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Jewels of the Camino de Santiago

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5419

Jewels of the Camino de Santiago

The Perfect Mixture of Walking and Culture on the French Route

Journey of a lifetime

DAYS

14 days / 13 nights

LEVEL

Active
Avid

TYPE

Private Group
Small Group
Semi-guided

REGION

Camino de Santiago
The Saint James Way

Roncesvalles to Santiago

Capture the jewels and spirit of the Camino de Santiago on the best portions of the way with a perfect mixture of walking and culture – soft adventure, history, culture, gastronomy and landscapes all wrapped in a pathway route dating back to the 12th century, laid over ancient Roman roadways. Finish the day’s activity sipping on regional pride, and savour bite-size morsels of heavenly cuisine along cobblestoned streets. This route has seen thousands of pilgrims and other travelers who have set out on a spiritual journey through the gorgeous Spanish countryside. Feel the culture and history under your boots as you walk the ancient paths that lead to the end of the world

Best Time to Visit

April, May, June, July, August, September, October

Highlights

  • Experience the complete legendary Saint James Way all the way to Santiago de Compostela.
  • Make your walk as challenging as you like.
  • Feel the joy of comradery among the pilgrims along the Camino de Santiago.
  • Enjoy select accommodation Four Star Hotels and Rural Boutiques.
  • Afternoon pleasures: visit wineries, walk through olive groves, and ancient towns with rich history.
Dates & Availability
Customized

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northern spain travel

 

Camino de Santiago Walking Tour – Dates and Availability

This enchanting territory and our immersive adventure tours are well worth the discovery, but if you really want to find out how to make your vacations unique, special and memorable, you will have to join us on one.

Best Time to Visit

April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November

 

 

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Itinerary
Pamplona – Roncesvalles - Estella - Santo Domingo de La Calzada - Burgos - León - Astorga - Molinaseca - O Cebreiro - Samos - Santiago - Finisterre - Muxia

Day 1Welcome to Legendary Spain

We welcome you in the Basque city of Bilbao, home of the internationally acclaimed Guggenheim Museum and some of the most innovative architecture in Europe. After an early lunch at a jewel in the rough restaurant in the Old Quarter, and a visit to the Guggenheim, we transfer to Pamplona. Tucked in the foothills of the Pyrenees with thousands of years of history underfoot, Pamplona is the center of our Camino universe. We settle into the luxurious city center hotel and spend the evening briefing the coming 14 days. Later we explore the gorgeous Old Town while enjoying pintxos (Basque tapas) on a lively pintxo bar hop. This is a walk-free day.

Food: Lunch and dinner
Travel: Bilbao / Pamplona
Sleep: Heart of Pamplona Apartments
How far: 0 miles / 0 kms
Afternoon Pleasures: Navarra Cuisine Cooking demonstration

Day 2Roncesvalles to Pamplona

On our first day, we transfer up to Roncesvalles where the journey begins in the high Pyrenees, with views of the silvery peaks against mountain skies. We start with a visit to the crypt where a king and queen of Navarra are laid to rest, and thus begin our own epic journey on the Camino de Santiago. Descending through iconic Pyrenean villages, such as Burguete where Hemingway idled away many a sunny afternoon, up the Erro mountain pass, and along the ever-widening Arga River. We arrive to Pamplona passing through the Portal de Francia, we enter the medieval citadel. Here in Pamplona, the capital of Navarra, we have time for afternoon activities in the winding cobblestone streets of the Old Town. Enjoy exploring the historic city and relish our exclusive culinary experience: a hands-on cooking class at our private gastronomy club, founded in 1918.

Food: Breakfast, on-the-road walkers’ lunch and dinner
Walking the best portions: Roncesvalles / Pamplona
Sleep: Heart of Pamplona Apartments
Estimated Walking Time: 3,5 hr
How far: 10 miles / 16 kms
Even farther: For those looking for an extra challenge, we can transfer instead to Saint Jean Pied de Port in France, and start our ride there. Adding more kms of stunning mountain scenery, we will start where most people actually begin the popular French Way, and climb to the highest point of the entire Camino de Santiago. Then we join the rest of the itinerary at Roncesvalles.
Afternoon Pleasures: Pamplona Culinary Evening in our private gastro – cultural club

Day 3Pamplona to Estella

While walking along the Camino today, the landscape changes from the foothills of the Pyrenees to the warm breezes and low-lying forests of southern Navarra. Leaving Pamplona, we ride south and west to an inviting climb up to the beautiful peak, El Paso del Perdón (The Pass of Forgiveness) to Puente La Reina where we find our final destination: one of the most exclusive Navarran wineries in the region. Visit to the winery with a wine tasting in the vineyard, overlooking views of the gorgeous hacienda and the rows of grape vines. Dinner is a sit down meal with more beautiful views, and we stay overnight in their elegant Casona Hotel, on the private grounds of the winery.

