OVERVIEW

PRIVATE BESPOKE CAMINO WITHOUT THE CROWDS

WHAT SETS THIS TRIP APART

Avoid the hassle of dealing with the overcrowding on the Camino de Santiago by travelling by private transfer, both on and off the track. This unique tour allows us to sample the best of the walking on three of the Northern Camino Pilgrimages whilst not having to wait for transport or walking on busy roads through the outskirts of towns. When we designed this trip we always had in mind an immersive relaxed experience for groups of 4 or more, reflected in the price of $3,995 per person when group numbers are 4 or more.

Explore the most significant and inspiring sites and landscapes by combining the two main routes using the old connection between them along the Caminos Vadiniense and Lebaniego; the detours often taken by pilgrims to visit the important relics hidden in the depths of the Picos de Europa valleys or in the Cathedral of Oviedo.

There’s a big contrast of landscapes between the drier central plateau and the lush green pastures by the Cantabrian coast and between the flatlands of Castile and Leon and the craggy peaks of the Pyrenees and the Picos de Europa. But what makes this journey even more special, are the pilgrims. Conversations are easy to strike up and stories are shared with remarkable openness, tales that inevitably reflect an improved sense of wellbeing and a better understanding of the world we’re in.

Highlights

  • Highlights of 2 main Northern Camino trails, the Camino Frances and the Camino del Norte plus Camino Vadiniense and Lebaniego and the best walking possible
  • Dedicated local and experienced support driver. Additional support person in Spain and from our office in the UK
  • 12 night’s accommodation with an emphasis on authenticity and comfort, including 4 star hotels
  • A real Camino experience but without the Camino Francois crowds
  • The Basque country including the Basque Pyrenees, Pamplona, La Rioja, Atapuerca, Tierra de Campos, Leon, Picos de Europa, Cantabrian mountains and coast, Santo Toribio de Liebana, Llanes, Oviedo, Astorga, Galicia and Sarria and Santiago de Compostela among other places
  • Importantly there’s also unique access to a diverse range of regional wine regions and cuisines. Sample wines rarely seen beyond the shores of Spain
  • Confidence of travelling with a self guided walking company with nearly 30 years experience
  • Enjoy the cultural, culinary and scenic highlights of the Camino de Santiago at your own pace

WALK OVERVIEW

TYPE OF WALK
SELF GUIDED
TRIP LENGTH
13 DAYS
WALK GRADE
Moderate

Grade 3 – Moderate

Short, steep hill sections. Moderate active lifestyle and some walking experience recommended.

PRICE FROM
$ 3995

per person twin/double share

SINGLE OCCUPANCY
$ 995

Accommodations charge the same price per room regardless of whether there are one or two people occupying it. To cover the cost of the accommodation when occupied by one person we need to charge the single occupancy fee.

per person

Book now

ITINERARY

  • Day 1
  • Day 2
  • Day 3
  • Day 4
  • Day 5
  • Day 6
  • Day 7
  • Day 8
  • Day 9
  • Day 10
  • Day 11
  • Day 12
  • Day 13

DAY 1
PAMPLONA

Your start point is in the town of Bilbao where we collect you for the drive of just under 3 hours up to Roncesvalles in the Spanish Pyrenees, the traditional starting  point of the Camino in Spain. Spend a pre night in Bilbao to visit the Frank Gehry designed Bilbao Guggenheim and explore the picturesque city. Our local guide will go over the maps and walking notes for your journey before starting your first hike. The first walk gradually descend from Roncesvalles in the Basque Pyrenees, through isolated villages and woodland towards the village of Zubiri where you end today’s walk. After a refreshment in the village bar, you are picked up for the short drive to your hotel in the heart of the old city of Pamplona. Take time this evening to stroll around the heart of the city, perhaps even following the route of the Encierro, also known as the running of the bulls.

Walking: Easy / 11.5 kms / 3 hrs
Elevation: +100m / -200m
Meals: Lunch
Accommodation: Pamplona in an ensuited room

DAY 2
LA RIOJA

Descend from the mountains through iconic Spanish landscapes of olive groves and vineyards before arriving in La Rioja. As you move away from the mountains, the terrain changes, to open rolling landscapes, punctuated by villages that are rich in history, including Puente de la Reina, one of the prettiest villages along the entire Camino. Cross Medieval and Roman bridges, passing olive groves and small vineyards as you continue your journey along the Camino. At the end of today’s walk, you transfer around an hour to the Rioja area. Here you stay in a local inn in the historical town of Santo Domingo de la Calzada, one of the iconic towns of the Camino.                                                                                             

Walking: Moderate / 14.8 kms / 5 to 6 hrs / longer walk available
Elevation: +150m / -50m
Meals: Breakfast and picnic lunch
Accommodation: La Roja in an ensuited rooms

DAY 3
BURGOS

Walk down through forests rich with birdlife onto the harsh landscapes of Spain’s meseta. The walk starts from Montes de Oca. Once upon a time traversing the Montes de Oca was one of the most feared stretches of the pilgrimage due to the presence of bandits. To give support to the pilgrims San Juan de Ortega built the beautiful monastery that you’ll reach after following the Camino through a forest. Today’s route finishes near Atapuerca, which is arguably the most important archaeological site on earth. 1,000,000 years of human inhabitation, the oldest evidence of humans in western Europe and the world’s largest hominid collection (the direct ancestors of Neanderthal man). Our stay is in the heart of Burgos another lovely town, famous for its enormous gothic cathedral and its particularly good food. Enjoy an early evening city tour with our local guide before exploring the great foodie options for dinner. As Burgos sits mid way between the wine regions of La Rioja and Ribera del Duero the wines are excellent.

