Private Bedroom and Bathroom
We understand that people do want to walk the Camino, but would rather not sleep in albergues, the communal dormitories available along the trail. Some pilgrims enjoy having their own bedrooms with a door, an en-suite bathroom, and plenty of hot water!
Freedom From Your Bags
Our self-guided clients do not want or cannot carry all their belongings with them. In fact, they enjoy being able to add some extra weight to their load and have some creature comforts, such as that Ipad!
A Live Person to Help
Are you nervous and scared! Coming to a foreign country to walk for a couple of weeks is daunting no matter how many books and web forums you've read. You want more than just an Orientation Packet sent to you in the mail - you want a LIVE person to answer your questions and help you take those first steps on your journey.
Meals with Friends, IF you wish
Independence can be great when traveling, but it is also nice to have some occasional companions to share those tales from the trail and a meal or two!
In the afternoon, your Fresco Tours guide will hand out your Orientation Packets and review all the materials to get you ready for your Pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago! Afterwards, we will take a walk around Roncesvalles, where we attend a moving Pilgrim's Mass. The blessing at the end is an appropriate way for you to start your journey. (D)
Roncesvalles – ZubiriAccommodation: Zubiri / Walking: 22 KMs
With our boots and scallop shells on, your Fresco Tours guide escorts you out of town following various Camino markers and the famous yellow arrow. You walk by "caserios", giant stone farm houses that have been in the same family for generations. Tradition is the theme here! Entering Zubiri, you come across the Gothic bridge known as "La Rabia," which was used by farmers in a ritual to prevent their livestock from developing rabies (rabia). (B)
Zubiri - PamplonaAccommodation: Pamplona / Walking: 21 KMs
This morning, you continue to Larrasoaña, keep an eye out for several Jacobean signs and armor shields on the stone buildings. You work your way into Pamplona, where you come across the 15th century Cathedral of Santa María la Real. Pamplona's patron saint is San Fermín, and in keeping with tradition, this energetic university city is always filled with tourists and locals, ready to keep the festivities going! (B)
Pamplona – Puente la ReinaAccommodation: Puente la Reina / Walking: 25 KMs
You leave Pamplona and make your way to Cizur Menor. To get the blood going, the Camino gives you your first steady climb to the crest of the Alto de Perdón, where you can enjoy the views of the surrounding valleys. Following the scallop shells, you come to Puente la Reina, named in honor of Doña Mayor, who had the bridge built to make sure pilgrims coming from the French & Aragonés routes, could continue walking safely. (B)
Puente la Reina - EstellaAccommodation: Estella / Walking: 22 KMs
Leaving Cirauqui, after a few ups and downs, you enter the once magnificent town of Estella, where you can still see evidence of its importance in the 11th century as a merchant town. Pilgrims were also greatly respected, and their rights specifically protected in Estella’s town charter. (B)
Estella – Los ArcosAccommodation: Los Arcos / Walking: 22 KMs
Walking out of Estella, you come across the ancient Benedictine Monastery of Irache. Some KMs after The tower of the 12th century Church of San Andrés lets you know you’ve arrived in Villamayor de Monjardín, before continuing on to Los Arcos, whose ancient entrance was known as the Gate of Shells and was the access point to the Jewish quarter. (B)
Los Arcos - VianaAccommodation: Viana / Walking: 19 KMs
Your walk today takes you through kilometers of vineyards. In Torres del Río have a look at the Iglesia de Santo Sepulcro, before continuing to Viana. Viana is an energetic town with a lot of Camino history, including the 13th century Church of Santa Maria, where Cesare Borgia is buried. Borgia was said to be the illegitimate child of Pope Alexander VI, and he was killed while defending Viana in 1507. (B)
*Viana - LogroñoAccommodation: Logroño / Walking: 10 KMs
