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Camino de Santiago de Compostela takes you to its namesake on this last leg of Pure Adventure’s self-guided hiking tour, from Sarria to Santiago. One of the most popular stretches of El Camino as well as one of the most revered, the hiking continues through the beautiful stretch of countryside that leads to Santiago. In Santiago, even the nonreligious are compelled after their long trip to step into the Santiago de Compostela cathedral and say mass with thousands of people. Enjoy the sights on your hike, then spend a day in Santiago taking in the sights and getting your pilgrim’s certificate. Interested in adding on other stages of the Camino? Just ask – Pure Adventures can arrange for it all!
Arrive to Sarria by train from Madrid or Barcelona. Depart Santiago de Compostela from its airport or by train.
Included Standard Hotels:
About: Included standard hotels on this tour are usually family owned and in locations convenient to the route. All lodging includes a private bathroom and many amenities. Some upgrades to Parador accommodations are possible, please inquire.
Local Expert: our local Spanish office is available by phone for support throughout the tour. We will do a phone orientation at the trip start and manage your luggage transfers each day. Complete navigation materials are provided, designed by our local staff, and using the best published trail guides. Back up and answers to questions are just a local phone call away.
Need to Know:
Begin your walking tour in Sarria, accessible on your own. Fly into Santiago or Madrid, then take a bus or train to Sarria. Please inquire for more information on transfers. Remember on arrival, to obtain your Pilgrim’s passport “La Credencial”, which you will need to be stamped daily at either a “refugio”, church or town hall, in order to receive the Compostela” in Santiago. A great tradition of the route is to obtain the ‘”Compostela”, a certificate of accomplishment given to pilgrims upon completing the way. To earn this, you need to walk at least 100 km of the route. Go shopping and explore the town for the remainder of the day. Walk along the “Malecon” on the other side of the river, try some typical Galician food and check out the pilgrims’ shelter and shops in the old town. Your orientation today is by phone, at 4:30 pm.
Today is a somewhat hilly walk (constantly up and down) giving travelers the opportunity to pass by Sarria Castle, with its one remaining tower. (The rest was destroyed in the peasants’ uprising against the aristocracy in the 15th century.) You will pass through small hamlets such as Cortinas and A Brea. The Camino ascends to a high point at Pena dos Corvos; at 660m you will enjoy panoramic views over a reservoir, before descending into the lush Rio Mino valley, to Mercadoiro and into Portomarin. In 1956 construction of the Embalse de Belesar Dam was started and completed in 1962 when the valley was flooded. During the construction period major monuments were moved block by numbered block to the new town of Portomarin. The old village is now under water and some of the buildings can be seen as you cross the new bridge into town. Other highlights today include the mythical 100 km milestone and the Romanesque Churches at Barbadelo and Portomarin (San Nicolas).
Distance: 22 km / 14 mi, 5-6 hrs Highlights: Sarria Castle, under water village, 100 km milestone, churches
Today’s walk takes you away from the Minho River with a steady climb uphill, before passing through the settlements of Gonzar and Castromaior, where you’ll find the tiny Romanesque church of Santa Maria. After exploring, you will continue uphill to today’s high point at Sierra de Ligonde (750 m). Again, you are no more than a few kilometers between any town or village, therefore there are many places to buy food and fill up with water (as is the rest of the Camino). This day will remind you of walking in rural Ireland, as both are lush, green farming communities. Enjoy the descent to Ligonde where you can see the Stone Wayside Cross, and continue on to your lodging.
Distance: 25 km / 14 mi, 6 hrs
Highlights: Santa Maria church, Sierra de Ligonde, Stone Wayside Cross
Overnight: Lestedo or Palas del Rei, depending on your lodging
Today you will walk crossing five shallow river valleys. Along the way, stop at San Xulian do Camino, a classical Camino village with its tiny 12th Century church dedicated to Saint Julian. Cross the provincial border to the hamlet of O Coto, before traversing a medieval bridge edged by woodland to the quintessential Camino village of Leboreiro. Leboreiro is said to be the prettiest hamlet on the Galician section of the Saint James Way. Melide is famous for its octopus dishes – Pulpo Galega – as well as its old Stone Wayside Cross (the oldest on the Saint James Way, although not at its original location). Make sure to try Pulpo in one of the typical Pulperia eateries.
