About El Camino - The Way of St. James
Welcome to 206 Tours – The Way of St. James or El Camino Escorted Walking Pilgrimage
The Camino de Santiago is the most famous, and sacred, pilgrimage walk in the world. Millions of people have traveled to the ancient burial site of St. James the Apostle for over 1000 years. Open your heart and mind to be responsive to new perspectives, ideas, cultures, etc. Some of us have dreamed of making this walk for many years, imagining breathing in the beauty and awakening the soul. Finally you have the chance to experience the incredible journey. As soon as you have decided to make the El Camino pilgrimage, please work on preparing physically and spiritually, so that, before you depart, you are accustomed to walking from 5 – 12 miles with not too much discomfort.
We do not include much free time for recreation, such as shopping, because we will be busy walking as well as enjoying several comprehensive tours. However, if you are tired or feel like doing only partial walk, you are free to take time and relax. If you feel you are unable to keep up with the pace of the tour, manage the terrain, or would like free time for your own interests, you are welcome to refrain from participating in any aspects of the program you desire simply inform your guide and they will get you to our next destination (no refund can be issued for any part of the tour you choose not to participate in).
It is important to note that the amount of walking is significant, and the terrain varies greatly throughout the tour. For this reason, we would like to offer you some recommendations, and we ask you sincerely read our tips carefully.
How to prepare for your Pilgrimage
Shoes Many people will give you advice, but, they have probably not walked 15 miles per day on the Way of St James in pouring rain. Once you book your Way of St James Walking Pilgrimage you should do work on two things: start walking and second start looking at shoe options. If you don’t have proper shoes, you will be miserable. Invest time and try out as many shoes as you need to, wear them in for few weeks. Right shoes/boots matter, and should be waterproof (Goretex). The shoes must be flexible and waterproof. It is not a good idea to wear boots for climbing that are too hard and too high (boots have changed, they are not as heavy and, or, as stiff as they were just few years ago). Of course, one can walk El Camino in running shoes, or if you want to do major penance you can walk in high heals or even bare feet. Actually it’s bare feet how pilgrims used to walk the Camino long ago. The options are all your!
Shoe Size The size is important. Although your foot cannot move inside the shoe too much, but shoes cannot be tight either or you will get blisters and because of many downhills you may lose your toe nais may have a serious problem. We recommend you try as many hiking shoes as possible until you find the most comfortable pair. Each individual is different, but almost all feet will swell after miles of walking, so consider getting two pairs of shoes, first pair 1/2 size larger than what your normal shoe size is, for first half and second one 1 full size larger for last few days, just in case.
Lace up Learn how to lace up shoes, there are many ways.
Feet As a pilgrim your feet are your most important asset. Take good care of them. Spend some time to learn how you can prevent blisters, perhaps by taping your feet in vulnerable areas. Consider jelly tapes in between toes. Search on google on how to prep feet for marathon walk or extreme hikking. Everyone is different and needless to say, some do fine by doing absolutely nothing, while others suffer by trying different methods. Putting some adhesive tape around big toe, on your pinky toes and the ones next to it, plus vaseline will do your feet a lot of good.
Toe Nails Cut your toe nails (maximum). You do not want your toe nails hitting the front of your shoes when walking downhill, or you may lose them.
Socks Bring extra pairs of socks. Do not get 100% cotton, get socks for waterproof shoes which will allow your feet to breath. Get liner socks and then over them, treckking socks. If your socks get wet change them.
Raincoat Pancho. Invest in good one. Very important because it rains a lot in the areas and mountains in Galicia, where we are walking. It can rain whole day. Since most raincoats that you find in stores are meant to witsand 30 minutes of rain, get a step up waterproof raincoat with a good hood.
Gloves We know it sounds crazy as you always thought that Spain is Mediteranean weather but mornings in Galicia’s mountains could get chilly, so it is important to protect your hands with gloves. Also when it rains, wearing gloves help as well as if you have to handle rock/wood on terrain.
Hat Bring a hat to protect your face from sun.
Walking poles We have them for you, unless you want to bring your own. Some people don’t like walking with poles, while others do, we believe that walking with poles can help to take pressure of your joints and feet.
Clothing Consider two clothing options, one for walking and the other for evening. Layering is the best approach. Although you might be going in the summer months remember you will be walking in high altitude.
First Aid Kit Our guide has the essentials and there are plenty of pharmacies along the way. Do bring “Compeede” of other treatment for blisters as well as your other essential medication.
Packing Everything that you will read on the internet was written for people who will have to carry everything on their backs. That is not us! Your load will be very light, because your driver will transport your luggage from one place to another and all you will have to consider is bringing a 206 Tours backpack with bottle of water, which you can refill all along the way, extra pair of socks, hand sanitizer, and what you feel will be your esentials until the end of the segment. If you forget anything do not worry, there is always an opportunity to purchase it in the next town. Your guide will help you.
Pace It’s Not a Race! Listen to your body, it will give you a feedback as to what you can and cannot manage. We usually have a breakfast and Mass, then we are off as a group but each person walks at their own pace. Best to start off slow and build up. Take regular breaks and stop when needed. There is plenty of time and our guides and drivers will be there waiting for you at the checkpoints. Dont worry how fellow pilgrims is progressing or try to follow anyone, that is why we have guide and driver. It is recommended that you walk some segments, alone, enjoy the walk, talk to God. That is what El Camino is all about. We do not recommend any listening devices. Listen to the birds, rain, leaves moving in the wind and streams flowing. People from all over the world may pass you or want to engage in conversations, that is fine in limited periods. Find your own pace, and remember this is not a competition, there is no rush and your guide and driver are waiting for you at a next stop for some fabulous Spainish food and sangria.
Meals You will not go hungry on this pilgrimage and chances are that most of the weight that you will lose will happen before you start The Way of St. James / El Camino the food served for lunches and dinners will include delicious smoked meats, olives, salads, breads and sangria! Getting together for meals with your fellow pilgrims is extra special as you get the chance to exchange your views on beautiful segment that you have just walked. Along the way you may find small stores or stands with fresh fruit.
Check points All routes are well marked. As mentioned your 206 Tours El Camino Guide will provide all with pilgrims maps. Along the way, we set up meeting/check points we also refer to these as stage points. If someone has a hard time walking they will be offered a ride on the bus to the next point. The evening before, guide will explain where these points are.
Pilgrims walking along the Way will greet you with “Buen Camino” you should reply also with “Buen Camino”
Attitude “Yes, I can!” The Way of St. James but it’s your road and it’s for you to walk. While it is true that you have an option to walk as much, or as little as you want to we recommend that you start each day with:
“Yes, I can” then walk, talk to God, then TRY again, and TRY again, keep on TRYING – Success!
Dont pay attention to other pilgrims walking by.
Dont criticise yourself or others.
Dont walk to people please on your Way of St. James.
No matter how you feel try to get up, dress up and show up. This walk is between you and God.
It is very important to believe in yourself. and that you will make it. Many people start off by thinking that they are not going to be able to finish the Way of St. James aka El Camino. Because of the fact that they know there is a driver as an alternative, does not help. But, you should really try and consider that everyone is walkign with some foot pain. We must have a strong mind/determination.
Maps everyone will have one. Routes are all marked well. It is almost impossible to get lost. Every night at dinner your experienced El Camino guide will review the stages for following day. The guide will answer as many questions as you might have.
WC’s Bathrooms are plenty along the way. Look for well marked WC’s. At times you may have to walk into a Cafe and purchase a bottle of water. Get your passport stamped too.
Mass Every morning at approximately 9:00AM
Walking day starts after Mass (we do get Non Catholic pilgrims who opt not to attend Mass) AM walk is usually 3 hours long.
Lunch We usually have lunch together around 1:00PM. If someone does not make 1PM, there is no problem lunch will be waiting for them at a designated restaurant.
Hotels Our accommodations are all in good hotels, where you will either share your room with your loved one or stay alone if opting for single occupancy We will enjoy the comforts of hotel with wonderful meals, take nice warm showers, repack, wash your clothes if needed, have a glass of wine and enjoy time with our fellow pilgrims. Please do not fear what you read on the internet, about El Camino pilgrims sharing a room in a hostel with 50 unknown people who have not taken showers in many days and are sleeping on cots.mThe most important El Camino tip, that we at 206 Tours want to give you, is – Do Not Worry! Do Not Fear! God, Camino and your guide WILL take care of it!
Thank you for your desire and readiness to visit these places of grace and prayer. May the Almighty God, through the intercession of our Heavenly Mother, reward you for all the efforts you undertake to come!
