Trace a thousand-year-old pilgrimage route—the Way of St. James—to the holy city of Santiago de Compostela through some of Europe’s most intriguing landscapes. We’ve selected the most evocative portions of this footpath for your journey, from the ancient kingdom of Castile to lush, mystical Galicia, a hidden corner of Spain alive with legends and Celtic heritage. Hike along sunny country lanes marked with the scallop shell, the symbol of St. James, through mist-shrouded forests of gnarled oaks, and along the beach at Finisterre, the mythical spot of Kilometer 0 on the pilgrim trail. Along the way you’ll relish superb Romanesque architecture, meet fellow pilgrims, and enjoy splendid accommodations in quaint guesthouses and spectacular paradors.
Such a wonderful trip! We have recommended it to many friends already! The attention to detail, the provision of wonderful food, wines, snacks, and even happy hours at the end of most days hiking were just the best.
— Ann C., Seattle, WA
Burgos / León / Astorga
Meet in historic Burgos, then head to the Castilian meseta (high plain) and hike to the remote village of Hontanas. We explore León’s leafy squares and 12th century frescoes before continuing to the walled city of Astorga.
Cruz de Hiero / O’Cebreiro / Portomarin
Entering rural Galicia, hike past thriving farmsteads and tiny abandoned villages 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!). In the mountaintop village of O’Cebreiro, visit a tiny church whose chalice is linked in legend with the Holy Grail, then hike to the whitewashed village of Portomarin.
La Coruña / Santiago de Compostela / Finisterre
Following trails through hamlets and farms flanked by ancient grain silos, arrive in Santiago, where you’ll join the spectacle of the Pilgrim’s Mass in the twin-towered cathedral that reputedly contains the remains of St. James. We complete our pilgrimage with a hike to Finisterre—the “End of the Earth,” walking the last part of the trail barefoot along the beach, as tradition dictates. Depart on Day 9.