5 WEEKS WALKING CAMINO FRANCES
Start at the foot of the Pyrenees in the village of St-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France, the official starting point of the Camino Frances. Cross the Pyrenees and the entire plateau of Northern Spain. Cover 5 distinct regions and countless villages.
Trip Score 0 Reviews0/5
Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Moderately Challenging
Daily Distance Moderate
Some people don’t want to miss a thing, and if you have the time, you won’t regret a single moment of this journey.! Start at the foot of the Pyrenees in the village of St-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France and cross the entire plateau of Northern Spain. Cover 5 distinct regions and countless villages.
ST-JEAN-PIED-DE-PORT TO SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA 34 DAYS / 33 NIGHTS
1-2 Star Inns: 2,195€ *
2-3 Star Inns: 2,775€ *
Every day between
April 1st – September 28th, 2017
April 1st – October 1st, 2018
Average Daily Distance:
24km – 5 to 7 hours
- 33 nights accommodation
- All breakfasts (in 2-3 Star Itinerary Only)
- Luggage transfers
- High-speed train, Santiago de Compostela-Madrid
- Access to 24 hour help line
- Personalized electronic guidebook which includes:
- daily route notes, elevation profiles & itinerary overview
- informative notes and videos of sites of interest
- restaurant reviews and suggestions
- Camino trail map & GPS locations of sites of interest
- essential services locator (banks, pharmacies, water, etc)
- food menu translator
- common spanish phrasebook
- tips for how to prepare & train for the Camino
- first aid & emergency situation tips
- Personal expenses
- Meals outside of breakfasts
- Data and phone plan for electronic device
- Potential taxi services to shorten days
- Electronic Device. Rental available on demand at extra cost
- Travel insurance
- Museum entrances & other paid visits
ST-JEAN-PIED-DE-PORT – 0 KM
Work your way to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. This village is the starting point of the Camino Frances towards Santiago de Compostela, where three French routes merge before crossing the mountain pass into Spain.
Many people choose to fly into Paris or Bordeaux, France and take the train into St-Jean-Pied-de-Port.
ST-JEAN-PIED-DE-PORT – RONCESVALLES – 25 KM (16 miles)
A beautiful but demanding start to the trip as you’ll spend most of it climbing in the Pyrenees. The rewards though are well-worth every effort as the views and tranquility of the mountains are breath-taking. We end in the small village of Roncesvalles in Spain. A morning shuttle can be arranged for those who want to shorten the distance.
RONCESVALLES – ZUBIRI – 22 KM (13 miles)
Another peaceful day in the mountains. The terrain is not as difficult as yesterday’s stage as we pass through more villages and witness the more laid-back way of life in these parts.
ZUBIRI – PAMPLONA – 22 KM (13 miles)
A shorter day so you can arrive earlier in Pamplona and take full advantage of the city’s sites. This is where the running of the bulls has become so legendary in the past years and in part due to Ernest Hemingway’s book ‘The Sun also Rises’. But you’ll quickly notice that there is a lot more to this city than their San Fermin Festival.
PAMPLONA – PUENTE LA REINA – 23 KM (14 miles)
A great first day of walking awaits, passing legendary passage ‘Alto de Perdon’ and ending in Puente la Reina with its impressive 11th century bridge.
PUENTE LA REINA – ESTELLA – 22 KM (13 miles)
Very medieval-like feeling today walking through little hamlets of the 12th and 13th century. Estella, the final stop is a great place to discover as it is rich in typical Basque architecture.
ESTELLA – LOS ARCOS – 22 KM (13 miles)
Crossing the Iratxe monastery is the high point. Founded in the 10th century, you’ll be offered their traditional red wine, tough to refuse.
LOS ARCOS – LOGRONO – 28 KM (17 miles)
Leaving the Navarra region and entering La Rioja, famous for their reputed vineyards! The medieval towns and fortress walls of Torres del Rio and Viana are reminders of the harsh battles that took place along this border.
LOGRONO – NAJERA – 29 KM (17 miles)
Najera holds its name from the arabic root, meaning ‘place between the rocks’. Located on the river banks and surrounded by bright orange cliffs, it’s an obviously-appropriate name.