206 Tours would like your Spiritual Journey to be as pleasant and helpful as possible. It is important to note that 206 Tours pilgrimages are packed full of spiritual activities and sightseeing. We do not include much free time for recreation, such as shopping. This is because our desire is to offer you the most comprehensive pilgrimage possible. However, all tours/activities are optional, and if you feel you are unable to keep up with the pace of the tour, manage the terrain, or would like free time for your own interests, you are welcome to refrain from participating in any aspects of the program you desire (of course, no refund can be issued for any aspects of the tour which you choose not to participate in). Simple advise the tour escort the night before of your alternate plans not to join the next day in the group activities. The amount of walking is significant, and the terrain varies greatly throughout our tours. You will encounter hills, mountains, unpaved streets, cobblestone streets, etc. Please prayerfully consider whether or not you are up to such physical activities prior to registering. For this reason, we would like to offer you some recommendations, and we ask you sincerely to read them carefully.
A couple of weeks before your pilgrimage, one should begin preparing physically as well as spiritually:
- If not accustomed to physical activity begin walking “briskly” 1-2 times a day; build up to 2-3 miles with no discomfort.
- If possible attend daily Mass or attempt to spend quiet time in church during lunch or after work.
- Pray for Jesus and His Blessed Mother to open your heart and mind to be responsive to new perspectives, ideas, their words laid on your heart, etc.
- Begin praying the rosary daily (Learn How to Pray the Rosary ) or at least the Apostle’s Creed, 7 Our Father’s, 7 Hail Mary’s & 7 Glory Be’s as Our Lady has requested; this takes about 5-7 minutes.
General Info About Your Documents, Flights, Arrival & Travel
Please visit www.tsa.gov for the most up to date travel restrictions
New security procedures
All liquids, gels, and aerosols must be in three-ounce or smaller containers. Larger containers that are half-full or toothpaste tubes rolled up are not allowed. Each container must be three ounces or smaller. All liquids, gels, and aerosols must be placed in a single, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag. Gallon size bags or bags that are not zip-top such as fold-over sandwich bags are not allowed. Each traveler can use only one, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag. Each traveler must remove their quart-sized plastic, zip-top bag from their carry-on and place it in a bin or on the conveyor belt for X-ray screening. X-raying separately will allow TSA security officers to more easily examine the declared items. Visit the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) for complete details.
Inbound International Flights:
You may carry duty-free liquids in secure, tamper-evident bags, more than 3.4 oz or 100 ml in your carry-on bag if:
- The duty-free liquids were purchased internationally and you are traveling to the United States with a connecting flight.
- The liquids are packed in a transparent, secure, tamper-evident bag by the retailer and do not show signs of tampering when presented to TSA for screening.
- The original receipt for the liquids is present and the purchase was made within 48 hours.
*Liquids more than 3.4 oz or 100 ml not in a secure, tamper-evident bag must be packed in checked baggage.
Electronic Airline Ticket
Your ticket is an electronic ticket (“e-ticket”).
When checking into the airport, provide your passport and your e-ticket confirmation to provide to the check-in agent or Kiosk.
Passports and Visas
Passports and Visas: All U.S. citizens must travel with a valid passport to enter Spain. Your passport MUST be valid at least 3 months upon your scheduled return date to the USA. If you have not yet obtained your passport, or just noticed that it will not be valid months after your return, URGENTLY contact your local passport office and apply for an expedited passport/-or passport renewal.
A visa is not required for U.S. citizens for entry into Spain.
For those who hold a passport from a foreign country, please be advised that it is the passenger’s responsibility to reconfirm if any visas are required. Below please find embassy information on the country you will be visiting.
Emergency Telephone Numbers in Spain:
Emergency Police: 092
European General Emergency Code:
Many airlines are in special agreements, to share aircrafts in order to ensure the best routing for their passengers. While your ticket may indicate that you are flying with one carrier (i.e. United), you may find that you are actually seated in a plane belonging to another carrier (i.e. Lufthansa). Carefully review your airline itinerary to determine which airline is operating your departure flight to ensure check-in for your flight at the correct carrier. When your flight is operated by another carrier your itinerary will state “Flight Operated by (name Airline).
Please use the following recommendation for check-in prior to your scheduled departure time. Check-in at least:
- 2 hours prior to Domestic flight
- 3 hours prior to International flight
You must personally check in your own luggage at the airline counter. Advise the check-in agent of your final destination to ensure that your luggage will be checked all the way through. This will eliminate you having to claim your luggage and have to recheck in once again during a possible flight connection (s).
The Airlines determine the minimum connection time required to transfer from one gate to another. We are subject to the availability of the airlines carrier we work with and must ensure that all participants have reservations to arrive / departure similar times for the group transfers to/from the airport.
Airlines now require that we provide electronic tickets (a.k.a. “e-tickets”) in place of paper tickets. At check-in, you should be ready to provide your flight itinerary which was provided with your final documents and passport to the agent. The airline agent will then check you in for your flight, check your luggage, and provide you with a boarding pass for your flights. In the very rare occurrence where an e-ticket cannot be issued, you will receive your tickets in a paper form. Please note that paper tickets must be present in order to check-in, and or board the plane.
Flight Delays & Arrival Transfers
If you missed your flight, forgot your passport or if you are re-routed you most likely will miss your group transfer from the airport to your hotel. How to proceed in such circumstances?
- You may take a taxi at your own expense to your hotel.
- You may contact the emergency number in this booklet to advise of the flight delay and 206 Tours may arrange a private transfer at additional cost to you.
You may contact the emergency number in this booklet to advise of the flight delay and 206 Tours may arrange a private transfer at additional cost to you.
You may consult with your health care provider before traveling. For the latest overseas travel health information contact: The Center for Disease Control call 1-877-394-8747 or visit www.cdc.gov. For medical information contact: The U.S. Public Health service 1-301-443-2403. In order to prevent “Montezuma’s Revenge”, avoid tap water, including ice cubes. Your stomach may still become upset due to the change in diet. Bring anti-diarrhea medicine just in case.
No inoculations are necessary for travel to Spain from the US.
Arrival Procedure (In Spain)
When you get off the plane you will go through customs and proceed to the baggage claim area to pick up your luggage. Exit the baggage claim area into the arrival hall, where you will be greeted by a 206 Tours representative displaying a sign which reads “206 Tours.” You will be transferred to your hotel where you will check-in and have time to refresh before meeting the rest of your group later in the day.
Remember to look for the “206 Tours “sign!
If your plane arrives late, or you are re-routed you will probably miss the group transfer which is included in your package. In such circumstances you will need to pay for a taxi or private transfer to take you to your hotel. This cost will be at your own expense, and you may submit a claim to the airlines for reimbursement upon your return and/or to your travel insurance. For most destinations taking a taxi from the airport to your hotel is the easiest and least expensive course of action. However, for some destinations even a taxi can be very expensive due to the distance you are traveling. If you prefer to have a private transfer arranged for you in lieu of taking a taxi, you will need to contact 206 Tours to advise us of your flight delay and new arrival time at least 4 hours prior to your new arrival time. In this case will do all possible to arrange for a private transfer to meet you upon your arrival, however, you will be responsible to remit payment to your driver upon drop off at your destination. If you arrive at your destination, and are unable to locate your driver or a taxi, please call your local emergency contact (listed in your Final Instruction Booklet) so that they may dispatch a transfer for you. Please remember to save your receipts. We strongly recommend the purchase of Traveler’s Insurance for this reason (www.206tours.com/insurance).
If your luggage is missing proceed to your airline carrier’s baggage office in the airport terminal to complete a missing luggage form, which will include a description of your luggage. Please make sure to save all the paperwork and tracking information given to you by the Airlines. Upon locating your baggage, the airlines will bring your luggage to your hotel. It is important that you provide them with the correct address and dates that you will be at your hotels. You may also provide the emergency number listed in this booklet. If your baggage is delayed for over 24 hours you may submit a claim to the insurance company upon your return to the US (only applicable for passengers that purchased TravelEx insurance through 206 Tours).
How to Overcome Jet Lag
Travel through a time zone may take its toll on your physical and mental well-being. “Jet Lag” is the phrase used to describe the condition when an individual’s internal body clock is out of sync with the actual time in the region to which you have traveled. It is important to try to adjust your internal body clock to receive the most out of your tour. Here are some tips on how to adjust your body to local time.
