The Camino de Santiago, also known as the St. James Way, is a network of pilgrim trails through northwest Spain to the Shrine of St. James the Great in Santiago de Compostela. While many people walk the Way for a personal spiritual journey, the Camino is also popular with walkers, hikers, and cyclists for its bucolic scenery. It is considered one of the great walking trails in the world, and gained even more notice after the release of the 2010 movie “The Way” starring Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez. We invite you to “Walk This Way” from the town of Sarria to Santiago de Compostela, roughly 70 miles traversed over several days.
This adventure begins in the country’s capital, Madrid, a vibrant hub of many cultures. After visiting Toledo and El Escorial, two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, we head to the province of Galicia, where we begin our walk on the Camino, ending on the Atlantic coast. You don’t need to be an athlete, or even a pilgrim, to “Walk This Way,” just reasonably active and ready for an incredible experience in nature.
Take an overnight flight to Madrid, Spain, arriving by mid-day tomorrow. Use the airport code MAD when searching for this flight. You will be returning from Santiago de Compostela which has SCQ as its airport code. We encourage you to consider arriving one day early so that you will be rested for the beginning of the tour. We can easily arrange an additional night for you at our Madrid hotel. (Meals Aloft)
Your flight arrives in Madrid, Spain. Take a taxi from the airport to our centrally located hotel. The afternoon is at leisure to relax or explore the area around our hotel. The group meets for the first time in the hotel for introductions at the cocktail hour followed by a Welcome Dinner. (Dinner included)
Enjoy a half-day guided city tour covering the Royal Palace, Puerta del Sol, Madrid’s most animated square, Plaza de Toros, Plaza Major, built by King Philip IV in the 17c, and Gran Via, Madrid’s main thoroughfare. We complete our sightseeing with a visit to the Prado, one of the world’s finest art museums. The afternoon and evening are at leisure to continue exploring on your own. Overnight in Madrid. (Breakfast / Dinner)
Today visit the fortified city of Toledo, dating from Roman times. Set above the river Tagus, Toledo has a dramatic location. Originally Roman, the city reached its peak in the 16 century when it hosted the court of Emperor Charles V of Bourbon, which made it the capital of the new kingdom of Spain. Although losing that honor when Philip II made Madrid the capital in 1561, Toledo remained the most important ecclesiastical city in Spain. It was around that time that the painter El Greco moved to the area in search of commissions, many of which can still be seen. Enjoy a walking tour of the city, including entrance to the cathedral sacristy, location of many of El Greco’s works. Returning to our Madrid hotel, enjoy dinner together and a free evening. (Breakfast / Dinner)
Departing Madrid to the north-west, we visit the Palace/Monastery of El Escorial, built by Philip II and the location of the pantheon of many Spanish monarchs. Then we continue to the town of Sarria in the region of Galicia, where our journey on the Camino will begin tomorrow. Once we check in at our hotel, the rest of the day is free, with dinner provided at our hotel tonight. (Breakfast / Dinner)
Today’s walk leads from Sarria to Portomarin, a distance of 14 miles. The first 7 miles climbs gradually in altitude about 230 yards, while the second part largely descends. For those who do not feel confident to walk this distance, transportation will be available which will avoid the incline of the first half of the walk. Upon arrival at our hotel, you will have time to freshen up before dinner. (Breakfast / Dinner)
In 1960, the most historic buildings of Portomarin were moved brick by brick to a new location when Spain dammed up the Mino River to create a reservoir. Will our feet feel like bricks today as we walk from Portomarin to Palas de Rei? We cover about 15.5 miles, with the terrain climbing steadily for the first 10 miles and gaining about 350 yards in altitude before descending to Palas de Rei. For those who do not want to walk the full distance, transport will be available after 10.5 miles at Airexe, and you can ride the final 5 miles. (Breakfast / Dinner)
Palas de Rei retains many of the archaeological remains (dolmens and forts) from a remote settlement. According to tradition, the city owes its name “Pallatium regis” to the palace of the Visigothic king Witiza, who reigned between 702 and 710. The walk from Palas de Rei to Arzuà is approximately 18 miles, much of it descending. Once again, we will have dinner at our hotel, so those with tired feet don’t have to venture out again. (Breakfast / Dinner)
The rural community of Arzua has more cows than people, as you will see as we trek out of town. Our walk today takes us about 11 miles in total over mostly flat trails from Arzuà. As we approach the village of O Pedrouzo, the trail begins a slight descent. We have the evening free to relax and enjoy dinner at the hotel. (Breakfast / Dinner)
This is our last day walking the Camino! Today’s 12-mile walk has a bit of incline at roughly the halfway point, then bypasses Santiago Airport before descending into Santiago de Compostelo. Our Camino finishes at the pilgrim’s office, next to the cathedral. Congratulations! You have walked the final 115km of The Way! Visit the cathedral, and see the tomb of Santiago himself, St. James the Greater. (Pilgrims’ Mass at the cathedral at 19.30). Then walk a short distance to our 5* hotel for dinner, drinks, and a great sense of satisfaction. (Breakfast / Dinner)
Enjoy an excursion by private motor coach to Cape Finisterre, the westernmost point on the Galician coast and thought by the Romans to mark the end of the world. Traditionally this has been the final stop for pilgrims on the Camino, and some have been known to symbolically burn their walking boots here. Return to Santiago for some free time before dinner at the hotel. (Breakfast / Dinner)
Enjoy an excursion today to the coastal city of La Coruna, which enjoys a magnificent site on a promontory jutting into the sea. Visit the Tower of Hercules, a second-century Roman lighthouse, and enjoy a seafood lunch with wine in a local restaurant. Return to Santiago for some free time before our farewell dinner together. (All Meals)
Tour services conclude after breakfast at the hotel this morning. Book a flight to depart at any convenient time today from the Santiago de Compostela Airport (SCQ). We will assist in organizing your taxi transfer (not included). If you wish to extend your stay in Santiago, we can easily make hotel arrangements for you. (Breakfast)