San Juan de Ortega
Leon
Burgos
Camino Frances
From 1555 (£ 1405)
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Self-guided holidays
16 nights - 15 walking days
Level :
Itinerary : Hotel to Hotel
Holiday code : ES2PUS1
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Compostella Camino: Logroño - Leon

A marvellous, once-in-a-lifetime walk on an iconic route that rightly has UNESCO Heritage status. This itinerary is for 15 days walking, but you can begin with a week, or more, and nearer to Santiago or to the Pyrenees: it's up to you.

A summary of your journey

The Spanish call the Camino de Santiago the Milky Way (a medieval fable said it was created from dust rising from pilgrims), the French call it The Road Of Stars, and in English it is often The Way of St James. What's for sure is that since the 9th century, pilgrims have visited the supposed grave of St James (Saint Iago = Saint James), his shipwrecked body found covered with scallop shells. Routes started from all over Europe, but had coalsced by the time they arrived at Logrono, the beautiful fortified medieval town and capital of the Rioja region, where this section begins. It continues through the ancient kingdom of Castile, a land rich in castles, cathedrals and history as well as unspoilt landscapes and villages. It's also great walking country too, and at the end is the magnificent city of Leon - a fitting destination.

The plus points

    • All the satisfaction of following an historic pilgrimage route
    • All the heritage and history of Rioja and Castile - castles, cathedrals, villages and much more
    • Authentic, quality accommodation - great food !
    • Pleasant walking for those who walk reasonably regularly.

Le programme

Day 1

Logrono: we hope you can arrive with plenty of time to explore the medieval city of Logrono built on the banks of the river Ebre, which you can walk across on its lovely medieval bridge. But there's much more: an impressive cathedral, an historic quarter with numerous arts and crafts shops, and plenty of bodegas where you can explore the differences between Riojas (2 colours, 3 growing zones, four categories - Rioja, Crianza, Reserva, Gran Reserva) because you are now in Rioja, and wine is of no little significance here!
Hotel Calle Mayor is, as its name suggests, on the most prestigious street in Logrono. It is a boutique hotel in a 16th century palace with marvellous wine cellars, and has beautifully contemporary rooms that complement the historic building itself. As this is a city with a wide range of interesting places to eat - from tapas bars to high quality restaurants - we leave you free to choose where to dine tonight.

Day 2

From Logroño to Nàjera: this is easy walking from when you step through the Puerta del Camino in the ancient town walls, and set out across the vineyard dotted plains, but it is a long walk (consider an extra night in the attractive town of Navarrete). However, it will feel well worth it when you arrive in Najera, originally a Roman city that became capital of the kingdom of Navarre, and blessed today with the remarkable 11th century church of Santa Maria La Real as well as a rebuilt Roman bridge over the Najerilla river, and sheer red cliffs right in the town itself.
The charming boutique Hotel Duques de Najera has been tastefully created out of a beautiful 17th century mansion with high, often beamed, ceilings, and bare stone walls. It's in the old part of town, near the river, and you will dine in a warm and welcoming restaurant nearby that we trust you will thoroughly enjoy.
Walking time: 7h 30. Distance: 28 kms (17.5 miles).

Day 3

From Nàjera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada: today there is a series of almost equally spaced and historic villages to punctuate your journey - Azofra, Cirueña and finally the renowned Santo Domingo de la Calzada. It was founded by an illiterate hermit who came to build bridges and hospices under royal patronage, and finally became the patron saint of civil engineers. His church is well worth visiting, and his miracle concerning the hanged but innocent pilgrim is worth finding more about when you are there.
El Molino de Floren is a small, characterful converted mill that has bags of personality in its public rooms, and very stylish contemporary bedrooms. We also like the ambiance of the dining room almost as much as the food. We hope you'll enjoy both.
Walking time: 5h 20. Distance: 21 kms (13 miles).

Day 4

From Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Viloria de Rioja: leaving Santo Domingo you cross the River Oja on the Puente del Santo (Saint's Bridge) that Saint Dominic built 1,000 (ish) ago making its 16 arches and 148 meters all the more impressive. You soon reach Granon, the last village in Rioja, so welcome to Castile ! The walking is easy through "quiet" countryside interspersed with villages like Redecilla del Camino and Castildelgado where you can rest, drink, eat and explore before wandering on your merry way to Viloria de la Rioja - a pity it's in Castile, but actually the area is still packed with Rioja vineyards.
Despite its rather wacky name and logo, Mihotelito is a lovely, characterful place to stay, and as it's a short walking day, you'll have plenty of time to relax and enjoy it. As Santo Domingo was born here exactly 1,000 years ago (1019), you may want to raise a glass of rioja to him. The hotel has just 6 rooms, and Rosario has built a great reputation for her dinners and breakfasts.
Walking time: 4h 15. Distance: 16 kms (10 miles).

