Secret Trails of Medieval Spain

8 days
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£949
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Traveller ratings
4.6 / 5 from 36 reviews >
Moderate
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Trip code: 
TSR
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Centre-based
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–16

Warm Spanish hospitality and spectacular scenery following historic pilgrim routes

The undiscovered lands of Old Castile, one of the historic mediaeval kingdoms of Spain, encompass an incredibly varied landscape where high plains and fertile valleys alternate with rugged hills, dramatic windy ridges and deep wooded gorges. Here, in the heart of the nation's gone but remembered glory and power, we venture on a fantastic journey during which we walk secret pilgrims’ routes, explore rich mediaeval heritage and enjoy the typical warm Spanish hospitality.

Highlights

  • Follow historic pilgrim routes
  • Enjoy impressive gorges and spectacular scenery
  • Stay in a family-run hotel based in a traditional historic village
  • Explore the city of Burgos with its impressive Gothic Cathedral on your free day
  • Attend vespers sung in Gregorian chant by Benedictine monks

Key information

  • 7 nights in a traditional Spanish family-run hotel
  • 5 days centre-based walking; 1 free day
  • Group normally 4 to 16 plus UK leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Altitude maximum 1278m, average 1000m

 

What's included

  • All breakfasts and 7 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • Transfer for group flights

 

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas & vaccinations
  • Single supplement
Call for general departures:
0208 772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

5

Pace:

Approximately 5 hours walking per day

Terrain:

Low altitude; good paths with some gradual ascents

Day by day breakdown
Day 217.0km/11.0miles
Day 314.0km/9.0miles
Day 420.0km/13.0miles
Day 519.0km/12.0miles
Day 721.0km/13.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Spain

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

Spain

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 7 dinners are included.

The excellent home cooked dinners are accompanied by complimentary wine. Please note that mealtimes in Spain are later than in many other countries; dinner is usually taken between 20:00hrs and 21.30hrs. The hotel offers a picnic lunch each day for a charge of EUR 5 or there are local shops to purchase your own lunch items from.

Vegetarians are well catered for given prior notice, and most other dietary requirements can also be accommodated as long as you let us know in advance (at the time of booking).

Weather

The weather should be warm and sunny, but it may feel quite cold when the temperatures drop overnight - so a fleece is advised for evenings and early mornings. This is northern Spain and a rainy day is always possible, including the possibility of a thunderstorm, so do not forget to take your waterproofs. An umbrella can be useful in a sudden heavy shower and can also be used as a parasol should the temperatures rise! Because of the risk of strong sunlight, suitable sun block should be applied and a sufficient quantity of water should be carried each day.

Central Spain

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level 3 (Moderate)

This is a moderate walking holiday with 5 days walking and 1 free day. The walks follow historic pilgrim routes, mule tracks and trails through the rural countryside of the Spanish heartland, as well as allowing free time to explore the cathedral city of Burgos.

The tracks are mostly well marked but some of the terrain under foot can be a little rough. All walks take around 5-6 hours and require a moderate level of fitness. Walking is on a variety of dirt tracks, gravel and some tarmac. There are some rocky sections that may require some scrambling and in less visited areas be aware paths may be overgrown and rougher underfoot, therefore walking boots are recommended. A few steep ascents and descents should be expected. Walking hours stated in the itinerary are given as approximates only. Timings stated include lunch and photo stops and will vary depending on the pace of your group.

 

Call for general departures:
0208 772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotel Rey Chindasvinto

This is a centre-based tour, spending 7 nights in the 3-star family-run Hotel Rural Rey Chindasvinto based in the picturesque village of Covarrubias.

The hotel is an elegant conversion of a traditional village house, set in a quiet square within the town walls. The hotel offers comfortable accommodation whilst retaining a mediaeval feel, with each of the rooms named after a local king or queen. Twin bedded and single rooms have a shower and WC, TV and telephone. Free Wi-Fi is also available in the hotel. The excellent dinners are accompanied by complimentary wine and include a good choice of regional and vegetarian dishes.

