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).
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
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
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
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
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
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).
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
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
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
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.
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.
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 the larger cities like Pamplona, Logrono, Sarria 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).
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
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 - 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.
You can start the Best of the Camino on any day of your choosing between April and Mid November.
Time of Year
The weather on the Camino will change slightly as you travel from the Pyrenees over to Galicia. The spring months of March and April tend to offer nice mild conditions for walking although the nights can be quite cold at this time of year and there can be quite a lot of rain in the region of Galicia at this time. The summer months of July and August can get very hot and humid. The autumn from late September through to October offers cooler temperatures again although daylight hours start to become less at this time. The region of Galicia in particular experiences higher rainfall than the rest of Spain so you should come prepared with waterproofs!
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.
In addition to the printed route notes you will receive in your travel pack, you will also have access to our Macs Adventure App, allowing you to follow the route on richly detailed mapping on your smartphone.
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.
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).
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.
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
By Bus within Spain
There are good bus connections from Santiago to other cities within Spain – see http://www.alsa.es for bus schedules.
- 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
- 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.
- Additional nights accommodation.
- Single supplements.
Below you will see 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.