Day 5

From Viloria de Rioja to Villafranca Montes de Oca: while you pass through hamlets with names that sound wonderful even when spoken with an English accent - like Tosantos, Villambistia, Espinosa del Camino and your destination Villafranca Montes de Oca - the highlight of today's walk is the town of Belorado, rich in history. It's significanance came from its medieval castle controlling access to the Ebro valley, and from being the first town in Spain to be granted a royal warrant to hold a fair, which would have generated much wealth as you can see in its buildings, church and lovely, tree shaded square (actually a circle). Until the 1980s it also profited from being an international centre for the fur trade, and posters still adorn walls around the town.
The Hotel San Antón Abad has been taking in pilgrims since 1377, and it exudes all the character and atmosphere you would expect from such a long tradition. Fortunately, the hotel has been superbly and tastefully updated with excellent bedrooms and a good restaurant deep in the cellars. You'll have no difficulty understanding why we wanted you to stay here.
Walking time: 5h 15. Distance: 19.5 kms (12 miles).

Day 6

From Villafranca Montes de Oca to Atapuerca: today you walk among ghosts of the past: the forests of Montes de Oca used to be renowned for bandits and wolves both preying on pilgrims praying they wouldn't meet either of them; the village of San Juan de Ortega is named after the 12th century architect/builder of churches and bridges across this region, and near Atapuerca there are ongoing digs of prehistoric sites that have already found 800,000 year old human remains said to be the earliest found in Europe. It's a lovely walk despite the ghosts as well as because of them.
The three star Hotel Rural Papasol (father sun) is a 6 bedroom, charming hotel converted from a stone farmhouse, and is full of beams and character inside. The food, as you would expect, has strong regional flavours and ingredients, and is served with no little (and well justified) pride.
Walking time: 5h 20. Distance: 21 kms (13 miles).

Day 7

From Atapuerca to Burgos: Villalval, Cardenuela de Riopico and Orbaneja (good café) are villages en route to the large and historically important city of Burgos, which has a medieval castle, preserved walls, and a good Museum of Human Evolution, but the highlight is undoubtedly its 13th to 16th century cathedral that dominates the skyline - and is where El Cid is buried. He was an 11th century noble mercenary with a hard earned reputation for military strategy as well as battlefield bravery. He also features in many a folk tale, poem, song and film. Much more calm and peaceful is the historic quarter around the cathedral - great for an early evening stroll, and a restorative cup or glass of something.
The two star Hotel Norte y Londres is in a grand building in a prime plaza location close to the cathedral and historic quarter. It has well equipped rooms, good service, and a well presented breakfast buffet - and it is better than most in a town where very good places to stay are a little limited. As it is a city with lots of eating out choices, dinner is not included tonight, so we wish you buen provecho.
Walking time: 5h 30. Distance: 21 kms (13 miles).

Day 8

From Burgos to Hornillos del Camino: you now continue your journey by crossing the wonderful plateau called "La Meseta", which rises to almost 3,000 feet, and is festooned with pretty villages, but it is really the panoramic landscapes below the seemingly endless skies that make this a very special place - and there is no better way to appreciate it than walking slowly on foot.
This is a simple, rural hotel outside Hornillos that has well equipped rooms, good food, genuine hospitality, and is well located at the end of today's walk. Expect no more, and you may be as pleasantly surpised, as we were, by how enjoyable it is to stay there. It's called Hotel Rural Consulta de Isar, which is a lovely name in Spanish.
Walking time: 5h. Distance: 19 kms (12 miles).

Day 9

From Hornillos del Camino to Castrojeriz: this is a good day's walking with your destination, the attractive and dominant Castrojeriz, on the horizon for much of the day. That's because it stands proud of the rolling wolds you're walking over. Do take time to explore the castle itself - just the views make it worthwhile - but also the village itself is lovely, and the Ethnographic Musuem (open 6 to 8pm) featuring local social and agricultural history is interesting because much of what you see during your walk is presented here in a historical context.
Now then, the three star Hotel La Posada is a joy. It has been tastefully converted from a 16th century mansion and farm buildings in a way that has preserved all its character and style. The bedrooms are well equipped and contemporary, yet many of them feature bare stone walls that give them an exceptional quality. The restaurant too offers good quality cooking, regional menus, and a pleasing style. Just, as they say, the ticket!
Walking time: 5h. Distance: 20 kms (13 miles).

