2016 Camino de Santiago Tour
11 days / 10 nights
The Last 151 KMs to Santiago
The crown jewel of Spanish walking trails, the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela began as an act of faith as Europeans crossed Spain to visit the sacred tomb of Saint James. One thousand years later, the Camino continues to draw the spiritual as well as the traveler looking to enjoy the beauty of the green rolling hills and small hamlets of northwestern Spain's Galicia. Come be part of this magical route that is very special for us - it is on the Camino where the idea for Fresco Tours was first born in 1999.
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Camino de Santiago with Fresco Tours Highlights What's Included
- Experience and expertise: Your two bilingual guides that accompany the tour are either Spanish or live in Spain year round. This is our home and we love to share it with you!
- Fabulous food: All your meals (B,L,D) are included, so you only need to worry about enjoying the trail! Weather permitting; our gourmet picnics showcase the freshest of local flavors.
- Unique accommodations: Charming restored manor homes and 3-4 star hotels that offer the best in hospitality, comfort, and location.
- La Compostela: Our itinerary qualifies you for the Compostela certificate upon your arrival to Santiago.
- Semi-independent tour: You choose! Walk alone with the assurance that we'll take care of you or enjoy the company of others and your knowledgeable guides.
- Van supported: No need to carry a heavy pack - let us do the lifting while you do the walking.
Camino de Santiago Tour Itinerary Download 2016 PDF
Madrid to LeónAccommodations: León
In the morning (8:00AM), our driver will meet the group in Spain's capital city of Madrid for your private transfer to our hotel in the town of León. Here you will be met by your Fresco Tours guide, who will help you get settled into the hotel and then take you to a fabulous lunch. Later that afternoon, we have our Orientation Meeting. Our local guide takes us on visit of León's magnificent Gothic Cathedral, whose stained glass windows have led people to say that it is made of more glass than stone. We finish our evening with a meal fit for the kings!
León to Iron Cross to Bierzo ValleyAccommodations: Bierzo Valley / Walking: 15 KMs or 10 miles
After breakfast, we hop in the van and stretch our legs with a climb to the Iron Cross or Cruz de Ferro! Here you can participate in the long-standing pilgrim tradition of leaving a stone at the foot of the cross in order to ask for protection on your journey. We finish in the town of Villafranca del Bierzo, home of the 12th century Romanesque church of Santiago, which would welcome and care for any pilgrims that fell sick along the Way.
O'Cebreiro to TriacastelaAccommodations: Sarria / Walking: 21 KMs or 13 miles
With our boots and scallop shells on, we get our first glimpse of the green Galician countryside. Our day starts with a steady climb to the Alto do Poio, the highest point of the Camino de Santiago in Galicia. After a stamp and a coffee, we start our decent down to the town of Triacastela, named after the 3 castles that once stood watch over the village. With our first full day of walking in the books, we hop in the van to shuttle to our accommodations for the evening.
Triacastela to SarriaAccommodations: Sarria / Walking: 17 KMs or 11 miles
Today is the day of the difficult decision! What to do? The Camino de Santiago has 2 paths to reach Sarria - take the high road through San Xil and enjoy the beautiful views from atop the ridge or visit the ancient monastery of Samos along the river valley? Traditionally, pilgrims would have to choose one or the other. We, however, get to do both! By day we walk along the hills of San Xil, and in the evening we'll take the van to visit one of Spain's oldest monasteries!
Sarria to PortomarinAccommodations: Palas de Rei / Walking: 23 KMs or 14 miles
Leaving Sarria, we should take in the views from atop the city and keep an eye out for the ruins of Celtic castros hiding in the vegetation along the Camino. On our way to Portomarin, we walk by the 100km marker, a milestone (or kmstone!) for the millions of pilgrims who have traversed this same spot during the last millennium. As we approach Portomarin, where the 12th-century Church of San Juan, once stood guard over the banks of the River Miño before it was moved stone by stone to the new center of town - your Fresco Tour guide will tell you more about that!
Portomarin to Palas de ReiAccommodations: Palas de Rei / Walking: 25 KMs or 15 miles
We start our day with a gentle climb out of the river valley and pass through typical Galician villages, decorated with their raised corncribs and the occasional carved granite cross that marks the way to Santiago. Continuing west, we walk through the first of many eucalyptus forests along the Camino de Santiago and work our way into Palas de Rei. What better way to reward ourselves from our day's walk than a glass of Galicia's light Albariño white wine!
Palas de Rei to MelideAccommodations: Melide / Walking: 15 KMs or 9 miles
Following the now very familiar yellow arrows, we ramble up and down gentle rolling hills along quiet footpaths. Little has changed in this quiet corner of Spain, and the peaceful rural environment of local farmers tending to their lazy cattle in stone houses accompany us back to another time. We quickly arrive back to the present in the bustling market town of Melide, where tender octopus, pulpo, is still boiled in large copper kettles on the street.
Melide to ArzúaAccommodations: Melide / Walking: 14 KMs or 9 miles
We leave Melide early morning and wind our way across the Galician countryside. Our journey is filled with tiny churches dating back to the 12th and 14th-century dedicated to Santiago and Santa Maria. Arzúa is the ideal opportunity to set out in search of their famous local cow cheese or perhaps a bit of empanada, a light crusty pastry filled with either beef or tuna.
Arzúa to ArcaAccommodations: Arca / Walking: 21 KMs or 14 miles
Today we continue to enjoy the wonderful scenery of the countryside and charming atmosphere of tiny 3-house villages. Get a feel for the people and greet a local villager with a "Buenos dias" or "Hola". You'll see how these quiet and reserved people, quickly wish you well on your journey to Santiago. On this trek, you are no longer a tourist but a pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago!
Arca to SantiagoAccommodations: Santiago / Walking: 16 KMs or 10 miles
9 days, 160 kilometers, and we have arrived to Santiago de Compostela. Congratulations! You are going to love this magical city filled with fantastic monuments and with a lively buzz from the international pilgrims and university students that fill its medieval streets. After requesting our Compostela certificates at the Pilgrims' Offce, we head to our hotel and get ready for our evening celebratory dinner!
Santiago de CompostelaThe End
After breakfast, our local historian gives us a closer look at the amazing Cathedral that has seen so many transformations since the original chapel built in the 9th-century. After the tour, we sadly say our last "buen camino" as we leave you at the Cathedral in time for the pilgrims' mass at noon.
The Compostela & the Camino de Santiago Tour
This itinerary gives you the opportunity to walk the last 100KM into Santiago. This is a requirement needed to request the compostela, the certificate granted by the church of Santiago upon the completion of the pilgrimage. It is not mandatory, however, to walk 100km (60 miles) to participate in this Fresco Tour. As with all our trips, your walk is accompanied by a support van and shorter walk options are available on a daily basis.
* Please note: This itinerary is subject to slight modifications due to hotel availability, weather, festivals and other occurrences.