Food:Breakfast, on-the-road walkers’ lunch and pintxos dinner
Walking the best portions: Pamplona to Estella
Sleep: On the exclusive Winery grounds Hotel
Estimated Walking Time: 3,5 hrs
How far: 10 miles / 16 km
Afternoon Pleasures: Winery visit and wine tasting

Day 4Estella to Santo Domingo de la Calzada

Our Camino journey continues through the charming vineyards and fields of the Ebro Valley to Santo Domingo de la Calzada, a small town with a huge history. We travel past the pretty vineyards of the region to make our way to Santo Domingo de la Calzada, hence completing the stage of our route in the Ebro valley. We do an afternoon side visit and transfer to the monastery San Millan de la Cogolla where the first writings in Castilian (Spanish) and Euskera (the Basque language) were found. Upon arrival, explore the hotel and join us on a walking tour of Santo Domingo de la Calzada with our local hero, Roberto.

Food: Breakfast, on-the-road walkers’ lunch and dinner
Walking the best portions: Estella to Santo Domingo de la Calzada
Sleep: Four Start Hotel Parador ****
Estimated Walking Time: 3,5 hr
How far: 10 miles / 16 km
Afternoon Pleasures: Side excusion to the Monestary San Millan de la Cogolla, Visit the historic town of Santo Domingo de la Calzada.

Day 5Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Burgos

With Santo Domingo de la Calzada at our backs, we walk through the rolling hills leading up the mountain pass of Los Montes de Oca, and then down the vertiginous descents to San Juan de Ortega. We finish the day in the monumental city of Burgos. We have lunch in the hubbub of the heart of Burgos. Later, enjoy a fascinating tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Cathedral of Burgos. This evening, dine on your own – our guides can readily recommend a few favorite restaurants.

Food: Breakfast, on-the-road walkers’ lunch and dinner
Walking the best portions: Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Burgos
Sleep: Three Star Hotel ***
Estimated Walking Time: 3,5 hr
How far:: 11 miles / 17 km
Afternoon Pleasures: Tour of the UNESCO Cathedral of Burgos and the historic quarter

Day 6Burgos to Leon

This well-known stage of the Camino de Santiago takes us walking along the flattest portion of the pathway. The open landscapes and distant horizon under huge skies compel you forward across the Castilian Plateau. We walk through many quaint villages with their centuries-old churches, and eventually cross the impressive Fitero bridge over the Pisuerga River. We walk through the plains of Sahagún passing one of the milestones of the Camino, the Hospital de Orbigo where a Leonese king once held a famous jousting competition in 1434 on the bridge. Men of equal rank could not pass along the Camino unless they beat him, and many did not. Luckily, we may cruise by freely and reach the halfway point of the Camino as we enter the famous city of Leon. The Santa Maria de Leon Cathedral, also known as Pulchra Leonina or The House of Light, is simply breathtaking. With many more museums and points of interest in Leon, the afternoon will be packed. Finish the day in the labyrinthe of tiny streets drinking Ribera del Duero wine and eating fantastic tapas.

Food: Breakfast, on-the-road walkers’ lunch and dinner
Walking the best portions: Burgos to Leon
Sleep: Four Star Hotel ****
Estimated Walking Time: 3,5 hr
How far:: 10 miles / 16 kms
Afternoon Pleasures: Tour of Leon and Leon tapas and wine

Day 7Leon to Astorga

Enjoying the meseta of the past couple days is part of the beauty of the Camino, but today we finally get to take pleasure in some little hills and a change of scenery. One of the oldest Dioceses of Spain, Astorga is the ideal town to spend the night. We visit the Episcopal Palace of Astorga, designed by the grand Modernist architect Salvador Gaudi. After, bliss is on the menu for everyone with a well-deserved spa session at our fabulous four star hotel.

