French Way - Dawson Travel

The French Way or Camino Frances is one of the most popular routes among people walking the Camino de Santiago.  It is the chosen route of many Pilgrims and this glorious path has many attractions along the way leading to Santiago de Compostela.In the Medieval times, thousands of pilgrims began walking the Camino Frances in order to reach the Tomb of the Apostle Saint James the Great.

The Camino Frances is a remarkable journey, traversing both mountainous and flat terrain.  This Camino tour passes through some of the most beautiful parts of Spain, including great cities like Pamplona, Leon and Burgos.  It also goes through many very important pilgrimage towns, such as Saint Jean Pied de Port, Logrono and Sarria.Since 2006, Follow the Camino has developed and organised innovative ways to walk the French Way.  We have produced 8 manageable sections, each of them with 6-7 days, where you will stay each night in carefully selected authentic accommodation (family owned hotels, genuine casa rurales, and great pensiones).  After a satisfying day of walking the Camino, you can put your feet up and enjoy the social and cultural scene, and treat yourself to the freshest local comidas y bebidas!

 

Walking the Camino Frances, from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela in 8 sections:

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Camino Frances 1/8: Walking the Camino Frances from St-Jean to Pamplona

Day 1 - Arrival in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port

You will be booked into a hotel in the heart of the small town. The rooms are en-suite.

Day 2 - Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port To Roncesvalles (8h,25km).

This first day is considered the most difficult as the Camino crosses the Pyrenees. The "Camino Napoleon" kicks off with a steep climb, on through orchards and past country houses and then, later, through Alpine style meadows, before weaving its way alongside leafy beech woods towards the border and the descent into Roncesvalles. The Valcarlos Camino mainly follows the road which runs through the valley alongside the river Nive or river Valcarlos. Don't miss the "Collegiate Church" in Roncesvalles.

Day 3 - Roncesvalles to Zubiri (7h, 22km)

The Camino crosses two beautiful mountain passes and continues on through beech and oak woods and meadows before coming to Espinal, where the panoramic views of the countryside with the Pyrenees in the background are a sight to behold. The river Arga runs alongside this part of the Camino and continues its course all the way to Larrasoana.

Day 4 - Zubiri to Pamplona (6h, 21km)

The Camino runs along the river Arga, at the foot of a group of hills covered in beech, oak and Scots pine. As we approach Pamplona, the landscape shows the obvious influence of civilisation; with its conifers, reforestation and farmlands.

Day 5 - Pamplona, end of the walking holiday

After breakfast we bid you farewell.

FROM: €425

 

 

Camino Frances 2/8:Walking the Camino Frances from Pamplona to Logrono

Day 1 - To Pamplona - Start of your journey!

You will be pre-booked in a traditional hotel in the heart of the town.

Day 2 - Pamplona to Puente de la Reina (6h15, 24km)

When leaving Pamplona behind, you are also leaving behind the Atlantic area of Navarra. From here onwards, the landscape will be dominated by cereal crops, Holm oaks and Mediterranean brushwood. The Pamplona basin is left behind too when you cross the "Alto del Perdon".

Day 3 - Puente de la Reina to Estella (6h15, 22km)

The Camino to Estella is very uneven and quite agricultural. Small towns and villages are dotted amongst cereal fields, vineyards and olive trees.

Day 4 - Estella to Los Arcos (6h30, 21km)

Today you go through the Rioja area of Navarra. Enjoy the olive trees, cereal fields and, most importantly, the vineyards. From Villamayor do Monjardin to Los Arcos, you will cover 12km without coming across a single village.

Day 5 - Los Arcos to Logrono (8h, 29km)

Today we leave Navarra and journey into Rioja. Expect a pleasant hike into undulating countryside. On this route you will pass the stunning ruins of Clavijo castle. Finally we come to the town of Logrono, strategically situated on the border between Alava and Navarra.

Day 6 - Logrono, end of the Camino

After breakfast we bid you farewell. Logrono is a city rich in history and traditions that have been preserved since the Middle-Ages. The pilgrim's Camino to Santiago de Compostela made this one of the most important towns on the Camino.

