The Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage
Pilgrimage: Camino de Santiago: Francés & Fàtima Extension
Camino de Santiago: Francés & Fàtima Extension - August 2- 13, 2021
The Way (restricted to 11 – 21 participants) is the ancient Catholic pilgrimage route to the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in north-western Spain. Our path is part of the traditional Camino Francés which will take us from León to Sarria where we start our 100km walk to Santiago de Compostela and our pilgrimage will end at the tomb of St. James the Greater. This special journey will bring us to some of the storied places along the Francés while staying in quality accommodations along the Way.
León • Santa María de León Cathedral • Húmedo Quarter • Basilica of San Isidoro • Hospital de Órbigo • Astorga • El Bierzo • Castrillo de los Polvazares • Cruz de Ferro • O’Cebreiro • Sarria • Iglesia de Santa Marina XIX • Hospital de San Anton XVI • Fortaleza de Sarria y Torres XIII • Church of Santiago • Portomarín • San Pedro Church • Ventas de Narón • Palas de Rei • Monasterio de San Salvador at Vilar de Donas • Arias de Monterroso • San Xulián • Leboreiro • Furelos • Melide • Boente • Ribadiso • La Magdalena • Arzúa • Calle • Brea • Santa Irene • Rúa • Amenal • San Paio • Lavacolla • San Paio de Sabugueira • Santiago de Compostela • Plaza del Obradoiro • Portico de la Gloria • tomb of St. James • Fátima
- English speaking guide
- Private guided visits in Léon and Santiago
- Pilgrim Masses
- Pilgrims Pack
- Botafumeiros ritual (arrival day) at the Pilgrim’s 7:30 pm Mass in the Cathedral
- VAT (Value Added Tax)
- Private transfer from Madrid to Léon on arrival/hotel check-in assistance
- Accommodation: 11 nights 1, 2, 3, Star Hotels and charming Galician inns & 4 star Parador
- Luggage transfer to accommodations
- Welcome and Farewell dinner
- Daily – Breakfast and Dinners (3 dinners on your own to explore the local cuisine)
- Packing list
Depart via best connections for your overnight flight to Europe connecting to Madrid.
Our meeting point will be Madrid Barajas International Airport. From here the group will be transferred to the city of León in our private vehicle. On arrival in León there will be free time for lunch then we will have a guided tour (local guide). We will visit the Santa María de León Cathedral, also called The House of Light, the Húmedo Quarter and the Basilica of San Isidoro. We will spend the night at the lovely Parador, located in the Camino de Santiago. (D)
Our first stop is the medieval bridge in Hospital de Órbigo; we then transfer to Astorga, set in the verdant countryside and is known for its beautiful cathedral and episcopal residence built in 1889 by “Servant of God” Antonio Gaudi. He is best known for his outstanding architectural work in Barcelona …the Basilica La Sagrada Familia. Soon we reach the mountains of León and walk amidst the mountain scenery until we reach the mystical hamlet of Foncebadón. From here, across the Bierzo valley, we reach the accommodation. (B,D)
Today we’ll visit Castrillo de los Polvazares and the famous Iron Cross (Cruz de Ferro) where we will follow tradition and place a stone at the base of the cross. Entering Galicia we arrive at O’Cebreiro, a beautiful Celtic village with a Eucharistic Miracle at the Church of Santa María a Real. One icy winter in 1300, during Mass, the Host changed to Flesh and the wine changed to Blood and was expelled from the chalice, staining the corporal. The Lord performed this prodigy to open the eyes of the incredulous priest who did not believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and to compensate the farmer who had climbed the mountain in freezing wind for his great devotion. We will celebrate Holy Mass. Very popular in O Cebreiro is the fresh cheese, usually served with honey from this region. From there we travel to the highs of Poio and San Roque, where we have the chance to walk 5-6 km, there are many interesting points to make a pause and breath the fresh air and we enjoy a picnic too. From there, over Triacastela and other hamlets of the Camino we reach Samos and visit the monastery of San Xulián de Samos, founded in the sixth century and belongs to the order of the Benedictines. We will tour and attend mass. Accommodation in Sarria (transfer needed) or in Samos. (B,D)
SARRIA-BARBADELO- PORTOMARÍN (14 KM/ 9 mi)
Pilgrim’s Road to Santiago starts here, today we walk the Camino!
