Saint James Way Small Group Walking Tour.
The Camino Real, Camino de santiago or Saint James way, is a small group walking tour. Taking the active senior traveller through some of the most pleasant sections of this historic walk in Spain and Portugal. Over a 19 day period experience breathtaking and picturesque sections of the Way of Saint James while following the pilgrim path along some of its most beautiful landscapes.
Odyssey has selected relevant sections so that you experience Saint James Way, eventually reaching the historic destination Santiago de Compostela. Not since the Middle Ages has this adventure for body and mind been more popular as a pilgrimage or just a great walk.
The history of Saint James way or Camino de Santiago
The Camino de Santiago, also known as the way of St James is the ancient Catholic pilgrimage route to the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northern Spain. Legend has it that the bones of the apostle St James were brought by boat from Jerusalem to northern Spain and are buried under the site of what is now the city of Santiago de Compostela.
Saint James way has been considered to be an important Christian pilgrimage route more 1000 years. It was considered by the church to be one of the three pilgrimage routes on which sins could be forgiven. There are many routes to Santiago de Compostela, starting from a variety of points, from as far away as Belgium to as close as 100km from Santiago.
What you will experience on this small group tour:
The Saint James Way Small Group Walking Tour is escorted by an Odyssey program leader. Odyssey's local guides also share with you their knowledge of the medieval pilgrims and the route taken to Santiago de Compostela.
The tour is designed to be as demanding as you choose. You or your partner may elect to enjoy a slower day during the tour. Or you might decide to walk the appointed section that day. Odyssey has a fitness program designed to bring you up to a comfortable activity level prior to the tour that we circulate to all participants.
Other Highlights on the Camino:
During this tour we also discover the artistic highlights and rich history of Northern Spain and Portugal. You can also expect to enjoy the local wines and exquisite food as we travel through Basque country. We take some breaks from our walking tour, stopping in at the impressive Guggenheim art temple in Bilbao. We will also familiarise ourselves with the centuries-old tradition of choir singing, still practised in the convents along our route.
The Saint James way small group tour is structured for the senior or mature couple or solo traveller. It is a tour that ultimately allows you decide how much activity you wish to enjoy. It also allows your travelling companion to participate in the walk whilst you enjoy yourself prior to meeting up again in the evenings. Of course the coach and program leader arranges all the transfers of luggage freeing you up to enjoy the journey.
The Saint James Way small group walking tour is one of some 10 walking programs that Odyssey Traveller offers. These active tours are designed for the mature traveller to enjoy in a small group holiday and learning environment.
For more details, click the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ buttons above! If you’re keen to experience this tour, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right hand side of this page.
Here are some recently published blogs that may assist in planning this tour with Odyssey:
Please note 2019 & 2020 programs will spend more time in Spain, finishing at Santiago de Compostela. Tour duration will remain the same.Tour Notes
- A reasonable level of underlying fitness is required fro this tour.
- Group size is limited to a maximum of 18 participants.
Overview: Upon arrival in Bilbao we will come to the hotel individually. We will enjoy a welcome dinner in Bilbao.
Accommodation: 2 nights at Hotel Abando or similar.
Overview: We will spend the day discovering this lively city, which was a centre of the Spanish industrial revolution in the 19th century. It rose out of post industrial decay by repositioning itself as a cultural hub with the stunning Guggenheim Museum at its heart.
Accommodation: Hotel Abando or similar.
Overview: From the hustle and bustle of Bilbao we go straight to the middle ages. We will have the perfect introduction to a pilgrim’s life overnight in a convent. In the evening we might witness the Monks rehearse in choir.
Accommodation: 1 night at Hospederia de Leyre or similar.
Overview: We put our walking shoes on and walk from the Old Monastery to the Balcon de Pirineos (roughly one hour), across an impressive landscape to the convent of San Juan de la Pena. Behind those thick walls, once, according to legend, the holy grail was kept. We continue to Pamplona.
Accommodation: 2 nights at NH Iruna Park Hotel or similar.
Overview: In the morning we have a city tour in Pamplona, and in the afternoon we walk the trail of Ernest Hemingway, who ran the bulls in this town. We will see the capital of Navarra also. From there, we take another walk across fields and forests (roughly 3km, taking around 40 minutes), where we certainly will encounter pilgrims with whom we can talk about their reason to do The Way. We will end the day with a visit to the convent of Roncesvalles.
Accommodation: NH Iruna Park Hotel or similar.
