Get caught up in all the excitement and atmosphere of the Camino de Santiago as you join the French Way for the final stage into Santiago de Compostela
Camino de Santiago: Camino Frances (The French Way) – The final 100kms
8 days / Guided walking
Sarria to Santiago de Compostela
This 8-day pilgrimage will have you walking the final stage of the French Way, or Camino Frances, from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela, which is the minimum amount one can walk in order to receive a Compostela (certificate) recognising the pilgrim’s achievement.
This stage is always a memorable one. With many pilgrims having walked from France or even further, the comradery and anticipation is palpable. It’s a beautiful walk from Sarria, passing through green Galician forests and open farmlands on the way to the cobbled streets of Santiago de Compostela. The food, the wine and the atmosphere are second to none and you’ll have earnt every last morsel and drop when you arrive.
Day 1 | Arrive Sarria
As well as being steeped in history Sarria is a key town on the Camino. Many pilgrims, particularly the Spanish, will begin their journey here as they must walk at least 100 km to receive their ‘compostela’, or certificate, after arriving in Santiago.
Sarria is an atmospheric place and home to a beautiful, historical village in its upper section. You can visit both the Torre del Batallon – a medieval tower – and the Monasterio de La Magadalena, a former monastery that has been converted into a hotel. With just under 120 km until Santiago, Sarria always has a great energy with new pilgrims excited to begin and seasoned pilgrims approaching their end of the journey. Buen Camino, and prepare to relish the 117 km that await!
Day 2 | Sarria – Portomarin | 23 km / 5 hours
Make the most of your day with an early start along the Rua Major with the old streetlamps lighting the way. Today’s walk to Portomarin will see you travel through at least five villages before arriving via the Camino’s longest bridge, which offers memorable views of the surrounding landscape.
This isn’t actually Portomarin’s original location. It was moved in the 1960s after the Miño River was dammed, leaving the old town underwater, and the historic buildings were rebuilt brick-by-brick in the new location. These days Portomarin is a top spot for an afternoon drink and a well-earned meal. Be sure to taste the town’s tarts and liquers, for which it is very well known.
Day 3 | Portomarin – Palas de Rei | 25 km / 6 hours
Though today’s walk is on the longer side it’s a pleasant amble through farming regions, sunflower fields and a number of picnic areas. There are fewer villages along the route so it’s the perfect opportunity to soak up the countryside and enjoy some alone time or the company of your fellow pilgrims. Palas de Rei is a small, welcoming town typical of the Camino, with about 3,700 residents.
Day 4 | Palas de Rei – Melide | 14 km / 3–4 hours
A shorter distance with undulating terrain, today’s walk will see you travel through Casanova and O Coto on your way to Melide. This is where the Camino Frances and the Camino Primitivo – which starts in Oviedo – meet each other and the town has been linked with the Camino de Santiago for centuries. The ‘Pulperia Ezequiel’ is particularly well known for its octopus and the Terra de Melide museum, housed in an old pilgrim hospital, provides interesting information about the region’s history.
Day 5 | Melide – Arzua | 15 km / 4 hours
Much of the day is spent walking through pleasantly shaded oak and eucalyptus forests. This is cattle country and there are more cows than people, though more pilgrims will join you, as Arzua is where the Camino del Norte (the Northern Way) joins the French Way. Arzua is home to Capilla de la Magdelena, a 14th century chapel, and also the perfect place to sample the local cheese, Queixo, a smooth cheese made from cows milk , worthy of its own festival in March.
Day 6 | Arzua – Rua | 20 km / 4 hours
The penultimate day of your pilgrimage is a thrilling experience and it’s impossible not to smile along with the other pilgrims and the locals. Tomorrow will be an emotional one, so make the most of a final opportunity for reflection along the path. Rua is a small town with Roman history, and may well be your last opportunity to meet strangers along the Camino. Share wine and experiences with your fellow pilgrims, both new and old, and get a good rest in before the walk to Santiago.
Day 7 | Rua – Santiago de Compostela | 22 km / 4–5 hours
The final day of pilgrimage is a bittersweet affair and you’ll no doubt wish that your journey was not ending. But if the pilgrimage teaches anything it’s acceptance and the final five kilometres, from which Santiago is visible, are some of the most memorable steps you’ll take. Wind your way through the city’s alleys to the steps of the cathedral and soak it up – it’s just as rewarding watching other pilgrims arrive.
When you’re ready you’ll take a trip to the Compostela office to receive your certificate – then it’s time to celebrate. And when it comes to celebrating, Santiago is one of the best. The stunning old town has an endless supply of chorizo, tortilla, Iberico jamon, pulpo and wine, while the atmosphere is unbeatable.
