way of st. james path santiago de compostela spain hiking tour

The Way of St. James, Hontanas, Spain

Pilgrims have walked the Way of St. James for centuries, a journey of serene countryside, great regional cuisine, and some of the finest Romanesque architecture in all of Europe.

Photo by Brian McGilloway

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Pilgrim's Way

Ancient Trails and Paradors of Northern Spain’s Camino de Santiago

Pilgrim's Way route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $3595  
Length: 8 days
Arrive: Burgos, Spain
Depart: Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Lodging: 7 nights inns, manor houses, and paradors
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level: 6 hiking days on easy to moderate trails, some steep sections, 3-8 hours a day, van support
3

Highlights

  • Hike the best sections of Europe’s most revered pilgrimage route
  • Charming and historic hotels and inns, including some of Spain’s finest paradors
  • Majestic Santiago de Compostela, one of the world’s holy cities
  • Optional extension to hike to beautiful Cape Finisterre on the coast, mythical Kilometer “Zero” on the el camino pilgrim trail


The trip was the perfect mix of culture, hiking and cuisine with a truly outstanding leader.Joseph C.—Campbell PA

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Buen Camino!, Helmut Kapczynzki

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

El Camino de Santiago—the Way of St. James—traces a thousand-year-old pilgrimage route to the Holy City of Santiago de Compostela through some of Europe’s most intriguing landscapes, from the ancient kingdom of Castile to green, mystical Galicia, a romantic hidden corner of Spain alive with legends and Celtic heritage. We’ve chosen the most evocative portions of this footpath for our journey, following Castile’s sunny country lanes marked with the scallop shell, the symbol of St. James, and Galicia’s trails through mist-shrouded forests of giant gnarled oaks, with a celebratory finish in Santiago, a medieval city of golden granite. Along the way, we relish superb Romanesque architecture, meet fellow pilgrims, and enjoy splendid paradors—including Santiago’s 15th century Parador Los Reis Católicos. At journey's end, join the Trip Leader for an optional hike to beautiful Cape Finisterre on the coast, the mythical spot of Kilometer “Zero” on the el camino pilgrim trail.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-2
Burgos / Leon / Astorga

From Burgos, we head to the remote village of Hontanas, joining pilgrims on the scallop-shell–marked trail for a hike to the 14th century ruins of St. Anthony’s Monastery. After exploring the leafy squares of Leon, we continue to the walled city of Astorga and hike to our charming rural inn, located right on the pilgrim path.

Days 3-5
Cruz de Hiero / O’Cebreiro / Portomarin

Entering Galicia, we climb paths past thatch-roofed houses and farms with carts pulled by oxen. Our trail brings us to Cruz de Hiero, a towering iron cross where for a thousand years, pilgrims have carried a single stone from their homeland to make a wish (don’t forget to bring yours!). We continue past ethereal O’Cebreiro, whose tiny church has a chalice linked in legend with the Holy Grail, then hike one of the camino’s loveliest paths to the whitewashed village of Portomarin.

Days 6-8
Coruna / Santiago de Compostela

After our final day’s walk amid farms flanked by ancient granite silos, we arrive in Santiago, where we can join the spectacle of the noon mass held for pilgrims in the extraordinary twin-towered cathedral. Depart on Day 8.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extension:

What the Trip is Like

This trip is Level 3, moderate, according to our trip grading system, and involves 3-8 hours of hiking daily. Trip participants carry a daypack only, as luggage is transported by vehicle between overnight stops. Your feet should be fully prepared for the hikes—you should be accustomed to walking in sturdy, well broken-in hiking boots. Please note it is not possible to create alternative hiking or touring programs on any given day. If you are not up for walking on certain days, there is the possibility of skipping the hike and continuing to the next stop in the van.

On some days, only continental breakfast (coffee, tea, and rolls) will be available at the hotels. Lunches are enjoyed in cafés along the way, incorporating local foods including cheeses, fresh vegetables, salamis, copa and ham, fresh fruit, and delicious bread. We often don’t convene for our lunches until around 1:00 pm. Fruit, cheeses, yogurt, and bread are widely available in Spain, but if you prefer, bring favorite snacks from home. Please note that in Spain, the dinner hour is considerably later than what it is in the US. We do our best to secure early reservations for our groups, but most often the evening meal will be at 9:00 pm.