NAJERA – SANTO DOMINGO DE LA CALZADA – 21 KM (13 miles)
Today’s highlight is discovering the village of Santo Domingo de la Calzada. Founded by and for, pilgrims, by a hermit who settled close to the river.
SANTO DOMINGO DE LA CALZADA – BELORADO – 23 KM (14 miles)
Today is a tranquil day, passing through a series of villages that have been marked in some way by the history of the Camino. Belorado was constantly disputed between the kingdoms of Castilla and Navarre.
BELORADO – SAN JUAN DE ORTEGA – 24 KM (15 miles)
We end next to the 11th century Monastery of San Juan de Ortega. Famous for its decorative columns that depict the duel between Roland and the Moor Giant Ferragut.
SAN JUAN DE ORTEGA – BURGOS – 28 KM (17 miles)
Today’s lovely walk passes the tiny hamlet of Atapuerca, renown for a story that is not linked to the Camino in the least. In 1992, archeological excavations discovered the remains of what is known as the ‘first European’, a Neandertal skeleton dating over 800,000 years ago.
BURGOS – HONTANAS – 30 KM (19 miles)
After Burgos, starts the most mentally challenging sections of the Camino. You are entering the Meseta (also known as Paramos) – Spain’s high plateau desert. Although repetitive scenery, many villages and sites you come across have their own charm and the peace and serenity found here can be very inspiring.
HONTANAS – BOADILLA DEL CAMINO – 28 KM (17 miles)
We stop today in Boadilla del Camino, known for its 15th century ‘rollo’ where people were publicly judged and a 13th century roman baptismal sculpted in stone located inside the Asuncion church.
BOADILLA DEL CAMINO – CARRION DE LOS CONDES – 25 KM (15 miles)
Peaceful walk today and ending in a village that, at its peak, had over 14,000 habitants. Filled with well maintained monasteries and churches.
CARRION DE LOS CONDES – TERRADILLOS DE LOS TEMPLARIOS – 26 KM (16 miles)
Crossing the complete desert today, no shade, no rest stops. Be sure to be well prepared. The evening ends in a small hamlet that literally appears to be out of nowhere.
TERRADILLOS DE LOS TEMPLARIOS – EL BURGO RANERO – 29 KM (18 miles)
Another long day in distance but, once again, all on level ground. Passing the town of Sahagun, anciently known as the capital of the ‘Poor Romanesque’ due to the materials used to build their churches and buildings, with adobe being preferred to stone.
EL BURGO RANERO – MANSILLA DE LAS MULAS – 19 KM (12 miles)
Mansilla de las Mulas, located on the banks of the river Esia, has a great medieval feel. Its large fortress and four main archways add to the ambiance.
MANSILLA DE LAS MULAS – LEON – 20 KM (12 miles)
León was the capital of Christian Spain for centuries starting in the year 910 when the city was reclaimed from the Moors. Its foundation dates even further back to the Roman Empire, in the year 69. It is obviously filled with historical sites and monuments.
LEON – HOSPITAL DE ORBIGO – 31 KM (19 miles)
León being a large city, we traverse it for a few kilometers until Valverde de la Virgen. The terrain onwards is mainly a gentle downhill all the way to Hospital de Orbigo. Legendary due to its impressive medieval bridge.
HOSPITAL DE ORBIGO – ASTORGA – 17 KM (11 miles)
Another gently sloped day to allow plenty of time to visit some of the fascinating sites of Astorga. Astorga also holds some of the most important Roman ruins in the area and a fascinating cathedral. Those with a sweet tooth may prefer a quick tour and taste at the Chocolate Museum.
ASTORGA – RABANAL DEL CAMINO – 21 KM (13 miles)
The entire day is a gradual ascension to Rabanal del Camino. As you exit the city, you’ll quickly find much more tranquility, as the villages crossed are tiny and sparse. Your efforts are rewarded with great views of the mountainous region, a real highlight on a clear day.