Food: Breakfast, on-the-road riders lunch and dinner
Walking the best portions: Leon to Astorga
Sleep: Four Star Hotel and Spa ****
Estimated Walking Time: 3,5 hrs
How far:: 10 miles / 16 km
Afternoon Pleasures: Tour of Astorga

Day 8Astorga to Molinaseca

The highlight of our walk on this day is to reach the summit Foncebadon at 1437 meters (4832 feet) of altitude with a stop to pay homage to the stately Cruz de Ferro (Iron Cross) which marks the crux of the walk and exudes a kind of contemplative magic. Here, pilgrims drop an object of their choosing to symbolize leaving behind their burdens as they continue towards Santiago de Compostela. A stop in Villafranca is due where there is time to lounge by the river and drinks are on us! Enjoy a swim and the all inclusive craft beer and wine picnic in the serenity of rural beauty before we transfer to Molinaseca.

Food: Breakfast, on-the-road riders lunch and dinner
Walk the best portion Astorga to Molinaseca
Sleep: Rural Boutique
Estimated Walking Time: 3,5 hrs
How far:: 10 miles / 16 km
Afternoon Pleasures: A swim and the all inclusive craft beer and wine picnic

Day 9Molinaseca to O Cebreiro

Today brings us to our Queen Stage, as we reach the crux of the entire Camino. We make our way up the O Cebreiro, the highest point of the Camino de Santiago, as we ascend 660 meters in about 12 kilometers. The rewards are amazing, however. In the quaint Celtic hamlet village on the top, we sit on the terrace of the café for a well-deserved empanada (a regional type of sandwich) with a kalimotxo (wine and coke – it is delicious). Take in the petite Galician abodes called Pallozas, the heavy-set stone church, and learn about the charismatic priest, Elias Valiña.

Food: Breakfast, on-the-road walker’s lunch and dinner
Walk the best portion: Molinaseca to O Cebreiro
Sleep: Rural Boutique
Estimated Walking Time: 3,5 hrs
How far:: 10 miles / 16 km
Afternoon Pleasures: Private visit of the O Cebreiro church NST style

Day 10O Cebreiro to Samos

Today brings us to our Queen Stage, as we reach the crux of the entire Camino. We make our way up the O Cebreiro, the highest point of the Camino de Santiago. The rewards are amazing, however. In the quaint Celtic hamlet village on the top, we sit on the terrace of the café for a well-deserved empanada (a regional type of sandwich) with a kalimotxo (wine and coke – it is delicious). Take in the petite Galician houses called pallozas, the heavy-set stone church, and learn about the charismatic priest, Elias Valiña. He is known for devising the famous yellow arrows that guide all pilgrims to Santiago. We transfer to the Abbey of San Xulian de Samos. This afternoon is a spiritual sanctuary experience. We explore the active Benedictine Abbey which was founded in the 6th century. We participate in the evening Benedictine prayers, and then sleep within the walls of the Abbey itself, tucked peacefully high in the Galician mountains.

Food: Breakfast, on-the-road walker’s lunch and dinner
Walk the best portion: O Cebreiro to Samos
Sleep: Authentic Monestary transformed in hotel ****
Estimated Walking Time: 3,5 hr
How far:: 10 miles / 16 km
Afternoon Pleasures: Explore the active Benedictine Abbey

Day 11Samos to Santiago de Compostela

Today begins the last portion of the Camino de Santiago Frances. We can feel the tingles of excitement knowing how close we are to completing such a personal and even spiritual challenge. Victory is near. It will be a day of celebration and joy. We walk to Santiago over low-lying hills under the protection of immense eucalyptus forests. At long last we come to Monte de Gozo where many different Camino paths converge into one. Just a bit farther and we stop at the Monument to the Pilgrim where you catch your first view of Santiago de Compostela and the cathedral towers, a deeply moving moment. We walk a few more kilometers and roll right into Plaza de Obradoiro where the bagpiper welcomes us to Santiago. Our stop in Santiago is complete as we walk the steps of the cathedral.

