Saturday 15 – Sunday 30 September 2018 (13 days/14 nights)
Northern Coast, Galicia & Finisterre peninsula, Spain
Maximum walking distance 180 km. Options to walk more or less & non-walking days
3,500 Euros p/p twin share, 300 Euros single supplement
100 Euros discount applies on balance if full payment is received by 1 April 2018
Day 0: Saturday (15 September) (No long distance walking)
The tour price includes accommodation in Bilbao home to the magnificent Guggenheim Museum of modern and contemporary art. This is well worth a visit but its wise to book in advance.
Accomodation: Bilboa. Meals: N/A
Day 1: Tour commences in Bilbao (Sunday 16 September) (No long distance walking)
Participants meet after breakfast. After discussing tour logistics we visit important sites in the historic centre including the Cathedral dedicated to St James, the Apostle. We have our Pilgrim Passports stamped then return to our hotel before transferring to Santillana del Mar. Here we visit the 12th C. Collegiate Church with its fine Romanesque cloisters. There’s time to wander the medieval streets before a celebratory Commencement Group Dinner.
Accommodation: Santillana del Mar. Meals: B. D.
Day 2: Santillana del Mar to Comillas (Mon 17 September) (Walk: 10kms or 23 kms)
After breakfast we set off with a light daypack knowing that our luggage will be safely transported to our next hotel! We travel via grassy fields and shady forest paths, with the occasional church spire appearing in the distance. There is time to linger, take photos and rest our feet during a lunch stop in the pretty village of Cobreces. At this point some might decide that they have done enough walking for the first day. But those who continue the journey on foot will not be disappointed! The approach to our destination is accompanied by fantastic coastal views.
Accommodation: Comillas. Meals: B.
Day 3: Comillas – Llanes (Tuesday 18 September) (Walk: 12 km)
Today’s pathway takes us through the Oyambre Nature Reserve via a mix of wetlands, open fields and spectacular beaches. Our first view of the picturesque medieval fishing village of San Vicente de la Barquera is most memorable. The town is situated beside a tidal estuary that is crossed by a 28 arch bridge and overlooked by a 13th C. church and an 8th C. castle. With so much to explore we elect to enjoy the town’s peaceful ambience and delay any further long-distance walking until tomorrow. In the late afternoon we transfer to our hotel in nearby Llanes.
Accommodation: Llanes. Meals: B.
Day 4: Buelna – Llanes (Wednesday 19 September) (Max. walk: 16 km)
This morning we transfer to the pretty village of Buelnes where we join a long distance coastal walking path. From here we can enjoy a feast of varied vistas. On our left are the snow-capped peaks of the Picos de Europa, the highest mountain range in northern Spain. On our right is the rugged coastline beside the azure blue Cantabrian sea. With such amazing scenic attractions we need to take extra care to follow the familiar yellow arrows that will lead us to Santiago! We spend a second night at our comfortable XVII C. hotel in the lively seaside town of Llanes with its fascinating historical, maritime and cultural past.
Accommodation: Llanes. Meals: B.
Day 5: Llanes to Ribadesella (Thursday 20 September) (Max. walk: 17 km)
A feature of today’s journey is travelling past some long abandoned coastal monasteries. The trail through villages and seaside landscapes is generally flat, making for easy walking. The village of Nueva boasts many remarkable colonial palaces and traditional houses, some built in Indiana style. One of the oldest medieval towers (1032 A.D.) in the region is located here. In the afternoon we transfer to the pretty port town of Ribadesella with its historic town centre and fisherman’s quarter. This coast is also famous for its pre-historic caves.
Accommodation: Ribadesella. Meals: B.
Day 6: Ribadesella to Colunga (Friday 21 September) (Max. walk: 20 km)
This morning we walk beside the coast past several beautiful beaches. The trail takes us via fields and cliff-tops, between the mountains and the sea. Here there are many good examples of traditional raised graneries called horreos and evidence of the region’s Celtic origins. The final stretch of today’s journey winds along quiet paths and inland valleys before reaching our destination, the small town of Colunga. The historical quarter has preserved much of its monumental heritage and provides many good examples of colonial architecture. Those interested in dinosaurs might take an optional side trip to see some giant footprints in situ**.
Accommodation: Colunga. Meals: B.
Day 7: Colunga – Villaviciosa (Saturday 22 September) (Max. walk: 17km)
Our path today takes us through the tiny hamlet of Priesca where we visit the pre-Romanesque Church of San Salvador (consecrated in 921 A.D.) with its original frescos. In the afternoon we walk through attractive agricultural landscape to Villaviciosa. This town is known as the ‘apple capital’ of Spain and is famous for cider production. It also boasts historical significance for its association with the 16th C. King Charles. In more recent times Villaviciosa became widely known for its strong resistance to Franco during the Spanish civil war and for the subsequent suffering of its people who held fast to their beliefs.
Accommodation: Villaviciosa. Meals: B.
Day 8: Villaviciosa to Pola de Siero (Sunday 23 September) (Max. walk: 18km)
Up until now we have followed the Camino del Norte that hugs the coast for 500kms to the fishing port of Ribedeo. But today the pilgrim pathway splits. We take the fork that leads to Santiago via the Camino Primitivo which is the Original Way. This trail that passes through Oviedo, once the capital of the Kingdom of Asturias, is the original pilgrimage route. We enjoy long stretches of rugged landscape dotted with the occasional small village. Leaving San Salvador de Valedios beside its ancient Cistercian monastery, we are careful to stay on the correct track. Tonight we enjoy the hospitality and ambiance of staying with a family in a casa rural.
