Camino de Santiago - self-guided tour

Camino de Santiago

The history of the Camino de Santiago ("Way of Saint James") goes back over a thousand years to the year 813 CE. Teodomiro, the bishop of Iria Flavio (just outside Santiago de Compostela), informed King Alfonso II of Asturias that a tomb had been discovered containing the remains of the apostle Santiago (St James). St James had been decapitated in 44 CE in Jerusalem, but his followers had stolen the body and transferred it by boat to Spain, burying it at Iria Flavio.

Once word was out that the remains of St. James had been found, a pilgrimage began to pay homage at this holy site. The Cathedral of Santiago, consecrated in 1128, stands over the tomb of the apostle and the faithful have been flocking here ever since, following a series of well-worn paths known collectively as the "Camino de Santiago" which stretch across northern Spain.

On the Camino we will meet fellow-walkers from all over the globe, and one of the highlights of this holiday is likely to be the wealth of tales and experiences that we share with them as we walk. Meeting local people, too, forms a rich part of this adventure - on the Camino villagers feel pleased and honoured to see pilgrims pass through their village. As for traffic, all you are likely to encounter for much of the way are herds of gentle, lazy cows as they return to their village barns in the late afternoon...

Day 1 Leon

The holiday begins in Leon, a city endowed with many impressive monuments, from outstanding medieval to avant-garde modern buildings. The most notable are the Gothic cathedral, with its superb stained glass windows, the Basilica of San Isidoro, housing tombs of the Kings of Leon and fine Romanesque paintings, and the old monastery of San Marcos. You will enjoy a guided tour of all these sights - as well as the elegant Calle Ancha which is itself a part of the Camino - as you explore this beautiful city. You will have time to rest in your hotel (Parador de San Marcos) and then have the rest of the afternoon at leisure.  Included: accommodation, guided tour and entrance fees 

Day 2 Leon - Sarria

After breakfast your driver will pick you up at your hotel in Leon and drive you to the beautiful town of Triacastela (185 km drive) where you will begin your walking. From Triacastela to Sarria the walk is 22 kms and it criss-crosses through some of the most beautiful Galician countryside along the Camino. A highlight on this walk is the ancient Benedictine monastery of Samos, founded in the 6th Century by San Martin Dumiense. A bit further down the road you will enter the town of Sarria and enjoy a night.  Included: breakfast, accommodation, transfer & Dinner.

Day 3 Sarria - Portomarin

As your hotel is on the Camino itself, today you will walk straight out of the front door and begin your 22 km walk to the town of Portomarin. You will really be getting a feel for the Camino at this point as you start to mix with the other peregrinos (pilgrims), swap stories, and marvel at the various reasons that people choose to undertake the Camino de Santiago. Today's walk goes through some gorgeous rural areas of Galicia, dotted with abandoned hamlets, and some of the nicest scenery along the entire Camino. You end your walk at our hotel (Santa Marina) in the delightful town of Portomarin where you'll enjoy Mario's hospitality, great food, and great local wine - direct from the owner's bodega!   Included: breakfast, accommodation, transfer & Dinner.

Day 4 Portomarin - Palas del Rei

Today you will walk from Portomarin to Palas de Rei, 24 kms. A few of the most important sights along the Camino can be found along this pleasant, meandering section of the walk. The Cruzeiro de Lameiros marking the way with its eerie skull and crossbones at the base of the cross, and the Vilar de Donas church, a few kilometres off the Camino, are two symbols of the Camino worth looking out for and making a stop. Eventually you will enter the pleasant village of Palas de Rei and into your comfortable hotel (Hotel Casa Benilde). Included: breakfast, accommodation, transfer & Dinner.

Day 5 Palas del Rei - Castañeda

You will begin another beautiful walk today, a slightly longer one of 26 kms, to the town of Castañeda. In Melide you will have the chance to sample some of its famous pulpo a la gallega (octupus Galician style). You will then carry on the short distance to your beautiful hotel (Pazo de Sedor) where you will be welcomed by your host, Joaquin. Here you can relax by the pool, have a drink on the beautiful terrace, or rest your (probably by now weary!) feet. Included: breakfast, accommodation, transfer & Dinner.

Day 6 Castañeda - O Pino

From your hotel you can walk right back to the Camino and begin another beautiful walk of 26 kms to the small town of O Pino. You are getting ever closer now to Santiago and you can feel the anticipation in the air among your fellow peregrinos, as the end of the Camino nears. The beautiful church in Boente is worth a visit, as is a short stop in Arzua for a glass of wine and a chat with the locals. Your hotel (Hotel O Pino) is right on the Camino, just 19 kms away from Santiago. Included: breakfast, accommodation, transfer & Dinner.

Day 7 O Pino - Santiago de Compostela

Journey's end, Santiago de Compostela, is one of Spain's most attractive cities, rich in atmosphere and tradition. A university city and a site of pilgrimage for over eleven centuries, it has been the site of dynamic exchanges of ideas and culture, a destination for many outsiders, and yet at the same time it represents an area of Green Spain - Galicia - which historically has been profoundly rural and conservative. An interesting paradox behind a fascinating, proud city. The very beautiful walk today passes through eucaliptus forests, over medieval bridges, and then through the outskirts of Santiago as we slowly weave our way through its ancient streets to the glorious Plaza de Obradoiro and the final destination for all pilgrims. You have made it! After enjoying the imposing scene and soaking in the atmosphere around you, you will have just a short walk to our hotel (Parador Hostal dos Reis Catolicos) for some rest before a wonderful dinner in one of many excellent restaurants in Santiago. Included: breakfast, accommodation, transfer

Day 8 Santiago de Compostela

After a leisurely breakfast you will be met by a local guide who will take you on a stunning two hour visit of the beautiful city of Santiago de Compostela. The Plaza de Obradoiro, the Cathedral, Puerta de la Platerias, and the Plaza de la Azabacheria are just a few of the gems that you will see as you discover the history of this ancient city. At 12 noon you will bid farewell to your guide as the tour ends. Included: breakfast, guided tour with entrances