Walking: Easy / 10 kms / 4 hrs / longer walk is available
Elevation: +75m / -150m
Meals: Breakfast and picnic lunch
Accommodation: Burgos in an ensuited room

DAY 4
LEON

Today we walk across the vast central plains of Spain, seemingly endless cereal fields stretch out into the distance over what is the hardest part of the Camino. From the old town of Castrojeriz the walk today takes you across the Tierra de Campos with its huge cereal fields and massive blue skies that Spain  is famous for. The landscape is dotted with small villages and enormous churches with nesting storks. This really is deepest Spain and leaves you with a fantastic sense of the enormity and emptiness of central Spain. Spend tonight in the splendid town of Leon where you can enjoy the famous stained glass windows of its gothic Cathedral and the lively bars and restaurants of El Humedo quarter.

Walking: Easy / 11 kms / 4 hrs / longer walk available
Elevation: +100m / -100m
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Leon in an ensuited room

DAY 5
PICOS DE EUROPA

Leave the French way to travel north along the Camino Vadiniense and into the high mountains of the Picos de Europa. The hike starts in the Cantabrian Range and traverses down into the Liebana valley, admiring the high vertical peaks of the Picos de Europa as you go. Follow the Camino Vadiniense that route the pilgrims travelled to visit the important relics that were hidden in the Liebana valley in the 8th century. Hidden to keep them safe from the Muslims conquerors of Peninsula from the South. The Picos de Europa is also the first National Park created in Spain in 1918 and a unique reservoir of wildlife and traditional farming culture. Walk past mountain pastures and beech forests to arrive into Fuente De, a unique setting surrounded by mountains where you will rest for a couple of nights.

Walking: Easy to moderate / 11.5 kms / 5 hrs / longer option available
Elevation:  +200m / -700m
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Accommodation: Parador de Fuente De in an ensuited room

DAY 6
FUENTA DE, PICOS DE EUROPA

Explore the high mountains with the help of the cable car or take the day to explore the stunning beauty of the Picos de Europa at your own leisure. From the door of your hotel we pick up a cable car that takes you up 800 meters to give an easy access to the high mountain. From the top of the cable car you can hike up to one of the highest summits of the area and walk down through open pastures and forests, enjoying the flight of the gryphon vultures below you and the superlative views. The Picos de Europa rises 2.500m over the nearby Cantabrian sea, creating a massive limestone mountain of varied landscapes that include the moon like screed alpine area, rich meadows and onwards through dense forest in the foothills. Although these mountains have been inhabited for thousands of years they still preserve an amazingly diverse range of wildlife. Amazingly you can still find brown bears, wolves, golden eagles and different types of vultures.

Walking:  Moderate / 11 kms / 5 hrs / longer walk available
Elevation: +750m / -750m
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Accommodation: Parador de Fuente De in an ensuited room

DAY 7
SANTO TORIBIO DE LIEBANA AND LLANES

Today is a day you’ll walk on three different Caminos in one day. Continue following the Camino Vadiniense into Santo Toribio de Liebana and the beautiful town of Potes before travelling to the coast. We start the day walking along the Camino Vadiniense traversing forests, pastures and villages under the towering Picos de Europa. Close to the town of Potes you reach the Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liebana, where the famous relics of the Lignum Crucis have been kept since the 8th century. From this point you join the Camino Lebaniego to finish your walk in the historical town of Potes. Enjoy a walk around its cobbled streets and bridges and refresh yourself before your transfer to the Cantabrian Coast. Take a stroll around the picturesque fishing town of Llanes on the Camino de Norte, one of the prettiest seaside villages along the Camino del Norte, known for its’ excellent seafood restaurants.

Walking: Easy to moderate / 11 kms / 4.5 hrs / longer walk available
Elevation: +200m / -300m
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Llanes in an ensuited room

DAY 8
LLANES TO OVIEDO

From Llanes you start walking directly from your hotel to follow the path along high cliffs and past coves of white sand, ideal for a quick dip if you like cool water. The hike takes you along the beautiful cliffs and coves of the Cantabrian coast following the Camino del Norte. The path passes by old Romanesque monasteries dating back to the early Middle Age when this was the preferred route to Santiago in order to avoid the Muslim territories south of the Cantabrian range. After your walk a one hour transfer will take you to Oviedo, the capital of the old Kingdom of Asturias that started the Christian reconquest of Spain in the 8th century. Oviedo is also the origin of the first pilgrimage to Santiago, since it was the Asturian king Alfonso II who first recognized the existence of the tomb of Santiago and travelled to the site. The Cathedral of Oviedo is home to important Christian relics such as the Holy Shroud, making it an important stopover for pilgrims on their way to Santiago. The town’s historical centre is today a lively and beautiful area to spend the evening trying some of the best Asturian cuisine.

