Day One - To Bilbao
Your tour begins with a flight to Bilbao, the largest city in Spain's Basque Country, best known for its Guggenheim Museum. Tonight you'll get to know your fellow travellers a little better over a welcome drink, before you set off on the iconic Camino de Santiago together tomorrow.
Day Two - Puente La Reina to Haro
Today begins your journey along the ancient Camino de Santiago, following in the footsteps of pilgrims past. Your ultimate destination is the shrine of St James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, and along the way you'll discover charming towns and cities. In the Middle Ages, this route was the most important religious and cultural route in all of Europe, so it's a journey steeped in history and culture. You'll even receive a Pilgrim Route Passport, which will be stamped en route, to treasure along with the memories you'll create. Your journey begins as you make your way to Puente La Reina, the meeting point of the Jaca Pilgrim Road and the French Way, and here you'll admire the 12th century church of Santa María de Eunate before embarking upon the Camino de Santiago, passing through vineyards and charming villages. Your first stop is the charming village of Lorca, where lunch is included, before continuing via the Monastery of Irache to the famed La Rioja wine region, and then heading to Haro. After today's walk, you'll no doubt be thirsty, so later you'll enjoy a winery visit, sampling some Spanish wine.
Walk: 5.3km/3.2miles - 90 minutes
Day Three - Haro to Burgos
The journey continues today through more vineyards of La Rioja, with your first stop at the 12th century town of Navarrete, built by the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, which boasts wonderful views of the surrounding countryside, before continuing from the royal town of Nájera, divided by the River Najerilla. You'll then continue by road to Santo Domingo de la Calzada, an important stopping point for pilgrims. You'll be staying in the town of Burgos tonight, and you can join an optional guided tour of the town upon arrival, including highlights such as its magnificent Spanish Gothic cathedral.
Walk: 5km/3.1miles - 90 minutes
Day Four - Burgos to Leon
Enjoy a hearty breakfast before today's walk, which will take you to the 'breadbasket' of Spain, the Campos de Castilla area, which is famous for its cereal production. Your walk will follow a canal built for the transportation of cereal, and its locks - which allow for a 14-metre drop in terrain - are a real highlight. You'll have a stop for lunch and free time int he town of Frómista, which boasts an impressive Romanesque architectural gem, the Church of San Martín. Tonight you'll stay in León, a historic city set on the Benesga River and the capital of the Province of León. The town is the proud of home of many churches and cathedrals notable for their architectural and artistic merit, particularly the 13th-century Gothic masterpiece Catedral de León, which boasts particularly impressive towers and flying buttresses, and the Romanesque Basilica de San Isidoro, which dates back to the 10th century and is famed for its frescoes and royal tombs. You may wish to join an optional city tour which will showcase the city's landmarks, such as the cathedral, as well as the Casa de los Botines, designed by the world-famous Catalan architect, Gaudi.
Walk: 5km/3.1miles - 90 minutes
Day Five - Leon to Ponferrada
You'll admire another design by Gaudi today, as your walk takes you to the town of Astorga, where you'll view its cathedral and the Gaudi-designed Bishop's Palace, before continuing your journey where you'll pass the traditional village of Castrillo de los Polvazares, which features charming stone-built houses. Today's walk takes you to northern Spain's highlights, where you'll stop at la Cruz de Fierro, a significant site where prilgrims would leave behind a stone or memento, symbolically casting aside a burden. After a traditional lunch in the picturesque village of Molinaseca, you'll drive to tonight's destination, Ponferrada, where you'll visit the Knights Templar Castle and Basilica de Nuestra Senora de la Encina.
Walk: 6km/3.7miles - 2 hours
Day Six - Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela
Today is the day you'll reach your goal, the famed Santiago de Compostela. First, though, you'll make a stop at the Celtic town of O Cebreiro, one of the most charming and picturesque villages along the Camino de Santiago, and here you'll pause to admire the pre-Romanesque church and round stone houses. The journey continues a little longer, with a stop for lunch in the riverside town of Portomarin, whose historic buildings were rescued stone-by-stone after it flooded, before being moved to allow for a dam to be built on the Miño River. You'll then drive to Monte de Gozo (the Mount of Joy), where you'll get your first sighting of Santiago de Compostela from the same site as Medieval pilgrims after their long journey. Your final walk will then take you into the Plaza del Obradoiro, in the city centre.
Walk: 5km/3.1miles - 90 minutes
Day Seven - Fisterra and Santiago de Compostela
Having reached Santiago de Compostela, the adventure is not yet over! You'll head to Fisterra this morning to visit the historic fishing port where pilgrims would bathe in the sea to purify their souls, and from where they would collect a scallop shell, which symbolised pilgrims. The afternoon is yours to spend as you please, and there's an optional guided tour of Santiago de Compostela, so you can discover more about the Galician capital, exploring its porticoed streets, and visiting its local market. There's also the opportunity to attend the pilgrim's mass; if you're lucky, you may see the 'botafumeiro', a giant incense burner, as it swings through the entire length of the cathedral, which - according to tradition - is the final resting place of the remains of St James the Great. In the evening, you'll enjoy a final dinner with your group at a traditional Galician restaurant.
Day Eight - Tour Concludes (to UK)
As you make your way back to the airport for your return flight home, you'll make a stop at Combarro, a small fishing village on the northern shore of the Pontevedra estuary where time has stood still, with quaint granite-paved streets lined by traditional Galician-style houses and artisan shops.
Various 2019 and 2020 dates now available
Contact one of our dedicated solo travel specialists today to enquire about this holiday
01234 326 778