a delight, as we enjoy the pastoral Galician countryside following quiet tarmac lanes and rural tracks from one hamlet to the next. Beautiful examples of traditional architecture such as the well-preserved 'pazos' and 'casas grandes', impressive buildings in stone and wood often turned into modern-day hotels. At Lugo, The Camino Primitivo blends with the French Route and we'll stop here for the night to enjoy its impressive Roman Walls and outstanding tapas bars. This evening we’ll learn about regional wines and classic Galician cooking. Our highly specialized guides will share their in-depth knowledge, as well as their love of good food and wine. Dinner at a local restaurant, where they prepare the traditional dish “pulpo a feira” (Galician-style octopus) among other delicacies.
(17.5km/10.8mi, +200m/656ft, -400m/1312ft, 5hrs)
A treat for the senses today, with wine tasting in the Ribeira Sacra region. After we'll continue to Lalin or Chantada for lunch before transfering to a lovely pazo in the country, not far from Santiago de Compostela, which will mean an easy access to the city the following morning. Today will also include a visit to a small family-run cheese factory. (There is no walking today.)
Early start to enjoy both the Pilgrims’ Mass and the local market or to walk for 2.5 hrs from Monte del Gozo into Santiago. Free time to explore the city. You may wish to share emotions with other pilgrims as they approach the St James Cathedral in the old centre of town. This evening sit down to a superb farewell dinner to close the tour. (5km/3.1mi, -100m/328ft, 1hr)
A farewell to your fellow travellers as the trip concludes after breakfast.
We hope you decide to run this tour again as we have recommended it to so many people. The day walks chosen were on sections with superb scenery. The accommodation and food were outstanding and Teresa’s leadership and knowledge made for a memorable holiday.
F. & J. Flynn, St Kilda, Victoria
Our guide was exceptional, our bus driver was outstanding. Best we have ever had. Local guides were fabulous too!
W. Mason & M. Barrett., Cooks Hill, NSW. Australia.
The tour was excellent, the guide brilliant - would highly recommend! The bus and driver provided were excellent - the bus comfortable and the driver very safe, friendly and helpful.
C & T. Carmichael., Merewether, NSW Australia
A very enjoyable trip! Our guides were knowledgable, friendly, helpful and fun. I’m a trekker so the walking was a doddle; my wife in not a trekker but did 4 months of training and although she found the hardest day hard, she did the trip with no physical pain, so if you’re not a trekker, follow Utrack's training recommendation. The selection of parts of the four different Camino’s that we walked was excellent: forests, high alpine, beach/cliff face, farmland, villages/towns/cities, monasteries and cathedrals. Similarly the activities we did were varied and interesting. Loved the ambience and experience of the Michelin Star/near Michelin Star experiences but tasting the regional food specialities and participating in their customs was even more enjoyable. Accommodation was fine throughout. The trip notes were exceptionally well done - best I’ve ever had. As Camino walkers, the welcome you receive from the locals is overwhelming. We highly recommend this trip across ‘Green Spain.’
R. Kreger., QLD. Australia.
If the Camino is on your bucket list, contact UTracks for an experience of a lifetime. We did and enjoyed it greatly. The itinerary catered for experienced and less experienced walkers. The support provided throughout the walk was exceptional. And the food experience was even better! If I had to score, I would give a 9.9 out of 10!
L. Hermans., Chirnside Park, VIC. Australia
The walks were wonderful and the country accommodation was unique, superb old farmhouses which were warm and comfortable, and the hosts were very keen to please, especially with the local dishes .
F. Waddell., North Sydney, NSW. Australia
Peta Champion, Collaroy, Australia, 19 Oct 2016
The tour was extremely well planned, and one which we would highly recommend. Everyday was completely different, with a variety of local food, culture and history. Our tour leader was outstanding, with superb local knowledge. At all times he and the driver were most professional and always willing to accommodate any individual needs.
C. Kelleher, Manly, NSW Australia, 17 Oct 2016
Per Person, Twin Share