Galician Cuisine: With its proximity to the sea, Galicia is famed for its seafood, including the famous scallops of Santiago as well as lobster, mussels, and squid. This province also produces Spain’s best veal and a number of fine cheeses made from cow and goat milk.

Our hotels are chosen for their local history and central location. Since they are often in historic buildings, the rooms may not conform to the international standards you may be accustomed to in more cosmopolitan areas. We hope you will be able to enjoy them for their charm and local color. Although the rooms are not always of uniform size, our leaders always try their best to assign rooms in a fair way so that all participants experience an equal advantage throughout the trip as a whole. On two nights (Days 3 and 7), we enjoy overnights in beautiful paradors, historic buildings of distinguished architecture that have been transformed into luxurious hotels. Trip members requesting single rooms may be required to share a room on Days 4, 5, and 6 where our small hotels have a very limited number of single rooms available. If you require a single room, please make the request as early as possible. European single rooms are often smaller than US singles.

Explanation of Trip Levels

 

Departures & Leaders

2014
May 27-Jun 3, 2014

Jun 10-17, 2014
Sep 5-12, 2014
Oct 6-13, 2014

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2014
$3595 (12-15 members)
$3895 (9-11 members)
$4195 (5-8 members)
Single supplement: $320
Forced single supplement: $160
more on pricing

Extension Costs
Finisterre Extension
   from: $590

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
  • Accommodations in hotels, small comfortable inns, and parador
  • All meals included except 1 lunch
  • Ground transportation throughout from meeting until departure

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare, hotel transfers to/from airports, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure, wine at dinner (except at welcome and farewell dinners), airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights that may be necessary due to airline schedule changes or other factors; pre-trip expense of medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance or passports; and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20%
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule

Minimum fee: None per person
46-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

Monasterio San Zoilo

Monasterio San Zoilo

Day 1 (1 night), Carrion de los Condes, Spain

This atmospheric Benedictine monastery has been artfully transformed into a unique 45-room hotel. It was founded in the 10th century and rebuilt in ...
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La Posada de Gaspar

La Posada de Gaspar

Day 2 (1 night), Astorga, Spain

In the picturesque little village of Rabanal del Camino, right on the pilgrim trail, La Posada offers simple but comfortable rooms with private ...
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Parador Villafranca del Bierzo

Parador Villafranca del Bierzo

Day 3 (1 night), Villafranca del Bierzo, Spain

Located near the pilgrim town of Villa Franco del Bierzo, this 28-room hotel has been refurbished into completely modern style, with large, spacious ...
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Casa de Diaz

Casa de Diaz

Days 4 to 5 (2 nights), Samos, Spain

Founded in the 19th century as a pilgrim hostel, Casa de Diaz is a 10-room family-run guest house in a restored Galician farmhouse. It offers ...
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Pazo de Sedor

Pazo de Sedor

Day 6 (1 night), Castaneda, Spain

With six simple but comfortable en suite rooms, the Pazo de Sedor is a handsome 17th century manor house in a beautiful setting in the rural ...
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Parador Dos Reis Catolicos

Parador Dos Reis Catolicos

Day 7 (1 night), Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Staying at this parador, a renovated medieval building right next to Santiago’s venerated cathedral, really makes you feel you are living a ...
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Extension Accommodations

If you would like to view the accommodations offered with our extensions option:

Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Our Trip Leaders

Here are the Trip Leaders scheduled for this journey (please note that leader assignments are subject to change).

