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Location

St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago

Difficulty

5-6

Challenging

Length

15

Trip Cost

from $2400 pp
twin share

Overview

  • Follow in the footsteps of millions of pilgrims and over 1,000 years of history on the world’s greatest historical trail.
  • Walk the best sections of the Camino and use trains to visit other cities along the route.
  • Pamplona – former centre of a fiercely independent kingdom and city of great history and deep-rooted traditions.
  • Self-guided trip allows you to set your own pace while we look after your accommodation and luggage transfers.
  • Dedicated local support person in Spain for reassurance.

Experience the Camino highlights, the best sections of the Camino Trail by mixing walks and train travel to travel the full length of the trail from St Jean to Santiago. Your walking will focus on the first section in the Pyrenees and the last 100km from Sarria finishing at the Cathedral in Santiago. Using trains you will stop off in some of the other highlight towns and cities along the trail including Burgos and Leon.

RAW Travel also offer tailor-made arrangements and can adapt this itinerary to suit your needs – just ask us about this and we can advise on how to best vary the itinerary to suit your needs. Please note that tailor-made arrangements incur higher costs due to the extra work involved.

Extend Your Holiday – City Breaks

Double your holiday experience by including a stopover on your journey! A city break is a great way to explore another place, indulge in some extra shopping, dining or sightseeing and is a great way to break up a long flight. Our fabulous array of RAW Travel city breaks can be tailor made to your requirements and usually include an arrival transfer, 2 nights accommodation and a city sightseeing tour.

Read more about our city breaks.

Are you a first-time or solo traveller?

We’ll support you all the way! View our preparation and training resources.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in St Jean Pied de Port

Arrive into this delightful mountain town at the foothills of the Pyrenees after your journey from Pamplona or Bayonne. The old town of St Jean Pied de Port winds down the hill with narrow cobbled streets that are a delight to explore. Take in the views from the Citadelle which looks across the wooded valleys as you meet pilgrims from all over the world ready to embark on their Camino.

St Jean was built in an important position that guarded the passes through the Pyrenees and the armies of Charlemagne and Napoleon passed this way. It has become the traditional starting point for pilgrims walking the French Way and you will see many people arriving and preparing for the challenging Pyrenees crossing. Decide if you will take the Napoleon route (very scenic but more difficult) or the Valcarlos route (for bad weather). Before you embark on your Camino journey make sure you buy any last minute supplies, pack your lunch, warm gear and waterproof jacket and light a candle at the church for good luck.

Day 2: Walk St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles (25km)

Set off in the predawn darkness through the old streets and under the statue of St James, follow in the footsteps of millions of others who have preceded you over the centuries. The streets are full of pilgrims walking towards the hills, it is a magical feeling as you cross the old bridge and head out of town. Today will be the first time you follow the famous yellow arrows which mark the 790 km journey all the way to Santiago; you will get very practiced at looking out for the markings and for other pilgrims along the route. The first section today is steep as you follow country lanes and pass farmland up out of the Valley of St Jean. Make sure you take time to enjoy the views over the beautiful countryside. As you climb higher you will pass the Albergue at Orisson which is great for a food and drink stop and then head into open country above the tree line, where sheep, cattle and ponies graze. Look out for the statue of the Virgin of Orisson and the van which sells hot drinks and snacks to weary pilgrims.

The inconspicuous border crossing from France to Spain lies within a patch of forest marked by an old stone sign stating the distance to Santiago and a small drinking fountain. Continue onwards to the highest point at the Col De Lepoeder (1450m) and take some time to enjoy the extensive views over the Pyrenees. After this, you start your descent through woodlands to the monastery at Roncesvalles which beckons enticingly between the trees on your downhill climb. Arrive at Roncesvalles and enjoy a well earned drink at the Posada before checking into your accommodation. Roncesvalles or ‘the valley of thorns’ is a beautiful spot still cloaked in a medieval atmosphere. Make sure you visit the beautiful 12th century church, cloisters and museum before dinner, where you will share tales with fellow pilgrims from every corner of the world, all relieved to have finished today’s section and some would say the hardest day of all the Camino.

Meals: B

Day 3: Walk Roncesvalles to Akerreta (28km)

After yesterday’s efforts, today’s walk is mostly undulating downhill as you head down through valleys and enjoy delightful woodland walking. Meander on country paths, following the River Arga and climb two small hills with plenty of shade and drinking fountains en route. It is very pleasant largely shaded walking and not as strenuous as the day before. Towards the end of the day you will descend into the town of Zubiri and possibly your overnight accommodation or onwards to Akerreta another few kilometres away depending on your itinerary.