Food: Breakfast, on-the-road riders lunch and dinner
Walk the best portion: Samos to Santiago de Compostela
Sleep: Four Star Hotel Parador ****
Estimated Walking Time: 3,5 hrs
How far:: 10 miles / 16 km
Afternoon Pleasures: Enjoy the triumph, evening mass, group dinner party

Day 12Santiago de Compostela to Finisterre

We walk the prettiest portion of what is said to be the true ending site of the Camino. During the pre-Christian era, people made pilgrimages to Finisterre because it was where the sun set and was considered to be ‘the end of the world’, as its Latin name suggests. Enjoy the stunning beauty of the Spanish landscape, while giving you a true sense of the soul and magic of these exciting people and their culture. We spend the night in an 18th Century lighthouse watching the sunset over the ocean, take a stroll in the picturesque fishing village of Finisterre and watch the fishermen at work.

Food: Breakfast, on-the-road riders lunch and dinner
Walk the best portion: Santiago de Compostela to Finisterre
Sleep: Unique Lighthouse Boutique ****
Estimated Walking Time: 3,5 hrs
How far:: 10 miles / 16 km
Afternoon Pleasures: Enjoy a private Galician bagpipe session by sunset

Day 13Finisterre to Muxia

This is our last day of walking, which takes place along the coast where you can breathe in the fresh Atlantic air to the fishing village of Muxia. We visit the chapel of la Virgen de la Barca which is tucked away on the coastline, so close in fact that the ocean reaches its south wall when the tide is high. The afternoon is yours to enjoy seaside walks, the serenity and peaceful pleasures of life in a fishing village, staying in the four star Parador Hotel with views of the ocean, a ‘marisco’ fresh seafood meal and an inhouse spa.

Food: Breakfast, on-the-road riders lunch and dinner
Walk the best portion: Finisterre to Muxia
Sleep: Hotel Parador and Spa ****
Estimated Walking Time: 3,5 hrs
Afternoon Pleasures: Enjoy the Galician fishing village and enjoy the well earned relaxation of a spa session

Day 14Farewell and until next time

After a fine breakfast, we will assist in arranging your transportation to the nearest airport or train station for your onward travels.

Food: Breakfast
Travel: Muxia to Santiago de Compostela

* NST itineraries may be subject to slight route changes, hotel substitutions, and other modifications.

Inclusions

Accommodation

  • Select holiday homes in the heart of Pamplona
  • Select hotels and holiday homes that reflect the uniqueness of each destination

Food

  • Daily breakfasts, all lunches, dinners stated in the itinerary
  • Energy food, nutritious snacks and drinks on the road
    Wine tastings and cocktail hour
  • Gourmet dinners at our hand-picked restaurants and culinary events
  • Select wines, or beer with every meal

Support

  • NST local guides
  • Transportation during the journey
  • Support vehicle that follows the day’s route with you
  • Pick-up and drop-off before and after your tour from predetermined meeting points

Gear for Walking

  • High end walking poles
  • Complimentary jersey, t-shirt, water bottle

Activities

  • Wine tastings and activities as indicated in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees to historic sites, museums, parks, and all other exclusive events

Not Included

  • Airfare
  • Travel Insurance
  • Dinners on free evenings
  • Gratuities for guides
  • Extra services not outlined in the itinerary
 

Tour Designers

stephanie mutsaerts

Stephanie Mutsaerts

Founder of Northern Spain Travel & Heart of Pamplona

Stephanie, the dynamo of our organization, is a Canadian who has fallen in love with northern Spain. She is enterprising, innovative and has an endless amount of energy to design unique outstanding travel plans, making her passion her profession. She has the firm conviction that until the product standards are exceptional, they should not be offered.

“Our goals are two; one is to bedazzle our visitors and another is to share with them what we find so extremely enchanting about this region of Spain”.

jose mari ardanaz

Jose Mari Ardanaz

Community Manager & Camino de Santiago Expert

Born and raised in Spain, Jose Mari is the founder of ElCaminoPeople and is part of the NST executive team. He studied Education and completed his masters in the United States making him perfectly bilingual. He is passionate about pilgrimages – a journey with a purpose – breathe in nature. He is excited to take guests along the scenic thousand year old pathways laden with richly interconnected networks of excellent trails from the gates of the Pyrenees to the ‘end of the world’. Jose Mari takes El Camino to another level, by hand-crafting exclusive journeys designed for walking or cycling, in style, your rhythm and ensure that guests have lasting memories of these routes.

“The north of Spain is an outstanding destination, steep in history and amazing gastronomy. It will defintely surprise you”.

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