EC 206 Tours Special Event...... 11 days  
The Way of St. James
A Walking Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela
This is a Walking Pilgrimage
Santiago de Compostela, Spain
History of El Camino (click here for additional info about St. James Route)

The Way of St. James or St. James' Way, often known by its Spanish name, el Camino de Santiago, is the pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where legend has it that the remains of the apostle, Saint James the Great, are buried.

The Way of St James has existed for over a thousand years. It was one of the most important Christian pilgrimages during medieval times. It was considered one of three pilgrimages on which a plenary indulgence could be earned; the others are the Via Francigena to Rome and the pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

Legend holds that St. James's remains were carried by boat from Jerusalem to northern Spain where they were buried on the site of what is now the city of Santiago de Compostela. There are some, however, who claim that the bodily remains at Santiago belong to Priscillian, the fourth-century Galician leader of an ascetic Christian sect, Priscillianism, who was one of the first Christian heretics to be executed.

There is not a single route; the Way can take one of any number of pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela. However a few of the routes are considered main ones. Santiago is such an important pilgrimage destination because it is considered the burial site of the apostle, James the Great. During the Middle Ages, the route was highly traveled. However, the Black Plague, the Protestant Reformation and political unrest in 16th- century Europe resulted in its decline. By the 1980s, Only * a few pilgrims arrived in Santiago annually. However, since then, the route has attracted a growing number of modern-day pilgrims from around the globe. The route was declared the first European Cultural Route by the Council of Europe in October 1987; it was also named one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites in 1993.

Today tens of thousands of Christian pilgrims and other travelers set out each year from their front doorstep, or popular starting points across Europe, to make their way to Santiago de Compostela. Most travel by foot, some by bicycle, and a few travel as some of their medieval counterparts did, on horseback or by donkey (for example, the British author and humorist Tim Moore).



YOUR TRIP INCLUDES:

bullet Round-trip air from New York to Spain (special Add-on Airfares from all US gateways)
bulet Airport Taxes, Security Fees & Fuel Surcharges Included
bulet 9 nights at 4 star Hotels, & Quaint Inns as follows: (or similar)
             1 night:  Hotel Catalonia Gaudi, Madrid, Spain
             1 night:  Hotel AC San Antonio, Leon, Spain
             1 night:  Rectoral de Goian or Torre do Bario, Sarria, Spain
             1 night:  Pousada de Portomarin, Portomarin, Spain
             1 night:  Rectoral de Lestedo or Pazo Mariñao, Palas de Rie, Spain
             1 night:  Pazo de Santa Maria or Lar da Mota, Arzua, Spain
             1 night:  O muiño da Pena or Casa o Acivro, O Pino, Spain
            2 nights:  San Francisco Hotel Monumento, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
bulet Breakfast & Dinner Daily
bulet Picnic lunches on 5 days
bulet Professional local Catholic tour Escort
bulet Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary
bulet Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach
bulet Vehicle available to assist pilgrims who are unable to complete any leg of the journey
bulet Hotel taxes and service charges
bulet Catholic Mass daily
bulet Flight bag & portfolio of all travel documents
 

Not Included: Lunches not specified, Travel Insurance optional at $99-$225, (www.206tours.com/insurance).  Cancel for Any Reason Protection @ $199 (www.206tours.com/cancellationprotection).  Tips to your guide & driver (Euro € 6-8 per day). Items of a personal nature. *"Land Only*" does not include airfare or airport transfers.


Sample Day-by-Day Itinerary:
Day 1: Depart USA
Board your overnight transatlantic flights from your home town.  Meals are served on board.

