Walk part of the Camino de Santiago French and Portuguese trails on this 10-day trip. Follow the ancient pilgrimage trail and then down the beautiful coastline of the Rias Baixas, Galicia, the land of Albariño white wines and fresh seafood.
Day 1: Santiago De Compostela - Lugo - Villafranca Del Bierzo
Upon arrival to Santiago de Compostela, you will travel by highway (approx. 2-2hrs 30min) to the neighbouring region of El Bierzo where you will be staying in Villafranca del Bierzo and from where you'll start the pilgrimage way to Santiago. En-route you will make a stop in Lugo city to meet a local guide for a visit the Roman Walls, Pilgrimage Cathedral & Old Quarter. Depending on your arrival time, you could have lunch on your own in the old quarter. Then the chauffeur will transfer you on to Villafranca, and you will check in the Parador. Dinner will be at the restaurant of the Parador, and you will spend the night in Villafranca del Bierzo.
DAY 2: The French Camino Way. Villafranca Del Bierzo - O Cebreiro - Samos - Sarria
After breakfast, you will visit a small winery Bodega Alberto Ledo part of the D.O. Bierzo wine region. Formerly a Fabrica de Almibares y Conservas Ledo (syrups and preserves factory) established in 1818. You will enjoy a guided visit around their cellar, aging room, museum, and tasting room. Tour of the vineyards, weather permitting. Now the walking portion of the trip will begin. For the next days, you will be walking the best parts of The French Way of St. James (Santiago) into Galicia. Stop at many pilgrimage villages along the way visiting various churches, monasteries and cathedrals.
Your chauffeur will drop you off at a point in the trail so you can start the self-guided walking on your own which follows up a mountain range arriving at the Celtic mountain village of O Cebreiro. This village is also known for its artisan cheeses “Queixo do Cebreiro” so you can enjoy a taste at a local cheese store before leaving. Then continue on to Samos where you will visit the Monastery and have lunch on your own, could try at one of the local taverns alongside the riverbank. After make way on to Sarria where you will spend the night. You will have free time to explore this medieval village, and have dinner at the hotel's restaurant famed for its excellent Galician cuisine.
Day walking distance: 8-10 km.
DAY 3: Sarria - Portomarin - Palas De Rei - Meixide - Arzua
Leave Sarria and your chauffeur will drop you at the starting point for today's walking portion of the trail to the village Portomarin with picturesque views of the Galician countryside. In Portomarin you could visit the village and the medieval church which was moved stone by stone (1956-1962) to its present location before the valley in which it lay was flooded to make a reservoir.
There will be free time for lunch on your own (along the pilgrimage way in many of the villages there are bars and small restaurant). Then continue on passing through other Pilgrimage village like Palas de Rei. Dinner will be in the dining room of the charming Manor house, and the night will be spent in Arzua.
Day walking distance: 12-14 km.
DAY 4: Arzua - Lavacolla - Monte Do Gozo - Santiago De Compostela
The chauffeur will drop you at the starting point for today's walking portion of the trail with the exciting last stretch stop to view the towers of the Cathedral of Santiago from the Monte do Gozo (The Hill to Admire from). Then you will walk into Santiago de Compostela the end of the way. Upon arrival to the Cathedral do the normal ritual of arrival and then make your way to the Parador to check in and relax. Have lunch on your own and you will have the rest of the day to explore Santiago's old quarter. Dinner will also be on your own.
Day walking distance: 5-7 km.
DAY 5: Santiago De Compostela - Walking day tour in the historic quarter of the ancient pilgrimage city.
In the morning you will visit the famous Pilgrimage Cathedral and old quarter with a local guide. The tour will end at the market where you'll meet your foodie guide who will take you on a walking tour of the market. Enjoy a welcome to Galicia tapas crawl at 2-3 different restaurants. After lunch, you will have free time and you should visit the Museo do Pobo Galego (Ethnographic museum of the Galician people) a good way to get familiar with the Galician way of life which you will be seeing “live” over the rest of your journey. Tonight you will have a table booked to dine on your own at a Michelin star restaurant with fine cuisine in the old quarter.
DAY 6: Santiago - Barona - Corrubedo - Catoira - Cambados
Meet your guide specialising in the food and culture of Galicia and your driver. Follow down the upper portion of the Rias Baixas coastline passing by many rural small fishing. The first stop of the day will be at the Celtic seaside ruins/hill-fort of Castro de Baroña. The walk down from the parking to the fort is along a trail which takes about 20-25 mins to arrive. Continue down the coast for the next stop at the Dolmen de Axeitos, a prehistoric megalithic burial tomb, which is one of the best examples of a pre-history monument in Galicia. Enjoy a delicious lunch in a restaurant on the fishing port of Corrubedo with excellent views of the coast and delicious fresh seafood and Albariño white wines. Admire the views of Dunes of Corrubedo, a natural beach park with large sand dunes, wild flora and fauna. Your will also pass by the remains of the 17th-century defence towers in Catoira, where every August they hold a spectacular re-enactment of the Viking invasions that occurred a thousand years ago. Enter into the wine region with the same name as the coastal area D.O. Rias Baixas.
The region is divided into sub-zones and the zone you will be visiting today is the Salnes Valley. The first winery stop will be at Bodega Pazo Baion winery. This boutique winery is owned by the large cooperative winery Adega Condes de Albarei. They bought this Galician Pazo (Manor House) to make high-end albariño from the privately-owned vineyards. They only produce around 40,000 bottles a year of the Pazo Baion Albariño wine whereas the father cooperative winery Condes de Albarei makes 3 million bottles a year. The second winery visit is nearby - Bodega Pazo de Señoráns. It shares the ground with a mixture of new and ancient buildings. It has 19.8 acres of vineyards and an annual production of 350,000 liters both in stainless steel and oak casks. Its grape variety is 100% Albariño. Next, visit Cambados village, the heart of Albariño wine country and has just been selected by RECEVIN, the European Network of Wine Cities as Spain’s European city of wine 2017. Walk around the main Plaza de Fefiñanes and quaint streets of this noble village. Check in the Parador where you will stay overnight. Dinner will be on your own tonight.
