Overview for Camino Frances Stages 4 & 5: León to Santiago
The Camino Frances is the most famous Camino route, walked by millions of pilgrims from all over the globe since the Middle Ages. More than just a pilgrimage, the Camino is a unique social and cultural experience and a truly memorable adventure.
Follow in the footsteps of medieval pilgrims, walking the fourth and the fifth (final) stage of the French Way. Starting from the elegant León, with its impressive cathedral and Roman walls, you will reach Sarria, just over 100 km away from Santiago. From Sarria, the final section of the walk takes you through Galicia to Santiago de Compostela for a unique experience you’ll treasure forever.
Itinerary for Camino Frances Stages 4 & 5: León to SantiagoGo to top of page
Day 1: Arrive León
Your journey on the fourth stage of the Camino Frances begins in the beautiful city of Leó with its impressive cathedral and Roman walls, the Romanesque Royal Basilica of Saint Isidoro and the neo-Gothic Casa de Botines, built by Gaudí. Treat yourself to the exquisite local cheeses and cured meats.
- Overnight León
Day 2: León to Mazarife
After your night in León, your Camino will start through the beautiful Spanish countryside. The Camino from León is pretty flat and easy. You will walk along crop fields and pretty apple orchards can be seen along the way to Mazarife.
- Walking for the day: 21 km, 4-5 hours
- Overnight Mazarife
Day 3: Mazarife to Astorga
From Mazarife, with the suburbs of León city long behind you, you will start a pretty hike along footpaths and dirt tracks towards one of the prettiest villages on the Camino: Hospital de Órbigo where you will cross the famous and picturesque ‘Puente de Órbigo’ bridge, before continuing onto Astorga.
- Walking for the day: 31 km, 6-7 hours
- Overnight Astorga
Day 4: Astorga to Rabanal del Camino
From the lovely city of Astorga, you will gradually make your way up towards the stunning León Mountains and the lush Bierzo region, taking paths surrounded by broom, heather and oak trees before reaching Rabanal del Camino.
- Walking for the day: 20 km, 5 hours
- Overnight Rabanal del Camino
Day 5: Rabanal to Ponferrada
Today is one of the most rewarding days ahead on the Camino as it climbs to Mount Irago. Stop at the Iron Cross on top of the mountain, one of the most special places on the French Way, where you can place a memento and visit the St James chapel before descending to the lush area of El Bierzo. On your way to Ponferrada, pass through the lovely town of Molinaseca. Once in Ponferrada, you should explore the old town, its impressive 12th century Templars Castle, and make sure you try the local specialities, such as botillo and some of Spain’s most delicious cured meats.
- Walking for the day: 32 km, 7 hours
- Overnight Ponferrada
Day 6: Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo
After your night in Ponferrada, the Camino takes you across the heart of the lush region of El Bierzo, nestled in the mountains. Take the opportunity to taste the local delicious cherries if you are travelling in summer, exquisite cured meats and other regional delicacies. In Villafranca, known as ‘the little Compostela’, visit the garden of the Iglesia de Santiago, St James Church. The church has a ‘Forgiveness Gate’, Puerta del Perdón, that only opens during Holy Years.
- Walking for the day: 21 km, 4-5 hours
- Overnight Villafranca del Bierzo
Day 7: Villafranca to O Cebreiro
After your night in Villafranca, visit the garden of the Iglesia de Santiago, St James Church. The church has a ‘Forgiveness Gate’, Puerta del Perdón, that only opens during Holy Years. Your route passes by the ranges of ‘Os Ancares’ and ‘Serra do Courel’ and it should be noted that this stage to O Cebreiro holds a steep climb in only a few kilometres but the views are truly spectacular.
- Walking for the day: 30 km, 8 hours
- Overnight O Cebreiro
Day 8: O Cebreiro to Triacastela
From the village of O Cebreiro, you will walk the ‘Serra de Ranadoiro’ (Ranadoiro Mountains) and reach Alto do Poio where you will encounter the pilgrim statue and enjoy fantastic panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. From the Alto, you will start descending into the village of Triacastela.
- Walking for the day: 21 km, 5 hours
- Overnight Triacastela
Day 9: Triacastela to Sarria
From Triacastela, you have the choice of two Camino options, the ‘San Xil’ Camino offers scenery that will lift your spirits. It has many ‘corredoiras’ (narrow forest tracks) with paved pathways through native Galician oak woods. If you wish to visit the impressive Samos Monastery, you will walk across the valley of the river Ouribio to reach Samos and continue on to reach the town of Sarria, the most popular Camino starting point.