Today is a long walk but well worth it once you reach your hotel in Akerreta which is a beautiful converted country house that featured in the movie ‘The Way’. Enjoy the lounge and library or relax with a drink before your meal which is prepared from produce grown in the gardens of the hotel, you will never taste anything fresher.

Meals: B

Day 4: Walk Akerreta to Pamplona (17km)

Today’s walk is much shorter as we leave the peace of the countryside and approach the famous city of Pamplona. There are some beautiful old bridges along today’s route and as we climb a small hill, the city comes into view. The excitement builds as you walk through the outskirts of the city, over the river and through the old city walls. Once inside the city, you’re immediately immersed in the narrow cobbled streets which burst with colour and life. The Camino passes through famous streets forming the route for the running of the bulls as part of the San Fermin Festival and spills into the central plaza area.

Meals: B

Day 5: Train Pamplona to Burgos

Once in Burgos make sure you stop at the cathedral as the 13th century Catedral de Santa Maria is one of Spain’s largest and most beautiful and combines many different architectural styles but is predominantly Gothic. Rest in Burgos for the evening and have tomorrow to explore and recuperate.

Spend your rest day exploring all that Burgos has to offer including the beauty of the city’s many buildings. Burgos is sometimes known as the Gothic capital of Spain and has a growing population of around 200,000. The week either side of the 29 June is the city’s main festival of San Pedro y Pablo. Caution is recommended in Burgos with common stories of theft and overcharging, so it’s best to keep your wits about you.

Meals: B

Day 6: Train Burgos to Leon

Spend your day exploring this beautiful city and its incredible Gothic cathedral which is renowned for its marvellous stained glass windows. In the evening the narrow streets and plazas come alive when locals flood the local bodegas, cafes and restaurants.

Meals: B

Day 7: Free Day in Leon

Spend your day exploring this beautiful city and its incredible Gothic cathedral which is renowned for its marvellous stained glass windows. In the evening the narrow streets and plazas come alive when locals flood the local bodegas, cafes and restaurants.

Meals: B

Day 8: Train Leon to Sarria

Sarria is a busy, modern town with plenty of shops, hotels, restaurants and bars, but its origins are Celtic and it was an important and major medieval centre for pilgrims. Remnants of its ancient past can still be seen in the old quarter along Rua Major. The church of Igrexia de Santa Maria has an ancient pilgrim’s mural. If you follow the Camino route to the top end of town you will see the ancient convent Monasterio da Madalena, the ruins of the Castle and the medieval bridge Ponte Aspera that crosses the River Celerio. Nowadays the town is bustling with peregrinos, from those that started their Camino 100’s of kilometers back, to the large number that walk the final 100 kilometres to Santiago de Compostela to qualify for their Compostela.

Meals: B

Day 9: Walk Sarria to Portomarin (22km)

The majority of the this walk is on sheltered woodland pathways or quiet country roads and passes through many hamlets and small villages. The scenery along the way is wonderfully green and lush and very rural. The trail climbs and falls repeatedly as it passes tiny hamlets full of history. In the final section is the high point of the day (660m) at Pina dos Corvos which has wonderful views over the reservoir and surrounding countryside. From here begin your steep descent, crossing the Mino Reservoir over its modern bridge into Portomarin.

Portomarin has been inhabited for thousands of years and its importance grew with the popularity of the Camino in the middle ages. At one time it had three orders of Knights: the Knights Templar, the Knights of St John and the Knights of Jerusalem, which may go some way to explaining the castle like edifice of the 12th century Romanesque Igelsia San Nicolas church which still stands in the square at the centre of town. The town was previously divided by the Rio Mino but was flooded in 1960 to create the Mino Reservoir. Every historic monument was moved brick by brick to the town that stands on the hill today; you can see pictures of the old town in some of the bars and cafes that line the main street.

Meals: B

Day 10: Walk Portomarin to Palas de Rei (25km)

Today’s walk is uphill for 15 km, however the gradient is never too steep and you gradually climb to a height of 720m. The path crosses and runs parallel to the main road to Gonzar, though you spend most of your days walking on woodland tracks and quiet roads. From Sierra Ligonde, today’s high point at 720m, the walk is now downhill to Ligonde and Eirexe and onto A Calzada. There is a detour here of 2 km to the National Monument, Vilar de Donas where the Knights of Santiago are buried and is worthy of a visit if you have time. A gentle climb now takes you through several small hamlets to Alto Rosario, a good vantage point on a clear day and then down into Palas de Rei.

