Pilgrimage Route

Galicia Spain: (IT-SPGA01)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/spain_galicia_st_james_way_ride.aspx

Introduction
Galicia Spain
For a great many reasons, the Route of Santiago de Compostela is a special case within the context of Spanish heritage. It is an historic road which is partially comprised of ancient routes used in previous periods (mostly pre-Roman and Roman) and which has remained in use for over 1200 years, naturally with periods of splendor and decadence. Today it is once again a cultural and religious landmark exercising influence over a large proportion of the north of Spain, linking it to the rest of the European continent. The Camino de Santiago (translated: the Way of St. James or Jakob Trail) is a large network of ancient pilgrim routes stretching across Europe and coming together at the tomb of St. James (Santiago in Spanish) in Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain.

We have been offering trips on these routes for a few years now as walking and cycling trips, but finally have we now also have the opportunity to take you on some of these ancient routes on horseback. The Way of St. James has existed for over a thousand years. It was one of the most important Christian pilgrimages during medieval times, together with Rome and Jerusalem, and a pilgrimage route on which a plenary indulgence could be earned. Legend holds that St. James's remains were carried by boat from Jerusalem to northern Spain where he was buried on the site of what is now the city of Santiago de Compostela. One of the major merits of the "Jacobean" route down through the ages was having served as a place of meeting and dialogue between Europeans, leading some to even refer to this route as a veritable European "thoroughfare".

There are many different routes that lead to Santiago - we have chosen the 3 most important and interesting ones for you.

French Route
The French Way/Camino Frances is the most traditional of all the pilgrims’ ways to Santiago and the best known internationally. The route, which was established in the late 11th century, crosses the North of the Iberian Peninsula, through the Basque Country, Navarra, La Rioja, Castilla y Leon and Galicia regions of Spain. Starting in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, at the foothills of the French Pyrenees, the French Way runs through Northern Spain, from East to West, all the way to Santiago de Compostela, in the Northwestern corner of the country.
Our 7 day Ride starts in O Cebreiro, with longer options starting from Astorga (10 days) or Longorno (21 days)

Northern Route
The origins of the pilgrimage way to Santiago, which runs along the northern coasts of Galicia and Asturias date back to the period immediately following the discovery of the tomb of Saint James the Apostle around 820 AD. The routes from the old Kingdom of Asturias were the first to take the pilgrims to Santiago. The coastal route was as busy as other, older ways, long before the Spanish monarchs proclaimed the French Way (El camino Frances) to be the ideal route, and provided a link for the Christian kingdoms in the north of the Iberian Peninsula. This endorsement of the French Way did not, however, bring about the decline of the Asturian and Galician pilgrimage routes, indeed the stretch from Leon to Oviedo enjoyed even greater popularity from the late 11th century onwards. Among the thousands of pilgrims who travelled to Santiago via the Northern Way, one figure who stands out is Saint Francis of Assisi. Reports suggest that he made the pilgrimage to San Salvador in Oviedo and Santiago de Compostela in 1214.
Our 7 day Ride starts in Mondonedo with an option of an 8 day trip from Ribadeo

Portuguese Route
From the mid 12th century, the veneration of Saint James and the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela – considered one of the bastions of European culture – had far-reaching effects in Lusitanian lands. For centuries, the Portuguese people participated enthusiastically in this collective experience – supported by monarchs, members of the nobility and the high clergy. Indeed, from the 12th century up until the present day, much of Portugal's road network has seen the comings and goings of pilgrims heading from towns and cities all over the country – Lisbon, Santarem, Coimbra, Porto, Braga, Chaves – to their goal of Santiago de Compostela. Their motives were strictly religious, yet thanks to this steady flow of movement between Portugal and Galicia, cultural, economic and intellectual exchange also flourished. The hospitality offered to pilgrims by those stationed along the route is proverbial; the practice was started in the Middle Ages by the monks and clergymen serving the hospitals founded by the monarchs and nobility. This tradition is kept alive today by the inhabitants of the towns scattered along the Way and by the innkeepers at pilgrims' hostels.
Our 7 day Ride starts in Barcelos with options for a 8 day trip from Braga and a 9 day trip from Porto (all in Portugal)

Accomodation

Accommodations will be in small hotels, guesthouses, noble homes and rural inns along the way - most will have private bathroom facilities.

