Current as of: July 24, 2024 - 00:55

Camino de Santiago Trek

Camino de Santiago Trek Trip Notes

  • Ways to Travel: Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
  • Destination: Spain
  • Programmes: Walking & Trekking
  • Activity Level:

    4 out of 7 - Moderate & Challenging

  • 9 Days: Flight Inclusive
  • 9 Days: Land Only
  • Ages: 16+
  • Trip Code: TSO
  • Carbon Footprint: 12kg CO2e

Trip Overview

Walk the classic trail across northern Spain, embracing the pilgrim spirit and earning your Compostela certificate

Join friendly pilgrims and trekkers in Galicia for the quintessential Camino de Santiago experience. Walk the best-known route, the Camino Frances, following the historic trail to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, said to be the burial site of James the Great, one of Jesus’s 12 apostles. Along the way, our tour leader provides expert insight into the history and culture of the region, while luggage transfers between our nightly stops make the journey even more peace-inducing. The longest-lasting memory, however, may well be the friends you make along the way – the communal spirit of El Camino is infectious and unforgettable.

At a Glance

  • Eight nights in pensions and two/three-star hotels
  • Six walking days with luggage transferred
  • Group normally 6 to 16, plus leader. Minimum age: 16
  • Option to travel by train to your adventure

Highlights

  • Hike one of the oldest pilgrim routes in the world
  • Collect stamps for your Pilgrim's Passport along the way
  • Receive your Compostela certificate – without waiting in the lengthy lines!
  • Spend a full free day exploring Santiago de Compostela, the magical capital of Galicia

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is rated Activity Level 4 (Moderate & Challenging).For more information on our trip gradings please visit the Activity Level Guidelines page. If you have any queries about the difficulty of the trip please do not hesitate to contact us.  

Route: The terrain and path type varies and includes paved tracks, forest trails and gravel. The walks are not technically difficult, although there are some steep ascents and descents, so a good fitness level is required.

Distances: Some days are long and you are expected to walk six days in a row. We recommend comfortable shoes and bringing several types (boots, running shoes, strap sandals) as this allows you to alternate. On days 4 and 5, the longest of the week, you can opt out of a section by arranging a taxi through your tour leader.

Group

The tour leader accompanies the group on all activities from Day 1 to Day 7. They also provide suggestions on what to do on Day 8, your free day.

Adult min age: 16

Min group size: 6

Max group size: 16

Itinerary

Map TSO

Land Only

  • Start City: Samos
  • End City: Santiago de Compostela

Land Only Itinerary

Day 1
Start Samos

We begin the adventure in Samos, a classic start point for many Camino pilgrims. We have a welcome briefing this evening, then free time to rest or explore. Most groups head to the Monastery of San Xian de Samos to collect their Pilgrim Passport (Credencial), a significant moment that confirms your pilgrim status.

On El Camino, the passport is stamped at the accommodations, and you can collect more stamps at churches and even some cafes. We need to present the passport to the Pilgrims Office in Santiago de Compostela to receive our Compostela certificate.

Accommodation: Hotel A Veiga (or similar)

Day 2
To Sarria, walking through ancient oak forests and quaint villages

Our pilgrimage begins in style: with a short detour to walk around the Monasterio de San Julian de Samos, one of the oldest monasteries in Spain. We then take one of the most unspoiled sections of the trail, walking through Galician countryside populated by traditional agricultural villages.

We continue through ancient oak forests to the town of Sarria, another popular start point for El Camino, as it’s almost exactly 62mi (100km) from Santiago de Compostela – the shortest distance you can walk and still earn a Compostela.

Accommodation: Hotel Duerming Villa de Sarria (or similar)

Distance covered: 9mi (14km)

Ascent: 443ft (135m); Descent: 787ft (240m); Activity hours: 4

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3
Walk through the hills of the Galician countryside to Portomarin

Leaving Sarria, we take a mostly rural route today, walking up and down the hills of Galicia, and through a picturesque oak grove, to the town of Portomarin. Our destination, which was originally located in the River Mino valley, was rebuilt on a hilltop to escape flooding when a reservoir was constructed in 1962. As we cross the modern bridge to enter Portomarin, we may be able to see an older bridge beneath it, depending on where the water level sits.