On the day of the departure/arrival
- Get out of bed earlier than usual on the day of departure
- Drink a lot of water to compensate for the dehydration on long flights
- Shortly after your evening meal on your flight, set your watch to the local time
- Try to rest and/or sleep as soon as possible on your flight
- Try to go to bed around 10:00 PM the night of arrival
Bringing Liquids in your Carry-on Bags
For additional information or clarification please visit: www.faa.gov
3 – 1 – 1 Liquids Rule for your Carry-on Ba
- Liquids, gels, aerosols, creams, and pastes must be:
- 3.4 OZ bottle or less
- 1 Quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag
- 1 Bag per passenger screened on its own
Be prepared; each time the TSA must search a carry-on to locate liquids it slows down the line. Practicing 3 – 1 – 1 will ensure a sufficient checkpoint experience.
Remember, you can put liquids of any size in your checked baggage.
Important to note about the 3-1-1 Rule…
Larger containers that are partially-full are not allowed, Gallon size bags or bags that are not zip-top, such as fold-over sandwich bags are not allowed.
Larger fluids permitted, reasonable quantities exceeding 3 OZ are allowed of the following:
- Baby formula, breast milk, and juice for infants and toddlers
- All prescription and over-the-counter medications (liquids, gels, and aerosols) including eye drops and saline solution for medical purposes
- Liquids including water, juice, or liquid nutrition or gels for passengers with a disability or medical condition (a doctor’s note is required)
- Items used to augment the body for medical/cosmetic reasons such as mastectomy products, prosthetic breasts, bras containing gels, or other liquids
- Gels or frozen liquids needed to cool medically related items, such as medicines, used by persons with disabilities or medical conditions
Declare the above items for inspection at the checkpoint. TSA officers may need to open them for additional screening. Any liquid, gel or aerosol, such as coffee or soda, purchased in the secure area beyond the security checkpoint is allowed aboard your plane. If you have a layover and are re-screened at your connecting airport, the above rules will be applied
For additional information or clarification please visit: www.faa.gov
Personal Items Carry-on Checked All Make-up – You are allowed to carry any liquid/gel/cream makeup item provided that the container is up to 3 oz., as per the 3-1-1 rule. *mascara, chapstick, lip gloss, etc are all considered liquids. Yes Yes Safety Razors – includes disposable razors Yes Yes Saline solution – You are allowed to carry up to 3 oz., as per the 3-1-1 rule. Volumes greater must be declared to the Security Officer. Yes Yes Tweezers & Scissors – plastic or metal with blunt tips or metal with pointed tips and blades shorter than four inches in length. Yes Yes Shampoos & Conditioners – must be in 3 oz. or smaller container inside your 1 qt Ziploc bag Yes Yes Toothpaste – 3 oz. or smaller container inside your 1 qt Ziploc bag Yes Yes Umbrellas– allowed in carry-on baggage once they have been inspected to ensure that prohibited items are not concealed. Yes Yes Walking Canes – allowed in carry-on baggage once they have been inspected to ensure that prohibited items are not concealed. Yes Yes Electronics Carry-on Checked Camcorders & Camera Equipment – the checked baggage screening equipment will damage undeveloped film in camera equipment. We recommend that you pack undeveloped film in your carry-on baggage. Yes Yes Laptop Computers, Mobile Phones, Pagers, PDA Yes Yes Food & Drinks Carry-on Checked Beverages – from home or purchased before reaching the security checkpoint in containers LARGER than 3 oz. No Yes Beverages – from home or purchased before reaching the security checkpoint in a 3 oz. or smaller container and in your quart-size bag Yes Yes Beverages – purchased after security screening Yes Yes Medications, baby formula/food, breast milk, & juice – allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding 3 oz and are not required to be in the zip-top bag. Declare these items for inspection at the checkpoint Yes Yes Canned or jarred goods – such as soup, sauces, peanut butter, fruits, vegetables and jellies (3 oz. or smaller container) Yes Yes Cheese – in pressurized containers (3 oz. or smaller container) Yes Yes Duty-free alcohol and other items (some restrictions apply) Yes Yes
Currency & Money
The The EURO is the currency of Spain., though the US dollar is widely accepted. For most current exchange rates please visit www.xe.com.
Make sure to bring along a credit card for convenience and security. Visa or MasterCard are the best options. American Express is not accepted in many stores. Please be aware that Discover Card is not accepted in almost all European countries. If you would like to carry cash, we recommend that you exchange USD at your local bank prior to departure in order to obtain the best exchange rate. It is also practical and cost-effective to withdraw local currency using your ATM/Debit card during your trip. Be advised that exchanging money at airports, your hotel or local change booths will result in fees that are extremely high.
Credit cards offer a reasonable exchange rate and can be canceled should it be lost. Visa or MasterCard are the best option and accepted in many stores. It is also practical and cost-effective to withdraw local currency using your ATM/Debit card during your trip. ATMs are very similar to those in the USA. Most offer English as a language option. It is recommended that you contact your local bank and credit card companies before departing on your trip to advise them of your itinerary. We recommend that you refrain from exchanging money at the hotel as the fees are high.
**It is recommended to contact your local bank/credit card companies prior to your departure to inform them of your travels abroad to avoid your company blocking your account due to an international transaction **
Can I Use Credit Cards? Will There Be ATMs Available?
We highly recommend using your credit card when you travel abroad. Credit cards offer convenience, security (you can cancel them if they are lost), and reasonable exchange rates.
Visa and MasterCard are the best options since they can be used in most stores. American Express and Discover are not widely accepted in Europe.
ATMs are just about everywhere and are accessible 24 hours a day. They are very similar to ATMs in the United States, and most of them offer English as a language option. Ask your Guide, any time, and they will be happy to point you in the direction of one. (Find out your daily withdrawal limit beforehand.)
How much money should I bring with me?
The amount differs per person. We recommend that the minimum spending money to bring with you/budget for, in addition to the suggested tips, is the equivalent of $30.00 per person per day.
Keep in mind:
- No lunches are included, the type of lunch you prefer may make a big difference (restaurant vs. cafe).
- Souvenirs – Are you planning on purchasing mementos for yourself or loved ones?
Remember, you can always spend less, or bring money home!
Credit Cards & ATMS (In Spain)
ATM machines can be found at most bank branches, post offices, train stations, airports, shopping centers, etc. and are accessible 24 hrs/day. Most banks charge a commission when you withdraw money, especially if it is from the network of another bank. You should ask your bank for information about where you can use your card and what commissions are charged for withdrawing money. Most US banks assess a $2.00-$5.00 international ATM fee in addition to the ATM’s usual fee of 1-3 euros. Your bank will utilize an exchange rate that is a couple percent above the “true” exchange rate.” Be sure to find out your daily withdrawal limit before you depart. You can also get cash advances on your credit card at an ATM. Credit card companies try to protect themselves from theft by limiting the funds someone can withdraw outside their home country, so call your credit card company before you leave home. And keep in mind that you’ll pay interest from the moment of your withdrawal, even if you pay your monthly bills on time..
For increased security, European Banks now issue debit and credit cards that carry an embedded chip. As part of their anti-fraud measures, you are seldom asked to give an store / restaurant employee your card for them to swipe. Instead if you are at a restaurant, your waiter will bring a portable little machine / card reader to your table with the amount of your bill already entered. You cannot add a tip to the total (leave small tip in cash instead). Your card is swiped and you will be asked to OK the total and enter a PIN. Note: The PIN for this is not the Cash Back PIN. If you have a normal US credit/debit card without a chip, you do not have a PIN. Just in case you do not have or you forget your PIN, just hit the OK with no PIN entered. It usually works. If you have any questions about your ATM card, check with your bank in advance of your departure from home. Ensure you know how to contact them if you encounter problems using your card. Use your card before you leave home and again shortly after arrival, even if you do not need the money, solely to verify that everything works.
Value Added Tax (VAT) (In Spain)
There is 18% value added tax on most goods and services in Spain. At retail stores, this tax is always already included in the price. Upon making a purchase of $50.00 or more at a gift store that has an agreement wit the VAT authorities, you should fill out a form at the store and have it stamped there. You will be eligible, upon presenting the form and the item, for a 18% refund at the airport prior to departure. Do not pack these gift items in your luggage. They should be kept in your hand luggage. By the way, tourist services, such as hotel accommodations and meals taken in hotels, paid with foreign currency are exempt from VAT tax.
