DAY 1: Start your Camino journey
It is time to start your Camino journey! After your flight to Santiago de Compostela – Rosalia de Castro Airport, the group will meet the guide at the arrivals hall and travel to the hotel in Lugo city where you will be staying for six nights.
Lugo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as it is the only city in the world to be surrounded by completely intact Roman walls. It is also on the Camino de Santiago: on the Camino Primitivo route, so you will spot yellow arrows and shell markings in the old town.
DAY 2: Walking from Morgade to Portomarin (12km / 3.5 – 4hr approx.)
After breakfast, the group will travel by bus to the hamlet of Morgade to start the Camino walk, approximately 30 minutes away. This is the perfect spot to start your walk on the Camino de Santiago, as the distance from here is the required 100kms which allows walkers to request the Compostela certificate.
Today you will walk 12kms from Morgade to Portomarin, entering rural Galicia, through wonderful oak woods (‘carballeiras’) on the route. It is a relatively easy stretch of the Camino trail, taking in forest tracks and quiet country roads, passing tiny hamlets and pretty Romanesque buildings before arriving in Portomarin.
After a little time to wander around Portomarin, the group will be collected and travel to the hotel in Lugo (approximately 30 minutes). The city has plenty of amazing restaurants for you to explore at leisure over the remaining evenings in Lugo.
DAY 3: Walking from Portomarin to Ventas de Naron (11km/3.5 – 4hr)
After breakfast, the group will be picked up at the hotel in Lugo and travel back to Portomarin (approximately 30 minutes) to continue the journey. Today’s stage is 11kms long, leaving Portomarin and the river Miño behind and walking across the countryside to the town of Ventas de Naron.
Today walk sees you pass the stunning archaeological ruins in Castromaior. After spending some time in Ventas de Naron, the bus will collect the group again and travel back to the hotel in Lugo (approximately 30 minutes).
DAY 4: Walking from Ventas de Naron to Palas de Rei (11km/3.5 – 4hr)
After breakfast, the group will be picked up at the hotel in Lugo and travel back to Ventas de Naron (approximately 30 minutes) to continue the journey. Today’s stage is also 11kms long, leaving Ventas da Naron to walk to the town of Palas de Rei.
There is some uphill walking to be done on your way to the beautiful Serra de Ligonde, the highest point of today’s stage. You will get to admire some of the wonderful churches, tiny villages, and scenery along the way. In Os Lameiros, you will get to admire its wonderful stone cross ‘cruceiro’, built in 1670 with one side depicting the crucifixion of Christ and the other side featuring an image of the Virgin.
After spending some time exploring the town of Palas de Rei, the bus will collect the group again and travel back to the hotel in Lugo (approximately 30 minutes).
DAY 5: Walking from Palas de Rei to Melide (14km/4 – 4.5hrs)
This morning the group will be picked up after breakfast to continue the Camino walk from Palas de Rei to Melide.
Todays walk is downhill for most of the day with just a few ascents. The path begins through a forest track from Palas to San Xulián or San Xiao do Camino, a very pretty stretch and one of the most wonderful of the trail. San Xulián or San Xiao do Camino is a picturesque little hamlet with a wonderful Romanesque Church and a ‘cruceiro’ stone cross in the centre of the village.
At the end of todays walk, you’ll reach the market town of Melide, which is famous for its octopus restaurants known as ‘pulperias’ serving Galicia’s most traditional dish. A perfect place to stop for lunch.
DAY 6: Walking from Melide to Arzúa (14km/4 – 4.5hrs)
This morning the group will be picked up after breakfast and taken to the trail to continue the Camino walk from Melide to Arzua.
The walk is also mostly downhill today, and you will walk through lovely countryside and charming little hamlets such as Leboreiro with its traditional ‘cabazo’, Boente and Ribadiso by the medieval bridge over the River Iso.
Once in Arzúa, you will have time to relax and explore for a bit, even try some of the local cheeses, before being picked up and traveling back to the hotel in Lugo.
