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Want to walk the Camino Francés but don't have a month or so to spare? Our unique self-guided walking holiday uses strategic road transfers to allow you to walk the most beautiful and diverse stretches, all the way from Roncesvalles to Santiago de Compostela. Stay in rural guesthouses and walk with just a daypack as your luggage continues on ahead of you.
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Start your trip today with the drive up into the Spanish Pyrenees and the start point for many pilgrims walking to Santiago de Compostela. Settle in to a beautiful converted monastery as you soak up the atmosphere of the early stages of the pilgrimage.
Set off walking your first stretch of the Camino right from the front door. 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. Please note that the length of walks can be varied according to your energy levels but on most days you would expect to walk between 12 and 20km. Sleep in Pamplona, in a converted 18th house of nobility in the heart of the city.
Moving away from the Pyrenees, the terrain changes to open, rolling landscapes punctuated by vineyards, olive groves and villages rich in history. Puente de la Reina, one of the prettiest villages along the entire Camino, is a great place to enjoy lunch. Carry on this afternoon to cross medieval and Roman bridges, passing olive groves and small vineyards. Tonight you stay in the La Rioja region.
Walking boots back on today for the long walk through the Montes de Oca. This was traditionally one of the most feared stretches of the pilgrimage due to the presence of bandits hiding out all over the forested hills. There is a long stretch today through pine forest but this then gives way to deciduous woods and then out onto the plains of Spain so the transition is beautiful.
Enjoy a full day to visit Burgos with its dramatic gothic cathedral, the first rate Museum of Human Evolution as well as the city's lovely historic centre.
The walk today is across the Tierra de Campos with its huge cereal fields and enormous skies. The landscape is punctuated with small villages, enormous churches with nesting storks and wind turbines turning.
The landscapes on today's walk start to get more hilly as you leave the central plains of Castile and start to see the forests and mountains ahead. The number of pilgrims starts to build as different branches of the Camino converge as you walk into the ancient hill-top town of Astorga. There are extensive Roman remains here, as well as a Gaudí designed Archbishop's palace. And it's the home of chocolate making. There's plenty to do and see!
Prepare yourself for a big change in scenery today as you walk up and up into the province of Galicia. The landscape is mountainous and forested and it is often wet. 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 where better for lunch? Continue downhill to push on into the rich green landscapes of Galicia.
Today's route follows ancient trails passing small hamlets and magic “corredoiras,” the traditional Galician pathways lined with oak and chestnut trees. You also enjoy views of wide open countryside. These last stages of the Camino are widely thought of as the most beautiful. They are certainly the busiest: 100km is the shortest distance you can walk to Santiago and get your compostela pilgrim certificate. Continue to Santiago by road this afternoon.
Santiago is a very special city. Resolutely and obviously Spanish, it has also lived with visitors for millennia so has a relaxed cosmopolitan feel which is much harder to find in Spain. Of course, the city is also full of pilgrims who are just delighted to have arrived so it is hard not to be infected by positivity. This is a very easy place to spend a happy day wandering, visiting markets, museums and eating...
It's time to head home today so you'll be taken to the airport or station at a time to suit. Alternatively, if you have time, we highly recommend that you extend your stay to enjoy a bit of time soaking up all that Santiago has to offer. What you have read here is a sample itinerary based on how we typically approach the Camino. No two pura holidays are the same so we can of course tailor something personal to you. See below for more and please get in touch to share you travel plans.
This trip is designed to allow you to walk various parts of the Camino Francés between its Spanish starting point in Roncesvalles and Santiago. You travel some distance by road at the start of the day and are picked up at the end of the walk to drive to your next hotel. By and large those road transfers take between 30 minutes and an hour. By doing this it allows us to walk what we think are the most emblematic and beautiful stretches of the Camino between the Pyrenees and Santiago.
Because you will not be walking 100km uninterrupted into Santiago, you will not receive an official certificate. However, we think the variety of the landscapes you will experience more than compensates for a bit of paper.
You walk 7 stages over the 10 full days of this trip, each stage varies somewhat in length but on average you will be walking around 12km, though this can be adjusted to suit you. You also have a relaxed day in Burgos to explore the city.
This is a sample itinerary based on 11 days. However, the design of this trip and our local knowledge and experience allows us to expand or shorten the trip based on the time you have available, be it one, two, three or even four weeks.
Please note that this is a self-guided Inn to Inn walk, because we think this provides a more personal experience. You are therefore not joining a group tour. We can certainly however arrange something for you on a private basis if you are a small group of travellers looking to walk the route together.
Departs any day of the week, between April and October, to suit you. Since you are travelling essentially the width of northern Spain over the course of this trip, the weather will change from day to day. During the months we run this trip, we expect the weather to be basically dry until you get into Galicia where rain is much, much more common. Temperatures at the very start and very end of the trip should be around 15°- 20°, as you travel across the plains of Castille, things will get warmer with daytime highs of around 25°- 30°. We time walks as best we can to avoid getting too hot.
The price is per person based on two sharing and includes:
First-class accommodation with breakfast, some lunches and some dinners
Taxis to and from start and end points of your walk each day
Luggage transfers between hotels
Detailed walking notes, OS maps and GPS device
Welcome briefing with Pura Aventura guide and phone support throughout
Private airport transfer from Bilbao airport
Camino Holiday Guide with personal recommendations
Pura’s expertise, local contacts, support and advice throughout
International flights are quoted separately for this holiday. Best routing is into Bilbao (BIO) and out of Santiago de Compostela (SCQ).
The accommodation on this journey is very comfortable, always en suite and always with lots of personality. Although star ratings are not particularly helpful when it comes to small hotels in more rustic environments, you should expect 3+ to 4 standard.
For more details, please get in touch to request a detailed PDF itinerary.
One in four pilgrims that walk one of the Caminos does so departing from Sarria. This is the closest point from Santiago from which you can walk to claim your certificate. This trip starts close to the French border and traverses the entire Camino Francés. In doing so you make a direct contribution to a far wider range of communities, starting in the Basque Pyrenees, through Rioja and Castile and into Galicia. Working directly with hotels, guides, drivers and restaurants ensures your presence here makes the greatest impact possible.
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