How to Get Your VAT (Value Added Tax) Refund:
Spainn sales tax, or VAT (value-added tax), is 21%, but you can get most of that back if you spend € 175 (EURO) or more at any participating retailer. You must be over 15 years old, and you must present a passport. The name of the refund is détaxe, meaning exactly what it says. You never really get the full 21% back, but you can come close. After you spend the required minimum amount, ask for your détaxe papers. Fill out the forms before you arrive at the airport for departure. Be sure to have the forms stamped at the airport customs desks. The customs official may ask to see your purchases so it’s best to have them in your carry-on bag. Mail the stamped forms at the airport (the store provides an envelope) and the refund process has begun (note – this is only if Spain is your final point of departure back to the U.S.). For additional information on the VAT refund http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Value_added_tax. All refunds are processed at the final point of departure from the E.U., so if you’re going to another E.U. country, you don’t apply for the refund in Spain. Mark the paperwork to request that your refund be applied to your credit card so you aren’t stuck with a check in Euros. Even if you made the purchase in cash, you can still get the refund on a credit card. This ensures the best rate of exchange. You can get cash in some airports, but if you don’t take the cash in Euros, you’ll lose money on the transaction. If you’re considering a major purchase, ask the store policy before you get too involved — or be willing to waive your right to the refund.
Tips are an important part of earnings for your guides and bus drivers. Although you should tip according to your discretion and satisfaction, we recommend that you bring the money and place in tip envelopes (included in your final documents package) as follows:
Tour Escort in Spain – EUR 8 per person per day
Bus Driver in Spain – EUR 4 per person per day
Spiritual Director/ Your Priest - Gift or donation to the Spiritual Director is at your own discretion.
Luggage & What to Pack
Your pilgrimage includes one (1) piece of checked luggage, and one (1) carry-on. International air carriers are becoming stricter about the size and weight of baggage and carry-on luggage. please limit the size of your hand luggage to 17x14x8 in. (43x36x20 cm) for easy storage on the motor coach. Porterage for one suitcase on tour is included in the tour price. The checked piece of luggage should have dimensions not exceeding 62 inches in overall (62inches: length+width+height) and weight not exceeding 50 lbs (23 kg).
What Is Carry On Luggage?
The Carry-On bag lets you access your belongings in-flight, and must be able to fit in an overhead bin. Airlines are strict about size of carry-on luggage, and if overweight, can be subject to unpleasant fees.
Tip: We recommend you utilize your 206 Tours Bag, which meets the measurements. It will also make it easier for Guides/Drivers to spot you in the Arrival’s Hall
Carry all documents and money on your person but not all in the same place to limit the inconvenience in case of loss; do not keep money, important documents, medicines or jewelry in your suitcase; We recommend a money belt worn inside your clothes, while touring. On departure from your hotel, remember to double check that you have your money belt with you, and that you have collected any items left in the hotel safe. Please, at all times, be as vigilant as you would be in any major city, especially in crowded places. Never leave your hand luggage unattended or out of sight in public areas, including airports, hotel lobbies or dining rooms. Be sure to keep ALL medications in your carry-on bag during your trip in case your suit case should be lost. Keep a separate list of important numbers, i.e. passport, traveler’s checks, and credit cards, in your luggage, together with photocopies of relevant pages of your passport/visas. Keep a separate copy i.e. passport, flight schedule, credit cards, in your luggage, The same common-sense rules of safety and security apply here as to anywhere else. Avoid excessive displays of jewelry or cash (only carry sufficient for daily needs). Room Safes may be used at your own discretion. Make certain that any valuables are insured against theft. Avoid exploration on your own of unfamiliar streets or areas Be cautious if people approach you begging.
The more secure your personal items are, the better! TSA suggests you lock your luggage before you embark, and when you are flying home. In order to ensure the safe transportation of travelers, TSA screens all checked, and carry-on, baggage before it is permitted to be brought onboard. You can purchase locks for your bags, however, if they are “screened”, you run the risk of them being cut open and no longer usable. However, there are TSA Recognized Locks – which allow TSA officials to use tools for opening and re-locking your baggage. Below are recommended brands:
Safe Skies: www.safeskieslocks.com
Travel Sentry: www.travelsentry.org
for Checked Bags
Length + Width + Height = 158cm./62in.
Economy Class: 1 piece at 23kg. / 50lbs.
Business Class: 2 pieces at 32kg. / 70lbs. each
for Carry-on Bags
Length + Width + Height: 106cm./42in.
Weight: 1 piece at 8 kg./17 lbs.
Additionally you are permitted one personal item to carry onto the plane such as; a purse, laptop, briefcase, etc.
Please note that traveler’s insurance is STRONGLY recommended for all 206 Tours pilgrims. Be advised that traveler’s insurance can not be purchased after you have paid in full for your trip.For those who have purchasedTravelers Insurance through 206 Tours a pamphlet will be included in your final documents. Please refer to this brochure for specific stipulations or questions. For more information you can also visit www.206tours.com/insurance.
One (1) piece of luggage handling at the hotel is included in your trip cost. The porters will do their best to bring your luggage to you in a timely fashion upon checking into the hotel. At times there may be short delay due to the size of the group arriving. To make it easier for porters to identify your luggage make sure your luggage tag is clearly visible. If you prefer to bring your own luggage into the hotel please wait near the bus as the driver and porters unload the luggage for you to identify your baggage and bring it with you to your room.
Important Items & Valuables
Carry your passport, Final Instruction booklet and money on you. It is best not to have all items in the same place to limit the inconvenience in case of loss. DO NOT keep money, important documents, medicines or jewelry in your suitcase. Please leave valuable jewelry at home. We recommend a “neck safe” worn inside your clothes while touring. At all times please be as vigilant as you would in any major city, especially in crowded places. Never leave your bag unattended or out of sight in public areas, including airports, hotel lobbies, or dining rooms.
The attire during the course of your journey is conservative and comfortable. Ensure to cover your shoulders, chest and your legs at least two inches below your knee’s for entrance at religious sites (which will be visited daily.) and to respect local customs. It is not necessary for women to cover your head or face. There is no need for formal attire for men or woman at any time during the course of the tour. Comfort and adaptability are the most important factors in determining what to pack. Be sure to pack at least one change of clothes, socks and undergarments in your carry-on luggage in case your baggage is delayed or lost!
During your flight you will want to wear loose-fitting clothes and pack a pair of slippers or socks to wear for the flight. Make sure your shoes are lace-up or flexible, as your feet may swell due to the flight.
Be sure to have at least one or two good pairs of walking shoes, such as sneakers or hiking boots. If new, make sure you walk in them for a couple of weeks to break them in. It is not practical to wear any footwear with high or narrow heels, as the roads may not be paved or are uneven due to cobblestone.
It is recommended that you bring a light weight jacket for the mornings and evenings in case the temperatures are unseasonably cold.
Recommended Clothing to pack (In Spain)
For Winter, Early Spring, and Late Fall: be sure to back a warm jacket, a hat, scarf and gloves. Just in case.
For Summer, Late Spring, and Late Summer: Bring a sunhat and plenty loose-fitting clothing. Don’t forget a lightweight sweater for the evenings as some places may be a little cooler than others.
A note about summer attire; shorts (or mini skirts) and bare shoulders are considered inappropriate at some religious sites. For men, shorts that can be transformed by zippers into trousers may be convenient.
Bring an all-weather coat, just in case. We strongly recommend that women bring a shall or sarong which can be placed conveniently in their day bag, so that they may drape their shoulders, or tie around their waists in the more religious sites.
Mid-summer advice: Wear a sunhat and loose-fitting clothing, drink at least one liter (one quart) of mineral water a day if you can (carry a small bottle in your hand luggage); avoid eating too much ice-cream and reduce the amount of ice in drinks. A small battery-operated fan may be useful in warm weather.
General Clothing for Men:
Jeans, casual slacks, short and/or long sleeve shirts, socks, undergarments, and light jacket or coat.
General Clothing for Women:
Jeans, long skirts, casual dresses, casual slacks, short and/or long sleeve, socks, stockings, undergarments, and a light jacket or sweater is suggested.
Other Suggested Items to Bring
- Travel Bible and Journal
- Portable alarm clock
- Dramamine (for motion sickness)
- Aspirin/Advil, etc.
- Laxative and Imodium
- Pepto Bismol (tablets)
- Allergy/cold medicine; tablets
- Deodorant (travel size)
- Soap bar (travel size) and washcloth
- Shampoo and Conditioner (travel size)
- Toothbrush & Toothpaste (travel size)
- Lotion/Moisturizing cream (travel size)
- Feminine Items
- Handi-wipes: for freshening up during the day
- Travel pack size Kleenex
- Digital Camera, Charger, Extra Battery & carrying case
- Adapter and converter if you are bringing any electronic devices
- Grocery size plastic bags: 1-2 for dirty clothes
- Travel size poncho (in the camping section of Walmart)
- Inflatable head & neck rest, eye mask, foam earplugs (for flight)
- Nail file and/or nail clippers
- Pen (bring with you on the plane to complete customs forms)
Some people find that taking themselves off caffeine and taking compounds high in anti-oxidants to be helpful in combating jet lag. You can also take Jet-stress or Cell Guard which are herbal complexes designed to combat jet lag. Ginger can be helpful in motion sickness. Melatonin helps to allow you to sleep on the plane. These items can be found at most health food stores.
