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Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Best of the Camino Self-Guided Walking Holiday
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Highlights

  • Walk the best and most interesting sections of the Camino Frances
  • Cross the Pyrenees on the first stage of the Camino to Roncesvalles
  • Experience the bustling cities of Logrono, Pamplona and Leon
  • Collect your Compostela in Santiago after completing the final 100k
  • Enjoy wonderful camaraderie with fellow pilgrims

Walk the best sections of the Camino Frances in two weeks, travelling from the Pyrenees to Santiago.

Starting in St-Jean-Pied-de-Port, straddling the French and Spanish border, tackle the high mountains and deep valleys of the Pyrenees before crossing through undulating plains and olive groves to the bustling and typically Spanish city of Logrono.

From here a private transfer will take you to Sarria via Leon. Continue on your way, walking the final 100km needed to qualify for your Compostela. Finish with a free day in Santiago to allow you to attend the Pilgrim’s Mass, a highlight of any Camino experience!

If you are considering the Camino please Download our Free Guide to walking the Camino.

Day 1: Arrive St-Jean-Pied-de-Port

Arriving in St Jean Pied de Port, enjoy your first overnight in this pretty market town in the foothills of the Pyrenees. A good meal and an early night will prepare you for the start of your journey.


St-Jean-Pied-de-Port is easily accessible from Biarritz airport (approx. 2hrs away).


Overnight: St-Jean-Pied-de-Port


Day 2 :St-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Roncesvalles

A steep but gradual climb up to the Roncesvalles Pass today is rewarded with wonderful panoramic mountain views across the Pyrenees. As you ascend drink in the mountain scenery and enjoy spotting wildlife such as large birds of prey. An alternative route is available along the valley for those who prefer a more gentle option but we find with a little training most people find the option over the Pyrenees manageable and would highly recommend it!


Walk: 23km, 7hrs


Overnight: Roncesvalles


Day 3: Roncesvalles to Akerreta

From Roncesvalles, you cross two further mountain passes but with much shorter sections of ascent so a bit of a rest for the legs. Continue through beech woods and the eerie “Oakwood of the Witches” where the story goes that eleven wise women were classified as witches and burnt at the stake in the 16th century! Carry on alongside the River Arga to the small village of Akerreta.


Walk: 27km, 6 hours


Overnight: Akerreta


Day 4: Akerreta to Pamplona

Start today by following tranquil paths alongside the River Arga before passing the pretty Church of St Stephen in Zabaldika where you can climb the bell tower and ring the bell. Continue along tree-lined pathways which eventually turn into narrow roads as you near Pamplona and the Magdalena Bridge. Famous for the running of the bulls festival, Pamplona is a beautiful city lined with medieval streets, and a tasty meal can be enjoyed in the main square, Plaza del Castillo.


Walk: 15km, 3-4hrs


Overnight: Pamplona


Day 5: Pamplona to Puente la Reina

After the first 5km through suburban areas, you are soon back in the countryside, walking along paths lined with poppies. From Cizur Menor, a climb takes you through a field of wind turbines, with wonderful views back over Pamplona. You will pass a famous wrought iron monument to pilgrims on top of a hill. The Arga valley then opens up ahead as you descend down to Puente la Reina.


Walk: 22km, 5-6hrs


Overnight: Puente la Reina


Day 6: Puente la Reina to Estella

Walking through rolling farmland and vineyards today, you pass ancient little villages such as Cirauqui and Lorca and experience some wonderful examples of Roman roadways. The Camino also crosses the Rio Arga on a fabulous old stone bridge.


Walk: 20km, 5hrs


Overnight: Estella


Day 7: Estella to Los Arcos

An essential stop on today’s walk is the Bodegas Irache “wine fountain” where pilgrims can serve themselves a free glass of wine! As you head towards Estella, enjoy some beautiful mountain scenery as trails take you through oak and pine trees climbing towards Montjardin. There is a final remote section through open country and vineyards to Los Arcos.