Accommodation: Hotel Villajardín (or similar)

Distance covered: 14mi (23km)

Ascent: 1,526ft (465m); Descent: 1,608ft (490m); Activity hours: 7

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 4
To the village of Ventas de Naron; continue to Palas de Rei

We start with a steady ascent to the village of Ventas de Naron, where the terrain levels out. Before the top of the climb though, we can visit the ruins of an Iron Age fort at Castromaior, one of the best preserved in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula.

It’s then on to Palas de Rei, though there are plenty of cafes en route where we can enjoy a break. Palas de Rei marks the halfway point of our trek and we spend the night in a hotel, where we can really feel the Camino spirit, since many walkers stop here.

Accommodation: Hotel Alda Palas de Rei (or similar)

Distance covered: 16mi (25km)

Ascent: 1,788ft (545m); Descent: 1,198ft (365m); Activity hours: 7

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 5
Walk to the town of Melide, renowned for its octopus with potato dish; continue to Arzua

We begin our longest day with a walk along a picturesque stretch, crossing several Roman bridges and walking past medieval churches. As we continue, we cross the Lugo-A Coruña border and see ancient horreos (granaries), a rectangular construction seen across rural Galicia.

For lunch, we stop in the small town of Melide, renowned for its delicious octopus with potatoes. You may notice an increase in pilgrims, as two other strands of El Camino meet here: the Northern and Primitivo.

After lunch, we continue to Arzua, well-known for its cheeses. Along the way, we pass through picturesque landscapes and the riverside village of Ribadiso. The 12th-century bridge here is the oldest in the region.

Accommodation: Hotel Arzua (or similar)

Distance covered: 19mi (30km)

Ascent: 1,837ft (560m); Descent: 2,346ft (715m); Activity hours: 8

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 6
Meet many more pilgrims on the final section to Pedrouzo

Today’s relatively short walk to the village of Pedrouzo – considered among the most picturesque on our journey – involves several short ascents and descents through woods, fruit fields and eucalyptus. As Santiago draws ever closer, more pilgrims cross our path, adding to the anticipation of reaching our goal: the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

Accommodation: Pension Platas (or similar)

Distance covered: 12mi (19km)

Ascent: 1,050ft (320m); Descent: 1,362ft (415m); Activity hours: 7

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 7
Walk to Santiago de Compostela

Our final day’s walk sees us climbing up to Monte do Gozo, where pilgrims traditionally first saw the towers of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. As part of the centuries-old tradition, we make our way through the city streets and crowds to Plaza del Obradoiro. The square is dominated by the cathedral, making a spectacular culmination to our trek – take a moment or two to congratulate each other on completing El Camino! We can observe a mass service that may include the impressive Botafumeiro incense swinging, although it cannot be guaranteed.

To save time, our tour leader can gather the Pilgrim Passports and collect everyone’s Compostela certificates – allowing the group to avoid the often-lengthy lines at the office and spend more time reflecting on the journey together.

Accommodation: Hotel Avenida (or similar)

Distance covered: 12mi (20km)

Ascent: 984ft (300m); Descent: 1,115ft (340m); Activity hours: 7

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 8
Free day in Santiago de Compostela

Rather than dashing straight home after our pilgrimage, we have a free day to explore the historic city. There are plenty of things to do: visit the spectacular cathedral and stroll around the narrow streets of the World Heritage-listed Old Town with its diverse architecture.

Alternatively, visit the museum of Galician Life, home to interesting exhibits on Galician traditions and art. You can also join a day excursion to Cape Finisterre, which was believed to be the end of the known world in Ancient Roman times. The Cape is also the final destination for many pilgrims on El Camino.

Accommodation: Hotel Avenida (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 9
End Santiago de Compostela

The trip ends this morning after breakfast. Say your final goodbyes and start your return journey home, one Compostela heavier.

Meals included: Breakfast

Ascents, descents and distances: All ascents, descents and distances listed in the daily itinerary have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders, in many cases with satellite-based mapping software. However, different GPS measuring devices can give differing results, particularly on winding paths or in mountainous terrain. Measurements stated throughout these Trips Notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter. Timings stated will vary depending on the pace of your group.

