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Camino Frances Route - The French Way

Camino Frances

Highlights
  • Hike one of the world's greatest pilgrim trails from France to Spain
  • The sense of accomplishment upon entering the Cathedral of Santiago
  • Savor the culinary treats and world-class wines of Northwest Spain
  • Marvel at prominent pilgrimage sites and ancient Celtic settlements
  • Trek in the footsteps of thousands of hikers and share the comradery

While there are many ways to take part in the Camino, the Camino Frances route (the French Way) is by far our most popular trek. Hike from Saint Jean Pied de Port in France to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, crossing the iconic Pyrenees and descending into authentic Spanish villages. Share this transformative journey with pilgrims from all over the world, and make lifelong memories solo or with your loved ones and friends. 

Complete the full Camino for a once-in-a-lifetime hiking adventure, crossing two European countries and a variety of terrains and landscapes. If you’re short on time, you’ll love the final stage which takes you on an immersive journey from Sarria to Santiago, hiking the final 100km of the trail. Soak up the charm of hand-selected “pazos” (stylish manor houses) and boutique hotels on our much-loved Camino in Style tour, or experience our favorite and most interesting sections on the Best of the Camino in two weeks.

No matter which itinerary you choose, hiking the Camino independently is the best way to experience it. Go at your own pace, stopping to take breaks to admire the beautiful surroundings, and to explore ancient heritage sites in your own time. Simply pick your preferred itinerary, departure dates, and travel companions, and leave the planning and organization to our team of Camino experts. Buen Camino Peregrino!

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Discover Camino Frances

  • Which stage of the Camino is for me?

    The Full Camino is the ultimate adventure, hiking from the foothills of the Pyrenees to Santiago Cathedral.

    Stage 1 is perfect for an authentic standalone experience with some more challenging sections.

    Stage 2 highlights include the rolling vineyards of Rioja and the historic city of Burgos.

    Stage 3 takes you through a landscape that's peppered with old churches and monasteries.

    Stage 4 showcases beautiful Spanish towns and charming villages that are full of historical interest.

    The Final Stage is perfect if you would like to experience the joy and feeling of completion without making a full month's commitment.

    Which stage of the Camino is for me?
  • What is accommodation like on the Camino?

    Expect variety! From small family-run B&Bs and countryside cottages to slightly larger hotels in bigger cities and towns. You will always have your own room and bathroom and won't need to share with others. 

    Air-Con? Generally, the smaller accommodations we use do not offer air-con as they are old buildings and of a more traditional style. Most of the time, there will be some sort of fan in the room to cool you down during the hotter summer months.

    Breakfast. Expect variety! One morning, you may feast on fresh pastries, bread, and cooked eggs. On other mornings, you may find the selection more limited with just bread and cheese on offer. 

    Upgrades. There are some very stylish upgrade options available along the Camino. If this sounds like your idea of bliss, you may want to consider our Camino in Style

    What is accommodation like on the Camino?
  • Insider Tips for the Camino

    Mass in Santiago de Compostela

    Going to the pilgrim's mass in Santiago Cathedral is a powerful and moving experience. Whether you have hiked any of the Camino routes for religious reasons or not! There are two masses every day, one at 1200 and one at 1930. We recommend getting there early as they do get busy.

    The Pilgrim's Menu

    Look for places serving a Menu del Dia (or Pilgrims Menu). These 3-course meals, with wine and water, only cost around 10-15 EUR and are excellent value. In cities like Logroño or San Sebastian, it's worth forgoing the Menu del Dia and eating with the locals. 

    Lunchtime on the Camino

    Don't worry about packed lunches. On the Camino Frances, there are bars, restaurants, and shops at regular intervals. There will always be somewhere for you to eat on the route. Most of these places will also be happy to stamp your Pilgrim's Passport and wish you a Buen Camino!

    Prepare for a wait in Santiago

    If you go straight to the Pilgrims Office in Santiago to get your Compostela certificate, be prepared to wait. Queues can be up to 2 hours long, so we would recommend either packing some comfortable shoes to change into or going back the next morning when it is quieter. 

    Learn a little of the local lingo

    While you will get by without speaking the language, the locals will really appreciate it if you try. Even learning the pleasantries is a great start. For extra credit, try learning a few Galician words or if you are starting the Camino del Norte, learn a few words of Basque. 

    Insider Tips for the Camino
  • Camino Frances: Essential Facts

    What is the Camino?

    The Camino de Santiago is a network of ancient Christian pilgrimage routes leading to the tomb of St James in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Northern Spain. 

    How old is the trail?

    The Camino has existed for over 1000 years and dates back to the 9th century when the remains of St James were first discovered. This discovery led to the creation of a religious shrine which marks the birth of this trail. In 997 the shrine was destroyed by a Moorish army but by the 12th century, the Cathedral had been rebuilt and has been attracting pilgrims ever since!

    How long is the Camino?

    The Camino Frances route (the French Way) stretches right across the north of Spain. It starts in France, in St Jean Pied de Port, and leads pilgrims all the way to Santiago de Compostela, 791km to the west. 

    What's the weather like? 

    With it being such a long trip, it is hard to generalize about the weather on the Camino Frances. Generally, the north of Spain is cooler and does attract more rain than the south. We suggest always having light waterproofs in your daypack.

    How do I earn the Compostela?

    To get your Compostela, you need to hike at least 100km. Many travelers start their trip from Sarria, almost exactly 100km from Santiago. If you are biking, you need to bike at least 200km, so many people begin their cycling pilgrimage in Leon. 

    Camino Frances: Essential Facts
  • Download our Camino Guide

    Thinking of hiking the Camino de Santiago? With so much information available, it can be challenging to know where to begin. Luckily, Macs is here to help!

    You can easily download our Camino guide from the link below. This guide can be read on your phone or tablet, or printed for your convenience. It's a valuable resource to assist you in planning your Camino journey. 

    Download your Free Camino Guide

    Download our Camino Guide

  • Hiking the Camino de Santiago

    Every year, thousands embark on various routes to hike to Santiago de Compostela. A deep spiritual sense accompanies this journey, whether you seek it or not. Meeting fellow pilgrims, listening to their stories, and sharing your experience alongside them makes a Camino tour a transformative event.

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  • Everything you need to know about the Camino

    Rachel and Ewan discuss the key aspects of hiking the Camino de Santiago. While there are more in-depth videos available on each of the topics, this is an excellent starting point of what it will be like to hike the Camino Frances.

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  • What to pack for the Camino?

    One of the crucial things people consider when hiking the Camino is what to pack. While there are some essential items, most people aim to minimize their load. At Macs we transfer your luggage for you which allows you to pack whatever you prefer!

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  • How to reach the Camino?

    How do you get to Sarria? How do you return from Leon? With numerous starting and ending points, we thought it would be useful to create a video that provides you with all these details. You no longer have to worry about transportation, it is all explained here.  

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  • How many hiking days do I need?

    With a trek that stretches the entire northern region of Spain, it's understandable to expect a variety of different itineraries on this route. In this video, we discuss the number of days it typically takes to hike the Camino. We also explore all the different ways you can divide the stages up. 

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