Transportation is by private motor coach:
The duration of driving time between cities/countries can range extensively depending on your itinerary. Some days may include only short transfers on the bus from your hotel to a restaurant, or similar. Other days you may drive a couple of hours to travel from one city to another. There are some days/itineraries which may include up to 8 hours of driving in one day. During travel days with extensive driving, the coach will stop for bathroom/stretch (approximately every 2 to 3 hours) breaks as well as a lunch stop.
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Madrid Low 35 36 42 45 51 59 64 63 58 50 42 36 High 48 52 59 65 71 81 89 87 78 66 56 51 Santiago De Compostella Low 36 36 42 46 52 61 67 66 60 50 42 37 High 51 55 61 67 74 84 92 91 82 69 59 51
About Europe & Travel Abroad
The official language of Spain is Spanish. English is widely spoken, and many signs appear in English too.
Along the journey, a common phrase is “Buen Camino”, (which means “good path”) is generally received as good luck and happy travelling”.
Must Know Travel Terms Common Spanish Phrases Phrase Pronunciation Hello Hola/Buenos días “oh-lah/bweh-nos dee-as” Goodbye Adiós “ah-dyos” Yes Sí “see” No No “noh” Please por favor “por fah-bor” Thank You Gracias “grah-thyas” Excuse Me Disculpe “dees-kool-peh” Do you speak English? Habla usted inglés? “ah-blah oo-steth een-gles” Can you help me? Me puede ayudar? “meh poo-eh-deh ah-yoo-dar” I don’t understand No entiendo “noh en-tyehn-doh” How much? Cuánto cuesta? “kwan-toh kwes-tah” Where is…? Dónde está…? “don-deh es-tah” bathroom / restaurant / hotel baño / restaurante / hotel “ban-yo / res-tau-ran-te / hotel” Taxi, please. Taxi, por favor “taxi por fah-bor” Where is the hospital? Dónde está el hospital? “don-deh es-tah el os-pee-tal”
Hotels Accommodations(In Spain)
Hotel rooms may be smaller than you are used to, based on American standards. All rooms are comfortably appointed with a private bathroom. Mini-bar items and access to paid TV channels are at your own expense. King size beds are rare in Spain therefore couples should anticipate queen size beds in most hotels. Travelers sharing a room will have two twin beds in their hotel rooms. Many hotels use key cards to operate the room’s lighting system and/or the elevator. All hotels offer a hair dryer in the bathroom. Most hotels provide toiletries (shampoo, soap, lotion), if needed bring a supply of conditioner with you. It is not customary for hotels to provide wash cloths.
Adapters, Converters, & Electricity
When traveling abroad, you will need to bring an Adapter in order to plug into the outlets. The voltage used is 220 volts AC, single phase 50 cycles (the U.S. uses 110/120 volts). The best option is bringing a Universal Travel Adapter with Dual USB Ports (that way, you can utilize a number of outlets at one time. Example – being able to charge your cellphone while using your laptop etc.)
Adapters we recommend:
Converters are used to convert the 220 volts to 110 volts. All of our Hotels have Hair Dryers, so you would only need if you were bringing a Curling Iron/Hair Straightener (which are not necessary on a pilgrimage). If you have a Laptop – check with the Manufacturer. Almost all laptops over the last seven (7) years already have a converter built-in. Converter kits that include the entire range of plugs can be purchased at better electrical supply stores. Stores such as Walmart, K-Mart, Target also have them for purchase. Buying electrical devices in foreign places is not recommended unless you are sure that the current they use is compatible with the current at home. It will likely cost you more than the original price to have an appliance converted.
Will I Need An Adapter?
When traveling abroad, you will need to bring an Adapter in order to plug into the outlets. The voltage used is 220 volts AC, single phase 50 cycles (the U.S. uses 110/120 volts). The best option is bringing a Universal Travel Adapter with Dual USB Ports (that way, you can utilize a number of outlets at one time. Example – being able to charge your cell phone when on your laptop etc.)
Types of Adapters: Packs are sold with all 3-in-1
Do I Need A Converter?
Converters are used to convert the 220 volts to 110 volts. All of your Hotels have Hair Dryers, so you would only need if you were bringing a Curling Iron/Hair Straightener (which are not necessary on a pilgrimage). If you have a Laptop – All laptops over the last ten (10) years already have a converter built into the chord. Converter kits that include the entire range of plugs can be purchased anywhere.
Why Should I Not Use The Phones In The Hotels?
Hotel Telephones are available and offer convenience, however, they tend to cost substantially more than using your cell phone if you have an international plan.
Weights & Measures
The metric system is used exclusively. A kilometer is a bit over 1/2 mile (.62 miles). A kilogram equals 2.2 pounds.
Hotel telephones are available and offer convenience, however they tend to cost substantially more than using your cell phone provided that you have a plan.
Smart Phones and Electronics
When you bring your cellular phone, make sure to contact your wireless phone provider and inform them that you will be traveling overseas. Most providers offer an “international plan” that you may sign up for. This will allow you to make calls to the United States” while you are out of the country using your wireless phone. Please check with your provider for exact rates in the countries where you’ll be traveling. Be extra cautious using your data while abroad. If your cell phone has a data plan, be sure to turn data roaming “OFF” while on the plane to avoid potentially high fees. The rates for data are far more expensive than for roaming voice calls and text messages.
How Can I Use My Smartphone On My Pilgrimage?
When you bring your Smartphone, make sure to contact your wireless phone provider and inform them that you will be traveling overseas. Most providers offer an “International Plan” that you may sign up for. This will allow you to make calls to the United States” while you are out of the country. Passport Plan: AT&T and other Providers have started to offer a plan known as a “Passport” where you pay a flat fee – Per Day – and allows you to then to use your phone the same as at home. Meaning: No Roaming Fees, No Shutting Off Data etc. You will be able to make/answer calls, and the use will be align with your local plan you have at home.
How Do I Call From Europe To The Usa?
First: Dial “00” – Then dial the country code (1 for the US and Canada, just like at home) – Then the local area code and telephone number.
How Does Someone Call Me From The Usa To Europe?
First dial “011” – Then the country code of the country you are dialing to – Then followed by the local area code and telephone number.
Can We Bring Laptops/Macbook / I-Pads?
Feel free to bring them with you – as all of the Hotels have complimentary Wi-Fi available.
Calling from El Camino - The Way of St. James to the USA
To make a direct international call, first dial “00” and then dial the country code (1 for the US and Canada, just like at home), then the local area code and telephone number.
Calling from the USA to El Camino - The Way of St. James
If your family wishes to call you during the pilgrimage from within the US, you must first dial 011, then then the country code (34) in Spain which is then followed by the local area code and telephone number.
Please be advised that most hotels do offer WIFI service, however, they may charge a small fee.
Known as WC are available at most tourist locations. Be prepared with tissues in your pocket at all times. Be aware that some public toilets have and attendant, who may ask for a small “user fee.”
Terrain (In Spain)
Terrain on El Camino has many ascents and descents that are much steeper than you might expect. All of this makes the route more interesting. Most of the walking is on dirt roads, well-marked paths, at times crossing and jumping over smaller streams. The walks will take you across woodlands, farmland, breathtaking streams, rustic hamlets, following well marked tracks and paths. Enjoy The Way of St. James and the unique atmosphere. Each day better than the one before, walking through some of the most beautiful green countryside that you’ve ever seen. In Madrid and Santiago de Compostela many streets in Spain are narrow, and due to strict traffic regulations the buses are not always permitted to drop groups off directly in front for their destination. Many areas are pedestrian only and have cobblestones. Please be prepared to walk! High-heeled shoes are not suitable for cobblestone streets, instead rubber-soled walking shoes are recommended. Spain is based on a myriad of old buildings. There are split-levels and uneven surfaces everywhere; please watch your step! Due to the structure of old buildings, access to some establishments may not be convenient for wheelchair use and facilities for the disabled in general may be limited.
