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18 days
  • self guided walk
  • hotels and village pensions
  • 9 Dinners
  • 17 Breakfasts





Trip Code: UPF

Trip highlights

  • Walking on the original Camino trail between Oviedo and Santiago de Compostela
  • Experiencing the real pilgrim feeling by getting completely off the beaten track
  • Visiting and staying in authentic villages with intimate testimonies of true devotion
  • Discovering vast and impressive landscapes, which are green and lush throughout the year

The Pilgrims Trail to Santiago de Compostela is one of the great historical long distance foot paths through Europe. According to legend, it all began in the 9th century when the bones of the apostle St. James, beheaded in Palestine, miraculously appeared in a village in what is now Galicia. Word spread round the Christian world, reaching (among others) King Alfonso II of Asturias. He undertook the pilgrimage - travelling through dark woods and daunting mountains, from Oviedo via Lugo to Santiago - and invited fellow kings and nobleman to follow in his footsteps. This 'original' Camino route became very popular in the early Middle Ages, when areas south of the Cantabrian Range were continuously at war. Walked by millions of 'peregrinos' over the centuries, this self-guided walk reveals the beautiful natural settings, captivating historical monuments, gorgeous rural farmland and authentically friendly villages of northern Spain. In Melide, the 'Camino Primitivo' joins the more popular French route, where the noticeably busier trail leads to Santiago de Compostela.

Trip Grading

moderate to challenging

More info about grading system

Traveller Rating


Make your own way to Oviedo, the capital of Asturias. If you arrive early in the afternoon, we recommend visiting the Gothic Cathedral devoted to San Salvador, the historic holy site where the Camino begins. This evening you can enjoy the city’s lively atmosphere, and explore the charming lanes in the old town and traditional cider houses around the corner from your comfortable hotel.

Meals:  Nil

Starting from the cathedral, follow the Camino shells through the city centre into the green Asturian countryside. Quiet lanes and ancient footpaths take you past peaceful villages, some with historic pilgrims’ hostels and inns. From Puerma you will follow the main road to Grado, from where there's a short transfer to your charming rural hotel. Overnight in Sama de Grado. 250m/820ft ascent, 375m/1280ft descent.

Meals:  B,D

Transfer back to Grado this morning. On the first part of today's walk you'll follow narrow trails and country roads through hilly countryside directly to the Cornellana Monastery. Founded in 1024, the monastery was of great religious and political importance throughout the early history of the Christian kingdom in Asturias. On the latter part of the route from Cornellana to Salas, you'll need to take a few detours, as the motorway is still under construction here. Tonight you'll stay overnight in Salas at a hotel located in the historical town centre, near the castle and museum of Pre-Romanesque architecture. 425m/1394ft ascent, 350m/1148ft descent.

Meals:  B,D

After a short ascent through beautiful terrain in the fields outside Salas, you will again follow the main road for about 5km. From La Espina you'll leave the main road behind, continuing to Tineo through quiet woodlands and fields, following quiet country trails. You'll find your accommodation for the night in Tineo's historical centre. 575m/1886ft ascent, 300m/984ft descent.

Meals:  B

This morning you will walk through woodlands to reach the peaceful town of Obona, with its historic Monastery of Santa María la Real. After exploring the monastery, continue to Campiello, where you will stay overnight in a welcoming family run establishment. 500m/1640ft ascent, 300m/984ft descent

Meals:  B,D

After breakfast a transfer takes you to La Mortera to begin your walk. You'll walk along the original high route (“ruta de los hospitales”), crossing steep slopes to reach Puerto el Palo, where several pilgrims’ 'hospitals' were built centuries ago - on either side of the mountain pass - to provide shelter for pilgrims from the harsh winter weather conditions. Enjoy superb views on your way up to the highest point on the pass, “Puerto El Palo”, before continuing for another couple of hours (approx 9.5km), mainly on the road, to reach your accommodation in Berducedo. 520m/1706ft ascent, 450m/1476ft descent Note: in the case of bad weather, we strongly recommend taking the lower route commencing from Pola Allande (6hrs, 17.5km/10.5mi).

