Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port is the second most popular Camino starting point for pilgrims. 20,000 people each year choose to start their Camino de Santiago in this walled town in the French Basque Country. Take the opportunity to explore this picturesque town, its citadel and the St James Gate, arrival point for pilgrims coming from other Camino ways in France.
2 St-Jean-PIed-de-Port to Roncesvalles - 25km
8h | +1601m / -786m
Today you leave St Jean Pied de Port and start the ascent to the famous Roncesvalles Pass across the Pyrenees. This is a challenging day, probably the most difficult of the whole French Way Camino route. The ‘Napoleon Route’ starts with a steep climb past country houses before reaching mountain meadows, the cross and some spectacular mountain views. The Camino will then take you through woodlands towards the French/Spanish border and descend into Roncesvalles. There is also an alternative trail along the valley, passing the town of Valcarlos. Take some time to visit the Collegiate Church and St James chapel in Roncesvalles.
Easy Walking Option Stay in Valcarlos - 12km & 13km
4h | +301m / -186m & 4h | +601m / -286m
You can split the long walking day from St Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles, into two stages of 12km and 13km, if you would like to walk at a more relaxed pace. You would stay overnight in a charming 2* hotel in the village of Valcarlos. We would recommend taking this option during the winter months when snow can make the higher route impassable. Read our blog post: Route Napoleón or Valcarlos?
3 Roncesvalles to Zubiri - 22km
6h | +234m / -329m
Today, your Camino continues from the peaceful mountain village of Roncesvalles (‘Orregaga’ in Basque), a popular Camino starting point for Spanish pilgrims. Here you should visit the St James chapel, as well as the Royal Collegiate Church of Saint Mary. From Roncesvalles, the Camino de Santiago French route continues through beech and oak woods before entering Espinal. You will also cross two mountain passes: Alto de Mezquiriz and Alto de Erro. You will then descend towards the village of Zubiri and its medieval ‘Puente de la Rabia’ (the Rabies Bridge) over the River Arga.
4 Zubiri to Pamplona - 21km
6h | +234m / -329m
From Zubiri, the Camino de Santiago follows the river Arga to the town of Larrasoaña, an important stop for pilgrims in Medieval times. The second half of the day will get busier, as you approach the bustle of Pamplona city. Famous for its Running of the Bulls festival, San Fermín, taking place in July, Pamplona has many other attractions to visit. Explore the city’s medieval streets, visit the cathedral, taste some of the fantastic local food and wine and Hemingway fans can go for a coffee in one of the writer’s favourite haunts in the main square: Plaza del Castillo.
5 Pamplona to Puente la Reina - 23km
6h15 +442 m / -525 m
Leaving Pamplona behind, the Camino takes pilgrims towards the ‘Alto del Perdón’ (Hill of Forgiveness) pass. Get your picture taken with the photogenic pilgrim sculpture at the ‘alto’ and enjoy fantastic 360 panoramic views of Pamplona and the valley. From there, you will begin your descent towards Puente la Reina (Queen’s Bridge) with its quaint medieval alleys and impressive 11th century bridge over the River Arga.
6 Puente la Reina to Estella - 22km
6h15 | +466 m / -405 m
The Camino de Santiago continues along peaceful tracks for most of today, from the towns of Puente la Reina to Estella. You will walk along rolling farmland, passing small towns and villages nested among olive groves, cereal crops and vineyards. Cirauqui (Zirauki), perched on a hilltop, is a pretty little village of winding medieval streets where you will find one of the best preserved stretches of Roman road. Estella-Lizarra is your final point for today, a nice historic town with plenty to do and see.
7 Estella to Los Arcos - 22km
6h30 | +288 m / -273 m
After exploring Estella and its many monuments, you will continue on your Camino to Santiago. Just outside Estella you will find Bodegas Irache, the Wine Museum and its free wine fountain, stop for a rest and sip of the local Rioja! Most of your walk today will be along nice tracks, among vineyards, olive trees and cereal fields. From Villamayor de Monjardín to Los Arcos, you will cover approximately 12kms without passing a single village so make sure you have plenty of water and a few snacks.
8 Los Arcos to Logroño - 27km
8h | +319 m / -360 m
You will continue your Camino on a very enjoyable track across rolling countryside, leaving Navarra and entering (officially!) La Rioja region, world-famous for its red wine. You will pass the dramatic ruins of Clavijo Castle before entering the city of Logroño, capital of La Rioja and home to some of the best tapas scene on the Camino. Head for Calle Laurel to sample the local Rioja-style specialities.
Easy Walking Option Stay in Viana - 18km & 10km
4h | +160 m / -180 m
You can split your long walking day from Los Arcos to Logroño, into two stages of 18km and 10km, if you would like to walk at a more relaxed pace. You would stay overnight in a period hotel in the lovely hilltop village of Viana.
