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2023 Tour Details
The history of the Camino de Santiago goes back to the 9th Century, when the tomb of the evangelical apostle St. James was discovered in what is today Santiago de Compostela. Since then, pilgrims from all over the world have walked St. James' Way, originally seeking forgiveness for their sins, and nowadays often just to spend time on a journey of personal growth. This is a challenging experience as it involves a significant physical effort as you walk through forests and along busy roads for many miles each day for a total of approximately 71 miles. Your rewards will be intangible, but priceless: an opportunity to enjoy nature, meditate, search for answers, and challenge your limits, discover beautiful rural areas of northern Spain, and make friends with whom you’ll have shared one of the most significant experiences of your life. At the end of your journey, relax on an excursion by coach to Finisterre and Muxia and a guided tour of Santiago de Compostela. You will receive the Compostela Certificate upon completion of the entire route on foot.
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*Book a select 2023 Avalon Waterways Europe river cruise to receive $750 off per person on the cruise/land or cruise only price. Booking must be made, under deposit and discount applied between August 1, 2022 and February 28, 2023 for travel in 2023. Promotional discount will apply to Groups of 8 or more who provide their Group Block Deposit within the promotion's booking dates and will apply to all individual members of the Group until the due date of the passenger names/non-refundable individual deposits. Not applicable on TBA space. Offer reliant on space availability at time of booking and may be withdrawn at any time. Offer combinable only with Welcome Back Credit. Applies to new 2023 bookings only and offer will not be applied to pre-existing bookings. Full cancellation penalties will apply. Additional restrictions may apply; see Travel Terms & Conditions for details. May be withdrawn at any time. Offer applies to participating GFOB offices only. PRMW0992
Small groups (maximum 20) This tour is largely completed on foot, requiring a good level of physical fitness, and some physical training prior to departure is highly recommended. This itinerary is not accessible by wheelchair or other ambulatory devices due to some uneven and unpaved paths. If unable to complete any of the stages on foot, transportation by taxi will be arranged at an extra cost. One piece of luggage per person, not exceeding 20 kg/44 lbs will be transported daily during the walk from the lobby of your overnight hotel to the next overnight hotel. You will need to pack a backpack containing essentials for the day (such as water, raincoat, essential medication, money, sunblock, etc.) that you will carry during the walk. Mass services may be in local language and venues are subject to change. Hotel accommodation is of simple standards, often with no elevators, and porterage at the hotels is not provided.
Train transfer from Madrid to Sarria and from Santiago de Compostela to Madrid. Transfers by coach between hotel and railway station and v.v. in Madrid and Sarria and coach excursion to Finisterre and Muxia. The rest of the itinerary is on foot, and daily distances are listed in the day-by-day itinerary.
Buffet breakfasts daily, 8 dinners
ARRIVE IN MADRID, SPAIN Check into your hotel and, if you have time, start exploring this bustling city on your own with the help of the CosmosGO app. Later, meet your tour companions during the included welcome dinner at your hotel. Your Tour Director will explain the dos and don’ts of the walk and give you some important advice.
MADRID–SARRIA Transfer to the train station to board the train to Sarria (you will be responsible for carrying your own luggage). On arrival, check in at the hotel and spend the evening at leisure, or spend free time to see the early-Gothic Church of O Salvador on the Main Street, the 13th- century Convent of the Magdalena at the outskirts of the old town, or enjoy a drink with your fellow pilgrims on the river walk next to the hotel.
Breakfast Dinner Today’s distance (by train): 313mi / 504 km
SARRIA–PORTOMARIN. Approximately 23 km/14.3 mi – Average 6 hrs – Difficulty 3/3). This is the real start of the journey. May every step be a thought on peace and an extension of loving kindness. Expect a peaceful walk in shady oak forest and through pretty villages on quiet country roads. The village of Barbadelo has a beautiful Romanesque church that is worth a visit. You will also pass through the village of Ferreiros. On arrival in Portomarín, relax at one of the many outdoor cafes in the main square.
PORTOMARIN–LESTEDO Approximately 20 km/12.5 mi – Average 4.5 hrs – Difficulty 2/3. Let your mind wander and the feet follow. Begin the day by crossing over the Belesar dam footbridge, then start a gradual climb to the village of Ligonde. This stage mainly runs along andanderos (paths) next to the road or, in some cases, along paved trails. There are many signs indicating the pilgrim route, including the famous cruceiros (crucifixes). Check out the Cruceiro of Lameiros and the Monastery of Our Saviour of Vilar de Donas (2 km/1.2 mi detour off the Camino). Overnight in Lestedo.
LESTEDO–MELIDE. Approximately 18 km/11.2 mi – Average 4 hrs – Difficulty 2/3. Keep an open mind and heart, let go of expectations, and enjoy the feeling of freedom along this ancient pilgrim path. The Camino takes you into the province of Coruña, with its fine eucalyptus and pine expanses, and numerous medieval bridges, such as the ones in Leboreiro and Furelos. Melide is an obligatory stop for food lovers; the best-known local delicacy here is octopus.
MELIDE–ARZUA Approximately 14 km/8.7 mi – Average 3.30 hrs – Difficulty 2/3. The Camino can be a powerful catalyst for positive change. Today’s landscapes are similar to the previous day’s, with some idyllic locations such as the Camino in Ribadiso da Baixo near Arzúa. Arzúa is where the modern town with its bars, restaurants and the Church of St James overshadow the Medieval center.
ARZUA–AMENAL Approximately 25 km/15.5 mi – Average 6 hrs–Difficulty 2/3. Finding the courage to face our fears and stepping outside our comfort zone can lead us to self-discovery. The route today is a nice and leisurely walk over gentle slopes and through woodland, combined with some stretches along the road, which you will have to cross on occasions.
AMENAL–SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA Approximately 15 km/9.5 mi – Average 4 hrs – Difficulty 2/3. Our experiences and encounters are waymarks to the inner path. This is the last stage of your Camino de Santiago. Today, distance will not matter. There is a climb to San Marcos, from Lavacolla, passing Monte do Gozo before descending to Santiago de Compostela. Congratulations, you made it! If you have walked all stages of the Camino, you will receive your Pilgrim Certificate. Give thanks by attending the [M] Pilgrim Mass in the magnificent Cathedral.
SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA–FINISTERRE–MUXIA–SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA You have reached your goal; now reach the end of the world. Complete the experience with a morning excursion by coach to the stunning Cape Finisterre peninsula, on the Atlantic Ocean, believed in Roman times to be the end of the world. Stop in Muxia, a small town on the coast, and visit the Sanctuary of our Lady of the Boat. This very scenic region not only offers wild beauty, but also delicious seafood and interesting legends. Return to Santiago in the early afternoon and meet your Local Guide for a guided walking sightseeing tour of the magical old city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today's Distance by coach: 117 mi / 187 km
SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA–MADRID Take the spiritual growth and appreciation for simple things back home with you. This is your most important souvenir of the Camino. Today we transfer to the Santiago train station to catch a train to Madrid (you will be responsible for carrying your own luggage). Your Tour Director will be at hand for any assistance or suggestions on how to spend the last night in the Spanish capital. Today’s Distance by train: 373 mi / 600 km
MADRID Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning