Tackle the last leg of the Camino de Santiago from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela at a more leisurely pace, taking time to enjoy the landscapes, locals and space that make this such a formative experience.
Camino de Santiago: The Leisurely Camino Frances – The final 100kms
12 days / Self-guided walking
Sarria to Santiago de Compostela
There are no prizes for being the fastest on the Camino de Santiago. The pilgrimage is about slowing down and taking time to appreciate what you have right now, so Wandering the World is offering a more leisurely way to complete the last leg of the Camino Frances, or French Way.
Beginning in Sarria, you’ll walk through small villages, green forests and open farmlands on your way to the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. With smaller distances than our other itineraries, there’ll be plenty of time to enjoy the food, wine and people that make the Camino such a special experience.
Day 1 | Arrive in Sarria
Sarria is a key town along the Camino de Santiago for a number of different routes. Many pilgrims, like you, will begin their journey here as one must walk at least 100 km to receive a ‘compostela’, or certificate, after arriving in Santiago. It’s also the town where King Alfonso IX died while making his own pilgrimage to Santiago.
This is an atmospheric town 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 117 km until Santiago, there’s a great buzz in the air as pilgrims flow through and tomorrow you’ll be caught up in the journey too.
Day 2 | Sarria – Morgade | 13 km / 4 hours
The early morning walk out of Sarria is simply magical, strolling down the Rua Major with the other pilgrims while street lamps line the way. Say farewell and find your rhythm as you journey towards Morgade, your destination for the evening and one of at least five villages en route to Portomarin. The path will wander through green forests, over moss-covered stone bridges, beside bubbling waterways and past small farming communities before you arrive.
Day 3 | Morgade – Portomarin | 9 km / 3 hours
Enjoy a gentle second day along the Camino Frances although walking into Portomarin, which is pitched beautifully on a hillside, can be a little challenging. Take your time and you will be rewarded, as always on the Camino.
To arrive in town you’ll cross the Camino’s longest bridge, which offers memorable views of the surrounding landscape, though 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 liqueurs, for which it is very well known.
Day 4 | Portomarin – Ventas de Naron | 13 km / 4 hours
Depart Portomarin through the main square and pass through Hospital de la Cruz before arriving at Ventas de Naron. It was here, soon after the tomb of Santiago was discovered in 820, that Christian troops defeated the Emir of Cordoba as part of the Reconquista. The walking today is lovely and typical of Galicia, known for its wooded forests, rolling green hills and an almost enchanted atmosphere.
Day 5 | Ventas de Naron – Palas de Rei | 12 km / 3 hours
On the way out of Ventas de Naron you’ll pass a small chapel and a wooden cross that lead up to the sierra de Ligonde. This is the highest point of this section of the Camino – approximately 756 metres above sea level – and provides beautiful views over the surrounding valleys.
From here, the path descends to the village of Ligonde, which features a famous ‘cruceiro’, while a stone cross further on marks the location of an ancient pilgrim cemetery. Palas de Rei is a small welcoming town typical of the Camino, with about 3,700 residents.
Day 6 | Palas de Rei – Melide | 15 km 3–4 hours
Today’s walk is a pleasant amble through farming regions, sunflower fields and quaint villages with plenty of picturesque places to stop and rest along the way. Your destination is Melide, a village founded in the 10th century that was given permission to build a castle in the 14th. 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 7 | Melide – Arzua | 14 km / 4 hours
Much of the path today is shaded by oak and eucalyptus forests, making for a lovely day’s walk. This is cattle country and there are more cows than people, though more pilgrims will shortly join you, as Arzua is where the Camino del Norte (the Northern Way) joins the path for the final push to Santiago, which is 40 kilometres away.
Day 8 | Arzua – Salceda | 12 km / 3 hours
Salceda is a very convenient stop along the Camino. It is a small place, ideal for a rest, and there’s nothing more enjoyable than having a couple of glasses of red wine – as they did ‘back in the day’ – and watching the other pilgrims push further towards Santiago. There’s no need to be rushed; taking it slow is what the Camino is all about.
