Way of St James 2023

Walking
Walking
Save To Wish List

Adding item to wishlist requires an account

7008

Share this tour.

Way of St James 2023

An inner and outer journey...

Space Available

France - Spain: Inner and outer journey...

This is our 8th escorted tour on the Way of St James

A walking tour with a difference; this trip follows the Camino (Way of St James) from France into Spain. Each day there is the opportunity to walk as much or as little as you like. Carrying on the many traditions of the Camino, this trip incorporates the flavour of this 1,000 year old pilgrimage.

Tour at a Glance

Tour Prices $13,900 (est) per person, share twin
$2,700 (est) single supplement

Tour Dates17 May – 9 June, 2023

Map

Your Tour Leader

Stu McGregor

Stu is an ardent fan of art, religious history, design and architecture. He is interested in people and loves listening to their stories. Over the years he has worked as an engineer, graphic designer and IT consultant.

Don’t be surprised if he sees the funny side of almost anything as life is an adventure to be enjoyed as we can!

Stu was excellent.

Adequately met expectations.

Appreciated his organising tickets for non-scheduled events.

Right degree of group control and latitude.

Covid-19 Travel Requirements

All travellers joining the Way of St James tour must be fully vaccinated (two vaccinations and a booster). 
It is mandatory that you bring your valid International Travel Vaccination Certificate on tour.
Please ensure you have a printed Certificate and a Certificate on your Smartphone.

Dubai - No pre-departure PCR test or quarantine required for fully vaccinated travellers.
France - No pre-departure PCR test or quarantine required for fully vaccinated travellers.
Spain - No pre-departure PCR test or quarantine required for fully vaccinated travellers.

Your Tour Leader will assist with all airport procedures.

Fully Vaccinated Requirement

All travellers joining this tour must be fully vaccinated. Your 'My Vaccine Pass' must be brought on the tour as proof of full Covid 19 vaccination.

It is important that the date of your final dose is at least 14 days before the tour departure date.

Fully Vaccinated Requirement

All travellers joining this cruise must be fully vaccinated. Your 'My Vaccine Pass' must be brought on the cruise as proof of full Covid 19 vaccination.

It is important that the date of your final dose is at least 14 days before the cruise departure date.

Booking Conditions
Cancellations
Inclusions
Variations
Travel Insurance
General Information
Health & Fitness
Covid 19 Vaccinations
Terms & Conditions

  • Booking Deposit of $750 per person
  • Final Payment Date: 16 December, 2021

  • Between 44 – 31 days, 50% of tour cost
  • Less than 30 days, 100% of tour cost
  • No refunds will be made after travel has commenced

  • 4 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 1 dinner
  • Accommodation in 4.5 star boutique hotels
  • 2 wine tastings
  • E-Bike and a helmet
  • Full technical and back up support with a vehicle and an experienced driver/guide
  • All shuttles as per itinerary
  • Luggage transfers
  • Services of a Tours Direct Tour Leader
  • Airport transfers

  • Domestic airfares
  • Travel Insurance

To safeguard your deposit and tour payment in the event of you having to cancel your reservation or curtail your tour, we highly recommend you take out travel insurance.

call us on 0800 868 748 if you like a travel insurance quote

The bike trails in the Hawke’s Bay are easy to ride and generally flat and smooth. Introductory Level.

If you have never ridden an E-Bike before we can help you learn, usually in 15 minutes. These trails are great to build confidence and increase your riding skills.

Needless to say the fitter you are the more you will enjoy the rides. Most days, 2 – 3 hours on an E-Bike (with frequent breaks).

All clients and support crew are required to be fully vaccinated.

Extensive Terms and Conditions are outlined in the free Information Pack

Booking Conditions
Cancellations
Inclusions
Variations
Travel Insurance
General Information
Health & Fitness
Covid 19 Vaccinations
Terms & Conditions

  • Booking Deposit of $750 per person
  • Final Payment Date: 31 January, 2022

  • Between 44 – 31 days, 50% of tour cost
  • Less than 30 days, 100% of tour cost
  • No refunds will be made after travel has commenced

  • 4 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 1 dinner
  • Accommodation in 4.5 star boutique hotels
  • 2 wine tastings
  • E-Bike and a helmet
  • Full technical and back up support with a vehicle and an experienced driver/guide
  • All shuttles as per itinerary
  • Luggage transfers
  • Services of a Tours Direct Tour Leader
  • Airport transfers

  • Domestic airfares
  • Travel Insurance

To safeguard your deposit and tour payment in the event of you having to cancel your reservation or curtail your tour, we highly recommend you take out travel insurance.

call us on 0800 868 748 if you like a travel insurance quote

The bike trails in the Hawke’s Bay are easy to ride and generally flat and smooth. Introductory Level.

