The Camino Frances is the most famous Camino route, walked by millions of pilgrims from all over the globe since the Middle Ages. But, 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 final stages of the French Way. Starting from the charming mountain village of O Cebreiro, 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.
- The small mountain village of O Cebreiro
- The Templars Castle of Ponferrada from 12th c.
- Church of San Juan of Portomarín – an unusual Late Romanesque temple
- The medieval village Ribadiso
- Santiago de Compostela cathedral
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Day 1: Arrive in O Cebreiro
Your journey on the last 150 km of the Camino Frances begins in the beautiful mountain village of O Cebreiro with its rich Jacobean tradition. Treat yourself to the exquisite local cheeses and cured meats.
- Accommodation: Casa Rural Carolo or similar in O Cebreiro
Day 2: O Cebreiro to Triacastela | 21 km
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
- Accommodation: Complexo Xacobeo or similar in Triacastela
Day 3: Triacastela to Sarria | 19 km
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 to reach the town of Sarria, the most popular Camino starting point.
- Walking for the day: 19/21 km, 4-5 hours
- Accommodation: Hotel Oca Villa de Sarria or similar in Sarria
Day 4: 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.
- Walking for the day: 22 km, 5-6 hours
- Accommodation: Pousada de Portomarin or similar in Portomarín
Day 5: Portomarín to Palas de Rei | 25 km
Walk downhill along Portomarin’s main street; leaving Palas de Rei, the Camino crosses the Minho river and 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.
- Walking for the day: 25 km, 5-6 hours
- Accommodation: Hotel Complejo La Cabana or similar in Palas de Rei
Day 6: Palas de Rei to Melide | 14 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; a pleasant hike in the middle of lush forests to finally cross a medieval bridge to reach the Melide river.
- Walking for the day: 14 km, 3-4 hours
- Accommodation: A family-run hotel in Melide
Day 7: Melide to Arzúa | 15 km
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: 15 km, 3 hours
- Accommodation: Pension Casa Teodora or similar in Arzúa
Day 8: Arzúa to O Pedrouzo | 19 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 is along a mix of good and calm country roads and forest tracks.
- Walking for the day: 19 km, 4 hours
- Accommodation: A family-run hotel in O Pedrouzo
Day 9: O Pedrouzo to Santiago de Compostela | 19 km
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 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.
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: 19 km, 4 hours
- Accommodation: Lux Santiago or a similar in Santiago de Compostela
Day 10: Departure
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before heading back to the airport. We highly recommend booking extra nights in Santiago de Compostela to explore this fantastic city.
What to Expect
Accommodations on this tour include a mix of welcoming country inns and comfortable hotels located close to the Camino route. You will always have a private room and an en-suite (attached) bathroom. 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.
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 10-15 pp.
Difficulty & terrain
This walk is graded easy to moderate/moderate and includes walks of 3-6 hours, and up to 25 km a day; the terrain is mostly flat, rarely undulating with some occasional steeper ascents (read more about difficulty grades). You will follow a mixture of farm/dirt tracks, minor roads and footpaths. The routes are perfectly waymarked 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 maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime.
When to go
This trip is available to depart from 1 March till 15 November; the best months to visit are April – June and September – October, as in the 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.
Click to view travel options
By train or bus
Arrival in Sarria/O Cebreiro: 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. O Cebreiro is 40 km from Sarria and can be easily reached by taxi or public transport.
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.
- 9 nights in private en-suite rooms
- 9 breakfasts
- Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days (1 pc up to 20 kg per person)
- Guided tour of Santiago de Compostela (old town)
- Galician cheese tasting in Santiago (not on Sundays)
- Pilgrim passport & scallop
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative
- 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
You need to get your 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 tickets 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 rushing and enjoy the charms of the city!