Walk: 20km, 5hrs


Overnight: Los Arcos


Day 8: Los Arcos to Logrono

Enjoy fantastic views over the Cantabrian mountains on a long but rewarding section with some steep ascents and descents in the Cornava river valleys. The highlight of today is entering the wine region of La Rioja, and the bustling town of Logrono. Enjoy an evening relaxing at one of the many pintxos bars which line Logrono’s medieval old town.


Walk: 27km, 6hrs


Overnight: Logrono


Day 9: Transfer to Sarria and overnight

A private transfer will pick you up this morning and transfer you to Sarria. The journey will take approx 5 hours but is broken up with a rest stop in the beautiful city of Leon. Enjoy a few hours to have lunch and a wander round the city exploring the Cathedral and some of the beautiful architecture. Continue to Sarria, which is the last place from which you can start the Camino and still qualify for your Compostela (certificate of completion).


Overnight: Sarria


Day 10: Sarria to Portomarin

Walk along shady tree-lined roads and pathways , passing through pretty small hamlets such as Cortinas and A Brea, before reaching the stone marker; a photo opportunity before taking the first step on the final 100km to Santiago. As you arrive in Portomarin enjoy the Galician ambience as you stroll up the cobbled main street and end your day by relaxing in one of the cafés surrounding the square.


Walk: 22km, 6 hours


Overnight: Portomarin


Day 11: Portomarin to Palas de Rei

The Camino steadily climbs upwards, before passing through the settlement of Gonzar and Castromaior, where you’ll find the tiny Romanesque Church of Santa Maria.
Continue along country roads edged by bright yellow gorse, pine and oak trees. Upon reaching the high point of today’s Camino at Sierra de Ligonde (750m), descend to the ancient hamlet of Ligonde. After passing Eirexe you cross the Alto Rosario, and descend into the village of Palace de Rei.


Walk: 24 km, 6 hours


Overnight: Palas de Rei


Day 12: Palas de Rei to Arzua

Leaving Palace de Rei you soon reach San Xulian do Camino, a classical Camino village with a tiny 12th Century church dedicated to Saint Julian. Pass through the hamlet of O Coto and village of Leboreiro. Perhaps stop for lunch at the town of Melide, famed for its octopus dishes ‘pulpo Galega’. The shaded forests of oak and chestnut give way to eucalyptus and pine before you ascend to Arzua.


Walk: 28km, 7 hours


Overnight: Arzua


Day 13: Arzua to Rua

Leaving the old quarter of Arzua the Camino leads past sturdy oak trees, which give way to lush meadows. Visit the medieval shrine at Santa Irene, dedicated to a martyr saint from Portugal and the Baroque fountain of healing waters. Throughout the day you’ll be walking through different villages: Brea, Calzada, Rua and A Calle; the meaning of which is synonymous with ‘Camino’.


Walk: 19km, 4.5 hours


Overnight: Rua


Day 14: Rua to Santiago

Today you can look forward to a fabulous day walking to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. The Camino leads first to San Paio and Lavacolla, where it was traditional for pilgrims to wash in the river before reaching Santiago.


Tall eucalyptus trees sway in the wind as you make your way to the ‘Mount of Joy’ of Monte del Gozo (368m). From here, catch sight of your goal—the impressive spires of Santiago de Compostela’s cathedral. The final kilometres of your walk take you through the beautiful streets of Santiago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Walk: 20km, 5 Hours.


Overnight: Santiago


Day 15: Onward Travel

Check out after breakfast and make your way back to the airport for onward travel connections. If you do have more time, we highly recommend adding an additional night in Santiago to allow you to attend the Pilgrim’s Mass which takes place at noon each day.


Or another option is adding an additional night or day trip to Finisterre, otherwise known as the “end of the earth” and the spiritual and historic end to many pilgrimages to Santiago. Speak to our Destination & Adventure Specialists for more details.