Each day, your breakfast, a picnic lunch and dinner is included.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding

Horses

We mostly use pure Spanish horses as well as Arabian crosses. All horses have been trained to be quiet and easy-going.

Pace
We typically cover up to 30km in a day with approximately 6-7 hours in the saddle. The hours are broken up by one break in the morning and another for lunch, however we can stop again if necessary. The ride is set at a slow pace, giving you the opportunity to experience the pilgrimage as it first took place in the Middle Ages. There are some opportunities for trotting and cantering.

Itinerary

French Route
Northern Route
Portuguese Route
   -  Route Map

Sample-Itinerary: French Route

The regular 7-day trip begins in O Cebreiro.  If you are looking for a longer ride - there are options to start from Astorga (10 days) or from Logrono (22 days).

Day 1:
  The French Route enters Galicia from el Bierzo going up into the mountains of O Cebreiro ar 1300 meters elevation - the Province of Lugo. On the summit of O Cebreiro, we find the historic village, that has adapted to the harsh climate conditions of being high in the mountains. This village represents a notable ethnographic space, very much characteristic of the northeast Iberian Peninsula.
Here our riding tour starts. We ride out from O Cebreiro, continuing along the mountainside near the sierras of Os Ancares and O Courel. In the afternoon we arrive to Padornelo, where we spend the night at the Hostal da Condesa.

Day 2: 
After reaching the O Poio (1337 m) at the maximum elevation of the French Route, we ride in the direction of Fonfria. From here, we can enjoy a beautiful green panorama until we reach Triacastela.

Day 3:
  From Triacastela, the pilgrim route continues direct until Sarria, taking us through old villages with great Saint James tradition: Balsa, San Xil, Montan, Pintin, Calvor and San Mamede do Camiño. Or we may arrive via Samos, with it's pretty landscapes and crossing over Sarria´s river, or San Cristovo and San Martiño, and also one of the oldest Occident monastery.
Either trail we take, we will arrive to Sarria, which is the most populated locality of the French Route at 7,000 .

Day 4: 
Then departing from here, the route will now cross the A Aspera´s bridge on the way of Barbadelo. Through woods, meadows and agricultural lands we arrive in Paradela. We continue downward until the Miño´s river. To enter in Portomarin, it is necessary to cross over the 1960's bridge to pass by the Belesar´s Dam. There we can explore the ruins of old Portomarin.
Through Gonzar´s village, the route continues in the direction of Castromaior, Ventas de Naron Lameiros, to Monterroso. Along the trail here we will find examples of old traditions everywhere.

Day 5: 
The route will take us through the lands of Palas de Rei and leaves via Ulloa, famous for its delicious cheese and other traditional products. We ride on to Pambre´s Castle, one of the rare feudal castles of Galicia to be saved from the fury of the “Irmandiños" battles. We eventually enter the A Coruña´s province, via Leboeira and Furelos, crossing an immense medieval bridge.

Day 6:
In Melide, which is considered the geographic center of Galicia, we will taste the best Galician octopus you can find! Soon the French Route becomes urban and we will meet the villages Boente, Castañeda, Arzua, Ribadiso.
In Arzua, the French Route meets the pilgrims coming from the North. From Arzua, we cross through eucalyptus, oaks and beautiful meadows. We circle the little villages of Calzada, Salceda, Rua, the last being O Pino, before we finally arrive to Santiago.

Day 7:
In Santiago, the pilgrim route reaches Lavacolla, near Monte do Gozo a little hill, offering for the very first time, the vision of the Santiago´s cathedral towers far away. We will visit of course the city and its cathedral!
We will accompany you to the airport or corresponding train station after the ride ends!

--This is only a guideline. the actual itinerary may vary with time of year--


Note: The 10 day trip from Astorga, follows the same itinerary as above, but the first three days are spent in Astorga, Molinaseca Ponferrada and VillaFranca Del Bierzo.

French Route   Northern Route   Portuguese Route  Map   Top

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Sample-Itinerary: Northern Route - also called Camino del Norte or Coastal Route
Our regular 8-day ride starts at Mondoñedo, the 9-day ride starts in Ribadeo or Vegadeo.

