- Follow the ‘Camino de Santiago’
The 'Way of St James', a historic pilgrimage route, has become a popular walking trail for anyone seeking time out for reflection and self-discovery.
- Scallop shells signpost ‘The Way’
Seashells are said to have become a symbol of the 'Way of St James' as pilgrims once colllected them from the Galician coast as proof of their journey.
- Half board
Walking the 'Way of St James'
Follow the final, scenic 120-kilometre stretch of the 'Way of St James' through verdant Galicia, from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, entirely on foot. On this rewarding seven-night walking tour you’ll be free to set your own pace each day, taking in the pastoral scenery and quaint villages at leisure, whilst mingling with fellow walking enthusiasts and pilgrimage devotees from around the world. You’ll be accompanied by a local Camino expert who’ll point you in the right direction and help you gather stamps for your ‘Camino’ passport to earn your official certificate. To complete this authentic experience, round off each day with a comfortable stay in a mix of traditional guest-house style accommodation and hotels.
7 nights in hotels
14 meals: 7 breakfasts and 7 dinners
- Water and wine with dinner
- Optional travel insurance underwritten by Great Lakes Insurance SE, UK Branch and additional cancellation rights on overseas holidays for over 50s, or a price reduction if not required (cover is subject to medical questions)
- Return flights and transfers
- Official 'Camino' walking guide for the duration of the tour
- Official guide in Santiago de Compostela
- Porterage at all hotels
- Entrance to Santiago de Compostela Cathedral
Day 1 UK to Santiago to Sarria
Fly to Santiago de Compostela and transfer to Sarria for an overnight stay at the locally rated 4-star Hotel Alfonso IX. D
Day 2 Sarria to Portomarin
Many people begin their pilgrimage at Sarria as it’s the start of the shortest and most scenic route to earn the Camino certificate on. This medieval town has many fine ecclesiastic buildings thanks to its prominent position on the Pilgrim’s Road to Santiago de Compostela. Set off on your journey by tracing the red and yellow markings along the Romanesque paved tracks, passing over medieval bridges, before following leafy rural trails and bridleways. There are no major towns en route but you will find a few cafes where you can pause for refreshments. Stay overnight at the locally rated 3-star Pousada de Portomarin, a converted parador built in 1962. It’s set in the charming town of Portomarin which overlooks the lazy River Miño. When the river runs low, stone ruins from the the town’s former settlement can be seen – they were submerged when the Belesar reservoir was built in the 60s. Some of the town’s most historic buildings were saved and rebuilt in the new town, including the Romanesque Church of San Pedro. B, D
Day 3 Portomarin to Palas de Rei
Your second day of walking will be overlooked by Mount Ligonde which divides the basins of the two rivers, the Miño and Ulloa. Begin with a moderate uphill climb for a couple of kilometres as you ascend Mount San Antonio before following paths which shadow provincial roads. Along the way you can admire Romanesque churches and the ancient pilgrimage hospital of San Salvador among the small hamlets that line this Jacobean route. There are a few small cafes where you can pause for refreshments en route. Stay overnight at the locally rated 3-star Complejo La Cabana. This typically Galician hotel is built entirely of wood and set within gardens and grounds dotted with pine and chestnut trees. It is set close to Palas de Rei’s main centre, a pretty little town that offers a typical example of semi-rural life in the province of Lugo. B, D
Day 4 Palas de Rei to Arzua
Today’s scenically pleasing walk, the longest of the week, will weave a course through woodland interspersed with trickling streams bridged by stone arches and farmland where sheep and cattle can be seen grazing in the fields. You’ll also pass distinctive wooden Galician granaries raised above the ground on stilts. You’ll begin by leaving Palas de Rei by the Campo dos Romeiros, a traditional meeting place for pilgrims to enter the medieval village of Lebroreiro. You can pause in the town of Melide which marks the halfway point and may enjoy chatting with fellow walkers following ‘The Way’. You’ll find the final stretch the most challenging as its uphill and at the end of the day – you can always pause at a cafe in Ribadiso before tackling the final three kilometres. Stay overnight at the locally rated 2-star Hotel Vila Peregrina, which comprises a quaint collection of small traditional country houses. Each has their own small living area while the restaurant is in the main building. B, D
Day 5 Arzua to Amenal
The penultimate day of your walking tour will be tinged with excitement as the finishing line is almost within sight. Follow the undulating route through the meadows and thickets of O Pino, staying close to the N547. En route you’ll have the opportunity to pause either at the medieval shrine of Santa Irene, which features a baroque fountain that purportedly spouts water with healing properties, or the town of O Pedrouzo. Stay overnight at the locally rated 1-star Hotel Bello, a small, modern hotel with comfortable facilities and a restaurant of local renown. B, D
Day 6 Amenal to Santiago de Compostela
Put your best foot forward for your final day walking the ‘Way of St James’. The trail continues though pine forests and, after climbing the hills above Lavacolla, you’ll descend past a stream used by pilgrims to wash and purify themselves before reaching Santiago. From Monte do Gozo, you’ll catch the first glimpse of the cathedrals spires, and once past the summit and the monument and chapel of San Marcos, you’ll pass through the urban San Lazaro neighbourhood en route to your hotel, the locally rated 3-star Hotel Gelmirez, a modern hotel with a central location for a two-night stay. B, D
Day 7 Santiago de Compostela
The jewel in Galicia's crown, Santiago is a tapestry of architectural styles spanning the ages and its mix of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, baroque and neoclassical architecture attests to its significant role as an international pilgrimage centre. Look forward to a guided tour of the cathedral which is set in the heart of the UNESCO-listed old town. Your tour will reach its emotional climax as you get the final stamp needed at the cathedral’s Pilgrim’s Office and receive your certificate, or ‘Compostela’, as proof of your own week-long pilgrimage! You’ll become part of a tradition that began hundreds of years ago when a hermit claimed to have found the lost burial site of St James the Apostle and the first pilgrims began visiting soon after, leading to the foundation of Santiago. Tonight you can look forward to a farewell dinner in a traditional local restaurant in the old town. B, D
Day 8 Santiago to UK
Travel to the airport for your return flight to the UK.
What you can expect
Look forward to walking through the prettiest scenery along the 'Way of St James' as you follow the final stretch across the undulating Galician countryside. Walks each day will range between 20 and 30 kilometres over varied terrain with some steep up or downhill sections, therefore a good level of fitness is essential.
In the countryside, you’ll be following broad, packed-earth paths that are well sign posted, while in the villages and towns, the pavements are generally painted to show the way. This means you are free to set your own pace if you desire, taking time to enjoy the passing scenery or stopping for lunch or to explore for as long as you like in the village or towns en route, without the worry of keeping pace with the rest of the group.
We’ll take care of your luggage
You will require a light day back pack, to store water and any other items you wish to carry, such as a camera, waterproofs and sunscreen. You don’t have to worry about carrying your travel luggage though as this will transported between hotels by road each day for you.
Your ‘Camino’ passport and certificate
We will provide you with your pilgrimage passport although it is up to you to get it stamped at the various churches and official checkpoints along the way – your walking guide will advise you when and where you need to do this each day. The guide will also share fascinating insights about the 'Way of St James' throughout your walking tour with you.
During your walking tour, you’ll stay at small and friendly local establishments that specialise in accommodating pilgrims following ‘The way of St James’. These small, relatively simple hotels offer the best accommodation available for walking groups en route, with a good standard of furnishings and all offer en suite bathrooms with showers.