Boasting stunning scenery and historically renowned towns and villages; Camino de Santiago is truly memorable and an experience of a lifetime. 200,000 people travel each year to make their journey to Santiago and receive their certificate. There are routes for the Camino beginning in Spain, France and Portugal with the French Way being the most sought after route along the Camino.
Make your way to Dublin airport for your flight to Santiago de Compostela. On arrival at Santiago airport, you will meet your guide for the week and be transported from the airport to Lugo, where you’ll spend the next 4 nights. Lugo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as it is the only city in the world to be surrounded by completely intact Roman walls.
The Camino walk begins in Sarria next morning, so you will be transferred there from Lugo after breakfast. Sarria is the most densely populated town on the French Way in Galicia, with 13,700 inhabitants. It is the most popular starting point for the Camino de Santiago as the distance from this point to Santiago allows walkers to cover the necessary kilometres to obtain the Compostela certificate.
The route moves away from the roads outside Sarria and enters the more rural Galicia, through one of the most beautiful carballeiras (oak woods) on the itinerary. During the day you will pass a number of Romanesque ruins, rustic walkways and an early medieval bridge before arriving in Portomarin. In the 1960’s, the whole town of Portomarín was taken apart and reconstructed on the hill where it now stands, as the land closer to the river was dammed to create a reservoir. After a little time to explore Portomarin, you will be taken back to your hotel in Lugo.
Popular places to stop on the walk for food and drinks: 3.9km Vilei; 6.3km A Serra; 9.4km Peruscallo; 12.3km Morgade; 14.1km Ferreiros; 17.3km Mercadoiro.
Today’s journey will see you dropped back to Portomarin. You will begin walking leaving the town and the river Miño behind and after some uphill walking, will arrive at the Sierra de Ligonde, the highest point of todays walk. The route then continues along a path very close and parallel to the road, on both sides. A generous descent leads the hikers to A Previsa and Os Lameiros, one of the highlights of the stage. Os Lameiros has one of the most original, famous and photographed stone crosses of Galicia. Erected in 1670, its uniqueness lies in the fact that it is double sided. On one side the crucifixion of Christ is represented. The other side depicts an image of the Virgin of Sorrows. Towards the end of the journey the paved path and gravel track leads walkers directly to Palas de Rei. After some time to see Palas de Rei you will be taken back to your hotel in Lugo.
Popular places to stop on the walk for food and drinks: 7.8km Gonzar; 9.3km Castromaior; 11.6km Hospital de la Cruz; 13.1km Ventas de Narón; 17.2km Airexe; 19.4km A Calzada; 21.9km A Brea.
After a transfer from your hotel to Palas de Rei, the longest walking stage of your week awaits you, however the path is downhill for most of the day with just a few ascents. The path begins through a forest to San Xulián do Camino, a very pretty stretch. San Xulián do Camino is a small village with a historic cobblestoned area where a stone cross, in the heart of the centre stands out. The village also has a beautiful church.
Half way to Arzua you’ll find the town of Melide, famous for its Octopus dishes. Melide it’s the perfect place to stop for lunch. The rest of today’s walk will see you pass through some beautiful Galician hamlets and cross the Raído River over a narrow granite walkway. Further on you will arrive at Castaneda. This location is famous for its lime kiln, where pilgrims deposited stones carried from Triacastela, thus contributing to the construction of the Cathedral of Santiago. Before arriving in Arzua the route runs parallel to the road, close by there is a service station, where, those arriving on reserves can refuel before reaching Arzúa, less than a kilometre away. You will be collected from Arzua and brought back to your hotel in Lugo at the end of your walk.
Popular places to stop on the walk for food and water: 3.5km San Xulián do Camiño; 8.6km O Coto;; 14.6km Melide; 20.4km Boente; 22.6km Castañeda/A Fraga Alta; 25.7km Ribadiso de Baixo.