Walking: 16 kms / 6 hrs / longer walk available
Elevation:  +400m / -400m
Meals: Breakfast and picnic lunch
Accommodation: Oviedo in an ensuited room

DAY 9
ORBIGO TO ASTORGA

Travel across the Cantabrian range this morning to join the Camino Frances once again and hike to Astorga, a town of key significance in Roman times. Your starting point is the village of Orbigo, from where you traverse holm oak forests and more open fields. In Astorga you meet another historical path of Iberia as you reach the Via de la Plata, a branch of the pilgrimage which comes up from Seville following an old Roman road. In Roman times Astorga was the administrative centre of a region of great gold deposits. As early as the 3rd century the town was a bishopric and this rich history is evidenced today by the sheer number of important religious buildings built here through the ages. Of particular note is the Episcopal Palace, designed by Anton Gaudi.

Walking: Moderate / 14.5 kms / 5 -6 hrs / longer walk available
Elevation: +150m / -100m
Meals: Breakfast and picnic lunch
Accommodation:  Astorga in an ensuited room

DAY 10
SARRIA

The scenery completely changes today, as you walk up into Galicia, Spain’s greenest corner, where you stay in a converted 16th Century watermill. Prepare yourself for a big change in scenery as you cross into the lush greenery of Galicia, with  the constant prattle of water as it flows all around you. Today’s walk is relatively short, but mostly uphill slowing the pace, taking you out of the Leon region and into Galicia, home to the city of Santiago. At the top of the hill is the village of O’Cebreiro, rich in Camino history and site of one of the oldest inns on the walk. It’s been serving meals to pilgrims since the 9th century so where better for lunch. Continue downhill as you push on into the rich green landscapes of Galicia until you meet up with your driver ready to take you to your next hotel in the town of Sarria. In this town you will enjoy the full Camino experience as your stay in a private hotel is central to where the throngs of other walkers and pilgrims congregate. This is the start point for those doing the shorter version of the Camino, the one that grants you the “Compostelana” recognition for having done at least the last 1oo km into Santiago.

Walking: Moderate / 8.5 kms / 5 – 6 hrs / longer walk available
Elevation: + 700m
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Sarria in an ensuited room

DAY 11
SARRIA TO SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA

Walk one of the prettiest stretches of the Camino, following ancient paths through the forests before heading into Santiago itself to complete your route along the Camino. The path follows ancient trails passing small hamlets and along magic ‘corredoiras’, the traditional Galician pathways lined with oak and chestnut trees. You also enjoy views of wide open countryside. Your comfortable small hotel is near the city centre and of course you make your way into the city centre to take in the atmosphere in the Plaza del Obradoiro, watching as pilgrims finish their long journey, and you finish yours. Although a shortened version of the Camino, you have travelled The Way, and experienced the best of the Camino walks,  walking the path less travelled.

Walking:  Moderate / 13.2 kms / 5 hrs / longer walk available
Elevation: +250m / – 50m
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Santiago de Compostela in an ensuited room

DAY 12
SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA

Since the 9th century pilgrims have been coming here to venerate the remains of St James. By the 11th century it is reckoned that 10% of the population of Europe was involved in this pilgrimage in some aspect. There was no more important cultural phenomenon in Europe. Today its popularity is soaring once more with nearly 200,000 people a year presenting themselves as pilgrims in the cathedral of Santiago.

Soak up the atmosphere of Santiago today and enjoying the markets, museums and restaurants of this captivating city. Santiago is a very special city and a great place to walk and explore. Resolutely and obviously Spanish, it has also lived with visitors for millennia, so has a relaxed cosmopolitan feel which is much harder to find in Spain. Of course, the city is also full of pilgrims who are just delighted to have arrived, so it is hard not to be infected by positivity. This is a very easy place to spend a happy day wandering, visiting markets, museums, eating and celebrating the end of the walk.

Walking: At your own leisure
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Santiago de Compostela in an ensuited room

DAY 13
ONWARD BOUND

You might have some time today to discover more of Santiago or why not stay a few more days or back track along the Coast to San Sebastian (a gorgeous seaside town) or explore the coast and one of the many beautiful seaside villages close by. From your hotel either take a taxi to the airport for your flight or to the station for your train.