9 Logroño to Nájera - 28km
8h | +390m / -280m
Although quite a long, today is quite an easy section of the Camino. Leave Logroño by the old pilgrims’ gate ‘Puerta del Camino’. The first part of the day takes you out of the city but you will eventually get back to the vineyards of La Rioja. Your first stop is Navarrete, a 12th century town built by the ‘Knights of the Holy Sepulchre’. Here you can admire the fabulous Baroque church of ‘La Ascensión’. You will finish the day in Nájera, another medieval town with a history with a strong link to the Camino. From Nájera you will enjoy get great panoramic views of the whole region.
10 Nájera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada - 21km
6h | +275m / -132m
Today’s walking day is much shorter and you will enjoy great views along the way. The Camino takes you along quiet country roads with La Demanda Mountain to the South. You will pass the small village of Azofra, dedicated to the La Rioja patron: La Virgen de Valvanera. Azofra is also the starting point for the ‘Monasteries route’, off the Camino de Santiago route but worth visiting if you have additional days, particularly the Yuso and Suso monasteries of San Millán de la Cogolla, considered the birthplace of Spanish language. You will finally arrive in Santo Domingo de la Calzada, a town with a beautiful Medieval centre and a history closely linked to the Camino de Santiago.
11 Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Belorado - 22km
7h15 | +288m / -162m
Today, you will start your day on the Camino walking on uneven terrain through woodland and then crop fields. Part of today’s trail runs parallel to busy main roads. As you get closer to Belorado, you will start catching a glimpse of the Oca Mountains, the last mountain range before the Meseta (the central Spanish Plateau). Your stop for the night is Belorado, a small and pleasant village in the Burgos province. Visit the Santa María Church where you will find images of St James.
12 Belorado to Atapuerca - 29km
7h15 | +255m / -169m
Most of today’s walk will be along earthen tracks and peaceful trails on your way to the tiny hamlet of Atapuerca. As you reach the mountains of ‘Villafranca Montes de Oca’, the Camino weaves its way through gorgeous woodlands of fragrant oak and pines. You will pass though the hamlet of San Juan de Ortega where you can visit its famous mausoleum before continuing onto Atapuerca famous for its UNESCO World Heritage prehistoric caves where fossils and stone tools of the earliest known hominins in Western Europe have been found.
Easy Walking Option Stay in Villafrance Montes de Orca - 11km & 18km
The long walking day above between Belorado and Atapuerca, can be split into two stages of 11km and 18km if you would like a more relaxed pace. You would stay overnight in a lovely 3* hotel in the town of Villafranca Montes de Oca.
13 Atapuerca to Burgos - 20km
4h15 | +32m / -240m
Today’s walk will be mostly across mountainous terrain on the Sierra de Atapuerca, enjoying great views of the Burgos region. You begin to descend into a flat river valley as you approach the suburbs of Burgos city, home to one of Spain’s most beautiful Gothic cathedrals.
14 Burgos to Hornillos del Camino - 21km
5h15 | +302 m / -307 m
Today you will leave Burgos and will enter the Meseta. For most of today you will be walking along earthen tracks, among the immense crop fields of the region. On your way to Hornillos del Camino, you will cross small woods of holm oak and conifers but in general there is little shade along this stretch of the Camino de Santiago so make sure you take enough water with you, as well as hat and sun cream. Hornillos del Camino, with only 70 inhabitants, is a classic Camino village of medieval origin.
15 Hornillos del Camino to Castrojeriz - 20km
5h | +210 m / -324 m
Another day of walking in the peaceful vastness of the Meseta awaits, with only nature and huge crop fields around you. After leaving Hornillos, the Camino de Santiago gradually climbs up a plateau before descending to the valley of the River Bol and the pretty town of Castrojeriz. In Castrojeriz, you can visit the 9th century hilltop castle, recently reopened to visitors. Castrojeriz celebrates its Garlic Festival in July.
16 Castrojeriz to Frómista - 25km
6h30 | +137 m / -122 m
Today you will leave the final plains of the Burgos region and reach the highest point of the Meseta: Alto Mosterales. After crossing the Pisuerga River you will enter the Palencia province and the vast plains of ‘Tierra de Campos’, theLand of Fields, and you will soon understand why. Stop to visit the 14th century church ‘La Asunción’ in Boadilla, famous for its Gothic architecture and the gorgeous carved baptismal font. Approaching Frómista you will walk along a stretch of the Canal de Castilla, a 18th century canal.