- Walking for the day: 19/21 km, 4-5 hours
- Overnight Sarria
Day 10: Rest Day Sarria / Walk Samos
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and explore Sarria. We also highly recommend to take a taxi to Samos (not included) and visit the Monastery that was founded in the 6th century and has welcomed pilgrims since then. The optional walk from Samos back to Sarria is 14 km.
- Walking for the day (optional): 14 km, 3-4 hours
- Overnight Sarria
Day 11: Sarria to Portomarín
Setting off for Portomarin you pass Sarria Castle, walking mainly along small country roads and a few pathways. Most of the roads are tree-lined and will provide good shade in the sun. There are hamlets every kilometre or so.
- Walking for the day: 22 km, 5-6 hours
- Overnight Belorado
Day 12: Portomarín to Palas de Rei
Walk downhill along Portomarin’s main street; leaving Palas de Rei, the Camino crosses the Minho river and then steadily climbs upwards, before passing through Gonzar and Castromaior, where the tiny Romanesque Church of Santa Maria is situated. Continue along country roads edged by bright yellow gorse, pine and oak trees to reach the high point of today’s walk at Sierra de Ligonde (750m), then descend to the old hamlet of Ligonde, once a popular resting point along the Camino.
- Walking for the day: 24 km, 5-6 hours
- Overnight Palas de Rei or Pidre
Day 13: Palas de Rei to Arzúa
Pilgrims consider this section the start of the countdown because shortly after Coto there are stone markers at the side of the path with the distance to Santiago marked. Much of the day is shaded and shortly after Melide, you will walk through oak and eucalyptus forests. Melide is where the Camino Primitivo merges with the Camino Frances. The Camino crosses several streams and follows a forest track bringing you to the village of Boente and the church of Santiago. Next is the pretty medieval hamlet of Ribadiso and finally the town of Arzúa, famous for its local cheese where you should visit the churches of Santa María and A Magdalena.
- Walking for the day: 29 km, 6-7 hours
- Overnight Arzúa
Day 14: Arzúa to Amenal
The Camino will take you through pretty woods, sleepy villages and across streams for most of the day. The chapel of Santa Irene, with its unique statue of Santiago, is worth a visit. Along the route, don’t miss the lovely hamlet of Rúa.
- Walking for the day: 23 km, 5-6 hours
- Overnight Amenal
Day 15: Amenal to Santiago de Compostela
Your final stage! You will walk mostly through rural settings and eucalyptus groves. Your next point of interest is Lavacolla in the outskirts of Santiago, where pilgrims used to wash in the river in preparation for their arrival in Santiago de Compostela. Rows of tall eucalyptus trees line your journey to Monte do Gozo and it is from here that will catch your first glimpse of the spires of the cathedral in Santiago. When you arrive in the city, explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site’s architecture and delight in the wonderful atmosphere of this spiritual and cultural city.
With only 16.5 km to walk today, you should be in Santiago in time for the pilgrim mass (12 pm). After visiting Santiago Cathedral and recovering from your walk, take time to explore this gem of a city, small and vibrant. Its old town will enchant you. In Santiago the Compostela you will find not only pilgrims but also locals and students, enjoying a few bites and socialising over a glass of wine in the many bars, restaurants and cosy cafes.
- Walking for the day: 16.5 km, 3-4 hours
- Overnight Santiago de Compostela
Day 16: Departure
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before heading back to the airport. We highly recommend booking additional nights in Santiago de Compostela to explore this fantastic city.
Hotels for Camino Frances Stages 4 & 5: León to SantiagoGo to top of page
Accommodations on this tour include a mix of welcoming country inns and comfortable 3-star hotels, located close to the route of the Camino. You will always have a private room and en-suite (attached) bathroom. In the larger cities, you will stay in larger 3-star hotels; the other nights will be in a mixture of rural hotels and inns, all with private rooms and en-suite bathrooms. They have been carefully selected for their location, atmosphere and/or unique services. Extra nights can be booked at any of the accommodations along the way.
Breakfast is included (usually a simple buffet breakfast/coffee and toast/bread/croissant) on all days. When no restaurant location is available on the route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. Where no dinner is included, most places serve hearty pilgrim menus – you can get a 3-course dinner including wine and water for about GBP 10 pp.
Travel for Camino Frances Stages 4 & 5: León to SantiagoGo to top of page
The best place to fly into to get to is Santander Airport. Other good points to connect through to travel internationally are Madrid and Santiago de Compostela.
Please note that flight information can change rapidly, and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner before finalising any booking with us. Please do not book your flights before we have confirmed your booking.