Meals:  B,D

From the tiny village of Berducedo, the day starts with an ascent to the windmills above La Mesa before a steep descent takes you to Lake Salime. You’ll enjoy superb views for the first 5km, then the lovely shade of chestnut trees as you walk down to meet the road. The last few kilometres follow the tarmac road across the dam and then up to your hotel in Grandas de Salime. 330m/1082ft ascent, 970m/3182ft descent.

Meals:  B,D

After a week on the Camino, you can take the day off and relax. Or if you prefer to keep walking, you have two options. You can walk into the village of Grandas de Salime to visit the ethnographic museum or take a dive in the local swimming pool (swimming cap required). Or walk a 5km/3.2mi section on the Camino to reach the village of Castro where you can visit Chao Sanmartin, an interesting archaeological site of mixed Celtic and Roman origin, and take a taxi back to the hotel. 310m/1017ft ascent, 20m/65ft descent

Meals:  B

A morning transfer takes you to the village of Castro to continue your Camino. The walk today follows, more or less, the main road to Puerto El Acebo (1165m), gateway to the province of Galicia. You walk mostly on the main road, taking frequent shortcuts. At the end, there’s a short ascent to reach the town of Fonsagrada, not the prettiest of villages but it's friendly in its own way, and has all of the major services you might require. Overnight Fonsagrada. 530m/1739ft ascent, 225m/738ft descent.

Meals:  B

From Fonsagrada you will descend to the village of Póboa de Burón. Here you will join the oldest Camino Primitivo trail, a high route across green pastures and fields of heather on the way to the ruins at Hospital de Montouto, another ancient pilgrims' hospital. After an easy descent to Paradavella, transfer back to Fonsagrada (as there is no other suitable accommodation nearby) and your hotel. 400m/1312ft ascent, 650m/2132ft descent.

Meals:  B

After breakfast a transfer takes you back to Paradavella (or a little further) to continue your walk. Today's route is mainly along rural tracks, taking you through wooded areas and open fields, with only some short sections on the main road. After O Cádavo, you walk through Villabade, which has an interesting church, before finally reaching Castroverde. 400m/1312ft ascent, 475m/1558ft descent

Meals:  B,D

Today you can enjoy the green beauty of the Galician countryside, as you walk on quiet tarmac lanes and dirt tracks from one hamlet to the next, passing gorgeous examples of traditional architecture. Continue to Lugo and your hotel. On arrival we suggest strolling along Lugo's splendid UNESCO listed Roman walls and exploring the Gothic Church of San Francisco and cloisters. 150m/492ft ascent, 250m/820ft descent.

Meals:  B

From Lugo onward, several Caminos come together to join the main French Route (Camino Francés). Today you have a long walk to reach the next accommodation, situated in Ferreira. The first 20km until O Burgo are almost all paved but mainly uphill - or you can hire a taxi in Lugo to shorten this stage. 200m/656ft ascent, 200m/656ft descent. NOTE: to receive your Compostela you will need to walk the full route from Lugo, as it is 100km to Santiago. If you book a taxi transfer to shorten the stage you will not qualify for the Compostela.

Meals:  B,D

Today's stage is shorter than yesterday's, however it starts and continues uphill until O Requián. Then there is another climb until Monte da Feira. From here the route is a piece of cake to Melide! 280m/918ft ascent, 350m/1148ft descent

Meals:  B

Walking from Melide, you have now joined the French Route, or Camino Francés, which is the most popular of all the Camino variants to Santiago. You will find yourself among a multitude of pilgrims from all over the world, as you follow trails, country roads and footpaths parallel to the main road. Your accommodation for this evening is located just outside the village of Arzúa. 150m/492ft ascent, 200m/656ft descent.

Meals:  B,D

This section of the Camino is one of the least interesting, as it basically parallels the main road, but there are lots of people you'll meet along the way. The excitement shared with fellow pilgrims grows, combined with mixed feelings of soon facing the end of your pilgrimage! Overnight stay at the best available 2 star hotel, with friendly owners. 200m/658ft ascent, 225m/738ft descent.

