Best of the Camino

Best of the Camino

Trip Highlights

  • Following in the footsteps of pilgrims along the medieval trail to Santiago de Compostela passing by churches and crosses marking the famous route.
  • Enjoying the camaraderie of your fellow walkers
  • Staying at friendly, family run hotels and eating at hotels and restaurants with delicious local dishes
  • Visiting Bilbao and the fabulous cities of Pamplona, Leon and Santiago with their wealth of religious and historic treasures
  • Experience the highlights of the Camino Trail

Trip Summary

The Camino de Santiago, or Compostela Trail, has for centuries represented an important pilgrimage route from France, across the Pyrenees and the north of Spain to the tomb of St James in Santiago de Compostela. Following the most interesting sections from Roncesvalles in Spain through famous pilgrimage cities such as Leon and Pamplona, the landscapes change daily from mountain trails to forests and open plains. A continuous reminder of the pilgrimage route are the many churches, monasteries and crosses which line the route. With the camaraderie of a small group and local guide, the trip is fully supported throughout. At night stay in atmospheric towns in a selection of hand picked hotels where the local flavours are introduced by your hosts.

Suitability

This is a guided walk with average daily stages of 3 to 5 hours. The km shown are the maximum each day and there are options to shorten the walking on most days by staying on the bus and being dropped off further along the trail. The trip is graded moderate as it is mainly on well defined trails, with a few off path sections only. There are many ups and downs and walking poles are definitely a good idea. A reasonable level of fitness is required. As with all of our trips it is important that you are well prepared. We suggest that you undertake regular exercise – swimming, cycling, and jogging, two to three times a week for three months prior to your departure.

Itinerary

Meet your guide at a central location in Bilbao at 4pm (to be confirmed prior to your departure). If you would like to visit the Guggenheim Museum you can do this in the morning, or stay an extra day in Bilbao - please ask our office for pre tour accommodation rates and suggestions. After your group meeting there's a brief stop at the Guggenheim Museum to admire the exterior of this architectural masterpiece before transferring to Roncesvalles or Burguete (approximately 3.5 hours drive) for dinner and overnight.

Meals:  D

Your first introduction to the famous pilgrimage trail begins in the historical village of Roncesvalles, high in the Pyrenees and only 5km from the French border in northeast Navarre. Its famous local church has several relics dating back to the 8th Century and the defeat of Charlemagne by local tribes. Walk along the Camino to Alto del Erro then transfer to Pamplona, dinner tonight will be tapas in restaurant Bearan. Overnight Pamplona. Distance: 18km/11.2mi

Meals:  B,D

Leaving Pamplona, we'll walk from the town of Cizur Menor with its 12th century Church of San Miguel before there's an ascent at Sierra del Perdon for a beautiful view. We'll pass through medieval villages and along a road to arrive at Puente la Reina, before transferring to Logrono (1hr). Situated on the Ebro river and on the border between La Rioja and Navarra, Logrono has many historic buildings. Dinner tonight will be at La Chula Restaurant in Logrono's lively centre. Distance 18km/11.2m

Meals:  B,D

In the morning, we'll visit the town of Laguardia in the wine area Rioja Alavesa, including a visit to an unusual wine cellar. We'll enter Castile e Leon and walk from Montes de Oca, through woodlands and along the foothills of the Oca Mountains, to the medieval village of San Juan de Ortega, which was built as a safe haven for pilgrims. Transfer to historic Burgos for dinner and overnight. Distance 15km/9.3mi

Meals:  B,D

In the morning we'll have a guided walking tour of Burgos, including its UNESCO listed Gothic Cathedral. We'll then transfer to Castrojeriz to walk across the Castilian meseta to Frómista. This is gentle easy walking along winding paths through the wide open plain, such a contrast to the mountains and hills of the previous days. Transfer to Carrión de los Condes for dinner and overnight. Distance: 13km/8mi

Meals:  B,D

Today we'll walk through the Castile landscape, characterised by small valleys and riverbeds, before transferring to Leon, once the most important city in Christian Spain. Here we'll have a guided city tour, including a visit to the magnificent Gothic cathedral, built on the site of Roman baths dating from the 2nd century. Dinner and overnight in Leon. Distance: 12km/7.5mi