Meals: Breakfast

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • Pack-free walking

  • 25+ years experience

  • Customised

  • Eco Travel

  • 12 nights’ accommodation, rooms with ensuites, handpicked hotels and guesthouses, staying in authentic Spanish villages in excellent locations
  • 12 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 2 evening meals
  • Highlights of 2 main Northern Camino trails, the Camino Frances and the Camino del Norte plus walks on the Camino Vadiniense and Lebaniego
  • The best walking possible away from the crowds
  • Meet and greet at the beginning of the walk and private tours on some days
  • Comprehensive set of walk notes with detailed walking itineraries, integrated maps and insider tips in our notes (where to get the freshest produce, the best restaurants, the best wine). We also supply a walking map app to use on the track.
  • Private transport on and off the track and luggage transfers
  • Dedicated 24/7 local support driver/guide and additional support person in Spain for reassurance. Travelling this way means that if you wish you can also increase or decrease the walk lengths if need be.

ACCOMMODATION & DINING

OVERVIEW

The accommodation on this journey has been handpicked to reflect the character and history of Spain and the Camino. They’re always very comfortable, always with an en suite, and always with lots of personality and warmth. Although star ratings are not particularly helpful when it comes to small hotels in more rustic environments, you should expect 3 and a 1/2 star standard with some 4 star upgrades along the way.

  • Night 1

  • Night 2

  • Night 3

  • Night 4

  • Nights 5 and 6

  • Night 7

  • Night 8

  • Night 9

  • Night 10

  • Nights 11 and 12

  • FOOD AND WINE

GENERAL INFO

AVAILABILITY

End of March to the beginning of November. At Easter there may be some difficulty getting accommodation in Santiago de Compostela.

ACCESS

Ask us for our transfer information file, but in short it is very easy to get to Bilbao from anywhere in Europe by plane or by train. International visitors may need a connecting flight. You can check the train timings at Trainline. The general rule is to book ahead for only the longer train journeys. Skyscanner and Webjet are just 2 of the many flight aggregators that might be useful in booking flights.

WALKING

We walk the most emblematic and most beautiful stretches of the Camino Frances between the Pyrenees and Santiago de Compostela as well as some sections of the Camino Vadiniense, Lebaniego and Norte. We also feel that the walks chosen convey most succinctly the changing landscapes and culture as you move along the Camino. The way the trip works is that you travel some distance by road to be dropped off at the start of a section, you are then picked up at the end of the walk with a private transfer and driven to your next hotel. By and large these road transfers take between 30 minutes and an hour. By doing this it allows you to walk just the best bits and stay in way superior accommodations in less crowded locations. You walk seven stages over the course of this trip, each varies somewhat in length, but on average you will be walking around 15 km, with options most days to increase the day´s walks if you wish.

Walking through the outskirts of cities for instance, is never a lovely prospect, nor are the hundreds of kilometres of the plains of Castille.  The nature of the walking depends on the region you are passing through, but by and large, it is on very good, wide paths and tracks. On one of the days the walk is almost entirely uphill as you cross into Galicia but the gradient is steady. For details of daily walking distances and height gains see the itinerary.

WEATHER

Since you are travelling essentially the width of northern Spain over the course of this trip, the weather will change from day to day.  During the months we run this trip, we expect the weather to be basically dry until you get into Galicia where rain is much more common. Temperatures at the very start and very end of the trip should be around 10°- 20°, as you travel across the plains of Castile, things can get warmer with daytime highs of around 25°- 30°. We also time the walks to avoid the heat. Shoulder season, spring and autumn, is by far the best time as the weather is perfect for walking and the added advantage of being less crowded in the villages and towns.

See the weather average temperatures and rainfall at different times of the year.

INSURANCE

We strongly recommend the purchase of travel insurance for all of our trips. However, we require that for all travel overseas that you purchase a travel insurance policy, as we charge a cancellation fee if you cancel your walking holiday after we have confirmed it. It is also important in the event of an accident or loss of property.  See FAQ’s for more information.

INFORMATION PACK

For nearly 30 years we have taken pride in providing seamlessly organised walking holidays, but we know, even with that in mind, that you’ll have many more questions. You will receive a very detailed information pack and itinerary approximately 6 weeks out from departure outlining all the fine detail and much more.

CONTACT

If you have any questions, feel free to ask one of our destination consultants or to speak with one of our guides. You can get in touch with us via our contact form, email us at info@auswalk.com.au, or call us on +61 3 9597 9767.

DEPARTURE DATES

  • DATES
    AVAILABILITY
    PRICE
    Single Occupancy
    DETAILS
  • 1 Mar 2020 - 30 Nov 2020
    AVAILABLE
    from

    $3995

    SINGLE OCCUPANCY
    $995

    P/Per for 4 Pax

  • 1 Mar 2020 - 30 Nov 2020
    AVAILABLE
    from

    $5995

    SINGLE OCCUPANCY
    $995

    P/Per for 2 Pax

  • 1 Mar 2021 - 30 Nov 2021
    AVAILABLE
    from

    $4195

    SINGLE OCCUPANCY
    $995

    P/Per for 4 Pax

  • 1 Mar 2021 - 30 Nov 2021
    AVAILABLE
    from

    $6195

    SINGLE OCCUPANCY
    $995

    P/Per for 2 Pax

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Overview

OVERVIEW

PRIVATE BESPOKE CAMINO WITHOUT THE CROWDS

WHAT SETS THIS TRIP APART

Avoid the hassle of dealing with the overcrowding on the Camino de Santiago by travelling by private transfer, both on and off the track. This unique tour allows us to sample the best of the walking on three of the Northern Camino Pilgrimages whilst not having to wait for transport or walking on busy roads through the outskirts of towns. When we designed this trip we always had in mind an immersive relaxed experience for groups of 4 or more, reflected in the price of $3,995 per person when group numbers are 4 or more.