There are a limited number of single rooms which can be requested at the time of booking. Single supplements are subject to availability.

Call for general departures:
0208 772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
0208 772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed June 2017
    Mike Bond

    secret Trails of Mediaeval Spain

    Good, varied, moderate grade walking in a very attractive area of rural Spain. An opportunity to see a wide variety of wild flowers and hear and see a very wide variety of birdlife and to walk in unspoilt countryside some of which appears to have changed little over the centuries. You will also stay in the charming village of Covarrubias which must be quite unique in preserving so many buildings from mediaeval times.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Varied walking through ancient woodland, alongside cultivated fields, along ridges and through unexpected gorges. Great views across the Sierra de las Mamblas. The hotel is very comfortable and it offers really tasy regional dishes every night for dinner; you will eat well.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Xavier is a walking encyclopedia of birdsong and he was a great leader and host.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a range of clothing, but when we were there in June we had beautiful weather with temperatures ranging from 18C at night up to 36C during the day, but this was extremely unusual and temperatures will normally be ten degrees less than this. Walking poles are useful for the steeper sections of some of the walks.
  • Reviewed November 2016
    James Elder

    TSR161015: Secret Trails of Medieval Spain

    The trip did not get off to a good start as contrary to the joining instructions, there was no one to meet us at Madrid airport. (Flights had been booked through Exodus). Eventually we had to telephone the Exodus office in the UK and the guide who had been waiting at a different terminal did meet us. Covarrubias is a pretty medieval town which was unfortunately mostly closed as the season appeared over. The hotel was pleasant, the staff very friendly and the evening meals very good. The packed lunches were at best average. The first two days walks were disappointing and returned early afternoon. The last three days walks were much better, covering a variety of terrain and offering lovely views. The guide was enthusiastic but it was the first time she had led this trip. The 2+ hour return trip by bus to the airport was not accompanied by an Exodus representative (or English and Spanish speaker) but fortunately no problems were encountered.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The last two walking days were good.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    She was enthusiastic and made an effort to find the answers to questions. She kindly organised a bus for us all to go to Burgos on our day off. As experienced walkers, she did not appear to us to be an experienced walking guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    At this time of year the town was very quiet with most things closed.
  • Reviewed June 2016
    Peter & Lesley Haynes

    A Great Trip!

    Having enjoyed travelling with Exodus several times now, we were certainly not disappointed this time - this trip was one of the best. Covarrubias has a charming small medieval town centre, and the hotel is well-situated in the old part where limited traffic access meant it was very peaceful. The hotel was very comfortable and the meals good - substantial breakfasts and varied dinners (with wine provided). Our host, Eloy, looked after us very well. The walking matched the grade very well for us - 17-20 km walks with leisurely 9.30am starts, and usually ending back at the hotel between 4pm and 5pm - in time for a relaxing beer or two afterwards under the shady trees in the square. The climbs were often gradual, with just a few steep pinches; but the views from the top were well worth the effort. The maximum climbing in one day was 450m (not all at once though). We often had quite hot weather (up to 33°C), but as a lot of the climbs were in the morning, often in partial shade, this wasn't too bad. Rucksacks were a bit heavy though, with up to 2 litres of water, packed lunch and the precautionary waterproofs etc. The main effect of the hot weather was some sore feet after long descents on stony paths - very comfortable boots are needed for such conditions. All but one of the walks started from the hotel, taking us quickly into the lovely countryside. The vast expanses of wild flowers were an unexpected bonus (we thought they'd be over by June). All the walks took in different views and terrain, and were planned to allow for plenty of opportunities to stand and stare, take photos and enjoy leisurely elevenses and lunch. The villages were interesting, if rather quiet. The free day spent in Burgos was worthwhile. The cathedral is spectacular, and the town centre very pleasant to wander around, especially by the river. For a more relaxing day it's worth sharing a taxi to return to Covarrubias late afternoon rather than taking the regular 1pm bus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Highlights were - panoramic views from ridges or mountain tops, fields of wildflowers, isolated villages, Burgos cathedral.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Emily, was great - very friendly, knowledgeable and with relaxed leadership. She paced the walks very well.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Watch out for the stairs in the hotel. A few of our group missed their footing coming down where the stairs turn - the dark wood stain makes the edges hard to see, even with the light on.
  • Reviewed June 2016
    jean wang

    A great trip led by a great leader!

