The Pilgrim’s Way to Santiago – Spain

Day 1 | Madrid – León
Bienvenido a España! Welcome to Spain! Arrive to Madrid and your guide will be waiting you to take you to Leon (approx. 3.5 hrs). Guided tour with local guide of the great Gothic cathedral with its fabulous stained glass windows, one of the world’s masterpieces of Gothic art; and the Royal Basilica of San Isidoro, to see the remarkable frescoes in the “Pantheon of Kings”, one of Spain’s great Romanesque treasures (time permitting). Pick up pilgrim’s passport.  Overnight in Leon. (D)

Day 2 | León – Villafranca del Bierzo
Today after breakfast we will do short walks on different sections of the Camino, enable you to gain a sense of the change in terrain and ecosystems as the route progresses westward. Morning transfer to historic Astorga, where we will explore the town’s extensive Roman ruins.  Then a short transfer to Castrillo de los Polvazares, one of Spain´s best preserved medieval villages before beginning our 1st walk on the Camino on countryside tracks to our lunch stop. A second short walk begins at the mostly ruined stone hamlet of Foncebadón, gently climbing to one of the simplest, yet most ancient and symbolic monuments of the Camino, the iron cross – la Cruz de Ferro – where pilgrims throughout the ages have placed stones, creating a huge mound at the base of the cross. We continue by vehicle through Manjarín, with its medieval pilgrim’s refuge, quaint Acebo and Ponferrada with its famous Templar Castle on the way to a final short walk into Villafranca del Bierzo, known as “little Compostela” for its profusion of historic buildings. Dinner in a traditional local restaurant. Overnight in Inn. 3 walks, approx. total walking distance: 17.5 km / 10.9 mi. (B, L, D)

Day 3 | Villafranca del Bierzo – Sarria
Explore Villafranca in the morning, then transfer to the stone-built mountaintop village of O’Cebreiro with a lovely 12th century Romanesque church, scene of a fascinating legend, and curious ancient straw-roofed dwellings called Pallozas. After lunch a downhill walk on lovely sections of the trail with sweeping views on the way to Triacastella. Then a stop to view (optional visit) of the Benedictine monastery in Samos, one of the oldest in western Christendom, on our way to Sarria. Overnight in Pilgrim’s Hostel. walk: 12 – 21 km / 7.5 – 13  mi. (depending on start point – to be decided). (B, L, D)

Day 4 | Sarria – Portomarin
Now the pilgrimage begins in earnest, as we’ll walk all 112 km from Sarria to Santiago! Today’s walk may be the most beautiful of the entire pilgrimage, through verdant forests, grassy meadows, fertile orchards and simple stone-built hamlets scattered over a deeply rural landscape. Our destination is Portomarín, perched on the banks of the Miño, one of Galicia’s great rivers. Overnight in Inn or Pilgrim’s Hostel. Walk: 21.5 km / 13.3 mi. (B, L, D)

Day 5 | Portomarin – Palas de Rei
The Way continues on through lush Galician countryside to Palas de Rei. If time allows, we will take a short detour to visit one of Spain’s most outstanding Romanesque churches at nearby Vilar de Donas, classified as a national monument. Overnight in Inn. Walk: 24 km / 14.9 mi. (B, L, D)

Day 6 | Palas de Rei – Arzúa
A typical day through rolling green landscapes, dotted with cows, stonewalls and tiny Romanesque churches. Today’s lunch stop will be the important pilgrim’s town of Melide, where the main branch of the Camino Primitivo – the earliest of all the pilgrimage routes to Santiago- merges with the Camino Frances for the final push to Santiago. Overnight in Inn or Pilgrim’s Hostel. Walk: 30 km / 18.7 mi .(B,L,D)

Day 7 | Arzúa – Rua
Finally excitement begins to build as you near Santiago—there are noticeably more pilgrims as yet another northern route— the “Camino del Norte” meets yours in Arzua. Walk along rural paths and surfaced country lanes through a series of vegetable patches, fields and oak groves, then pine and eucalyptus woods. Overnight in Inn or Pilgrim’s Hostel. Walk: 20 km / 12.4 mi. ( B,L,D)

Day 8 | Rua – Santiago de Compostela
Country lanes and forest paths lead through increasingly populated countryside. Finally we will reach the top of the Monte del Gozo—“Mount of Joy”, so named for the emotion felt by those who on arriving there, were rewarded with their first view of the cathedral spires. From here, it’s all downhill, following in the footsteps of millions of others before us. Our objective is the tomb of the Apostle St. James, in the impressive Cathedral, situated on the Plaza del Obradoiro, Santiago’s grandiose central square. Arriving there is a magical moment and we’ll take time to savour the accomplishment. Overnight in Inn or Pilgrim’s Hostel. Walk: 22 km / 13.7 mi. ( B, L, D)

Day 9 | Santiago de Compostela – Madrid
Guided tour of cathedral and surrounding squares. Noon pilgrim’s mass. Explore Santiago on your own, shopping, etc. After dinner, an overnight bus ride to Madrid. (B, L, D)

Day 10 | Madrid
We will arrive on our overnight bus to Madrid in time for our flight! Buen Viaje! (No meals)

Check pictures from this journey

Starting price
10 – 13 students + 1 chaperone: $ 2 120 / student
14 – 17 students + 1 chaperone: $ 1 890 / student
18 – 20 students + 1 chaperone: $ 1 770 / student
(Price depends on the time travelling e.g. Easter time, July or August are peak season)

Price includes:
All the transfers mentioned in the program with bus, accommodation in a economic hotel, all the meals as mentioned in the program (B, L, D), all the activities mentioned in the program with entrance fees, a Students Journey guide

Price does not include:
International flights, beverages and meals not specified, phone calls and personal expenses, travel insurance (inquired for the hikers), visa fees (at this time for US citizens none), all other services stated as optional or not explicitly stated as included.

Please Note:

  • This trip requires 12-15 miles of hiking daily and a few days of biking.
  • Closed from October to mid-March.
  • Minimum age is 15.


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