Today, you enter Logroño, the capital of La Rioja, and famous for its superb red wines. Spend the afternoon sampling some of the Rioja's fine wines in this buzzing university city! Also, make sure to visit the 14th century Cathedral of Santa Maria la Redonda, known for its twin towers (Las Gemelas). (B)
* Last walking day for Option A A Fresco Start Chapter 1: Roncesvalles to Logroño
Logroño - NavarreteAccommodation: Navarrete / Walking: 13 KMs
Walking out of Logroño, make sure to look back towards the city for a great view from Alto de la Grajera. Today, you end your walk in the historic town of Navarrete, with its 16th century Church of the Assumption. Once there, sit back and have a glass of Rioja wine! (B)
Navarrete – NájeraAccommodation: Nájera / Walking: 17 KMs
This morning you begin your day with a steady uphill to get the blood going! As you pass through vineyards you work your way downhill into Nájera. It houses the Monasterio Santa Maria de la Real, where many kings, queens and knights of Navarra are buried. (B)
Nájera – Santo DomingoAccommodation: Santo Domingo / Walking: 22 KMs
Shortly after leaving Nájera, you have your first opportunity for a coffee break in Azofra. Afterwards, you work your way uphill to Santo Domingo de la Calzada. Here, you can learn of the mystery of Santo Domingo, who is said to have saved a young man from hanging after he was falsely accused of stealing a silver goblet. (B)
Santo Domingo - VillamayorAccommodation: Villamayor / Walking: 18 KMs
Entering into Castilla y León, you will notice the change in terrain with its flat plateaus or mesetas and many wheat fields. You come to Castildelgado, and continue on to Viloria de la Rioja, the birthplace of St. Dominic. You end the day in Villamayor del Rio and head to your hotel for some rest. (B)
Villamayor del Río – Montes de OcaAccommodation: Montes de Oca / Walking: 17 KMs
This morning you continue on and in Belorado you will see the 15th century Church of Santa Maria. Today you end the walk in Villafranca Montes de Oca, its location at the foot of Montes de Oca is infamous for the bandits that roamed the area taking advantage of the pilgrims. These bandits would then pray at the Church of Santiago for protection from ! Ah, the ironies... (B)
Montes de Oca - AtapuercaAccommodation: Atapuerca / Walking: 19 KMs
After a good climb through the woods, you reach San Juan de Ortega. The Augustinian monastery, founded in 1150, houses a chapel dedicated to San Nicolás. You finish the day in Atapuerca, a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its source of the earliest human remains discovered in Europe. (B)
Atapuerca - BurgosAccommodation: Burgos / Walking: 20 KMs
main road that leads into the city. Enjoy the medieval streets of this city, along with its rich architecture and history. (B)
After breakfast, your tour has come to an end. Safe travels! (B)
* Please note: this itinerary is subject to slight modifications due to hotel availability, weather, festivals & other occurrences.
A Fresco Tour guide will hand deliver you an Orientation Packet and give you a detailed meeting on the first night in Roncesvalles. Your Welcome Packet is filled with all the materials you'll need to transform into a pilgrim: Your credentials (Pilgrim’s Passport), a scallop shell, daily maps of the route, a guide book with historical information of the villages that you will pass through, and a few other goodies for the trail! We'll answer any questions that you have before starting your journey from Roncesvalles and on the next morning, lead you out on The Way!
15 nights in a combination of 3 & 4-star hotels, restored manor homes, and small pensions / inns located on the Camino. All rooms have their own bathrooms. We’ve chosen places for their hospitality, comfort, and location.
*Keep in mind that as you will be walking through rural countryside, the availability of 3 & 4-star hotels all along the route is not possible.
All breakfasts are included with your hotels. We have arranged that they will be supplemented from the standard Spanish breakfast of coffee & toast. The first night of the itinerary, our guide will take you for dinner in Roncesvalles - wine and beer included. Afterwards, we will provide you with a list of places along the Camino with food recommendations. Let us know if you have any dietary restrictions and we can ask our hotels to accommodate for those as well!
