back to Spain


The Way to Santiago – Short Break Programme

We focus on the meaning of pilgrimage and for us the journey will be just as important as the arriving.

We begin seventy miles away from Santiago, with two nights in the pilgrim town of Sarria, and our first two days will feature walks along the pilgrim way. We then spend two nights in Santiago where we will worship in St James cathedral and see the famous botafumeiro swing. Our last night gala dinner will feature the famous end-of-pilgrimage Quimada ceremony.

We travel by coach, but each day there is the option to walk part of The Way. There is flexibility on the number and length of the walks and non-walkers always have the option of staying on the coach.

A tour leader and local tour manager accompanies each party, bringing the history of the region and of the pilgrimage to life with their knowledge and experience.


  1. Travel to Spain

    A 12:10 departure from Stansted Airport with Ryanair direct to Santiago de Compostela. Our two hour flight arrives at 15:20. We drive seventy miles East to begin our pilgrimage at Sarria, a traditional stop on The Way.

    Two night stay at the four star Alfonso IX Hotel, Sarria.

  2. A Mountain Top Experience

    We drive further East to the mountain pass of O Cebreiro where we see a village with Celtic-like round huts, and the 9th Century Sanctuary of Santa Maria de O Cebreiro. We Celebrate Holy Communion here and have lunch. This afternoon our featured visit is to the Benedictine monastery of Samos in a spectacular location on the banks of the river Sarria.

    Our walk along The Way today is about 5 miles, and takes us through lovely countryside from Enche (near Triacastela) to the monastery.

  3. The Heavenly City

    We cross the Mino river and continue along The Way. Our featured visit this morning is to the church of San Salvador where we have our group worship.

    Our walk today is about 4 miles, form Melide to Boente through eucalyptus woods.

    We will have a lunch break in one of the villages en route. The speciality here is "Pulpo"-dishes, based on octopus: delicious, but not compulsory!

    We arrive in Santiago de Compostela via the viewpoint at "monte del Gozo" where pilgrims first saw the spires of the "Heavenly" city. We all walk the last 500 metres to the magnificent cathedral of St James, and our journey's climax.

    Two night stay in Santiago at the Compostela Hotel.

  4. The cathedral of St James

    Walking tour of the old town, including the Plaza Obradoiro, the cathedral and the Parador. We join in the pilgrim Mass in the Cathedral at 12 noon, where we will see the magnificent Botafumeiro in action. The afternoon is free, with the opportunity to visit the museum.

    This evening we go out to enjoy a traditional farewell dinner in a local restaurant (Including the Quiemada drink ceremony)

  5. Homeward Bound

    At around 08:00 we depart for the airport. Our return flight leaves at 10:35, arriving back in London Stansted at 11:45.

Essential Information


Flights, Hotel accommodation, Breakfast, dinner daily, Sightseeing programme, Entrance fees & guiding, Gratuities

Not included

Travel Insurance, Single Room supplement, Lunches

Travel Insurance

The McCabe recommended insurance policy is designed for the older traveller.  The premium for a Spain pilgrimage is £49.  Travellers over 75 pay £74 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.


Please check the individual tour itinerary for flight details.  Groups fly from Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick. We often recommend flying with Ryanair from London Stansted Airport, directly to Santiago.


We are not using “pilgrim” hostels on our journey but have selected three and four star hotels so that you can expect comfortable, clean accommodation and rooms with private facilities. Our chosen hotels are well tried-and-tested by past McCabe pilgrims and have been selected based on their location or facilities and quality of food and service.

You can click on the hotel websites below:

Hotel Alfonso IX in Sarria

Compostela Hotel in Santiago

Touring information

Days generally start at 9 and finish around 6 with dinner served around 8. 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 final celebratory dinner includes the traditional end of pilgrimage “Quiemada” experience.  The rhythm of this pilgrimage is not readings and prayers as in the Holy Land, but typically a great time of sharing.   

Our Walks

Our walks along The Way will vary in length and degree of difficulty but they have been planned with the expectation that most people will be able to participate. There will always be a coaching option for non-walkers. 

No special footwear or other equipment is required. Think in terms of stout walking shoes and a day pack to carry water, a camera and the like.

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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Upcoming Pilgrimages

We have no tours scheduled to this destination at present.

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