Best of the Camino
- 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
ItineraryDay 1 Arrive in St. Jean Pied de Port and overnight
Your journey starts in St Jean Pied de Port, which straddles the French and Spanish border.
This comfortable Hotel is located very centrally in St Jean Pied De Port at the start of the Pilgrimage route to Santiago. It provides clean and comfortable accommodation for walkers before they begin their journey.
The toughest section stage 1, with a steep climb to the Roncesvalles. Then pass across the Pyrenees on a route called Ruta Imperial (Imperial Route). You will be rewarded with wonderful panoramic mountain views and a great sense of achievement. An alternative route is available along the valley for those who prefer a more gentle option.
This house was built originally in the eighteenth century and has recently been refurbished to accommodate pilgrims on their journey.
From Roncesvalles, you will cross two further mountain passes before continuing through beech and oak woods alongside the River Arga to the small village of Akerreta
Hotel Akerreta is a small family run bed and breakfast. The stone walled house still has many of its original features with its bread ovens and enormous wooden oak beams.
At first following the River Arga along shaded paths, today’s walk then starts to get slightly busier as you head towards Pamplona as you follow busy main roads into the city.
Pamplona is a beautiful city lined with medieval streets and famous for the running of the bulls festival which takes place one a year where daring men and women tear through the streets chased by bulls. Be prepared to enter a hustling and bustling city, quite the opposite to the Camino.
Castillo Javier is conveniently located and offers comfortable accommodation and a modern standard.
After the first 5km along suburban roads, you are soon back in the countryside. From Cizur Menor, a climb takes you through a field of wind turbines, with wonderful views back over Pamplona. The Arga valley then opens up ahead as you descend down to Puente la Reina.
This bright and spacious hotel is ideal for pilgrims with en-suite facilities, plasma TVs and air conditioning.
Walking through rolling farmland and vineyards will bring you to Estella, please be aware that there are few trees along this path and therefore nowhere to seek shelter from the sun.
There are also a few examples of Roman roadway on this section from Cirauqui to Lorca, especially where the majority of the track is along such roman roadways. The first section will have three steep climbs up to hilltop villages before you descend into Estella.
A four-star accommodation that devotes care and attention to the small details to provide a unique artistic environment that give a classic look with a unique service that will meet your highest expectations.
The majority of your walk today will take you along beautiful natural paths, starting with the first section up to Monjardin. You will have magnificent views southward of the alternative route and Luquin, both route options join for the last section to Los Arcos.
The Hostal Suetxe is a small hotel which offers rustic charm and clean, comfortable accommodation.
Wander along natural paths leading you through arable farmland, please be aware that there is little shade along this stretch and make sure you adequately protected against the sun. Today's day is a long one and contains some short but steep sections into the rio Linares and Cornava river valleys.
Just before entering Logrono you will pass through the region of La Rioja which is renowned for the wine it produces, make sure you try a glass with your dinner!
A Marriot hotel full of fantastic amenities. Guests can immerse themselves in the exclusive indoor swimming pool, designed to make our guests are as comfortable as possible during their stay.
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 around 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).
NH Alfonso IX Hotel is located in the heart of Camino de Santiago within the urban part of the town, in incomparable natural beauty, surrounded by gardens and bordering the river, it is very close to the monumental zone and the Roman route. You can also enjoy the famous street of the Anticuarios, (Antique dealers).
Leaving Sarria you pass Sarria Castle, with its one remaining tower, the rest destroyed in the peasants’ uprising against the aristocracy in the 15th Century.
You will be walking along shady tree-lined roads and pathways this morning, 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.
The Camino ascends to a high point at Pena dos Corvos; at 660m you will enjoy panoramic views, before descending into the lush Rio Mino valley, to Mercadoiro and then 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.
The hotel is very pleasant and provides a relaxed atmosphere with spacious rooms and a great breakfast. Remember your swim wear as there is a pool and sauna which is open in the summer months.
Cross the Minho river then follow the Camino route as it climbs steadily upwards, then pass 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 (750 m), descend to the ancient hamlet of Ligonde. After passing Eirexe you cross the Alto Rosario, and descend into the village of Palas de Rei.
Casa Benilde is a local and welcoming hotel in Palas de Rei. Often spoken of as the friendliest accommodation on the route, you will be sure of a delightful stay here.
Leaving Palace de Rei, you will soon reach San Xulian do Camino, a classical Camino village with a tiny 12th Century church dedicated to Saint Julian. After crossing the provincial border you pass through the hamlet of O Coto and village of Leboreiro. Perhaps stopping 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 Arzúa.
This accommodation is located in the heart of Arzúa, with 29 bedrooms. They all have TV, heating, private bathroom but not air conditioning. There is an elevator, a guests´ lounge and a small cafeteria. On the ground floor you´ll find the restaurant which serves traditional Galician cuisine.
