Camino Stage 4 & 5 - Leon to Santiago
- Walking the final 300km of the French Way to Santiago
- See the historic town of León - with its cathedral with medieval stained-glass windows
- Walking over the highest point of the Camino Frances – Cruz de Ferro (4935ft)
- Collecting your Compostela from the pilgrim's office in Santiago
- Enjoying the community and camaraderie of other pilgrims walking beside you on this historical route
ItineraryDay 1 Arrive in León and overnight
Your journey on the last 300km of the Camino Frances to Santiago begins in the beautiful city of León. The magnificent Cathedral is the spiritual heart of the city packed with beautiful architecture. Oviedo (1h30 by bus) and Madrid (4h30 by train) are the most convenient airports.
A wonderful accommodation in a prime location in Leon. All rooms have Jacuzzi showers and this is a great spot to wander around the city.
The highlight of your walk today will be the Cathedral and architecture of León. The rest of the day is flat and follows a sometimes busy road.
It is located next to the church in a reformer manor house from 70 years ago, It has a Bar and offers pilgrim menu. It also has a terrace for the pilgrim´s rest.
Continuing across the plains of Leon you can look forward to reaching Astorga, a lively market town set atop a steep ridge.
The hotel The Hotel Astur Plaza is a modern hotel with all the modern amenities, it has a great location and the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing evening.
Your walk from Astorga to Rabanal del Camino will take you towards the highest point of the entire route(which you will reach tomorrow), beware of the weather as it can change quickly and is unpredictable in this area.
Make sure you have enough layers as you won't be able to pick up any in Rabanal.
The hotel is joined to the church and has a popular bar and restaurant.
Climb up to the highest point of your walk, first reach the peak of Cruz de Ferro followed by Alto Altar which sits at 1515 metres. Be aware that you are at an altitude and therefore look after yourself, bring enough food, water and layers to make sure you are always comfortable along the way. After reaching the peak of Alto Altar you will descend down to Molinaseca to spend the night.
A lovely rustic hostel with lovely spacious rooms and all modern amenities.
Follow the path guiding you through the busy city of Ponferrada, this stage involves some road walking as you make your way through the city. When walking through the city you will have plenty of chances to stop for a drink and some food, however, be extra vigilant when following the shells as there will be some 'recommended route' which have been created to take you past specific shops.
Once out of the city you have Villafranca del Bierzo to look forward to, as in its micro-climate vineyards have populated the area.
The hotel had a restaurant and bar which often spills out to the square, it offers clean and welcoming accommodation.
Today will be a strenuous day, there are three different routes which you can choose from which are all outlined in your book. The route you choose will largely depend on the experience you are looking for, all of the options will be a long days walk and therefore make sure you set off early.
This section has some of the steepest climbs along the full Camino making it a challenging day, you will stop at the foothills of the Herrerias de Valcarce, leaving the largest climb to O'Cebreiro to the next day.
This wonderful old butter factory is now a resting place for pilgrims. Family run and very cozy and offers great food after a days walking.
Welcome a short day, the steep climb through a mainly chestnut woodland on a rocky path up to the village of O’Cebreiro.
O'Cebreiro marks the beginning of the Galician culture and is a foretaste as to what awaits you!
This rural stone house is located next to the Camino. It offers 10 comfortable rooms and there is a restaurant with panoramic views and a menu with all traditional Galician ingredients.
Embark on a day of downhill walking today, take extra care to protect your knees whilst walking down. There several villages along the path where you can take a break and enjoy spectacular views.
Triacastela is a town of three castles, none of which remain. It is an attractive stop and the guest house offers comfortable rooms.
Make a decision today if you would like to walk the southern detour route via Samos or the northern direct route via San Xil, both options are detailed in your book.
The shorter northern route has new woodland paths which have increased the natural paths by 60% and it takes you up a steep climb to alto do Riocabo, which has beautiful views. The southern route takes you along the busy LU-633 and via the Benedictine monastery of Samos which is one of the oldest and largest monasteries in Spain.
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.
Only 25m from the traditional market, this house retains its natural charm of stone, wood and light, combined with modern materials. There is an elevator, WIFI throughout the hotel, LCD TV, room service, hair dryer, reading room and lounge.
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?
This itinerary includes 14 days of continuous walking, averaging 20 km per day with a few days of distances of 28-30 km. The first section is hilly with a climb to the highest point on the Camino at just over 1500m. After this high point, the terrain evens out to allow for longer distances of walking each day. You will qualify for your ‘Compostela’ certificate on arrival in Santiago de Compostela and expect to feel a huge sense of accomplishment upon completing this itinerary!
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 itinerary is graded moderate and includes 14 days of walking 9-30 km per day. Expect to cover an average of 20 km per day, with a few 28-30 km days. You’ll be walking for 5-8 hours daily, and you will follow a mixture of dirt tracks, minor roads, and established 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.
- 15 Nights accommodation in small rural hotels and hostels with en-suite W/C.
- Daily breakfast
- Baggage Transfers
- A detailed information pack including route notes, maps and local information for your party.
- Camino guide book.
- Access to the Macs Adventure Smartphone App
- Emergency support from our local and UK offices.
- Return travel to Leon/Santiago.
- Lunches, dinners (optional), 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 your Camino on any day of your choosing, between February and Mid November subject to availability.
Time of Year
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 weather on the Camino will change slightly as you travel from the Pyrenees over to Galicia. The spring months of April and May 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!
By Air: Oviedo is the closest airport and is serviced by EasyJet from London. There are 8 buses a day from Oviedo to Leon which takes 1hr30. Timetables and fares at Alsa. Madrid airport is the best airport if travelling from outside Europe. Connect by train from Madrid. We can also arrange a private transfer from Oviedo Airport to Leon for a hassle-free start to your trip!
By Train: León is 2h45 by train from Madrid. Timetables and tickets at Renfe.
By Bus: León is 4h00 by bus from Madrid. Timetables and fares at Alsa.
You can fly directly from Santiago back to the UK with Ryanair who fly direct to Stansted and Easyjet who fly direct to Gatwick. Another good point to connect through to travel internationally is Paris. You can fly from Santiago to Paris with Vueling or from Madrid with Ryanair.
We can arrange private transfers to take you from your hotel directly to Santiago Airport.
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.