The most popular section of the Camino Frances is undoubtedly the final 113km from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela. Walking this final section of the route entitles you to pick up your Compostela certificate in Santiago to certify that you have completed the route and above that, it is a stunningly beautiful walk, crammed with lovely people. With so many people walking this route, some questions come up repeatedly, so we thought it would be a good idea to collate them all in one place. Here goes -
How do I get to Sarria?
This obviously depends on where you are coming from, but the stock answer for this is that the best place to fly into is Santiago itself. From the UK Ryanair fly direct to Santiago from Stansted and Easyjet fly direct from Gatwick. From outside the UK, you can fly to Santiago via Paris with Vueling or from Madrid with Ryanair. From Santiago you can arrange a private transfer through Macs Adventure (1.5 hrs) or you can take the airport shuttle from Santiago airport to the bus station (30 mins), change for an ALSA bus to Lugo (2 hrs 45 mins) and then change for a local bus to Sarria. (20 mins) If you are flying into Madrid, you can also take the train directly to Sarria. It takes around 8 hours, but there is an overnight option too. You can check this on the RENFE website, but please note that on the website you have to book the train to Lugo and get off at the stop before, which is Sarria.
Can I break the last section down into shorter walking days?
There is only one day that we can break down on our Sarria to Santiago stage to make the trip any easier, because there is not suitable accommodation in between the towns that we can book. The only way to break the walking down into smaller sections is to stay in the Albergues, the large dormitory style accommodations and these are not available to book in advance, they work on a first come first served basis.
The longest itinerary that we can provide on the route would be –
Day 1: Arrive Sarria and overnight
Day 2: Walk to Portomarin: 24km
Day 3: Walk to Palas de Rei: 24km
Day 4: Walk to Melide: 15km
Day 5: Walk to Arzua: 13km
Day 6: Walk to Rua: 19km
Day 7: Walk to Santiago de Compostela: 18km
Day 8: Onward Travel
Though the distances may look daunting on paper, the paths are very well laid out. They are wide and well maintained and there are seldom any routes or rocks underfoot, it is generally good conditions. There is a little ascent and descent on the route, but nothing too taxing and the Camino is so well marked that you never have to worry about navigation.
What meals are included?
We include breakfast as part of your itinerary, but other meals we leave you to see to yourself. This is because it is unbelievably easy to pick up the Pilgrims Menu along the route, which consists of 3 courses including wine for around €10. These will be available either in your accommodation or very close by, however we find that they get a bit samey as you travel along the route and rather than ask you to pay for these in advance, we let you decide if you want to take the Pilgims menu or head out and sample one of the lovely restaurants along the route. For lunches, you can either stock up in the small store in the morning or you generally pass through several small villages each day where you can stop to pick up lunch.
Where can I pick up the Pilgrim's Passport?
In Sarria you can easily pick up the Pilgrim's Passport from the Pilgrim's Office which is located in the Iglesia de Santa Mariña, right on the route on Rua Maior. Just turn up and it will cost you €1-2 and they will give you your first stamp.
How many stamps do I need on my Pilgrim's Passport?
If you are only walking the final 100km from Santiago, then you need to get your passport stamped twice per day. Your accommodation can provide a stamp, but you can also pick them up from bars, cafés and even just random places along the route, so this is not something you will have to worry about.
Can you book the Parador for the last night in Santiago?
We could, but in order to give you the best experience on your trip, we would prefer not to. The Parador does not give reduced rates to agents, in fact quite the opposite! So you are always better off booking this marvelous hotel directly via the Parador website. We will, of course, arrange to have your luggage transferred to the hotel if you are using our baggage carrier service.
What happens if I can't complete a stage?
Each day you will walk through a couple of small towns, so if you feel that your legs just aren't up for the rest of your walk, you can always arrange a local bus or taxi to take you on to your evening's accommodation. I hope this is of some help to you and if there are any further questions that you have, dont hesitate to get in touch with our Camino Specialists and they will be more than happy to help out.
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