The Way of St. James

  • Destination:
  • Duration: 10 days
  • Price: $1,570

The very first pilgrims way to Santiago de Compostela, better known as “El Camino del Norte” dates back from the Early Middle Ages when devotees coming from northern Europe traversed the northern green provinces of the Iberian Peninsula on their way to the holy shrine. At this time the route now followed to the south, was in the hands of the Moors.

We offer a walking tour that follows part of the coastal St. James way, which runs through the Principality of Asturias, providing a combination of cultural heritage, folklore and nature. The tour traces the spectacular coastline of surf beaches, picturesque fishing villages and scenic hilly landscapes, dotted with Pre-Romanesque churches set in small historic villages.

At the end of the walk a regular coach transfer is available to take you to Santiago de Compostela to stay in a comfortable hotel with courtyard and garden, in the old city for a further two nights.

There are 7 and 14 night itineraries available upon request

Day 1
Indiviual Arrival at Asturias

Airport Taxi transfer to the first accommodation in the coastal village of Prado Depending on the time of arrival, a scenic walk can be made by climbing the adjacent hill “Pico de la Forquita” (340m) from where you have beautiful panoramic views of the Sierra del Sueve and the Cantabrian Sea.

Day 2
Prado – Pernus (5 hours)

Descending towards the coast, you will soon come across the waymark with the blue/yellow St. James shell, the sign that you are on “El Camino del Norte”. The famous pilgrims’ way runs through green meadows bordering the scenic coastline.

Now and then we cross little white, sandy beaches sheltered by rocks which allow you to literally step in some huge footprints left by dinosaurs, who once inhabited this region.

Day 3
Pernus to Villaviciosa (6 hours)

We leave the coast behind and head for the green hills. Our path contours rural villages and hamlets of typical Asturian houses with wooden balconies and “hórreos”, before reaching the famous ancient church of Priesca (AD921), a jewel of the Pre-Romanesque architecture.

Crossing the delta and tidal river “Ria Villaviciosa”, a nature reserve and breeding place for migratory birds from the north, we follow a small stream and cross the valley before reaching the lovely country town of Villaviciosa, your accommodation for the next two nights.

Day 4
Circular Walk / Sightseeing (4 hours)

A pleasant walk via the hilltop Monte Cubera from where beautiful views over both the Cantabrian Sea and the surrounding Sierras to the little town of Villaviciosa can be had. Coats of arms or “escudos” on the medieval houses in the old part remind us that it was here where Emperor Charles V first set foot on Spanish soil. Alternatively, by public transport or a taxi, charming neighbouring fishing villages like Lastres or Tazones can be visited.

On one of the many terraces in the harbour you can eat fresh crab or other delicious fish dishes and tapas. Or you can walk to one of the nearby beaches.

Day 5
Villaviciosa – Valdedios (5 hours)

Following the valley through numerous villages you arrive at the monastry of Santa María de Valdediós. The monastery dates back to the 13th century and the adjacent picturesque Pre-Romanesque church “San Salvador” has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Cistercian monks offer their guests a unique and comfortable stay in the monastery.

Day 6
Valdedios – San Justo (5 hours)

Today we cross the heart of the cider region with its traditions and folklore. There are apple orchards everywhere and in autumn the juicy sweet smelling fruits will be squeezed and made into sparkling cider. Many farms have their own “llagar” cider bodega with presses and wooden barrels for storage.

Day 7
San Justo – Oviedo (6 hours)

After a short transfer back to the seaside we follow a pleasant trail that runs along the coastline with its sheer cliffs and secluded small white sandy beaches which can only be reached on foot. At Peñarrubia, the coastal path winds around the rocks to finally join the promenade around the bay of San Lorenzo, the city of Gijón’s main beach. From Gijon you travel by local train to the city of Oviedo (price not included), the capital and cultural centre of the Principality.

The Asturian King Alfonso II The Great initiated from Oviedo the very first pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela (813 AD). Apart from the main monuments and elegant medieval houses, you’ll find numerous colourful plazas dotted with little restaurants, taverns and bars which invite you to enjoy some delicious tapas and other gastronomic dishes from the region.

Day 8
Oviedo to Santiago de Compostela

This morning, you transfer by coach to Santiago de Compostela (own expense). The balance of the day is free.

Day 9
Sightseeing in Santiago de Compostela

Enjoy a full day visiting Santiage de Compostela.

Day 10
Departure Day

After breakfast your tour comes to an end and you may begin your journey home. We would also be more than happy to extend your stay in Europe.

Departure Dates
Any date from February 1st to December 1st

 

Price Per Person
CAD $1570
7 night tour per person* CAD $860
14 night tour per person* CAD $1800
Single room CAD On request
*Inclusions vary from the 10 day tour

 

Included
9 nights in small guesthouses and country hotel, Casa de Aldea, and a monastery, in a double room with private facilities
Maps and route details in English
Luggage transfers
Taxi transfer from Oviedo airport to first hotel
Emergency support
4 evening meals (not on days 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9)
Tour Rating
MODERATE: This tour requires a good level of fitness as you hike through the foothills of the Pyrenees for up to 6 hours per day. The paths and trails are in very good condition and well marked.