El Camino Walk – Harvest Journeys Catholic Pilgrimages

El Camino Walk

Welcome to the El Camino de Santiago: the sacred trail on which pilgrims for over a millennium have walked with footsteps of faith and carrying a backpack full of hopes, dreams and prayers, culminating at the resting place of St James the apostle in Santiago de Compostela.

IMPORTANT: Even though this is stated as a daily walking pilgrimage, the group will be supported with a bus to carry luggage and transport pilgrims who may require respite at times along the way.

Highlights

Madrid (1 night) • Foncebadon • Iron Cross • O Cebreiro • Sarria (1) • Portomarin (1) • Palas de Rei (1) • Arzua (2) • Amenal (1) • Monte do Gozo • Santiago de Compostela (2)

  • 10 Days / 9 Nights
  • Madrid to Santiago De Compostela
  • Optional Daily Mass

Itinerary

Meal Code: (B) = Breakfast (L) = Lunch (D) = Dinner

DAY 1ARRIVE MADRID

Welcome to Madrid – a vibrant, atmospheric city, rich in cultural sights. In the afternoon we will walk to the Cathedral of Almudena to celebrate Mass, followed by a tour of the Cathedral. We will continue our walking tour of Madrid to include the exterior of the Royal Palace. Walk through the Plaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol, and our final stop is the Church of Saint James.

Madrid overnight (D)

DAY 2MADRID - FONCEBADON - IRON CROSS - O CEBRERIO - SARRIA (WALKING DAY: 5 KM)

This morning we depart Madrid and travel to Foncebadon, a village popular in the 11th century with pilgrims on the Camino due to its hospitals and church. From here we continue by foot to view the ‘Iron Cross’ where traditionally pilgrims bring a stone from their places of origin and deposit it at the foot of the cross, to symbolise a sin or burden they are leaving behind.

We then rejoin our coach and continue to the ancient Sanctuary of O Cebreiro. Here we will celebrate our group Mass in the pre-Romanesque Church (9th-10th century) and see the renowned Paten of Santo Milagro (Eucharistic Miracle from the 13th century) and a precious Romanesque carving of Santa Maria la Real.

We then continue to Sarria. It was in this town that Alfonso IX died in 1230, while making the pilgrimage. Visit the old quarter which retains a strong medieval character. We will also see the Church of Salvador, with a Romanesque ground plan and Gothic façade; the small chapel of San Lazaro; the hospital of San Antonio, which today houses a Court; and the remains of its old fortress, from the 14th century.

Sarria overnight (BD)

Day 3SARRIA - PORTOMARIN (WALKING DAY: 23.5 KM)

Today’s section of the Camino is considered to be one of the most picturesque. Walk through rustic countryside, traversing enchanted forests and small patches of farmland to the banks of the Mino River. En route we will pass the 100km marker – a milestone for pilgrims who travel the Camino. Our walking trip for today will finish in Portomarín, picturesquely situated on a hilltop. The old Portomarín, which dates back to the Roman Age, was an important halt along the route in the Middle Ages and lies beneath the waters of the dam built in 1962.

Before flooding the town, many monuments were moved, stone by stone, to higher ground. Such was the case of the church-fortress of San Nicolás, built by the Knights of San Juan of Jerusalem, who once ran the old hospital that lays beneath the waters of the Miño River, along with the old Medieval and Roman bridges. The municipality also has the Romanesque portal of the church of San Pedro, from 1182; the Count’s House, from the 16th century, and the Palace of Berbetoros, from the 17th century.

Portamarin overnight (BD)

Day 4PORTOMARIN - PALAS DE REI (WALKING DAY: 25 KM)

Passing through small villages decorated with cruceiros (carved stone crosses that mark the way to Santiago) and containing only a dozen houses, we will meet other peregrinos (pilgrims) on today’s hilly walk. Although we all share a special quest and a sense of camaraderie with fellow pilgrims from around the world, there are always moments of solitude to contemplate this special journey.

The undulating countryside is studded with meadows and forests of eucalyptus and pine as we approach Palas de Rei. This was once an important town in the Middle Ages as it had a Royal Hospital. The Church of San Tirso now stands on its lands, with a Romanesque portal.

Palas de Rei overnight (BD)

Day 5PALAS DE REI - MELIDE - ARZUA (WALKING DAY: 29 KM)

Today we set off walking along quiet paths through hamlets and woodlands, crossing an occasional stone bridge along the way.

Stop to admire the tiny 12th century church dedicated to St Julian, one of the many Romanesque treasures along the Camino. Passing through San Juan de Furelos, we admire a very special crucifix in the Romanesque church. We also pass through Melide, geographical centre of Galicia, and admire the small town with a wonderful square and church. This town is crucial to the Route, because it is the place where the French and Oviedo Routes converge.

We are likely to see more peregrinos as we continue along our way. As we continue our walk through eucalyptus woods, before arriving to Arzua, we will walk over a medieval stone bridge in Ribadiso da Baixo where once was the old Hospital de Sant Antón and nowadays an albergue where you may find some refreshment before walking uphill to enter in Arzua.

Arzua overnight (BD)

Day 6ARZUA (REST DAY)

Today following Mass we have the day to rest our feet. You can take this time to reflect on your journey so far.

