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Way of St James to Santiago de Compostela – Spanish Walking Holiday

Way of St James to Santiago de Compostela – Spanish Walking Holiday

16 Nights Self Guided - 320 km / 199 Miles
12th April to 30th July and 1st September to 31st October 2014
£1450 Per Person Based Upon 2 Sharing

Walk through this unique historical landscape along an ancient pilgrims' route to Santiago de Compostela.

Basic Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Oviedo
Day 2 Oviedo to Grado
Day 3 Grado to Salas
Day 4 Salas to Tineo
Day 5 Tineo to La Mortera
Day 6 La Mortera to Berducedo
Day 7 Berducedo to Grandas de Salime
Day 8 Rest day or short walk to Castro
Day 9 Taxi transfer to Castro then walk to Fonsagrada
Day 10 Fonsagrada to Paradavella
Day 11 Paradavella to Castroverde
Day 12 Castroverde to Lugo
Day 13 Lugo to Palas del Rei
Day 14 Palas del Rei to Arzua
Day 15 Arzua to A Rua
Day 16 A Rua to Santiago de Compostela
Day 17 Departure

What's included:
• Maps and route details in English
• Luggage transfers
• Transfers indicated on itinerary
• Emergency support
• Bed and breakfast accommodation
• 10 evening meals (on the other evenings you will be advised about buying a meal locally)

Please note that you can add extra nights to your itinerary at any point along the route.

Spanish Walking Holiday
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Walking the Way of St James is to follow in the footsteps of countless pilgrims who have travelled this route for over one thousand years. The Way of St James is the pilgrimage route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where the remains of the apostle James are believed to be buried.

This holiday traces the spectacular coastline of surf beaches, picturesque fishing villages and scenic hilly landscapes, dotted with Pre-Romanesque churches set in small historic villages. You will walk through a unique historical landscape, which is very different to that of traditional Spain, with greener, gentler scenery and with a mild climate suitable for walking almost all year round.

Grade: Quite demanding

Getting There:
There are daily flights with Easyjet from Stansted to Oviedo Airport. Alternatively, Iberia Airways has flights on a Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday from Gatwick to Oviedo Airport. There are also flights to and from Coruna Airport which is closer to Santiago de Compostela.
In the Middle Ages there were several pilgrim routes to Santiago de Compostela. As the original "French Route" walked by most pilgrims is now very busy and commercialised we have chosen to offer an alternative, the Camino Primitivo, which was followed by pilgrims on a more northerly route when the Moors controlled the French Route. This route is waymarked with the scallop shell symbol and takes you through far more interesting and dramatic scenery, is less commercialised, and offers much better walking than the original route.

Day 1 Arrival in Oviedo.
Visit the Gothic Cathedral devoted to San Salvador, an important Saint for pilgrims going to Santiago. Enjoy the lively atmosphere in the old town centre with plenty of cafés, restaurants, bodegas and cider houses, just around the corner from your comfortable 4* city hotel.

Compostela Certificate: A pilgrim's passport can be obtained in Oviedo and has to be stamped during your pilgrimage to Santiago at the designated locations. Upon arrival in Santiago you will obtain the “Compostela” an official certificate indicating that you successfully completed the pilgrimage.

Day 2 Oviedo to Grado.
You follow the scallop shell symbols that waymark the whole route through narrow lanes in the city centre, then out into the green Asturian countryside. Lanes and old footpaths take you past quiet villages, some of which still have pilgrims’ hostels and historic inns. From Puerma you continue along the road, to Grado. From there you have a short transfer to your rural 3* hotel in Sama de Grado. ~ 6.5 hours, 22.5km, 200m ascent and 250m descent

Day 3 Grado to Salas.
The first part of the route from Grado to Salas follows narrow trails and country roads through hilly countryside directly to Cornellana Monastery. Founded in 1024, this centre was of great religious and political importance throughout the early history of the Christian kingdom in Asturias. Your 3* hotel is located in the historical town of Salas, right next to the castle and museum for Pre-Romanesque architecture. ~ 6 hours, 21.6km, 350m ascent and 300m descent

Day 4 Salas to Tineo.
After a steep but beautiful ascent through woodlands near Salas, you follow the main road for 5km before turning south through peaceful countryside to reach Tineo, capital of dairy production in Asturias. Your 4* hotel is a palace founded in 1525, built in Renaissance style but with very modern decoration. It also has an indoor swimming pool and spa. ~ 6 hours, 20.4km, 500m ascent and 50m descent

Day 5 Tineo to La Mortera.
From Tineo you penetrate further into dense woodlands to reach the monastery at Obona, the first Latin school in the region and retreat for scholars in the Middle Ages. From there you follow woodland tracks and quiet roads to La Mortera, where a taxi picks you up to take you to the friendly family-run 2* hotel in Pola de Allande, well-known for its tasty regional cooking. ~ 5.5 hours, 18.2km, 400m ascent and 300m descent