DAY 7: Walking from Arzúa to O Pedrouzo (15km, 5hr)
Today the group will check out of the hotel in Lugo and be picked up after breakfast to continue the Camino walk from Arzúa to finish up just short of Pedrouzo. The full distance to O Pedrouzo would be 20k, so we will finish a few kilometres short of the village to make sure the day is manageable for all.
Arzúa is the dairy capital of Galicia and home to some of its best cheeses. The group will leave the market town by the pretty Rua do Carmen street, with its wood-cladded dwellings. After the Fonte dos Franceses (the Fountain of the French) we leave the town behind, replacing the urban landscape with lush meadows and cows happily enjoying the green pastures.
Wonderful forest tracks, quiet country roads and farmland make our Camino path for the day. A little before O Pedrouzo, the group will be picked up and travel to the hotel in Santiago de Compostela to check in for 3 nights there.
The city has been a destination for pilgrims for centuries and the capital of Galicia is a city full of wonders, with beautiful cobbled squares, arched streets and cosy nooks and crannies. Santiago city is split in two areas: the Old Town (Zona Vella), and the New Town (Zona Nova). You can also venture into the New Town, wrapped around the historic quarter and a short walk away where you will find many stores.
Originally built in the 9th century on the spot where the remains of Saint James were found, the Cathedral is the city’s most important landmark and monument but there are many other wonderful places not be missed in Santiago’s Old Town such as the Abastos Market, the Alameda Park, the University Buildings and its many museums.
In the lively streets of the Old Town such as Rua do Vilar, Rua Nova and Rua do Franco you will find a vibrant mix of pilgrims, locals and students enjoying the many cafes, bars and restaurants. Galicia’s traditional cuisine can be found everywhere; the famous Galician octopus, empanadas (savoury pastries), Padrón peppers, caldo galego and Tarta de Santiago almond cake are just some of the region’s many unmissable delicacies you should sample.
DAY 8: Walking from O Pedrouzo to Lavacolla (14km/4- 4.5hr)
After breakfast, the group will be picked up and travel by bus back to where you finished walking the previous day. You will pass then through O Pedrouzo as you walk towards Lavacolla, passing through the last great oak wood of this ancient Camino trail to the hamlets of Amenal before walking up the hill to Cimadevila.
On finishing in Lavacolla, you will be taken back to your accommodation in Santiago.
DAY 9: Walking from Lavacolla to Santiago (10km/4hr)
This is a very exciting day as you will finally walk into the old town in Santiago de Compostela and its magnificent cathedral. You will be dropped back to Lavacolla where you finished the previous day, and it is possible to start a bit earlier today in order to try to arrive into the city for the Pilgrim Mass, which takes place at 12pm. Lavacolla is a place where pilgrims used to stop to wash in the stream, and thats where the village gets its name. The path then continues on to Monte do Gozo, the Mount of Joy, where you will catch your first glimpse of the city and the spires of the cathedral.
We are only about an hour away from Santiago Cathedral and as you approach the city, the quiet path and country roads give place to an excited atmosphere as the group enters the city outskirts. Walking down Rua de San Pedro and entering the Old Town, the excitement of all pilgrims is palpable. Walking down the steps under the archway and into Obradoiro Square, you will finally reach Santiago Cathedral and Praza do Obradoiro where the atmosphere of exhilaration and jubilation is something special, a memory that you will treasure forever. Enjoy and savour this moment, you have arrived!
Your guide will bring the group’s pilgrim passports to the Pilgrim Office to collect your certificates.
With today’s walk being short you will have a long afternoon free to explore Santiago de Compostela at your own pace.
DAY 10: Guided city tour and return to Dublin
On your last morning you will have breakfast in the hotel and check out at 10am. Your local guide will then meet you at the hotel to take you on a guided tour of a the city; the best way to discover this magnificent UNESCO-listed Old Town. You will then have a visit to the cathedral after the city tour. Your bags can be left at the hotel reception while you go on the tour.
Following the tour, you will have a little free time to get lunch and some souvenir shopping, before returning to the hotel to collect your bags. The group will then be transferred to the airport for your flight back to Dublin.