Sarria, with its Celtic origins was a major medieval center for pilgrims. As we leave this morning, you can still feel the ancient atmosphere as we climb along the rúa Maior passing Iglesia de Santa Marina XIX, the old Hospital de San Anton XVI and Fortaleza de Sarria y Torres XIII castle ruins. In Barbadelo we will visit the Church of Santiago, a great example of Galician Roman architecture and is noted for its statue of St. James. Centuries ago it formed part of the monastery of Samos, and functioned as a hospital for pilgrims. Finally we descend to Portomarín, on the other bank of the river Miño. We will visit the church of San Nicolas (originally dedicated Saint John). It is a fortress church built by the Knights of St. John (today’s Order of Malta). When the original Portomarín was flooded by the new reservoir, the people moved the church, stone by stone to its new location. (B,D)
PORTOMARÍN-VENTAS DE NARÓN (13 KM/ 8 mi)
We will visit the San Pedro Church, also Romanesque and moved stone by stone from the bottom of the valley to the top of the mountain. From Portomarín we follow the way along an uphill section; on the way we reach Toxibo, with an interesting “horreo” (granary); we follow the Way ascending and we finally reach Ventas de Narón, a good place to have the picnic; this is a place where many pilgrims make a rest, so it is a good time and place to interact with people from all over the world.
From this point we will transfer to Palas de Rei or Portomarín for the evening. (B,L,D)
VENTAS DE NARÓN-SAN XULIÁN (15 KM/ 9.3 mi)
Again in Ventas de Narón we start the walk among fields, chestnuts and oak woods, discovering many samples of the rural architecture. Between Lameiros and the next village of Ligonde we will find a 17th century cruceiro which is said to be the most famous cruceiro on the Camino. It is double sided with Our Lady of Sorrows represented on the back side. As we approach Palas de Rei we will have a special side tour to Monasterio de San Salvador at Vilar de Donas (by van). This 13th century monastery was donated to the Knights of Santiago in 1224 by the noble family Arias de Monterroso. This national monument is the official burial place of the Knights of Santiago and contains some impressive frescoes. We continue to San Xulián, from where we will be transferred to the hotel. (B,D)
SAN XULIÁN-BOENTE (17 KM/ 11 mi)
From San Xulián we follow the Camino without big slopes, leaving the province of A Lugo and entering in A Coruña. Today you will pass through some beautiful areas and walk across two Medieval bridges (Leboreiro and Furelos). Leboreiro is one of the most spectacular hamlets on the stage. The church of Santa María was declared a monument of cultural heritage and inside visitors can see its stunning murals. In medieval times Leboreiro also had a pilgrim hospital. Another place to stop is the village of Melide, well-known for their octopus. Passing through Boente you will want to stop at Cruce Igrexa Santiago with the image of St. James above the altar and receive a blessing from the parish priest and from there we will travel to the lovely rural inn dating to the 1500’s and we will stay for the two following nights. (B,D)
BOENTE- ARZÚA-CALLE- (16 KM/ 10 mi)
We leave Boente and we walk with some climbs in a rural landscape, with farms and forests. Sometimes we have to cross (without trouble) some streams over big stones, and sometimes we cross streams over beautiful bridges, like the one in Ribadiso, over the Iso river, one of the most beautiful places in the Camino. A short uphill section leads us to the city center of Arzúa, famous for its cheese. We can see the beautiful chapel of “La Magdalena” built in gothic style and founded in the 14th century. The modern parish nearby is dedicated to St. James represented by both the pilgrim statue and as the Moorslayer. We leave Arzúa, with small and deep valleys in our Way, following local roads, paths and sometimes wider trails. We reach Calle, from where we travel back to our rural inn. (B,D)
CALLE-RUA (12 KM/ 7.45 mi)
