The Camino de Santiago means “Way of St. James” and is the route pilgrims travel to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela where the remains of St. James are thought to be buried.
The most popular treks on the Camino de Santiago are the normal “French” route, “Portugues Route”, “Via de la Plata” and “Camino del Norte”.
I organise guided or self-guided walks or cycling trips of the Camino for you, staying in good but inexpensive local hotels or camping. I have a detailed knowledge of the Camino, its history and legends and interesting places to visit and to eat! I can select the most interesting sections or you can start anywhere along the Camino.
If you want to start or end with a beach holiday then we also have a lovely new 2-bedroom flat in San Sebastian (Donostia) to rent, just 5 minutes walk from La Concha beach – 2 hours from Roncesvalles. We also have somewhere where you can rest your weary head in Santiago de Compostela.
Typical starting places are:
French camino routes
- St Jean Pied de Port in France – 780km to Santiago.
- Roncesvalles, just over the border in Spain, 750km to Santiago.
- Pamplona , 700km to Santagio.
- Burgos, 460Km to Santiago.
- Leon, 270km to Santiago.
- Sarria, 111km to Santiago.
Portuguese camino routes
- Porto – 270 km, 10 days to 2 weeks to Santiago..
- Valenca/Tui – 117 km, 5-7 days to Santiago.
I can arrange for transfers from where you arrive to your starting place, from one night’s lodging to the next, and back from Santiago, as you wish.
Note: On the Camino de Santiago one must carry a Credential to be an official Pilgrim. I can get these for you and your group at a small cost. To receive your Compostella (Certificate of Pilgimage) you must walk at least the final 100km (or cycle the final 200km) to Santiago, though most people do much more! You get the Compostella by taking your Credential to the Pilgrims Office, at the top of Rua de Villar in Santiago, near the Cathedral.
Note: You are entitled to eat for FREE at the Parador Reyes Catolicos, next to the Cathedral in Santiago. Breakfast is 9am, Lunch 12 noon, Dinner 7pm. Wait in the garage entrance down to the left of the main entrance with a copy of your Compostella. In summer or peak times arrive early, the free meals are only given to the first 10 pilgrims. You can take these meals within 3 days of arriving in Santiago.
I have walked and cycled El Camino de Santiago many times, both as a pilgrim and guiding groups:
- 2003 to present I regularly serve as guide 3 or 4 times a year for organized groups for tours of 10 or 15 days
- June 2003 (see my diary), walking almost 700km from Pamplona to Santiago in 25 days
- August 2003, cycling the Camino, about 440km from Burgos to Santiago in 8 days
- Feb/March 2004, cycling from St Jean Pied de Port in France to Santiago, 800km in 13 days with lots of snow, headwinds, rain and even a bit of sun!
- February and March, 2005, In 12 days I walked the final 280km from Puente de Orbigo. Snow, wind, bit of rain, some sun!
- March 2006, I walked the final 114km of the Camino from Sarria
- Portuges camino, twice in 2008, and again in 2010.
- Camino del Norte, in sections from 2004 to 2008.
- Camino Primitivo, cycled, Summer 2009.
- Via de la Plata, spring 2010.
- Camino Finisterre, October 2010.
Most years I guide clients from St Jean Pied de Port to Pamplona over 3 days, typically in spring (March, April or early May) when there may be snow or bad weather. The clients continue from Pamplona self guided having safely gone over the Pyrenees and developed their confidence. During the 3 days I brief the clients on the stages after Pamplona. People have got lost in snow and died on the Pyrenees between St Jean and Roncevalles, see http://www.scotsman.com/news/scottish-news/top-stories/scottish-widows-boss-dies-after-losing-way-on-freezing-mountain-1-742059 which includes excerpts of a phone interview with me about the tragedy.