Main cities and towns along the route: Roncesvalles – Pamplona – Estella – Logroño – Santo Domingo de la Calzada – Burgos – Castrojeriz – Fromista – Sahagun – Leon – Astorga – Ponferrada – Villafranca del Bierzo – Piedrafita do Cebreiro – Samos – Triacastela – Sarria – Portomarin – Melide – Arzua – Santiago de Compostela.
In the year 813 in Galicia a hermit named Paio (Pelayo) discovered the tomb of Saint James (Santiago) in the city of Compostela. According to the legend Santiago the Apostle came to Spain to evangelise the northern part of the Iberian peninsula. Since its discovery the Apostle’s tomb has become a sacred site attracting pilgrims and non-pilgrims from all over the world. The Camino de Santiago or Road to Santiago has been declared by UNESCO of World Heritage importance, and in addition to its spiritual significance, it holds other historic values, such as having been the backbone of European cultural unity.
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Arrival in Bilbao or Biarritz. Accommodation of your choice in Hondarribia.
Today make your way to Roncesvalles in Northern Navarra where the pilgrimage route starts from. Continue south to Pamplona of Ernest Hemingway and bull running fame. There you will find the medieval bridge of Magdalena, the French Gothic Cathedral and la Playa del Castillo. You continue from here to Logroño, visiting en route Estella, known as the “Toledo of the north”, and its Romanesque Church of San Miguel with Gothic influences. Accommodation of your choice in Logroño.
Start by touring Logroño and especially visiting its Gothic Cathedral. From here travel through the Rioja wine region to Santo Domingo de la Calzada built by St. Dominic, a primitive 11th Century engineer who spent his life building roads and bridges in the Rioja area to facilitate the pilgrimage to Santiago. The cathedral has both Renaissance and Baroque features. Later arrive in Burgos, see its remarkable 13th century cathedral officially recognised as World Heritage. Also the gateway to the old city; the Arch of Santa Maria. Other churches worth visiting are: San Lorenzo Church (baroque ceiling), Santa Agueda Church and San Esteban Church. Accommodation of your choice in Burgos.
From Burgos you travel west to Castrojeriz, a typical example of a pilgrim road town, with the Church of Santo Domingo, which has Flemish tapestries with designs by Rubens. The next stop will be Fromista, stopping by the Church of San Martin, an unparalleled example of Romanesque architecture. Accommodation of your choice in Leon.
Full day in León. As the capital of the kingdom in the Middle Ages, León played an important role during the Reconquest. Its most important building is the Gothic cathedral, inspired by the French style. The highlight being the stained glass, truely unique in Spain. San Isidoro Basilica is another fine building containing the Romanesque Royal Pantheon, superbly decorated with 12th century frescoes. Renaissance architecture is well represented by San Marcos, converted nowadays into a Parador. Gaudí is also represented here being the architect responsible for the Casta de los Botines, now a bank. Accommodation of your choice in Astorga.
After visiting the 15th century cathedral and Bishop’s Palace (also by Gaudí) in Astorga you travel on to Ponferrada, an old mining town, where you will discover the well-preserved Templar castle. Next on to Cacabelos, well known for its wines. Accommodation of your choice in the Villafranca del Bierzo area.
In Villafranca del Bierzo see the Romanesque Church of Santiago, with the popular “Puerta del Perdon” (Door of Pardon). Moving on towards Portomarin you pass O Cebreiro, visiting the church of Santa María del Cebreiro (9th C) where in the 13th century it is said a miracle happened. See also traditional Celtic pallozas (ancient homes) which still survive. Contiue via Samos, lovely little village dominated by the massive Monastery of Samos, and onto Portomarin. Accommodation of your choice in Portomarin.
Portomarin is a new town (the old one having been submerged beneath the waters of the Belesar reservoir) with a lovely church; San Nicolas. From Portomarin you make your way to Melide, where the church of San Pedro and the medieval bridge are worth seeing. Next to Arzua, the last step before arriving in Santiago de Compostela, where you can see the church of Santiago and the pazo or country manor of San Lazaro. Accommodation of your choice in the Arzua area.
Arrival to Santiago de Compostela, the third most important place of pilgrimage after Jerusalem and Rome. Around the magnificent Plaza del Obradoiro, you can find an ensemble of splendid buildings such as the dominating Cathedral of St. James (11th century, Baroque facade) and the Parador de Los Reyes Catolicos (once an inn and a hospital for sick pilgrims), with a Plateresque facade. Other fine buildings too numerous to mention include the Convent of San Martiño Pinario, in Baroque style with a Plateresque façade. Accommodation of your choice in Santiago de Compostela.
Return to your point of departure.
If you like the look of the above Suggested Tour we will gladly prepare a quote for you. The itinerary is not rigid and can be modified to suit your needs.
Below is a selection of the accommodation we would recommend for this tour. Click on the Hotel Code or symbol for photographs and detailed information about each property. If you have registered to use our Spain Travel & Holiday Planner, you need only click on to insert it into your itinerary.
|Camino de Santiago - French Road||Hotel Code||Classification||Information|
|1 night in HONDARRIBIA||PAR09 PARADOR||Paradors|
|1 night in Burgos||CYL53||Central Hotel w/ pool|
|1 night in VILLAFRANCA DEL BIERZO||PAR76 PARADOR||Paradors w/ pool|
|1 night in Portomarin||GAL28||Country Hotel w/ pool|