Macs were totally helpful and professional, very responsive and gave me peace of mind when travelling for 7 weeks on my own.
Walk the full Camino Frances (Way of St James) - a journey for the spirit and soul that millions of travellers complete year after year. Setting off from St Jean Pied de Port in the foothills of the Pyrenees, and finishing in Santiago de Compostela, you will enjoy an incredible sense of achievement and build a wonderful camaraderie with your fellow pilgrims.
Take in varied landscapes, from the majestic Pyrenees to the lush green valleys of Galicia, to the immense plains of Sierra de Campos. And enjoy overnight stays in some of Northern Spain’s most beguiling cities including Burgos, Leon, Pamplona and Santiago. This walk is one sure to stay in your memory for a long time to come!
Please Note - Due to restoration works on the interior of Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, the Pilgrim Mass has been moved to an alternate location in 2019. For more information please read our blog post - Santiago de Compostela Cathedral Restoration 2019
The full Camino Frances (Way of St. James) from St. Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela is made up of the following stages. Our standard daily itinerary is detailed on the right. This itinerary can be tailored to suit your plans.
Your journey starts in St Jean Pied de Port, which straddles the French and Spanish border. The Camino begins by crossing the Pyrenees to Roncesvalles, where your journey through Spain begins. Leaving Roncesvalles you cross mountain passes through beech and oak woods alongside the River Arga. The high mountains and deep valleys of the Pyrenees soon give way to the undulating plain that surrounds the fortress town of Pamplona.
Leaving Pamplona, the route to Estella passes through olive groves and small towns including Villamayor de Monjardin and Los Arcos. As you approach Logrono, the regional capital, you cross into the wine growing region of the Rioja. Logrono is a large town today of 120,000 but owes it's development to the Camino de Santiago and evidence of this is in the old town which is laid out along the line of the Camino.
Walking days: 7, Nights: 8, Total walking distance: 154km
Grade: Moderate to Strenuous
The first part of this stage is relatively easy and the landscape is filled with vineyards. As you head towards Santa Domingo, country roads dominate and you pass mountain ranges to the north and south. The Camino then takes you through farmland until you reach the Oca Mountains. Before reaching Burgos, you descend into the valley of the Pico river, and the spires of the magnificent Gothic cathedral come into view. A rest day in Burgos allows for exploration of this great city which was the capital of Old Castile for almost 500 years and home to El Cid in the 11th century.
Walking days: 5, Nights: 6, Total walking distance: 119km
Farmland dominates the landscape on the first part of this stage before the River Pisuerga brings you into Palencia and into the immense plains of the Tierra de Campos. You continue your journey past Carrion de los Condos to Leon.
Walking days: 9, Nights: 10, Total walking distance: 176km
Leaving Leon the countryside is characterised by broom, heather, oak trees and conifer plantations. The Camino continues towards Mount Irago before making your way down to the wealthy area of Bierzo. The final part of this stage is challenging as it involves a steep climb to O’Cebreiro in the course of only a few kilometres. However, it is well worth the effort as this little village is where you will spend the night. It has delightful little round stone huts with straw roofs, which, until recently were still inhabited.
Walking days: 7, Nights: 8, Total walking distance: 151km
The final, and most popular, stage of the Camino Frances passes through the Sierra of Ranadoiro and descends into the valley to Triacastela. You pass through many hamlets dotted along cultivated land, in the direction of the great river Mino, to Portomarin. Pine groves and Eucalyptus trees can be seen as you enter the farming region of Ulloa. As you enter the province of A Coruna the landscape changes as the woodlands begin to disappear and you will soon see the spires of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in front of you.
Arriving at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is a magical experience at the end of your Camino. We allow an extra day in Santiago so you can attend the Pilgrim's Mass and explore the city.
Walking days: 7, Nights: 8, Total walking distance: 153km
We can tailor-make your Camino to exactly meet your needs. Adding or reducing the number of nights and rest days. Contact our specialists to start planning your Camino.
Purists might want to consider adding the extension to Finisterre in order to finish their Camino on the beach.
Our Camino tours include small 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, Sarria, Leon and Santiago, you will stay larger 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 we regularly use are detailed below to give you an idea of what to expect but your confirmed accommodations will be sent to you with your confirmed itinerary and documentation.
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).
We do not arrange for solo walkers to room together but one of the
joys of the Camino is the many people you meet so you will rarely walk
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. Each night will have evening meals available; you can get a pilgrims menu for about 10 Euros which includes 3 courses, wine and water!
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.
Right on the edge of Taconera Gardens, this is a 4-star property with air-conditioned modern rooms with a fantastic location in the centre of Pamplona.
A small hotel in the old part of town and close to the river, which has been lovingly restored from a building dating back to the 17th century.
