SPAIN / NORTHERN SPAIN
St. James Way – An immersive journey from Roncesvalles to Santiago de Compostela
Experience the allure and cultural explosion, as well as the history and gastronomic treasures of the Camino de Santiago (St. James Way). “Spain is gifted with an immense 800-kilometer outdoor museum: the Route of Santiago de Compostela”. (Lluís Carandell).
From Roncesvalles in the Navarrese Pyrenees, to Santiago de Compostela, covering an 800-kilometer route, the longest in Europe and probably one of the most well-known routes in the world: The Route of Santiago de Compostela. It is one of the most interesting trips one can make today. It was proclaimed the First European Cultural itinerary in 1987 and was inscribed as UNESCO’s World Heritage Site in 1993.
We will arrange all the necessary services, including a VIP vehicle for all transfers, to embark on this sensory journey in which you will be able to admire the scenic beauty and enjoy one of the best cuisines in the world.
If you want to immerse yourself in the culture of this millenary path, we suggest a nine-day journey to comfortably complete the Way from Roncesvalles to Santiago following the French route and visiting on the way the most important highlights.
We will combine hiking and leisure days to make a memorable experience!
DAY 1 – WALKING FROM RONCESVALLES TO ZUBIRI
You will start your trip walking from Roncesvalles to Zubiri. This stretch will be the perfect starting point of your adventure setting you immediately in the pilgrim mood. You will walk pass meadows and beech and oak forests. On your arrival to the small town of Zubiri your private transfer will take you to Pamplona where you will sleep and get to know the city of the San Fermines!
DAY 2 – ROAD TRIP TO LA RIOJA WINE COUNTRY
On your second journey you will travel to La Rioja, the most important wine region in Spain. Your driver will take you to the heart of the region and you will enjoy the visit to a winery along with a wine tasting!
You will discover some highlights of St James Way like Santo Domingo de la Calzada a town that arose from the Way. It was founded by the Saint who built a bridge over the Oja River to help pilgrims to pass as well as a road to the near Najera and an inn.
The cathedral is the most emblematic building of the town and was built over the tomb of the Saint. The floor plan is Romanesque, but its style is Gothic and Renaissance. Inside what will surely catch your attention is the hen house in which a rooster and a hen live as a reminder of the miracle of the hen that sang after being roasted.
DAY 3 – WALKING TO BURGOS TRACING THE FOOTPRINTS OF MANKIND
Today you will walk to Burgos in what it is one of the most unique stretches of the Way. You will pass by the Atapuerca archaeological site, the most important paleolithic deposit in the world and where our Homo predecessor lived more than a million years ago. The discoveries made here are key to understand how mankind developed and evolved.
In the Museum of Human Evolution of Burgos, the findings of Atapuerca are kept and preserved.
Photo: Malopez 21. Adapted under license (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Once in Burgos you will be able to enjoy the local gastronomy in the pedestrian city center. Of course, you won’t miss its famous Cathedral a Gothic beauty. Recently cleaned, the flamboyant main facade shines with all its splendor.
Inside you will find the tomb of El Cid a national hero that fought in the re-conquer of Spain to the Moors. Above the triforium is the famous Papamoscas, an automaton that sings the hours by opening its mouth and wielding the clapper of a bell. The cathedral was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984.
DAY 4 – ROAD TRIP TO ASTORGA VISITING LEON ON THE WAY
El Camino de Santiago follows its path through Palencia before reaching León. León is one of Spain’s best-kept secrets, with its rich monumental heritage and prominent museums, such as the MUSAC, with its colorful and contemporary façade. A visit to the Cathedral, built in the 15th century, and one of the Spanish benchmarks for Gothic architecture is mandatory.
In León you will succumb to its gastronomic gems such as the botillo, the sensational garlic soup with trout and the cocido maragato (a meat and chickpea stew).
After visiting Leon, you will continue to Astorga, one of Spain’s most ancient towns. One of its highlights is the Bishop’s Palace, one of the few works done by Gaudi outside Catalonia.
DAY 5 – WALKING FROM PONFERRADA TO VILLAFRANCA DEL BIERZO
The following days you will have the chance of walking some of the most beautiful stretches of the Way. On this first journey you travel by car to Ponferrada from where you walk to Villafranca del Bierzo.
Villafranca del Bierzo, located in a fertile valley, is the one of the prominent stages of the Camino de Santiago. Its proximity to Galicia is reflected on the greenness of the valley surrounding this town, which is remarkable for its numerous monuments, wines and jams.
DAY 6 – WALKING FROM SARRIA TO PORTOMARÍN
Today your journey will take you to the Ribera Sacra, washed by the Miño River. This area is known for its wine production. In the past many religious orders established here leaving a vast Romanic legacy.
From the bridge over Belesar reservoir you will be able to see the ruins of the old Portomarin that disappeared under the water in 1960. You will end the walk in the “new” Portomarin.
DAY 7 – WALKING THE LAST STAGE OF THE WAY
Today you will face the last stage of the Camino de Santiago. The majestic city marks the end of the trip, that for over 1000 years has been the crowning the achievement of the most important Christian pilgrimage, as well as one of the best European cultural trips.
When you reach the Monte do Gozo you will be able to gaze in the distance the towers of Santiago’s Cathedral, a joyful sight for all the pilgrims over the centuries!
Calmly you will descend towards Santiago only 6km away and you will at last be in Santiago!
The Obradoiro square, crowned by the Cathedral, dominates the city’s skyline and it’s the last leg of the route. One must wander around its streets in the old quarter and discover some of the most exquisite restaurants in Galicia. This is the perfect spot to sample the renowned and delicious shellfish as well as the octopus!
DAY 8 – DAY TRIP TO CAPE FINISTERRE AND COSTA DA MORTE
To end this exciting and emotional journey we suggest a day trip to one of Spain’s most magical places, Cape Finisterre in the wild Costa da Morte.
The Romans named Finisterre, literally means “the end of the land” in Latin, to the most occidental cape of Galicia. For many, Finisterre Cape considered the real final journey of the St. James Way.
You will stop by the Cape Vilán lighthouse and the English Cemetery memorial of a terrible shipwreck happened in 1890. The fury of the waves beating the stone and the salty wind will travel with you all the way.
DAY 9 – FAREWELL!
Today your private transfer will take you to Santiago de Compostela Airport where you will end your trip. For nine days you will live all the magic of a centenary path that has brough people from all over the world together in a collective experience for centuries!