 

Day 2: Arrive Madrid
We will be greeted by our escort/driver. Transfer to the hotel. Time for resting. In the afternoon we will visit the Capital city of Spain. Madrid became Spain’s capital simply through its geographical position at the center of Iberia. When Felipe II moved the seat of government from Toledo to Madrid in 1561 his aim was to create a symbol of the unification and centralization of the country, and a capital from which he could receive fastest post and communications from each corner of the nation. Madrid’s main sights occupy a compact area between the Royal Palace and the beautiful gardens of El Retiro. The great trio of museums: the Prado (one of the oldest and greatest collections of art in the world: Bosch, Velazquez, Goya, Titian, El Greco, etc), Thyssen Bornemisza (like a walking through the history of the painting) and Reina Sofía (permanent gallery of modern Spanish art: Picasso, Dalí, Miró, Tapies, Chillida, etc); are ranged along the Paseo del Prado, over towards the Retiro park. The oldest part of the city, el Madrid de los Austrias, is centered on the gorgeous, arcaded Plaza Mayor, just to the east of the Royal Palace. Other interesting buildings and sights would be: Puerta del Sol, Gran Via Street, Cibeles fountain, Alcalá gate, the Spanish Square, etc. Dinner and overnight in Madrid.

 

Days 3: Madrid - Burgod - Leon
After breakfast we will depart towards the city of Burgos. Burgos was for some five hundred years the capital of the Old Castile and with its dark stone old town and castle it remains redolent of these years of power and military strength. It has historic associations as the home of El Cid in the XI Century, and as the base of two centuries later of Fernando el Santo, the reconqueror of Murcia, Córdoba and Sevilla. It was Fernando who began the city’s famous Gothic cathedral, one of the greatest in all Spain. During the visit we will be able to see: the Arco de Santa María, originally this gateway formed part of the town walls, the Cathedral, the Huelgas Monastery, the Cartuja de Miraflores, the Castle, etc. We will continue our journey to Leon. The name of Leon comes from the Roman Times, The Roman Legion named the town Legio in AD 68 and derivations over years led the name to Leon or lion. The city amasses some of Spain’s most important historic-artistic monuments, like its Cathedral, a Gothic gem and a masterpiece of architecture with the best collection of stained-glass windows in Europe (Only * after Chartres). Next to the Cathedral, there is the Roman Saint Isidoro Basilica (eleventh and twelfth century), where Saint Isidoro of Seville tomb is kept; and the Saint Marcus Monastery, with its fantastic front in Plateresque style bedecked with shells (the symbol of the pilgrim). Dinner and overnight in Leon.

 

Day 4: León – Villafranca del Bierzo – O Cebreiro - Sarria
Breakfast in the hotel. In the morning we will depart to Sarria. In our way we will walk a little bit to “warm” our legs. Part of our journey will follow the old Roman road that connected Ponferrada with the silver and gold mines located in Las Médulas. We will visit Villafranca del Bierzo, a town founded in the 11 C, where the Cluny Order had an important representation. We can enjoy the Collegiate Church of Santa María, built between the 13 and 16 C; the churches of Santiago (12 C) and San Nicolas, as well as the Agua Street, full of palaces and emblazoned houses. The Castle-Palace of the Marquisate is worthy of being visited. Later we will enter Galicia by Lugo, not far from Santiago. The first village in the region of Lugo along the Route is Cebreiro, with an altitude of 1,300 meters. A group of "pallozas" can be seen (Pre-Romanesque circular houses with straw roofs) and a beautiful Pre-Romanesque temple, from the 9-10 C, containing a Chalice, the Paten of "Santo Milagro" (Holy Miracle) and a precious Romanesque carving of Santa Maria la Real. At the end of the day we will arrive to Sarria. In this town, where Alfonso IX died in 1230, while making the pilgrimage, the old quarter retains a strong Medieval character. We can also visit the church of Salvador, with a Romanesque ground plan and Gothic façade; the small chapel of San Lazaro; the hospital of San Antonio, which today houses a Court; and the remains of its old fortress, from the 14 C. Dinner and overnight in Sarria.