Accommodation

Hotels and pensions

Camino de Santiago Trek

We spend eight nights in two- and three-star hotels and pensions. All rooms feature private bathroom facilities and most offer free wifi.

The accommodations typically used can be found in the day-to-day itinerary; however, below are a couple of the standout stays.

Samos: Hotel A Veiga (night 1)

Camino de Santiago Trek

Begin the trip at this 15-room hotel, which has a rustic bar – the perfect spot to gather with new friends and discuss the adventures ahead. The rooms themselves are clean and unfussy, plus there’s a restaurant serving an ever-changing menu.

Santiago de Compostela: Hotel Avenida (nights 7-8)

Camino de Santiago Trek

Make the most of your time in the capital of Galicia with a stay at Hotel Avenida, which is ideally located in the old town. The city highlights are on the doorstep (the cathedral is just a 10-minute walk away) and the rooms are simple yet cosy.

Worth knowing

  • There may be some departures where groups are split between two hotels in some locations. All hotels used are of a similar standard throughout.
  • A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement on request.

Single supplement from £ 280

Food & Drink

All breakfasts are included. A typical breakfast in Spain might consist of coffee with milk, toast with ham, olive oil, tomatoes, cheese and butter and jam. Bakery items, fruit and juice are also popular. Expect different variations of breakfast at our chosen hotels and pensions, but they all include at least some of the standard breakfast items popular in Spain.

On El Camino, restaurants and bars offer a set menu called the Menu del Pergerino, which offers a choice of five starters, five mains and dessert, coffee and drink for about €12-€15. You can also try the delicacy pulpo a la feira, which is sliced octopus with paprika, olive oil and sea salt. Sometimes it is also served with grelos (boiled sliced potatoes).

Mealtimes in Spain are later than in many other countries; dinner is usually taken between 8pm and 9.30pm.

Vegetarians can be catered for, as can other dietary requirements, although there may not be the same choice or variety as you have at home. Please advise us upon booking.

Transport

Transfers to and from the airport are by private vehicle (normally minibus).

Weather & Seasonality

April and October: Expect temperatures around 5C-15C (40F-60F) with a high chance of rain showers, though it could also be partly cloudy and more temperate.

May and September: Temperatures tend to be warmer. Expect a combination of sun, showers and clouds.

Joining Instructions

Key information

Start hotel: Hotel A Veiga, Avenida Compostela, 61, 27620 Samos, Lugo
Phone: +34 982 54 60 52
Recommended arrival time: You can arrive at any time today. There is a welcome briefing in the evening, but if you miss it the leader will update you separately
Airport: La Coruña (LCG)

Camino de Santiago Trek

Getting to the start hotel

The start hotel is approximately 1hr 30min to two hours’ drive from the airport. Your options for this journey are:

Take an Exodus transfer 

Exodus provides one group arrival transfer from the airport, which is timed to coincide with the arrival of a chosen flight from London, UK. You may join this transfer at no extra cost, provided you can be at the airport before the transfer leaves. Speak to your sales representative for the group arrival transfer times or to arrange a private transfer.

Make your own way 

It’s possible to reach the start hotel by public transport, but the journey is complicated. We therefore recommend joining the group transfer where possible. If not, a cab from the airport to the start hotel costs €180.  If you would like further information on joining this trip, please speak to your sales representative.

Catching your return flight

There’s a group departure transfer to the airport for customers who Exodus booked onto a chosen flight to London, UK. Please speak to your sales representative if you wish to join. If the group departure transfer does not suit your flight time, speak to your sales representative to arrange an alternative transfer.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start: Samos
Location end: Santiago de Compostela

What To Take

Essential Equipment

  • Walking boots or shoes with sturdy soles that have been broken in
  • Comfortable flip flops or strap walking sandals
  • Daypack (20-25 litre)
  • Large refillable water bottle
  • Wind/waterproof jacket
  • Wind/waterproof trousers
  • Woolly hat and gloves
  • Warm clothes/fleece
  • Sunglasses, sunhat and high-factor sunscreen

Please note, tap water is safe to drink in the area which means all you need to do is bring a bottle to re-fill at the hotel. Please add this to your packing list as this will save on wasteful plastic bottles.

