11-Day Camino de Santiago

11 DAY / 10 NIGHT WALKING ADVENTURE
A unique exploration of the most scenic Camino paths
DATES
PRICE
LENGTH
ACTIVITY LEVEL
TRIP TYPE

Walking

Since the Middle Ages, pilgrims have trekked to Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. Many routes have been traveled over the centuries and on this unique itinerary, you will have the opportunity to walk on two of them. The Camino Frances (French Camino) and the Camino del Norte (Northern Camino) are the only ones recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites for their living memory of spiritual, cultural, artistic and economic importance of the historic pilgrimage routes as part of the European identity.

Explore the dramatically varied landscapes of northern Spain. As you switch between the more famous Camino Frances and the more dramatic and lesser known Camino del Norte, the contrast between the dry central plateau and the lush green pastures of the Cantabrian coast are remarkable.

Connection

Our selection of walks and visits balances the beauty of the natural landscape with the most interesting historical sites and charming, comfortable accommodation. What makes this journey so special is the people you meet along the way. From your guides and hosts to shepherds, villagers and your fellow pilgrims.

Hiking the Camino with Walking Connection means an expertly curated experience; complete with a knowledgeable, local hiking guide and a driver guide to provide optional shorter hike distances for hikers of all abilities. Walking Connection Co-Founder, Jo Ann Taylor, will be hosting this inaugural trip and sharing the journey with you.

Itinerary

 

Please note that the details of this itinerary are subject to change. Many of the planned activities are organized according to availability, events or seasonal dates, appropriate weather conditions or the discretion of our guides. We make every effort to provide the experience described in the itinerary with the understanding that some things may change.

Day 1

Pyrenees

Starting in Bilbao, we take a drive up into the foothills of the Spanish Pyrenees to Roncesvalles, the traditional start point of the Camino in Spain. The landscape is one of lovely small villages set in the rolling pastures and forests of the Basque Pyrenees. Over the course of the day, you gradually descend through villages and woodland towards the village of Zubiri where you end today's walk.

After a refreshment in the village bar, you are picked up for the short drive to your hotel in the heart of the old city of Pamplona. Take time this evening to stroll around the heart of the city with your guides, following the route of the encierro, also known as the running of the bulls, made so famous by Hemingway. Tonight enjoy a welcome dinner in a local restaurant.

Walk Options: For your first day's walk on the Camino, enjoy an introduction to the week ahead. With very little elevation change, you can start with an easy warm up for just a few miles or trek up to 7 miles (11.5 km). Your choice! With our own expert hiking guide leading the way, we will have access to our private vehicle along with a driver guide for flexibility. 

Meals included: Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Guendulain

Day 2

La Rioja

A short transfer from Pamplona brings you to the start point of today's walk. As you are now moving away from the mountains, the terrain changes to open, rolling landscapes punctuated by villages rich in history, including Puente de la Reina, one of the prettiest villages along the entire Camino. Cross Medieval and Roman bridges, passing olive groves and small vineyards as you continue your journey along the Camino towards the hill top village of Cirauqui.

At the end of today's walk, you transfer around an hour to the Rioja area where we visit one of the famous wineries before settling in the Parador of the historical town of Santo Domingo do la Calzada.

Walk Options: Passing through various villages along the way, there will be several points at which you will have the option to finish your walk and enjoy the local life. For those that would like to walk the full distance, your total for the day will be 9.25 miles (14.8 km).

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Parador Bernardo de Fresneda - Santa Domingo

Day 3

Burgos

Start the day with a one hour transfer to the start point of today's walk in the Montes de Oca. In the olden days, the traverse of the Montes de Oca was one of the most feared stretches of the pilgrimage due to bandits. Follow a wide track through the forest until you reach the beautiful monastery that was built by San Juan de Ortega to offer support to pilgrims.

Today's route finishes near Atapuerca, which is arguably the most important archaeological site on earth. At the site, 1 million years of human presence are being excavated, the oldest evidence of humans in western Europe. Stay in the heart of Burgos, famous for its enormous gothic cathedral and its particularly good food. Enjoy an early evening city tour with our local guide before dinner. There is also a fantastic museum in Burgos which contains the world's largest hominid collection and an exhibit on Human Evolution.

Walk Options: Walk through varied terrain from bird-filled forests to more barren landscapes for a maximum distance of 6.2 miles (10 km). If you prefer a shorter walk, you have the option to go directly to Burgos after the hikers are taken to the start of their walk and explore the village.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: AC Burgos

Day 4

Leon

From the old town of Castrojeriz, set off across the Tierra de Campos with its huge cereal fields and enormous skies. The landscape is dotted with small villages and impressive churches with nesting storks. This really is deep Spain and leaves you with a fantastic sense of the vast emptiness of central Spain. 

Spend the night in the town of Leon, where you can enjoy the famous stained glass windows of its gothic Cathedral and the lively bars and restaurants of El Humedo quarter.

Walk Options: With endless cereal hills stretching out before you, set out across the vast plains for a 7 mile (11 km) walk. A shorter 3 mile walk is available for those that choose, or enjoy free time in nearby San Martin de Fromista, a village with a number of interesting churches.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Palacete Colonial

Day 5

Picos de Europa

From Leon, transfer north into the Cantabrian range to hike down into the Liebana valley, admiring the high vertical peaks of the Picos de Europa as you follow the Camino Vadiniense. This route was historically used to visit the important relics that were hidden in the Liebana Valley in the 8th century, to keep them from the Muslims conquering the Peninsula from the South.