If you have never ridden an E-Bike before we can help you learn, usually in 15 minutes. These trails are great to build confidence and increase your riding skills.

Needless to say the fitter you are the more you will enjoy the rides. Most days, 2 – 3 hours on an E-Bike (with frequent breaks).

All clients and support crew are required to be fully vaccinated.

Extensive Terms and Conditions are outlined in the free Information Pack

Inclusions
Variations
Booking Conditions
Cancellations
Travel Insurance
General Information
Health & Fitness
Covid 19 Vaccinations
Terms & Conditions

Tab 1

Tab 2

Tab 3

Tab 3

Tab 3

Tab 3

Tab 3

Tab 3

Tab 3

Inclusions

  • Return airfares from Auckland (including all taxes) flying on Emirates
  • Accommodation in 2-star, 3-star & 4-star hotels
  • 20 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 6 dinners
  • Services of your Tour Leader, Stu Mc Gregor
  • Gratuities to local guide and motorcoach drivers

Variations

  • Land Only price on application
  • Extending your stay – before or after Tour Dates
  • Domestic flights within NZ to get to Auckland to start the tour
  • Travel Insurance

Inclusions

  • All meals, including a pre-show dinner at Dockside Restaurant on the Wellington waterfront
  • Entrance fees
  • All transport by comfortable, air conditioned coach (maximum of 18 travellers)
  • Services of your knowledgeable guide
  • Quality accommodation chosen for a “sense of place”

Variations

  • Domestic airfares
  • Travel Insurance

Inclusions

  • Return airfares from Auckland (please ask us about flights from other airports – there could be a price adjustment).
  • All meals
  • Entrance fees
  • All transport by comfortable, air conditioned coach (maximum of 18 travellers)
  • Services of your knowledgeable guide
  • Quality accommodation chosen for a “sense of place”

Variations

  • Land Only price on application
  • Travel Insurance

Inclusions

  • All meals
  • Entrance fees
  • All transport by comfortable, air conditioned coach (maximum of 18 travellers)
  • Services of your knowledgeable guide
  • Quality accommodation chosen for a “sense of place”

Variations

  • Domestic airfares
  • Travel Insurance

Dates: 17 May - 9 June, 2023

Wed 17     Auckland - Dubai

After checking in at Auckland Airport, we board our Emirates flight to Dubai.

Thu 18    Dubai - Paris

We transit through Dubai airport this morning and fly to Paris.  On arrival at Paris airport this afternoon we are met and transfer to our hotel.

Fri 19    Paris (B)

Today there will be opportunity to explore the local area, take in some daylight and try and adjust those body clocks to European time. My suggestion for dinner today has the flavours of France on a plate.

Walking Note:  The following notes about walks are a guide only. Each tour group has different levels of fitness and requirements. As we get to know each other better these walks can be altered to be longer or changed depending on the group. Grade 1 (easy) to Grade 5 (mountainous).

Sat 20     A Step Back in Time (B)

The day is free to do what you wish with… but if you would like to come along with me I’ll take you for a walk in the oldest parts of Paris where we will uncover some glimpses of medieval Paris and connections to St Jacques (St James).

Walkers: Urban Walking Paris (Grade 1, 4 kms in the city centre:  morning)
Urban Walking Paris (Grade 1, 4 kms in the city centre:  afternoon)

Sun 21  Time to Explore (B) 

Another day to adjust and take in those glorious sights of Paris.

If you would like to come along with me I thought today we could visit Montmartre in the morning and the Louvre in the afternoon.

