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11 Nights – Highlights of the Camino Primitivo & the Final 100 km to Santiago

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12 days, 11 nights
Max People : 14
Iberian Adventures > Destinations > Camino Primitivo > 11 Nights – Highlights of the Camino Primitivo & the Final 100 km to Santiago
Tour Details

Self-Guided. 12 days, 11 nights. 10 days walking

The oldest of all the Ways to Santiago is the “Camino Primitivo”, following the route taken in the early 9th century by the reigning Christian monarch Alfonso II to visit the recently discovered Apostle’s tomb. This was the beginning of the pilgrimage to the place now known as Santiago de Compostela.

From stately Oviedo, capital of the Principality of Asturias – starting point of El Camino Primitivo, you’ll hike 5 days on the most beautiful and interesting sections of this oldest of all Ways to Santiago between Oviedo and Lugo. Then you’ll hike another 5 days along the final 100 km from Lugo to Santiago de Compostela in order meet the requirement to qualify for “la Compostela” – the official pilgrim’s certificate on arrival at the holy city.


12 Days, 11 Nights

Meeting Point:


Several daily flights from Madrid, Barcelona and some other European cities, including London). Also daily connections by train and bus from Madrid.

Ending Point:

Santiago de Compostela

Several daily connections to Madrid, Barcelona and certain European cities by air. You can also take a slow train to Madrid.

Walk Difficulty and Terrain:

B+ / C+ (Moderate).

The ground underfoot is quite easy but most days are at least 5 – 6 hours of walking.  Mostly gently rolling terrain with occasional steep ascents and descents. Surfaces range from hard-packed earthen paths and dirt or muddy farm tracks to ancient paved trails and quiet asphalted backroads.

Approximate walking distances:

Total 203 km/ 126 mi. over 10 days. Most days are about 5 to 6 hours of walking and shorter stages are possible on the sections before reaching Lugo.


In Oviedo, Lugo and Santiago we use quality 3* or 4* hotels in restored historic buildings in or very near the pedestrian-only zones of the old cities.  Where we stay in rural areas along the Camino, we use 2* to 3* or equivalent 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.

Start dates:

Any day of the week from April 1 to October 31

Note: Oviedo cathedral closed on Sunday afternoon

Minimum Group size:

from 1 or more.


April, May, June, September, October

1500 euros per person in twin or double rooms.

310 euros single room supplement.

July & August

1550 euros per person in twin or double rooms.

335 euros single room supplement.

Price includes:

11 nights accommodation

11 breakfasts, 3 dinners (full-course meals) with local wine and bottled water

Detailed daily route notes

All transfers of luggage and persons, required to complete the itinerary from Oviedo to Santiago

Optional walking tours (at extra cost) with local expert guides in Oviedo, Lugo & Santiago. Consult us!

Other options

Can be booked during the reservation process

Extra night in Oviedo at trip start

April, May, June, September, October

65 euros per person in twin or double rooms. 95 euros single room

July & August

80 euros per person in twin or double rooms. 135 euros single room

Extra night in Santiago
80 euros per person in twin or double rooms. 145 euros single room supplement.

Self-guided excursion in Finisterre
Price Per Person: 150 euros per group

Local guided tours with licensed guides
Oviedo: 125 euros per group

Lugo: 135 euros per group

Santiago: 1235 euros per group


Oviedo – capital of Asturias, the “cleanest city in Spain”, with a beautifully conserved, pedestrian-only old quarter, and a UNESCO World Heritage cathedral containing relics that made it Spain’s second most important pilgrimage site after Santiago de Compostela.

Lugo – very important in the history of the Camino, the world’s best-preserved Roman walls encircling the old town and its impressive cathedral with the Holy Sacrament on permanent display combine to merit its UNESCO World Heritage.

Santiago de Compostela – 2 nights in 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.

Asturias – a “principality” within Spain, this is the peninsula’s most mountainous region and the Camino traverses its most rural and isolated corner, home to western Europe’s largest populations of wolves and brown bears. Here, traditional lifestyles prevail, and the people are fiercely proud of their Celtic legacy and indomitable spirit – the Christian Reconquest of Iberia from the Moors began here with the 1st major defeat of the Moors at the Battle of Covadonga in 792.