Explore the most significant and inspiring sites and landscapes by combining the two main routes using the old connection between them along the Caminos Vadiniense and Lebaniego; the detours often taken by pilgrims to visit the important relics hidden in the depths of the Picos de Europa valleys or in the Cathedral of Oviedo.

There’s a big contrast of landscapes between the drier central plateau and the lush green pastures by the Cantabrian coast and between the flatlands of Castile and Leon and the craggy peaks of the Pyrenees and the Picos de Europa. But what makes this journey even more special, are the pilgrims. Conversations are easy to strike up and stories are shared with remarkable openness, tales that inevitably reflect an improved sense of wellbeing and a better understanding of the world we’re in.

Highlights

  • Highlights of 2 main Northern Camino trails, the Camino Frances and the Camino del Norte plus Camino Vadiniense and Lebaniego and the best walking possible
  • Dedicated local and experienced support driver. Additional support person in Spain and from our office in the UK
  • 12 night’s accommodation with an emphasis on authenticity and comfort, including 4 star hotels
  • A real Camino experience but without the Camino Francois crowds
  • The Basque country including the Basque Pyrenees, Pamplona, La Rioja, Atapuerca, Tierra de Campos, Leon, Picos de Europa, Cantabrian mountains and coast, Santo Toribio de Liebana, Llanes, Oviedo, Astorga, Galicia and Sarria and Santiago de Compostela among other places
  • Importantly there’s also unique access to a diverse range of regional wine regions and cuisines. Sample wines rarely seen beyond the shores of Spain
  • Confidence of travelling with a self guided walking company with nearly 30 years experience
  • Enjoy the cultural, culinary and scenic highlights of the Camino de Santiago at your own pace

WALK OVERVIEW

TYPE OF WALK
SELF GUIDED
TRIP LENGTH
13 DAYS
WALK GRADE
Moderate

Grade 3 – Moderate

Short, steep hill sections. Moderate active lifestyle and some walking experience recommended.

PRICE FROM
$ 3995

per person twin/double share

SINGLE OCCUPANCY
$ 995

Accommodations charge the same price per room regardless of whether there are one or two people occupying it. To cover the cost of the accommodation when occupied by one person we need to charge the single occupancy fee.

per person

Book now
Itinerary

ITINERARY

  • Day 1
  • Day 2
  • Day 3
  • Day 4
  • Day 5
  • Day 6
  • Day 7
  • Day 8
  • Day 9
  • Day 10
  • Day 11
  • Day 12
  • Day 13

DAY 1
PAMPLONA

Your start point is in the town of Bilbao where we collect you for the drive of just under 3 hours up to Roncesvalles in the Spanish Pyrenees, the traditional starting  point of the Camino in Spain. Spend a pre night in Bilbao to visit the Frank Gehry designed Bilbao Guggenheim and explore the picturesque city. Our local guide will go over the maps and walking notes for your journey before starting your first hike. The first walk gradually descend from Roncesvalles in the Basque Pyrenees, through isolated villages and woodland towards the village of Zubiri where you end today’s walk. After a refreshment in the village bar, you are picked up for the short drive to your hotel in the heart of the old city of Pamplona. Take time this evening to stroll around the heart of the city, perhaps even following the route of the Encierro, also known as the running of the bulls.

Walking: Easy / 11.5 kms / 3 hrs
Elevation: +100m / -200m
Meals: Lunch
Accommodation: Pamplona in an ensuited room

DAY 2
LA RIOJA

Descend from the mountains through iconic Spanish landscapes of olive groves and vineyards before arriving in La Rioja. As you move away from the mountains, the terrain changes, to open rolling landscapes, punctuated by villages that are rich in history, including Puente de la Reina, one of the prettiest villages along the entire Camino. Cross Medieval and Roman bridges, passing olive groves and small vineyards as you continue your journey along the Camino. At the end of today’s walk, you transfer around an hour to the Rioja area. Here you stay in a local inn in the historical town of Santo Domingo de la Calzada, one of the iconic towns of the Camino.                                                                                             

Walking: Moderate / 14.8 kms / 5 to 6 hrs / longer walk available
Elevation: +150m / -50m
Meals: Breakfast and picnic lunch
Accommodation: La Roja in an ensuited rooms

DAY 3
BURGOS

Walk down through forests rich with birdlife onto the harsh landscapes of Spain’s meseta. The walk starts from Montes de Oca. Once upon a time traversing the Montes de Oca was one of the most feared stretches of the pilgrimage due to the presence of bandits. To give support to the pilgrims San Juan de Ortega built the beautiful monastery that you’ll reach after following the Camino through a forest. Today’s route finishes near Atapuerca, which is arguably the most important archaeological site on earth. 1,000,000 years of human inhabitation, the oldest evidence of humans in western Europe and the world’s largest hominid collection (the direct ancestors of Neanderthal man). Our stay is in the heart of Burgos another lovely town, famous for its enormous gothic cathedral and its particularly good food. Enjoy an early evening city tour with our local guide before exploring the great foodie options for dinner. As Burgos sits mid way between the wine regions of La Rioja and Ribera del Duero the wines are excellent.