Overview: Today we walk in Navarra and see the octagonal Church of Eunate, built by the Templars. We cross the ancient pilgrim’s bridge Puente de la Reina. From here, we walk to Maneru (roughly 5kms, taking around an hour).
Pilgrims and wine go together, so this evening, we enjoy a wine tasting in a bodega.
Accommodation: 1 night at Hotel Villa de Laguardia or similar.
Overview: Today we hear about the legend of the fowl in the Cathedral of Santiago de la Calzada. From here, we walk the Way to Villafranca Montes de Oca (roughly 6kms, taking around an hour).
Accommodation: 2 nights at Hotel Silken Gran Teatro or similar.
Overview: Today, we enjoy a self-guided visit of the Miraflores Convent, which shimmers with gold from the new world. We’ll enjoy some free time to explore on our own before transferring to Covarrubias where nearby start our walk amidst oak trees to San Pedro de Arlanza (approx 1.5hrs / 6.7kms). We then take a scenic walk from Hortiguela to Mambrillas de Lara (approx 1hr / 4.6kms). From there, we drive back to Burgos and have dinner at the hotel.
Accommodation: Hotel Silken Gran Teatro or similar.
Overview: Today, we we walk 6kms (roughly 1.2 hours) over the Castillian plains, from Boadilla del Camino to Fromista. We have a picnic on the way. We continue on to Leon.
Accommodation: 2 nights at Parador de Leon.
Overview: Today we enjoy a guided Tour of Leon, capital of Asturias from the 10th century and the centre of Christian Spain. It is now a lively university town.
Accommodation: Parador de Leon.
Overview: This morning, we walk 2km from Leon to Manjarin (roughly half an hour). We stop for a refreshment break in El Acebo de San Miguel. Later in the day, we walk to Moliaseca via Riego de Ambros (8kms, taking roughly two hours), stopping for a picnic lunch en route.
In the evening, we enjoy a three-course dinner in our hotel.
Accommodation: 1 night at Parador de Villafranca or similar.
Overview: Once driven over the Cebreiro pass, we discover the green side of Spain, with storks on the chimneys. We take a 45-minute walk (3kms) from O Cebreiro to Linares. After a bus ride to Pasanta, we then walk the 2kms to Traicastela (taking around half an hour). After stopping for a picnic lunch, there is an option to walk the 22kms (roughly four hours) to Sarria, or alternatively, to ride the bus.
Accommodation: 1 night at Hotel Carris Alfonso IX or similar.
Overview: This morning, we take a 1.5 hour walk (roughly 6kms) in Galicia to reach our ultimate destination: the Santiago Cathedral. We experience the emotional scenes of pilgrims arriving at their long-awaited destination. At noon we attend the pilgrims mass at the Cathedral.
Accommodation: 3 nights at Hotel Gelmirez or similar.
Overview: This morning we explore the local market and sample its produce and enjoy a guided tour of Santiago de Compostela. The afternoon is free to explore the city further on your own.
Accommodation: Hotel Gelmirez or similar.
Overview: Today we take a full day excursion as we drive to the “end of the world” (Finisterre) and and contemplate the agitated Atlantic we also drive south and explore the beautiful coastal Rias Bajas area.
Accommodation: Hotel Gelmirez or similar.
Overview: We drive to Braga via the Portuguese leg of the Way, Ponte de Lima, winding through woodlands, farmlands, villages, and towns. According to legend, St. James named the first bishop of Braga in the 4th century. Since then, Braga is the capital of Catholic Portugal.
Accommodation: 1 night at Hotel do Parque or similar.
Overview: The courageous amongst us start the endless stairs to the top of Portugal’s most spectacular sanctuary. Fortunately, for the others there is the funicular railway. We later depart for Oporto.
Accommodation: 2 nights at HF Fenix Porto or similar.
Overview: We visit the cradle of Portugal, where one of the oldest nation states was founded. The entire historic town centre is a Unesco World Heritage site.
An expert guide explains us the birth of Portugal. In the afternoon we enjoy a visit and tasting to a Port Cellar.
Accommodation: HF Fenix Porto or similar.
Overview: After breakfast marks the end of our services. We suggest flights back to Madrid or Barcelona from Oporto’s International Airport.
What’s included in our Tour
- 18 nights of accommodation.
- 18 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 13 dinners.
- Services of a Tour Leader for the duration of tour.
- Applicable entry fees and services of local guides.
- Gratuities and necessary tips.
- Detailed tour information booklet.
What’s not included in our Tour
- International flights and departure taxes.
- Comprehensive travel insurance.
- Items of a personal nature such as telephone calls and laundry.