Km 0. Foncebadon (Albergues. Bars. Shop)
We start our true walking pilgrimage with a very mild ascension that will lead us to one unarguably one of this iconic spots along the entire Camino, Cruz de Ferro (the Iron Cross). The Camino is very visible and clearly marked as we leave the few scattered stone houses of Foncebadon. For the most part, the path goes alongside and at times crosses local road LE-142, which will be a good reference to follow the right direction today. After about 2.2 km / 1.5 mi. we arrive to the Iron Cross, the highest point on the French Way for walking pilgrims. With the cross behind you, pilgrims have been throwing a stone for centuries (sometimes carried to this point for miles and miles). A tradition some historians attribute to shepherds and reaper farmers on their “commute” way from Galicia to Castile and back which they probably used as a signaling action to mark the border between both regions. Today it has become more of a spiritual ceremony to leave your personal burdens behind you as you keep walking forward to Santiago. Keep walking for another 2 km / 1.1 mi. following the path along the road. You will find the famous and peculiar Albergue at Manjarin.
Km. 4.4 Manjarin. (no WC or services) Check-Point
You will find this very albergue on your right, where the tolling of an old bell and during the cold months (they stay open all year round), the smoke of the fireplace had been guiding pilgrims since 1993. Kept up by templar hospitaliers, check out their cabin where you could also enjoy a cup of coffee from a pot or buy any of their “kitsch” souvenirs. Check-Point
Km 0. Sarria (All Services)
For a great deal of pilgrims Sarria is their initial stage on their way to Santiago, as it is the city from which you could meet the minimum 100 km to obtain your Compostela certificate. For about 2.9 km (1,8 mi), between Sarria and As Paredes, climbing a few steps first on the way to the upper part of town will certainly warm you up. Follow Rua Maior, find the former jail building (today paradoxically the local village Court) on your right and soon after scenic mirador overlooking Sarria before you reach the Convent of La Magdalena, run by the Padres Mercedarios. By the cemetery, take a pretty steep way down the road and find to your right a medieval bridge, Ponte Aspera, cross it over Rio Pequeno (1.2 Km/0.8 mi). Find some small farming plots as we go under the viaduct to reach the rail tracks. We suggest NOT to follow the Complementario, just follow the classic Camino walking slightly to the left and alongside the rail tracks until you cross a small wooden bridge (2.2 km/1.4 mi) over a creek. Toughest uphill today lays ahead, but the company of magnificent chestnut trees and oaks will ease your way up to As Paredes. Pace.
Km 2,9/1.8 mi. As Paredes
Through a local path, we get to Vilei where you could use some of the vending machines, in addition to getting another stamp for your pilgrim’s credential.
Km 3,7/2.3 mi. Vilei (Albergue. Bar)
We will reach the Parish of Barbadelo through a paved path. At a few seconds detour, find the Romanesque church on your left.
Km 4,5 /2.8 mi. Barbadelo (Albergues. Bar)
Leave the Albergue on your right and proceed through a paved road on our way to the hamlets of Rente (KM. 5.3/3.5 mi) and Mercado da Serra, where you will find a tavern at crossroad of road LU-5709.
Km 6/3.75 mi. Mercado da Serra (Bar. Shop)
After the crossroad, find the path across the forest ahead of you. Few minutes later a funny decorated fountain is still the remembrance of the year 93 Jubilee’s old logo, Pelerin. Pass the Molino Marzan (Mill dated from 1920s) and go right until you cross road LU-633 to get to Leiman. Check Point before Leiman.
Km 8,2 / 5 mi. Leiman Check-Point
On your way, you will find many “horreos” (household granaries) a very popular construction all over Galicia. The 100 km milestone is not far now, but after the last remodeling and quite a vandalistic tendency to steal the plaques and graffiti most of them, is hard to tell which is the authentic one anymore. It should be after the hamlet Brea. This iconic marker, represented the minimum required distance to obtain your Compostela indulgence. After Brea, Morgade hamlet will be next.
Km 12 / 7.5 mi. Morgade (Albergue. Bar)
As we enter Paradela council, we reach hamlet of Ferreiros.
Km 13,1 / 8.2 mi. Ferreiros (Albergues. Bar) – LUNCH Designated Restaurant
Down the paved path, right away, Mirallos with its romanesque church of Santa Maria, brought over here stone by stone from Ferreiros back in 1790.
Km 13,6. Mirallos (Albergue. Bar)
From here a chain of small hamlets will follow, A Pena, Couto and Rozas, being A Pena the biggest and the one with some services (Albergue. Bar). After Rozas we keep walking among a nice path through pines and oak trees. A few minutes after crossing road LU-4203 (Km 16,4) we’ll reach Mercadoiro.
Km 16,8 / 10.5 mi. Mercadoiro (Albergue. Bar)
Right after, find Moutras, where some services such as groceries, art-craft or some drugstore items are offered at the popular Peter Pank shop.
Km 17,1 / 10.7 mi. Moutras (Shop)
Following a small hill through a paved path, descend toward Parrocha and Vilacha last Hamlet of Paradela council (Albergue. Bar). We will be presented now with 2 alternatives (check informative map at crossroad!). To your right is the traditional Camino, it is the shortest one but involves a pretty steep downhill to road LU-633. If you go left, your options break into another 2, a very steep, rocky and dangerous one, and a 1/2 mi. longer one but very mild. All of the 3 options will get you to the bridge over the Rio Mino, where the Belesar reservoir left underwater the old Portomarin town back in the 60s. Cross the bridge and climb the stone staircase over an old reused arch from the former bridge. Downtown will be on your right.
Km 23 /14.3 mi Portomarin (Todos los Servicios)
Km 0. Portomarin (All Services)
Along Compostela Street, we backtrack a bit as we leave Portomarin behind us. Walking down the sidewalk, we will reach the main road. Cross the pedestrian and go left until you see a bridge on your right. Cross it, and take a right at the end to enter a cool and shady forest. San Antonio’s mount has plenty of beautiful oaks and chestnut trees that will make this first tougher uphill more pleasant. Right after this 3/4 mi. uphill, we get to a flat area surrounded by pines and farming land before we get down to meet our companion today, the shoulder of main road LU-633. Still on the left side of the road, we’ll reach a brick factory, where we need to cross the road to the right shoulder. Pay attention, arrows not very visible and crossing main road always dangerous, extreme your precautions today as we will cross this road a few times. When a fertilizer farm gets on sight on our left be ready to cross again, to the left shoulder this time as we reach Toxibo where a beautiful horreo will welcome us
(Km. 4.8/3 mi.).
Through a dirt path flanked by pines, we will be walking pretty much alongside the LU-633. A pic-nic area (km 7.3/4.5 mi) will be a good landmark to our first checkpoint at Gonzar. Important note for check-point, keep walking straight alongside the shoulder of the LU-633 road, even if some arrows point otherwise, as they will direct you through the little hamlet of Gonzar which bypasses the Albergue and hence our check-point
Km. 8/5 mi. Gonzar (Albergue. Bar) Check-Point
Once passed the Albergue at Gonzar (left), the camino veers left into a paved path. Pace yourself on the way up to Castromaior, with nearby pre-roman ruins of a “castro” (camp). Be careful as you walk down toward Hospital da Cruz, because we will be crossing a couple times road LU-633 and traffic is heavy at times. Km. 11.8 / 7.3 mi. Hospital da Cruz (Albergue. Bar) Right after Hospital, carefully walk across national road N-540 onto a local small road C-535 which shoulder will lead us to our next check point and lunch stop, Ventas de Naron.
Km 13.3 / 8.3 mi. Ventas de Naron (Albergue. Bar) Designated Restaurant
Off the village find a tiny hermit (open only by request), leave it behind you and keep walking on the shoulder alongside the road. Across the Sierra de Ligonde on our way to Os Lameiros, check a nice cruceiro (1670) depicting Jesus on one side and our Lady of Sorrows on the other, with the symbols of passion at its feet. We arrive then to Ligonde, a small town which hosted a former cemetery for pilgrims on the Camino.
Km. 16.5 / 10.3 mi. Ligonde (Albergue. Bar).
Leave the municipal Albergue on your right as you go left on a paved path along a wall toward the bridge over the Rio Airexe. Km. 17.4 / 10.9 mi. Airexe (Albergue. Bar) Follow shoulder and after crossing local road C-3301, we get to Portos (Km 19.4/12 mi) (Albergue. Bar), already within Palas de Rei council and right after, on to Lestedo.
Km. 20 / 12.5 mi. Lestedo (Albergue. Bar. Rural B&B)
As we face the last miles towards Palas de Rei, we will encounter the little hamlets of Os Valos, Mamurria and A Brea Km. 22/13.7 mi. (Albergue. Bar) to take a very mild way up road N-547 to O Rosario, where tradition has it that pilgrims prayed the Rosary on their way to Santiago.