Transfers to/from Airports
Arrival to Leon
- Santander Airport 256 km, the bus takes 3.5h, check Alsa.es
- Madrid Airport 337 km, the train takes 4h (check Renfe), the bus takes 4.5h (check Alsa.es)
Departure from Santiago de Compostela
There is a shuttle bus to the airport of Santiago from the centre of Santiago with different stops in the city (check www.empresafreire.com) or you can book a private transfer with us.
All hotel to hotel luggage transfers on walking days are included (maximum one piece of 20 kg per person). When arriving at hotels, usually your luggage would have been taken to your room awaiting your arrival. However don’t be surprised if at some places your luggage is waiting for you at the reception desk – just politely ask someone from the staff if you need assistance to bring it to your room.
A comprehensive and reputable travel insurance policy is essential to your enjoyment and peace of mind while on an active holiday. It is highly recommended when booking with us that all group members have valid travel insurance which includes cover for all activities included in your trip. We have teamed up with to offer you adequate cover at a great value from a reputable insurer, and it takes only a few minutes to buy online.
Up-to-date travel advice on Spain is available here
Trip Info for Camino Frances Stages 4 & 5: León to SantiagoGo to top of page
Difficulty Grade: Moderate
This walk is graded moderate and includes walks of 4-7 hours a day; the terrain is mostly flat, rarely undulating with some occasional steeper ascents. You will follow a mixture of footpaths, dirt roads, and minor roads (read more about difficulty grades).
The routes are perfectly waymarked, and the itinerary is very easy to follow. The route is marked with yellow painted arrows and a yellow shell on a blue background. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.
When to Go
This trip is available all year round, but the best months to visit are April – June and September – October as in summer months it may become too hot (and crowded). The flexibility of self-guided walking holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date during the season.
You can obtain one at the start of your walk in the pilgrim’s office or the local church in town. You need to get the passport stamped in churches, restaurants or hotels along the way. At the end of the walk in Santiago de Compostela, you can obtain your Compostela Certificate (only if you have walked the last 100 km finishing in Santiago).
Important: Due to the large influx of pilgrims during summer, and to avoid long waiting times, the Pilgrim Office in Santiago has installed a numbered ticket system for issuing pilgrim certificates (the Compostela). This new system allows pilgrims to collect their ticket and, using a QR Code, to check the status of the queue and estimated waiting time to obtain the Compostela. However, the number of tickets per day is limited so on days with high numbers of pilgrims arriving, there is a possibility that not all pilgrims will be able to collect their certificate on the day of arrival and will have to return for it on the following morning.
Therefore, if obtaining a pilgrim certificate is important to you, and if you plan to undertake the Camino between April 15th and October 15th, we recommend that you arrange the return travel in such a way that you will be in Santiago de Compostela during the morning after your arrival. Better still, we encourage you to book a second night in Santiago so that you can collect the certificate without rush and enjoy the charms of the city!
What to Bring
We recommend that you travel as light as possible – airlines might charge you an extra fee, and during ground transfers, the place might be limited. Ideally, you should bring one piece of luggage weighing no more than 20 kg (to be checked in) and a daily pack (15 – 20 l rucksack) for your everyday essentials (snacks, drinking water, camera, etc.). Below is a non-exclusive list of what you should bring to this trip. More detailed info will be included in your holiday information pack.
- Good hiking boots or trail running shoes
- Hiking socks
- Several T-shirts (preferably breathable/fast drying)
- Packable waterproof and windproof jacket with hood
- Synthetic mid layer or warm fleece
- Trainers and/or sandals – to relax and wear inside the accommodation
- Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve
- Hat/Baseball cap
- Personal First Aid kit (wet wipes, flu remedies, stomach remedies)
Included for Camino Frances Stages 4 & 5: León to SantiagoGo to top of page
- 15 nights in private en-suite rooms (country inns and 3-star hotels)
- 15 breakfasts
- Detailed journey documentation and practical information
- Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days (up to 20 kg per person)
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative
- Single room supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
- This holiday is available for solo travellers; as costs are not shared, there is a solo traveller supplement to the standard price. As a solo traveller, you will be accommodated in a single room on all nights.
To see the price of the holiday for your desired dates, including the cost of different options and supplements, please click the CHECK AVAILABILITY button above.
Other Trip-Related Costs
- Entrance fees for attractions and museums
- Flights and airport transfers
- Travel insurance
- All lunches and dinners
- Personal expenses such as snacks, drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
- Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘included’ in the programme
Extensions and Optional Extras
- Extra nights along the trail are bookable upon request
- Airport transfers