Live the essence of Camino de Santiago, “The French Way”

Walk 300kms of historical Spanish land noted as the most scenic stage of the Camino, from the City of Leon to Santiago de Compostela.

Take in everything the Camino has to offer, a diverse variety of landscapes; the flat open space of Meseta, breathtaking majesty of mountain ranges, deep gullies, wooded paths and cooling waterways. Meander through quaint villages and magnificent Cities, be in awe of historical sights of great significance; Monasteries, Cathedrals, Bridges and Castles of times gone by, and share in many diverse cultural and gastronomical delights.

Enjoy having nothing to concern yourself about; you have direct contact to us in Spain, your logistical needs are taken care of, your bag is transported daily, no heavy load on your back! Just one foot in front of the other, one destination to the other and at the end of each day your conveniently located superior accommodation, with a private bathroom, is waiting for you.

Buen Camino!

If you have Special Needs we offer

Tailor-Made – Group Packages  and  Tailor-Made – Individual Packages

  • Difficulty: Rest day
  • Length: km.
  • Hours: h.

Your Camino begins in Leon, one of the most beautiful cities in Castilla, situated in the vast Meseta (plateau) region in Spain.

Explore this beautiful city and the incredible Gothic cathedral renowned for its spectacular stained glass windows.

Visit the two main districts full of narrow streets and plazas, with a variety of taverns, bars, restaurants, terraces, Barrio Húmedo and Barrio Romántico, both near the Cathedral.

Enjoy a meal and the take an early night to ensure you are rested and ready for your first day of walking Camino de Santiago!

 

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Length: 32 km.
  • Hours: 9h.

From León to Hospital de Órbigo you have 33 km. The exit from León is a hard and long walk, 8 km through city streets, to the monument of La Virgen Del Camino, marking the end of the city.

Many Pilgrims take a bus or a taxi, to Virgen Del Camino to start their day making it 25km to Hospital de Órbigo. This, of course, is your choice.

When in Virgen Del Camino you enter the off-road Camino path, here you must choose between the historic Camino through Villadangos Del Páramo (full of industrial and residential areas) or the alternative Camino through Villar de Mazarife. We suggest this alternative as it takes you off the national road to a more rural option, again your choice. Both options take you to Hospital de Órbigo a flat and manageable stage.

When you arrive at Hospital De Orbigo you will be greeted by the sight of the magnificent bridge the town is famous for. It has nineteen arches with the Río Órbigo flowing through only three and is reserved for pedestrians only. You will also find in the Templar Town a 12th Century Church.

 

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 17 km.
  • Hours: 5h.

Today is an easy short walk only 17km.

When you reach the pretty hilltop city of Astorga, capital of the Maragateria area, visit its ‘pink’ cathedral built in 1471 it houses a museum as well. Also, the fabulous Episcopal palace designed by Antoni Gaudí, (the famous Catalan architect) and the city walls.

Astorga is well known for its famous chocolates and “Las Mantecadas (cupcakes) de Astorga”.

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Length: 20 km.
  • Hours: 6h.

Start your way towards León Mountains on paths where you will be surrounded by heather, oak and broom. The ascent is soft and progressive up to Rabanal Del Camino.

To your left, you will witness for several days the magnificent view of “El Teleno”, the highest Mountain summit in León Camino, 2,188m above sea level, escorting you for days towards Galicia.

You will pass several beautiful villages,  Santa Catalina de Somoza and El Ganso

Soon after reaching Rabanal Del Camino 1,150m high, a beautiful little town where you can eat the famous and very hearty Cocido Maragato.

  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Length: 25 km.
  • Hours: 8h.

A spectacular stage, cold most of the year. Take something warm in your backpack.

You have a hard steep ascent to the beautiful village of Foncebadon, 5.5km, a lost village in the middle of the mountain. Continue to climb to “Cruz de Ferro”(Iron Cross) 1.504m, which is the most symbolic milestone in the entire Camino. A bit further you find the “Collado de las Antenas” 1.515m, the highest point in the French Camino, Take some time to enjoy the stunning view.