Km 23.4 / 14.6 mi O Rosario.
Palas de Rei is only about a mile now and after passing by a recreation area, walk down a gravel path till you see a complex of wooden cabins on your right. Local soccer stadium and swimming pool on your left. Keep walking down for a bit and you have reached Palas de Rei. Follow the clearly marked yellow arrows to San Tirso parish church and downstairs where main road N-547 crossed the village. El Concello building (city Hall) will be the end of the stage.
Km 25 / 16 mi. Palas de Rei (All Services)
Km 0. Palas de Rei (All Services)
Leave the Concello (City Hall) on your left and follow the arrows down the street on the way out the village. Be careful with the road and follow the milestones and markers keeping you out of the traffic of road N-547. Walk past J. Novo’s sculpture of dancing pilgrims as we leave Avenida Compostela behind. We’ll be crossing that road a few times before arriving to Carballal. Through some foliage and a path at times muddy, we get to San Xulian do Camino. Note the beautiful oaks and some of the first eucalyptus trees on our Camino.
Km. 3.4 / 2.1 Mi. San Xulian do Camino (Albergue. Bar)
After San Xulian and through a paved local road, hamlets of Pallota and Pontecampana are next, as we prepare to walk one of most scenic and spectacular stretches on the Camino across Rio Pambre. Soon after, we reach Casanova.
Km. 5.7 / 3.6 mi. Casanova (Albergue – Bar)
Leave the public Albergue behind and go on a paved path that on our left to take a dirt path on the way down to a creek, Rego do Vilar. Slight uphill on the way to Campanilla (km. 8 / 5 mi) Check-Point
From Campanilla we leave Lugo province as we enter onto A Coruna. Through a secondary road we arrive at Cotos, already in the Melide council.
Km 8.5 / 5.3 mi. O Coto (Bar. Shop)
After a short paved path, we take a left to get down to Leboreiro, where the beautiful Romanesque church of Santa Maria, XI c. will welcome us. Note too the peculiar local structure to dry the grain and known in Galician as cabazo.
Km. 9.2 / 5.7 mi. Leboreiro.
We leave Leboreiro and cross a beautiful medieval stone brigde as we prepare for the more tedious stretch of the day. Pretty much side by side with N-547 busy road we’ll cross a small industrial zone before Melide. Lucky for us right before our lunch check point at Melide, enjoy a much nicer view as we cross river Furelos and the little town of the same name. If open, don’t miss the XIV c. church of saint John to find a very peculiar representation of Christ on the cross.
Km. 13 / 8.1 mi. Furelos (Bar)
Right after Furelos we head straight into Melide, an important village on the Camino, mentioned in the Codex Calixtinus, and merging point for some other routes such as the Primitive or the silver Route. Keep walking up a wide street, always following the arrows as we enter town. Lunch is right before the cross road with main road N- 547
Km 14.8 /9.2 mi. Melide (All Services) Designated Restaurant
Turn left at main road, follow street till you reach a main crossroad, look right, go slightly right, use pedestrian crosswalk onto a narrow road that will take you out of town via Rua Principal. O Castelo local cemetery on your left. Follow a paved path on the way to S. Martino. On your right, across the street, you will find Santa Maria, Romanesque church (XII c), notice its unique wrought-iron gate. A beautiful path surrounded again by eucalyptus and evergreen trees, leads us to Raido and Parabispo (km. 18.7 / 11.7 mi) already by Arzua council. Throughcfarming land, cross Valverde creek and after Peroxa hamlet, you arrive to the little town of Boente.
Km. 20.5 / 12.8 mi. Boente (Albergue. Bars)
Follow main road sidewalk and cross at Santiago’s church, on your right. Bypass it’s little gate and follow path down to the river Boente (for your own safety use always tunnels to go under the road!). Alongside road N-547, pace yourself now to face a tough uphill on the way to Castaneda. Keep on the left shoulder and straight until you reach check point “Cafe Bar do Camino” (do not take left detour before or you will miss Check P.). Then keep on left shoulder and follow the arrows again.
Km 22.7 / 14.2 mi. Castaneda (Albergue. Bars) Check-Point
Pass Pedrido and Rio (km 23.3/14.6 mi) and rolling hills lead us down to Ribadiso. Endure a couple of steep downhill roads till the beautiful bridge over Rio Iso, where it’s common to see pilgrims resting their weary feet into it cool clear waters.
Km. 25.8 / 16.1 mi. Ribadiso (Albergue. Bars).
Follow the arrows and sidewalk along road N- 547 to the village of Arzua. From city limit to the main Plaza Galicia, still 1.7 miles ahead.
Km 29 /18.2 mi. Arzua (All Services)
Km 0. Arzua (All Services)
We start our Camino today leaving the parish white church of Santiago behind us, heading west toward the porticoes at Carmen street. Down a stone path we will reach the fountain of the French, on our right, to then cross Rio Vello (old river in Galician) and also Rio Brandeso on our way to Preguntono with its XVIII c. hermitage dedicated to San Paio (Saint Paul)
Km. 2.2 / 1.4 mi. Preguntono.
We’ll cross N-547 through a tunnel and after some farming land and corn fields we reach Peroxa hamlet (km 3.3 / 2 mi). A path usually covered with leaves will lead us through forests of eucalyptus, which are more and more present in this stretch of the Camino on the way to Santiago. A Taberna Vella (meaning Old Tavern) is next.
Km. 5.2 / 3.2 mi. Taverna Vella (Albergue-Bar-Shop)
Half a mile later we get to Calzada, last village of the Arzua council. Check point here at bar on the left.
Km. 5.8 / 3.6 mi. Calzada Check-Point
We keep walking for 1.5 mi. along a paved local road to reach A Calle.
Km 7.8 / 4.9 Mi. A Calle (Albergue. Bars)
Crossing a small creek, we follow a series of tree covered paths to reach again main road N-547. On our way, via Parabispo, Salceda is next. Walk on the right shoulder until you reach an open garden with stone tables.
Km 11.1 / 6.9 mi. Salceda (Albergue. Bar. Pharmacy) Designated Restaurant
Leave restaurant garden on your left and follow a dirt path up to find the paved road again. After passing by an agriculture equipment dealer, we reach O Xen (km 12.5 / 7.8 mi). The Camino follows much very close to main N-547 road, be careful as there are a few tunnels in order to safely cross the road, use them always! We arrive then to A Brea.
Km. 13.6 / 8.5 mi. A Brea (Albergue. Bar)
Alongside the road and a bit uphill, we head toward O Empalme. We will see a wind mill, that pretty much resembles those in the Netherlands. Cross the road to then enter O Empalme. Be very careful here when crossing!
Km 15.3 / 9.6 mi. O Empalme (Bars)
Now on the right shoulder and through a dirt path we could keep straight at a tunnel (on our left) and bypass Saint Irene or take a small detour into the hamlet via that same tunnel. A small hermitage and a baroque fountain welcome us if you decided to walk the extra 1/4 mi.
Km. 16.3 / 10.2 mi. Santa Irene (Albergue)
Through a dense eucalyptus foliage the Camino turns very quiet as we get away from noisy N-547m which we’d cross under another tunnel every now and then to get to A Rua, first hamlet of the Arca do Pino parish after passing by a sawmill on the camino.
Km 17.9 km /11.2 mi. A Rua (Bars. Pensions. B&B)
Follow a paved path up to O Pedrouzo, the biggest little town on this stage.
Km 19.1 / 12 mi. O Pedrouzo (All Services)
Here pay attention at main crossroad at N-547, as there are many indications and arrows pointing, almost luring us left into the village, we need to go across this road, and keep straight into the dirt path ahead of us or we will bypass the Camino! Traffic always very dense here, be very careful again when crossing at this very spot!!! You will find a paved road, around the village, cross the pedestrian crosswalk and go right to then follow signs left into the eucalyptus forest. This short stretch before San Anton (km 20.4/12.8 mi) is one the most peaceful, quiet and shady areas in the Camino. Note the beautiful carballos , a local variety of Galician oak, that grows in this part of the Camino. Leaving the forest behind us find some farming land and corn fields, and back onto a paved local road we reach a small bridge over Rio Brandelos to arrive at Amenal final check point. Use tunnel under the road N-547!!!
Km. 22.8 / 14.2 mi. Amenal
Km 0. Amenal (Albergue. Bar)
The Camino runs right next to the Amenal cafeteria, and it will take us right uphill on a first tougher stretch today, through a dirt path within a beautiful carballos forest (Galician oak), in the company of our very familiar eucalyptus trees. Up the hill we will go across Cimadevila on our way to the Lavacolla Santiago Airport, which presence we might have started to feel by the sound of very close plane engines taking off or landing nearby.