17 Frómista to Carrión de los Condes - 19km
5h | +150 m / -146 m
Visit the beautiful 11th century Church of St Martin in Frómista before you start today’s walk. Today’s Camino trail takes you along a track parallel to the road, but you can take an alternative more scenic route at Población de Campos, via Villovieco, along the peaceful banks of the Ucieza River. You will rejoin the Camino at Villalcázar de Sirga and finish your day’s walk at Carrión de los Condes.
18 Carrión de los Condes to Calzadilla de la Cueza - 17km
4h45 | +116 m / -51 m
For 13km of today’s stage you will follow natural tracks along the old Roman road called ‘Via Aquitania’ and also along a stretch of the original paved road. The ‘Via Aquitania’ used to link Bordeaux and Astorga and was frequently used by French pilgrims on their way to Santiago. Stop to visit the impressive San Zoilo Monastery in Carrión de los Condes.
19 Calzadilla de la Cueza to Sahagún - 22km
5h30 | +160 m / -222 m
Your walking stage for today is full of ‘cuezas’ or little valleys, so some of the walking may be slightly tougher than the previous days. The Camino route moves away from the road and continues along nice peaceful oak woods before emerging to cereal fields. You will cross the river Valderaduey into the León province and head to Sahagún where the church of San Lorenzo is well worth a visit.
20 Sahagún to El Burgo Ranero - 19km
5h | +109 m / -50 m
Today, the Camino leaves the vast ‘Tierra de Campos’ behind and continues across cereal and grain crops, taking pilgrims to the plateau of León.
21 El Burgo Ranero to Mansilla de las Mulas - 19km
5h15 | +37 m / -122 m
Today, you will pass the pretty village of Reliegos on your way to León. Also on this section of the Camino, you will have the opportunity to take the ‘Via Traiana’ which is another trail to Santiago, starting in Bordeaux.
22 Mansilla de las Mulas to León - 18km
5h | +148 m / -124 m
Today you will walk past crop fields before spotting the first signs of industrial activity further on, as you approach the city. From Portillo Hill onwards you will be able to spot the beautiful city of León ahead.
23 León to Mazarife - 21km
5h45 | +229 m / -151m
Today’s section of the Camino from León is pretty flat and easy. You will walk along crop fields: grain, corn, potatoes… and pretty apple orchards.
24 Mazarife to Astorga - 29km
6h30 | +237m / -256m
After the suburbs of León city, you will start a pretty hike along footpaths and dirt tracks towards one of the prettiest villages on the Camino: Hospital de Órbigo where you will cross the famous and picturesque ‘Puente de Órbigo’ bridge. The Mountains of León can be seen in the distance. When you reach the pretty hilltop city of Astorga, capital of the Maragateria, visit its ‘pink’ cathedral, the Episcopal palace designed Gaudí and home to the Pilgrimage Museum and the city walls. And you can’t leave Astorga without trying the local chocolates.
Easy Walking Option Stay in Hospital de Órbigo - 14km & 17km
3h15 | +118m / -128m
Split your long walking day above between Mazarife and Astorga into two stages of 14km and 17km, if you would like to walk at a more relaxed pace. You would stay overnight in a charming hotel in the town of Hospital de Órbigo.
25 Astorga to Rabanal del Camino - 21km
5h | +297m / -35m
Today, you will gradually make your way up towards the stunning León Mountains and the lush Bierzo region, taking paths surrounded by broom, heather and oak trees.
26 Rabanal del Camino to Ponferrada - 32km
7h30 | +720m / -1328m
This is one of the most rewarding days on the Camino as it climbs to ‘Mount Irago’. Stop at the Iron Cross on top of the mountain, one of the most special places on the French Way, where you can place a memento and visit the St James chapel before descending to the lush area of El Bierzo on your way to Ponferrada. Once in Ponferrada, you should explore the old town, its impressive 12th century Templars Castle, and make sure you try the local specialities, such as botillo and some of Spain’s most delicious cured meats.
Easy Walking Option Stay in Acebo - 16km & 16km
3h45 | +360m / -664m
You can choose to split your long walking day above between Rabanal del Camino and Ponferrada, into two stages of 16km each, if you would like to walk at a more relaxed pace. You would stay overnight in a charming hotel in the pretty mountain village of Acebo.
27 Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo - 23km
6h | +230 m / -211 m
Today, the Camino takes you across the heart of the lush region of El Bierzo, nestled in the mountains. Take the opportunity to taste the local delicious cherries if you are travelling in Summer, exquisite cured meats and other regional delicacies. In Villafranca, known as ‘little Compostela’, visit the garden of the Iglesia de Santiago, St James Church. The church has a ‘Forgiveness Gate’, Puerta del Perdón, that only opens during Holy Years.