Walking: Easy / 10 kms / 4 hrs / longer walk is available
Elevation: +75m / -150m
Meals: Breakfast and picnic lunch
Accommodation: Burgos in an ensuited room

DAY 4
LEON

Today we walk across the vast central plains of Spain, seemingly endless cereal fields stretch out into the distance over what is the hardest part of the Camino. From the old town of Castrojeriz the walk today takes you across the Tierra de Campos with its huge cereal fields and massive blue skies that Spain  is famous for. The landscape is dotted with small villages and enormous churches with nesting storks. This really is deepest Spain and leaves you with a fantastic sense of the enormity and emptiness of central Spain. Spend tonight in the splendid town of Leon where you can enjoy the famous stained glass windows of its gothic Cathedral and the lively bars and restaurants of El Humedo quarter.

Walking: Easy / 11 kms / 4 hrs / longer walk available
Elevation: +100m / -100m
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Leon in an ensuited room

DAY 5
PICOS DE EUROPA

Leave the French way to travel north along the Camino Vadiniense and into the high mountains of the Picos de Europa. The hike starts in the Cantabrian Range and traverses down into the Liebana valley, admiring the high vertical peaks of the Picos de Europa as you go. Follow the Camino Vadiniense that route the pilgrims travelled to visit the important relics that were hidden in the Liebana valley in the 8th century. Hidden to keep them safe from the Muslims conquerors of Peninsula from the South. The Picos de Europa is also the first National Park created in Spain in 1918 and a unique reservoir of wildlife and traditional farming culture. Walk past mountain pastures and beech forests to arrive into Fuente De, a unique setting surrounded by mountains where you will rest for a couple of nights.

Walking: Easy to moderate / 11.5 kms / 5 hrs / longer option available
Elevation:  +200m / -700m
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Accommodation: Parador de Fuente De in an ensuited room

DAY 6
FUENTA DE, PICOS DE EUROPA

Explore the high mountains with the help of the cable car or take the day to explore the stunning beauty of the Picos de Europa at your own leisure. From the door of your hotel we pick up a cable car that takes you up 800 meters to give an easy access to the high mountain. From the top of the cable car you can hike up to one of the highest summits of the area and walk down through open pastures and forests, enjoying the flight of the gryphon vultures below you and the superlative views. The Picos de Europa rises 2.500m over the nearby Cantabrian sea, creating a massive limestone mountain of varied landscapes that include the moon like screed alpine area, rich meadows and onwards through dense forest in the foothills. Although these mountains have been inhabited for thousands of years they still preserve an amazingly diverse range of wildlife. Amazingly you can still find brown bears, wolves, golden eagles and different types of vultures.

Walking:  Moderate / 11 kms / 5 hrs / longer walk available
Elevation: +750m / -750m
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Accommodation: Parador de Fuente De in an ensuited room

DAY 7
SANTO TORIBIO DE LIEBANA AND LLANES

Today is a day you’ll walk on three different Caminos in one day. Continue following the Camino Vadiniense into Santo Toribio de Liebana and the beautiful town of Potes before travelling to the coast. We start the day walking along the Camino Vadiniense traversing forests, pastures and villages under the towering Picos de Europa. Close to the town of Potes you reach the Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liebana, where the famous relics of the Lignum Crucis have been kept since the 8th century. From this point you join the Camino Lebaniego to finish your walk in the historical town of Potes. Enjoy a walk around its cobbled streets and bridges and refresh yourself before your transfer to the Cantabrian Coast. Take a stroll around the picturesque fishing town of Llanes on the Camino de Norte, one of the prettiest seaside villages along the Camino del Norte, known for its’ excellent seafood restaurants.

Walking: Easy to moderate / 11 kms / 4.5 hrs / longer walk available
Elevation: +200m / -300m
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Llanes in an ensuited room

DAY 8
LLANES TO OVIEDO

From Llanes you start walking directly from your hotel to follow the path along high cliffs and past coves of white sand, ideal for a quick dip if you like cool water. The hike takes you along the beautiful cliffs and coves of the Cantabrian coast following the Camino del Norte. The path passes by old Romanesque monasteries dating back to the early Middle Age when this was the preferred route to Santiago in order to avoid the Muslim territories south of the Cantabrian range. After your walk a one hour transfer will take you to Oviedo, the capital of the old Kingdom of Asturias that started the Christian reconquest of Spain in the 8th century. Oviedo is also the origin of the first pilgrimage to Santiago, since it was the Asturian king Alfonso II who first recognized the existence of the tomb of Santiago and travelled to the site. The Cathedral of Oviedo is home to important Christian relics such as the Holy Shroud, making it an important stopover for pilgrims on their way to Santiago. The town’s historical centre is today a lively and beautiful area to spend the evening trying some of the best Asturian cuisine.