    Signed up for this with a friend - our first walking holiday with Exodus and we weren't disappointed! Based out of Covarrubias, a picturesque and characterful town 2hrs north of Madrid - an undiscovered gem off the usual tourist route. 5 days of walking and each day was different, striking off in a different direction each morning. The terrain was varied and we had some fantastic views! Our leader Emily was wonderful - the perfect combination of enthusiasm and professionalism, and so full of knowledge about the local area and the walks themselves. Our day off trip to nearby Burgos was also a pleasant surprise - plenty to see for those culturally/ religiously inclined (famous cathedral and spotting Camino pilgrims) as well as modern evolution museum that far surpassed expectations. Would highly recommend this for all ages - the name of the trip implies a more historic trip - and while there was certainly plenty of history, the emphasis was most definitely on the hikes themselves.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    A great ridge walk on our final day that allowed some of the best views of the trip. The daily dinners provided by the local hotel - some true spanish home cooking - surpassing all expectations in both quality and quantity!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Emily was absolutely fantastic - a real asset to Exodus. So knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and handled difficult situations with sensitivity.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring lots of layers! The weather was unpredictable when we were there in June - going from 27c to 17c in a single week.
  • Reviewed June 2016
    Judith Burrows

    Secret trails of medieval Spain

    The area around Covarrubias is lovely for walking, enough ups and downs to keep it interesting with lovely views and amazing wildlife. We saw griffin vultures on the cliffs and circling above us, windflowers in the meadows and swifts and house martins flying round the village. The hotel is excellent with plenty of food at breakfast and dinner and a varied menu. I don't eat red meat and there was plenty of fish and vegetables at each meal. We made our own lunches each day with food from the local bakery and supermarket.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There is no single outstanding moment but simply the satisfaction of walking with a lovely group of people. I was lucky to be in a group of excellent people who all got on and the group really seemed to gel right from the start.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Emily was a really excellent leader and very encouraging if you felt unsure of anything. I felt a bit worried about descending where there is loose scree underfoot but I was able to go at my own rather slow pace and there were plenty of little breaks to catch up.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It was hotter than I had anticipated in June so you need to carry plenty of water. There is nothing that most people could not cope with. There was a hairdryer in our room. The room had a bath as well as a shower.
  • Reviewed May 2016
    vivien tourmoche

    the Secret Trails of Medieval Spain

    The best Exodus walking trip I have done. We were a small group with a very knowledgeable and enthusiastic leader. By the end of the week (if not before) it felt like we belonged in Corruvabias and had known each other for a long time. This trip is a chance to explore a not very visited part of Spain, with a ton of local history, scenic surprises around almost every corner and an opportunity to mingle with Spanish local people. There is also the modern day history of 'The Camino' present locally and in particular in Burgos, where 'pilgrims' gather in cafes and in the wonderful Cathedral.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Each day was unique, with lovely wildflowers and birds (notably vultures, perched on the very edges of cliffs and storks nesting on high points of buildings) Dinner (with wine included). Eloy, proprietor of the hotel, cooked all our food and made sure that each day we sampled different Spanish dishes - his cooking is outstanding. With good food and wine the efforts of the day were celebrated and the highlights re-visited. The hotel rooms all have their unique character and a medieval feel. Eloy closed his bar to the locals in the evening in order to concentrate on looking after us.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Chris is knowledgeable, enthusiastic and part of the group, whilst still being able to lead it. He obviously loves the area and the people who are ready with their welcome when they see him.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yes. The walks, although not really difficult, (a couple of steep places but they are short) are long and we walked four days in a row as the bus to Burgos did not run on a Wednesday. We walked 5/6 hours on each walking day, with breaks for coffee and lunch etc. I found that walking poles helped a lot and the knowledge that I could walk at least 10 miles a day.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I'm looking for another trip in Spain - it was that good
  • Reviewed May 2016
    Annie Hibberd

    Spain, but not as you know it..

