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Walking the Way to Santiago

An escorted pilgrimage on foot: a week in Spain walking the final 75 miles of the Camino Frances to Santiago de Compostela.

This journey offers the authentic pilgrim experience.  We will start in Sarria and we walk together on five days covering up to 19 miles each day - sometimes on hilly terrain, which will require us to walk for up to seven hours in any one day.  We finish our walking Santiago with some time to explore the Old Town - designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On our final day we enjoy a guided tour to visit to the famous Cathedral of St James and attend the pilgrim mass when we hope to watch the famous Botafumeiro swing.  In the afternoon we drive to Atlantic coast to visit Finisterre. On the last evening we include a farewell dinner in a local restaurant, featuring the traditional 'Quiemada' ceremony.

This is a walking pilgrimage, with no coach back-up, so a good level of fitness is required and it is essential to start preparatory walks well before departure.  If for any reason you are unable to complete a days walking or need some rest time, you can arrange a taxi for yourself to the next hotel.  Luggage will be transported between each hotel, so you only need to travel with a day pack, water, rain wear, plasters etc.

 

Itinerary

  1. Travel to Sarria, Spain

    An early departure from London flying direct to Santiago de Compostela. We drive to Sarria, with plenty of time explore the town on your own or relax and recover from our early start.

    Dinner and overnight stay in Sarria.

  2. Walk from Sarria to Portomarin (14 Miles)

    Walk through pretty villages and peaceful hamlets under the shade of oak trees and along quiet country roads to the village of Barbadelo with its Romanesque church. We continue through the Galician countryside, ascending to Pena dos Corvos to take in the panoramic views, before descending to Portomarin.

    Walking starts at a height of 436m ascending up to 661m and descending down to 348m

    Dinner and overnight stay in Portomarin.

  3. Santiago Walk

    Walk from Portomarin to Palas de Rei (16 Miles)

    Our Camino crosses the river Miño (Galicia’s longest river) and rises uphill steadily towards the Serra de Ligonde. You will pass hamlets such as Gonzar and the Romanesque Church of Santa María in Castromaior.  A downhill walk brings us to Palas de Rei.

    Walking starts at a height of 348m ascending up to 725m and descending down to 515m

    Dinner and overnight stay in Palas de Rei.

  4. Walk from Palas de Rei to Arzua (19 Miles)

    The Camino trail continues, through charming villages. We’ll take a break in the lively market town of Melide, where you can try octopus in one of the many ‘pulperías’. The Camino crosses several streams and follows a forest track to the village of Boente.  We walk through eucalyptus woods before reaching Arzua - famous for its cheese.

    Walking starts at a height of 515m descending down to 306m and ascending up to 390m

    Dinner and overnight stay in Arzua

  5. Walk from Arzua to Lavacolla (19 Miles)

    One of the quieter parts of the Camino. We walk through sleepy villages on flat roads and quiet country paths towards our overnight stay in Lavacolla, where originally pilgrims washed themselves in the river before their arrival in Santiago.

    Walking starts at a height of 390m ascending up to 409m and descending  down to 247m

    Dinner and overnight stay in Lavacolla

  6. Walk from Lavacolla to Santiago (7 Miles)

    Following the Lavacolla River, we reach the  Mount of Joy (Monte Del Gozo), where medieval pilgrims first saw the spires of Santiago Cathedral. We leave behind the countryside as we walk into Santiago de Compostela. After recovering from walking, take time to explore this gem of a city.

    Walking starts at 247m up to 391m down to 273m

    Dinner and overnight stay for two nights in Santiago

  7. Santiago de Compostela

    In the morning, we have a guided tour of Santiago Old Town and visit the Cathedral which has a Baroque façade hiding the much earlier Romanesque building and set on the site where in the 8th century the tomb of St James was discovered. We join the Pilgrim Mass at noon and hope to see the Botafumeiro swing. Free time for lunch followed by an afternoon trip to Finisterre and the stunning Atlantic coast which was once considered to be ‘the end of the world’.  In the evening we enjoy a farewell dinner in a local restaurant, featuring the traditional ‘Quiemada’ drink ceremony.

  8. Santiago Cathedral

    Departure

    We depart our hotel for a short transfer to Santiago Airport. Our return flight is direct to London.

Essential Information

Included 

The cost includes a room with private facilities, flights with 23kg of checked luggage and seat allocation, airport transfers in Spain, local guiding, and gratuities to those who help us on our journey. Group meals are a highlight so breakfast and dinner is included.

Not included

Travel insurance, single room supplement, lunches.

