El Camino Francés – The French Pilgrim’s Way

A Guided Walking Trip – 10 Days & 9 Nights

This guided walking tour on the Camino de Santiago covers approximately the last 300 km of the Camino Frances route, taking you to the most emblematic spots along the Way – true jewels of Spanish art, architecture and history. After a first night in León, our support vehicle enables us to spend the next 3 days covering the 200 km to Sarria, visiting the most interesting sights and walking only the most attractive sections of the trail. From Sarria onwards, over the next 5 days, we’ll walk the entire way to Santiago—115 km—meeting the requirement to qualify for the official pilgrim’s certificate.

  • León – home to some of Europe’s greatest masterpieces of Gothic art and a wonderful pilgrim’s atmosphere, its old quarter is perfect for strolling and enjoying tapas and the excellent local wine.
  • Authentic local culture and rural scenery – glimpses into traditional lifestyles like shepherds roaming hillsides with their flocks, simple country folk tending their orchards and farmers harvesting – often by hand – the riches of their land.
  • Living history – medieval bridges and stone walls still in use, centuries-old chapels and churches where locals still pray, ancient villages whose homes might have primitive thatched roofs or old slate ones…
  • The unique energy and camaraderie of the “pilgrimage” - every day you’ll share the trail with fellow pilgrims from around the world, and inevitably, the traveller soon finds herself imbued with the unique and magical spirit of the “Camino “.
  • The progressive change in climate and landscapes - as we trace the Camino westward, experience a dramatic change in terrain and ecosystems..
  • Santiago de Compostela – one of the world’s great historic cities, its ancient granite-clad old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Home to Galicia’s regional government, one of Europe’s oldest universities and the magnificent cathedral that has drawn millions over the centuries like a magnet, it virtually buzzes with a unique energy and is a fascinating place to explore.

Day
1

Leon

Individual arrival in León and transfer to hotel located near the cathedral.

Overnight: in the heart of historic quarter of León, near the great cathedral.

Day
2

León to Astorga  (transfers & selected walks)

Meet the rest of the group and your trip leader, then tour the main sights of León, including the Cathedral, with its fabulous stained glass windows, and the Royal Basilica of San Isidoro, to see its remarkable Romanesque frescoes. After a light tapas lunch we transfer to the famous bridge at Puente de Orbigo, for our first walk, across rolling heaths into the historic town of Astorga.

Overnight: in the old town of Astorga

Day
3

Astorga to Villafranca del Bierzo (transfers & selected walks)

Superb views and pure air bless us as we follow lovely country tracks lined with heather, gorse and aromatics. Along the way we visit such jewels as Castrillo de los Polvazares, one of Spain´s best preserved medieval villages and la Cruz de Ferro – one of the simplest, yet most symbolic monuments of the entire Camino—a hilltop iron cross where pilgrims throughout the ages have placed stones, creating a huge mound at its base. Our destination is known as “little Compostela” for its profusion of historic buildings.

Overnight: in Villafranca del Bierzo, in an historic inn.

Day
4

Villafranca del Bierzo to Sarria (transfers & selected walks)

We walk in wonder along ancient paths shaded by birches, oaks, chestnuts and poplars up to the emblematic mountaintop stone-built village of O’Cebreiro. Pretty trails take us to Triacastella and beyond. On our way, we pass by the Benedictine monastery in Samos, one of the oldest in western Christendom.

Overnight: in or near Sarria

Day
5

Sarría to Portomarín

Today’s walk may be the most beautiful of the entire pilgrimage, through verdant forests, grassy meadows, fertile orchards and simple stone-built hamlets to Portomarín, perched on the banks of the Miño, one of Galicia’s great rivers.

Overnight: Portomarín.

Day
6

Portomarín to Palas de Rei

The Way continues on through lush Galician countryside. If time allows, we’ll take a short detour to visit one of Spain’s most outstanding Romanesque churches at nearby Vilar de Donas.

Overnight: Palas de Rei area

Day
7

Palas de Rei to Castañeda

The Way crosses rolling green landscapes, dotted with cows, stone walls and ancient churches. Stop for lunch in Melide, famed for its Pulpo a la Feira – tender morsels of boiled octopus drenched in virgin olive oil, sea salt and paprika.

Overnight: Melide-Arzúa area

Day
8

Castañeda to Pino

Rural paths and country lanes wend through increasingly populated countryside, a patchwork of vegetable patches and fields with oak, pine and eucalyptus woods.

Overnight: Pino-Rua area

Day
9

Arca to Santiago

Quiet lanes and forest paths lead up to the Monte del Gozo—“Mount of Joy”, soon followed by the magical moment of arrival at the cathedral in the Plaza del Obradoiro – Santiago’s grandiose central square. In the evening the group will enjoy a celebratory supper.

Overnight: in the old quarter of Santiago, near the magnificent Obradoiro square.

Day
10

Santiago

A morning guided tour of cathedral and surrounding area with local licensed guide, finishing in time to attend 12:00 noon pilgrim’s mass. If you’re flying out, it’s just a 15 minute transfer to the Santiago international airport.

 camino_frances View Camino de Santiago Frances Guided Trip in a larger map
Includes:
  • 9 nights accommodation
  • 9 breakfasts, 8 picnic or tapas lunches, 7 evening meals with house wine and bottled water. 2 nights to explore on your own
  • Local maps of León and Santiago
  • Full-time support vehicle and luggage transfer for 1st 3 days of walking itinerary Days 2, 3 & 4 (León – Sarria).
  • Luggage transfer only from hotel to hotel on days 5 –  9 (Sarria – Santiago).
  • Experienced bilingual trip leader
  • Walking tours with local expert government-licensed guides in León and Santiago, including entrance fees
Extra night prices include excellent buffet breakfast and taxes.
Price per person: 2.150€

Single room Supplement: 250€

Extra nights in León before start of standard trip itinerary:
70€ per person (double/twin)

110€ per person (single room)

Extra nights in Santiago following completion of standard trip itinerary:
80€ per person (double/twin)
120€ per person (single room)

  • Duration: 10 Days, 9 Nights
  • Meeting Point: Leon (several daily connections from Madrid and Barcelona by air, rail or bus)
  • Ending Point: Santiago de Compostela (several daily connections to Madrid, Barcelona and certain European cities by air, as well as rail connections to Madrid and other cities.)
  • Walk Difficulty and Terrain: Moderate due to lengths of walks – mostly gently rolling terrain / occasional steep ascents. Surfaces range from hard-packed earthen paths and dirt or muddy farm tracks to ancient paved trails and quiet asphalted backroads
  • Daily distances & times: 14.5 – 24.5 km / 9 – 15 miles. Most days are about 5 to 6 hours of walking. Daily distances might seem challenging, but be assured that completing this itinerary is well within reach of anyone who maintains a moderate level of fitness.
  • Accommodations: In León and Santiago we use quality 4* hotels in restored historic buildings in great locations in the pedestrian-only zones of the old cities, just steps from the magnificent cathedrals. For the rest of the itinerary where we stay in rural areas along the Camino , we use mostly 2* to 3* or equivalent (there is no “star” system for rating inns or similar in Spain) small family-run hotels and rural inns in stylishly restored historic buildings, all rooms with en-suite facilities and modern fittings. All properties are personally chosen for their comfort, character, location and overall quality.
  • Trip Dates: see calendar.
  • Custom Dates: Custom dates can be arranged for groups of 3 or more people: mid-April to early July, June, and September to late October.
  • Group size: 4 – 14

French Pilgrim’s Way Photo Gallery