Arzua overnight (BD)

Day 7ARZUA - AMENAL (WALKING DAY: 22.8 KM)

Before departing Arzua we will celebrate Mass in Arzua Parish Church with its statue of St James and the chapel dedicated to St Lazarus just outside the village. Here we leave behind the last major centre of population on the Camino until Santiago.

Wander through the picturesque village of Calle, with its traditional stone houses. Onwards to Salceda where we see a monument to Guillermo Watt, a pilgrim who died at this spot only a day away from his earthly destination on pilgrimage.

Continuing on, we walk through magnificent eucalyptus woods en route to Amenal. As we pass through small villages, we notice joy etched on the faces of the fellow Camino pilgrims walking the pilgrim route. Although they have traveled a long distance, they are not weary. With God and St James guiding their paths, excitement and anticipation continues for their arrival in Santiago.

Amenal overnight (BD)

Day 8AMENAL - MONTE DO GOZO - SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA (WALKING DAY: 17 KM)

‘This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad’ (Ps 118:24). Excitement mounts as the trail brings us closer to our destination. Walk through rolling terrain towards Lavacolla, where medieval pilgrims traditionally bathed in the river to purify themselves before arriving in the holy city of Santiago.

From here we will begin to ascend the Monte do Gozo, “Mount of Joy”, the point where pilgrims first catch sight of the spires of the Cathedral of Santiago, these days surrounded by the bustling, new city of Santiago de Compostela.

On approach to the centre, we will pass through the city’s walls and under the Arch of Obispo drawing us forward into the great Obradoiro Square. Here we have finally arrived at our destination, St James Cathedral, where the remains of the Saint are preserved and where tradition suggests us to hug St James statue behind the main altar, ready to receive a deserved grace and special blessing praying in front of the reliquiary.

Santiago de Compostela overnight (BD)

Day 9SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA

The city of the apostle is full of historical buildings and other attractions and is thus the ideal place for a quiet unhurried walk of discovery through streets, squares and nooks, to be taken as a reward for the effort of reaching this city of St James.

This morning we will visit and celebrate Mass at the Cathedral of St James, one of the finest examples of architecture in all of Europe.

As pilgrims we have the opportunity to climb the stairs behind the high altar to visit the crypt where the relics of St James are preserved, admire the central pillar and the Portico de La Gloria, recently restored and cleaned, view also the ‘botafumeiro’ and be fascinated by the elaborate medieval art inside the Cathedral, before visiting the cloister museum.

Afternoon at leisure.

Tonight, we celebrate our final night on pilgrimage with a special meal at a local Spanish restaurant.

Santiago de Compostela overnight (BD)

Day 10DEPART SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA

After breakfast we will be transferred to the airport for homebound flight connections.
(B)

 All tour inclusions and order of daily arrangements remain subject to change due to any unforeseen circumstances, which may arise, or at the discretion of the tour leadership.

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Dates & Prices

Dates
Chaplain
Tour Cost
1 – 10 October 2024
Fr Bernie Thomas OFM
AUD $4990*
More info
BOOK NOW
EC2402
1 – 10 October 2024
More info

Dates

1 – 10 October 2024

Chaplain

Fr Bernie Thomas OFM

Tour Cost

AUD $4990*

Tour Code

EC2402

Single Room

AUD $1370 Supplement

Start

Madrid

Finish

Santiago De Compostela

Prepaid Tipping

$180 per person

1 – 10 May 2025
TBA
AUD $TBA*
More info
BOOK NOW
EC2501
1 – 10 May 2025
More info

Dates

1 – 10 May 2025

Chaplain

TBA

Tour Cost

AUD $TBA*

Tour Code

EC2501

Single Room

AUD $TBA Supplement

Start

Start

Finish

Santiago De Compostela

Prepaid Tipping

$TBA PPPD**

1 – 10 October 2025
TBA
AUD $TBA*
More info
BOOK NOW
EC2502
1 – 10 October 2025
More info

Dates

1 – 10 October 2025

Chaplain

TBA

Tour Cost

AUD $TBA*

Tour Code

EC2502

Single Room

AUD $TBA Supplement

Start

Start

Finish

Santiago De Compostela

Prepaid Tipping

$TBA per person

* Per person, twin share

Costs are indicative and must remain subject to possible change in the event of significant exchange rate variations, tax & hotel changes or minimum group size factors beyond Harvest’s control. Refer to Harvest Terms & Conditions.

 

Included

  • ACCOMODATION & MEALS: Based on Superior Standard / 4-Star accommodation • Meals as specified in Itinerary
  • TOURING & TRANSPORTATION: Deluxe Air Conditioned Coach • Professional Pilgrimage Escort / Local Guides • Sightseeing and Entrance Fees
  • OTHER: Fully Escorted by Pilgrimage Chaplain • Porterage at hotels • Harvest Backpack, Pilgrims Journal and Travel Wallet

Not included

  • International Airfares
  • Other meals not listed
  • Passport and Visa Costs (if applicable)
  • Items of a personal nature including phone calls, laundry, beverages, etc.
  • Travel insurance
  • Prepaid Tipping
  • “Life-changing. To walk where Jesus walked, taught, suffered & died was beyond my wildest dreams. Deeply moving – a renewal of my spirit which I will never forget.”

    Erin Bremford

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