Accommodation: Near Pola de Siero. Meals: B. D.
Day 9: Pola de Siero – Oviedo (Monday 24 September) (Max. walk: 20km)
Continuing through the attractive Astaurian countryside our path finally reaches the UNESCO listed World Heritage city of Oviedo. This is where the first pilgrimage route was initiated by King Alfonso II (known as The Protector of The Way) in the 9th C. not long after the discovery of the tomb of St. James. Here we can see some of Spain’s finest examples of 9th C. architecture. We arrive in plenty of time to visit the many colourful plazas and magnificent medieval churches. This city also boasts a fine cultural heritage and is home to some fascinating modern street art.
Accommodation: Oviedo. Meals: B.
Day 10: Oviedo (Tuesday 25 September) (No long distance walking)
Today we enjoy free time to relax, visit places of interest and wander at leisure through the captivating streetscapes. This is a chance to visit world-renowned art galleries and museums; pursue other personal interests; do a spot of shopping; or simply take a well-earned rest. It’s also an opportunity to enjoy the festive spirit that comes with seeing skillful waiters pouring cider into glasses at arm’s length, without spilling a drop. Some might choose to visit the central food market or a Sideria to sample a tantilising selection of appetisers such as Asturian ham, chorizo, cheese and other local produce.
Accommodation: Oviedo. Meals: B.
Day 11: Oviedo – Finisterre (Wednesday 26 September) (Max. walk: 5km +)
After breakfast we transfer by bus to Finisterre to spend a couple days walking in this remote peninsula. It was here, at what was formerly known as ‘the end of the earth’, that the relics of St James were brought first for burial. The rugged surrounding peninsula shelters many protected species of birds and distinctive vegetation. We visit the famous Finisterre lighthouse beside the often-turbulent Atlantic Ocean, then walk down hill to the harbour before returning to our hotel. Fantastic photo opportunities await those who want to record their visit to this spectacular site. There is plenty of time to relax, take a short seaside stroll, have a swim or observe daily life in this pretty fishing town.
Accommodation: Finisterre. Meals: B.
Day 12: Finisterre – Muxia – Finisterre (Thursday 27 September) (Walk: 14km)
For many today’s walk will be a highlight of their Camino experience! The rugged surrounding peninsula shelters many protected species of birds and distinctive vegetation. We take forest paths and farming tracks to the attractive village of Lires. This is a largely undiscovered route with the azure blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean often visible in the background. After an exhilarating, scenic walk we transfer to the lively fishing port of Muxia with its weathered headland on which a 12th century Romanesque church is situated. Before transferring back to our hotel in Finisterre we are further rewarded with the opportunity to see women engaged in the ancient craft of lace making.
Accommodation: Finisterre. Meals: B.
Day 13: Finisterre to Santiago de Compostela (Fri 28 September) (Max. walk: 18kms)
In the morning we transfer to Ponte Maceira reputed to be the best-preserved hamlet in all Galicia. Before commencing our final stretch to Santiago we cross the magnificent medieval bridge over the Rio Tambre. Much of our journey today takes us through shady pine and eucalyptus forests and there is a spring in our step as we approach our final destination. At long last we see the spires of the magnificent 11th Cathedral and enter the UNESCO World Heritage listed pilgrim city. Before visiting the Cathedral we toast our arrival with a celebratory glass of vino! A group dinner complements this wonderful day.
Accommodation: Santiago de Compostela. Meals: B.D.
Day 14: Santiago de Compostela (Sat 29 September) (No distance walking)
Now at our journey’s end we can relax, experience and enjoy just being in this ancient pilgrimage site. Some may choose to attend the mid-day Pilgrim Mass in the hope of witnessing the giant swinging Botafumeiro that sprays incense on the congregation. Legend has it that this was originally used to fumigate sweaty pilgrims and rid them of disease! There’s plenty of time to explore the colourful streets, visit other historic places of interest and simply to mingle with travellers from many different parts of the world.
Accommodation: Santiago de Compostela. Meals: B. Tour ends.
What costs are covered?
- Services of an Australian and a Spanish speaking tour guide
- Accommodation in comfortable hotels and guesthouses with private ensuites
- Continental breakfast daily
- Personal transfers of up to 15 kms per (walking) day, where required
- Daily transport of one medium sized piece of luggage eg. 210 deep, 640 high and 380 wide
- Long distance transfers as indicated in the itinerary
- Three (3) group dinners (Days 1, 8, 13)
- Tips at group meals included in the itinerary.
What is not included in the cost?
- Visas (not required for Australian passport holders)
- Airport transfers, taxes and excess baggage
- Meals other than those specified in the itinerary
- Tips and Gratuities throughout except at group meals
- Personal expenses eg. laundry, telephone calls, excess personal transfers along the Camino
- Travel Insurance: Unlimited medical, additional and evacuation insurance is compulsory.
Please Note: Distances included in this itinerary are the approximate maximum number of kilometres that can be walked in any given day. Each day shorter walking options will be offered. On average these shorter distances will be between 10 -15 kms. Participants also have the option not to walk at all. In such cases transport will be arranged to the next hotel.
This itinerary should be read in conjunction with the Travel Enriched Pty. Ltd. Booking Conditions. For all bookings and further information contact:
Mobile: Australia +61 (0) 404 417 485