Walkers: Urban Walking Paris (Grade 2, 3 kms in the city centre:  morning) (Metro use:  Grade 2)

Mon 22   Paris - Lyon - Le Puy (B,D)

Today we start on our journey south. After breakfast we make our way to the Train Station to catch the TGV to Lyon. This very fast train will whizz us by beautiful countryside and take us into the heart of Southern France. At Lyon we will be met by our local guide and coach and travel on to Le Puy-En-Velay.

I must confess I adore this small town. It has a rich and varied history and it is just so walkable. It is here we will find the path decorated frequently with scallop shells and get that sense we are following a way significant to thousands before us.

This evening we have dinner at our hotel.

Tue 23     Charming Le Puy (B)  

Le Puy is considered one of the traditional starts for the walk to Santiago de Compostela. It has a mix of architecture and we’ll get to know it a little better with a guided tour of the centre. High on our list of must sees is the Cathedrale Notre Dame du Puy (UNESCO World Heritage Site).

Lunch is at your own discretion and the afternoon is free. If you like you can come with me and we can find some interesting things to do in and around Le Puy. There is the fascinating Saint Michel d'Aiguilhe Chapel, high on its hill which also provides a grand view across the town.

Walkers: Le Puy (Grade 2, 3 kms in the village centre.)

Wed 24  Le Puy - Cahors (B,D) 

Its an exciting day today because we get underway on our journey across the countryside as we follow the French part of the Way of St James.

In our travels we will be moving towards Cahors with stops to walk in the charming villages of St Come, Estaing and Conques.

When we arrive at Cahors we will check into our hotel and later have dinner together at the hotel restaurant.

Cahors has a rich history and still has many reminders of its Roman and medieval past.

Walkers:  St Come to Espalion (Grade 2.5, 5 kms. We climb a hill through a beech forest, pass vistas of the countryside. We pass a quarry and then on up to the Madonna overlooking the valley. Then its downhill beside an ancient stone wall to the village of Espalion.)

Thu 25   Cahors - Moissac (B,D) 

Today we move on to Moissac.   This town is a canal crossroads between the Atlantic Ocean and the   Mediterranean Sea.

It was a golden town in the Middle Ages and has suffered with modernisation but I am sure we will unearth together some glimpses of why this town was such an important step on the Way of St James.

When we reach Moissac we will check into our hotel.  Later on we will enjoy dinner together.

Walkers: Urban walking Cahors (Grade 1, 2 km across town. A very pretty place with an impressive medieval bridge (bring on the Knights) and walk along the river.)
Lauzerte (Grade 2, 1 km up to this hill-top village with stunning views across the plains.)
Durfont to St Martin (Grade 1.5, 3 kms. Starts in the village, along the road, turns right into the country and follows the hill line to St Martin, a small church on the ridge line.)
St Martin to Moissac (Grade 2, 9 kms. The GR65 travels down through the valley, crosses the main road and follows a track through a young forest. Then its across farm land, past country homes and finally a descent into Moissac to the hotel.)
Moissac (Grade 1, 2.5 km along the canal, to the boat bridge and back.)

Fri 26   Moissac - Auvillar - Moissac (B)  

Now for something a little different. We will begin the day with a walk around Moissac and then travel to Auvillar, one of France’s most beautiful villages.  So this is the day to have that camera battery charged and space on a memory card.

Many artists have found inspiration from this village, so if you are that way inclined tuck in some paper, pencils, watercolour and/or ink.

We will return to Moissac to have the rest of the day free to explore and enjoy.  

Walkers: Urban walking Moissac (Grade 1, 1 km around the ancient town centre.)
Auvillar (Grade 1, 1 km around charming village.)
Boudou to Moissac (Grade 2, 7.5 kms. Downhill along a ridge walking on a secondary road. Crossing though vineyards and orchards the GR65 meets the road again but proceeds to the canal tow path into Moissac. Very beautiful.)

Sat 27   Moissac - Lourdes - St Jean de Port (B)  

Gathering ourselves up we will move on towards St Jean Pied de Port, our last stop in France before we enter Spain.

We will stop along the way to take in Lourdes – a very special place with unique properties.

We will then travel to St Jean Pied de Port where we will follow in the footsteps of Richard the Lionheart. Well not really, as good old Rich destroyed the original place in 1177 after a seige. However when it was rebuilt shortly after by the Kings of Navarre they did a pretty nice job. But I’ll let you decide for yourself.