Palas de Rei or Palace of the King has little to remind you that it was once home to a king. Today it is a small country town with plenty of services available.

Meals: B

Day 11: Walk Palas de Rei to Arzua (29km)

Today’s walk is mostly on paths through quiet woodland, crossing over the main road to Arzua several times and guiding you through six river valleys to reach a high point of 515m at Coto.

On route you will pass Melide, a busy town founded in the 13th century and has many historic buildings and churches including the Capilla de San Pedro and San Roque next to which stands a 14th century stone cross said to be the oldest in Galicia. The museum and the buildings around the Plaza de Convento are well worth a visit. Melide is also famous for Pulpo Gallego, octopus cooked Galician style and reputed to be the best in Spain.

Much of the path after Melide winds through woodlands of oak, pine and eucalypt, passing over several valleys though Boente, Castañeda and then Ribadiso from where you can see the Hospital San Anton, one of the oldest pilgrim hospitals in existence. From Ribadiso follow the country road on a steep uphill climb and through the outer suburbs before entering Arzua.

Arzua with a population of around 7000 is the last large town before you reach Santiago. The 14th century Capilla de la Magdelena is the town’s main monument. Arzua is most famous for its local cheese, Queixo, a smooth creamy cheese made from cow’s milk which most restaurants feature in some way and is definitely worth trying. The town also celebrates its cheese with a Queixo Cheese festival every March.

Meals: B

Day 12: Walk Arzua to O Pedrouzo (19km)

The majority of today’s walk to O Pedrouzo is through wonderful pine and eucalyptus scented woodland. The path is mostly level, passing through three shallow river valleys with a gradual climb up to Alto de Santa Irene at 404m. The country lanes and woodland paths pass through many small hamlets. The final section climbs steeply to a main road, into eucalyptus woodland and onto A Rua and the village to O Pedrouzo. O Pedrouzo /Arco do Pino is a small but busy town with plenty of shops, restaurants and bars and the staging point for the last section of the Camino before entering Santiago de Compostela.

Meals: B

Day 13: Walk O Pedrouzo to Santiago (20km)

Today’s route will be a busy as pilgrims begin the last stage of their walk into Santiago. The pilgrims mass at Santiago Cathedral begins at midday so you will need to leave early to arrive on time. The first section of today’s route passes through eucalypt forests with most of the route on quiet roads and pathways before the final kilometres and a climb to Mount Gozo before descending into the suburbs of Santiago. The path runs alongside the airport and you will see many crosses of twigs and branches used by pilgrims to decorate the fence.

Lavacolla village is where pilgrims traditionally washed to purify themselves before entering Santiago and Lavacolla literally means to wash your tail. At Monte Gozo, Mount of Joy, you will first sight the stunning Catedral de Santiago spires.

The final section is well signposted into the old quarter with its wonderful historical buildings and narrow shop filled alleyways, until you finally reach the Praza Obradoiro and the wonderful ancient Cathedral.

Meals: B

Day 14: Free Day in Santiago

Today you have the whole day to enjoy and explore historic Santiago with its many enticing tapas bars and restaurants. You can attend the midday pilgrims mass and look around the famous Cathedral of St James which forms the city’s heart and watch the steady stream of pilgrims arriving into the square as they finish their epic journey.

Meals: B

Day 15: Departure Santiago

You are free to check out of your hotel any time before 10am. If you would like to explore Santiago further you are able to leave your bags with reception.

Meals: B

Dates

Self-guided trips offer flexibility, independence and choice. Set your own agenda while someone else worries about the logistics. Our self-guided walking holidays are fully flexible which means you can normally start your walk on any day during the season and customise by adding extra days for resting or sightseeing. As you’re walking independently, you’re free to follow the trail at your own pace. You set your own speed as you are not limited by the constraints of group travel.

Note that if booking for a start date of less than 30 days from the time of booking we cannot guarantee that your trip is possible unless you have contacted us first and your trip details have been confirmed.

