This walking tour follows the ancient pilgrimage trail across the rolling plains of Castile-Leon, once the historic seat of the Spanish Empire, over the mountains and into the more isolated and culturally independent Galicia.
Along the walking trail from Leon to Santiago we soak up the history of the region as we stay in distinguished and luxurious Paradors and we sample some of the best examples of Castilian and Galician food and wine.
Day 1: Leon
Accommodation: Hotel Real Colegiata de San Isidoro
From Madrid, we’ll travel by van through the Sierra de Guadarrama and over the fertile plains of Castile to the historic city of León, founded in 68 B.C. and home to the cathedral with the most beautiful stained glass windows in Spain. On the way, we will stop for lunch in Rueda, famous for its exquisite white wine, Verdejo. We’ll spend the late afternoon visiting the Cathedral, wandering around the winding, slate-paved streets of the Barrio Húmedo (renowned for some of the best tapas bars in Castile); and, before dinner, we’ll head to the Madres Carbajales convent to get that all-important piece of documentation that will record our pilgrimage – the Credencial del Peregrino.
Day 2: Leon – Astorga
Route: 17 km (10 mi.) walk from Hospital d’Orbigo to Astorga
Accommodation: Hotel Via de la Plata
An easy first day on the Camino de Santiago that will allow you to fully enjoy the monumental city of Astorga, located on the border of the “paramo” to the mountains of León. Astorga has a great history, having been founded by the Romans in the 1st century B.C. It became a very important communication hub and a mining center during Roman times. Astorga is where the Southern Camino de Santiago coming from Seville along La Via de la Plata merges with the French way.
Day 3: Astorga – Villafranca
Route: 19 km (12 mi.) walk
Accommodation: Parador de Villafranca
From Foncebadon, you’ll leave the territory of Astorga and enter El Bierzo. The Camino climbs through rolling mountains to the Cruz de Ferro, a symbolic five metre monument, crowned with an iron cross sitting upon a heap of stones. After visiting the cross, you’ll venture into the village of El Acebo, where you will stop for lunch. The Camino winds it way down to the picturesque village of Molinaseca, known for its pretty riverside location and Romanesque bridge. From here you’ll be driven to your hotel for the evening, the Parador de Villafranca.
Day 4: Villafranca – Monforte de Lemos
Route: 21 km (13 mi.) walk
Accommodation: Parador Monforte de Lemos
This morning you’ll venture to Galicia via O Cebreiro, a stunning mountain village in a region of outstanding natural beauty. From O Cebreiro, you will pass through the ‘Serra de Ranadoiro’ (Ranadoiro Mountains) and, after crossing the Alto do Poio, you will descend into the village of Triacastela. Here your guide will be waiting to drive you to the lovely Parador de Monforte where you will have dinner this evening.
Day 5: Monforte de Lemos – Arzua
Route: 19 km (12 mi.) walk from Melide to Arzúa
Accommodation: Hotel Pazo Santa Maria
Following a relaxing morning and perhaps a quick tour of the Rio Sil’s lovely gorges, you’ll be driven to the lively market town of Melide to begin today’s short walk. Melide is a great place to try Galicia’s classic dish of octopus in one of the many “pulperías”. From here the Camino crosses several streams and follows a forest track bringing you to the village of Boente with its church of Santiago. Next is the pretty medieval village of Ribadiso and finally the town of Arzúa. In Arzúa, you should visit the churches of Santa María and A Magdalena.
Day 6: Arzua – Santiago de Compostela
Route: 14 km (8.5 mi.) walk from Amenal to Santiago
Accommodation: AC Palacio del Carmen
Parador Option: Parador de Santiago
Today your journey ends exactly where it should—in the impressive shadow of the medieval Cathedral de Santiago, the legendary resting spot of Saint James the Apostle, and the pious place where pilgrims both ancient and modern complete their act of devotion.
Today you’ll make the final journey into Santiago. You will have a short morning drive to Amenal, where you’ll start your day of walking. Your next point of interest is Lavacolla, where pilgrims used to wash themselves in the river in preparation for their arrival in Santiago. Rows of tall eucalyptus trees line your journey to Monte do Gozo (“Mount of Joy”) and it is from here that will catch your first glimpse of the Cathedral of Santiago. When you arrive in the city, you will get a chance to explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site’s architecture and delight in the wonderful atmosphere of this spiritual and cultural mecca. Should you want to be in Santiago in time for the noon Pilgrims mass, it will require an early start as the journey time to this point is around four hours. Tonight you’ll enjoy a celebratory dinner with your guide.
Day 7: Departure
Whether your plan is to return home or continue your travels in Spain or elsewhere in Europe, Santiago is a great stepping off point. Its small but new international airport is very well connected to Spanish destinations and to nearby European ones like London and Paris. Flights out are generally very well priced for those who plan in advance. Meanwhile, for those of us who do not choose to part ways in Santiago, after breakfast, we’ll bid farewell to our Camino adventure and return to Madrid by van (7 hours). Our route whisks us through the mountains of southern Galicia, through Ourense and back across the golden plains of Castilla-León.
Hotel Real Colegiata de San Isidoro
Located in Leon’s historical center, directly in the heart of one of the most impressive Roman complexes of the Peninsula.
Hotel Via de la Plata
This modern hotel was built in 2011, over the stones of the convent of San Francisco.
The hotels design gave priority to the space in the rooms, the furniture and the welcoming contemporary decoration. If offers the rest you deserve while enjoying the best location in the historic district.
Parador de Villafranca del Bierzo
Villafranca del Bierzo is a town full of churches, monasteries and convents. Right at the town entrance stands this converted historical building.
The leading tourist accommodation in the fascinating El Bierzo district. It is surrounded by mountains covered with cherry and fig trees, slopes dotted with chestnuts, poplars and small farms.
Parador de Monforte de Lemos
The historic site of San Vicente do Pino is located in the uppermost part of the town of Monforte de Lemos.
San Vicente do Pino Monastery and the palace of the counts of Lemos houses the Parador de Monforte. The monastery dates back to the 9th century, although the current structure was built in the 17th century in the neoclassical style.
Hotel Pazo Santa María
This elegant hotel dates back to the first half of the eighteenth century.
The Pazo Santa Maria complex comprises of various historical buildings which in themselves amount to a small village. Pazo Santa María has 16 lovely bedrooms located either in the main building or in the small individual annex cottages.
Parador de Santiago – Hostal dos Reis Catolicos
The Parador de Santiago is a blend of history, art and tradition. It is the emblem of the city and the prefect nights rest for pilgrims.
The hotel is located on Obradoiro Square near the cathedral, creating an area of spectacular beauty in one of the most visited provincial capitals in the world. A stay at this Parador means a visit to a truly unique and exclusive location.
An unbeatable cultural and historical cycle journey along the Way of St. James
*Coverage to guarantee a safe trip. An indispensable travelling companion provided by BIKE SPAIN TOURS for our clients. Nevertheless, we ask you to review the limited amount of such coverage included in our insurance, and to confirm with your insurer that you are adequately covered in any event.
(Included in our Guided tours)
13 Sept 2020, 27 Sept 2020, 11 Oct 2020, 25 Oct 2020, 14 Mar 2021, 28 Mar 2021, 11 Apr 2021, 25 Apr 2021, 09 May 2021, 23 May 2021, 06 Jun 2021, 20 Jun 2021, 04 Jul 2021, 29 Aug 2021, 12 Sept 2021, 26 Sept 2021, 10 Oct 2021, 24 Oct 2021