Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Self-guided walk on the Via de la Plata
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Highlights

  • The porticoes of Ourense Cathedral which rival those of Santiago itself.
  • Sense the history when taking the guided tour of the Monasterio de Oseria.
  • Discovering the real Galicia as you wander through its beautiful countryside.
  • Walking into the old town of Santiago and finishing your pilgrimage at the sublime cathedral.

The last 100km of the Via de la Plata is often mentioned as being one of the most beautiful ways to enter Santiago. A combination of rolling Galician hillside, beautiful hilltop views and ancient architecture.

Starting in Ourense, a vibrant Spanish city gives you a taste of authentic Spain. From here head out into rural Galicia, and pass Barbantiño famous for empanadas, the Monasterio de Osteria, and Iglesia de Santa Maria de Magdalena. Arrive in the UNESCO world heritage site of Santiago de Compostela and complete your journey by gaining your Compostela.

DAY 1: Arrive Ourense

You can fly into Santiago de Compostela from several points in Europe and then take a local train down to Ourense.


Ourense is a beautiful, compact city in the province of Galicia. It has a vibrant bar culture, outstanding cathedral and many other buildings of historical note. As the old city is quite compact, it is easy to see all the sights in a day.


DAY 2: Ourense to Cea

Climbing out of Ourense is about the most difficult part of the whole route, but once you are at the top there are some truly immense views to reward you.


The paths today are mostly tree lined paths through the rich, green countryside until you reach your overnight stop in Cea.


Walk: 21km 570m ascent, 200m descent.


DAY 3: Cea to Estacion de Lalin

In the morning you are transferred around 10km to the Monasteria de Oseira. This not only eliminates 10km on a long day, but allows you the time to take the tour around the Monastery which is one of the real highlights of the trip. As taking this transfer eliminates 10km it does mean you will not qualify for the Compostela Certificate - if this is important to you, please let our local partners know the night before you will not require the transfer.


After this, you are again going uphill for the first part, but the views are well worth the effort. The rest of the day is mainly walking through farmland until you reach your overnight of Estacion de Lalin.


Walk: 27km 500m ascent, 50m descent.


DAY 4: Lalin-Station to Bandeira

Today’s walk is through the beautiful landscapes of Deza, a very famous Galician agricultural region. There are a couple of lovely little hamlets that you pass through on the way.


Your overnight stay is the delightful town of Bandeira, famous for its empanadas, so you will be able to feast at night and pack a couple for a snack for the next day.


Walk: 19km, 50m ascent, 300m descent


DAY 5: Bandeira to Galegos

Much of today is a downhill stroll through farmland and little villages. You will follow the lush landscape until you come to the old castle just outside Ponte Ulla, which offers spectacular 360° views.


In Ponte Ulla itself it is worth a close inspection of the Inglesia de Santa Maria de Magdalena with its very detailed Romanesque façade. After this sightseeing it is a couple of km until your overnight stop in Galegos.


Walk: 18km, 50m ascent, 200m descent.


DAY 6: Galegos to Santiago de Compostela

After a brief, beautiful climb, the last couple of kilometres into Santiago are so rural that it is difficult to believe that there is a city so close by.


However, before you know it, you will be walking into the glorious city of Santiago where your walk comes to an end in the shadow of the grand Cathedral.


Walk: 20km, 300m ascent, 200m descent.


DAY 7: Onward Travel

Bid farewell to Santiago de Compostela and make your own way home. 

Accommodation

The accommodation will be a mixture of rural hotels and guest houses all with private rooms and en-suite. They all offer a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food. We do recommend that you book this trip early as the area is always popular and the hotels and inns do fill up early, especially in high season.


Solo Walkers & Single Rooms

The Camino is available to solo walkers at a single supplement.


Meals

A local continental breakfast is included each morning, which can sometimes just be coffee, bread and orange juice. Lunch and dinner are not included as standard 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!