Inclusions

  • 14 nights excellent accommodation including historic hotels and character country houses
  • Private en-suite rooms on a twin share basis
  • Daily breakfast
  • Trains: Pamplona–Burgos / Burgos–Leon / Leon–Sarria
  • Luggage transfer each day from hotel to hotel when trekking (1 x 15kg bag per person)
  • Full Camino guidebook with maps (one book per two people in twin/double share)
  • Pilgrim’s passport per person
  • Spanish phrasebook (one book per two people in twin/double share)
  • Document case
  • Daily luggage tags
  • Maps of your hotel locations
  • Local and Australian emergency contact numbers
  • Pre-trip Camino guidance and planning
  • Dedicated local support person in Spain for reassurance

Not Included

  • Single supplement $900
  • Travel insurance
  • Flight to/from Spain

Options/Add-Ons

For an extra indulgence, upgrade your hotel in Santiago to a Parador for only $120 per person/per night twin share, when booked 6 months in advance (subject to availability).

For an unforgettable birds-eye view of the city and the cathedral interior, add the Rooftop Cathedral Tour for $25 per person.

For any part of your trip that falls before 15 March or after 31 October there is an out-of-season luggage transfer surcharge cost of $30 per day.

Single supplement is $900.

Map & Guide

Reviews

Joy Harwood, Port Adelaide (SA) – September 2018
What a wonderful experience. Thank you, RAW Travel for introducing us to some amazing accommodation. My favourite was our overnight stay in Akerreta. Our luggage transfers were fantastic making life so easy on the track. The information and documents enabled us to get to our destination with ease.

Cheryl Lynch, Ringwood North (VIC) – September 2018
I loved the Pyrenees mountains and the beautiful healthy happy animals roaming with their bells around their necks.

Paul Trezise & Sarah Johnston, Murrumbateman (NSW) – May 2018
Just wanted to thank you for the travel arrangements you made for us on our recent trip to Spain. Everything went very smoothly from accommodation to baggage transport, to train and other transport connections. We very much enjoyed this part of our trip and particularly appreciated the great food and hospitality at Hotel Akerreta and Casa Blanco. Thanks for tailoring this itinerary to meet our specific needs.

Garry David Walshe, Attwood (VIC) – October 2017
Right from initial consultation with Sandra, everything proceeded smoothly. Selection of accommodation was outstanding, all of a historical nature, very comfortable and centrally located.

Wendy Moule, Malvern East (VIC) – September 2017
Great hotels , luggage transfers always happened. Met some interesting people on the walk. Great experience!

Sharyn Andersen, Bridgeman Downs (QLD), September 2017
I can’t thank RAW Travel enough for making our adventure run like clockwork. We were lucky enough to meet Mel in St Jean and she shared additional information to help us along our way. A great experience with RAW Travel from start to finish. I have no hesitation in booking with RAW Travel for future trips.

Kerri Forde, Sunbury (VIC) – August 2017
RAW Travel was nothing but amazing. Each place we stayed in seemed better than the last and there was not one disappointment, just smooth transferring with each of our accommodations. I highly recommend anyone to book through RAW Travel. Thank you so much!

Heidi Duncan, Georgetown (NSW) – August 2017
We had a phenomenal time walking part of the Camino de Santiago (from St Jean Pied de Port to Burgos). Accommodation was of exceptionally high standard, and it was such a relief to know that a cool, comfortable room had been pre-arranged at the end of each day, as well as a hearty breakfast to start each day. Descriptions of the accommodation (both the written information and the photographs) were extremely helpful, as we entered a new town and were trying to locate our destination whilst weary and flustered! Luggage transfers were seamless and allowed us to carry only the daily necessities on the path. Knowing that the RAW local travel consultant was available in Spain also allowed peace of mind. One day we hope to complete the Camino – and would definitely consider using RAW Travel to do so!

Thomas Robinson, Nathalia (VIC) – June 2017
We found our walk a magical experience that we will never forget.

Fiona Demnar, Ipswich, QLD – May 2017
I loved that each day’s experiences made the most of the path and the end of the day was in a perfect place.

Wendy Patch, Gold Coast, QLD – May 2017
Amazing accommodation and well-organised tour.The old converted farmhouses and mills were a special treat. The meals at some of these out of the way places were exceptional.

Grant & Philippa Bettjeman, Orakei, NZ – June 2017
We had 15 wonderful, well-organised days on the Camino. RAW Travel were exceptional in every way. The organisation was incredible. Our bags were always waiting for us and the hotels, without exception, were perfect. I have no hesitation in recommending RAW Travel and would use them again in a heartbeat.

Adrian & Bernadette McAndrew, Flinders View, QLD – April 2017
The trip was amazing. The hotels chosen by RAW Travel for us to stay in at the end of a long day’s walking were fantastic. We were well informed by our travel consultant Sandra about what to expect on the walk.