Meals:  B,D

Today's walk is between the villages of Hospital de Orbigo and Astorga. A magnificent sandstone bridge leads into Hospital de Orbigo, and from here we'll pass the holm oak and chestnut tree covered Colomba mountain and cross the Tuerto river to Astorga. With Roman ruins, a Romanesque and Gothic Cathedral and the Antonio Gaudi designed Palacio Episcopal, Astorga has an interesting architectural mix. Overnight in Astorga. Distance: 13km/8mi

Meals:  B,D

The walk today is in the mountains and we begin at Cruz de Ferro, which has panoramic views over the plains below. Continue to the picturesque village of Molinaseca before strolling in Villafranca del Bierzo, nestling at the foot of the mountains. We'll transfer to Herrerias de Valcarce for dinner and overnight. Distance 16km/9.9mi

Meals:  B,D

Our route today takes us from the province of Castile to Galicia. This is another beautiful section through the mountains as we make our way to O Cebreiro, with its imposing church and wonderful views of the Galician countryside. It is also an important point of pilgrimage. From O Cebreiro we walk to Triacastela then transfer to Samos Monastery for a short visit. Transfer to Sarria for dinner and overnight. Distance: 18km/11mi

Meals:  B,D

We'll walk along tracks and paths through hamlets, farmland and woodlands to Portomarin. The town was relocated higher up the slopes after its original site was flooded following construction of the Belesar reservoir. Many monuments were moved to the new site stone by stone, including the church in the main square. Quite a feat! This is rural Galicia at its best. Transfer to Arzúa for dinner and overnight. Distance: 18km/11mi

Meals:  B,D

Santiago is our destination today. We drive to Lavacolla then walk into Santiago. We'll arrive in time to visit the amazing Gothic Cathedral and explore the historical centre. Tonight you have time to attend the evening pilgrims mass at 19:30 hrs. Overnight Santiago. Distance: 12km/7.5mi

Meals:  B,D

Today there's a guided tour in Santiago de Compostela. In the afternoon we take a half day excursion to Cape Finisterre, a symbolic destination as it was historically considered the edge of the known world. Farewell dinner and overnight Santiago.

Meals:  B,D

Your tour concludes after breakfast. We highly recommend staying an extra night in Santiago to further explore the historic and beautiful town at your own pace - please ask for our rates.

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 12 breakfasts, 12 dinners. Breakfasts are usually continental inclusive of bread or toast, tea and coffee. Dinner may start with soup, rice or pasta, followed by either an egg, chicken, red meat or fish dish & finishing with a dessert of fruit, crême caramel, etc. Dinners can be at the hotel or at local restaurants. Please note in Spain dinners are generally begin between 7:30pm – 9.30pm
  • 5 nights in 4 star, 7 nights in 1-3 star hotels all on a twin share basis - they are often small family-run hotels and rooms have private facilities.
  • English speaking guide throughout and local city guides in Burgos, Leon and Santiago (days 5. 6 and 12)
  • Support vehicle for baggage and transfers
  • Entrance fees according to the programme

What's Not Included

  • Travel to and from Bilbao / Santiago de Compostela
  • Lunches and all beverages
  • Sightseeing and entrance fees unless specified as included
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Storage of luggage
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips

Upcoming Travel Dates

Reviews

I appreciate the small group + being free to explore alone sometimes. The walks were what I expected.

J Gibson, Hampton, VIC


This trip was amazing!!! Couldn't believe we walked as much as we did. The trip guide, Jorge Bela, was wonderful. Very knowledgeable, approachable, easy to talk to, and a great coordinator. Always added a bit more to every stop we made. Thank you.

W. Mueller, San Diego, USA, 19 Jun 2018


The Best of the Camino is a good way to walk the Camino if you are short of time or not fit enough to walk the whole distance.

J. Cullen, Nelson, New Zealand, 29 Jun 2018


The Camino was wonderful. And if you do go go with UTracks on their Best of the Camino and the best it truly was, cutting out kilometres of boring tracks by highways and through suburban industry. On this trip you pass these boring bits. Talk about striking gold with our guide what our town guides did not know he filled in the gaps. His passion for Spain and the Camino was infectious. We stayed in 3/4 star hotels, ate splendid food and met marvellous people. Just go!

