Welcome to one of the oldest and most important Christian pilgrimage routes in the world!
The Way of St. James – El Camino Pilgrimage in Spain - (This is a Walking Tour) Santiago de Compostela is the final resting place and tomb of St. James. While you will be removed from the routine of your everyday life, rest assured you will be taken care of with outstanding accommodations, meals and transportation with van/bus driving parallel to the path you walk each day. Should at any point you feel tired, need water, or any medical assistance, it will be readily available to you at check points that are set up along the way on your path. “Tourists pass through places, places pass through Pilgrims”
† First Class 4-stars hotels & quaint Inns: (or similar) ~ 1 night: Hotel Catalonia Gaudi, Madrid ~ 1 night: Hotel Alfonso IX, Sarria ~ 1 night: Pousada de Portomarin, Portomarin ~ 1 night: Palas de Rei ~ 2 nights: A Painza, Arzua ~ 1 night: Hotel Amenal, Arca/O Pino ~ 2 nights: Hotel Compostela, Santiago de Compostela
† Breakfast Daily † 6 Lunches (All Walking Days)
† Dinner Daily † Professional local Catholic Tour Escort † Catholic Priest & Mass daily † Sightseeing and admissions fees as per itinerary † Transportation by air-conditioned motor coach † Vehicle available to assist pilgrims who are unable to complete any leg of the tour † Hotel taxes and service charges † Flight bag & portfolio of all travel documents
*Clergy Discount: 20%
*Discount is offered to ordained clergy in the Roman Catholic Church: deacons, priests, or bishops belonging to the diaconate, the presbyterate, or the episcopate, respectively as well, as Catholic Sisters.
Not Included: Lunches on none walking days, Tips to your guide & driver.
This is such a magnificent pilgrimage, that it is a subject of the 2010 movie directed by Emilio Estevez and starring his father Martin Sheen called ‘The Way’. This is a very interesting movie that encompasses elements of the pilgrimage that 206 Tours offers – called: The Way of St James (El Camino) – highlighting Spain’s spectacular Santiago de Compostela. The movie is based on a story of an American Father and Doctor (played by Martin Sheen) who decides to travel to Spain in order to walk the ‘El Camnio’ in order to follow in the footsteps of his son (played by Emilo Estevez) who dies on this journey.
If you are interested in experiencing this type of pilgrimage, be sure to register below
El Camino Walking Stick
206 Tours Pilgrimage Group
The Iron Cross, Foncebadon, Spain
O Cebreiro, Spain
St. Lazaro Church,
206 Tours Pilgrim receiving El Camino Certificates & Passports
Church of Santa Maria, Palas de Rei, Spain
Palas de Rei, spain
Arca do Pino, Spain
The Botafumeiro, Santiago de Compostela
206 Tours Pilgrimage Group, Santiago de Compostela
The Relics of St. James, Santiago de Compostela
** This is a Walking Pilgrimage ** Important notice:this itinerary involves an average of 13-17 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.
What to Know before you go - El Camino
Day 1: Depart for Madrid
Make your way to your local airport where you will board your overnight flight(s). Your meals will be served on board.
Day 2: Arrive Madrid
Upon arrival in Madrid, you will collect your luggage in the baggage claim area, and continue to the Arrival's Hall where you will be greeted by your tour guide and/or driver. Make your way to the Bus where your group will transfer to your hotel. Following check-in your group will spend the rest of the day touring this capital city of Spain. Your first stops will be to the Royal Palace and the Plaza Mayor. Both sites are iconic to Madrid as the Palace holds state ceremonies and events; and the Plaza Mayor is the geographic center of Madrid, as well as the social center. It is known for its peaceful lake and a number of magnificent sculptures and monuments. Your panoramic sightseeing will include The Prado Museum, which opened in 1819.Return to hotel for dinner and a restful overnight in Madrid before your walking tour begins!