We ask you do not bring more than 44lb (20kg) of hold luggage with you to ensure the whole group’s luggage fits in the support vehicle and can be safely handled.

Optional Equipment

  • Walking poles
  • Camera

Practical Information

Passport

Remember to check the expiration date of your passport if travelling internationally. Many countries require your passport to be valid for at least six months after the date of your scheduled return.

Visa

Spain

Travellers from the UK, US and EU normally do not need a visa to enter Spain. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.

Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.

• Australia: www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/europe/spain
• Canada: www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/spain
• United Kingdom: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain/entry-requirements
• USA:  www.travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Spain.html

Vaccinations and Health

Spain

There are no required vaccinations. However, you may want to consider vaccinations for tetanus and rabies. Please confirm with your doctor or travel clinic.

If you’re a UK citizen, please note that your UK-issued European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) are still valid and offer the same cover as the Global Health Insurance Cards (GHIC) in the EU. This gives you medical care at a reduced cost, and in some cases for free, in many European countries, but should not be considered a substitute for adequate insurance. Once your EHIC has expired, replace it with a GHIC.

Local Time

Spain's time zone: Europe/Madrid (UTC +02:00)

Electricity

Spain’s electricity: Plug type F – 230V, 50Hz

Camino de Santiago Trek

Money

Spain's currency: Euros (EUR)

ATM Availability

There are cash points available in most towns along the route and most places take major credit cards, though cash is generally easier.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

In Santiago de Compostela, entrance to the cathedral is free, but if you want to visit the cathedral museum it costs €12 (or €10 if you’re over 65 years old).

Other museums in Santiago de Compostela:

  • Museum of the Arte Sacro: €3
  • Museum of the Galician People: €4
  • Museum of Contemporary Arts: Free

An excursion to Cape Finisterre is bookable locally for approximately €40, which includes transport and a Spanish guide.

Tipping

Although optional, a tip for the leader at the end of the trip is greatly appreciated. As a guideline, we recommend a contribution between €20 and €25 per client per week.

People, Places & Planet

We work hard to create trips that have a positive impact on the people and places we visit and look after the planet we explore. Learn more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here.

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:

People

How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • Local guides keep you well informed about local traditions and cultural-social sensitivities.
  • This trip brings income and opportunity to the destination community through the inclusion of locally owned hotels, restaurants, and other enterprises, and by championing locally produced food wherever possible.
  • Read more about our other initiatives here.

Places

How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  • By travelling in a small group, we ‘tread lightly’ to minimise our impact on local resources and the environment.
  • We work with our partners on the ground to proactively reduce waste; this includes eliminating all single-use plastic water bottles by providing refills for reusable bottles.
  • With our partners, Rewilding Apennines, we rewild 100 square meters (1,075 sqft) of land per passenger who travels with us.
  • Read about our commitment to nature protection and restoration here, including our rewilding commitment for every customer who travels with us.

Planet

How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

  • Accommodation and restaurants in the itinerary use locally sourced food which has not been transported long distances.
  • This trip travels through the Galicia region, which generates the second-most amount of renewable energy in Spain. It is also the region with the second-highest wind power production.
  • Our local partner is a member of the Climate Action Leaders in Travel Community and have made the Climate Action Leaders in Travel Pledge
  • Walking trips like this have very little detrimental impact on the environment and the locals, as it is a quiet, low impact activity requiring comparatively few resources to support.
  • Read about our climate action here, including our carbon reduction and compensation commitments.

Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: We do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, consider bringing recyclable materials home with you.
  • Plastic waste reduction: Please bring a reusable water bottle on this trip, also consider avoiding single-use hotel toiletries, which generate a large amount of plastic waste.

Important Information

Your safe participation 

When booking this trip, you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary. 

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity. 

By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred. 

How to Book

  1. Check availability: Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.
  2. Secure your place: You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.
  3. Complete your booking and payment

When you’re ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque.

After booking

You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.

Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier, please contact our office or your travel agent.

Trip Note validity

These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best-possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

Licensing

Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582, issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA – The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.