Limited Group Size
Although this tour is Self-Guided, we've limited the size of each departure 15 passengers. Availability is on a first come, first serve basis.
We will arrange for the transfer of 1 suitcase / piece of luggage (45 lbs) per person between your hotels on your walk along the Camino. If you require more than 1 bag, please contact us for details.
Pre / During / Post Service:
We are here to help! Need assistance with hotels prior to or after your trip? Returning from Burgos? Questions about what to wear? Need a taxi while on the trail? Based in Spain, we are here to make sure that your trip runs smooth as can be – don't hesitate to ask for our help!
On the Road
What is the weather like on the A Fresco Start Chapter 1 Tour?
The Camino de Santiago covers over 750 KMs of Northern Spain and therefore has very different weather conditions depending on the region.
A Fresco Start Chapter 1: Camino de Santiago Tour covers 141 KMs or 267 KMs of the Camino, depending on how many days you wish to walk. Here we enjoy a more temperate climate than other parts of the Camino de Santiago and in July and August the heat is not overwhelming like it can be on the plains of Castilla y Leon.
For current and average monthly temperatures of Pamplona, Logroño and Burgos, please click below:
What is the change in elevation on the A Fresco Start Chapter 1 Tour?
You will be walking from Roncesvalles to Logroño or Burgos, 141 KMs or 267 KMs of the Camino de Santiago. For a detailed map of the distances between towns along the Camino and their respective altitudes, please click here. This data has been kindly provided to us by Arturo Murias of: http://www.godesalco.com
What is the terrain like on the A Fresco Start Chapter 1: Camino de Santiago Tour?
On this part of the Camino, the terrain is rolling hills – the first stages are more challenging with inclines and descents albeit not treacherous descents. The trail is a combination of compact dirt and stone footpaths and small country roads.
How many kilometers are walked each day on the A Fresco Start Chapter 1: Camino de Santiago Tour?
The amount of KMs scheduled for each day varies an average of 17 KMs to 25 KMs. We have designed this tour to allow the possibility to walk either 141 KMs to Logroño or 267 KMs to Burgos.
What if I am unable to walk the scheduled daily kilometers?
We will provide you with daily maps of your walk. These maps include the elevation gain and loss along the stage, the address and a detailed map of where your hotel is located, our favorite restaurant recommendations along the trail for lunch and dinner, and a list of taxi phone numbers in case you need a lift.
How much water should I carry on the Camino?
There are many places along the Camino where you can refill water, thus, you should not need more than 1 liter and also, you will find cafes/bars along the way where you can purchase water as well...never refill your water from fountains marked 'non-potable'.
Will I have access to WiFi?
Yes, but you will be walking in some of the most rural parts of Spain so the service may be a bit difficult or slow in certain locations. Nonetheless, many cafes along the way also offer Wi-Fi so you'll have several opportunities to be online. Finally, remember that one of the greatest joys of the Camino is cultivating the ability to disconnect and enjoy your immediate surroundings!
How much should I budget to hike the Camino?
You should budget 30 – 40 Euros per day for lunch/dinner and incidentals.
How do I get Euros along the Camino?
The best way is to use ATMs. Before you leave, talk to your bank and make sure that you have the correct PIN and inform them that you will be traveling to Spain, so your account is not frozen after 1 transaction. Nonetheless, you should always have some cash on you in case your card does not work for any reason.
Getting There & Back
How do I get to the A Fresco Start Chapter 1: Camino de Santiago Tour starting point?
Roncesvalles (Spain) is the official starting point of the A Fresco Start Chapter 1: Camino de Santiago tour and can be reached via bus from Pamplona. Traveling from either Madrid or Barcelona, one can choose between the train (RENFE) or the bus (ALSA).
Once in Pamplona, you need to make your way to Roncesvalles by bus: Pamplona to Roncesvalles
If you need assistance with these travel arrangements, we will be happy to help.
How do I get from Logroño or Burgos to Madrid and other cities?