Once again in Calle, we follow the same type of landscape than the previous day, with valleys in our way, farms and now among eucalyptus trees. Now we are approaching Santiago and there are more villages in our way. Our journey takes us through Brea, Santa Irene, to Rúa. In Santa Irene we can visit the Medieval shrine dedicated to the martyr Saint. It is believed that where the Shrine stands, St. Irene was martyred and it’s the reason people believe the baroque fountain at the shrine has healing waters. We will stay the night in Rúa. (B,D)
RÚA-LAVACOLLA OR SAN MARCOS (10 KM/ 6.2 mi)
The landscape is undulate before we reach Amenal, where we have a short challenge: a moderate uphill section for 3 km. From there we descend among a rural landscape, and we reach San Paio and Lavacolla. On the way we have some samples of traditional architecture and the church San Paio de Sabugueira, in the center of Lavacolla. The accommodation for today is in Lavacolla. (B,D)
LAVACOLLA OR SAN MARCOS-SANTIAGO (11 KM/ 7 mi)
Today’s journey…we enter Santiago in the morning! The stream at Lavacolla, just outside Santiago, used to be the spot where pilgrims washed and got ready to enter Santiago de Compostela and its cathedral. After the pilgrims had finished their wash, they would ascend to the top of the hill (Monte do Gozo), which looked out over the beautiful town of Santiago de Compostela and the spires of the cathedral in the distance. A hill from where the pilgrims catch their first glimpse of Santiago’s cathedral. Walking a few kilometers more and you are entering Santiago. The old town is impressive and you feel you are moved to the Middle Ages by walking through the streets. Entering the Plaza del Obradoiro we walk the final steps of our pilgrimage through the Portico de la Gloria and attend the Pilgrim Mass and witness the swinging of Botafumeiros in the Cathedral of Santiago. After mass we will pray at the tomb of St. James.
Our afternoon in Santiago will start with our guided tour of the old city where we will recall the history of the city and the pilgrimage to Santiago through its monuments, squares and streets. We will then enter the Cathedral where its history and traditions will be explained.
Farewell Dinner: We will have a wonderful dinner to celebrate our arrival. (B,D)
SANTIAGO-SANTIAGO AIPORT or LISBON EXTENSION
Transfer to the Airport and end of our services.
EXTENSION to Fátima – 2 Days /1 Night
We leave Santiago this morning for Portugal and our pilgrimage to Fátima. Fátima is undoubtedly the most prophetic of modern apparitions. The first and second parts of the “secret” refer especially to the frightening vision of hell, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Second World War, and finally the prediction of the immense damage that Russia would do to humanity by abandoning the Christian faith and embracing Communist totalitarianism. We will visit the Sanctuary and celebrate holy mass. Entering the heart of the Sanctuary is the first edifice constructed in the Cova da Iria, at the place of Our Lady’s Apparitions. A marble pillar on which the Statue of Our Lady is placed marks the exact spot where the apparition appeared. We will also visit the Rosary Basilica to reverence the tombs of the three Seers, the museum and the village of Aljustrel… the shepherd children’s homes.
After Fátima we continue to Lisbon, free time and dinner.
Return to the USA (B)
11 nights’ – During the Camino we will stay in a National Paradore, 1, 2, 3, Star Hotels, charming Galician inns and 4 star Parador. All of our accommodations have en suite bathrooms
Luggage transfer to accommodations
Private transfer from Madrid to Léon on arrival/hotel check-in assistance.
Private van support: logistical support will be available during the entire route. The van is there in support of pilgrims in transit and to cover any other needs that might arise along the Way.
Luggage transfer to accommodations.
Welcome and Farewell dinner (8 dinners, 1 lunch included)
Breakfasts, dinners and one Lunch include: water, coffee & wine (D only)
3 dinners on your own to explore the local cuisine
Pilgrims Pack: a MEDSEAS daypack with your informational tour program, daily itinerary, route map, your shell, and your Pilgrim’s passport (Credencial).
Packing list: recommendations on what to bring along on your trip as well as ‘Your Camino’ which answers questions regarding cloths to pack, tips, and other useful topics.
Euros to be collected at check-in – 75€ per person
Discount of $50 for each pilgrimage you’ve taken with us