Distance: 15 km / 9 mi, 4 hrs
Highlights: Saint Julian church, O Coto, Leboreiro
Today could be the start of the countdown to Santiago de Compostela, with a shorter walk through typical Galician woods and countryside. Arzúa, which is famous for its magnificent cheese, is the last town until arriving to Santiago! The only obstacles are the numerous river valleys one needs to cross. The tiny hamlet Ribadiso is a lovely surprise, with its magnificent pilgrim refuge next to the Iso River. Enjoy this beautiful area for a small rest and then continue on to your stop for the night, in Arzúa.
Distance: 17 km / 11 mi, 3.5 hrs
Highlights: Galician countryside, Ribadiso
Overnight: Santa Maria de Arzúa
Leaving Arzúa, you may want to pick up some of the delicious local cheese found in this area. As you make your way to Rúa today, you will walk through many different villages including Brea, Calzada and A Calle. Make sure to visit the medieval shrine at Santa Irene, which is dedicated to a martyr saint from Portugal. You will also want to stop to visit the Baroque fountain of healing waters.
Distance: 19 km / 12 mi, 5 hrs
Highlights: Santa Irene shrine, Baroque fountain
Overnight: O Pino
Today you will reach the much anticipated Santiago, but there are a few places to visit before reaching your final destination. The Camino path takes you first to San Paio and then to Lavacolla. It was tradition for pilgrims to wash in the river at Lavacolla before reaching Santiago. Tall eucalyptus trees sway in the wind as you make your way to the ‘Mount of Joy’ of Monte del Gozo (368m). From here, you are able to catch sight of your goal—the impressive towers of Santiago de Compostela’s cathedral. It is worth taking a minute or two here to reflect on all that you have accomplished, how far you have walked. This might be the last point of silence and peacefulness for the next few days.
Pick up the “Compostela” in the Pilgrims Office, which is the official document that certifies you as a pilgrim who has completed the Saint James Trail. The pilgrims’ mass is each day at noon (happens more often in Año Santo, a Holy Jacobean Year) and during the summer it is sure to be busy. The best time to visit the cathedral is early in the morning. Later, walk around the city, marvel at the fascinating architecture and unique atmosphere of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. At the end of the day, what better way to relax than with a reviving drink on the Praza das Praterias and watch the world pass by!
Distance: 21 km / 13 mi, 5.5 hrs
Highlights: Lavacolla, Monte del Gozo, UNESCO Site of Santiago
Overnight: Santiago de Compostela
Departure is on your own today. We can arrange (and strongly encourage!) additional nights in Santiago; please inquire. There’s just so much to see in Santiago and it is easily one of the greatest cities in all of Spain. Enjoy delicious food, a charming market and fascinating old town, as you wander away a few extra days.
Note: Optional visits to Cabo Fisterre, Muros and the Galician Coast (an organized tour that takes a full day or on your own by rental car) can also be arranged, in advance.
Tour Starts Monday – Saturday; April-October
Rates based on double occupancy
Standard Two & Three Star Hotels:
Upgraded Three & Four Star Hotels:
Make it Custom: Do you like this tour but want to make it different? Tell us your wishes & we will quote it!
We plan to have Pure Adventures plan a second trip for us in the new year. What better a recommendation is there! Thanks so much Bo and all the support staff of Pure Adventures!
Everything was well organized and worked out well. Accommodations, food, beautiful country side, to hike through. Would recommend it. Be in exceptional shape to walk everyday.
The trip was awesome. I did the same trip in August 2015 – with Pure Adventures. It was just as amazing this time. Accommodations were fabulous. Someone “Nora” called on our first day to make sure we arrived. Provided her info just in case we needed any assistance or had any questions. I have booked Lake Como hiking tour with Pure Adventures for September 2016.
Operator’s comment: Great Connie, thanks! Nora looks after our people on the Camino, glad she checked in to make contact!
Our experience was terrific! Pure Adventures was great at handling taking care of all reservations and coordinating with Nora in Spain who was great at follow-up and answering questions! All of the places that were selected for us to stay were great.
The questions I had prior to leaving were all answered, and I felt prepared for the most part. Because this was a new experience, I’m not sure what to add. I know we were discouraged after the first day’s walk, but the accommodations and dinner were among the best of the trip, which made up for it. PA Staff, especially Maggie, were always responsive to my questions and I felt that overall I was prepared for this trip.