Current as of: December 5, 2023 - 04:34
3 out of 7 - Moderate
The Camino de Santiago de Compostela is one of the oldest pilgrim routes in the world; travellers have made their way across northern Spain to Santiago on the Way of St James for more than 1,000 years. The route is marked by the symbol of the scallop shell, typically found on the Galician shores, and a long-standing tradition is to obtain the Compostela, a certificate of accomplishment given to pilgrims upon completing the way; gained by walking at least 62mi (100km) of the route, which we will do on this trip.
This trip is rated Activity Level 3 (Moderate).
The trip consists of six walking days and one free day. Your luggage is transferred between hotels, so you only need to take a day pack with you on the walks. The terrain and type of path will vary and include human-made paved tracks, forest trails and gravel. The walks are not technically difficult, although there are some steep ascents and descents, so a reasonable fitness level is required. Low altitude throughout.
The distances walked on some days are long and you are expected to walk six days in a row so there is a high chance of blisters. We recommend comfortable shoes are comfortable and bringing several types (boots, running shoes, strap sandals) as this will allow you to alternate.
The tour leader will accompany the group on all activities from Day 1 to Day 7. They will provide suggestions on what to do on Day 8, your free day.
Adult min age: 16
Min group size: 6
Max group size: 16
The group flight will arrive in La Coruña early in the evening then there is a group transfer to Samos. The main briefing will take place this evening.
Accommodation: Hotel A Veiga (or similar)
The trip will start tonight in our hotel in Samos. The main briefing will take place this evening, then there is free time for you to rest or explore Samos as you like.
Accommodation: Hotel A Veiga (or similar)
After breakfast, we start our first walk in one of the most unspoilt sections of the Camino. We walk through the Galician countryside, populated by several traditional agricultural villages, and visit the town of Samos. We will pass by one of the oldest monasteries in Spain and see a lovely ninth-century chapel. We then continue through ancient oak forests to the town of Sarria.
Accommodation: Hotel Duerming Villa de Sarria (or similar)
We continue walking up and down the hills of Galicia to the town of Portomarin, which was rebuilt on a hilltop from its original location in the River Mino valley. This was done to escape flooding when a reservoir was constructed in 1962. The old church was moved, stone by stone, to its current location.
Accommodation: Hotel Villajardín (or similar)
We start with a steady ascent to the village of Ventas de Naron, where the terrain levels out. The next stop is Palas de Rei, though there are plenty of cafes en route where we can enjoy a break. Palas de Rei marks the half-way 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. Considering the length of the walk, a taxi can be arranged if you’d prefer to opt out of a section.
Accommodation: Hotel Alda Palas de Rei (or similar)
We begin our longest day’s walking along a picturesque stretch of the Camino, as we cross several Roman bridges and walk past Medieval churches. For lunch, we stop in the small town of Melide, renowned for its delicious octopus with potatoes, and end our day in Arzua, well-known for its cheeses. Considering the length of the walk, a taxi can be arranged if you’d prefer to opt out of a section.
Accommodation: Hotel Arzua (or similar)
Today’s walk to the village of Pedrouzo involves several short ascents and descents through woods, fruit fields and eucalyptus. As Santiago draws ever closer, more pilgrims will cross our path, adding to the anticipation of reaching our goal, the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
Accommodation: Hotel Platas (or similar)
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, which is dominated by the cathedral, where we can observe a mass service that may include the impressive Botafumeiro incense swinging, although it cannot be guaranteed.
Accommodation: Hotel Avenida (or similar)
Free day to explore the historic city of Santiago at your own pace. There are plenty of things to do; you can 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 the Camino.
Accommodation: Hotel Avenida (or similar)
The trip ends this morning after breakfast. Say your final goodbyes and start your return journey home, one Compostela heavier.
Transfer to La Coruña; fly to London
Ascents, descents and distances
All ascents, descents and distances listed above have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders, in many cases with satellite-based mapping software. Please note, 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.
You will spend eight nights in two- and three-star standard hotels and pensions. All rooms feature en suite facilities and most offer free wifi. A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement on request.
Due to the increased popularity of the Camino de Santiago and demand for accommodation, there may be some departures where groups are split between two hotels in some locations during the trip. All hotels used will be of a similar standard and quality throughout.
Single supplement from £ 280
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. During this trip you can expect different variations of breakfast at our chosen hotels and pensions, but they will all include at least some of the standard breakfast items popular in Spain.
Northern Spain produces a wide range of delicious food, from fish and seafood to quality meat, vegetables and fruit. Your leader will recommend good places to eat. Sometimes it will be tapas, sharing some raciones as a group, and sometimes you can choose from the menu.
On the Camino de Santiago, 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.
Please note, meat and fish are staple food in northern Spain. 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.
Transfers to and from the airport will be by private vehicle (normally minibus).
In April and October, expect temperatures around 5C-15C (40F-60F) with a high chance of rain showers, though it could also be simply partly cloudy and more temperate. Temperatures in May and September tend to be warmer. Expect a combination of sun, showers and clouds.
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 will be a welcome briefing in the evening, but if you miss it the leader will update you separately
Airport: La Coruña (LCG)
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
Spain's time zone: Europe/Madrid (UTC +01:00)
Spain's electricity: Plug type F (two round pins) – 230V, 50Hz
Spain's currency: Euros (EUR)
There are cash points available in most towns along the route and most places take major credit cards, even though cash is generally easier.
In Santiago de Compostela, entrance to the cathedral is free, but if you want to visit the cathedral museum it will cost €12 (or €10 if you’re more than 65 years old).
Other museums in Santiago de Compostela:
The excursion to Cape Finisterre is bookable locally for approximately €45 including transport and a Spanish guide.
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.
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:
How this trip helps improve life for local communities.
How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.
How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.
Tips for sustainable travel on this trip
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.
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.
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.
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.