28 Villafranca del Bierzo to O Cebreiro - 29km
7h | +1161 m / -526 m
Today you should be prepared for a challenging day, one of the hardest on the Camino Frances: with an ascent of 1000m, you will pass the valley of the Valcarce River before climbing to the picturesque village of O Cebreiro. Located between the ranges of ‘Os Ancares’ and ‘Serra do Courel’, this stage holds a steep climb in only a few kilometres but the views are spectacular..
Easy Walking Option Stay in Herrerías - 21km & 9km
3h30 | +580 m / -263 m
Split your long walking day above, from Villafranca del Bierzo to O Cebreiro, into two easier stages of 21km & 9km. You will stay in the small hamlet of Herrerías, in a traditional farmhouse with views of the mountains. Let the CaminoWays.com team know.
29 O Cebreiro to Triacastela - 21km
5h30 | +1204 m / -1574 m
From the village of O Cebreiro you will walk the ‘Serra de Ranadoiro’ (Ranadoiro Mountains) and reach Alto do Poio where you will encounter the pilgrim statue and enjoy fantastic panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. From the Alto you will start descending into the village of Triacastela.
30 Triacastela to Sarria - 19km
5h30 | +454m / -648m
Of the two Camino options, the ‘San Xil’ Camino offers scenery that will lift your spirits. It has many ‘corredoiras’ (narrow forest tracks) with paved pathways through native Galician oak woods. If you wish to visit the impressive Samos Monastery, you will walk across the valley of the river Ouribio, predominantly following the road. Sarria is the most popular Camino starting point, as it is 100kms away from Santiago.
31 Sarria to Portomarín - 22km
6h | +230m / -300m
Today, expect a calm walk through pretty villages and peaceful hamlets under the shade of oak trees and along quiet country roads. Along the way, you will spot many Galician traditional ‘hórreos’ (granaries). Visit the beautiful Romanesque church in the village of Barbadelo. Your destination for the night is the town of Portomarin. You can choose to split this walking day in two and stay in the hamlet of Morgade.
32 Portomarín to Palas de Rei - 25km
6h15 | +633m / -407m
Starting from the lovely village of Portomarin, today the Camino will cross the river Miño (Galicia’s longest river) and rise uphill steadily towards the Serra de Ligonde. You will pass nice hamlets such as Gonzar and Ventas de Narón. Stop to visit the Romanesque Church of Santa María in Castromaior and the Romanesque church in Eirexe, with its portal featuring a sculpture of Daniel with animals, as well as Pilgrim Santiago.
You can choose to split this walking day in two and stay in the hamlet of Ventas de Narón.
33 Palas de Rei to Arzúa - 29km
7h | +553m / -723m
Today, the Camino trail continues downhill, passing the village of Casanova and the delightful village of Leboreiro. You should take a break in the lively market town of Melide (454m), where you should try octopus, Galicia’s most classic dish, in one of the many ‘pulperías’. The Camino crosses several streams and follows a forest track bringing you to the village of Boente and the church of Santiago. Next is the pretty medieval hamlet of Ribadiso and finally the town of Arzúa (389m), famous for its local cheese. In Arzúa, you should visit the churches of Santa María and A Magdalena.
Easy Walking Option Stay in Melide - 15km & 14km
3h30 | +276m / -362m
The long walking day above, between Palas and Arzúa, can be split into two stages of 15km and 13km if you would like to walk at a more relaxed pace. You would stay overnight in a charming 2* hotel in the town of Melide.
34 Arzúa to Amenal - 23km
5h30 | +371m / -460m
Today’s Camino will take you through pretty woods, sleepy villages and across streams for most of the day. The chapel of Santa Irene, with its unique statue of Santiago, is worth a visit. En-route, don’t miss the lovely hamlet of Rúa (310m). The rest of the route to Amenal is along a mix of good and calm country roads and forest tracks.
35 Amenal to Santiago de Compostela - 16km
4h | +296 m / -306 m
After Amenal, your next point of interest is Lavacolla in the outskirts of Santiago, where pilgrims used to wash themselves in the river in preparation for their arrival in Santiago de Compostela. Rows of tall eucalyptus trees line your journey to Monte do Gozo (‘Mount of Joy’ 368m) and it is from here that will catch your first glimpse of the spires of the cathedral in Santiago. When you arrive in the city (264m, population 80,000), explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site’s architecture and delight in the wonderful atmosphere of this spiritual and cultural city. With only 16.5km to walk today, you should be in Santiago in time for the pilgrim mass (12pm).
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36 Santiago de Compostela
After visiting Santiago Cathedral and recovering from your walk, take time to explore this gem of a city, small and vibrant. Its old town will enchant you. In Santiago the Compostela you will find not only pilgrims but also locals and students, enjoying a few bites and socialising over a glass of wine in the many bars, restaurants and cosy cafes. Read our blog post: Top 10 things to do in Santiago de Compostela for ideas before your trip.