The Camino de Santiago
The Camino de Santiago is often known in English as the Way of Saint James. It is thought of as both an inward and outward journey for the pilgrim. The goal is not simply to arrive in Santiago de Compostela, but to be personally transformed and inspired. The great joy and gift of walking the Camino is in the people you meet along the way and the sense of connection to the millions that have gone before since medieval times. This program follows the last 100 kilometers of the path from Sarria to Santiago, which will qualify you to receive an official pilgrim compostela / certificate of completion.
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must be at least 18 years old+
Casual and Comfortable walking clothes and shoes
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Day 1: Arrive in Sarria and explore the town and check-in to accommodations
Sarria is a major starting point for those wishing to do the minimum 100km to receive a Compostela. The train from Madrid is about a 5.5 hours ride and trains and buses from Santiago de Compostela airport take 3-4 hours (or it's a 90 minute taxi ride). It's here in Sarria where we'll get our Camino "passport" that many pilgrims get stamped at each location on their walk. You must have a properly-stamped passport if you want to get the official Compostela certificate when you go to the pilgrim's office in Santiago.
Day 2: Sarria - Portomarin (14 miles)
Walk Details: 23 km/14 miles. After your night in Sarria, expect a calm walk through pretty villages and peaceful hamlets under the shade of oak trees and along quiet country roads. Along the way, you will spot many Galician traditional ‘hórreos’ (granaries). Visit the beautiful Romanesque church in the village of Barbadelo. Your destination for the night is the town of Portomarin, famous for its tarts and liquors. The large, plate sized Torta de Santiago is an almond tart decorated with a powdered sugar cross that is a combination of a sword and a shepard’s hook. The liquor, orujo, is called aguardente in Galician language. It comes in various colors and flavors; the most common shades are clear and a light green color resulting from an herb mix.
Day 3: Portomarin - Palas de Rei (11-15 miles)
Walk Details: 18-24 km/11-15 miles. After your night in Portomarin, your Camino will cross the river Miño (Galicia’s longest river) and rise uphill steadily towards the Serra de Ligonde. You will pass nice hamlets such as Gonzar and Ventas de Narón. Stop to visit the Romanesque Church of Santa María in Castromaior and the Romanesque church in Eirexe, with its portal featuring a sculpture of Daniel with animals, as well as Pilgrim Santiago. Finally, you'll arrive to Palas de Rei, a small, pretty town with a central square and town hall, lined with shops, and small bars and cafes.
Day 4: Palas de Rei - Melide (9-13 miles)
Walk Details: 15-21 km/9-13 mi. After your night in Palas de Rei, the Camino trail continues downhill, passing the village of Casanova and the delightful village of Leboreiro. Once you get settled into your accommodations in the lively market town of Melide, you should try octopus, Galicia’s most classic dish, in one of the many ‘pulperías’.
Day 5: Melide - Arzúa (9 miles)
Walk Details: 14 km/9 mi. The Camino crosses several streams and follows a forest track bringing you to the village of Boente and the church of Santiago. Next is the pretty medieval hamlet of Ribadiso and finally the town of Arzúa (389m), famous for its local cheese. In Arzúa, you should visit the churches of Santa María and A Magdalena.
Day 6: Arzúa - Rúa (11 miles)
Walk Details: 18 km - 11 mi. After your night in Arzúa, your Camino will take you through pretty woods, sleepy villages and across streams for most of the day. The chapel of Santa Irene, with its unique statue of Santiago, is worth a visit. Tonight you'll stay in lovely Rúa, a quiet village surrounded by fields with grazing sheep, green hills and traditional rural homes.
Day 7: Rúa - Santiago de Compostela (13 miles)
Walk Details: 21 km/13 mi. Your final day on the Camino! After your night in Rúa, your next point of interest is Lavacolla in the outskirts of Santiago, where pilgrims used to wash themselves in the river in preparation for their arrival in Santiago de Compostela. Rows of tall eucalyptus trees line your journey to Monte do Gozo (‘Mount of Joy’ 368m) and it is from here that will catch your first glimpse of the spires of the cathedral in Santiago. When you arrive in the city (population 80,000), explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site’s architecture and delight in the wonderful atmosphere of this spiritual and cultural city. If you've gotten a good start to the day's walking, you should try to be in Santiago in time for the pilgrim mass (12pm) where the priests burn incense in the famous censer (botafumeiro) that they swing over the congregation. After visiting Santiago Cathedral and recovering from your walk, take time to explore this gem of a city, small and vibrant. Its old town will enchant you. In Santiago de Compostela you will find not only pilgrims but also locals and students, enjoying a few bites and socializing over a glass of wine in the many bars, restaurants and cozy cafes.
Don't forget to head over the Pilgrims Reception Office in Santiago to get your Compostela (certificate of completion). Bring your stamped pilgrim passport. They also have a nice gift shop inside.
Day 8: Santiago de Compostela - end of program
Walk Details: Explore more of Santiago today. Tours of the Cathedral roof are terrific, but check the schedule for times and reservations. Explore the old city center, the Cathedral and the Market.
You might even want to consider a day trip to Finisterre "the end of the world" (optional extra charge). Traditionally, pilgrims used to finish their Camino journey in Cape Fisterra, where they burned their clothes and admired the sun setting over the Atlantic Ocean. Our Finisterre day trip will take you from Santiago de Compostela to the fishing village and Cape, stopping along stunning parts of the Costa da Morte, such as the fishing village of Muros, Carnota (home to the biggest granary in Galicia and the largest sandy beach), the Ézaro waterfall (the only river in Europe reaching the sea as a waterfall) and the village of Muxía, famous for its charming sanctuary by the Atlantic.
Day 9 – Departure from Santiago de Compostela. End of program.
All good things must come to an end, and for many Santiago de Compostela is a bittersweet arrival, so jubilantly anticipated but also symbolizing the end of the pilgrimage. Today you are on your own to explore more of Santiago. We'll say goodbye and share stories and recollect with each other about our Camino Adventure and being pilgrims on the Camino De Santiago. You can fly out of the Santiago airport or take the train back to Madrid for your flight home or onward journeys. (not included).
• 8 nights charming Inns and Hotels
• Luggage transfer from hotel to hotel with no limit
• Train ticket from Madrid to Sarria
• Pilgrim’s Passport
• Breakfast daily and farewell dinner in Santiago
• Transportation from Hotel to Santiago Airport
Cost: $2,500 per person double occupancy (airfare not included) Single Supplement: $450