Walk the last 100km (the minimum required to earn your Compostela certificate) of the French Way from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela in ten walking days (12 days total) at a leisurely pace and take your time to explore the beautiful villages along the route, the local culture and the Galician cuisine.
- Church of San Juan of Portomarín – an unusual Late Romanesque temple
- The medieval village Ribadiso
- The beautiful town of Melide
- Santiago de Compostela cathedral
Click to view map
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 to start your Camino and collect your Compostela. If you arrive early, we strongly recommend taking a taxi (not included) to Samos and visiting the Monastery that was founded in the 6th century and has welcomed pilgrims since then.
- Overnight in Sarria (DP Cristal , Duerming Villa de Sarria or similar)
Day 2: Sarria to Morgade | 12km
Setting off to the small hamlet of Morgade, you pass Sarria Castle, walking mainly along small country roads and forest tracks without many slopes. Visit the beautiful Romanesque church in the village of Barbadelo.
- Walking for the day: 12km, 3h
- Overnight: rural guesthouse in Morgade (*Morgade is a very small place with few accommodation options. If it is fully booked on your dates, we may arrange overnight for you in Sarria or Portomarin with additional transfers from/to the trail at no extra cost)
Day 3: Morgade to Portomarín | 9km
Another easy walking day, taking you from Morgade to the town of Portomarín. Along the way, you spot many Galician traditional hórreos (granaries). The old town of Portomarín is located under the waters of the Belesar reservoir. The river Miño is the one that announces that you are already arriving at our destination.
- Walking for the day: 9km, 2-3h
- Overnight in Portomarin (Pousada Portomarin, Arenas Porto or similar)
Day 4: Portomarín to Ventas de Narón | 13km
Today you begin descending to the Belesar Reservoir and once you reach this point, you ascend to the Monte de San Antonio. During this stage, you can visit the Castro de Castromaior, which is located on top of a hill.
- Walking for the day: 13km, 3h
- Overnight: guesthouse in Ventas de Narón (**Ventas de Narón is a very small place with few accommodation options. If it is fully booked on your dates, we may arrange overnight for you in Portomarin or Palas de Rei with additional transfers from/to the trail at no extra cost or in a nearby settlement along the Camino)
Day 5: Ventas de Narón to Palas de Rei | 12km
Today you take an easy walk through lush forests from Ventas de Narón to the market town of Palas de Rei. Stop to visit the Romanesque church in Eirexe, with its portal featuring a sculpture of Daniel with animals. You also pass the village of Lestedo, where it is worth visiting its unique cemetery. Finally, you arrive in the town of Palas de Reis, one of the most traditional on the Camino.
- Walking for the day: 12km, 3h
- Overnight in Palas de Rei (Lar do Peregrino, Casa Avelina or similar)
Day 6: Palas de Rei to Melide | 14.5km
You leave the province of Lugo behind to enter the province of A Coruña. You get out of Palas de Rei through “Campo dos Romeiros”, a key point for the pilgrims’ meeting, and walk towards Leboreiro, a pleasant road surrounded by lush forests. Finally, you reach Melide crossing the river through a medieval bridge. Once you arrive in Melide, you should try octopus, Galicia’s most classic dish, in one of the town’s pulperías. Melide is where the Camino Primitivo merges with the Camino Frances.
- Walking for the day: 14.5km, 3-4h
- Overnight in Melide (San Anton, Pension Ferradura or similar)
Day 7: Melide to Arzúa | 14km
Much of the day is shaded, and shortly after Melide, you walk through oak and eucalyptus forests. 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: 14km, 3-4h
- Overnight in Arzua (Hotel Arzua, Pension Domus Gallery or similar)
Day 8: Arzúa to Salceda | 11km
Today’s route is along easy forest tracks and country roads. The path takes you along streams through rustic sleepy villages. This section includes a good number of peaceful picnic spots and turns into a festival of colours in spring with a variety of flowers along the trail.
- Walking for the day: 11km, 3h
- Overnight in Salceda (Pension Salceda or similar)
Day 9: Salceda to O Pedrouzo/Amenal | 8km
Today you take a walk along a mix of well-marked country roads and forest tracks to O Pedrouzo on your shortest walking day.
- Walking for the day: 8km, 2h
- Overnight in Pedrouzo, Rua or the surrounding area (PR Platas, O Acivro, Hotel Amenal or similar)
Day 10: O Pedrouzo/Amenal to Lavacolla | 9.5km
Today you arrive at Lavacolla, the town where the airport of Santiago de Compostela is located. Tradition says that this was where the pilgrims used to wash just before entering Compostela, which would give the name the etymological meaning of “washing the neck”, lava-colla.
- Walking for the day: 9.5km, 3h
- Overnight in Lavacolla (Pazo Xan Xordo or similar)
Day 11: Lavacolla to Santiago de Compostela | 10km
You are already at the gates of Santiago de Compostela. The path runs through fairly quiet sections between rural areas and small villages. The greatest difficulty today is the ascent to Monte do Gozo, but as soon as you reach the top, everything is joy, as its name suggests. From there, you can have your first panoramic view of the city and the towers of the cathedral, the final destination. Once in Monte do Gozo, the stage is already downhill or flat and immediately, you find yourself on the urban route, which you enter through the San Lázaro neighbourhood.
With only 10km 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, especially its old town where you enjoy a city tour.
- Walking for the day: 10km, 2-3h
- Overnight in Santiago de Compostela (Alameda Rooms, Hotel Lux Santiago or similar)
Day 12: 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
Accommodations on this tour include a mix of welcoming countryside guesthouses and comfortable 1-3-star hotels, located close to the route of the Camino. You will always have a private room and en-suite bathroom. The accommodation places have been carefully selected for their location, atmosphere and/or unique services.
Important: We aim to book you into each town listed on the itinerary. However, in case of low availability, we may book you two nights in the same town with provided transfers. Also, on some occasions, your accommodation can be located a few kilometres away from the trail, so we organise transportation to/from your accommodation.
Click to view default hotels
- Hotel Oca Villa de Sarria (Sarria)
- Pousada de Portomarin (Portomarin)
- Casa Avelina (Palas de Rei)
- Pensión San Antón (Melide)
- Hotel Lux Santiago (Santiago de Compostela)
*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 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 and terrain
This itinerary is a relaxed version of our standard 7-day programme and includes walks of 10-12km per day on average (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 maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime.
When to go
This trip is available year-round, but 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
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 (Mon 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.
- 11 nights in private en-suite rooms
- 11 breakfasts
- Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days (1 pc up to 20kg per person; each additional piece should be paid)
- Guided Tour in Santiago de Compostela (old town)
- Galician cheese tasting in Santiago (not on Sundays)
- Pilgrim pass and scallop
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative
- Airfare and connecting land transfers
- Lunches and dinners, drinks and snacks
- Additional luggage
- 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 and 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
- Supplements may apply if you travel over Easter, Christmas, New Year and other major holidays.
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.
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!