For over a thousand years, the faithful have hiked the Camino de Santiago trail across northern Spain. Whether you're on a spiritual journey or just want to enjoy the thrill of walking this famous pilgrimage path, take off along its most popular route, the Camino Frances - the French Way, which begins in France. Enjoy the expertise of a local guide, incredible meals, comfortable accommodations, full coach support, and tours of charming cities and towns along the way, including Pamplona, Burgos, and Leon. On this epic adventure, the journey is the destination.
Embark across northern Spain on one of the world's most epic pilgrimages
Tour the bustling town of Pamplona, famous for its annual running of the bulls spectacle
Marvel at the fascinating historic sites of Santiago de Compostela
Arrive in Bilbao this morning and transfer to the hotel. Meet your guide and the rest of the group at 11am for a brief orientation and transfer to San Sebastian. Enjoy lunch and a short visit of this beautiful city along the Bay of Biscay before continuing on to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, a small market town on the French side of the Basque Pyrenees. After checking into the hotel, take a brief walking tour and end the day with a welcome dinner.
Transfer from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Biakorri, where a statue of the Virgin Mary watches over travelers from atop a rocky ridge. Begin the first stage of El Camino, crossing from France into Spain along the historical Pass of Roncesvalles, where the hero of the Charlemagne Army, Roland, battled against the Basques. Hike in the mid-altitude meadows of the Pyrenees, with a very gradual climb to the cols of Bentarte and Leopeder, eventually descending through beech tree forests to Roncesvalles. In the afternoon, enjoy a guided tour of Roncesvalles' historic sites.
After breakfast, hike through meadows and forests, passing villages on the way toward the charming old town of Zubiri in the valley of Esteribar. Cross the Erro valley through oak and beech tree forests, typical for the southern slopes of the Pyrenees. In Zubiri, board the bus and transfer to Pamplona. Founded by the Roman General Pompeius, Pamplona is the first big city that the pilgrims discovered when they arrived in Spain. Take a walk through the old city, including the streets where the famous "running of the bulls" takes place.
After transferring 2 hours from Pamplona to Ages, begin one of the main stages of El Camino: the high plains of central Spain, known as the Meseta. After a short 500-ft ascent to Matagrande, the journey follows a very flat route, passing through several villages. In the afternoon, arrive at the 9th-century city of Burgos on the Rio Arlanzon, home town of El Cid, whose statue guards the Puente de San Pablo. Check in to the hotel and enjoy a guided tour of the Gothic-style cathedral and the old town before dinner.
Today enjoy another full day on the high plains of central Spain, while crossing through the Tierra de Campos (or Campos Goticos). Today known as Castilla, this region is filled with the history of La Reconquista, a period lasting nearly 800 years in the Middle Ages. Pass green and golden grasslands and fields of sunflowers on the way to the medieval town of Carrion de los Condes. Take a guided tour of the old town, then settle into the hotel, impressively located within a restored medieval monastery.
Today hike through the small town of El Burgo Ranero and through vast fields of crops and grasslands on very flat terrain. By lunchtime, reach the medieval market city of Mansilla de las Mulas, a crossroads in this area of El Camino. After lunch, take a short transfer to the capital of Christian Spain: the city of Leon, also known as El Reino de Leon. Take a historical tour of the city and its early Gothic-style cathedral, one of the most famous in Spain.
Begin today's hike in Hospital de Orbigo, with its picturesque old Roman bridge, and continue along country roads through vineyards and rolling hills. En route pass through the small villages of Valle de Santibanez and Valdeiglesias, and reach El Crucero de Santo Toribio, the religious cross that has marked this trail for centuries. Continue on to the small Roman city of Astorga, founded in 14 B.C. and today known for its fascinating, eclectic architecture. Then transfer to Villafranca del Bierzo, home for the night.
Leave behind the high plains of El Camino and enter the northwestern region of Galicia. Begin the hike in Las Herrerias and reach the first significant ascent in many days. Climb over 2,000' in the last five miles to reach the old Celtic village of O Cebrerio by way of the Piedrfita Pass, where custom has it the pilgrim must throw one stone in the Cruceiro for good luck. Spend the night in the old Roman city of Lugo; visit its cathedral and walk along the Roman wall.
After breakfast, a 45-minute transfer leads to the town of Pedrouzo, where you start the last stage of the trek along El Camino de Santiago. Today reach the official destination of the journey - Santiago de Compostela and the cathedral that is the reputed burial place of St. James. The cathedral sits on La Plaza del Obradoiro, as does the hotel, a five-star parador located within a spectacular 16th-century building.
Today enjoy a guided excursion to the coastal village of Finisterre ("the end of the Earth"), 51 miles from Santiago de Compostela. It is a tradition for pilgrims to end their journey by burning their clothes or boots here at the westernmost point of the Iberian Peninsula. In the afternoon, return to Santiago for a guided historical tour of the old city and the cathedral, then rest up for a special farewell dinner.
Today say adios to Spain. After breakfast, transfer to the airport in Santiago de Compostela for departures home.
MT Sobek has been leading treks on this famous pilgrimage route for over 7 years, with back-up coach support for those who need it.
Guided by a top-notch team of local experts, hikers enjoy historical and cultural tours in ancient towns on the way to Santiago de Compostela.
This trip has been perfected to blend hiking and history, plus delicious cuisine and elegant accommodations.
Our expert guides and trip leaders are truly the key to our trips' success. Many are locals who live in-country year-round; others have made it their second home—all are passionate, enthusiastic and endlessly knowledgeable. Meet a few of the guides that might be on your trip.
Moderate to challenging hikes through spectacular landscapes, paired with city, culture and history tours.
Revamped medieval monasteries and historic buildings offer standard to high-class amenities, comfort, and warm hospitality.
Spring and fall mornings are cool but warm up to 75°F at midday, cooling back down to about 55°F in late afternoon.
If you are flying into Bilbao the morning of Day 1, your guide will meet you directly after you exit customs and transfer you to the meeting point in Bilbao city center.
No. Each day, there are several opportunities to shorten your hike by getting a lift from our support vehicle.
Yes. In fact, for this trip, shoes are recommended over boots as boots are too heavy for this terrain.
No. This trip is easily done without hiking poles. The paths and roads are in excellent condition.
Hiking is the best way to train for this trip. The most important aspect of your training should be time spent hiking versus elevation gain. This trip is very flat, so focus on distance.
Yes, but there are several opportunities each day to refill your water bottles. A good day pack is a must for carrying water, snacks and extra layers on this trip.
Make any of our trips a custom adventure or start from scratch. Take two itineraries and match them up to create a unique third. Add extras and extensions and more...if you can imagine it, we can make it happen!
"It's the best trip we've been on and we've been on some good ones. It just doesn't get any better than the leadership on this trip. Perfect."
MT Sobek Guest, The Camino de Santiago
"We enjoyed our trip on the Camino de Santiago more than can words can express. We relished every meal, every accommodation, every location, every mile, and every minute. Thank you for making it all so special for us."
Dennis & Cynder S.
MT Sobek Guests, The Camino de Santiago