Walking the Camino de Santiago
Sample itinerary | 9 days/8 nights
The Way of St. James, often known by its Spanish name, El Camino de Santiago, is the pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (north-western Spain), where legend has it that the remains of the apostle, Saint James the Great, are buried.
In the 9th-century, according to legend, a shower of falling stars led the Spanish hermit Pelayo to Santiago, where he discovered the long forgotten tomb of the apostle St. James. Since then, pilgrims from all over the world have travelled El Camino de Santiago. Walk through eleven centuries of history, legends and traditions, and along the way learn of the many miracles that have occurred on the trail. As we add our footprints to the millions who have travelled before us – including such legendary pilgrims as St. Francis of Assisi, Charlemagne, and Pope John Paul II – we become part of the Camino’s ongoing history.
On this 9-day Camino de Santiago sample trip we have chosen the most beautiful and historic sections of the Camino between León and Santiago de Compostela. The landscape changes dramatically as we traverse the high plains of Castilla y León, cross the verdant hills and valleys of Galicia and, finally, descend into the city of Santiago.
Follow the yellow arrows and scallop shell signposts that point the way through forests, farmland and medieval villages where cows meander down country lanes and locals wish you a “Buen Camino!” You are not a tourist, but a pilgrim on a spiritual journey. Like thousands of peregrinos before you, you’ll celebrate your safe arrival by embracing the statue of St. James behind the altar of the spectacular Cathedral in Santiago.
Join us, and discover for yourself why the Camino de Santiago is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
The itinerary shown below is a sample and can be fully customized to suit the needs of your group.
Day 1. León
Rendezvous at your hotel with your trip leader and tour the Pantheon of the Kings and the Cathedral with an art historian. With its soaring towers, flying buttresses and stained-glass windows, León’s Cathedral is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. After a lazy siesta enjoy an evening of tapas-hopping in the vibrant Old Quarter.
Accommodation | 4-star hotel (1 night)
Located in the old part of town on Leon’s picturesque main square, your hotel is only a 2 minute walk from the spectacular gothic Cathedral.
Day 2. Las Herrerías de Valcarce
Depart León and drive west to the fertile region of El Bierzo. Donning your boots and scallop shell necklaces, follow the Camino as it weaves through vineyards and fruit trees. We finish in Villafranca, a stately town with a castle, palaces and many churches. At the Church of Santiago, sick pilgrims too ill to continue were granted absolution by crossing the northern door, the Puerta del Perdón. (9 miles).
Accommodation | 3-star hotel (1 night)
Located in the beautiful Valcarce Valley, you will rest in a 19th century farmhouse that has been lovingly restored and converted into a comfortable hotel.
Day 3: Sarriá
Ascending the green Valcarce valley, pass forests of oak and chestnut and fields of heather en route to O’Cebreiro, home to pre-historic Celtic huts called pallozas. You are now in the beautiful region of Galicia! In the evening, tour the 6th century Benedictine Monastery of Samos (one of the oldest in Spain) before attending evening vespers sung by the monks of this hospitable order. (6 miles).
Accommodation | 3-star hotel (1 night)
A comfortable modern hotel located on the banks of the river Sarria, and only a few yards from the pilgrims’ path.
Days 4 & 5. Portomarín
Walk through bucolic countryside, traversing enchanted forests and small patches of farmland to the banks of the Miño River. En route to Portomarín we pass the 100 km marker (only 60 miles to go!) – a milestone for pilgrims who travel the Camino. At dinner try delicious octopus prepared with olive oil, sea salt and paprika and chase away evil spirits the Galician way with a fiery witches’ brew called a queimada. (13 miles).
The following day we pass through small villages decorated with cruceiros (carved stone crosses that mark the way to Santiago) and containing only three or four houses. The undulating countryside is studded with meadows and forests of eucyalptus and pine. After arrival in Palais del Rei, we shuttle back to our hotel in Portomarin. (15 miles)
Accommodation | 3-star hotel (2 nights)
A traditional country hotel commanding beautiful views of the River Miño. The large terrace is perfect for enjoying a relaxing sunset.
Days 6 & 7, Arzúa
Trace quiet paths across stone bridges and through hamlets and woodlands. Stop to visit the tiny 12th century church dedicated to St. Julian – one of the many Romanesque treasures along the Camino. Walk right to the door of the elegant manor house in Arzúa, our comfortable home for the next two nights. Over dinner we toast our longest walking day yet with a glass of chilled Albariño white wine. (18 miles)
The next day we trace the Camino as it weaves along country lanes and stone pathways called corredoiras. Farmers tend their fields and the chimes of cow bells accompany the sounds of your footsteps. Many villagers still use ancient scythes to work the land. Our picnic lunch features creamy cows’ cheese from Arzúa and empanada, a light crusty pastry-pie filled with beef or tuna. (12 miles)
Accommodation | 3-star hotel (2 nights)
A converted manor house, this 18th century stone pazo features beautiful gardens, friendly service and a peaceful ambience.
Day 8, Santiago de Compostela
Excitement mounts as the trail brings us to the city of Santiago. Although you share your quest and a sense of camaraderie with fellow pilgrims from around the world, there are always moments of solitude to contemplate your own, personal “Camino”. After performing the traditional pilgrim rituals in the Cathedral, we head to our hotel and prepare for a sumptuous celebratory feast! (18 miles)
Accommodation | 5-star hotel (1 night)
Adjacent to the Cathedral and founded in the 15th century by Catholic Monarchs Fernando and Isabel to house pilgrims, our choice for the last night is one of the oldest (and most luxurious) hotels in Spain.
Day 9, Departure
Enjoy a private tour of the magnificent Cathedral with a local historian. You’ll also explore the narrow streets or rúas of the Old Quarter, where the vibrancy, history and magic of Santiago de Compostela come alive. We farewell in time for pilgrims’ mass at noon.
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This is a sample itinerary, but we can help you design your own personalized itinerary and arrange all your travel needs to fit your schedule. You can contact us here to get a quote based on this sample itinerary, but don’t forget to tell us the proposed tour dates, trip length, number of people travelling with you or anything else that will help us better understand your requirements. We’ll come to you with all the information you need to book your trip.
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Why we don’t have prices on our website?
Nativa Travel offers personalized travel services and our itineraries are fully customized to better suit our customers’ needs (number of people, trip length, special interests, commuting and accommodation needs, etc.), so we don’t offer scheduled tours. Arranging and pricing a scheduled tour becomes a mechanical process (going to the same places, booking the same hotels and restaurants, doing the same walks, etc.) that usually addresses only the travel agent’s needs, not the traveler’s. That’s why we don’t have prices on our website.
So there’s nothing we want to hide from you, we simply don’t offer “cookie cutter” tours (and it takes us very little time to price the trip you want.)
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[…] January 28, 2009 Walking the Camino de Santiago The Way of St. James is the pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (north-western Spain), where legend has it that the remains of the apostle, Saint James are buried. This once-in-a-lifetime adventure combines beautiful scenery, a wealth of history and unique accommodation ranging from luxurious paradores to charming family-operated inns and manor houses. […]