L. Doyle, NSW, Australia, 04 Oct 2018


I recently went on the Best of the Camino guided trip. It was excellent. The guide was excellent - his local knowledge really increased our understanding of the history of the Camino and the area. Hotels and food were excellent. The group was highly enjoyable and got on well. The pace of the tour was just right. The individuals in the group on the hikes each day were allowed to find their own pace so as much enjoyment as possible was had by all. There was enough time to also be a tourist in the towns we visited which also increased the feeling of a holiday mood. Overall it is a great trip to do an I would recommend it to those considering it.

J. Peters, North Ward, QLD, 12 Oct 2018


I was recommended to the Best of the Camino trip by friends but I must say it exceeded my expectations. Our guide was excellent, the hotels we stayed in and restaurants we ate at were very good, and it was great to have the organised tours along the way. This meant it wasn't just a great walk but also a very informative and enjoyable trip.

J. McLeod, Gymea, NSW, 18 Oct 2018


Our El Camino trip was essentially trouble-free, once we met the other tour members in Bilbao. For the most part, accommodation was good, with wifi being a constant issue generally. The food was good for me and my wife, but being a Spaniard, I am biased towards the fare on offer. Other guests had some trouble with typical food like garlic soup, blood sausage and so on, but alternative food was always made available. The walk itself was a voyage of discovery of the North of Spain and we were blessed with good weather virtually throughout. Some of the tour guides along the way were good and others not, but our tour leader and bus driver José Martin, are to be recommended for further tours. The walks are as challenging as you want to make them, as ample time is provided for and the team leader is always the sweeper, ensuring no one got left behind.

J. Pinel, QLD, Australia, 05 Jun 2019


A great way to see The Camino without slogging along miles of highways with trucks and vehicles clogging the air and scenery. Our minibus driver dropped us off well away from the traffic and we ambled through the best of the countryside, accompanied by a fantastic, knowledgeable guide. 170km just flew by.

P. Anderson, Largs Bay, South Australia, 05 Jun 2019


This trip was amazing thanks to Jorge Bella and the wonderful participants on the trek. We saw the best of the cathedrals, hiked along the Camino and met some very determined and wonderful locals and trekkers. We laughed, ate at good restaurants and stayed in the best of the hotels, with my favorite being the monastery. I am American and here was only one other but that didn't stop Jorge and the others from making us feel like we were all a team. I saw a lot of beauty in Spain in the people, the countryside and in Jorge who has a love and passion for his job and his country. My hat goes off to him and UTracks for offering me this once in a lifetime opportunity. Love you!

B. Christman, Topeka, KS, USA, 05 Jun 2019


Best of the Camino is exactly what this trip was! Each day's walk was through some wonderful scenery and interesting places. Then we travelled on the tour bus past many long stretches of the Camino that would have been very uninteresting to walk, many of them right beside the busy main road. This trip was so well planned and both our guide and our driver were brilliant, so friendly and helpful.

C. Dent, Surrey, UK, 10 Jun 2019


The trip was excellent. The sections chosen to travel provided a fantastic mix of the whole route, some easy, some challenging, always changing scenery. Congratulations to whoever decided which sections to include. Our guide Jorge was brilliant - always there for us, helpful, entertaining, considerate, going beyond the call of duty. He was an ace! Our driver Emilio was equally terrific, going out of his way to assist us in every possible way, even returning to collect some of us who required medical attention.

G. Scully, Newtown, VIC, 02 Oct 2019


Walking the Camino is a very personal journey for those who choose to do it. While this trip does not qualify for the Camino certificate we still walked 160k over the 10 days. Everyone on the trip had a different reason for being there. Our guide catered to everyone’s needs and made the trip very personal. For me, I simply just wanted to walk on the Camino. We did plenty of that. :)

A. Browne, Benowa, QLD, 01 Oct 2019


I would highly recommend The Best of the Camino and the walk far exceeded my expectations. Our guide was Jorge Bela who was very approachable, as was our driver and nothing was too much trouble for either of them.