Day 10

From Castrojeriz to Fromista: today's walk is fairly easy but long, with villages and a canal (de Castilla), which you walk alongside, making it nicely varied. Fromista is larger than the villages you will have walked through, and was the birthplace of St Elmo, the patron saint of sailors - his statue is in the main square - but its pride and joy is the 11th century Romanesque style church of Saint Martin de Tours. Beautiful outside and inside.
Hotel Doña Mayor (a thousand years ago she was a Castilian queen born here, and who paid for the local monastery to be built) is decidedly contemporary in terms of architecture and interior design, but traditional in its approach to guests and cuisine. There is a pleasant terrace and gardens all around the hotel to relax in.
Walking time: 6h 40. Distance: 26 kms (16 miles).

Day 11

From Fromista to Carriòn de Los Condes: easy walking means that the kilometres will disappear under your now super-fit legs, so you'll arrive at Carrion perhaps saying was that really 20 kilometres? That's good because Carrion has much to offer having been a prestigious and wealthy town for centuries. In the 13 century it paid as much tax as the much bigger town of Burgos, and that is evident in its wealth of churches and monasteries. If you visit just one make sure its the monastery of San Zoilo with its magnificent Gothic cloisters.
Oh wait, you are staying at the Hotel San Zoilo which is in the converted monastery, and some rooms overlook the cloister, but all the rooms, like the rest of the hotel, are full of quirky character, and we are sure you will enjoy staying here as well as eating here in what was the monks' refectory.
Walking time: 5h 15. Distance: 21 kms (13 miles).

Day 12

From Carriòn de los Condes to Calzadilla de la Cueza: today much of the walk is along a long, straight road, which is, as you may suspect, originally Roman, and went all the way to Bordeaux. After a good day's walking, we will transfer you back to where you started for a second night of luxury at the San Ziolo because there is nowhere good enough in Calzadilla.
Yes, the gorgeous Hotel San Zoilo again.
Walking time: 4h 15. Distance: 17 kms (10.5 miles). Transfer time: 15 minutes.

Day 13

From Calzadilla de la Cueza to Sahagùn: we transfer you back to Calazadilla. There is a pleasant series of villages on the route today - including Ledigos, Terradillos de Templarios, Moratinos and San Nicolas del Real Camino - before you arrive at Sahagún. If you started from the top of the Pyrenees at Roncevalles you are now half way to Santiago. We're not sure if that will be good or bad news. Anyway, Sahagun is known as the Cluny of Spain because it once wielded equivalent power and influence as the Burgundian abbey, but its architectural style - mudejar - is distinctly Moorish, like the magnificent city of Toledo, so may come as something of a cultural surprise, albeit a welcome one.
You will stay at the impressive Hotel Codorniz renowned as an example of the post-Moorish Christian Mudéjar architecture strongly influenced by Moorish taste and workmanship, which reached its greatest expression in medieval Aragon. All the same, it's facilities are all contemporary, and the restaurant features interesting regional dishes, some cooked on a wood burning fire.
Walking time: 6h 10. Distance: 24 kms (15 miles). Transfer time: 15 minutes.

Day 14

From Sahagùn to El Burgo Ranero: your first village, Calzada del Coto, is attractive but sleepy except in early July when the festival of San Roque packs its streets and lanes with celebrants. The next village, Bercianos del Real Camino, is real 365 day sleepy, and all the better for it you may think. El Burgo Ranero was once wealthy due to wool and wheat (the graneries gave it its name), but now it is dependent on pilgrims - not enough though to have a good enough hotel, so we take you to Mansilla de las Mulas where there is, indeed, a more than good enough hotel.
La Casa de los Soportales is a five year old hotel with good amenities, and next door is its shared ownership restaurant where there are gardens you can dine in if you choose. We have to say it's a liitle "functional" in design terms, but perfectly comfortable, and undoubtedly the best place to stay here.
Walking time: 4h 35. Distance: 18 kms (11 miles). Transfer time: 15 minutes.

Day 15

From El Burgo Ranero to Mansilla de las Mulas: we transfer you back to El Burgo where you can choose the slightly longer and more rugged Roman route, or the more direct (and better shaded) popular route. In Mansila you can visit the regional Ethnographic Museum, and understand this historic land so much better.
A second night at La Casa de los Soportales, but today you will have walked here.
Walking time: 5h 10. Distance: 19 kms (12 miles). Transfer time: 15 minutes.

