Best of the Camino - Exclusive Guided Departure

Best of the Camino - Exclusive Guided Departure

Trip Highlights

  • Following in the footsteps of pilgrims along the medieval trail to Santiago de Compostela passing by churches and crosses marking the famous route.
  • Enjoying the camaraderie of your fellow walkers
  • Staying at friendly, family run hotels and eating at hotels and restaurants with delicious local dishes
  • Visiting Bilbao and the fabulous cities of Pamplona, Leon and Santiago with their wealth of religious and historic treasures
  • Experience the highlights of the Camino Trail

Trip Summary

The Camino de Santiago, or Compostela Trail, has for centuries represented an important pilgrimage route from France, across the Pyrenees and the north of Spain to the tomb of St James in Santiago de Compostela. Following the most interesting sections from Roncesvalles in Spain through famous pilgrimage cities such as Leon and Pamplona, the landscapes change daily from mountain trails to forests and open plains. A continuous reminder of the pilgrimage route are the many churches, monasteries and crosses which line the route. With the camaraderie of a small group and local guide, the trip is fully supported throughout. At night stay in atmospheric towns in a selection of hand picked hotels where the local flavours are introduced by your hosts.

Suitability

This is a guided walk with average daily stages of 3 to 5 hours. The km shown are the maximum each day and there are options to shorten the walking on most days by staying on the bus and being dropped off further along the trail. 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 reasonable level of fitness is required. 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.

Itinerary

Meet your guide at a central location in Bilbao at 3:30pm (to be confirmed prior to your departure). If you would like to visit the Guggenheim Museum you can do this in the morning, or stay an extra day in Bilbao - please ask our office for pre tour accommodation rates and suggestions. After your group meeting there's a brief stop at the Guggenheim Museum to admire the exterior of this architectural masterpiece before transferring to Roncesvalles or Burguete (around 2.5 hours drive) for dinner and overnight.

Meals:  D

Your first introduction to the famous pilgrimage trail begins in the historical village of Roncesvalles, high in the Pyrenees and only 5km from the French border in northeast Navarre. Its famous local church has several relics dating back to the 8th Century and the defeat of Charlemagne by local tribes. Walk along the Camino to Alto del Erro then transfer to Pamplona, dinner tonight will be tapas in restaurant Bearan. Overnight Pamplona. Distance: 18km/11.2mi

Meals:  B,D

Leaving Pamplona, we'll walk from the town of Cizur Menor with its 12th century Church of San Miguel before there's an ascent at Sierra del Perdon for a beautiful view. We'll pass through medieval villages and along a road to arrive at Puente la Reina, before transferring to Logrono (1hr). Situated on the Ebro river and on the border between La Rioja and Navarra, Logrono has many historic buildings. Dinner tonight will be at La Chula Restaurant in Logrono's lively centre. Distance 18km/11.2m

Meals:  B,D

In the morning, we'll visit the town of Laguardia in the wine area Rioja Alavesa, including a visit to an unusual wine cellar. We'll enter Castile e Leon and walk from Montes de Oca, through woodlands and along the foothills of the Oca Mountains, to the medieval village of San Juan de Ortega, which was built as a safe haven for pilgrims. Transfer to historic Burgos for dinner and overnight. Distance 15km/9.3mi

Meals:  B,D

In the morning we'll have a guided walking tour of Burgos, including its UNESCO listed Gothic Cathedral. We'll then transfer to Castrojeriz to walk across the Castilian meseta to Frómista. This is gentle easy walking along winding paths through the wide open plain, such a contrast to the mountains and hills of the previous days. Transfer to Sahagun for dinner and overnight. Distance: 13km/8mi

Meals:  B,D

Today we'll walk through the Castile landscape, characterised by small valleys and riverbeds, before transferring to Leon, once the most important city in Christian Spain. Here we'll have a guided city tour, including a visit to the magnificent Gothic cathedral, built on the site of Roman baths dating from the 2nd century. Dinner and overnight in Leon. Distance: 12km/7.5mi

Meals:  B,D

Today's walk is between the villages of Hospital de Orbigo and Astorga. A magnificent sandstone bridge leads into Hospital de Orbigo, and from here we'll pass the holm oak and chestnut tree covered Colomba mountain and cross the Tuerto river to Astorga. With Roman ruins, a Romanesque and Gothic Cathedral and the Antonio Gaudi designed Palacio Episcopal, Astorga has an interesting architectural mix. Overnight in Astorga. Distance: 18km/11mi

Meals:  B,D

The walk today is in the mountains and we begin at Cruz de Ferro, which has panoramic views over the plains below. Continue to the picturesque village of Molinaseca before strolling in Villafranca del Bierzo, nestling at the foot of the mountains. We'll transfer to Herrerias de Valcarce for dinner and overnight. Distance 16km/9.9mi

Meals:  B,D

Our route today takes us from the province of Castile to Galicia. This is another beautiful section through the mountains as we make our way to O Cebreiro, with its imposing church and wonderful views of the Galician countryside. It is also an important point of pilgrimage. From O Cebreiro we walk to Triacastela then transfer to Samos Monastery for a short visit. Transfer to Sarria for dinner and overnight. Distance: 21km/13mi

Meals:  B,D

We'll walk along tracks and paths through hamlets, farmland and woodlands to Portomarin. The town was relocated higher up the slopes after its original site was flooded following construction of the Belesar reservoir. Many monuments were moved to the new site stone by stone, including the church in the main square. Quite a feat! This is rural Galicia at its best. Transfer to Arzúa for dinner and overnight. Distance: 21km/13mi

Meals:  B,D

Santiago is our destination today. We drive to Lavacolla then walk into Santiago. We'll arrive in time to visit the amazing Gothic Cathedral and explore the historical centre. Tonight you have time to attend the evening pilgrims mass at 19:30 hrs. Overnight Santiago. Distance: 12km/7.5mi

Meals:  B,D

Today there's a guided tour in Santiago de Compostela. In the afternoon we take a half day excursion to Cape Finisterre, a symbolic destination as it was historically considered the edge of the known world. Farewell dinner and overnight Santiago.

Meals:  B,D

Your tour concludes after breakfast. We highly recommend staying an extra night in Santiago to further explore the historic and beautiful town at your own pace - please ask for our rates.

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 12 breakfasts, 12 dinners. Breakfasts are usually continental inclusive of bread or toast, tea and coffee. Dinner may start with soup, rice or pasta, followed by either an egg, chicken, red meat or fish dish & finishing with a dessert of fruit, crême caramel, etc. Dinners can be at the hotel or at local restaurants. Please note in Spain dinners are generally begin between 7:30pm – 9.30pm
  • 7 nights in 4 star, 5 nights in 1-3 star hotels all on a twin share basis - they are often small family-run hotels and rooms have private facilities.
  • English speaking guide throughout and local city guides in Burgos, Leon and Santiago (days 5. 6 and 12)
  • Support vehicle for baggage and transfers
  • Entrance fees according to the programme

What's Not Included

  • Travel to and from Bilbao / Santiago de Compostela
  • Lunches and all beverages
  • Sightseeing and entrance fees unless specified as included
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Storage of luggage
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips

Upcoming Travel Dates

AT A GLANCE

Duration:13 Days
Countries:Spain
Starting Point:Bilbao
Finishing Point:Santiago de Compostela
Activities:GUIDED WALK
Grade:moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:SOG6073
Please do not book any flights or extra arrangements until such time that your booking is confirmed by Sherpa Expeditions by phone or email.