Walking: 16 kms / 6 hrs / longer walk available
Elevation:  +400m / -400m
Meals: Breakfast and picnic lunch
Accommodation: Oviedo in an ensuited room

DAY 9
ORBIGO TO ASTORGA

Travel across the Cantabrian range this morning to join the Camino Frances once again and hike to Astorga, a town of key significance in Roman times. Your starting point is the village of Orbigo, from where you traverse holm oak forests and more open fields. In Astorga you meet another historical path of Iberia as you reach the Via de la Plata, a branch of the pilgrimage which comes up from Seville following an old Roman road. In Roman times Astorga was the administrative centre of a region of great gold deposits. As early as the 3rd century the town was a bishopric and this rich history is evidenced today by the sheer number of important religious buildings built here through the ages. Of particular note is the Episcopal Palace, designed by Anton Gaudi.

Walking: Moderate / 14.5 kms / 5 -6 hrs / longer walk available
Elevation: +150m / -100m
Meals: Breakfast and picnic lunch
Accommodation:  Astorga in an ensuited room

DAY 10
SARRIA

The scenery completely changes today, as you walk up into Galicia, Spain’s greenest corner, where you stay in a converted 16th Century watermill. Prepare yourself for a big change in scenery as you cross into the lush greenery of Galicia, with  the constant prattle of water as it flows all around you. Today’s walk is relatively short, but mostly uphill slowing the pace, taking you out of the Leon region and into Galicia, home to the city of Santiago. At the top of the hill is the village of O’Cebreiro, rich in Camino history and site of one of the oldest inns on the walk. It’s been serving meals to pilgrims since the 9th century so where better for lunch. Continue downhill as you push on into the rich green landscapes of Galicia until you meet up with your driver ready to take you to your next hotel in the town of Sarria. In this town you will enjoy the full Camino experience as your stay in a private hotel is central to where the throngs of other walkers and pilgrims congregate. This is the start point for those doing the shorter version of the Camino, the one that grants you the “Compostelana” recognition for having done at least the last 1oo km into Santiago.

Walking: Moderate / 8.5 kms / 5 – 6 hrs / longer walk available
Elevation: + 700m
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Sarria in an ensuited room

DAY 11
SARRIA TO SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA

Walk one of the prettiest stretches of the Camino, following ancient paths through the forests before heading into Santiago itself to complete your route along the Camino. The path follows ancient trails passing small hamlets and along magic ‘corredoiras’, the traditional Galician pathways lined with oak and chestnut trees. You also enjoy views of wide open countryside. Your comfortable small hotel is near the city centre and of course you make your way into the city centre to take in the atmosphere in the Plaza del Obradoiro, watching as pilgrims finish their long journey, and you finish yours. Although a shortened version of the Camino, you have travelled The Way, and experienced the best of the Camino walks,  walking the path less travelled.

Walking:  Moderate / 13.2 kms / 5 hrs / longer walk available
Elevation: +250m / – 50m
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Santiago de Compostela in an ensuited room

DAY 12
SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA

Since the 9th century pilgrims have been coming here to venerate the remains of St James. By the 11th century it is reckoned that 10% of the population of Europe was involved in this pilgrimage in some aspect. There was no more important cultural phenomenon in Europe. Today its popularity is soaring once more with nearly 200,000 people a year presenting themselves as pilgrims in the cathedral of Santiago.

Soak up the atmosphere of Santiago today and enjoying the markets, museums and restaurants of this captivating city. Santiago is a very special city and a great place to walk and explore. Resolutely and obviously Spanish, it has also lived with visitors for millennia, so has a relaxed cosmopolitan feel which is much harder to find in Spain. Of course, the city is also full of pilgrims who are just delighted to have arrived, so it is hard not to be infected by positivity. This is a very easy place to spend a happy day wandering, visiting markets, museums, eating and celebrating the end of the walk.

Walking: At your own leisure
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Santiago de Compostela in an ensuited room

DAY 13
ONWARD BOUND

You might have some time today to discover more of Santiago or why not stay a few more days or back track along the Coast to San Sebastian (a gorgeous seaside town) or explore the coast and one of the many beautiful seaside villages close by. From your hotel either take a taxi to the airport for your flight or to the station for your train.

