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Day 1: Arrival in Madrid
Upon arrival in Madrid, you will be met and transferred to the hotel. Enjoy a welcome dinner this evening.
Day 2: Madrid to León
After breakfast we drive from Madrid to Leon with a stop in Segovia enroute. We will stop for a few hours to stroll around the charming old town, with its stunning main square, medieval walls and Romanesque churches. We will visit the the Jewish Quarter, "la Murella' (the ramparts, which date back to the 11th century) and the Cathedral. We will also visit the famous ancient Roman aqueduct which has more than 160 arches, most in the original mortarless granite, and stands above Plaza Azoguejo in the heart of the city.
Day 3: León, Astorga, Rabanal and Ponferrada
We begin our day in León, a former medieval kingdom known as the 'city of kings'. We will take a short drive to Astorga, a lively market town set atop a steep ridge, where we will have lunch. In the afternoon, we visit the amazing cathedral and the Episcopal Palace built by Gaudi (Barcelona’s Sagrata Familia). Later, we drive to the "Mountains of Leon", and walk from Rabanal del Camino to the famous “Cruz de Ferro” (1504m), highest point on the Camino Frances. We proceed to Ponferrada, a picturesque medieval city, for dinner and overnight.
Day 4: Ponferrada, Villafranca
This morning we visit Ponferrada, a large town with a unique 13th century Templar castle looming over the river, and the remarkable 16th century basilica of Nuestra Senora de la Encina. Coming to the Bierzo valley, we can now see the mountains of O'Ceibrero and Galicia. In these mystical lands, we can start to feel close to the city of the apostle. We will enjoy a walk in the valley to Villafranca where we will have dinner and overnight.
Day 5: Villafranca, O Ceibrero, Samos, Sarria
After breakfast, we will have a short ride to the Camino where our uphill walk will take us to the picturesque Celtic village of O Ceibrero. In this remote place we will get some of the nicest scenery the Camino has to offer. The village is unique in Spain, with its stone houses and thatched roofs (also called pallozas). Its church contains relics of a virgin saint, and bear witness of a 16th century miracle. Later our drive will take us through the mountains which offer incredible views.
Day 6: Sarria, Portomarin, Melide
After a leisurely breakfast, we will walk from our hotel to the Camino Trail. We begin with an easy ascent to a view point over Sarria and down into the woods using what Galicia called "Corredoiras", a forest trail used for pedestrians and hikers, through oak woods, which are so common in Galicia. We will have a short transfer and lunch in Portomarin. We will enjoy a visit to the village and its unique church. Upon arrival in the lively town of Melide, we have time to explore the town and its 16th century history before continuing on to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 7: Melide, Castle of Pambre, Lavacolla
After breakfast, we continue along the the final stretch of the French Way. Our walk takes us through peaceful forests and undulating farmland. Later this afternoon we will visit the castle of Pambre (14th century). We overnight in Lavacolla, which is the last stop where pilgrims would traditionally cleanse themselves before making the final journey to Santiago de Compostella.
Day 8: Walk from Lavacolla to Santiago de Compostella
Today we have our final walk to Santiago. Enroute we will see Monte do Gozo "Mount of Joy". It is said that on this hill, the pilgrims, who could see the towers of the Cathedral for the first time, would fall down in rapture. We continue along the trail until we reach the famous "Plaza de Obradoiro" and the Cathedral, where the pilgrim's mass takes place daily at 12pm. We will enjoy dinner and overnight in the center.
Day 9: The Camino Finisterre
Today we will enjoy a day trip to the Camino Finisterre, the medieval 'end of the world'. Because Finisterre was considered to be the end of the known world in the Middle Ages, it held special spiritual and physical significance. We will see the famed lighthouse, Faro de Fisterra, which is one of the most recognized landmarks in all of Galicia. The lighthouse was built in 1853, and on a clear day, can be seen from 30 kilometres out at sea. The coastline is rocky and treacherous and is known as Costa da Morte, or the Coast of Death. We will also visit the fishing village of Muros and the Cascada Ezaro, the largest river feeding waterfalls that empty into the Atlantic Ocean. We visit Vimianzo's medieval castle and the village of Muxia, famous for its charming sanctuary by the sea.
Day 10: Depart Santiago
After breakfast you will be transferred to Santiago airport for your flight homeward.
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