There are now RENFE trains that will get you from Logroño or Burgos to Madrid, some in less than 4 hours. While routes and availability may vary upon time of booking, click here for a sample Logroño train schedule or click here for a sample Burgos train schedule. Additionally, there are buses from Logroño to Madrid or Burgos to Madrid.
Can you help with purchasing online train tickets on the RENFE site?
The RENFE website can be a bit temperamental and is not very user friendly. However, all is not lost! We would be happy to have our local travel agent assist in making those arrangements for you. Keep in mind that train tickets cannot be purchased until 60 days prior to departure. Routes and availability are subject to vary based on maintenance needs.
How do I get from the Madrid Airport to the City Centre?
If your flight flies into Madrid's T-4 (Aeropuerto T-4) terminal, you have a local Cercanias train that will get you from the airport to the Atocha and Chamartín train station in 25-30 minutes. These trains leave the T-4 station more or less every half an hour. For more information, please see: http://www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/cercanias/madrid/index.html
In addition, there is an express bus that services all terminals at the airport with the Atocha Train Station: http://www.emtmadrid.es/Bloques-EMT/Aeropuerto.aspx?lang=en-GB.
How do I get to and from the Airport?
The national organization of airports in Spain (AENA) has a great website that explains how to get to and from the major city for your airport of choice. It also has information regarding the routes serviced, the corresponding airlines, terminal information, and much more. You may have to re-click the "English" tab at the top once you have chosen your airport.
Before You Go / Preparing
What type of boots do I need for the A Fresco Start Chapter 1 Tour?
Footwear is a very personal question - depending on how active you are and how much support you will need. Since we will be walking on a daily basis on the Camino de Santiago, I believe that comfort is key - you do not want to get blisters. You probably won't need a full high boot that covers your ankle (unless you need this support), but rather light trail walkers or even running shoes if you are used to walking. In the spring, there may be mud and water along the trail, so keep that in mind. Most important: Make sure that they are well broken in!
What sort of conditioning do I need to undertake Camino de Santiago Tour?
We encourage you to walk before and be prepared for your own enjoyment. However, this is your vacation and not boot camp! Start with a short hike and work your way up to the average mileage you would like to achieve on the Camino (for most people this is between 20 and 30 kilometers per day). The most common injuries on the Camino are blisters (painful and can get infected), shin splints, stress fractures, and joint pain. Proper footwear, a light pack, and conservative daily distances all help to protect your joints, bones and muscles from injury and fatigue. If you have joint problems, hiking poles can be helpful!
How do I purchase travel insurance?
If you are interested in travel insurance, we like Squaremouth.com, which allows you to compare various policies across the top Insurance Providers. Visit our personalized Squaremouth for Fresco Tours Clients page, where we have taken the time to wade through policies that don't fit your needs (such as immigrant travel, golfing or and other specialized trips, etc.) to make your selection process easier.
In addition, we encourage you to check out TravelInsuranceReview.net, which explains the different insurance policy options in simplified lingo and provides editorial reviews of the insurance companies in terms of "The Good, The Drawbacks & The Bottom Line".
Where do Fresco Tour clients come from?
We are very fortunate to have had clients join us from around the world giving us a wonderful mix of diversity. The internet allows us access to the world, and since 2006 we have had travelers from the USA, Canada, Puerto Rico, Bermuda, Panama, Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, the United Kingdom (England & Scotland), Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, China, Singapore, India, South Africa, Namibia and even Egypt! It truly is a small world after all!
When do most people walk the Camino de Santiago?
According to the Pilgrim's Office in Santiago de Compostela, in 2017, 35% of all pilgrims who requested the Compostela arrived in July and August. This makes sense since many Europeans and students have their vacation time in the summer. Whenever you decide to walk, you will always be able to find that "quiet time" for yourself along the trail. In addition, walking with Fresco Tours means that you won't have to worry about your meals, your pack, where you'll sleep, or anything else. You do the walking and leave everything else up to us!
For complete pilgrim statistics, click here.