Pilgrims have travelled to Santiago de Compostela for centuries taking the different routes across Europe. There are Camino de Santiago routes but the Camino Frances is by far the best known, as featured in movies such as Martin Sheen’s The Way. Our Camino Frances guided tour takes you to the market town of Sarria in Galicia, to start this wonderful journey with a group, walking the last 100kms of the famous Camino Frances route into Santiago de Compostela.
Sarria is the pilgrims’ favourite starting point as 100kms is the distance required in order to be able to request your Compostela pilgrim certificate.
From the market town of Sarria, the group will walk through the rolling green countryside of Galicia, across oak forests, little villages and pretty hamlets such as Ribadiso and San Xiao do Camino. Along the way you will spot many ‘horreos’, Galicia’s iconic granaries and a constant feature in country homes; as well beautiful Romanesque Churches and ancient wayside crosses known as ‘cruceiros’. In the market town of Melide you should visit one of its famous ‘pulperias’, restaurants dedicated to Galicia’s most traditional dish: octopus; a culinary must-try during your trip.
The Camino Frances guided tour includes three nights in the wonderful city of Lugo, famous for its UNESCO listed Roman Wall, and four nights in Santiago de Compostela. The group will travel by bus to the trail each morning so you don’t need to pack your bags each day and enjoy your Camino experience in comfort.
All walkers will get their official pilgrim passport so you can stamp it along the way and get your Compostela certificate at the Pilgrims Office.
If you have always dreamt of walking the Camino de Santiago and you wanted to join a guided group to share this experience with, the Camino Frances guided tour is perfect for you.
Direct return flights from Dublin to Santiago de Compostela (Flights from other airports can also be arranged. Please enquire for details)
Hand luggage & 10kg checked luggage (subject to airline’s terms and conditions)
Meet & greet on arrival
Private coach transfer to your hotel with English speaking guide assistance
4 nights accommodation in Hotel Mendez Nuñez
3 nights accommodation in Santiago de Compostela
Meals: daily breakfast and dinner at your accommodation
24/7 assistance by our team of local representatives and Camino specialist guides
5 walking days accompanied by Camino specialist guides
1 full day in Santiago de Compostela including a 2-hour guided walking tour of the city
Private coach transfers between hotel and the walking route
Camino information pack including route notes, practical information and the official pilgrim passport
-20kg checked bag (10kg checked bag is included in price and is usually sufficient for most people travelling) -Travel Insurance (please refer to our travel insurance page for details)
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 three 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.
Over dinner, you will get to know other members of the group.
DAY 2: Walking from Sarria to Portomarin (22km/6hr approx.)
After breakfast, the group will travel by bus to the town of Sarria to start the Camino walk, approximately 30 minutes away. Sarria is a small market town and the most popular starting point for the Camino de Santiago, as the distance from here (111kms) allows walkers to request the Compostela certificate.
Today you will walk 22kms from Sarria to Portomarin, entering rural Galicia, through one of the most 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 such as Barbadelo Church before arriving in Portomarin.
After a little time to explore Portomarin, the group will be collected and travel to the hotel in Lugo (approximately 30 minutes).
DAY 3: Walking from Portomarin to Palas de Rei (24km/6.5hr)
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 24kms long, leaving Portomarin and the river Miño behind and walking across the countryside 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 4: Walking from Palas de Rei to Arzúa (29km/7.5hrs approximately)
This morning the group will check out of the hotel in Lugo and be picked up after breakfast to continue the Camino walk from Palas de Rei a Arzúa.
At 29kms, the longest walking stage of the week awaits today, however the path 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.
Halfway to Arzua you’ll find 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.
The second part of the day 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 to the hotel in Santiago.
DAY 5: Walking from Arzúa to O Pedrouzo (20km, 5.30hr)
Today the group will get picked up at the hotel in Santiago and travel back to Arzúa, to continue the Camino walk to Pedrouzo. Today’s stage is a very manageable, comfortable stretch of approximately 20kms.
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.
Our finish line is the village of O Pedrouzo, where the group will be picked up and travel to the hotel in Santiago de Compostela.
DAY 6: Walking from O Pedrouzo to Santiago (18km/5hr)
After breakfast, the group will be picked up and travel by bus back to O Pedrouzo to complete your last walking day into Santiago de Compostela. This is a very exciting day as you will finally walk into the old town in Santiago de Compostela and its magnificent cathedral.
It is also 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.
From O Peddrouzo, pilgrims continue the walk through the last great oak wood of this ancient Camino trail to the hamlets of Amenal before walking up the hill to Cimadevila.
Next on the trail you will pass the village Lavacolla, a place where pilgrims used to stop to wash in the stream, hence 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.
DAY 7: Exploring Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela, capital of Galicia and destination of pilgrims for centuries is a marvellous pocket-sized city full of wonders. The best way to discover it is taking a walking tour of the city and today, the guide will bring the group on a 2-hour walk of the city starting at around 9:30am.
Santiago de Compostela’s Old Town has remained unchanged for centuries and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985. Make sure you spend time exploring this charming labyrinth of old lanes, cobbled streets and beautiful squares.
Built in the 9th century, Santiago de Compostela Cathedral is the city’s most iconic landmark but there are many other places not to miss, such as the Abastos food market (the second most visited attraction in the city), the Alameda Park, the old University buildings and its many interesting museums.
In the busy 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 bars and restaurants. Make sure you sample some of Galicia’s traditional dishes such as octopus, empanadas, caldo galego, Padrón peppers and the Tarta de Santiago almond cake.
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. You will have the afternoon free to explore at your own pace.
Find out more on our blog post: Things to do and see in Santiago de Compostela.
DAY 8: Santiago de Compostela to Santiago Airport
On your last day you will have the morning to continue exploring the city before being collected at your hotel at 2pm to be taken to Santiago Airport for your flight home.
Price per person based on two adults sharing rooms with private facilities
Single occupancy is available on request at a supplement (enquire for details)
Airport taxes, charges and airline related fees included
Travel insurance is available as optional extra
Deposit of €300 is required at the time of booking
Meals where not stated, in-flight catering and expenses of personal nature are not included
Itinerary may be subject to change
Bookings are financially protected under our license and bond held with the Commission for Aviation Regulation Travel insurance is an optional extra available to passengers up to 94 years; please check https://joewalshtours.ie/travel-insurance/ for full details on travel insurance