This town is another significant place on the Way of St James as pilgrims stopped to take a breath before taking on the Roncevaux pass across the Pyrenees, an arduous mountain crossing.

Walkers:  St Jean-le-Vieux to St Jean Pied de Port (Grade 2, 4 kms. Starts in a little village and follows a secondary road downhill and through other small hamlets. Just before St Jean Pied de Port there is a steep hill and then its through the Pilgrim’s Gate and down the cobbled streets to the river with the main church on the left.)

Sun 28    St Jean Pied de Port - Logrono (B,D)

So it’s over the hill to Spain we go ... We will cross the Pyrenees by coach and during the day visit Roncesvalles and Pamplona before we reach Logrono.

Pamplona is famous on a number of counts: the running of the bulls, the good-looking people and red handkerchiefs. I’ll explain more when we get there. Whilst in Pamplona we will have a guided visit.    

In Logrono we have dinner at our hotel.

Walkers:  Auriltz/Burguata to Aurizberri/Espinal (Grade 1.5, 2.5 kms). Following the path through woods and across small streams this is nice introduction to the Spanish part of the Way.
Urban walking Pamplona (Grade 1.5, 2 kms. A truly interesting walk around this atmospheric city; lots of statues, local colour and tidbits of fascinating history.)
Puerta La Reine (Grade 1, 1 km. Village walking, flat across the town along the medieval streets to its famous bridge.)

Mon 29        Logrono - Burgos (B,L,D)  

A full day today as we will travel from Logrono to Burgos taking in Santo Domingo de la Calzada and San Juan de Ortega.

In the morning we will start with a visit in the old section of Logrono, capital city of La Rioja and follow in the footsteps of those who made the pilgrimage along the Old Route. Along the way we will take in the gothic church of Santiago, the Fountain of the Pilgrims and the Shelter.

Later we will discover Santo Domingo de la Calzada together. This place was created for those making the pilgrimage so it includes a hospital, a Cathedral and a beautiful Main Square.

Today we’ll have a picnic lunch from the freshest local produce available.

We enjoy dinner together in Burgos this evening.

Walkers: Urban Walking Logrono (Grade 1, 1.5 kms in the city centre.)
Santo Domingo de la Calzada (Grade 1.5, 2 kms. Following the Pilgrim’s path into town we start on level ground through the vineyards, up over the bridge and into the village past ruins and orchards. The church in the town centre is amazing.)
Villafranca Montes de Oca to Puerto de la Pedraja (Grade 2, 5 kms. Uphill from the small village is an easy gradient. Then it’s a walk through forest areas along a stoney path to reach Alto de Valbuena from where its downhill to Puerto de la Pedraja.)
Puerto de la Pedraja to San Juan de Ortega (Grade 1.5, 5 kms. Downhill though the forest, along good paths with a gentle curve into the hamlet.

Tue 30       Burgos (B)

A day to explore Burgos and uncover its rich history and its link with our British heritage and soap factories. At the Renaissance gate of Santa Maria we will find out more about El Cid and the origins of Castile. A walk through the city will take us to the Casa del Cordon, the Main Square, the Paseo del Epsolon promenade and the Consulate. In the outskirts we will discover two great monuments: the Cistercian monastery of Las Huelgas, a royal pantheon from the 13th century; and the Cartuja de Miraflores, church and burial place for the parents of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Castile.    

Walkers: Urban Walking Burgos (Grade 1, 1.5 kms in the city centre:  morning)

Wed 31      Burgos - Leon (B)

We continue on our way and travel to Leon via Fromista and San Miguel de la Escalada.

Leaving Burgos we will be following the Path of St James in the Castilian plains.

As one of the capitals of Medieval Spain, Leon offers Romanesque style works of art in painting, sculpture and architecture. For those of you who enjoy stained glass windows the Gothic cathedral has one of the most important collections in Europe.

Walkers:  Boadilla del Camino to Fromista (Grade 1, 5 kms. Boadilla is a small village which is adjacent to the Castilla Canal. We pass hay fields and trot along the path beside the canal until we reach Fromista.)
Leon (Grade 1, 2 kms. We walk in the mediaeval heart of Leon, exploring its many treasures, in particular the amazing stain glass windows in Leon Cathedral.)

