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!
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.
Charming restored manor homes and 3-4 star hotels that offer the best in hospitality, comfort, and location.
Our itinerary qualifies you for the Compostela certificate upon your arrival to Santiago.
You choose! Walk alone with the assurance that we'll take care of you or enjoy the company of others and your knowledgeable guides.
No need to carry a heavy pack - let us do the lifting while you do the walking.
Expect to have a wonderful time!
We've designed each trip to enjoy the stunning beauty of the Spanish landscape, while giving you a true sense of the soul and magic of these exciting people and their culture. We love to share this magnificent country and want you to feel a part of it - for us it is more than just a trip, it is our home.
LeónAccommodations: León (D)
In the afternoon, your Fresco Tour guides meet and greet you at your Orientation Meeting. Afterwards, 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!
*We are happy to provide assistance in arranging your transportation from Madrid to León.
León to Iron Cross to Bierzo ValleyAccommodations: Bierzo Valley (B, L, D) / 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 (B, L, D) / 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 behind us, we hop in the van to shuttle to our accommodations for the evening.
Triacastela to SarriaAccommodations: Sarria (B, L, D) / 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 (B, L, D) / 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 (B, L, D) / 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 (B, L, D) / 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 (B, L, D) / 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 (B, L, D) / 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 (B, L, D) / 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 (B)
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.
Our greatest resource! We know Spain, because it is our home. All our guides are either Spanish or live in Spain year round - no hired-out college grads! When specified, local art historians will join us to provide further insights of the specific monument / museum that we visit.
Limited Group Sizes
Fresco Tours are in small groups to ensure that you receive the individual attention that you deserve. In order to treat each of our clients with a personal touch, we limit our group size to a maximum of 15 participants.
Fresco Tours selects a combination of 3-4 star hotels, restored country manors and B&B's that offer the best in hospitality, comfort and location. All rooms have their own bathrooms. Tour prices are based on double occupancy.
Food speaks volumes about a culture and we love to eat! During our walk days, when possible, we prepare gourmet picnics, using the freshest of local ingredients and selecting the tastiest recipes of the region. Dinners are celebrated in restaurants chosen not only for their menu, but also their atmosphere and service. All breakfast, lunches and dinners are included. We are proud to cater to vegetarians and those with food allergies as well.
Your walks will be accompanied by a support vehicle that will be there to provide you assistance when the route permits. The possibility of shorter routes and pick-up options will be explained on a daily basis.
All ground transportation between the designated starting and finishing point of your Fresco Tour is provided. We will help facilitate information for your travel arrangements prior to and after the tour start and finish.
Your luggage will be transported between hotels. Due to space restrictions, each participant is limited to one medium-sized piece and a small carry-on bag.
Special Event Tickets
Wine tastings, garden tours, concerts, etc. as outlined in the itinerary.
Airfare to and from Spain, airport taxes / departure fees, visas, gratuities or tips, items of personal nature - laundry, phone, luggage surplus charges, medical expenses, bar, etc.)
On the Road
What is the weather like on Camino de Santiago Tour?
The Camino de Santiago covers over 750 KMs of Northern Spain and therefore has very different weather conditions depending on the region.
Fresco Tours Camino de Santiago Tour covers the last 160 KM's of the Camino in the Northwest region called Galicia. 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 Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, please click below:
What is a typical day like on the Camino de Santiago Tour?
After breakfast, we lace up and get the blood going with a walk for a couple hours, where we will do a check point to make sure that everything is OK. You then continue along the Camino for another 1-2 hours where you will come across a complete gourmet picnic prepared with the all the freshest local ingredients. On some days, we continue for 1-2 hours more after lunch to burn off dessert.
In the afternoon, we go to our hotels, where we take a shower, siesta and just relax! We finish our day with a glass of tinto and a feast of the local gastronomy. We then retire for the night and get ready to do it again! On some afternoons, we have planned excursions, such as a visit to an ancient monastery or perhaps a massage!
Does the group stop for breaks on the Camino de Santiago Tour?
The great thing about the Camino is that it is very well-marked and we encourage people to walk at a pace that is comfortable for them - this is not a race! We want you to enjoy the route and we also like to stop with our clients for a coffee or cerveza along the way and take everything in!
What is the terrain like on Camino de Santiago Tour?
In Galicia, the region where we walk, the terrain is green rolling hills - there are neither steep climbs nor treacherous descents. The trail itself is a combination of very well maintained compact dirt and stone footpaths and small country roads.
What is the change in elevation on Camino de Santiago Tour?
We will be walking from OCebreiro to Santiago de Compostela, the last 160 KM's 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
How many kilometers are walked each day on Camino de Santiago Tour?
The amount of KM's scheduled for each day varies from 15KM's to 25KM's. We have designed this tour to allow the possibility to walk the last 100KMs to Santiago, which is a requirement by the Church if you are going to ask for the Compostela Certificate. However, the walks are accompanied by a support vehicle and options for less (or more!) KM's are possible on a daily basis. We can tailor the Camino to suit your needs!
How can we sleep in the same hotel for 2 nights and still walk the last 150 KM's?
Since the distances that we walk during the day on Camino de Santiago Tour can be covered quickly in the van, we take advantage of this and stay in the same hotel for 2 nights on multiple occasions. Our walk always starts at the point where we finished the previous day to maintain our continuity along the trail. We believe that the time (and energy) saved packing and unpacking everyday makes these shuttles a great convenience for everyone.
Will I have access to WiFi?
Yes, but you will be walking in one 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!
Getting There & Back
How do I get to Camino de Santiago Tour starting point?
Leon (Spain) is the official starting point of the Camino de Santiago tour and can be reached via train, or bus. Traveling from either Madrid or Bilbao, one can choose between the train (RENFE) or the bus (ALSA).
If you need assistance with these travel arrangements, we will be happy to help.
How do I get from Santiago Compostela to Madrid and other cities?
There are now RENFE trains that will get you from Santiago to Madrid in less than 6 hours. While routes and availability may vary upon time of booking, click here for a sample timetable. The direct trains are listed as Alvia. If you are looking to fly, there are excellent internal flights that fly Santiago to Madrid. For a complete list of companies that service the Santiago airport, please click here.
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 the 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 Camino de Santiago 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! During your walk, one of the two guides will be on the trail with the group to keep an eye that all is well. Also, we have planned check points along the way with our support van to make sure you have plenty of water, if you need a change of shoes, or just feel like taking a break. In most cases, you will see the van at a minimum every couple of hours.
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, 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.