Fewer pilgrims, wilder terrain and more authenticity – the first part of this Camino covers mountainous, remote and wild landscapes with relatively few towns and villages, chapels, churches and pilgrim’s refuges. The more challenging terrain and relative scarcity of services results in noticeably fewer pilgrims and a sense of authenticity often lacking on the much busier French Way.


Day 1Arrival in Oviedo

Oviedo, declared “cleanest city in Spain”, has a beautifully conserved, pedestrian-only old quarter with attractive squares and pleasant safe streets. The city has several UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the Holy Chamber of the Gothic San Salvador cathedral with relics that made it Spain’s second most important pilgrimage site after Santiago de Compostela. Optional guided tour of the cathedral and surrounding area available.

Overnight: 4 star hotel in the old quarter of Oviedo.
Meals: we include no meals on arrival day

Day 2Forest trails of the Camino Primitivo & Tineo

Today you’ll begin walking the Camino Primitivo! A short transfer, then start hiking along farm tracks and country lanes through beautiful rolling green countryside, into Tineo, perched high on a verdant hillside with sweeping views of oft-snow-capped mountains to the south. The town is birthplace of Doña Isabel, first queen of Portugal and, Doña Ximena, the wife of El Cid. Continue on to an abandoned 11h century Benedictine Monastery. Short transfer back to Tineo to spend the night.

Hike: 19.8 km / 12.3 mi. A shorter stage is possible.
Overnight: in 4* hotel in a 16th C. noble home in Tineo.
Meals: Breakfast included.

Day 3Rural lanes and forest paths to Pola de Allande

A short transfer to the hike start point. Rolling terrain at elevation (near 1000m) for much of the day, leading through rural terrain with small hamlets, green meadows and mixed forest. In the spring and early summer there are views of the oft-snow-capped high mountains of Somiedo in the Cordillera Cantábrica to the south.

Hike: 19.2 km / 11.9 mi. A shorter stage is possible.
Overnight: 1* hotel in Pola de Allande
Meals: Breakfast included.

Day 4Forest and mountain paths to Berducedo. Grandas del Salime

One of the most feared stages of the medieval Camino, this is certainly one the most spectacular in terms of scenery and one of the more challenging sections of the all Caminos. Even now, this is one of Spain’s most uninhabited regions, home to roaming wild horses and wolves. We revel in our solitude as our path climbs among heather and gorse to an isolated pass where our efforts are rewarded with sweeping views (or swirling fog!) and further appreciation for the achievements of those early pilgrims. A short transfer at end of stage to Grandas del Salime.

Hike: 18.2 km / 11.3 mi (+750 m / 2641 ft – 350 m / 1148 ft elevation gain & loss). A shorter stage with less elevation gain is possible.
Overnight: 1* hotel in Grandas del Salime
Meals: Breakfast included.

Day 5 Forest and mountain paths into Galicia & Fonsagrada

Today the trail crosses over the border from Asturias into her fellow “Celtic” region of Galicia. A superb walk to experience the sensations of the pilgrims of old, through deeply rural countryside in this remote region with very few human inhabitants. The trail climbs – never too steeply, to the highest point of the day – the Acebo mountain pass (1028m) official border between Asturias and Galicia. Gently rolling terrain leads to Fonsagrada. En-route, stop to visit a fascinating Celtic-Roman hillfort settlement and museum.

Hike: 26.9 km / 16.7 mi (+715 m / 2348 ft – 265 m / 869 ft elevation gain & loss). A shorter stage with less elevation gain is possible.
Overnight: 1* hotel in Fonsagrada
Meals: Breakfast included.

Day 6Mountain trails to Paradevella & Lugo

Today’s short stage goes through more quiet countryside and rolling terrain. En-route stop to visit a prehistoric dolmen (a megalithic burial site). At the day’s end of stage in Paradevella, transfer to Lugo. This former Roman town of Lucus Augusti played an important role in the history of the pilgrimage. It has an impressive Gothic cathedral, and the world’s best preserved Roman walls encircling the old town (UNESCO World Heritage). You can walk the entire 2.2 km circuit atop the walls! Optional guided tour of Lugo’s historic sights.

Hike: 12.7 km / 7.9 mi
Overnight: 4* hotel in Lugo (1st of 2 nights)
Meals: Breakfast included.