June 2023   

Thu 1    Leon - Ponferrada (B,L)

Moving on today we will travel towards Ponferrada, taking in Astorga.

At Astorga, another city of Roman origin, we will find a perfect Roman and Medieval city wall. There is also a Gothic cathedral and its modernist Anglican Palace designed by famous architect Antonio Gaudi.

We have a traditional “Maragato” lunch near Astorga.

In the afternoon we will traverse one of the most authentic and untouched sections of the Path of Saint James – Rabanal del Camino, Cruz de Ferro and Molinaseca – ending at Ponferrada, known for its famous castle of the Knights Templar.     

Walkers:  Urban walking Leon (Grade 1, 1.5 km. Walking in the city centre.)
Astorga (Grade 1, 1 km. Village walking.)
Foncebadon to Cruz de Ferro (Grade 3, 2 km. Ascending to the Iron Cross we walk along country paths to take in the views across the mountains. It’s a short walk but worth it to approach the Pilgrim stones on foot.)
Molinaseca to Ponferrada (Grade 1.5, 8kms. A lovely walk though the countryside downhill into Ponferrada. The path follows a minor road until we reach the outskirts of Ponferrada, then the path crosses behind the houses and suddenly there is the Templar castle on our left. We pass this and arrive at our hotel in the old town centre.)

 Fri 2    Ponferrada - Santiago de Compostela (B)

The end of our pilgrimage is in sight, as today we travel the last section from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela via O Cebreiro and Portomarin.

Our journey is along the green countryside of Galicia until we arrive at the Mino River in Portomarin. A necessary place for a defensive site and so here we will find the church-fortress of Saint Nicholas.

We will check into our hotel and you can rest a while before we have an independent dinner.

Walkers: O Cebeiro (Grade 1, 1 km. High in the hills, this charming hamlet was the home of the priest who revised the Camino in the 20th century. Beautiful stone buildings and well worth a visit.)
Portomarin (Grade 1, 1.5 km. Another charming Spanish village with medieval streets and lots of evidence of pilgrims.)
Melide to Boente (Grade 1.5, 4.5 kms. From the village of Melide the path enters a forest and crosses a stream. Undulating countryside. This is a really nice walk and an interesting insight into rural Spanish life.)
Santiago de Compostela (Grade 1, 1 km. A must do walk as we pass under the Pilgrim’s Gate, through the medieval streets and into the Cathedral Square.)

Sat 3        Santiago de Compostela  (B)

A whole day to explore this famous destination. There is the possibility of attending the Pilgrims’ Holy Mass (noon in the Cathedral) or at the very least lighting a candle for all those revelations you have had along the way.

Sun 4     Santiago de Compostela  (B)

Today we travel out to Finisterre, the end of the world. This rocky outcrop marks the traditional end of the Way of St James. The pounding Atlantic Ocean is wild and bracing and makes a fitting place to fulfill another tradition – burning something you have carried the length of the way. (Socks are a good option, a letter to yourself, a wooden walking stick.)

We will stop for an independent lunch at one of the small fishing villages along the coastline.

Mon 5    Santiago de Compostela – Barcelona  (B)

Free time in Santiago before our transfer to the airport for our flight to Barcelona.

We will be met at Barcelona airport and have some sightseeing on the way to our hotel.

Tue 6    Barcelona  (B,D)

This morning will be at leisure or if you want you can join me on a hunt for the oddest building in Barcelona.

Barcelona has many delights with surprises, and some of them quite gaudy, but you will see. This afternoon we will have a guided tour including Sagrada Familia (interior) and the Gothic Quarter.

After all that excitement we will gather together for a dinner with Flamenco Show.

Wed 7    Barcelona – Dubai  (B)

Today is at leisure in  Barcelona.  You might like to come with me to the Picasso Museum, or return to Las Ramblas or even try the chairlift.

We have a late check out at our hotel and early this evening transfer to Barcelona airport for our flight to Dubai.

Thu 8    Dubai – Homeward …

This morning we transit through Dubai airport and fly back to New Zealand.

Fri 9    … Home

We arrive home with wonderful memories of cleaning shoes, laughing with friends and experiencing a unique inner and outer journey.