Day 3: Madrid – Foncebadón – Iron Cross – O Cebreiro – Sarria (Walking day, 3 miles / 4.8 km)
This morning, you will enjoy breakfast and transfer to Sarria (approximately four hours and forty minutes).Sarria is located in the northwest of Spain and is noted for being the entry point to the oriental side of the region, Galicia. Your transfer will end and you will begin on foot from Foncebadón. In the eleventh century, this village was a common resting place for pilgrims on El Camino due to its hospitals, hospice, and church. Currently, the structures that have served so many are now in ruins. While in Foncebadón, you will walk to view the “Iron Cross.” This Cross is a common pausing place for pilgrims as they leave a stone at the foot of the cross to symbolize a sin or burden that they are leaving behind. Your tour continues as you leave your burdens behind and continue onward to the village nestled in the mountains, O Cebreiro. Many pilgrims pause at this site due to the Eucharistic Miracle that occurred in the year 1300. Additionally, be sure to have your cameras ready as this village is suspended 1,300 meters in the air and provides a breathtaking panoramic view. Your first walking day culminates with a delicious meal and an overnight in Sarria.
Day 4: Sarria - Portomarín (walking day, 14.3 Miles / 22.88 km)
Today is the day that your walking pilgrimage (El Camino) to Santiago de Compostela officially begins! Following breakfast, your group will venture to the Pilgrim Office to receive your Pilgrim Passport! With the guidance of Our Lord, and through the spirit of St. James the apostle, you will become an authentic pilgrim by journeying along the physical road, as well as, the spiritual one. Your first official day of walking will culminate in Portomarín. This town dates back to the Roman Ages and was an important halt along the route in the Middle Ages. Due to the creation of a dam in 1962, the Old Portomarín is currently underneath the Miño River. As a result of the dam creation, many of the old buildings were moved, brick by brick. Among these buildings is the Church of St. John of Jerusalem. In Medieval Times, this church was strategically set along the route of El Camino in order to protect the tomb of Santiago. At Portomarín, you will enjoy dinner followed by an overnight.
Day 5: Portomarin - Palas de Rei (walking day, 15 Miles / 24km)
This morning, you will enjoy breakfast at your hotel and journey from Portomarín, through the woods to the Palas de Rei. This was a noteworthy town in the Middle Ages, as it contained a Royal Hospital and the church of St. Tirso. As the rugged walk continues, you will continue through fields, forests, and granaries. Additionally, you will see a prominent characteristic of Galician Landscape, los cruceiros. These wayside crosses depict Christ and the Virgin Mary. Upon arrival in Palas de Rei, you will have the opportunity for free time. However, there will be an optional visit to the Monastery of Villar de Donas. This Monastery is of Romanesque architecture and is known for its Gothic paintings that date back to the sixteenth century. Also, the Monastery treasures several sarcophagi of Knights of the Order of Santiago in addition to, a stone retable that depicts the Eucharistic Miracle of O Cebreiro. Following this optional visit, you will eat dinner and enjoy a restful overnight in Palas de Rei.
Day 6: Palas de Rei - Arzua (walking day, 18 Miles / 28.8km)
Breakfast will be served at your hotel. Your pilgrimage continues as you will travel from Palas de Rei to the bustling small town of Arzua. Before arriving in Arzua, your group will stop at Melide. This town is a crucial point of El Camino because it is where the French and Oviedo routes converge. Upon arrival in Melide, you will notice the old roads that date back to the fourteenth century, which are some of the oldest in the region of Galicia. While in Melide, you will visit the Sancti Spiritus Church, known for its stately sepulchers. It was founded in the fourteenth century by the Third Order of Saint Francis and was formerly known as the Monastery of Sancti Spiritus. Following your visit to this Parish church, you will continue to the small chapel of San Roque. This chapel was newly built in 1949 out of the ruins from the churches of St. Pedro and St. Roque. However, its façade continues to hold the original medieval architecture. Most interestingly, on the side of the Church there is a crucifix that dates back to the fourteenth century. Your next stop in Melide will be to the Romanesque church of Santa María that dates back to the twelfth century. After visiting these historic churches, you will leave the Lugo province and enter into the province of A Coruña. As your group continues to Arzua, you will cross the beautiful, medieval bridge over the Iso River to Ribadiso. While in Ribadiso, you will take in the beautiful scenery as you arrive at the Chapel of Magdalena. This beautiful Chapel is of Gothic architecture and was once part of an Augustinian Monastery. Following your visit to this Chapel, your day will culminate with arrival in Arzua, where you will enjoy dinner and an overnight.