Day 9 | Salceda – Lavacolla | 18 km / 5 hours
Your longest walking day so far is also one of the most thrilling as the excitement mounts with the final stretch to Santiago just one sleep away. Pilgrims and locals smile in equal measure and there really is an air of anticipation about the path. Today is the perfect day to sample some mushrooms, known in Spain as ‘setas’, which can be found in abundance at the right time of year. Lavacolla is a convenient stop to break up the longer trek to Santiago, which means you’ll be refreshed and energised when you arrive tomorrow. There are just 200 people living in the village, so it’s a homely place to stay and ideal for reflecting on your walking pilgrimage so far.
Day 10 | Lavacolla – Santiago de Compostela | 10 km / 3 hours
The last day of any pilgrimage is an emotional one. It can be bittersweet arriving in Santiago de Compostela and even though your legs may be hurting, there’s usually a feeling of not wanting the journey to end. Follow the cobbled streets to the cathedral and take some time to soak up the moment – it’s particularly rewarding watching other pilgrims arriving, with some having walked over 1000 kilometres to get there.
Take a trip to the Compostela office to show off your pilgrim’s passport and the stamps you’ve gathered along the way. They will stamp your certificate of completion, highlighting your name in Latin, then it’s time to celebrate. And what a city to celebrate in. Santiago de Compostela has an endless supply of tapas, chorizo, bocadillos, tortilla and Iberico jamon, not to mention pulpo (octopus), cold beer and juicy red wine.
Day 11 | Extra day in Santiago
Santiago de Compostela is a special city. There’s a magic about the place that can only be enjoyed on foot, traipsing around its medieval streets. The historical centre is a World Heritage-listed area with dozens of churches and religious monuments including, of course, the incredible cathedral. In the Plaza de O Obradoiro, next to the cathedral, you’ll find the luxurious Parador hotel (where you can treat yourself to a glass of sparkling) as well as the regional government and city hall. The surrounding streets are packed with tapas bars and restaurants, which in turn are packed with celebrating pilgrims and smiling locals. There is also a beautiful marketplace to do some shopping for a Camino memento, though the best souvenirs will be the friendships and memories you’ve made along the way.
Day 12 | Depart Santiago de Compostela
Your Camino experience officially comes to an end today and though you’ll no doubt be sad that it’s over, there are plenty more paths to explore in the future. We hope you’ll Wander the World with us again soon.
Visit www.wanderingtheworld.com.au for more information.
- 11 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
- 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
- Three-course dinners with local wine
- 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.
This trip is a self-guided itinerary, ideal for groups and independent travellers who prefer to navigate in their own way and their own time.
You will be provided with an information pack including easy-to-read maps and instructions, complete with directions to guide you on the well-marked paths and tracks. On the Camino, you will be following the yellow arrows and Camino scallop shells, while the Chemin is marked with red and white stripes. This information pack will be available at your joining hotel on the first day of your trip.
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.
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 had a FABULOUS time on our Camino adventure. It was everything we expected and oh so much more! The accommodations were wonderful and very appreciated at the end of each day. The staff at each location was so helpful and accommodating. The baggage transfer was 100% spot on. The birthday cake you arranged for me was a real surprise and a treat!
We chatted with so many people along the Camino and thoroughly enjoyed the comradery but the times of solitude were also a blessing in their own way. The walk out of the woods to the high point overlooking the ocean before Cee was inspiring (and it wasn’t raining either!). Spending time sitting on the rocks at the lighthouse and reflecting on the trip at the end of the adventure was a wonderful way to end our journey.
I was able to tell several people we met along the way about just how wonderful “Wandering the World” is. Thank you for all your efforts on our behalf. I will definitely reach out to you when I am ready for my next adventure.
Andrea S, Camino Frances, July, 2018