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Explore this ancient walking route taken by many a pilgrim since the 9th century across 800km of northern Spain to the resting place of St. James.
Destinations > Spain & Portugal > Walking the Camino de Santiago
10 nights accommodation, continental breakfast daily and eight dinners, route notes and maps provided, luggage transfers between hotels, walking transfers, guided city tour of Leon, Pilgrim's Passport
Departs Saturdays from 7 Apr '18 to 20 Oct '18
Please note: this trip is a Self-Guided Walking holiday
Your walk begins in Leon and, in keeping with the theme of pilgrimage; you walk each day along farm tracks, paths and country lanes. Stay in an astonishingly diverse range of properties including restored parish houses, converted water mills and stylish farm houses. Everyone on the Camino has a “Pilgrim Passport” that is stamped along the way to qualify for a certificate from the official Pilgrim Office in Santiago.
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Walk through beautiful scenery including meadows and woodlands on one of the world's most ancient pilgrim routes.
Explore small Spanish towns and villages and discover the amazing local cuisine in specialist Galacian pulperias.
Stay in a diverse range of properties including restored parish houses, converted water mills and stylish farmhouses.
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Arrive at your historic hotel in the heart of Leon. Masses of restaurants and tapas bars on your
doorstep, so we’ve left you free for dinner tonight.
After a guided tour of Leon’s magnificent Cathedral and receiving your Pilgrim Passport, we provide
a 1hr transfer to Cruz de Ferro, the highest point on the Camino, marked by a pre-Roman cross.
The Camino winds downhill through fragrant pines where once the Knights Templar protected
pilgrims from bandit attack. A path lined with wild chestnuts, cherries, peppers and fennel leads to
riverside Molinaseca, where you’ll be well looked after by your hosts Noemi and Javier.
After a short transfer (30 mins), you ascend the Rio Valcarce valley, climbing into moody oak woods
strung with lichen and strewn with early purple orchid. O’Cebreiro is an 11th Century village in the heart of
the Cordillera Cantabrica. Walk to the viewpoint above the village for a perfect sunset and views
over four ranges of hills before a transfer back to your hotel in Ambasmestas.
After a short transfer we drop you off at Triacastela. As the Camino meanders between heather
clad villages overlooking the Monastery of Samos, you can hear the bells ringing! On reaching
Sarria - the antiques capital of Galicia, you’ll be whisked to Javier and Raquel’s elegant country
rectory, (10 mins), complete with chapel and al fresco dining patio.
A Roman bridge leads out of Sarria up the Celerio Valley, where you’ll traverse the hamlets of
the southern flank of the Sierra del Paramo. Descend into Portomarin - the original village was
drowned by the Belesar Reservoir, and houses still shimmer below the surface! This evening, meet
Mario, the hotelier and enjoy wine from his vines, before a waterside stroll after dinner.
Drop into Portomarin’s church then follow the Torres stream passing between cornfields lined with
ox-eye daisies. Stamp your pilgrim passport in country churches dedicated to the Order of St James
before arriving at your beautifully restored rectory.
Country lanes lead past fortified farmhouses into the hillside town of Palas del Rei (Palace of the King) as you enter the province of A Coruña. You’ll pass typical raised Galician granaries and chickens scamper across narrow streets as you enter vineyards, with views east to the Montes del Vacaloura.
First stop is Melide – a thriving country town with tavernas brimming with locals enjoying Galician
seafood in specialist pulperias (octopus restaurants!). Drop into the Romanesque church to admire
the frescoes, before lanes lined with bright yellow celandine bring you into the lively market town
of Arzua. Continue on to your elegant manor house, surrounded by tranquil countryside, just
outside the town.
Arzua’s colonnaded streets lead into open country where local farmers wear berets as they tend
vines and build haystacks with pitch forks as your route rises and falls through river valleys crossing
rushing streams. This evening you can marvel at Javier’s breathtaking converted water mill, where
original machinery has been turned into spectacular period features!
Excitement mounts as you set off towards Monte do Gozo, the Mount of Joy, where pilgrims of old
caught their first glimpse of the spires of Santiago. It is certainly busier these days! On reaching
Santiago’s historic centre, congratulations are everywhere as a steady stream of pilgrims reach
journey’s end below the Cathedral’s spectacular Baroque facade. Drop into the Pilgrim Office to
collect your certificate if you wish, before checking into our historic hotel near the old marketplace,
still a riot of colour!
Enjoy Santiago and the Cathedral before taking a taxi to the airport (pay locally approx 15 euro). Or
stay on for extra nights to attend the Pilgrim Mass (at 12 noon) before exploring this beautiful city.
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