Get your family together for the final section of the Camino Frances, or French Way, from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela. This eight-day journey, which is just over 100 kilometres in length, is a wonderful opportunity to be together as a family and introduce your kids to the best classroom in the world – the great outdoors.
Camino de Santiago: The French Way as a Family – The final 100kms
8 days / Self-guided walking
Sarria to Santiago de Compostela
Family walking holidays are becoming more and more popular and it’s increasingly common to see families along the Camino de Santiago. And why wouldn’t it be? With an engaging history, fascinating culture, plenty of tasty food and a whole host of interesting characters to meet, the Camino is one of life’s great learning experiences no matter one’s age.
This adventure will see your family walk from Sarria to Santiago through Galicia’s famous forested landscapes. The terrain is undulating – sometimes testing, but mostly manageable – and the days are never too long. What’s more, this is just a suggested itinerary and can be easily changed to accommodate your family’s needs. We are happy to add in rest days if required, or book specific accommodation, such as a hotel with a pool. Contact our experts to discuss your ideal family walking holiday and we’ll make it happen.
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 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 under 120 km to go 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 family adventure that awaits!
Day 2 | Sarria – Portomarin | 23 km / 5 hours
The day begins with a walk along the Rua Major – its old streetlamps will light 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. Portomarin has a really interesting history to learn about – it was actually 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. Now, it’s a charming town with plenty of good, family-friendly options for dining.
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 time walking as a family. Palas de Rei is a small, welcoming town typical of the Camino, with about 3,700 residents. Your family may want time to relax, or an early night, but if not, there are plenty of places to sit, people-watch and chat to the other pilgrims on their way to Santiago.
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’ restaurant is particularly well known for its octopus – one for more adventurous eaters in the family – and the Terra de Melide museum, housed in an old pilgrim hospital, is worth visiting for some 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, where 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.
Day 6 | Arzua – Rua | 20 km / 4 hours
The penultimate day of your pilgrimage is a thrilling experience and it’ll be impossible for your family 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 to walk and chat together as a family. Rua, a small town with plenty of Roman history, may well be your last opportunity to meet strangers along the Camino so be sure to trade stories with other pilgrims once you’re done walking. Your kids will love meeting all the interesting and wonderful characters along the Way!
Day 7 | Rua – Santiago de Compostela | 20 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 as a family. Wind your way through the city’s alleys to the steps of the cathedral and soak it up as a unit, perhaps spending some time watching on as the other pilgrims arrive.
When you’re ready, take a trip to the Compostela office to receive your certificate – then it’s time to celebrate your family’s achievement. And when it comes to celebrating, Santiago is one of the best places there is. The stunning old town has an endless supply of chorizo, tortilla, Iberico jamon, pulpo and souvenir shops, while the atmosphere is unbeatable. It’s a really exciting city to explore as a family and if your kids have had their fill of history and culture, Santiago’s modern section has plenty of great shopping and entertainment to keep the family occupied.
Day 8 | Santiago de Compostela
Your family adventure along the Camino de Santiago comes to an end after breakfast today. If you do have some extra time available, we recommend taking the bus out to Finisterre to see what was once thought to be the end of the world. Exploring the peninsula, which has plenty of beaches to swim at, is the perfect reward for everyone after a week of walking.
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
- 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
- Triple rooms subject to availability
- 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.
Moderate – This itinerary is carefully designed for easy-to-manage walking days that generally average less than 20 km, or approximately 4–6 walking hours. The surfaces are fairly even with moderate ascents and descents. A reasonable 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
Getting from Santiago de Compostela
From Santiago de Compostela there are bus, train and flight options as per the links above.
The airport is 11km from the city centre and there is a shuttle bus departing every 30 mins from Plaza de Galicia, the train station (Estación de Ferrocarril) and the bus station (Estación de Autobuses). See www.empresafreire.com.
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.
“Sarria to Santiago de Compostela is one of my favourite 100km stretches of the Camino! Full of energy and emotion I have walked this path too many times to count but walking with a family group aged from 8 to 14 was seeing the Camino through new and young eyes. The intrigue of nature with all the domestic pets, farm animals and colourful insects was something not really highlighted on previous walks. Also, it’s inspiring and satisfying to see the development in children as they adapt and embrace the mystical, magical path that leads to the reward of chocolate churros in Santiago!” – 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 along the way, 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
It’s no joke – our surname really is Pilgrim, and we recently walked the Camino De Santiago with our children.
We chose Wandering the World, as it offered a tailor-made solution to our needs. If we were to succeed on what is arguably a very adult journey, we needed an itinerary that suited school holidays, and set achievable distances for our 13 and 10-year-old children.
Our 120km 6-day walk commenced in Sarria and finished in Santiago. Pre-booked, half board accommodation and luggage transfers took the sting out of the day-to-day hassle of finding where to sleep and eat. Sometimes we enjoyed family rooms, but mostly we had adjacent rooms which were perfect – allowing all of us to enjoy some down time after 6-8 hours of walking (yes, there was some TV watching and the accessing of WiFi in the evenings – we never said we were perfect!)
They say that travel broadens the mind and nourishes the soul. As a family, walking the Camino De Santiago certainly achieved this. Many thanks to Glenyce Johnson and the team at Wandering the World for helping us to form stronger bonds and create memories that will last us a lifetime. Jerry P, Family Camino from Sarria, 2018