S. Church, VIC, Australia, 08 Oct 2019


Overall, we enjoyed everything about our Best of the Camino trip. This was the first "active" walking trip we had done and our impression is that we would like to do more of these types of trips in the future. Team leader (Rita) and bus driver (Beni) were both wonderful throughout the trip - very patient and kind and worked through any issues that arose. Very organized. The pace of itinerary was good. Flexibility on length of walks accommodated participants who wanted to walk different lengths. We enjoyed the longer walking days and felt this is why we signed up for this type of tour..to be challenged and feel like we were doing long walks each day. Would highly recommend this tour for anyone who is interested in an active walking vacation. We met some wonderful people from our tour group and enjoyed spending time with them.

L. Steinbrecher, CA, USA, 23 Oct 2019


Friends of mine recommended UTracks to me and I was so glad they did. The group met up at a bar in Bilbao, and then boarded our bus around the corner. We travelled on a comfortable bus with a lovely guide, Rita, and driver, Beni. I was glad to find out that I wasn't the only solo traveller. The trip was called the Best of the Camino and it really was. We got to see the starting point and several points in between. I had not visited that part of Spain before and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was so glad I was on an organised trip as I had tendenitis in my heel on day 5 and was rescued by Beni. Rita was very good about letting people have options for the day. Thank you for a lovely trip. I'll definitely do another trip with UTracks in the future.

M. Finlan, London, UK, 23 Oct 2019


We really enjoyed the trip.

T. Knutson, Napa, CA, USA, 25 Oct 2019


Loved the trip and all the landscapes we walked thru. It was beautifully organized with many cultural and architectural highlights. The meals were very nice -esp. in Rondesvalles and Santiago. The Van support was terrific (as was the driver Emile) and our guide Manuel was a delight with whom to spend our time. He was very knowledgeable and kept us informed about most of it. We were able to walk at our own pace, meet up as needed and take advantage of the local scene.

K. Gottlieb, San Francisco, USA, 30 Oct 2019


The Best of the Camino guided trip was a fantastic experience! The itinerary truly allows savoring the various geographic, culinary, cultural, architectural, and religious offerings along this thousand year old pilgrim route. Our guide Manuel was the phenomenal interpreter who helped it all come to life for us!

P. Sapienza, California, USA, 05 Nov 2019


I would highly recommend this trip. It was a great way to experience “the Camino” in total without having to walk the whole way. Thank you UTracks for making it possible.

A. Walsh, Port Macquarie, NSW


Our guide was very friendly, helpful, accommodating, enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Her nightly story sessions of the legends & myths of the Camino made it come alive!! She was very professional and heaps of fun.

D.Spargo, Sydney, Australia


The Camino section was fabulous, amazing, and fantastic, I would go again tomorrow. The guide knew what she was talking about, had a passion for the Camino, her country, her history, and especially had a genuine interest in her tour participants. Our driver was safe, always on time, went out of his way to help, and provided extra services not part of the tour.

H. Bindels., NSW. Australia


The Best of The Camino guided walking tour is exactly as described, a journey encompassing many memorable moments from magnificent landscapes, an historical overview of cities such as Pamplona, Leon, Burgos and Santiago and the influence of previous societies which provides the current cultural aspect to these places. The journey itself which allowed those that weren't seasoned Trekkers to participate fully daily due to our excellent guide and his previous knowledge of the terrain and what was achievable for each group member. Also, the accommodation and meals were superb and we never wanted for anything.

D. Klundert., Bunbury, WA, Australia.


I loved this trip - It was well organised and incredibly interesting - challenging but manageable. Our tout guide was brilliant in every way you need a tour guide to be. The history and route were both amazing.If you are thinking of walking the Camino de Santiago I would highly recommend considering this trip as you truly do get to experience the BEST of the camino.

A. Parks., Toowong, QLD, Australia


Well guided and well provided for trip with excellent backup. Thoroughly recommended. Make sure the walking shoes are well broken in.

J. Jacobs, Exeter, UK, 12 Oct 2016


This trip took away all the major concerns I had about walking the Camino. Accommodations were pre-booked and good quality, meals - breakfast and dinner included so we were no left to dine on our own, safety - walking with group, guide and driver, baggage transport - not having to carry heavy pack, history and culture information about the areas we walked through was an added bonus. Length was good for a Camino primer. Would consider another longer Camino trek.

