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Camino de Santiago - French Way - Walking - Itinerary

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Hiking through grazing fields/pasture lands. Keep your eyes open to spot newborn lambs.
Hiking the lush, Galician hills half-way to Palas de Reis.
The majestic, awe-inspiring St. James Cathedral awaits at the end of your journey.

Day 1: Arrive in Santiago de Compostela and explore the town

The tour starts with your arrival in Santiago de Compostela, where you spend one night before transit to Sarria the next day to start your return hike!

You can get to Santiago de Compostela from Madrid or any other major European city via train, bus or plane. The train from Madrid Chamartin station to Santiago takes about 7 hours, and you can see the land change as you go from the central area into Galicia (and adjust to the time change if needed). If you prefer a quicker transit, a flight from Madrid to Santiago is a short couple of hours. The Zephyr representative will meet your party at your Santiago accommodation either this night or the following morning, at your choice, introduce you to your walking tour, answer your questions, and provide you with route maps and notes.

Walk Details: Depending on arrival time, explore the old city center, the Cathedral and the Market.

About The Town: Santiago de Compostela is an ancient city with a particular magic that is best enjoyed by walking around its streets. Its historical center has been designated a World Heritage site, and it boasts dozens of churches, historic buildings and museums. The cathedral marks the city center, and is flanked by plazas, including the Hostal dos Reis Católicos, the Parador hotel featured in the movie, The Way. The roads at the cathedral’s entrance are full of bars, restaurants and shops. Daily, at 12pm, pilgrims gather for a not-to-be-missed mass in the Cathedral of St. James (San Tiago) where the priests burn incense in the famous censer (botafumeiro) that they swing over the congregation.

Day 2: Santiago - Sarria - Portomarin

You will be taken from your accommodation in Santiago to the trail start in Sarria. In Sarria you may get your Camino "passport" that many pilgrims get stamped at each location on their walk. You must have a properly-stamped passport if you want to get the official Compostela certificate when you return to the pilgrim's office in Santiago.

Walk Details: 23 km/14 miles. As soon as you leave Sarria you enter rolling hills and beautiful forests. Very little elevation change as you pass through several hamlets with dairy cows and farms. At the conclusion, you cross the bridge over the River Mino and enter Portomarin.

About The Town: Portomarin is an intriguing historic village. The original town was abandoned and flooded when a dam was constructed on the River Miño. Its remains rest under water, and when the water level is low, you can still see the tops of a few buildings and the old bridge. Today’s Portomarín is high above the river where the outskirts of the ancient town used to exist. A few buildings were carefully moved from their original sites into the new Portomarín. The Church of San Nicolás, in the main square, and the Church of San Pedro, were both moved stone by stone. The townsmen numbered the stones to help reconstruct the buildings in their new locations. Look carefully and you can still see some of these numbers! Portomarín is famous for its tarts and liquors. The large, plate sized Torta de Santiago is an almond tart decorated with a powdered sugar cross that is a combination of a sword and a shepard’s hook. The liquor, orujo, is called aguardente in Galician language. It comes in various colors and flavors; the most common shades are clear and a light green color resulting from an herb mix.

Day 3: Portomarin - Palas de Rei or Lestedo/Pambre

Walk Details: 18-24 km/11-15 miles. This stage includes rolling green hills and alternates between paved roads and dirt paths. Standard accommodation is in the town of Palas de Rei. Upgraded hotels are either in Lestedo (just before Palas) or Pambre (just beyond Palas)

About The Town: Palas is a small, pretty town with a central square and town hall, lined with shops, and small bars and cafes. Lestedo is a tiny hamlet and the spa in Pambre is in forest on the outskirts of Palas.

Day 4: Lestedo/Palas de Rei - Melide

Walk Details: 15-21 km/9-13 mi. This stage alternates between paved tracks, sidewalks and country roads.

About The Town: Melide is a small city, the largest stop on your walk. It is famous for its octopus (pulpo á feira), which is surprisingly tender and usually served boiled and with red pepper. The melindre, a typical, Galician pastry, is also famous. It is a sweet, lightly crunchy doughnut that is covered in a sugary glaze. Melide hosts an annual festival around the melindre, including taste-testing, music, performances and the revealing of the winner of the coveted award for best melindre.

Day 5: Melide - Arzúa

Walk Details: 14 km/9 mi. This stage alternates among paved roads, sidewalks and country roads. You hike between two small cities, and you will cross the highway several times.

About The City: Arzúa, like Melide, is another of the more populated towns on the pilgrim's route in Galicia. The Camino will lead you to the city center and a small park, which is a meeting point for the local people. Arzúa is famous for its cheese, Arzúa-Ulloa (queso de Arzúa). It is a delicious medium-mild, semi-soft cheese made from cow’s milk.

Day 6: Arzúa - Rúa

Walk Details: 18 km - 11 mi. This stage alternates among paved tracks, dirt paths and local and country roads, becoming more rural and forested as the day goes on.

About The Town: Rúa is a quiet village surrounded by fields with grazing sheep, green hills and traditional rural homes. Approaching Rúa, you will also pass through small beautiful spots of O Empalme and Santa Irina.

Day 7: Rúa - Santiago de Compostela

Walk Details: 21 km/13 mi. Your final day on the Camino! Alternates among dirt paths, paved roads and city sidewalks. The terrain gets more urban as you approach and then re-enter Santiago de Compostela, six days and a world of experience away from when you left!

About The Town: As you enter Santiapo de Compostela on foot, you can better appreciate the beautiful aspect it offers nestled amid the surrounding hills. Also enjoy the city streets bustling with shops and restaurants, as you get closer to the old city center.

Day 8: Santiago de Compostela and Departure

Walk Details: Explore Santiago again or for the first time! The Mass is daily at noon (and now you can attend as a true pilgrim!) Tours of the Cathedral roof are also fantastic, but check the schedule for times and reservations.

Day 9 - Optional Supplement: Overnight Trip to Cabo Fisterra

Details: The Camino de Santiago continues west exiting Santiago de Compostela and eventually ends on the rocky peninsula named Cape Fisterra, the Westernmost point in continental Europe. It was once thought to be the end of the world, and traditionally pilgrims would end their journey here by burning their clothes. Today, many still venture to this remote, quiet destination with picturesque sunsets and the constant sound of lapping waves. We offer a one-price package for private taxi drive to and from Fisterra, with overnight stay at the lovely lighthouse hotel on the rocky shore. The drive to Fisterra is a scenic two hours, and can be via the inland route or the coastal route. Selection of this supplement can be done on the registration form.

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