This morning you will check out of your Lugo hotel, and while the coach returns you to Arzua to start the day’s walk, your bags will continue on to your Santiago hotel. Departing Arzúa involves a downhill walk on stony terrain, but the majority of this day will see you walk a comfortable stage with smooth walking surfaces. Then route moves to a gravel path where walkers pass La Fuente de los Franceses (the French Fountain). The meadows, full of cows, dominate the landscape until arriving in Peroxa, the point from where the hikers begin a new descent to the stream of Ladrón. The scenery does not change much and the pilgrims continue along comfortable forest tracks, leaving only for short stretches on quiet local roads that coincide with the Camino.
A milestone with the name Boavista announces the arrival to a small village with houses scattered. Until now the Camino has remained distant from the main link road between Santiago and Arzúa, with walkers only needing to cross it at Preguntoño via a comfortable tunnel. From Salceda the story changes and the route follows the road closely for a while. Moving away from the road again, after a slight climb at the top pilgrims will find a giant statue of the legendary Pelegrin, then after a brief descent through a eucalyptus forest the path takes the walkers to O Pedrouzo where you will finish the day. Your transfer at the end of today’s walk will bring you to your Santiago hotel.
Popular places to stop on the walk for food and water: 5.8km Calzada; 8km A Calle / Outeiro; 11.2km Salceda; 13.7km A Brea; 15.4km O Empalme; 18.2km A Rúa.
After breakfast, you will be taken back to O Pedrouzo to complete your last walking day into Santiago de Compostela. The group may decide on an early start today in order to try arrive into the city for the pilgrim mass, which takes place at 12.00 in the Cathedral of Compostela. Today’s path proceeds along what will be the last great oak wood on the ancient Camino, on a path that alternates between asphalt and earth. The walk follows alongside the fort of Amenal situated at the top of the town. You will then move on to a shaded path and face the most difficult slope of the day, on a stretch that leads to Cimadevila. Steep initially, it becomes less pronounced towards the top. The climb continues on a forest track for two kilometres until reaching the summit, situated at 360 metres.
You will then come across one of the most emblematic towns, Lavacolla, which has a church which was built in 1840. The path takes you then to Monte do Gozo, one of the greatest icons on the Camino. At the summit of this small hill, you will havea distant view of the towers of the cathedral. The hills is appropriately named, as Monte do Gozo, means mount of joy. History recalls how French walkers, on glimpsing the mount, shouted "Mon joie! Mon joie!” There, a commemorative monument was erected on the visit of Pope John Paul II to Santiago in 1982, during the Holy Year.
At this point you are only 5 km (around 1 hour) from Santiago Cathedral and as you approach the city, the quiet path and country roads end and to be replaced by the more excited atmosphere of the city. You can make your way to the square of the Cathedral to enjoy the success of completing the Camino while your guide brings everyone’s pilgrim passports to the Pilgrim office to collect your certificates.
Popular places to stop on the walk for food and water: 4km O Amenal; 7.5km San Paio; 9.2km Lavacolla; 13.6 km Monte do Gozo.
The Galician capital is a city full of wonders and can be crossed from one end to the other in a leisurely stroll. And what better way to discover all it has to offer than taking a walking tour of the city. Your guide will bring the group on a 2 hour walk of the city at around 9:30am. Santiago old town has remained the same for centuries, it has a labyrinth of old, narrow cobbled streets with often arcaded covered pavements traditional of Galicia, that in 1985 was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Cathedral built to honour St. James whose remains are said to have been buried on the spot is the most popular attraction but other landmarks like Park Alameda, Cathedral Museum and Abastos Market are also worth a visit.
In the popular and crowded city centre streets, Calle Del Vilar, Calle Nueva and Calle Franco, you find vibrant mix of pilgrims, locals and students enjoying the many local pubs and restaurants. Galician typical cuisine can be found everywhere; the famous Galician Style Octopus, Empanadas, Padrón Peppers, Caldo Gallego and the Tarta de Santiago are just some of the region most appreciated flavors that everyone should try.
On your last day you will have the morning to continue exploring the city before being collected at your hotel at 14:00h to be taken to Santiago Airport.
Prices are subject to change & availability at the time of booking.