Linda Cooke, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, 01 Nov 2016


Sandra Gray, Wahroonga, Australia, 06 Nov 2016


The guide, Alex was very good. She had a cheerful disposition, energetic and attentive to all in the group. The driver Jesus, was helpful and friendly even though none of us in the group could speak Spanish to him. The group of 10 of us was a nice size and everyone was friendly and easy going. We were very lucky with the lovely, sunny weather too.

Lily Wong, Paddington, Australia, 04 Nov 2016


Walking the Camino is something I have wanted to do for a long time. The Best of the Camino was perfect. I experienced the pilgrimage and saw some of the Spanish countryside that you only get to see f you are walking. The tour was brilliant and the guide amazing. Thank you UTracks.

J. Hughes, Chapel Hill, QLD Australia, 06 Oct 2016


This is a very satisfying trip, without the "boring bits" of the well worn pilgrim walk. The back up vehicle was excellent for those who found the walking too strenuous. Our guide, Jorge, was very knowledgeable, pleasant and energetic. All the towns were interesting and there was enough time to see them, with city tour guides in the biggest, Burgos, Leon and Santiago. I enjoyed the luxury of my own hotel room with bathroom every night. There was enough trekking to experience the countryside, about 170km in total, and partake of the pilgrim experience. Arriving in Santiago and attending the Pilgrim Mass at the Cathedral was thrilling. I would recommend the trip to anyone who is interested in doing the Camino, but hesitant to spend 5 weeks on foot.

A. Kolatchew, Brisbane, Australia, 14 Jun 2017


Our guide Jorge and our bus driver Jesus, were exceptional in looking after us. Jorge was a wealth of knowledge and explained lots of things along the way. Jesus had us organized every morning and night and kept an eye on us in case we went the wrong way when we were coming into towns. I was a little disappointed at times when there wasn't a place at our table for Jesus to sit at. Our group looked after each other, which I am sure was due to our leaders.

J. Hillier, Huon, VIC Australia, 31 Jul 2017


I have just returned from a wonderful "Best of the Camino' trip to Spain, arranged through UTracks of Ottawa. In every way, it was satisfying and even inspirational. When the man at the Pilgrims Office in Santiago asked me if I had had a "cultural, athletic, spiritual or religious experience", I answered "All of the above". The right amount of walking each day, a very well-informed and caring guide named Jorge Bela, comfortable hotels, good meals and the company of 12 hearty Australians. Did I mention I was a fit 80? Buen camino!

R. Ganley, Peterborough, ON Canada, 28 Sep 2017


The choice of walks in The Best of the Camino were very good gave us an example of hills, forests, plains, rivers, dry creeks, farming communities, types of foods grown and animals cared for, villages, cities, churches, Cathedrals and many crosses. The Camino Walk is very popular and what was impressive was how friendly most people were all wishing you Bien Camino. Our Guide was particularly good at supporting everyone on their Camino he gave us good directions for the day and great cultural information throughout the trip.

C. Eden, Ashwood, VIC, 19 Oct 2017


The Best of the Camino is a great trip for anybody wanting to get a good overall view of the Camino de Santiago. It gives you a good insight into the spiritual and social significance of the Camino, the countryside and the lifestyle of the northern Spain region. Our guide, Hector Oliva, and driver Javier were absolutely delightful and created a wonderful group atmosphere. Hector provided clear and succinct commentaries along the way and smoothed the way for accommodation and meals. Javier was always jovial and happy to assist in any way. I would highly recommend the trip to anyone.

G. Ebsary, Parkwood, Western Australia, 24 Oct 2017

AT A GLANCE

Duration:13 Days
Countries:Spain
Starting Point:Bilbao
Finishing Point:Santiago de Compostela
Activities:GUIDED WALK
Grade:moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:BCT
Prices From:GBP£2350 Per Person
Single Supplement - max 3 per departure:GBP£410  Click for more information
Please do not book any flights or extra arrangements until such time that your booking is confirmed by Sherpa Expeditions by phone or email.