Start your descent to the lush area of El Bierzo. You will experience a challenging descent to Molinaseca, probably the hardest in Camino together with the decline to Zubiri, encountered at the very beginning. The most difficult section is between the Collado down to Acebo. Please take your time and take care of your ankles and knees. In bad weather, we suggest walking the road instead of the way.

You will enter Molinaseca crossing its beautiful Romanesque Pilgrim’s Bridge, a picturesque town that looks a little like a movie set, sitting at the foot of the mountain. Its narrow streets and historic buildings are spectacular.

 

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 8 km.
  • Hours: 2h.

After 5 days of walking, today is a very easy and short walk into Ponferrada the last big city on the way to Santiago de Compostela. You have time to take advantage of being in a city if you have any need to update any of your gear and have a well-deserved rest. The 12th century Templars Castle is especially worth visiting here.

 

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 16 km.
  • Hours: 5h.

Leaving Ponferrada you will pass through the village of Compostilla, a former mining town, followed by Columbrianos closely followed by Fuentes Nuevas and Camponaraya.

Arriving in Cacabelos you walk past the Hermitage of San Roque if it is open pop in it has been turned into a quirky little museum of sorts. Wander through the village and admire the clever street art to the end of the main road you will come to Iglesia de Santa Maria de la Plaza.

This is where you will rest tonight

 

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 24 km.
  • Hours: 7h.

Today you continue in this beautiful area of El Bierzo passing through Villafranca Del Bierzo, with its beautiful castle and the church of Santiago. Here you can admire the ‘Forgiveness Gate’, Puerta Del Perdón that only opens during Holy Years.

You may hear a change in the language of the people with locals speaking Galician, the language of Galicia and bordering regions. Your route passes through the ranges of ‘Os Ancares’ finishing your day in Ambasmestas or Vega de Valcace, depending on the best available accommodation. There you can see the motorway bridge, 100m above.

 

  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Length: 14 km.
  • Hours: 5h.

From here to Santiago you walk mainly through landscape with oak, beech, chestnut and gum trees.

Today you face the iconic milestone of Camino, the feared climb up to O Cebreiro, at 1.330m. From Vega de Valcarce, at 630m you climb 700m in 12 km. The hardest section is between Las Herrerias and La Laguna, 500m in 5.5 km. You cross the border between Castilla and Galicia and realise the day was well worth every step, the views are spectacular.

O Cebreiro is the first village in Galicia, a delightful hilltop hamlet. From here we have a spectacular 360º view. This image will remain in your mind forever. O Cebreiro is an iconic location for its outlook, church, legends and its “pallozas”, typical Galician construction, round stone houses with a straw roof.

After a hard days walk you will enjoy the specialities of this land: Pulpo (octopus) and the local Cebreiro cheese.

Make sure you get to the Pilgrims Mass whether you are religious or not the Mass here has a special spirit as does this land.

 

  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Length: 21 km.
  • Hours: 7h.

Today you initiate your journey in Galicia, through the “Ancares” Mountains.

It’s important to consider that you are walking in a land where fog, wind and low temperatures are frequent in all seasons and particularly in winter.

You find moderate but frequent steep sections up to Hospital de la Condesa, where you face a hard, challenging, steep incline up to Alto de Poio 1.337m, the highest point in Galician section of Camino. There you will encounter the pilgrim statue and enjoy fantastic panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. From the Alto, you will continue to Fonfría and from there you have a long walk downhill, 9 km to the town of Triacastela, the first stop on the Galician section of the Camino with around 1000 inhabitants. There are regularly more Pilgrims than locals in the town, a great place to rest after your days of climbing mountains!

 

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 25 km.
  • Hours: 7h.

You have a decision to make today. There are two options to get Sarria: Through San Xil valley, one of the most beautiful valleys in Camino (7km shorter), or, through Samos, where you walk along the valley of the river Ouribio, magnificent oak and chestnut trees and admire the impressive Samos Monastery.

