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The Crux Of The Camino

  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Fares
  • Accommodation

A journey overview

  • San Sebastian
  • Saint Jean Pied de Port
  • The Pyrenees
  • Roncesvalles
  • Pamplona
  • La Rioja
  • Burgos
  • Sarria
  • Santiago de Compostela

19 Days Explorations
  • Departing:
  • 19 Apr 2020
  • 17 May 2020
  • 21 Jun 2020
  • 7 Sep 2020

Following a path of ancient scallop shells, where adventure and the divine connect, walk the most magnificent legs of the Camino Francés, with the luxury of a vehicle to whisk you onwards at any point.

Map

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For its size, San Sebastián boasts a dizzying array of cultural, architectural and gastronomic icons. Our residence, the Hotel de Londres is one such place, a Belle Époque building on golden sands.

Wander the old quarter’s streets and step into a local tavern for mouthwatering pintxos. After lunch, explore San Sebastián’s most photogenic angles on a hike that takes us to Monte Ulia. With the mountains at our backs and the city at our feet, this places high on the list of perfect afternoon strolls. Tonight, explore Basque cuisine at one of several handpicked restaurants at the port.

Today, visit a fishing village with a surprising link to high fashion, or take a lesson in architecture. These are Your World experiences: Experience coastal Basque culture in Getaria. Sample the freshest seafood, often delivered to the restaurant by the very hands that caught it. This is also the birthplace of Balenciaga, and its museum pays reverent homage to his most famous dresses. The shining waveforms of Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum call to us. Designed by Frank Gehry, this building singlehandedly sparked the city’s renewal – from it, the phrase ‘Guggenheim effect’ was coined. After admiring the works of Rothko and Twombly, we set off for Bilbao’s other marvels of modern architecture. The rest of our group arrive today, and over dinner, we toast the next phase of our journey.

The city of San Sebastián lines the golden sands of the Playa de la Concha, at the cutting edge of the global culinary scene. We touch down for a brief epicurean indulgence in the heart of the Basque region’s gastronomic capital. Staying at the nostalgically elegant Belle Epoque Hotel Londres, we find first-class fare which celebrates each and every ingredient, the perfect preface to our Camino adventure.

Before our first day of walking, we linger in San Sebastián, a city where seafood and pintxos reign supreme. We are then whisked across the French border to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, the starting point for the Camino Francés route. Beginning our ascent, we cut a path across the Pyrénées range. Arriving at Roncesvalles Pass, we descend into Spain where rolling terrain greets us and we are treated to Camino hospitality at The Hotel Roncesvalles.

Our trail takes us through the heart of pilgrim country, where scallop shells and yellow arrows illuminate our way. On our descent from Roncesvalles, we explore a seam of Pyrenean villages. A brief drive brings us to the city of Pamplona, before we enjoy lunch in Logroño, whose cathedral spires preside over the city. We have arrived in Rioja country, where our residence is the Frank Gehry designed Marques de Riscal.

Our journey continues to the city of Burgos. Notable for its Gothic cathedral and status as the birthplace of national hero and military genius, El Cid. We drive to Frómista, then continue on foot, with churches and refuges dotting our path and low hills punctuating the horizon. Our destination is Carrión de los Condes where Romans, Visigoths and Moors once held sway.

Dating back to the first century BC, there is much to explore in the ancient city of León and this proves the perfect place to toast the halfway mark of our journey. We travel on to Astorga before detouring from the Camino to arrive at the Palacio de Canedo in rural Arganza, ready to sample the chef’s tasting menu and wines from the hotel’s estate.

Crossing into Galicia, rolling green hills and misty lakes shroud a landscape akin to Ireland’s, concealing a Celtic connection forged over centuries. It is Camino custom to walk the last 100kms of our journey, to earn the Compostela, certification we have trodden the true pilgrims’ path. In the town of Portomarín we check-in to the Spa Hotel Vistalegre.

Along quiet country paths and over a medieval bridge, we reach the town of Arzúa, home to the Church of Santa Maria Magdalena. Our residence for the next two evenings is Hotel Boutique 1930. A sense of gathering momentum prevails, as we join the growing community of pilgrims with Santiago de Compostela in their sights.

With just kilometres to go, we pass through Lavacolla, where pilgrims washed before entering Santiago de Compostela. From the city’s urban fringe, we thread our way through winding medieval lanes, which lead us to the Old Town. We see the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela tower before us. This calls for a celebration with a mariscada seafood feast and a two-night stay at the magnificent Parador de Santiago.