John Welsh, Mt Eliza, VIC – April 2017
The trip worked out perfectly. It was a good idea to split the first day from St Jean walking to Orrison and then to Roncesvalles on day two. It was good also having the extra day in Pamploma and the short break in the middle of the Camino staying in Burgos and Leon. The accomodation was fantastic; the bags turned up each day. The whole experience was wonderful: the country, the people, the other walkers, and the wine and food. Very well advised and organised. Thank you.

Ben Naismith, VIC – July 2016
Walking was a great way to see and experience the country. It really provided time to absorb the culture and beauty. I loved how connected the people were with their heritage. We happened to walk through many hamlets on St James Day and could hear families celebrating through open doors and windows. Their lifestyle, particularly the farmers, appeared unaffected by modern influences. I also loved that each town’s church bells still tolled the time. It was so atmospheric and timeless.

Renee Harrington, Uxbridge, USA – September 2015
I did the highlights trip which was doable within 2 weeks if that is all the time you have. Accommodations were warm, comfortable, clean, welcoming and hospitable after a day of walking. Elize is extremely knowledgeable about the path terrain, weather and attractions such as cathedrals, monasteries, shopping, dining etc. She was quick to assist and diligent about helping find a lost item in a hotel. The Spanish were so friendly and hospitable, they have pride for their country and the Camino in particular. Everyone was so happy to explain the history and the terrain. The pre trip information provided was excellent. I prepared for the walk and experienced a beautiful adventure without any physical issues. The walk from Samos to Sarria along the Sarria river was absolutely beautiful. I loved walking through the quaint villages and farming communities along the route from Palas de Rei to Arzua, beautiful, contemplative, serene and peaceful. I loved it all, a life changing experience!

Wendy and David James – June 2015
Everything went well and we had a lovely time. It all ran like clockwork. We liked our accommodation and the rural stays were beautiful and a real highlight. It was lovely to walk into someones home and enjoy a home cooked meal. It was physically challenging but not beyond us, I would recommend some training. We were almost disappointed walking into Santiago that the trip was ending but are thinking of going back in 2016. We would use Raw Travel again, it was a fabulous trip.

What our Clients Say

Walking was a great way to see and experience the country. It really provided time to absorb the culture and beauty. I loved how connected the people were with their heritage.

Ben Naismith, VIC - July 2016

I loved walking through the quaint villages and farming communities along the route from Palas de Rei to Arzua, beautiful, contemplative, serene and peaceful. I loved it all; a life-changing experience!

Renee Harrington, Uxbridge, USA - Sep 2015

Everything went well and we had a lovely time. It all ran like clockwork. We liked our accommodation and the rural stays were beautiful and a real highlight. It was lovely to walk into someones home and enjoy a home cooked meal.

Wendy and David James - June 2015

The whole experience was wonderful: the country, the people, the other walkers, and the wine and food. Very well advised and organised. Thank you.

John Welsh, Mt Eliza, VIC - April 2017

The hotels were fantastic and we were well informed by our travel consultant Sandra about what to expect on the walk.

Adrian & Bernadette McAndrew, Flinders View, QLD - April 2017

We had 15 wonderful, well-organised days on the Camino. RAW Travel were exceptional in every way; we would use them again in a heartbeat!

Grant & Philippa Bettjeman, Orakei, NZ - June 2017

We found our walk a magical experience that we will never forget.

Thomas Robinson, Nathalia (VIC) - June 2017

We had a phenomenal time walking part of the Camino de Santiago. Luggage transfers were seamless and allowed us to carry only the daily necessities on the path.

Heidi Duncan, Georgetown (NSW) - August 2017

RAW Travel was nothing but amazing. Each place we stayed in seemed better than the last. I highly recommend anyone to book through RAW Travel.

Kerri Forde, Sunbury (VIC) - August 2017

A great experience with RAW Travel from start to finish. I have no hesitation in booking with RAW Travel for future trips.

Sharyn Andersen, Bridgeman Downs (QLD), September 2017

Great hotels , luggage transfers always happened. Met some interesting people on the walk. Great experience!

Wendy Moule, Malvern East (VIC) - September 2017

Selection of accommodation was outstanding: all of a historical nature, very comfortable and centrally located.

Garry David Walshe, Attwood (VIC) – October 2017

Everything went very smoothly from accommodation to baggage transport, to train and other connections. Thanks for tailoring our itinerary.

Paul Trezise & Sarah Johnston, Murrumbateman (NSW) – May 2018

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Trip Expert

Stuart Holland – Great Ocean Walk & Camino

(03) 5976 3763

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Trip Grading

This trip is rated as Challenging