Day 6 Allande high route to Berducedo via El Palo Pass.
After a short drive back to La Mortera, you follow the original high route - or “ruta de los hospitales” - across the steep slopes of these barren mountains toward Puerto del Palo. Due to extreme winter weather, there were several pilgrims’ hospitals on either side of the pass. You will enjoy superb views before you start your descent to Berducedo. Your overnight accommodation is in a comfortable rural guesthouse. ~ 7 hours, 24km, 450m ascent and 325m descent

Day 7 Berducedo to Grandas de Salime.
From Berducedo, pilgrims have to make a detour across the dam, where a man-made reservoir of recent construction has blocked the original Camino. We have chosen a more interesting route through pine woods and open fields to the tiny hamlet of Villarpedre, where a boatman will ferry you across the lake. Once on the other side of the shore, it is just a few kilometres to your charming 3* hotel, noted for its tasty and creative cuisine. You will stay a couple of kilometres outside the village of Grandas de Salime for two nights. ~ 6 hours, 20km, 250m ascent and 800m descent

Day 8: Rest day or Circular walk.
After your first week on the pilgrimage, you might want to take a day off to relax.

If you prefer to have a walk, you could go to the nearby village of Grandas de Salime to visit the ethnographic museum or take a dive in the local swimming pool. ~ 5.5km, 300m ascent

Alternatively, you could continue for another 5.5km along the Camino, to reach the village of Castro with its interesting archeological site of mixed Celtic and Roman origin and take a taxi ride back to the hotel. ~ 3.5 hours, 11km, 500m ascent and 100m descent

Day 9 Grandas de Salime to Fonsagrada.
A taxi takes you to Castro to continue your pilgrims’ tour with a section which more or less follows the road to Puerto El Acebo (1030), gateway to the province of Galicia. You then have a long descent with panoramic views and the soft whirring of modern windmills. Your day ends at the modern 4* hotel in Fonsagrada. ~ 6 hours, 20.5km, 400m ascent and 225m descent

Day 10 Fonsagrada to Paradavella.
From Fonsagrada you first descend to the village of Póboa de Burón to pick up the oldest Camino Primitivo trail, a high route across green pastures and fields of heather on the way to the ruins at Hospital de Montouto (another pilgrims’ hospital of ancient origin). After an easy descent to Paradavella, a taxi drives you back to Fonsagrada, as there is no other suitable accommodation nearby. ~ 5.5 hours, 18km, 300m ascent and 400m descent

Day 11 Fonsagrada to Castroverde.
Today you will have some lane walking. When you finally reach O Cadavo, you have left the last steep hills of your journey behind. The friendly open countryside of Galicia is littered with grey farmhouses built in granite stone with slate rooftops and huge Pazos or country estates. In Castroverde, you will be picked up by your hosts, owners of a friendly rural guesthouse situated just 5km from the Camino. ~ 6.5 hours, 23km, 425m ascent and 525m descent

Day 12 Castroverde to Lugo.
On your last day of walking on the ‘original trail’, you can really enjoy the beauty of Galician countryside, as you walk on quiet lanes and dirt tracks from one hamlet to the next, passing superb examples of traditional architecture until you walk directly to your modern 3* hotel in the heart of Lugo’s historical centre, just 100m from the splendid Roman walls, a UNESCO World heritage site. ~ 5.5 hours, 24km, 100m ascent and 150m descent

Day 13 Lugo to Plas Del Rei.
From Lugo to Santiago there are several Caminos or ways. We have chosen the least travelled, quieter route via San Roman de Retorta to Palas de Rei. In the morning, you ride part-way with your luggage to O Burgo, avoiding 8km of unattractive countryside outside Lugo. Your overnight accommodation is in a rural hotel near Palas de Rei, which is known for its excellent cuisine. ~ Maximum 8 hours, 37.5km, 200m ascent and descent

Day 14 Palas del Rei to Arzua.
You have now joined the French Route, or Camino Francés, the most popular of all the Caminos to Santiago. Suddenly you find yourself among a multitude of pilgrims from all over the world, as you follow trails, country roads and footpaths parallel to the main road. Your luxurious rural 3* hotel is located just outside the village. ~ 7 hours, 30km, 225m ascent and 400m descent

Day 15 Arzúa to A Rua.
The route today is basically parallel to the road,  but there are lots of new friends to make. The excitement shared with fellow pilgrims grows as you near the climax of your pilgrimage. Overnight you will stay at the best available, friendly 2* hotel. ~ 5 hours, 20km, 200m ascent and 225m descent

Day 16 A Rua to Santiago de Compostela.
The last section of your pilgrimage brings you back to modern life as you pass the regional airport, cross the highway, railway track and ring-road around Santiago. Nevertheless, it is still easy to imagine the sheer joy ancient pilgrims must have felt when they caught a first glimpse of Santiago and the spires off in the distance. From Monte del Gozo, pilgrims historically make one last stop at the spring in Lavacolla, to wash face and feet before presenting themselves before the Saint at the Cathedral on Plaza Obradoiro. Your 3* hotel is located in the old town centre. ~ 5 hours, 19.8km, 175m ascent and descent

Day 17 Departure or extra nights in Santiago

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