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Camiño dos Faros: The Lighthouse Way (8 days)

Camino Frances Final Stage: Sarria to Santiago

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 from 1 April until 31 October. If you are looking at winter dates, please consider our Winter Programme.

  • Church of San Juan of Portomarín – an unusual Late Romanesque temple
  • The medieval village Ribadiso 
  • Cathedral of Santiago – the aim of every pilgrim, a UNESCO heritage site

Click to view map

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive at Sarria

Arrival by public bus or private transfer to 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 to take a taxi 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 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
  • Overnight in a hotel in Sarria (Roma or similar), breakfast included

Day 2: Sarria – Portomarin | 22 km

Setting off for Portomarin, you pass Sarria Castle and start your first walk of the Camino, 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. You will not have to worry about water or food, and whenever you sit down and take a short rest, you will hear interesting stories from other pilgrims.

  • Walking for the day: 22 km, 5-6 hours, ↑200 m ↓300 m
  • Overnight in a hotel in Portomarin (Pousada Portomarin or similar), breakfast included

Day 3: Portomarin – 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. For the last 3 km leading into Palas de Rei, you will walk on a dirt track alongside the main road. Upon arrival, the hotel owners will pick you up and drive you to your accommodation in Pidre.

  • Walking for the day: 24 km, 6 hours, ↑450 m ↓300 m
  • Overnight in A Parada das Bestas, breakfast and dinner included

Day 4: Palas de Rei – Arzua | 29 km

Short morning transfer from Pidre to Palas de Rei (10 minutes) to start one of the longest but technically very easy sections of the route. 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. You can also ask your hosts to be taken to the Pambre Castle in the morning and take a shortcut to Coto, away from the busy roads. Relax on the river bank at Ribadiso before ascending to Arzua.

  • Walking for the day: 29 km, 7 hours, ↑225 m ↓400 m
  • Overnight in hotel in Arzua (Pazo de Santa Maria or similar), breakfast and dinner included

Day 5: Arzua – A Rua | 18 km

Upon leaving Arzua, perhaps pick up some delicious cheese for lunch; then continue through the old quarter of the town as the walk leads past sturdy oak trees, which give way to lush meadows.  Visit the medieval shrine at Santa Irene and the Baroque fountain of healing waters. While not as spectacular as on the previous day, today’s walk will enable you to make many new friends among the pilgrims going to Santiago.

  • Walking for the day: 18 km, 4-5 hours, ↑200 m ↓225 m
  • Overnight in a country hotel (O Acivro or similar), breakfast and dinner included

Day 6: A Rua – Santiago de Compostela | 22 km

Your final stage! You will walk mostly through rural settings and eucalyptus groves. At Monte del Gozo, pilgrims historically make one last stop at the spring in Lavacolla to wash face and feet before presenting themselves before the Saint. Enter the ancient city of Santiago de Compostela and relish the end of your journey at the Cathedral.

  • Walking for the day: 22 km, 5-6 hours, ↑175 m ↓175 m
  • Overnight in a hotel (A Tafona or similar), breakfast included

Day 7: Departure

Arrange extra nights in Santiago or enjoy breakfast and then make your way to Santiago Airport. If you have time, explore the old city of Santiago de Compostela before you leave.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodation is in very nice, simple but comfortable hotels, located close to the route of the Camino. All of them have private en-suite rooms and offer a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

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, as well as 3 dinners. 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 £10-12.

Difficulty & terrain

This walk is graded moderate and includes walks of 20 km per day on average (the longest one is 29 km); the terrain is flat or hilly (read more about difficulty grades) 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 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 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 from April till the end of October. 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 holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date during the season. If you are looking at winter dates, please consider our Winter 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 to town to the central bus station as described above.
  • 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 for more details or use the Omio planner above.
  • You can also book private transfers with us.

Inclusions

Included

  • 6 nights in nice hotels in private en-suite rooms (mostly 3-star)
  • 6 breakfasts
  • 3 dinners
  • Detailed digital holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions, road notes and maps. Please note that the info pack is emailed to you prior to departure and no printed documents are mailed or provided on site
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days (up to 20 kg per person)
  • Return transfer from the trail to the Day 3 accommodation
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, 3 dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included

Options, extras & supplements

  • A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single 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 along the trail are bookable upon request
  • 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!

Gallery

Reviews

Average rating:    from 2 reviews

Janice W

Maria was very helpful every step of the way and always answered my questions promptly. Excellent company, organised well. Stayed at some lovely places. Will book again. Many thanks!

Liz K




[THE MOST MEMORABLE PART OF THE HOLIDAY WAS] MEETING OTHER PILGRIMS AND THE EXTRAORDINARY KINDNESS OF THE PORTUGUESE PEOPLE. AS A SOLO TRAVELLER, IT CAN BE A BIT LONELY TO STAY IN HOTELS. BETTER TO DO THIS WITH A FRIEND. I WOULD LOVE AN OPTION WHERE YOU COULD CHOOSE TO STAY IN PRIVATE HOSTELS OR PRIVATE HOMES, RATHER THAN IN SUCH FANCY HOTELS. IT WAS KINDOF ISOLATING.

Rate (on a scale 1 to 5, 5 for excellent, 1 for poor):
- the booking process and our customer service 5
- the info pack 4.5. I WOULD APPRECIATE A BIT MORE INFO ON THE MAJOR LANDMARKS - SOME WERE ENTIRELY ABSENT.
- our local representative 5
- the trails and waymarking 5
- the smartphone app / GPS tracks DIDN’T USE
- the accommodations 5. FAVORITE: QUINTA IN ARCOS. LEAST FAVORITE: HOTEL IMPERIO DE NORTE IN BARCELOS. I AM GRATEFUL THAT ALL WERE RIGHT ON OR VERY NEAR THE CAMINO SANTIAGO
-holiday overall 4.9

Dear Liz,Thank you for your feedback and I am glad you enjoyed your holiday overall! Most of our clients choose our itinerary because of the better accommodation compared to dormitory rooms in the auberges, but I agree that this way you miss some of the local flavour. Regarding the materials, we will take your advice into consideration and add more info about local landmarks, places to see etc.