 

Day 5: Sarria - Portomarin (walking day, 21 kms)
Breakfast in the hotel. In the morning we will depart to Sarria. In our way we will walk a little bit to “warm” our legs. Part of our journey will follow the old Roman road that connected Ponferrada with the silver and gold mines located in Las Médulas. We will visit Villafranca del Bierzo, a town founded in the 11 C, where the Cluny Order had an important representation. We can enjoy the Collegiate Church of Santa María, built between the 13 and 16 C; the churches of Santiago (12 C) and San Nicolas, as well as the Agua Street, full of palaces and emblazoned houses. The Castle-Palace of the Marquisate is worthy of being visited. Later we will enter Galicia by Lugo, not far from Santiago. The first village in the region of Lugo along the Route is Cebreiro, with an altitude of 1,300 meters. A group of "pallozas" can be seen (Pre-Romanesque circular houses with straw roofs) and a beautiful Pre-Romanesque temple, from the 9-10 C, containing a Chalice, the Paten of "Santo Milagro" (Holy Miracle) and a precious Romanesque carving of Santa Maria la Real. At the end of the day we will arrive to Sarria. In this town, where Alfonso IX died in 1230, while making the pilgrimage, the old quarter retains a strong Medieval character. We can also visit the church of Salvador, with a Romanesque ground plan and Gothic façade; the small chapel of San Lazaro; the hospital of San Antonio, which today houses a Court; and the remains of its old fortress, from the 14 C. Dinner and overnight in Sarria.

 

Day 6: Portomarin - Palas de Rei (walking day, 24 kms)
Breakfast in the hotel. In the morning we will depart to Sarria. In our way we will walk a little bit to “warm” our legs. Part of our journey will follow the old Roman road that connected Ponferrada with the silver and gold mines located in Las Médulas. We will visit Villafranca del Bierzo, a town founded in the 11 C, where the Cluny Order had an important representation. We can enjoy the Collegiate Church of Santa María, built between the 13 and 16 C; the churches of Santiago (12 C) and San Nicolas, as well as the Agua Street, full of palaces and emblazoned houses. The Castle-Palace of the Marquisate is worthy of being visited. Later we will enter Galicia by Lugo, not far from Santiago. The first village in the region of Lugo along the Route is Cebreiro, with an altitude of 1,300 meters. A group of "pallozas" can be seen (Pre-Romanesque circular houses with straw roofs) and a beautiful Pre-Romanesque temple, from the 9-10 C, containing a Chalice, the Paten of "Santo Milagro" (Holy Miracle) and a precious Romanesque carving of Santa Maria la Real. At the end of the day we will arrive to Sarria. In this town, where Alfonso IX died in 1230, while making the pilgrimage, the old quarter retains a strong Medieval character. We can also visit the church of Salvador, with a Romanesque ground plan and Gothic façade; the small chapel of San Lazaro; the hospital of San Antonio, which today houses a Court; and the remains of its old fortress, from the 14 C. Dinner and overnight in Sarria.

 

Day 7: Palas de Rei - Arzua (walking day, 28 kms)
Breakfast in the hotel. The walk sets off from Palas and ends up at a the bustling small town of Arzua, but before we finish our today’ stage we will visit Melide. This town is crucial to the Route, because it is the place where the French and the Oviedo Routes converge. At the entrance to the town there is a crossroads from the 14 C, one of the oldest in Galicia. The present Parish Church was the former church of the Monastery of Sancti Spiritus. It contains stately sepulchers. Worthy of note are also the small chapel of San Roque, with its transept from the 14 C, and the Romanesque church of Santa María. Today we also pass from Galicia's Lugo province to Galicia's A Coruña province. A Medieval bridge leads pilgrims to Ribadiso, before arriving at Arzua, the next halt on our journey. Surrounded by a beautiful scenery stands the Gothic Chapel of Magdalena, the Only * part of the old Augustinian monastery that has come down to us. The little town is famous nowadays for its Galician cheese factories. The chestnuts and oaks give way to eucalyptus. Dinner and overnight in Arzua.