Travel Insurance

The McCabe recommended insurance policy is designed for the older traveller.  The premium for this pilgrimage is £59 up to age 75 (£103 for aged 76-90), and we also recommend that older travellers obtain a note from their doctor stating that they are fit to travel.  Do feel free to shop around as there are many suitable insurance options including annual policies on the market.  We do insist that all travellers take out medical insurance.    

A key feature of our recommended policy is that there is no requirement to call a Medical Help Line as most pre-existing conditions are covered.

You can read the full policy wording here.

Airline

We fly from London directly to Santiago de Compostela airport. This is a two hour 10 minute flight. We include 23 kilos of checked-in luggage and pre allocated seats. McCabe Travel will require your passport details prior to departure, and will check you in, and issue your boarding passes with your final travel documents.

Hotels

In Sarria and Santiago, at the beginning and end of the week we offer good four star accommodation. On each of the four  nights of our walk will be in simple but comfortable hotels and pensions.  All have been previously used by McCabe Travel groups. All rooms feature private facilities.

You can click on the hotel websites below:

Alfonso IX Hotel, Sarria ****

Hotel Pousada de Portomarin ***

Pension Complejo Cabana, Palas de Rei **

Pension Rua, Arzua **

Hotel Ruta Jacobea, Lavacolla ***

Hotel Compostela, Santiago ****

Touring information

We will set out each morning at around 8am and plan to arrive at our destination between 5 and 6pm. We walk each day for up to seven hours.  On the way, we will stop for lunch (times vary) and visit places of interest which our guide will introduce to us. Lunches are not included as we like to keep flexibility of each day’s timings, but our tour managers are expert at recommending options each day.   

Most groups celebrate the Eucharist at a key point on the journey and at your destination we join in a pilgrim Mass in the cathedral of St James, where the great Botafumeiro is usually swung.  

Our Walks

Our walks along The Way will vary in length and degree of difficulty, we will be walking between 14-19 miles each day, sometimes roadside on flat pavement, sometimes through country roads, cobbled paths and through woods & forests. Luggage is transported between hotels, so you only need to walk with a day pack.

Do wear sturdy shoes or boots suitable for walking long distances and bring a day pack to carry principally rain-wear, sun cream, a hat, water, blister plasters and spare socks.

The weather in the Galician region is much like the English summer.  Sunshine with scattered showers is not uncommon but equally it can be hot. We will keep an eye on the daily weather forecast and the guide will plan our walking and stops accordingly

Practical information

Passports, visas and health

Check that your passport is valid beyond the return date of this tour.  If you need a new passport apply early as there can be considerable backlogs at the passport offices.  There are minimal formalities for British passport holders entering Spain.  If you are holding a non-British passport, or require further advice, please consult the McCabe office.  No inoculations are required. We do, however, advise you to consult your doctor regarding your own personal requirements.  

Travelling Alone

Many of our passengers travel alone and object to expensive single room supplements. McCabe Pilgrimages will accept individual bookings on a 'guaranteed share' basis.  We charge the basic price and accommodate you with a person of the same sex also requesting shared accommodation.  If we do not find someone to share with you, you will be accommodated in a single room at only 50% of the usual single room supplement. For single travellers who do require single accommodation this should be requested when booking and, if available, the normal supplement will be payable. 

The McCabe Educational Trust

For many, meeting the ‘Living Stones’ of The Land becomes a real highlight of their pilgrimage. The McCabe Educational Trust is an independent registered charity with the aim of helping inspiring people we meet on pilgrimage.  On your pilgrimage you will meet some of these people.  As ‘the haves’ encounter the ‘have nots’ the Trust has become a practical tool for one to help the other. 

McCabe Pilgrimages invite all travellers to become partners in this work. A £15 voluntary donation to the Trust’s work is added to every pilgrim’s invoice and all money raised in this way is given in full to the projects the Trust supports. This scheme is voluntary and confidential with nobody put under any pressure to participate.

Full Financial Security

All money paid to McCabe is fully secure. Holidays including flights are covered by our ATOL license from the Civil Aviation Authority, and holidays without flights are protected by our membership of the ABTOT bonding scheme.  If a pilgrimage is cancelled, for instance through lack of numbers or for political considerations, McCabe will promptly refund all monies paid.

AITO Quality Statement

McCabe Pilgrimages is a member of the Association of Independent Tour Operators. The Association represents Britain’s leading independent tour operators and encourages high standards of quality and service. McCabe abides by the Association’s Code of Conduct and adheres to the AITO Quality Charter.

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Dates

Our Programme Tour Leader Tour Dates Availability
Prices from £1145 pp The Revd Anne Harvey 06/07/2020 for 8 days Download brochure Book now

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