FROM: €474

 

 

Camino Frances 3/8:Walking the Camino Frances from Logrono to Burgos

Day 1 - Logrono

You will be pre-booked in a traditional hotel in the heart of the town. Logrono is a city rich in history and traditions that have been preserved since the Middle-Ages.

Day 2 - Logrono to Najera (8h, 29km)

This first day is an easy stage through landscape dominated by vineyards. After 12km, you will pass Navarrete, a town built in the 12th century by the "Knights of the Holy Sepulchre". Here you will have a chance to stop for some refreshments and to visit the fabulous Baroque Church of "La Ascension". Finally, arriving in Najera in the afternoon, you can enjoy the panoramic views from this hill-top town.

Day 3 - Najera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada (6h, 21km)

Country roads dominate this stage, which runs through the Cantabrian mountain range to the north, and the La Demanda mountain range to the south. Enjoy a shorter walking day with great views. There is the possibility to visit the Monastery of "Valvanera" deep in the middle of the "Sierra de la Demanda". Later today, you will arrive in Santo Domingo de la Calzada; another great milestone on the road to Santiago.

Day 4 - Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Belorado (7h15, 23km)

After a brief walk through a wooded area, the Camino takes us through crop fields, interspersed with small brooks and oak woods. This landscape warns us of the approaching mountain range and, indeed, we can soon see the Oca Mountains looming on the horizon. This afternoon, you will have the chance to relax in the lovely main square of Belorado. On the route, don't miss the Altarpiece in the 16th century church of San Juan Bautista, in Granon.

Day 5 - Belorado to St Juan de Ortega (7h15, 24km)

Until you get to Villafranca Montes de Oca (14km), this stage is similar to the previous one. However, as you go deeper into the woods, you will soon discover the beautiful Oca Mountains. In St Juan de Ortega, have a look at the Gothic Mausoleum.

Day 6 - St Juan de Ortega to Burgos (5h15, 26km)

After a quiet sojourn in the mountains you will make your way down into the valley of the Pico River. Here, the tranquil landscapes disappear, making way for the roads and buildings that characterise Burgos and its outskirts.

Day 7 - Burgos, end of the Camino Frances 3/8

After breakfast we bid you farewell. Burgos still preserves important vestiges of its medieval splendour. The city, which was the capital of the unified kingdom of Castilla-Leon for five centuries, boasts a masterpiece of Spanish Gothic architecture; the Cathedral of Burgos (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Apart from a visit to the historic quarter, you can take quite an interesting walk along the banks of the Duero and Arlanza rivers. Discover the delicious and varied local cuisine in one of the city's restaurants.

FROM: €596

 

 

Camino Frances 4/8:Walking the Camino Frances from Burgos to Sahagun

Day 1 - Burgos - Start of your journey

Burgos, which was the capital of the unified kingdom of Castilla-Leon for five centuries, boasts a masterpiece of Spanish Gothic architecture; the Cathedral of Burgos (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Apart from a visit to the historic quarter, you can take quite an interesting walk along the banks of the Duero and Arlanza rivers. Discover the delicious and varied local cuisine in one of the city's restaurants

Day 2 - Burgos To Hornillos del Camino (5h15,21km)

From Burgos you will go through the crop fields that are typical of the region. You will pass through some small woods of Holm oak and conifers, which serve as a memory of the time when one of the largest forests in Europe existed on these lands.

Day 3 - Hornillos del Camino to Castrojeriz (5h,19km)

You will resume your walk towards Castrojeriz. Upwards to another plateau and then descending towards the valley of the River Bol. Today is a pleasant day spent between pasture and crop fields.

Day 4 - Castrojeriz to Fromista (6h30,25km)

After Castrojeriz, situated on the hillside between the valleys of the rivers Odrilla and Pisuerga, is Alto Mosterales - the highest point of the Meseta, and the last plains of the Burgos Region. The river Pisuerga brings you into the province of Palencia and on into the "Tierra de Campo". Don't miss Boadilla and its 14th-century church "La Asuncion", reputed for its Gothic pillory and beautifully carved baptismal font.