Day 8 | Santiago de Compostela
Your pilgrimage comes to its end after breakfast today. Enjoy a final morning with your fellow pilgrims before departing but remember: the Camino doesn’t finish in Santiago.
Visit www.wanderingtheworld.com.au for more information.
- 7 nights accommodation, all carefully selected to enhance your Camino experience
- Private en-suite facilities
- Daily luggage transfers from hotel to hotel (1 x 20kg bag unless indicated otherwise)
- Daily breakfast
- 4 Three-course dinners with local wine
- Information packs with route maps and instructions on how to locate hotels
- Luggage identification tags
- Pilgrim’s passport
- Emergency contact details and 24/7 local on-the-ground support
- Pre-departure and ongoing support from Australian office
- Suggested rest days as outlined in itinerary or if required
- Upgraded accommodation including paradors, country properties and premium/high-end styles
- Private vehicle transfers to the trip’s starting point
- Single supplement for your own room
- Additional night’s accommodation before or after trip (please advise at time of booking)
- Travel to trip’s starting point
- Transfers not already outlined in detailed trip itinerary
We know from personal experience that a good night’s rest can make or break a trip, which is why we carefully hand-select all our accommodation. We ensure that our knowledge and firsthand experience of the best places to stay is passed on to all our walkers.
Your accommodation along the Camino is booked in advance, on a twin-share basis with private facilities, and chosen to make your pilgrimage experience as rewarding as possible. You may be staying in a refurbished farmhouse, some of which have been in the same family for centuries, or perhaps a boutique hotel with a chef who would not be out of place in a Michelin-starred restaurant. There are unique properties scattered throughout the different routes including converted monasteries, lighthouses and tiny B&Bs with the most generous hosts you could possibly imagine. Best of all, you’ll always have private en-suite facilities. Wherever you end up, you’ll be well looked after, warm and comfortable and, most importantly, ready to tackle the next day’s walk.
Single supplements are also available so you can enjoy your room with private en-suite. This supplement will apply if you are travelling alone or if there is no gender-share option. You can request a shared room through Wandering the World at the time of booking, however this is not guaranteed.
There are opportunities to upgrade to more luxurious lodgings in many places along the Camino. These are perfect for celebrating special occasions and milestones, or even to enhance your entire journey. We can recommend some very special, unique places to indulge in the Camino hospitality in spectacular style, so please ask us about these options when booking.
Food & Dining
The local cuisine is a definite highlight of your walk. The Camino regions are famous for their culinary delights, and you’ll end up exploring the destination using not only your feet, but also your taste buds.
Breakfast at your place of accommodation is usually continental style and may include cereals, yoghurt, bread, pastries, ham, tea, coffee and juices.
Lunch – at your own expense – will depend on where you are on your walk and what is available. It’s often purchased at a local café or bar, with choices along the trail perhaps including Spanish omelette (tortilla Espanola), tuna empanadas, soups or sandwiches (boccadillo). Alternatively, you may wish to enjoy a picnic in a perfect spot along the path.
Evening meals are a hearty, three-course affair known as the ‘pilgrims’ menu’. These usually consist of a salad or soup to start, followed by a choice of a meat or pasta dish, then finishing with a dessert. This is always accompanied by a bottle of local wine, of course. On occasion, the owner of the accommodation may be in the kitchen preparing the house special, which will not disappoint.
Most evening meals are included on guided group trips, and for self-guided itineraries, Wandering the World can include as many evening meals as you wish. We may strongly recommend this in some places because it’s either been a long walking day or there are limited choices available in certain destinations. We can share our advice and talk to you about this at the time of booking. We can accommodate most dietary requirements, so please let us know in advance.
Although this trip is guided and you are part of a group, you are free to walk each day at your own pace and in your own time.
Easy – This itinerary is designed for those who are new to walking, or those who are perhaps looking for a slower-paced walking holiday. Averaging a distance of 10 km per day, or 3–5 walking hours, the walks feature fairly even surfaces with a few ascents and descents. A basic level of fitness is recommended.
Given you only need carry a lightweight day pack, this trip is very manageable for those who are new to walking holidays. Whatever your previous experience, preparation and training make all our walks more enjoyable.
Wandering the World arranges a daily luggage transfer to maximise your comfort and enjoyment, so all you need to carry is a day pack. Luggage allowance is one bag per person of no more than 20 kg (13 kg on the Chemin). Your luggage must be left in the reception of your hotel before breakfast (8 am) each day.
- It is essential to attach the bag tag provided to ensure your luggage is delivered to your next accommodation.