Behind the beautiful façade of a former theatre guests will be surprised to find a contemporary hotel with comfortable rooms inspired by the Grand Theatre that gave it its name.
Set in a former monastery featuring stone arches and old beamed ceilings, this hotel has wonderful character and spacious rooms.
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.
A beautiful old house formerly used as a haystack which has been lovingly converted into a rural inn the friendly owners.
A small simple hotel in a building which was previously the town hall and now offers a warm welcome to walkers on the Camino.
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.
Set in a quiet pedestrian area in the center of Palas de Rei, away from the noises of the road, the Hotel Casa Benilde offers you modern and welcoming installations, equipped with all the services you need.
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.
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 your Camino anytime between April and Mid October.
San Fermín Festival in Pamplona
Please be aware that should you wish to travel during the San Fermín Festival in Pamplona, then accommodation at this specific location is normally very difficult to secure and the hotels may charge a premium. We will always do our best to make arrangements for you, however, at busy times a supplement may be payable for transfers or superior accommodation.
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!
This walk is graded moderate and includes daily walks of 19-28km 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.
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 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 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.
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.
We suggest you book as far in advance as possible as the Camino is extremely popular. Numbers can rise by up to 100,000 people. We will always try and accommodate late booking requests.
The average daily distance of our Camino tours are between 20 and 25 kilometres and you can expect to walk for between five and eight hours each day. You should do as much walking as possible prior to your walk as this will simply add to your enjoyment.
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.
Although you can walk the Camino at any time of 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.
Public transport and taxis are available if you are need of support contact us and we will be more that happy to help.
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.
No, we do not offer group trips as independent self-guided trips are a much better way to experience the Camino.
You can start on any day of your choosing, subject to availability.
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.
A mixture of farm/dirt tracks, minor roads and footpaths. The route is well marked and easy to follow.
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.
Macs were totally helpful and professional, very responsive and gave me peace of mind when travelling for 7 weeks on my own.
A wonderful trip. Feedback on accommodation given previously by email
Having phoned to arrange my Camino trip 3 days before leaving, Craig was extremely professional, courteous and bent over backwards to ensure it happened. The accommodation was perfect and I had no trouble amending any pick up times as I had been given a contact in Spain. Having never used Macs Adventures before my gave to say it was top class service. I will definitely use you again.
For a 40 day trip, made it so easy as everything is set for you. You just have to walk to your next destination and enjoy the accommodation.
The organisation was superb. Not one problem as I walked all the way from St Jean to Finisterre. A wide range of accommodations but all were perfectly suited to the needs of a tired walker. Highly recommended. The service was excellent from my first enquiry to the end of the hike.
My husband and I have traveled to many places in the world and this was one of the richest experiences we have ever had. Macs Adventure did a great job of laying out our itinerary and getting our large suitcases from one town to the next in our schedule. I would do it again it was so wonderful! One thing I might have done was add a Parador Hotel at one of the larger cities like Leon or Santiago (this would incur an additional cost but would have been a nice treat).
Some accommodations were better than others. Many were lacking heat and WiFi was marginal. A couple of breakfasts were only bread, butter and marmalade. Pilgrims need protein for the long journeys ahead. Customer services was 95% friendly and helpful.
Our luggage was always at our next accommodation promptly. Just couldn't have gone more smoothly! Thanks for taking such good care of our things - for arranging accommodations, transportation, etc. Wonderful trip!
My wife and I live in the U.S. and are very well traveled, both domestically and internationally. We have had the good fortune to have been able to visit Europe and other international destinations many times and have even participated in other long distance walking trips. Walking the full the Camino Frances, however, was special and in a class by itself. It turned out to be much more than just a vacation or an adventure walk for us and we will never forget it. The friends we made and the experiences we enjoyed together were simply extraordinary. Can't recommend it enough. Our normal practice is to book all our accommodations and travel arrangement ourselves, however, having Macs Adventures take care of it all for us in advance was very welcomed in this case due to the many bookings required. Thanks to Mac's, everything went smoothly and without a hitch. Although it is possible to book lodgings on-fly, what you lose in spontaneity by booking in advance, you gain in peace of mind that you will not be turned away or be forced to make unwelcome compromises about the quality or your accommodations. Or worse, have to walk farther than planned just when you are ready to call it a day. We are long past the stage in or lives where we want to be staying in albergues (dormitory style hostels). A private room with a private bath for us, thank you very much! (We need our sleep :) That is exactly what you get when you book with Macs. More than that, we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of our accommodations. Most were in appealing little B&Bs and boutique hotels typically located in the historic center of town.
My reasons for walking the full Camino were: I was seeking a spiritual experience; I like adventure; to challenge myself; to celebrate turning 70; and to "get away from it all" for a while.
Susan, the intrepid septegenarian