Availability

This trip is available to start on any day from the beginning of March to the end of October. Option & extension prices will be displayed as part of the booking process.


Time of Year

The Camino Via De La Plata is best enjoyed from March to October but you can walk at any time of year. You can start on any date that suits your travel plans.


Solo Walkers & Single Rooms

The Via de la Plata is available to solo walkers at a single supplement.


Grade & Terrain

This walk is graded moderate to strenuous and includes daily walks on average of 20 – 25 km per day.You can expect to walk for between five and eight hours each day and much of it is rather arduous walking with some steep inclines/declines. The Via de la Plata follows a mixture of farm/dirt tracks, minor roads and footpaths


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

The route is marked with yellow painted arrows but please take care at intersections.  There will always be other walkers around in case you are looking for help. We will send you a pre-departure info pack and guide book. A welcome pack including city maps will be waiting for you at your first accommodation.


Additional Nights

There is so much to see and do along the route that many of our clients choose to add extra nights along the walk either as a rest day or simply to do some extra sightseeing. If you are walking the route solo try not to add too many extra nights along the way as you will lose touch with those you have met.


Fewer Nights

It is possible to walk the Via de la Plata in less time but we would not recommend this.


Baggage Transfers

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.


Clothing & Equipment

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.


Compostela/Pilgrims Passport

The pilgrim’s passport is issued by the church of St James. We include this in your welcome pack which you receive at your first hotel. Alternatively, you can obtain one at the start of your walk in the pilgrim’s 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. However, as the transfer we have included on Day 3 eliminates 10km this means you would not qualify for the Compostela Certificate. If this is important to you please let the local supplier know the night before that you will not require the optional transfer although this does mean a long walk on Day 3! For the other sections of the trail, the passport is used as a souvenir with all the colourful stamps you will receive.


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, 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 and sun screen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking/cycling 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 there and away

You can fly in and out of Santiago easily from London, Paris, Barcelona and Madrid with Ryanair, Vueling and Iberia.


From here you can take the train down to Ourense which takes around 40 mins. You can check out the route on the RENFE website.

Included

  • Accommodation in small rural hotels and hostels, twin/double rooms with en-suite W/C.
  • Baggage Transfers
  • Transfer on Day 3 from Cea to Oseira (can be removed)
  • Pre-departure information pack with city maps.
  • Camino guide book.
  • Emergency telephone support from our local and UK offices in the event of a problem.

Excluded

  • Travel to/from Spain.
  • Lunches, snacks or drinks.
  • Travel Insurance.
  • Personal Equipment.
  • Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage.

Extras

  • Additional nights accommodation along the way.
  • Single supplements.

Committing to the Camino is a big commitment and you will undoubtedly have a huge number of questions and queries.

I hope the answers below will go some way to answering your queries, alternatively I would strongly suggest you visit the Camino Forum or Camino de Santiago website which have a wealth of information on the Camino.

How fit do I need to be?

The average daily distance of our Camino tours are between 20 and 25 kilometers 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. That said if you are not at peak fitness you will find you will soon walk yourself fit. 

What type of trails does the Camino follow?

A mixture of farm/dirt tracks, minor roads and footpaths. The route is marked with yellow painted arrows but please take care at intersections.  There will always be other walkers around in case you are looking for help.

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 especially in Holy Years (when 25 July is on a Sunday ) when numbers rise by up to 100 000 people. We will always try and accommodate late bookings but realistically you need to book at least 6 weeks prior to departure.

How do the (optional) baggage transfers work?

We can arrange for your bags to be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. This is an additional cost and is an option as part of the booking process.

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.

What equipment do I need?

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. 

When is the best time of year?

I would recommend April/May when the spring flowers are at their best and September/October when the colours are just lovely. June, July and August can be very hot if you are not used to walking in the heat while the temperatures can fall sharply in the winter with some accommodation closing down for the end of season.

What happens if I can’t walk a stage?

Public transport and taxis are available, if you are need of support our local partner in Spain will be more than 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.

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