- Only one bag will be moved each day and additional charges will apply if your bag is heavier than 20 kg (13 kg on the Chemin).
- Should you require special arrangements for additional luggage transfers, these can be made ahead of time and must be paid as part of your final payment to Wandering the World.
Wandering the World’s guided groups have a maximum group size of 12 participants. This small group size means that we have the flexibility to stay in a wider range of accommodations, can dine together in the evenings, have the freedom to walk alone or together, and there are more opportunities to get to know your travelling companions.
If, for any reason, you wish to shorten your walking day, there are options along the Camino and in the villages to arrange a taxi.
On some itineraries, there are times when Wandering the World may arrange a transfer for you or can do so at your request. This might happen where small villages do not have accommodation with private facilities, for example, or when we want to take you to a special country property that we know you are going to love. In this case, Wandering the World will either arrange a transfer for you or suggest a taxi.
Transfers on the Camino are common in parts. A simple procedure is outlined in your trip notes explaining the details of your private transfer, the designated meeting point and the agreed transfer time.
The weather and climate on the Camino can vary from country to country, region to region and, of course, from day to day. Each season has its own benefits, with long, warm and sunny days in spring and early summer, while early spring and late autumn tend to enjoy cooler walking temperatures. Some sections may be too hot for walking mid-summer, while others are more likely to be wet at certain times. The experts at Wandering the World can discuss your preferences and guide you when you are planning your trip.
Once you’ve started your walk, the weather can play an important role in your overall enjoyment of the journey. Checking the forecast can be a great help when planning your days. If you do strike hotter weather, leaving early to avoid the warmest part of the day will make a huge difference.
24/7 SUPPORT & CARE
Your information pack will include details of local emergency contacts and international contacts. We have local, on-the-ground support to provide any assistance you may require and we’ll also check-in with your hotel at the end of each day to ensure that you’ve arrived safely.
GETTING THERE / GETTING HOME
This itinerary begins in Sarria and ends in Santiago de Compostela.
The closest airports to Sarria are Madrid, Santiago de Compostela or Bilbao.
From your airport of choice there are bus, train and flight options as per the links below.
Train bookings are recommended. Please note you can only book two months in advance of the date of travel.
Bus/Train : Rome2Rio
Insurance is compulsory for everyone who travels with Wandering the World. The insurance policy must include cover against personal accident, medical expenses, emergency repatriation and personal liability. Wandering the World recommends insurance coverage for cancellation to be taken at the same time your deposit is paid, as no exception to the cancellation provisions can be made.
BOOKING AND TRAVEL TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Wandering the World’s full booking terms and conditions are available upon request and will also accompany your initial invoice for deposit.
“I’m a really big fan of the Sarria to Santiago stage and have had the privilege of walking it fives time now. It has a real energy being where everyone comes together, both the pilgrims who started 700 kilometres back in St Jean Pied de Port, and those that have arrived for the last 100 kilometres. This section is packed with charming cafes, smelly socks and a few hidden gems like the beer tree of wishes. One of my highlights is all the buskers making music to your stride as you walk into the square below the cathedral in Santiago – be sure to take a bow!” – Glenyce, Founder of Wandering the World.
We travelled a day by train to Sarria where Glenyce & Dawn were waiting at the train station. We walked across the road to our hotel & also our place of dinner. As always Glenyce & Dawn had ensured everything was as convenient & comfortable as possible. They had even arranged a birthday cake to celebrate Sienna’s birthday.
Glenyce had prepared our kits for us ready to take our first step on the Camino. This included a shell to hang on our backpacks and a passport that we would have stamped along the way.
Each village is so different but the one thing they have in common is a welcoming attitude with great food and cold drinks. You are surrounded by beautiful people all making the same journey but for different reasons. It is a very safe path with people encouraging each other along the way.
Another day of different animals and gorgeous flowers & houses, each day is more enjoyable and our experience just gets better and better.
As we reach our destination for the night we like to celebrate with some tapas and a cold drink and an ice cream.
We look ahead with anticipation but also a realisation that our Camino will soon be over. We are trying to cherish every moment. The Kappa Family, Camino from Sarria, 2017
I joined a wonderful group of people on an escorted 6-day walk from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela who felt like family by the second day and I really savoured getting to know the people I was walking with. Walking a Camino fosters something more than just the shared physical aspect of the journey, which in itself was highly rewarding, but also connects you in a wholly different manner to your fellow pilgrims in a way I can’t do justice in words; it’s something you have to experience for yourself. This ‘Camino spirit’ really had a big impact on me and I have unfinished business with many of the other routes to Santiago! Rebecca B, Camino from Sarria, 2019