length

15 Days

difficulty

Moderate - Challenging

trip cost

from $2590 pp

Icons / stylised / time Created with Sketch.

length

15 Days

Icons / stylised / difficulty Created with Sketch.

difficulty

Moderate - Challenging

Icons / stylised /cost Created with Sketch.

trip cost

from $2590 pp

Self-Guided Trip

our walk experts

  • Overview
  • Highlights
  • Itinerary
  • Inclusions
  • Exclusive Guide
  • Similar walks

Overview

The Highlights Trip

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.

Puente la Reina Bridge over the Arga River. Puente la Reina, Navarra, Spain. XI Century. Romanesque. St. James Way.

Highlights

Get Ready For

  • Walk the best sections of the Camino
  • Use trains to visit other cities along the route
  • Follow in the footsteps of millions of pilgrims
  • Dedicated support person in Spain
  • The self-guided trip; set your own pace while we look after your accommodation and luggage transfers

Itinerary

The Highlights Trip

Week 1
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 ZUBIRI (22KM ) OR 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 (15KM)

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

Week 2
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 (21KM)

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 15
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

Week 3
Day 16
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

Customise your trip

We 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.

Inclusions

What you get

Included
  • 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
Excluded
  • Single supplement $1200
  • Travel insurance
  • Flight to/from Spain
Added Extras
  • For an extra indulgence, upgrade your hotel in Santiago to a Parador from $150 per person/per night twin share and $220 per person/per night single occupancy, when booked 6 months in advance (subject to availability)
  • Ask us about tailoring the itinerary with the addition of extra rest days or additional overnight stays to shorten longer walking distances 
  • For any part of your trip that falls between 31 October and 15 March there is an ‘out of season’ luggage transfer surcharge cost of $30 per day
Camino-De-Santiago-Destination-Guide-Cover

Exclusive Guide

Camino De Santiago

Discover inspiration, travel essentials, practical information and more in our free Destination Guide. All you need to know about walking the Camino de Santiago routes through Spain, Portugal and France!

Walking the Camino is an incredible journey that will immerse you not only in Europe’s grand history, food and culture but most importantly the extraordinary camaraderie that exists along these routes. The spirit of the Camino de Santiago is alive and well among people from all over the world. It is a ‘bucket list’ experience you will never forget!

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