 

Day 8: Arzua - Arca do Pino/Rua (walking day, 20 kms)
Breakfast in the hotel. We'll continue our trek to Arca do Pino, the largest community before Santiago, immersing ourselves in the fragrant eucalyptus groves. We'll picnic en route. After arrival in Arca, you can take a quiet walk around this village. The emotion is reflected in the pilgrims’ face, the tiredness accumulated during the pilgrimage does not become apparent. Many things are on the pilgrims minds: the list of all the sights to see in Santiago, the visit to the Apostle, the intention to pick up the document that certifies that the Route to Santiago has been made. Optional visit to the grandiose Monastery of Sobrado, Galicia’s first Cistercian monastery and dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Renovations in the 17th and 18th centuries amply embellished the façade, church and side chapel. Dinner and overnight in Arca do Pino.

 

Day 9: Arca do Pino - Monte de Gozo - Santiago de Compostela (walking day, 20 kms)
Breakfast in the hotel. We'll set out in the cool morning air to make the last and final stage of our journey to reach the famed city of Santiago. En route we'll stop for our picnic on the Monte del Gozo (Mount Joy) from which the spires of the Cathedral are first visible. We will soon arrive at the Cathedral, the destination we have been yearning to reach for a long time. This architectural masterpiece is the most important Romanesque monument After arrival in the Cathedral square and say thanks to God for taking care of us during our pilgrimage, we'll check into our hotel. Free time. Dinner and overnight in Santiago de Compostela.

 

Day 10: Santiago de Compostela
Breakfast in the hotel. This morning we will visit and celebrate Mass at the Cathedral of St. James, one of the finest examples of architecture in all of Europe. Access to the Doorway of Glory is via the Obradoiro façade. Once in its interior, we will be carried away by the emotions produced by the sight of so many extraordinary valuable works of art. Tradition invites us to perform some rites: The most important and meaningful one is the hug to the Saint, go under the main altar and visit the crypt where the relics of St. James are preserved. Later on, comes the pagan rite of the bumps. It consists in reaching for a branch on the mullion, below the figure of the Sitting Apostle and, later making three wishes. On the other side of the column, there is another statue believed to impart wisdom and talents to whoever bumps his head against it. After lunch (on your own) we will continue our visit to the city of Santiago: Obradoiro Square, Fonseca Palace, Gelmirez Palace, Franco Street, etc. Evening at leisure. Dinner and overnight in Santiago de Compostela.

 

Day 11: Santiago de Compostela - USA
Breakfast in the hotel. In the morning we will say hasta luego (see you soon or good bye) to our new friends.  We transfer to Santiago Airport for our return flights home to the USA.

 

Important notice: this itinerary involves an average of 15-20 miles daily of walking/hiking.  It is essential that participants be in fit condition in order to complete the journey.  We will have assistance vehicles (motor coach) available to assist pilgrims who are unable to complete a particular leg of the journey.


Additional Information & Travel Tips

What to Know Before You Go to Spain


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THE 206 TOURS PLEDGE

TRIP COSTS INCLUDE AIRPORT TAXES, FUEL SURCHARGES & SECURITY FEES

At the request of our clients and in the interest of providing clear upfront pricing, we now

include these expenses in our trip costs, as stated in the inclusions for each pilgrimage tour.

 

2010 Departure Dates & Prices

Travel Dates Spiritual
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Special Events

Air & Land
(no airfare)
All Inclusive (Includes Airfare, Land & Airport Taxes)  
May01 - May11 With Fr. Schill

 

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Add-On Cities and Rates     

Single Supplement/Private Room $699
Land with Inter-European Flights
N.A.
Business Class Trans-Atlantic Upgrade (one-way) $1,450
First Class available upon request
Children's discounts for children under 12 upon request
Clergy Discount 10%
Post Tour to Tour #37: Fatima, Spain & Lourdes (8 nights) $2,299

 

Once In A Lifetime

 
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