Leave the old quarter of Arzúa as the Camino leads past oak tree forests, that 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 passing different villages: Brea, Calzada, Rua and A Calle; the meaning of which is synonymous with ‘Camino’.
This property offers comfortable cottages with 3 double bedrooms and 1 single, all with private bathroom and TV, living room with gallery. There are also 3 tourist apartments for 2-4 persons, each consisting of 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen, living room with fireplace and terrace. Dining is available. It has swimming pool and garden to relax into the summer.
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 (368 m). From here, catch sight of your goal - the impressive spires of Santiago de Compostela’s cathedral. The final kilometres of your walk takes you through the beautiful streets of Santiago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The hotel is located in the heart of the city, just 800 meters from the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
After breakfast, your walking holiday will come to an end. See the Travel Info section for some useful details for your onward travel.
Other InformationIs it for me?
Want to experience one of the world’s great pilgrimages but don’t have the time to do the full walk? Then this carefully designed itinerary will let you walk the two best sections of the walk in just a fortnight whilst still qualifying for your Compostela certificate. Graded as moderate overall, the first few days are the most strenuous, before the walking gets easier. Stay overnight in a mix of rural hotels and hostels all with private en-suite rooms.
Pilgrimages | For those looking to follow a path of self-discovery. Our Pilgrimage and Camino routes take you on a journey through diverse landscapes and local flavours, while meeting like-minded adventurers along the way.
Inn to Inn Walking | Walk from place-to-place changing accommodations each night. Generally staying in B&B’s, inns, and guesthouses.
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.
Our Camino Tours include small rural hotels and hostels close to the route of the Camino. You will always have a private room and en-suite (attached) bathroom. When staying in Leon, Pamplona, Sarria and Santiago, you will stay in 3* hotels, the other nights will be in a mixture of rural hotels and hostels.
Single rooms are available, although a supplement is payable. The price for a single room is available on the included tab of this tour and in the booking engine.
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!
We can add extra nights if you wish, allowing you to have rest days in between the longer walking days.
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.
- 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.
- Travel to St-Jean-Pied-de-Port and from Santiago.
- Lunches, dinners, snacks or drinks.
- Travel Insurance.
- Personal Equipment.
- Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage.
- Additional nights’ accommodation
You can start the Best of the Camino on any day of your choosing between March 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!
The best place to fly into to get to St Jean is Biarritz airport. You can get here easily from London and Manchester Airports 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.
We can also arrange private transfers from Biarittz Airport to St Jean if you want a hassle-free start to your journey!
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.
At Macs Adventure, we work in partnership with many luggage transfer providers who set a limit on how many bags/suitcases they will transfer per person, and also the weight of the bag/suitcase. Your booking includes transfer of 1 bag per person. It is very important that you read the luggage information specific to your tour before departure. If you do not adhere to these limits, there is a great possibility that you will be charged locally both for extra bags or if they are too heavy. This limitation can be a challenge, especially as airlines generally have limits that are higher. However, our luggage providers have reasons for these limits (usually due to the Health and Safety of their employees), which we must respect.
Baggage transfers are included (max 20kg per person). Your main bag will be transferred each day between your overnight accommodation so that you only need to walk with a day pack.
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.
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).
Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, lightweight clothes, waterproofs and a day pack.
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.
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Walking the Camino de Santiago
The Camino de Santiago in Spain is the heart of the modern pilgrimage world, and every year, thousands take to its various paths to trek to Santiago de Compostela. A deep spiritual sense accompanies this walk, whether you are looking for it or not. People undertake pilgrimages for a multitude of reasons and it is meeting these fellow pilgrims, hearing their stories and sharing your adventure with them that makes a Camino tour a life-changing event.
Everything you need to know about the Camino de Santiago.
In this video, Rachel and Ewan talk through the main points of walking the Camino. While there are more detailed videos on most of the points covered, this is a great place to start to give you a general overview of what walking the Camino Frances is going to be like.
What to pack for the Camino de Santiago
One of the most important things people think about when walking the Camino is what to pack. There are some essentials, but most people are trying to lighten their load and carry their backpacks with them as they go. This is amazing, but with Macs Adventure, we transfer your luggage for you (which is not cheating!!) so you can pack whatever you like.
How to travel to the Camino de Santiago
How do you get to Sarria? How do you get back from Leon? There are so many start and endpoints on this massive spiritual journey, that we thought it would be helpful to make a video that told you exactly how to get to and from the various points along the route. No longer need you wonder about getting from Biarritz to St Jean Pied de Port, it is all laid out here for you.
How many days to walk the Camino?
With a walk that stretches all the way across the north of Spain, you might imagine that there is a lot of different itineraries on this route. In this video we break down how many days it takes to walk the Camino de Santiago and all the different ways you can break it up.