Meals:  B,D

The last day on the trail is always a special one. Today's walk brings you back to modern life, as you pass the regional airport, cross the highway, railway track and ring road around Santiago. Nevertheless, it’s an amazing experience to catch a first glimpse of Santiago and the cathedral spires in the distance, like so many pilgrims before you. From Monte del Gozo, pilgrims historically made one last stop at the spring in Lavacolla, to wash their face and feet before presenting themselves before the Saint at the Cathedral on Plaza del Obradoiro. On arrival in the fabled Santiago de Compostela there is plenty to see and do – or you can simply relax and celebrate the end of the journey. Dinner is not included tonight so you can try one of the many restaurants in town. Overnight in Santiago. 175m/574ft ascent, 175m/574ft descent

Meals:  B

The trip concludes after breakfast in Santiago de Compostela. If you'd like to stay longer to further explore this interesting city, we can assist with extra nights accommodation - please ask for our rates.

Meals:  B



The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


  • 17 breakfasts, 9 dinners: Breakfasts are usually continental inclusive of breads, cheese, ham, tea, coffee & juices. Dinner will consist of 3 courses, usually starting with a salad, followed by chicken, red meat, fish or a pasta dish & finishing with a dessert of fruit or cakes
  • 17 nights in a mix of 2-4 star city and comfortable rural hotels and village pensions on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities
  • Digital information pack including smartphone app with maps and guidebook per room booked
  • Luggage Transfer, 1 piece maximum 20kg, supplement applies for excess
  • Transfers as described (days 2, 3, 6, 9, 10, 11)
  • Emergency hotline

  • Travel to Oviedo and from Santiago
  • Meals not listed as included, drinks
  • Travel insurance - mandatory
  • Guide – this is a self-guided walking holiday
  • A supplement will apply if you are travelling solo or book a single room
  • Entrance fees not listed as included
  • Transfers not listed as included
  • Transfers by taxi or public transport if you need to skip a stage
  • Excess Luggage
  • Hotel taxes if applicable – payable directly to the hotel
  • Items of a personal nature


moderate to challenging  

The walking is graded moderate to challenging (4). Daily walks are between 4.5 to 7.5 hours on well marked trails over diverse terrain – from relatively flat to mountainous. There are a few off-path sections. There are many ups and downs and walking poles are definitely a good idea. A good to excellent 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, three to four times a week for three months prior to your departure. It is also recommended to do some bush walking, and multi day walks (ie. Saturday and Sunday) in preparation for your trip.

Departure dates

Daily from 01 Apr to 19 Oct


High Season
This tour will entitle you to the Compostel Pilgrim Certificate a as you will walk the required 100km from Lugo into Santiago.
High season is from 1 to 31 Aug - supplement applies.

Want to organise a private group?

Fundraising events, sporting groups, family treats; learn how you can organise a Private Group from just 6 travellers.

Priceper person from


Options & Supplements*
  • Single Supplement - low seasonUSD$750
  • Single Supplement - high seasonUSD$790
  • Solo Traveller Supplement - low seasonUSD$980
  • Solo Traveller Supplement - high seasonUSD$1020
*Prices listed are per person

Trip reviews

Why travel with us

Making Europe Affordable

We offer different levels of accommodation and comfort so that even the most budget conscious can treat themselves to active holidays on Europe's most celebrated tracks and trails. Our trips are great value for money because you only pay for what you want.  

Self-Guided Specialists

Our wide range of self-guided itineraries embody the UTracks philosophy of exploring Europe your way. We handle the logistics so all that's left for you to do is enjoy exploring Europe at your own pace. Most depart daily with a minimum of two people, meaning maximum flexibility.

Our Wide Range

With close to 400 trips in almost 50 countries, including the largest range of bike & boat holidays in Europe, we're confident that we can organise an Alps walk, Camino de Santiago or Via Francigena experience, Food Lovers' trip or a tour in a lesser-known pocket of Europe that you will love. 


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