Whatever decision you make, you’ll get it right.

At the end of your day, you arrive in Sarria, a large town, about 15,000 inhabitants. You will notice from here an influx of Pilgrims. This is due to the last 100 km rule of the Compostela. It is here that tour companies and groups in buses hop on and off the Camino to do short walks and get stamps.

A Camino fact, around 40% of French Camino pilgrims arriving in Santiago every year start the pilgrimage here in Sarria. Do not fear though, you will find as the groups only do small sections, there are still stretches where you will have times of peace and tranquillity.

 

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: km.
  • Hours: h.

Today is the day for a well-earned rest in a modern bustling town with plenty of shops, hotels, restaurants and bars.

No bag to place in the foyer, have a sleep in, eat a hearty breakfast then visit the old quarter. Grab yourself a map of the city, amble along Rua Major and take your time to visit all of the historic delights this city has to offer. Visit  Iglesia de Santa Mariña, Monasterio de la Magdalena, medieval bridge Ponte Aspera, Capilla de San Lazaro and Torre de la Fortaleza, the only remains of a once impressive castle, just to name a few.

ENJOY YOUR DAY!

 

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 22 km.
  • Hours: 6h.

Today you face a beautiful stage through Galician bushes, pretty villages and hamlets with its traditional “hórreos” (granaries). In Pina dos Corvos you will enjoy wonderful views of Belesar reservoir and surrounding countryside, from here there is a steep descent into Portomarín where you will cross the Miño River over its modern bridge into Portomarín.

The remains of the medieval town of Portomarín disappeared under these reservoir waters in the 1950s, Franco (Dictator) decided to build a hydroelectric dam 40 kilometres downriver and flooded the town of Portomarín. The most important monuments, the churches of San Nicolás, San Pedro and some of the cherished 16th and 17th-century manor houses or Pazos were transported stone by stone  high above the river to the new village of Portomarin that you will visit today. The square in the centre of town boasts most of the historic monuments including the Pazo Del Conde da Maza.

 

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Length: 25 km.
  • Hours: 7h.

Today’s walk passes through similar landscapes as yesterday, you exit from Portomarin crossing the river Miño, Galicia’s longest river, you then begin a steady uphill walk from 350m to 725m for 12km a challenging yet not difficult section on and off the road.

In Ventas de Narón, you pass the small 13th century Ermita de Santa María Magdalena built by the Knights Templar, in Castromaior the circa 4BC to 1AD Roman ruins well worth the short detour off the Camino.

Your destination Palas de Rei, known as Palace of the King due to a king residing there, is a small country town with plenty of shops, bars and cafes, most of town life revolving around the Plaza del Concello. Visit la Iglesia de San Tirso originally built in the 12th to early 13th century. It has undergone numerous changes over the centuries with the only original part of the church, the Romanesque doorway.

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Length: 29 km.
  • Hours: 8h.

Today you have a long day ahead of you. Walking downhill for most of the way, crossing many creeks. In the middle of your journey, you reach Melide, a mandatory stop to enjoy the most famous Pulpo (octopus) in Galicia, together with a Ribeiro wine. Two of the most renowned octopus restaurants in Galicia are found here, Ezequiel and Garnacha.

From here pretty much most of the way to Santiago you will wind your way in and out of pine and eucalyptus forest with quite a steep descent into Ribadiso da Baixo.

Finally, you arrive at the town of Arzúa, the most significant city (6,000 inhabitants) before Santiago, famous for its local cheese Queixo Arzúa-Ulloa. Visit the 14th century Capilla de la Magdalena, all that is left of a former Augustinian monastery.

 

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 19 km.
  • Hours: 5h.

A comfortable stage, quite flat, along prairies and bushes, alternating between track and county lanes, passing through several small hamlets.
Continue on woodland paths, passing a monument to Guillermo Watt who died at this spot, a day from completing his Camino. Reaching Alto de Santa Irene, the high point of today and a good picnic and rest area.
O Pedrouzo is a small busy town with plenty of shops, restaurants and bars and the last stage of the Camino before entering Santiago de Compostela.