Santiago Bejarano

Departure Dates: October 6-13, 2014

Santiago Bejarano trained in Environmental Sciences in his native Ecuador and began his guiding career by bringing visitors to the jungle and highlands of Ecuador and the storied Galapagos Islands, where he worked as a naturalist. He later moved to Britain, where he lives with his British wife and ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Marian Gibert

Departure Dates: June 10-17, 2014

Marian Gibert has been a world traveler from a young age. She was born in Bilbao, Spain, grew up in Venezuela, and later lived in Britain, where she studied Business Administration at Cambridge. She also lived and worked in Engelberg, a resort in the Swiss Alps, picking up the Swiss-German and ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Mark Gordon

Departure Dates: May 27-June 3, 2014

Mark Gordon is an American who fell in love with Morocco after serving in the country as a Peace Corps volunteer. He has lived in Marrakesh since 1982 and has led numerous expeditions and journeys for us throughout West and North Africa. He loves the “mythic dry sea” of the Sahara and ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Rob Noonan

Departure Dates: September 5-12, 2014

Rob Noonan came by his love of nature and the mountains early, adventuring throughout most of the Americas from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego and later earning a degree in Environmental Studies from Prescott College in Arizona. He has guided our Patagonia hiking journeys since 1994, but his love of ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Patricia Raczkowski

Departure Dates: May 27-June 3, 2014, June 10-17, 2014, September 5-12, 2014, October 6-13, 2014

Patricia Raczkowski, born in Canada of a Spanish mother and Polish father, grew up in Spain and has lived there most of her life. She spent her final year of high school in Washington State, living with an American family, and then attended the University of Madrid to study veterinary medicine. ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extension:

Spain

Finisterre Extension

Hike the Pilgrim Trail to Cape Finisterre

Cultural Adventures, Walking
2 days  -  Level 3

Client Comments

The trip was the perfect mix of culture, hiking and cuisine with a truly outstanding leader. Joseph C., Campbell PA A very interesting hiking trip with lots of history and legend attached to it. Great guides and good food made for another memorable WT adventure. Johanna T., La Jolla, CA I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the Trip Leaders were a very positive part of the trip. Denice W., Portland OR This was a most enjoyable experience! Everyone had a great time. Linda G., Wilton, CT Would do it again! Ken B., Gig Harbor, WA What a fabulous experience We loved the trip. The guides were well prepared and extremely knowledgeable. Ann and John L., Beaverton OR Loved this trip! It was great, every minute of it. Wonderful hotels, and loved the picnics. Julie A., Little Rock AK It was a fascinating and inspiring trip. We would recommend it highly. Judith S., Chevy Chase MD I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the guides were a very positive part of the trip. Denise W., Portland OR This was just what I like in a trip—being out and about in the countryside and towns.  The Trip Leaders were exceptional in having local cuisine and wines arranged at our meals. I really enjoyed the variety of hotel accommodations. Jon D., Montgomery, AL This was my very first WT experience and it far exceeded my expectations. Exceptional value! Marjorie G., Montgomery, AL A fantastic experience! Our Trip Leaders were both wonderful—always on top of everything, with great personalities. J. Robertson, Houston, TX
Absolutely EVERYTHING about this trip was perfect:  itinerary, food, lodgings, trip leaders, educational opportunities.  A perfect example of why Wilderness Travel will always be our first choice when planning adventures. Susan W., Albuquerque, NM Another well designed WT journey—from the itinerary, lodges, timing on the trail and at the historic sites. This was a spiritual journey for me, and it will stay in my heart forever. Dorothy F., Basalt, CO I had high expectations for this venture, but it was so much more than I had imagined. It was a fantastic experience that will stay in the forefront of my memories. Jan P., Portland, OR This was a wonderful trip that more than met my expectations. The accomodations were more than adequate, the meals were delicious, and I couldn't have asked for better guides. Sara C., El Dorado Hills, CA Great trip, great company, great way to see northern Spain! Mike C., El Dorado Hills, CA The trip was a fabulous experience—physically, socially,and spiritually. We're impressed with the entire organization and can't wait to travel with Wilderness Travel in 2014. I am already perusing the catalog! Gwen M., Houston, TX An unforgettable experience! I thought the itinerary was an excellent blend of culture, history, and hiking. Mattie V., Tampa, FL Thank you so much for a life changing adventure. It is one I will never forget. Joan W., Owen Sound, Ontario I cannot say enough good things about this trip. Everything was expertly organized, every day was different, I felt extremely well looked after! Janet W., Calgary, Alberta

Recent Photo Blog Posts

Buen Camino!, Helmut Kapczynzki