DAY 7: Cambados - Combarro - Pontevedra - Bueu - Aldan - Hio - Donon - Vigo.
Start the day with a visit to one of the best examples of what all Galicia's fishing villages use to look like. Combarro stands out for its harmonious combination of popular Galician architecture, with traditional houses, granaries and roadside crosses. The present-day layout dates from the18th century. Walk along the port promenade with Horreos (Stone Granaries) which hang over the bay. Stop for a walk around the old quarter in Pontevedra city, and you could take a peek on your own in the Archaeology & Art Museum if time permits. Continue along the coast to the next peninsula of O Morrazo on the other side of Pontevedra Bay. In the small village of Bueu you will visit the market and have a seafood lunch in a local restaurant with spectacular views of the beach and bay. After lunch in the small village of Hio, visit the Wayside Cross of Hio the most famous in Galicia and built from on solid block of granite. Beside the cross is the Romanesque Church of San Andres (St. Andrews) we take a peek inside before leaving. Then off to what is known as Cabo Home (Man's Cape) in Donon here, you will see a few lighthouses (including an Ancient Celtic Lighthouse at the top of Monte Facho) all with an excellent view of the Cies Island in front. Make your way to Vigo city to check in an Urban spa hotel. Enjoy some time to relax before dinner. You could use the rooftop spa with great views of the bay and city. For dinner, enjoy a cooking-show of innovative tapas from a Michelin-star chef.
DAY 8: The Camino Portuguese along the coastal route. Vigo - Valenca Do Mino - Tui - O Rosal - A Guarda St Tegra - Baiona - Vigo.
Walking total: 4 km (1h 30m) or 9kms (3h).
Explore the Miño river valley on both sides. Stop in the fort town of Valença do Miño and you will be dropped off by the driver at the lookout point from the Fort of Valença to take some great photos of where you will walk across to Tui, Galicia. Walk part of the Portuguese Camino over the old iron bridge into Tui, Galicia, Spain. Visit the Fortified Pilgrimage Cathedral of Tui and walk around the old quarter. After you will transfer along the Galician side of the Miño river to visit Bodegas Terras Gauda, an Albariño winery located in the O Rosal sub-zone of the D.O. Rias Baixas. Next stop is the fishing village of A Guarda. Enjoy a traditional seafood lunch with lobster and rice for which the village is famous for. After lunch, make your way to the top of the monte St. Tegra with remains of a Celtic Hill-fort and amazing views of the coast and the miño river meeting each other.
Next comes the walking a part of the coastal Camino Portuguese route from the Playa de Area Grande to the fishermen traps along a picturesque coastal trail. (2 km, 40 min walk). Travel along the beautiful coastal road to the lighthouse of Cabo Silliero. If you are still up for more walking you can take the coastal road bike/walk path all the way into Baiona ending in the old quarter (5 km, 1h 30min). If you are not up to the long walk, you can always go straight into Baiona for a walk around the seawall trail of the Parador Castle of Baiona to see the views of the Cies Islands. The walk is about a 30min. You will then be transferred to a hotel in Vigo and enjoy some free time to relax before dinner, which will be a walking tapas and wine tour in the old quarter with a foodie guide. You will visit 3 different places and try some excellent tapas accompanied by wines!
DAY 9: Vigo - Arbo - Melgaco (Vinho Verde wine country) - Vigo.
Today you will drive on the highway to the Condado de Tea valley, another sub-zone of the D.O. Rias Baixas and the last on your journey through the Rias Baixas wine region. You will arrive at Arbo "Villa da Lamprea" (village of Lamprey Eel). The first stop will be at Bodegas Marques de Vizhoja, located in south-eastern Galicia in the border area between Spain and Portugal. Found on the banks of the Miño River, they have almost 40 hectares of vineyards on the Moreira Estate, which boasts an impressive 18th Century country house. Enjoy a special visit of the vineyards, winery and old Manor house with a tasting of their wines. Nearby you will have lunch in a quaint Manor House. Then you will go down to the natural border, cross the Miño river between Galicia, Spain and Portugal, and learn how the lamprey eel is caught. Cross the border over into the Vinho Verde wine region of Portugal. Stop to enjoy a tasting at the Adega Reguengo de Melgaço winery in a quaint manor house. You will compare how the Albariño grape variety tastes on this side of the border! Get the best views of the wine regions on both sides of the Miño river, and visit the tower of Melgaço in the old quarter of the town with panoramic views of the vineyards. A magical land, true wine country life on both sides of the border. Return to Vigo.
DAY 10: Vigo or Santiago De Compostela Airport.
In the morning check out and transfer by highway to either Vigo (25-30 min) or Santiago de Compostela (1h 15 min) Airport.
- 9-nights accommodations in double, single or triple room occupancy in 4 and 5-star hotels
- English-Speaking driver
- Daily breakfast
- VIP winery visits and tastings in the various wine region visited
- 5 lunches paired with wines
- 5 dinners
- 2 dinner table reservations at a Michelin-starred recommended restaurants
- English speaking guides
- Any meals not specified
Santiago de Compostela Airport, A Coruña Airport; Hotels in Santiago de Compostela and A Coruña; Train Stations in Santiago de Compostela and A Coruña
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