 

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 20 km.
  • Hours: 6h.

Today you face your last walk day in Camino!

The first half runs through rural landscape, similar to days before.

From Lavacolla you walk through the airport, highways, urban and residential areas. Then you reach Monte do Gozo (Mount of Joy) 5km before the city centre, from here you will glimpse the spires of the Cathedral in Santiago.

The entrance to the old city of Santiago (100,000 inhabitants) is stunning, an incredible walk through the historic city streets leading you under the Arco del Obispo where you make your triumphant entrance into the Plaza del Obradoiro, Congratulations!

This night is one of celebration, the City will be brimming with Pilgrims and Locals alike

enjoying the local cuisine and wines, sharing tales of their Camino and for many saying farewells to their Camino Friends.

*Don’t forget to go and get your Compostela. The location will be noted on your daily map

 

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: km.
  • Hours: h.

Enjoy your last day and explore this Historic City with its many specialised Tapas bars and restaurants, meet other pilgrims with whom you have shared joys and sorrows during so many days, some of them you will never meet again others will be friends for the rest of your life and some of you will have found love.

If you were late arriving yesterday you can attend the midday pilgrims mass and look around the famous Cathedral of St. James which forms the city’s heart and watch the collection of pilgrims arriving into the square as they finish their epic journey as you did yesterday.

The end of this unique experience, unless of course, you are heading to Fisterra!

  • Difficulty: Rest day
  • Length: km.
  • Hours: h.

Today you will have your last breakfast as a Crossroads Travel Customer unless of course, Fisterra has called you!

Whatever it is you do from here please go safely, thank you for choosing Crossroads Travel
We hope to see you again sometime soon.

End of our Services.

Buen Camino!!

Flexible. Set your own agenda

Inclusions Leon – Santiago Camino:

  • 18 nights’ Superior accommodation, preferably rural and boutique hotels.
  • Private Bathroom in all rooms
  • Daily breakfast
  • Luggage transfer daily (1 x 20kg bag per person)
  • Maps of your accommodation locations
  • Pre-trip Camino guidance and planning
  • Australian and Spanish emergency phone numbers
  • local support person in Spain

Welcome Pack:

  • Pilgrim’s passport
  • Camino shell
  • Luggage tags
  • Full Camino walking guidebook with maps
  • Camino Journal with Pen
  • Other goodies for your Camino

Not Included 

  • Travel and medical insurance
  • Additional bags transfer (will incur additional costs)
  • Single Supplement
  • Any meal not specified in the Inclusions list
  • Any other item not specified in the Inclusions list
  • Flights/Transfers/Extra Accommodations.

Optional Services: 

  • Airport transfers from the start point and end destination
  • Extra night accommodation in the start point and end destination
  • Extra luggage transfer or storage
  • Fisterra experience: Tour from Santiago to Fisterra return 2 days

Crossroads Travel wants to ensure comfort at the end of your day.

We aim to use Superior Accommodation, preferably rural and boutique hotels.

  • We understand you want a touch of comfort along the way, private bathroom, comfy bed, breakfast included.
  • Your accommodation is handpicked. We know the people that house and feed you while you are on your Camino.
  • Your accommodation will be located on or as close as possible to the vibe of the Camino.

To ensure we are able to secure the best possible accommodation we advise you to book 60 days in advance, less than this we will do our utmost to secure the best available at the time of booking.

The images below are examples of our selected accommodation and what you can expect from your booking.

ARRIVING at LEON:

These are the main options

From Barcelona:

  1. Take the train to Leon (6:00 h).
  2. Fly to Leon (1:30 h).

From Madrid:

  1. Take the train to Leon (2:15 h).
 Info
  • From - To: Leon to Santiago
  • Length: 317 km
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Cost: AUD$2,595
  • Dates:

    Flexible. Set your own agenda