Day 7Begin the last 100 km to San Román De Retorta

Given Lugo’s Roman history, it’s no surprise that the Camino Primitivo now follows an old Roman road all the way to Santiago, these days just quiet country lanes meandering through gentle green landscapes. Shortly after departing Lugo we pass the distance marker indicating just 100km to Santiago! Return to Lugo to sleep a 2nd night.

Hike: 19.6 km / 12.2 mi.
Overnight: as on previous day.
Meals: Breakfast included.

Day 8Last 100 km to San Salvador De Merlan

The Camino Primitivo wends along mixed forest trails through tiny hamlets scattered among rolling green Galician countryside. It’s a short stage, allowing you to explore Lugo in the morning if you like and/or enjoy relaxing at our luxurious inn, one of the best on the Camino.

Hike: 14.6 km / 9 mi
Overnight: a comfortable family-run inn at a lovingly renovated traditional Galician farm house.
Meals: breakfast & dinner.

Day 9Last 100 km & merge with the French Way in Melide

Verdant hill and rural scenes accompany our steps towards Melide where we merge with the Camino Frances – the “French Way to Santiago”. The town is famed for its Pulpo a la Feira – tender morsels of boiled octopus drenched in virgin olive oil, sea salt and paprika. In the afternoon, an especially enchanting stretch of forest trail leads us to our lodgings.

Hike: 25.3 km / 15.7 mi
Overnight: a renovated family run 15th C. “pazo” (traditional Galician manor house).
Meals: breakfast & dinner.

Day 10Last 100 km to Rua

Rural paths and country lanes lead through vegetable patches, fields and oak groves, then pine and eucalyptus woods and excitement mounts as we near Santiago. A short transfer to the inn.

Hike: 24 km / 14.9 mi
Overnight: a renovated family run 16th C. “pazo” (traditional Galician manor house).
Meals: breakfast & dinner.

Day 11Final day’s hike to Santiago

Quiet lanes and forest paths wend through increasingly populated countryside until we finally reach the Monte del Gozo—“Mount of Joy”, so named for the emotion of those who were rewarded with their first view of the cathedral spires. Now downhill, following in the footsteps of millions before you, until the magical moment of arrival at the impressive cathedral in the Plaza del Obradoiro – Santiago’s grandiose central square. Although dinner is not included, we’ll provide recommendations and can reserve you a table to eat a celebratory evening meal at one of Santiago’s finest restaurants.

Hike: 23 km / 14.3 mi
Overnight: close to the magnificent Obradoiro square and cathedral, this 4* hotel in a beautifully restored wing of a working monastery is a fine place to rest your weary bones.
Meals: Breakfast.

Day 12Departure

The trip officially ends with breakfast at your hotel. If you’re flying out, it’s just 20 minutes by taxi to Santiago international airport. If you have an afternoon flight, in the morning you could visit Santiago’s bustling market and attend 12:00 noon pilgrim’s mass. There is also an option for an early morning tour of the main squares surrounding the cathedral with a local licensed guide.

Meals: breakfast.

Optional extra day(s) in Santiago
We recommend you spend at least 1 extra day and night in Santiago in order to best experience this magical city. There is plenty to see and do. We will provide recommendations.

Optional add-on at end of trip: self-guided excursion and hike to Finisterre
If you’re staying 1 or more extra nights in Santiago, consider an easy hiking excursion at Cape Finisterre (Land’s End), where many travelers traditionally ended their pilgrimage, a tradition dating from pre-Christian times. We’ll arrange for a private taxi to take you out there, where you’ll hike on our secret trails to the highest point of the cape and then down to the lighthouse. Return to the town of Finisterre for lunch by the waterfront and then return to Santiago. This is a fantastic final hike to your Camino experience! Great views, fascinating history. If you prefer not to hike, group bus tours are also available and can be arranged.

Optional add-on prior to Camino Primitivo: 2 days hiking on the coastal sections of the Camino del Norte in Asturias
If you have time, consider starting your trip 2 days earlier in Bilbao, capital of Spain’s Basque Country and home to the famous Guggenheim Museum. We’ll arrange for private transfers to take you westward along the spectacular Atlantic coast for 2 days of short but truly wonderful hikes on superb seaside trails of the Camino del Norte, linking rocky coves, sandy beaches and verdant green coastal meadows. Night 1 in Bilbao. Night 2 in Llanes. Night 3 in Oviedo (Day 1 of the standard trip described above). See more details here: 2 Nights – Coastal Highlights of the Camino del Norte