KM.3 / 2 mi. Santiago SCQ Airport.
We will bypass the landing area of the airport (left of the Camino) walking alongside Highway A-54 and road N-634. A stone monolith depicting a walking stick, the gorge and the shell will let us know we just entered the municipality of Santiago de Compostela. Small hamlet of San Paio is next. Leave San Paio’s church on your right, the last one where pilgrims used to go to confession before arriving at Santiago.
Km. 4 / 2.5 mi. San Paio (Bar)
After some rolling hills up and down a paved path, we go down a tunnel to reach Lavacolla small town.
Km. 5.8 / 3.6 mi. Lavacolla (Albergue. Bar. Shop. Pharmacy)
Cross road N-634 through a pedestrian crosswalk and keep straight on a paved road as we leave the parish church of Lavacolla on the left on our way to Vilamaior. We then cross the Lavacolla creek, where pilgrims used to wash themselves and get rid of their dirty garments after the long walk. Vilamaior is next (km 7.4 / 4.6 mi) and the regional Galicia TV and then turn 90 ° left to reach national RTVE Station right ahead, all the time via comfortable paved road. This very road, will take us to San Marcos, while getting busier with pilgrims to let us know we are getting much closer to iconic Monte do Gozo (the Mount of Joy).
Km 11.2 / 7 mi. San Marcos (Bar. Shop)
Just a few steps from San Marcos (today a quarter in the outskirts of Santiago) you will find Monte do Gozo, where pilgrims rejoiced as they had the first glimpse of the city and of course of the Cathedral of Santiago the Compostela. The apostle Saint James waits for you!. Check the small chapel of San Mark and a modern art monument (left) erected for the 1993 jubilee year, same year Monte do Gozo Albergue was built (biggest one in the entire Camino)
Km. 11.8 / 7.3 mi. Monte do Gozo (Albergue. Bar. Shop. ATM)
From this point, the group will gather and we will walk down into Santiago all together as a family. Still a good 3 miles ahead of us before we reach Santiago de Compostela, with a first stop for lunch in San Lorenzo neighborhood, right after the pilgrims monument by Candido Pazos, and erected in 2004, Port Itineris Sancti Iacobi, (S. James’ Gate of the Way). Lunch break will be here. From this point, it’s a mild walk alredy within the city of Santiago. Concheiros and San Pedro streets will lead us to the Porta do Camino (Gate of the Camino), the actual entrance into the old city of Santiago and just a mere steps from the Obradoiro Square and the so eagerly awaited view of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
Km 17 / 10.6 mi SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA
If using a digital camera, we recommend you bring an extra memory card (just in case). Be sure to also bring extra batteries for your camera.
Taxis (In Spain)
Be wary of any person approaching you offering unofficial taxi services. If you do not have an airport transfer included and you need transportation, make your way to the official taxi desk or to the regular taxi line outside the terminal. Chose a vehicle with a meter or taxi sign. If there is no meter, we recommend you pre-negotiate and agree on the fare, before you get into the cab.
Local Customs / Social Conventions
A different way of life in some countries may take you by surprise, but if you travel with an open mind and respect local customs, you should find it easy to adapt to and enjoy your new surroundings. Standards of living may not be quite what you are used to, but there are compensations – a closer sense of reality and an authentic feeling of locale. Due to cultural differences, you may not be greeted quite as cheerfully as back home; smiling is generally reserved for intimate friends. Be especially wary of people presenting themselves as “instant friends” and never accept food or drink from strangers.
Meals / Food (In Spain)
Breakfast will be served in our hotel’s main dining room throughout your journey, and will be buffet style. Unlike in the US, it is frowned upon to take food out of the breakfast room. Lunches are included on the days you are walking, lunch will be approximately between1:30-3:00 pm. Dinners will be at a local restaurant or your hotel. Please plan to enjoy your dinners around 7:00-8:00 pm each day. Most dinners will be served “sit down” with a pre-determined 3-4 course meal. Your meals include mineral water and wine. While some restaurants may be able to provide for a special diet, such as vegetarian or sodium-free, 206 Tours cannot guarantee a special meal request. Generally vegetarian and vegan meals tend to lack variety and imagination.
While most local tap water will not hurt you, due to differences in mineral and micro-biotic levels, we recommend that you avoid consuming local tap water, as it may upset your stomach.
Shopping (In Spain)
Stores are open daily Monday to Saturday. (Some souvenir shops open on Sunday but just souvenir shops). Ask your tour escort where you are able to purchase regional specialty products which the countries/cities in your itinerary are known for. Small, light items that you can easily carry home make splendid and festive gifts. Don’t forget to buy something nice for yourself too. There will be shops for you to purchase walking and hiking gear. Whenever traveling abroad, be aware of your personal belongings when shopping in crowded areas. If you purchase a video or DVD, please check very carefully that it is compatible with your home viewing system. Sales tax or VAT (value added tax) is already included on price tags.
"What If" & Commonly Asked Questions
What should I do if my flight is canceled or delayed?
If your flight is canceled or delayed it is imperative that you work DIRECTLY with the airlines at the airport to arrange for alternate flights or protection. Please note that once your tickets have been issued or you have check-in for your flights, 206 Tours can no longer make any changes to your flight itinerary. This can ONLY be done by the airlines. In such case be persistent with the agent, however, keep in mind that the situation is not the airline agent’s fault. Try your best to remain courteous to them, as you may find that you receive more assistance this way. The airlines are not required to offer reimbursement for personal expense or overnights when delays/cancellations occur due to weather. If you find that you have no luck with the airline personnel, please contact your emergency number and we shall do all in our power to assist you.
What should I do if I miss my flight due to late arrival at the airport?
If you should miss your flight, due to your own late arrival at your departure airport, it is imperative that you work DIRECTLY with the airlines at the airport to arrange for alternate flights. You may incur additional costs to exchange your airline ticket (minimum of $300 per person). Once your alternate arrangements have been confirmed you may contact the emergency number in this booklet to advise of the flight delay and 206 Tours may arrange a private transfer at additional cost to you.
What happens if I miss my group transfer upon arrival?
If your plane arrives late, or you are re-routed you will most likely miss your group transfer which is included in your package. You may take a taxi at your own expense to your hotel or you may contact the emergency number in this booklet to advise of the flight delay and 206 Tours may arrange a private transfer at additional cost to you.
What happens if I have a problem or complaint during my trip?
If you have any problems, concerns, or complaints during your trip, please communicate them IMMEDIATELY to your tour escort. Your tour guide is at your disposal to assist you with all your needs including issues with your hotel room, meals, etc. Remember, there is very little that can be done to undo a problem once you have returned home if the issue is not resolved to your satisfaction by your tour escort, then please contact our office.
What should I do if I want to change my flights?
We promise to do all within our power to assist you with new flight requests or upgrades. Please feel free to contact us but do be prepared to incur some additional fees.
- Airline delays: www.fly.faa.gov/flyfaa/plaintext.html
- Airline seating: www.seatguru.com
- Airline tracker: www.flightarrivals.com
- Calendar and holidays: http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar
- Calling codes: www.countrycallingcodes.com
- Country facts: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook
- Currency converter: www.xe.com
- Customs (USA)www.cbp.gov/
- Department of Homeland security: www.dhs.gov
- Driving directions: www.maporama.com; www.maps.google.com
- Emergency/Disaster information: www.redcross.org
- FAA Air traffic Control: www.faa.gov
- Flight delay info: www.fly.faa.gov/flyfaa/usmap.jsp
- Flight tracker: www.flightview.com
- Foreign Language Basics: www.fodors.com/language/
- Frequent flyer programs: www.webflyer.com
- Global Entry: https: //goes-app.cbp.dhs.gov/main/goes
- Health (travel health info): www.cdc.gov; www.who.int; www.tripprep.com
- Internet access/hotspots: www.wi-fihotspotlist.com; www.wififreespot.com
- Language translation: www.translate.google.com
- Last minute travel preparation: www.dontforgetyourtoothbrush.com
- Official Franciscan Website: www.custodia.org
- Passports and visas: www.projectvisa.com
- Physical disabilities travelwww.access-able.com
- Time around the world: www.time.gov
- Transportation Security Admin: www.tsa.gov
- Travel planning: www.worldtravelguide.net
- ravel planning (religious sites): www.sacred-destinations.com
- US State Dept. Travel Warnings: http://travel.state.gov
- Weather around the world: www.weather.com
- World Health Organization: www.who.int/eha/disasters