Accommodation

Our Camino tours include small rural hotels and inns close to the route of the Camino. You will always have a private room and en-suite (attached) bathroom.


In Logrono and Santiago you will stay in 3 star hotels, the other nights will be in a mixture of rural hotels and hostels all with private rooms and en-suite bathrooms.


Some examples of accommodation used are detailed below but your exact hotels will be detailed on your confirmation which will be of a similar standard to those shown.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

This trip is available to solo travellers to start on any day. You will need to pay a supplement for a single room (which is available on the Included tab of this tour).


Meals

A light continental breakfast is included each morning, which can sometimes just be coffee, bread and orange juice.


Lunch and dinner are not included so you are free to choose from the available options. Every place you stop will have evening meals available, you can get a pilgrims menu for about 10 Euros which includes 3 courses, wine and water!



 

 

 



Casa Beneficiados - Roncesvalles



Casa Beneficiados - Roncesvalles

Former home of the Beneficiaries of the Collegiate Church of Roncesvalles, this property was built in the early eighteenth century and has been recently restored. It consists of 24 apartments of 2, 3 and 4 beds, each with a living-kitchen, bedroom and bathroom.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Hotel Akerreta



Hotel Akerreta - Akerreta

Hotel Akerreta is a small family-run bed & breakfast. It is a typical Basque caserio of the Pyrenees, built in 1723. The stone-wall house still conserves its original Pyrenees-style kitchen.The hotel also has living rooms where guests can read whilst enjoying the valley´s panoramic views.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel Hospederia Chapitel - Estella

This four-star accommodation offers a unique artistic yet classic charm. The team strives to offer a fantastic service to meet guests´ highest expectations.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hostal Suetxe - Los Arcos

This accommodation comprises of a small hotel and restaurant built in 1999 and renovated in 2004. Accommodation is clean and comfortable, characterised by a lovely rustic style.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel Alphonso IX - Sarria

An ideal hotel to start your pilgrimage. A four star hotel with modern facilities in a new building located just beside our partner, Tee Travel's office.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel O Pino - Rua

Hotel O Pino is a small and charming rural hotel that offers 15 comfortable rooms. All rooms are exterior and carefully tended, which makes each one different and special.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Hotel O Tafona - Santiago

When you enter in A Tafona do Peregrino you realize that it is not a conventional hotel, it is bursting with personality, with great, friendly service to match.


 

 

 

Availability

You can start the Best of the Camino on any day of your choosing between March and Mid November.


Time of Year

April, May, June, September and October are the most popular months for walking the Camino. July and August can be very hot.


Grade & Terrain

This walk is graded moderate overall and includes daily walks of 15-28 km per day. The first section of the walk from St-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Akerreta would be graded more as moderate-strenuous as it involves some steep ascents through the Pyrenees. You can expect to walk for between five and eight hours each day. On the Camino you will follow a mixture of farm/dirt tracks, minor roads and footpaths.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

The Camino is very easy to follow. The route is marked with yellow painted arrows and a yellow shell on a blue background. The detailed travel pack we supply includes a detailed guidebook including maps, a detailed information pack for planning and preparing for your Camino, detailed instructions of how to find your overnight accommodation and everything you need for your Camino.


Baggage Transfers

Baggage transfers are included (max 18kg per person). Your main bag will be transferred each day between your overnight accommodation so that you only need to walk with a daypack.


Pilgrim Passport

The Pilgrim Passport is issued by the Church of St James, you will find this in your pack waiting for you at your first hotel. Alternatively, you can obtain one at the start of your walk in the Pilgrims’ Office or the local church in town. You need to get the passport stamped in churches, restaurants and hotels along the way. At the end of the walk in Santiago, you can obtain your Compostela Certificate (only if you have walked the last 100km).


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that
you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and
emergency evacuation and hospital care.


General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.

