Current as of: December 5, 2023 - 05:47
2 out of 7 - Leisurely / Moderate
The vast expansion of its humble Roman roads connecting France and Spain has, over time, fanned out across Iberia and western Europe, making it one of the most unmissable long distance trails in the world.
On this seven-night walk, you’ll start in Sarria, a large town famed for Galicia’s antique fairs. From here you’ll walk along farm tracks, paths and country lanes, and through vineyards, stopping off at churches to admire the frescoes and tavernas for lunch en route. Be sure to have your Pilgrim Passport stamped in bars, hotels and churches along the way to qualify for a certificate from the official Pilgrim Office in Santiago.
Average daily distance: 19.8km (12.6miles).
No. of days walking: 6
Terrain and route: Walks on this holiday are on village streets, country lanes , farm tracks and rural paths. Walking boots are essential. Walking poles are recommended.
Vehicle Support: This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to walk independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodation, provide you with a map and route notes so that you can walk at your own pace, while your bags are transported from one hotel to the next.
It is important that you are happy reading maps and following route notes, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked.
As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There maybe others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The routes notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the hotels are normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.
As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. A local agent/representative is on hand to assist you and will meet you at the beginning of the week to go through the route notes and point out particular places of interest. Your luggage is transferred from point to point and route notes and maps are provided. The route notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number. In an emergency, the local representative is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.
Adult min age: 18
Arrive at your hotel in Sarria. (Staying at Rectoral de Goian, Half Board)
Today starts with a walk along the Roman bridge that leads out of Sarria up the Celerio Valley. Cross through the hamlets of the southern edge of the Sierra del Paramo then descend into Portomarin – the original village was drowned by the Belesar Reservoir, and some remains still shimmer below the surface! (Staying at Casa Rural Santa Marina, Half Board)
Today you can visit Portomarin’s church before passing between cornfields lined with ox-eye daisies as you follow the Torres stream. Stamp your Pilgrim Passport in country churches dedicated to the Order of St James before arriving at your beautifully restored rectory. (Staying at Rectoral de Lestedo, Half board)
Walk along country lanes past fortified farmhouses into the hillside town of Palas de Rei (Palace of the King) as you enter the province of A Coruna. You’ll pass typical, raised Galician granaries, and see chickens scamper across narrow streets as you enter vineyards, with views east to the Montes del Vacaloura. (Staying at Casa de los Somoza, Half Board)
Today’s first stop is the thriving country town of Melide, where you’ll see locals enjoying Galician seafood in specialist pulperias (octopus restaurants). Drop into the Romanesque church to admire the frescoes, before walking to the lively market town of Arzua along lanes lined with bright yellow celandine. Your final stop is the elegant manor house, surrounded by tranquil countryside, just outside the town. (Staying at Pazo de Santa Maria, Half Board)
Follow Arzua’s colonnaded streets into open country where local farmers wear berets as they tend vines and build haystacks with pitch forks. Your route will rise and fall through river valleys, crossing rushing streams. This evening you’ll stay at Javier’s breathtaking converted water mill, where original machinery has been turned into spectacular period features. (Staying at O Muino de Pena, Half Board)
The finishing line is near! Set off towards Monte do Gozo (Mount of Joy) today, where pilgrims of old caught their first glimpse of the spires of Santiago. As you reach Santiago’s historic centre, the atmosphere is electric as a steady stream of pilgrims reach their journey’s end below the cathedral’s spectacular Baroque facade. Drop into the Pilgrim Office to collect your certificate, before checking into our historic hotel near the old marketplace – still a riot of colour! (Staying at Hotel Virxe da Cerca, Breakfast only)
Your accommodation for the week is diverse including restored parish houses, converted water mills and stylish farmhouses, all packed with period features. A phrase book will come in handy for some of the hotels where the owners don’t speak English.
Single supplement from £ 322
Food along the Camino de Santiago is generally fresh local produce, simply prepared and presented with lots of great flavours. The emphasis in the majority of restaurants is on hearty fare for hungry walkers.
Galicia in particular is famous for having excellent seafood.
Among other dishes you may encounter the ‘empanada gallega’, a simple flat pie which can be stuffed with almost anything including pisto (Spanish ratatouille), tuna or meat, mixed with a base of lightly fried onions, green peppers and tomato. Pimientos are small green peppers, usually lightly fried in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. Lacón con Grelos is a popular meat based dish – boiled meat from the front leg of a pig. Grelos are turnip leaves – the lacón and grelos are boiled together and served with sausage and potatoes. Stews are also common to revitalise hungry visitors – Caldo Gallego is a Galician broth full of cabbage, potatoes and beans, often with ham, sausage and pork added to make a filling main course.
Dessert is sometimes the ubiquitous ‘flan’ – a variation on crème caramel, or pancakes stuffed with honey, sugar, custard or jam. Along the Camino you can always find ‘tarta de Santiago’ a dry cake made with almonds, often with a sugar dusted cross on the top – sweet, delicious and filling.
There are five Denominaciones de origen in Galicia: Ribeiro, Valdeorras, Rias Baixas, Ribeira Sacra and Monterrey. Although known almost exclusively for their white wines, each also produces red wine.
In April and October expect temperatures in the 40-60°F/5-15°C with high chance of rain showers though it could also be simply partly cloudy and more temperate. Temperatures in May, June and September tend to be about 10°F/5°C warmer than April and October. Expect a combination of sun, showers and clouds. July and August are typically sunny and warm (60-80°F/15-25°C). Occasionally in summer there can be hot days so it is always important to make sure you have enough water.
Alternative Air Travel
Alternative flights, onward rail to your holiday area, and connecting private transfers can be arranged from most UK airports. If you would like to use one of the many ‘low cost’ airlines, we can book these on your behalf (£30 admin fee per person). We can also book UK shuttles to connect with your onward flight, please call for details and prices.
If you require alternative transfers then we can usually arrange these for you (there may be an additional charge).
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: Sarria
Location end: Santiago de Compostela
Air-rail prices include our standard flights, onward rail and station transfers
Iberia Heathrow to Santiago de Compostela via Madrid 06:20/13:00 then transfer to hotel 90 mins. Return: Taxi to airport approx. 15-20 mins payable locally (around 15-20€) then Iberia Santiago de Compostela to Heathrow via Madrid 13:35/17:20.
Light walking boots (good walking trainers will suffice)
Small daypack for camera, guidebook, etc.
Water bottle to use when walking and sightseeing (2 litre)
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.
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)
ATMs are widely available and usually the most convenient way of obtaining Euros. Travellers cheques are accepted in banks. Credit cards are widely used.
Lunch is not included in the itinerary and some dinners are left open where there are good restaurant choices, please allow some spending money for this. We recommend approximately €5-15 (US$4.50-13) per lunch and €20-30 (US$18-27) for dinner.
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…
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.