Way of St James – The Camino Itinerary

11 September – 4 October, 2024 | 24 Inspiring Days
Early Booking Discount $500 if you book by 26 April, 2024
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September 2024
Wed 11    Auckland – Singapore

After checking in at Auckland Airport this afternoon we board our Singapore Airlines flight to Singapore.
We’ll arrive this evening and transfer to our hotel.

Thu 12    Singapore    (B)

We have a day at leisure in Singapore and this evening we transfer to the airport for our flight to Paris.
We have a late check out of 6.00pm at our hotel

Fri 13    Singapore  – Paris  (B)

We arrive at Paris airport early this morning and transfer to our hotel.
(The hotel has been booked from the night before and so we can check in straight away).
Today there will be opportunity to explore the local area, take in some daylight and try and adjust those body clocks to European time.

Sat 14    Paris – 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 your Tour Leader, Stu, he will 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 15    Paris – Time to Explore    (B)

Another day to adjust and take in those glorious sights of Paris. If you would like to come along with Stu, he thought today we could visit Montmartre in the morning and central Paris in the afternoon.
Walkers: Urban Walking Paris (Grade 2, 3 kms in the city centre: morning)
(Metro use:  Grade 2)

Mon 16    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 a local restaurant.

Tue 17    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 walk in the old town. 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 go with Stu and 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 18    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 19    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 kms 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 20    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 21    Moissac – St Jean Pied 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 at Pau and those who choose to stay here for an independent lunch can also walk on the Boulevard des Pyrenees. Those who wish to visit Lourdes will be taken there for some free time.

Then we will regroup and continue on our way 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 siege. 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.

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 22    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 a local restaurant.
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 23    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 24    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 25    Burgos – Leon    (B,D)

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.
This evening we have dinner at a local restaurant.
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.)

Thu 26    Leon – Ponferrada    (B,D)

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.
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.
This evening we have dinner at a local restaurant.
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 27   Ponferrada – Santiago de Compostela    (B,D)

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 dinner at a local restaurant.
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 28    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.

Sun 29    Santiago de Compostela    (B)

A whole day to explore Santiago de Compostela. 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.

Mon 30    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 a transfer to our hotel.

October 2024
Tue 1    Barcelona    (B,D)

This morning will be at leisure or if you want you can join Stu for a walk in the local area.
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 2    Barcelona – Singapore    (B)

This morning we transfer to the airport for our flight to Singapore (via Milan).

Thu 3    Singapore – Homeward   (B)

We arrive at Changi airport early this morning and transfer to our hotel.
Today is at leisure and this evening we transfer back to the airport for our flight home.

Fri 4   …Home

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