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Camiño dos Faros: The Lighthouse Way (8 days)

Camino Frances Final Stage: Sarria to Santiago (Winter Programme)

Overview

Walk the last 100 km of the classic French Way (Camino Frances) of the Camino from Saria to Santiago de Compostela (the minimum required to earn your Compostela). This final section of the walk takes you through the region of Galicia in Northern Spain to Santiago for a unique experience you’ll treasure forever.

Note: This tour is available only from 1 November till 31 March. If you are looking at spring, summer or autumn dates, please consider our Standard Programme.

Highlights

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Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Sarria

Arrival by public bus or private transfer in Sarria. Sarria is a small town in Galicia and the last place where you can start your Camino and collect your Compostela. If you arrive early, we strongly recommend taking a taxi (not included) to Samos and visit the Monastery that was founded in the 6th century and has welcomed pilgrims since then. The optional walk from Samos to Sarria is 13.8 km. You can also book an extra night at Sarria in order to do this beautiful section of the Camino between Samos and Sarria.

  • Walking for the day: 14 km, 3-4 hours – optional walk in case of early arrival
  • Accommodation: Hotel Oca Villa de Sarria or similar in Sarria

Day 2: Sarria to Portomarín | 22 km

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. Visit the beautiful Romanesque church in the village of Barbadelo.

Day 3: Portomarín to Palas de Rei | 24 km

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 (750 m), then descend to the old hamlet of Ligonde, once a popular resting point along the Camino.

Day 4: Palas de Rei to Arzúa | 29 km

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.

You can choose to split this day in two and stay in the the town of Melide, thus walking 14 km/15 km.

Day 5: Arzúa to Amenal | 23 km

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. The rest of the route to Amenal is along a mix of good and calm country roads and forest tracks.

  • Walking for the day: 23 km, 5-6 hours
  • Accommodation: Hotel Amenal or similar in Amenal

Day 6: Amenal to Santiago de Compostela | 16.5 km

Your final stage! You will walk mostly through rural settings and eucalyptus groves. Your next point of interest is Lavacolla in Santiago’s outskirts, 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 you 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.

Day 7: 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.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodations on this tour include a mix of welcoming country inns and comfortable 3-star hotels located close to the Camino route. You will always have a private room and an en-suite (attached) bathroom. The hotel in Santiago de Compostela is 1-star but located in Santiago de Compostela’s historic centre and in front of the Cathedral, and it has been welcoming pilgrims since the late 16th c. The accommodation places have been carefully selected for their location, atmosphere and/or unique services. Below you can see some samples, but please note that the Camino is a very popular destination, and the hotels in your final booking confirmation may be different from the ones pictured below. Extra nights can be booked at any of the accommodations along the way.

Click to view default hotels

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal or higher value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast is included (usually 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 ~GBP 10.

Difficulty & terrain

This walk is graded moderate and includes walks of 20 km per day on average (the longest one is 29 km, but can be split) (read more about difficulty grades). The terrain is flat or hilly without steep ascents or descents. You will follow a mixture of dirt roads, woodland paths, minor roads and some busier roads close to the bigger towns and cities. The routes are well-marked with yellow painted arrows and a yellow shell on a blue background, and the itinerary is very easy to follow. 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 tour is available only from 1 November till 31 March. If you are looking at spring, summer or autumn dates, please consider our Standard Programme.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Click to view travel options

By plane

Our recommended airport for this tour is Santiago de Compostela (SCQ). The alternative airport is A Coruña (LCG).

By train or bus

Arrival in Sarria
The best way to reach Sarria is to fly into Santiago de Compostela airport and first get a shuttle bus to the central bus station of Santiago (with www.empresafreire.com; every 30 min). From there you can travel to Lugo with the same company (Freire) or with ALSA www.alsa.es and then take another local bus from Lugo to Sarria (35 min; at least 6 services a day). Check up to date timetables at www.monbus.es.

On workdays (Monday to Friday) there is also a direct bus from the Santiago de Compostela central bus station to Sarria with the company Monbus. But remember that you first have to travel into town to the central bus station as described above. You can also book private transfers with us.

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.

Inclusions

Included

  • 6 nights in private en-suite rooms
  • 6 breakfasts
  • Detailed journey documentation and practical information, all provided in digital formats prior to the departure date
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days (1 pc up to 20 kg per person)
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches and dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes & entry fees (payable on the spot)
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included

Options, extras & supplements

  • Supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room / single use of a double room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Extra nights
  • Airport transfers

Compostela/Pilgrims Passport

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!

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