    This corner of Europe is a delightful revelation! Wonderful landscape and steeped in history. Five days of excellent, well planned walks, with a day off to explore Burgos and its amazing cathedral. A good level of fitness, decent boots (and sticks) certainly helps as the walks averaged 20km. May is a good time to enjoy the green spring landscape and abundant flowers, yet still enjoy walking in shorts and bare arms. The Village of Covarrubias is a real gem and not sharing it with any other visible tourists was a bonus. Peace, exercise and fantastic food made a brilliant combination - along with like-minded fellow walkers.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching baby vultures teetering on the edge of the cliff top nests in the Ura Gorge; orchids and other alpine type flowers around every corner; the limestone ridges and flat topped hills (as filmed in Spaghetti westerns!); fabulous, authentic Spanish food at the lovely little hotel.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Chris was great -he knew the area so well over many years and obviously loved it. He brought great enjoyment to the walks and looked after all of us ladies very well, from start to finish.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for whole days of good walking, sometimes on rough terrain. Good boots and sticks will help. Bring layers, as in mid May it's still pleasantly cool at night, but hot enough in the daytime to need sun protection and a hat. ..and binoculars - for spotting vultures and storks

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I wish I had remembered to bring my binoculars! Do this trip, but don't tell too many people. Covarrubias is a secret gem.
  • Reviewed May 2016
    Barbara Sivier

    TSR The Secret Trails of Medieval Spain

    A walking holiday where you won't meet many other walkers. Well planned routes with a mixture of open views, holm oak woods, ancient villages, cherry orchards and vineyards and more. We saw plenty of vultures, deer and evidence of wild boar; probably heard nightingales and warblers (but none of the group were expert enough to be sure) and saw a multitude of orchids and wildflowers. We felt the walks were a little longer than the trip notes suggested but wouldn't have missed any of it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching storks change over at a nest; seeing rare orchids and daffodils 3cm tall. Reaching the top of Mamblas ridge and realising we were higher than Snowdon - by 200 metres Completing about 105 km over the 5 days Meeting strangers who rapidly became friends

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Chris was excellent; knowledgable and friendly and just the right amount of support to get us to the top of the steep bits. Good company and an integral part of the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You do need to be used to walking over 10 miles a day and reasonably fit to get the most out of the trip. And a bit of Spanish helps as the hotel staff and locals don't speak English.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    An excellent holiday and May seemed the perfect time to be there.
  • Reviewed October 2015
    Diane Hopkins

    Great Holiday

    Excellent hotel, in a great local area, with very friendly staff, good food and wine, good local walks, and a superb group to be with.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    One particular steep climb, it must be done !!!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader, Chris Burke, was outstanding in all departments, he was excellent, a pleasure to share the holiday with .

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just do it !! It's great.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No I think the above says it all !!
  • Reviewed October 2015
    Tracey Patterson

    Excellent walking and Guide

    We had a wonderful time with great company. The walks were interesting and the views superb. Hotel was comfortable and the food varied and tasty.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Excellent walking in beautiful countryside.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Chris is a great guide, extolling his knowledge of the area. He was easy to talk to and looked after everyone. He was very sociable with the group and we all enjoyed his guidance and company.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Learn some Spanish, it is appreciated by the people you meet.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Very good walking holiday. Enjoyed the group's company and we all got on really well. Thanks to Exodus and Chris Burke (tour leader). Thanks to our group for your friendship and camaraderie.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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