5 days walking (with the option of 6), usually booked as a 7 night package.
This is the most popular section of the Camino, walking approximately 115km from Sarria, a little more than the 100km required to allow you to collect your Compostela in Santiago.
The level of difficulty is moderate – the rolling hills in this part of Galicia are similar in many respects to the Irish countryside.
Options – Split the 29km stage in half by staying in Melide. The advantage is that you shorten the stages but the flip side is that you lose the free day in Santiago.
Remember that every trip is unique and we can tailor yours to suit you.
Upon arrival, you are provided with a private transfer to Sarria. Sarria is the town closest to the 100km distance from Santiago, explaining its popularity as a starting point on the Camino Francés.
Getting your first sense of the typical Galician farms that you walk through. Portomarín has a fascinating history, the original town being flooded by the development of a major hydroelectric plant further along the Miño river. The town as you find it today was relocated above the water levels of the flooded plain. The church was reconstructed brick by brick from the original!
By now, you will have begun to notice the ubiquitous Horreos – stone and wooden structures that were used to store corn and keep it away from pesky rodents! Now mostly ornamental, the Horreo is as much a symbol of Galicia as the scallop shell is of the Camino.
This is your longest and toughest day – but when you make it to Arzúa, you know you’re well on your way. The second half of the day is hilly, but the picturesque hamlet of Ribadiso helps to ease away thoughts of weary limbs. You also pass through the town of Melide, the self-styled Galician capital of pulpo (octopus). You have to try some!
Don’t let the shorter distance completely fool you! There are still some hills to be negotiated as you pass through some more small hamlets and farmyards. Pedrouzo itself is a small town that has grown in the last couple of decades, now serving as a satellite town for the city of Santiago. You will see the placenames of Arca, Pedrouzo and Pino intermingled – they all refer to the same town!
After skirting around the airport near Lavacolla, you will arrive at Monte de Gozo about 5km from Santiago. This marks the traditional spot where pilgrims would wash themselves in preparation for their arrival into Santiago. Nowadays, it is a great gathering spot for groups to meet up before walking into Santiago together.
A chance to collect your Compostela from the Pilgrim Office and to attend the midday pilgrim mass (there’s usually an English language mass in the evening). The historic centre of Santiago is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a beautiful place to wander or indeed to sip a café (or something a bit stronger!) and watch the world go by. The centre of Santiago is very compact and easily walkable – a treasure trove of beautiful buildings and winding streets.
Return to Santiago airport for your return flight to Dublin.