The Picos de Europa is the first National Park established in Spain in 1918 and a unique reserve of wildlife and traditional farming culture. Walk past mountain pastures and beech forests to arrive in Fuente De,a remote setting deep in the mountains. From here, a short transfer will deliver you to your cozy, family-run hotel. 

Walk Options: Walk 7.15 miles (11.5 km) along the Camino Vadiniense into the Picos de Europa National Park. For anyone that prefers not to walk today, you will be transferred by our driver/guide to the next hotel and enjoy an optional free day.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Del Oso

Day 6

Llanes

Walk on three different Caminos in one day. Start the day walking along the Camino Vadiniense, traversing forests, pastures and villages under the towering Picos de Europa. Close to the town of Potes, you reach the Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liebana, where the famous relics of the Lignum Crucis have been kept since the 8th century. From this point you join the Camino Lebaniego to finish your walk in the historic town of Potes.

Enjoy a walk around its cobbled streets and bridges and refresh yourself before your transfer to the Cantabrian Coast. Settle for the night in the picturesque fishing town of Llanes, one of the loveliest villages along the Camino del Norte and an excellent place to dine on seafood at one of numerous restaurants.

Walk Options: Our hike will take us along the Deva Valley and past Santo Toribio Monastery on your way to Potes. If you opt for the full distance, you will cover 7 miles (11 km) or for a shorter walk of several miles, you will be picked up along the way. Enjoy the walk your way!

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Hotel Don Paco

Day 7

Oviedo

From Llanes, a one hour transfer will take you to Oviedo, the capital of the old Kingdom of Asturias that started the Christian reconquest of Spain in the 8th century. Oviedo is the origin of the first pilgrimage to Santiago of Asturian King Alfonso II. He first recognized that existence of the tomb of Santiago and traveled to the site. The town's historical center is today a lively and beautiful area to spend the evening, with traditional Asturian cuisine. 

 

A short transfer will then deliver you to your walk following the path along high cliffs and past coves of white sand ideal for a quick dip, if you like cool water. The path passes by old Romanesque monasteries dating back to the early Middle Age when this was the preferred route to Santiago.

Walk Options: We will be staying in Llanes for two nights, so that you can have several options. Stat walking today along the Camino del Norte and the rugged Cantabrian coast for a complete day's walk of 10 miles (16 km). There will be several pickup points 3 - 5 miles for those that would like a shorter day or take ts free day and enjoy Llanes on your own.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Hotel Don Paco

Day 8

Astorga

Today we travel south across the Cantabrian range towards Leon to start hiking to the town of Astorga. Your starting point is the village of Orbigo, you traverse holm oak forests and open fields. 

In Astorga, you meet another historic path of Iberia as you reach the Via de la Plata, a branch of the pilgrimage which comes up from Seville following an old Roman road. In Roman times, Astorga was the administrative center of a region rich with gold deposits. As early as the 3rd century, the town was a bishopric and this rich history is evidenced today by the sheer number of important religious buildings built here through the ages. Of particular note is the Episcopal Palace, designed by Anton Gaudi.

Walk Options: Walking the Camino Frances, we will follow the way to the old Roman town of Astorga with a choice of a 3.7 mile (6 km) OR a 6.2 mile (10 km) walk.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Hotel Via de la Plata

Day 9

Lugo

Prepare yourself for a big change in scenery as you cross into the lush greenery of Galicia, home to the city of Santiago. The walk today is relatively short, but all uphill, as you walk out of the region of Leon. At the top of the hill is the village of O'Cebreiro, rich in Camino history and site of one of the oldest inns on the walk. It's been serving meals to pilgrims since the 9th century, so how could we pass up a warm lunch?

After lunch, we travel to the next hotel in the town of Lugo. An important stop on the Northern Camino, Lugo is famous for its fully preserved Roman wall circling the city center.

Walk Options: The scenery changes completely as you walk into Galicia -- Spain's greenest corner. This rewarding hike is an uphill climb with a total gain of 700 meters. Walk halfway for a village pickup at 2.5 miles (4 km) or climb the rest of the way to complete the ascent with 5.25 miles (8.5 km).

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Monumento Pazo de Orban

Day 10

Santiago de Compostela

It is a short drive to the town of Sarria, where you will begin your walk. In this town many pilgrims gather, as this is the start point for those completing a shorter version of the Camino. The path follows ancient trails passing small hamlets and magic "corredoiras", the traditional Galician pathways lined with oak and chestnut trees. You also enjoy views of the wide open countryside.

At the end of your morning walk, you travel by road to Santiago to stop at the Monte do Gozo and hike into town to reach the Cathedral. Take in the atmosphere in the Plaza del Obradoiro, watching as pilgrims finish their long journey, and celebrate yours. Settle into your comfortable small hotel near the city center and get ready for a very special farewell dinner.

Walk Options: Walk one of the prettiest stretches of the Camino, following ancient paths through the forests. Depending on time, there will be several options for short walks or a longer trek up to 8.14 miles (13.1 km). For our final stage, we will walk together 3 miles (5 km) into Santiago de Compostela.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Altair

Day 11

Depart or Stay!

Santiago is a very special city. Resolutely and obviously Spanish, it has also welcomed visitors for millennia, so has a relaxed cosmopolitan feel, which is otherwise difficult to come by in Spain. The city is always full of pilgrims who are delighted to have just arrived, so it is hard not to be infected by their positivity.

If you have the time to stay a day or two after the Camino, enjoy visiting markets and museums, and try a few restaurants. We are happy to extend your stay.

If you must go, a transfer to the airport or train station can be made after breakfast.

Meals included: Breakfast

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