Day 7: Arzua (day of rest)
Today, you will take a break to rest your bodies and shake off any fatigue. After Mass, there will be time to reflect on the journey thus far, and to spend at your own leisure. Dinner and overnight will be provided in Arzua.
Day 8: Arzua - Arca de O Pino/Rua (walking day, 11 Miles / 17.6 km)
Your journey is almost over as you will walk to the largest community before Santiago, Arca de O Pino! Upon walking this route, you will immerse yourselves in the fragrant eucalyptus groves and experience the breathtaking scenery. At a point throughout your walk, you will stop and enjoy a picnic lunch. Following lunch, you will continue your journey and arrive in Arca de O Pino. Upon arrival, you will have some free time to experience this peaceful village. There will be an optional visit to the grandiose Monastery of Sobrado, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It is Galicia’s first Cistercian monastery and since then has undergone renovations that have greatly embellished the façade, church, and side chapel. As you explore this village, you will notice joy etched in the faces of the pilgrims. Although they have traveled a long distance, they are not weary. With God and St. James guiding their paths, excitement and anticipation continues for their arrival in Santiago.
Day 9: Arca do Pino - Monte do Gozo - Santiago (walking day, 14 Miles / 22.4 km) Today, you will culminate the walking portion of your journey! Before arriving at your final destination, you will first stop for a picnic on Mount Joy (Monte del Gozo). You will know that you are approaching Santiago because at this point, you will be able to seethe spires of the Cathedral. Following lunch, you will complete your walking journey and arrive at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Upon arrival, feel free to say a small prayer in thanksgiving to Our Lord for keeping you safe throughout the walking pilgrimage. At this time, you will check-in to your hotel and enjoy free time to explore Galicia’s capital, Santiago. This evening you will enjoy a marvelous dinner, followed by a very restful overnight in Santiago de Compostela.
Day 10: Santiago de Compostela
This morning you will awaken in the beautiful city of Santiago de Compostela! Following breakfast, your group will enjoy Mass at the ever-famous Cathedral of St. James. Formed by Galician granite, this Cathedral is one of the finest architectural examples in Europe as it encompasses Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque styles. Additionally, the Cathedral contains numerous and valuable pieces of art that truly captivate the eye. Upon entering the Cathedral, tradition will lead as you will hug the dazzling statue of St. James. Following this intimate embrace, you will descend into the crypt where the Patron Saint of Pilgrims’ relics are kept. Following your visit, you will enjoy free time for lunch on own before your sightseeing tour of the city. Some stops on your tour include the Obradoiro Square, Fonseca Palace, Gelmirez Palace, Franco Street, and much more. Your evening will be free to spend at your leisure until a final dinner with your group. You will spend a final overnight in Santiago de Compostela.
Day 11: Return Home
Your last day in Spain will begin with breakfast at your hotel, followed by a transfer to the Santiago Airport for your return flight(s) home. You will say hasta luego (see you later) to your new friends made on this journey.
Important notice: this itinerary involves an average of 13-17 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.
Pilgrimage Options: † Single Supplement / Private Room: $699 † Business Class Trans-Atlantic Upgrade (One-Way): $1,750 † Business Class Trans-Atlantic Upgrade (Round-Trip): $3,500 † First Class: available upon request † Children Discount (under 12): available upon request † Clergy Discount: 20%
Would you like to arrive earlier or stay later? Let us know at time of registration, we will reschedule your airline reservations pending availability
at no additional fee (these options will be available to you when you register online). Let us know if you need assistance with pre or post stay at hotel. Simply
Contact Us: 800-206-TOUR (8687) or firstname.lastname@example.org
*Although this is a “Walking Tour” – rest assured that everything will be taken care of by 206 Tours! On your pilgrimage, you will be staying at fabulous hotels.
You will have a driver & vans following your group as well as transporting your luggage. Furthermore, if you feel the need to complete a walking segment via transportation, you can simply climb aboard our bus or van as needed. Enjoy excellent meals throughout the pilgrimage and you will have an assistant and a guide at your side from start to finish.
A PILGRIMAGE IS A FORM OF TRAVEL WHICH IS GOOD FOR YOUR BODY & SOUL!
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 itthat 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 pilgrimageto 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).