RABANAL DEL CAMINO – MOLINASECA – 25 KM (15 miles)
First real challenging day as you continue climbing to Cruz de Hierro (the Iron cross), an emblematic place along the Camino Frances. Located atop of Mount Irago at 4,970 feet, it is the highest point along the entire Camino Frances, including the Pyrenees. Adding a stone at the foot of this cross has become an important camino ritual with many pilgrims over the centuries. A long downhill awaits on the other side.
MOLINASECA – CACABELOS – 23 KM (14 miles)
Today’s walk is a lot more level than it has been these last few days. We pass a series of villages located in the heart of the Bierzo valley as we admire the size of the neighbouring mountains that surround us. Many enjoy spending time discovering the ancient castle of Ponferrada and the sites of Cacabelos, your home for the evening.
CACABELOS – LAS HERRERIAS – 29 KM (19 miles)
Don’t let the distance fool you, it’s practically all level ground.! Passing Villafranca del Bierzo, it doesn’t take long to notice why this has always been an important stop along the Camino Frances. The ‘Puerta del Perdon’ (door of forgiveness), Villafranca Castle, the XII th century Monastery of Santa Maria all await you here.
LAS HERRERIAS – BIDUEDO – 23 KM (14 miles)
By far the most difficult section on the Camino Frances, no matter how one does it. The morning starts rather quickly with an abrupt 8.4km steep climb to OCebreiro. The good news is that once you reach the top, you arrive at one of the prettiest, and also popular, villages on the entire Camino Frances, OCebreiro. This village looks, feels, and to a certain extent, is, completely Celtic.
BIDUEDO – SARRIA – 28 KM (17 miles)
After yesterday’s big day and what was surely a good night’s sleep, we are greeted by a long 7 km downhill into the small town of Triacastela (the three Castles).! At this intersection comes decision-making time. If you are tired, one may opt for the shorter and more direct route for a total of 22km. If on the other hand, you are feeling strong and would like to discover Spain’s oldest and largest Monastery (Samos), then walking an extra 6km is well worth the detour.
SARRIA – PORTOMARIN – 21 KM (13 miles)
A great start to the trip as you’ll spend most of the day in the quiet countryside, discovering the peacefulness of rural Galicia. You’ll end with a long downhill walk into Portomarin, your home for the evening, along the banks of the Mino River.
PORTOMARIN – PALAS DEL REI – 24 KM (15 miles)
Another peaceful day in the countryside, slowly meandering through local villages and hamlets. Some interesting untended Celtic ruins can be seen along the way if one has the strength to make a short 1 km detour.
PALAS DEL REI – SEDOR – 24 KM (15 miles)
Today takes you through Melide, a village that has made Pulpo Gallego legendary throughout the country. A simple recipe of octopus, potatoes and paprika but when prepared just right, lights up your taste buds!
SEDOR – PEDROUZO – 24 KM (15 miles)
As you get closer to Santiago, you start walking through more and more Eucalyptus treed forests. The aroma is delightful as is the rest of the trail.
PEDROUZO – SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA – 20 KM (13 miles)
A shorter distance in walking today in order to take full advantage of the city’s sites. There is tons to see and do, on top of enjoying the fulfillment of reaching your destination!
SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA – MADRID – 0 KM
Afternoon return via high speed train to Madrid.
ASTORGA – CASA DE TEPA
An 18th century home transformed into a beautiful small hotel. Inner courtyard with a garden & chairs to unwind in.
LAS HERRERIAS – PARAIZO DEL BIERZO
Beautifully refurbished 300 year old barn. The area is so quiet and serene, one can’t help but relax and disconnect here.
MONASTERIO SAN ZOILO
Part of an old monastery converted into a 4 star hotel. Rooms are all very different but mainly spacious, comfortable and have tons of charm.
PAZO DE SEDOR
A lovely manor home from the 17th century, with beautiful and relaxing grounds, located on the outskirts of town.
PARADOR BERNARDO FRESNADA
A former 16th century convent renovated into a beautiful hotel. Located next to the historical center of Santo Domingo de la Calzada.
Modern rooms in an ancient home. Located on the edge of the historical center, where it is much quieter and tranquil.