Day 5 - Fromista to Carrion de los Condes (5h,20km)

Although this stage of the Camino passes through areas that have been heavily influenced by man, we follow the charming banks of the river Uciesa, under the shade of the trees. Today, the Camino takes a relatively straight trajectory. Numerous rest areas have been set out along the path. Passing Villalxazar de Sirga, you will come across a good example of a Campos village; few houses and inhabitants, but an impressive church full of treasures.

Day 6 - Carrion de los Condes to Calzadilla de la Cueza (4h45,17km)

For 13km you will follow the historical "Aquitana Camino" (another famous Camino to Santiago which begins in Bayonne, France) through isolated countryside, passing poplar woods and crossing over several irrigation channels.

Day 7 - Calzadilla de la Cueza to Sahagun (5h30,22km)

Expect hilly terrain as you cross some "cuezas", or little valleys. This part of the Camino leaves the road and heads through oak woods, before coming back to familiar cereal fields and crossing the river Valderaduey on your way to the countryside of Leon. In Sahagun, the church of San Lorenzo is certainly worth a look.

Day 8 - Sahagun, end of the Camino

After breakfast we bid you farewell.

FROM: €594

 

 

Camino Frances 5/8:Walking the Camino Frances from Sahagun to Leon

 

Day 1 - Sahagun

You will be staying in a traditional hotel in the heart of the town.

Day 2 - Sahagun to El Burgo Ranero (5h, 18km)

In Sahagun, you will leave "Tierra del Campo" behind, moving on through the cereal and grain-covered plateaux of Leon.

Day 3 - El Burgo Ranero to Mansilla de las Mullas (5h15, 19km)

Going down from the plateau towards the capital of the province, Leon, you pass the pretty village of Reliegos. On the Camino you will have the chance to take the "Via Traiana"; another camino to Santiago that originates in Bordeaux.

Day 4 - Mansilla de las Mullas to Leon (5h, 19km)

You will continue alongside land that has been set aside for irrigated crop growing before seeing the first signs of industrial activity up ahead. From Portillo Hill you will be able to make out the beautiful city of Leon. The historic centre of Leon is well preserved and worth visiting. Over the course of time, Leon became the capital of the kingdom in the Middle Ages; a historic enclave on the pilgrim's road to Santiago de Compostela. Don't miss The Pulchra Leonina (the 'Sistine Chapel' of Spanish architecture) & the old Hospital de San Marcos.

Day 5 - Leon, end of the Camino

After breakfast we bid you farewell.

FROM: €447

 

 

Camino Frances 6/8:Walking the Camino Frances from Leon to Ponferrada

 

Day 1 - Leon - Start of your journey!

The historic centre of Leon is well preserved and worth visiting. Over the course of time, Leon became the capital of the kingdom in the Middle Ages; a historic enclave on the pilgrim's road to Santiago de Compostela. Don't miss The Pulchra Leonina (the 'Sistine Chapel' of Spanish architecture) & the old Hospital de San Marcos.

Day 2 - Leon To Villadangos del Paramo (5h45, 20km)

Leaving Leon, the urban area continues almost as far as Virgen del Camino (7km). From this point on, the route becomes more interesting as you follow the historical Camino along the Plateau of Leon.

Day 3 - Villadangos del Paramo to Astorga (6h30, 28km)

You pass the famous "Puente de Orbigo" and leave behind the Plateau of Leon. The Leon Mountains can be seen up ahead and the end of this stage will bring you to Astorga, the capital of Maragateria. Not to miss in Astorga: Episcopal palace, the cathedral, and the city walls.

Day 4 - Astorga to Rabanal del Camino (5h, 20km)

We are now deep in the region as we gradually make our way up to the first foothills of the Leon Mountains. This part of the countryside is characterised by broom, oak trees and conifer plantations.

Day 5 - Rabanal del Camino to Ponferrada (7h30, 33km)

One of the most rewarding days. Enjoy the beautiful broom and heather surroundings as you ascent to "Mount Irago". Witness the "Iron Cross" on the mountain pass before making your way downwards to the wealthy area of Bierzo.