Meals: Breakfast

What’s Included

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • Pack-free walking

  • 25+ years experience

  • Customised

  • Eco Travel

  • 12 nights’ accommodation, rooms with ensuites, handpicked hotels and guesthouses, staying in authentic Spanish villages in excellent locations
  • 12 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 2 evening meals
  • Highlights of 2 main Northern Camino trails, the Camino Frances and the Camino del Norte plus walks on the Camino Vadiniense and Lebaniego
  • The best walking possible away from the crowds
  • Meet and greet at the beginning of the walk and private tours on some days
  • Comprehensive set of walk notes with detailed walking itineraries, integrated maps and insider tips in our notes (where to get the freshest produce, the best restaurants, the best wine). We also supply a walking map app to use on the track.
  • Private transport on and off the track and luggage transfers
  • Dedicated 24/7 local support driver/guide and additional support person in Spain for reassurance. Travelling this way means that if you wish you can also increase or decrease the walk lengths if need be.
Accommodation & Dining

ACCOMMODATION & DINING

OVERVIEW

The accommodation on this journey has been handpicked to reflect the character and history of Spain and the Camino. They’re always very comfortable, always with an en suite, and always with lots of personality and warmth. Although star ratings are not particularly helpful when it comes to small hotels in more rustic environments, you should expect 3 and a 1/2 star standard with some 4 star upgrades along the way.

  • Night 1

  • Night 2

  • Night 3

  • Night 4

  • Nights 5 and 6

  • Night 7

  • Night 8

  • Night 9

  • Night 10

  • Nights 11 and 12

  • FOOD AND WINE

General Info

GENERAL INFO

AVAILABILITY

End of March to the beginning of November. At Easter there may be some difficulty getting accommodation in Santiago de Compostela.

ACCESS

Ask us for our transfer information file, but in short it is very easy to get to Bilbao from anywhere in Europe by plane or by train. International visitors may need a connecting flight. You can check the train timings at Trainline. The general rule is to book ahead for only the longer train journeys. Skyscanner and Webjet are just 2 of the many flight aggregators that might be useful in booking flights.

WALKING

We walk the most emblematic and most beautiful stretches of the Camino Frances between the Pyrenees and Santiago de Compostela as well as some sections of the Camino Vadiniense, Lebaniego and Norte. We also feel that the walks chosen convey most succinctly the changing landscapes and culture as you move along the Camino. The way the trip works is that you travel some distance by road to be dropped off at the start of a section, you are then picked up at the end of the walk with a private transfer and driven to your next hotel. By and large these road transfers take between 30 minutes and an hour. By doing this it allows you to walk just the best bits and stay in way superior accommodations in less crowded locations. You walk seven stages over the course of this trip, each varies somewhat in length, but on average you will be walking around 15 km, with options most days to increase the day´s walks if you wish.

Walking through the outskirts of cities for instance, is never a lovely prospect, nor are the hundreds of kilometres of the plains of Castille.  The nature of the walking depends on the region you are passing through, but by and large, it is on very good, wide paths and tracks. On one of the days the walk is almost entirely uphill as you cross into Galicia but the gradient is steady. For details of daily walking distances and height gains see the itinerary.

WEATHER

Since you are travelling essentially the width of northern Spain over the course of this trip, the weather will change from day to day.  During the months we run this trip, we expect the weather to be basically dry until you get into Galicia where rain is much more common. Temperatures at the very start and very end of the trip should be around 10°- 20°, as you travel across the plains of Castile, things can get warmer with daytime highs of around 25°- 30°. We also time the walks to avoid the heat. Shoulder season, spring and autumn, is by far the best time as the weather is perfect for walking and the added advantage of being less crowded in the villages and towns.

See the weather average temperatures and rainfall at different times of the year.

INSURANCE

We strongly recommend the purchase of travel insurance for all of our trips. However, we require that for all travel overseas that you purchase a travel insurance policy, as we charge a cancellation fee if you cancel your walking holiday after we have confirmed it. It is also important in the event of an accident or loss of property.  See FAQ’s for more information.

INFORMATION PACK

For nearly 30 years we have taken pride in providing seamlessly organised walking holidays, but we know, even with that in mind, that you’ll have many more questions. You will receive a very detailed information pack and itinerary approximately 6 weeks out from departure outlining all the fine detail and much more.

CONTACT

If you have any questions, feel free to ask one of our destination consultants or to speak with one of our guides. You can get in touch with us via our contact form, email us at info@auswalk.com.au, or call us on +61 3 9597 9767.

Departure Dates

DEPARTURE DATES

  • DATES
    AVAILABILITY
    PRICE
    Single Occupancy
    DETAILS
  • 1 Mar 2020 - 30 Nov 2020
    AVAILABLE
    Details
    from

    $3995

    SINGLE OCCUPANCY
    $995
  • 1 Mar 2020 - 30 Nov 2020
    AVAILABLE
    Details
    from

    $5995

    SINGLE OCCUPANCY
    $995
  • 1 Mar 2021 - 30 Nov 2021
    AVAILABLE
    Details
    from

    $4195

    SINGLE OCCUPANCY
    $995
  • 1 Mar 2021 - 30 Nov 2021
    AVAILABLE
    Details
    from

    $6195

    SINGLE OCCUPANCY
    $995
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