Getting to St-Jean-Pied-de-Port

The best place to fly into to get to St Jean is Biarritz airport. You can get here easily from the London and Manchester with Ryanair or if you are travelling internationally it is often a good idea to fly
into Paris and either take the train down to Bayonne with SNCF, or to take an internal flight with Air France or Easyjet to get to Biarritz.
From Biarritz, you simply take the bus from outside the airport to
Bayonne rail station (20 mins) and then from there take the mountain
railway up to St Jean (1.5 hours) which you can book in advance with SNCF.


Getting back from Santiago

Ryanair fly direct to London Stansted Airport in the UK from Santiago and Easyjet fly direct  to London Gatwick. For destinations outside the UK, you can fly to Paris with Vueling or via Madrid with Ryanair.


From Santiago Airport to city centre and vice-versa


From Santiago you can arrange a private transfer through Macs
Adventure, to ensure a smooth end to your Camino. Alternatively, a bus
runs between the airport and Plaza de Galicia in Santiago, stopping at
different points in the city (Pazo de Congresos, Capilla San Lázaro, the
bus station, the railway station, Rúa da Rosa, and others). From the
airport the bus departs from 00:00 to 23:30, every half hour (duration
20 mins). Please see the Santiago Airport website for current timetables.


From Santiago to Madrid by train


If you would prefer to travel by rail, you can take a train (fast
trains are available, 6h30 duration approx.) from Santiago to Madrid
with RENFE.


By Bus within Spain


There are good bus connections from Santiago to other cities within Spain – see http://www.alsa.es for bus schedules.


Included

  • 14 Nights accommodation in small rural hotels and hostels
  • 14 Breakfasts.
  • Baggage Transfers
  • Private transfer from Logrono to Sarria with a stop in Leon
  • A detailed information pack including guidebook, route notes, maps and local information
  • 24/7 emergency telephone support

Excluded

  • Return travel to St-Jean-Pied-de-Port/from Santiago.
  • Lunches, snacks or drinks.
  • Travel Insurance.
  • Personal Equipment.
  • Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage.

Extras

  • Additional nights accommodation.
  • Single supplements.

Below you will answers to our FAQ's. If you are considering the Camino please download our Free Guide to the Camino. You will also find numerous Camino articles on our blog.

How fit do I need to be?

This walk is graded as moderate and includes daily walks of between 15-28km so you will be walking for between 5 and 8 hours each day. The trail consists of a mixture of dirt tracks, minor roads and footpaths.

Can I walk the Camino solo?

Yes, many of our guests travel solo. Although the nature of the Camino means that they soon join up with other pilgrims. There is a single room supplement payable for solo walkers.

Can I walk with my bags?

Yes, some people prefer to walk carrying their own bags as a true pilgrim would have. You can select the option for removing the baggage transfers in Step 2 of the Booking Engine.

When can I start?

You can start on any day of your choosing between March and mid-November, subject to availability.

Can I tailor-make my Camino tour?

Yes, although we find our standard itineraries are perfect for most walkers, we can add additional nights at any point of the Camino and tailor-make the trip to meet your needs.

What type of trails does the Camino follow?

A mixture of farm/dirt tracks, minor roads and footpaths. The route is well marked and easy to follow.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as far in advance as possible as the Camino is extremely popular. We will always try and accommodate late booking requests.

When is the best time of year?

Although you can walk the Camino most of  the year we would recommend April/May/June and September/October when the weather is at its best for walking. July and August can be very hot and are busy.

What happens if I can’t walk a stage?

Public transport and taxis are available if you are need of support contact ourselves or our local partners and we will be more that happy to help.

Can I change my itinerary once I start walking?

Unfortunately we are unable to change your accommodation bookings and itinerary once you start walking as alternative accommodation is generally not available at such short notice.

Do I need travel insurance?

We strongly suggest that you have travel insurance which covers you for cancellation, curtailment, illness or injury before and during your trip.

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