Day 6 - Ponferrada, end of the Camino

After breakfast we bid you farewell

FROM: €493

 

 

Camino Frances 7/8:Walking the Camino Frances from Ponferrada to Sarria

 

Day 1 - Ponferrada- Start of your journey

You will be pre-booked into a traditional hotel in the heart of the town.

Day 2 - Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo (6h, 23km)

Today you will cross the region of Bierzo, a sunken plain nestled within a ring of mountains. It is a fertile land, whose agreeable climate allows the cultivation of many types of fruit and vegetables. In Villafranca, don't miss the garden of the "Iglesia de Santiago".

Day 3 - Villafranca del Bierzo to O Cebreiro (7h, 30km)

Prepare for a challenging day with an ascent of 1000m. You will pass through the narrow valley of the river Valcace before tackling the ascent of O Cebreiro. Situated between the ranges of "Los Ancares" and "La Sierra do Courel", this stage involves a steep climb in the course of only a few kilometers.

Day 4 - O Cebreiro to Triacastela (5h30, 21km)

From O Cebreiro the trail passes through the "Sierra de Ranadoiro" (Ranadoiro Mountains) and, after crossing the Alto do Poio, it descends into the valley to the village of Triacastela.

Day 5 - Triacastela to Sarria (5h30, 19km)

Of the two Camino options, the "San Xil" Camino offers scenery that will uplift your spirits and encourage you on your way. It has many "Corredoiras" (narrow forest routes) with paved pathways that cut through typical Galician oak woods. If you wish to visit Samos, you will pass through the narrow valley of the river Ouribio, mostly following the road.

Day 6 - Sarria, end of the Camino

After breakfast we bid you farewell.

 

FROM: €505

Camino Frances 8/8: Last 100km from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela

 

Day 1 - Sarria - Start of your journey

Make your way to your hotel in Sarria in time to enjoy your first evening meal.

 

Day 2 - Sarria to Portomarin (6h, 22km)

Expect a peaceful walk in shady oak woods, pretty villages and on quiet country roads. The village of Barbadelo (580m) has a beautiful Romanesque church that is worth a visit. The next significant village is Ferreiros. When you arrive in Portomarin (550m), you can chill out on one of the numerous terraces of the main plaza.

 

Day 3 - Portomarín to Palas do Rei (6h15 25km)

From the village, the Camino crosses the river Minho and climbs steadily uphill. On your way, you will be crossing Gonzar and passing the Romanesque Church of Santa María, Castromaior. The calm of the Galician Cemetery in Ligonde on a sunny day is a rest in itself. In Eirexe, the Romanesque portal of the church is a beauty and features a sculpture of Daniel and animals, as well as a statue of Santiago de Peregrino inside. You will then arrive in Palas do Rei (565m).

Day 4 - Palas do Rei to Arzua (7h 29km)

Today, the Camino continues slightly downhill, passing the village of Casanova and the charming village of Leboreiro. At Melide (454m), stop in one of the many restaurants to try some local specialties. Later today, the Camino will follow a forest track and cross several streams bringing you to the village of Boente with its church of Santiago. Then the medieval village of Ribadiso, and finally Arzua (389m). This small town has 2 churches that you can visit, Santa María and La Magdalena.

Day 5 - Arzua to Rua-O Pino (5h15 18km)

This shaded section of the Camino will pass through woods, along streams and through sleepy villages. Take your time and visit the chapel of Santa Irena, with its unique statues of Santiago. The rest of the way to Rua/O Pino is on a good and quiet country road. Rua (310m) is one of the less crowded stopping points before Santiago de Compostela.

 

Day 6 - Rua to Santiago de Compostela (5h20 20km)

You are nearly there! The next stage will be Lavacolla where pilgrims traditionally washed in the river before reaching Santiago de Compostela. The tall eucalyptus trees line your way to Monte del Gozo (368m). From the "Mount of Joy" you can see your goal - the Cathedral of Santiago! After a descent to the city (264m, population 80000) you will be able to witness this UNESCO World Heritage Site up-close. Marvel at the architecture and relish the wonderful atmosphere in this cultural and spiritual mecca.

Day 7 - Santiago de Compostela, end of the Camino! 

After breakfast we bid you farewell.

FROM: €576

 

 

 

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