Day 16

From Mansilla de las Mulas to Leon: easy walking and not too great a distance will get you to the magnificent city of Leon with the time and energy to enjoy exploring it. En route you pass through a series of villages - Villamoros de Mansilla(café and bakery), Puente Villarente, Valdelafuente (quick detour to see Arcahueja?) - before you get into the industrial outskirts of Leon. Think of it as purgatory before the heaven of Leon, and Leon is rather heavenly. Leon Cathedral, also called the Pulchra Leonina, is a 13th century gothic cathedral, the convent of San Marcos is now a luxury hotel, but worth visiting for its architecture as is the Antoni Gaudi designed Casa de los Botines, but it's also the medieval lanes and alleyways that might appeal as much. We always enjoy visiting as it is a real, vibrant city, not somewhere preserved in tourism aspic.
You are not staying in a hotel. You are staying at The Royal Collegiate of Saint Isidoro Hotel, and that is something completely different. Well, not completely, but it a marvellously converted hotel in an extraordinarily impressive building. The hotel, without exaggeration, describes it as the history of Leon in one building: Roman origins represented by its Legio VII walls, the Royal Pantheon's paintings (the Sistine Chapel of the Romanesque era?), the simple yet superb choir of the Basilica, the almost sentient, certainly silent cloisters. The rooms are delightful too, but being a large city you can choose where to dine tonight. You can still appreciate the architecture of the breakfast room the next morning, though.
Walking time: 4h 45. Distance: 19 kms (12 miles).

Day 17

You depart after breakfast, but what a journey! What a sense of satisfaction.
The previous section of the Compostella Camino is from Navarrenx to Logrono. Code: FR2PUS4. The next section of the Compostella Camino is from Leon to Santiago de Compostela. Code: ES2PUS2
  • Détails Pratiques
  • Formalités et Santé

DATES DE PROGRAMMATION

You can start on any day from 1 April to 8 October, but this journey can get hot and crowded in July and August.

MEETING POINT

Standard option:
You make your own way to Logroño.

With extra airport pick-up:

We will pick you up at Logroño airport and drive you to the hotel.

END OF YOUR TRIP

Standard option:
Your holiday ends after breakfast.

With extra airport pick-up:
After breakfast, we will pick you up and take you to Valladolid airport (if you choose another airport, please consult us for prices).

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY

This holiday features fairly long days, but with comfortable rather than challenging walking, and is suitable for anybody who enjoys "a good walk". It can get very hot in July and August as well as much more crowded. We would recommend May, June and September as the best months.

DEPARTURE GUARANTEED FROM ( No. pers )

1

LUGGAGE TRANSFER

We will transfer your luggage between each hotel, so all you need to carry when walking is a daysack with whatever you regard as essentials.

GUIDE

This is an independent, self-guided holiday.

ACCOMODATION

You stay in double-twin rooms in good quality hotels with en suite facilities as described. On some days we will arrange a transfer to and from a suitable hotel when there is none where you end your walking day.

MEALS

You will eat well. Dinners are based on set menus featuring regional specialities. Breakfast is included every morning, but lunches and picnics are not because there are places to make your own choices, although the night before you can ask hotels for a picnic, which you can pay for locally.

YOUR TRAVEL DOCUMENTS

When we have received your balance of payment for your holiday, and in the month before departure, we send you all the documentation you need: detailed itinerary showing dates, times, contact details etc; a detailed guide to your walking route (with options) and lots of cultural, historical and nature background information; formal documents (invoices, contracts etc); luggage labels etc. If you book at the last minute, we can send this information to your first night hotel.

To make the right choice

Have a look at our detailed explanations on the types of hiking, the standards of accommodation, and understand baggage transport ... How to choose your trip ?

FORMALITIES

You need to keep your passport with you at all times, and ideally insurance information. You need to make your own arrangements to claim local healthcare. There are requirements in France and Spain for all vehicles to carry safety equipment.
Click on the price that corresponds to your choice.
FromToStandard priceWith extra airport pick-up
Mon 01/04/2019Tue 08/10/20191 555 €  (₤ 1 404) 1 710 €  (₤ 1 544)
 
List of additional options (to select later)
TitleTime periodPrice
Single room sup. / pers. subject to availabilityfrom 01/04/2019 to 08/10/2019460 € (₤ 416)

THE PRICE INCLUDES

13 nights dinner, bed and breakfast, plus 3 nights bed and breakfast (1 Logroño; 7 Burgos; 16 Leon because they are cities); daily people transfers as specified; daily luggage transfers; detailed walking instructions; maps; 24/7 English speaking phone service.

THE PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE

The journey to the start point or from the finish point; lunches; drinks with meals ; non-standard menu items; dinner in Logroño, Burgos and Leon ; booking fee, entry fees; personal and travel insurance.
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