The Northern Route is one of the longer branches of the network of ancient pilgrim routes. It runs for some 825 km from the French border at Irún, through San Sebastian, Bilbao, and Santander to join the French Route at Arzua. The scenery on this route is fantastic with fine coastal views. The terrain is quite hilly for much of the route, and you are often sent inland to reach a bridge over the numerous rivers.

The 9-day ride starts in Ribadeo. It is 170 km from Ribadeo to Santiago. The Galician section of this route is signposted between Ribadeo and Santiago with milestones with a ceramic scallop shell. Ribadeo, an important touristic place and community, is considered the starting point of the northern road entering Galicia. Ribadeo serves as a liaison between the shrines of Oviedo and Santiago. This village was built between the 13th and 18 Century for the "defense of the Cantabrian coast".
From here we ride to Obe and onwards to the mountain of Santa Cruz.  The northern path leads to Lourenzá, Cubelas, Vilamartín, Vilanova, and Gondán Curveiro. At the exit of the village of Vilanova de Lourenzá,  the old northern St. James Way goes on towards "brea" : this way comes from Asturias in the direction of Lugo and the medieval bridge of Pasa Tempo, it leads to Mondoñedo.

Our regular 8-day ride starts at Mondoñedo, one of the Galician dioceses with a large cultural tradition and one of the most unique historic villages of Galicia. In Mondoñedo there are historic buildings such as churches, hospitals and palaces.
In the area of ​​the city is the monastery of San Martino de Vilalourente, also known as Picos Os (18th century). Vilalba is as beautiful as the city of Lugo, and helps to set a shorter route to Santiago de Compostela. This medieval road leads out of Mondoñedo to rise to the small towns of San Caetano, Valiñadares and Mariz. The medieval route continues through the valley of the river Valiñadares about Valina, and Pacios Lousada.
Then we ride to Pé da Ponte, As Corgas and further on to  Gontán and Pobecende - ending up in the village of Abadín. From Abadín the trail crosses through Terrra Chá and through the parishes of Castromaior, and Goiriz Ponterroxal. Across a medieval bridge we cross the river and reach Arnela Castromaior. From here we cross the magnificent medieval bridge Ponte Vella, that leads us through uninhabited villages. The route goes towards Santiago and then to the tiny village of Frances O.
From here we ride on to ace Chozas and reach Vilalba. From there, the route continues to Bahamonde. To go out from Bahamonde, we must take the N-VI highway, which runs parallel to the tram to the river and Parga. Finally we will arrive in Santa Leocadia de Parga. The trail then goes on to Santiago de Ponte Leijosa Miraz, and Marco Pedramaior the Pías. From here we reach Esgueva in Sobrado dos Monx (A Coruña) and Carelle. The northern route is ultimately united with the French way in Arzúa.

--This is only a guideline. the actual itinerary may vary with time of year--

French Route   Northern Route   Portuguese Route  Map   Top

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Sample-Itinerary: Portuguese Route 
Our regular 7-day route starts in Ponte de Lima and it takes 187 km to get to Santiago. You can also opt to start from Barcelos for an 8-day trip or take the 10-day route that starts in Portugal at the town of Porto riding 240 km.

This route, from Portugal to Spain, follows the Atlantic coast of northern Portugal and Galicia.  Being a coastal route, the trail does cross numerous river drainages as they approach the Atlantic resulting in a series of ups and downs. Generally the route is through agricultural land but this is interspersed with pine and eucalyptus forests. It does not have any high mountain passes, with the highest elevation at about 275 meters. Alleged to have existed since the Middle Ages, the route begins at the Miño (Tui) and is filled with historic bridges, country chapels, sanctuaries, stone crosses, ancestral homes and ancient cities on the way to the grave site. The main attractions and cultural depth of this tour go beyond the ancient architecture.

We start from Tui and come to a bridge that gives us a couple of options: we can continue over the bridge or take a detour path to the left. In the end, both trails will arrive to Madalena. From here we follow a Roman road and come to N-550, which goes to Redondela and the monastery Vilarella. The route will pass through the town, where we find the historic inn "Casa da Torre" a 16th century building. This is a well known hotel of the Portuguese Way.
As we leave Redondela, we ride past the railway bridge, right through the woods to Soutoxusto. Surrounded by pine trees, we ride through it and then climb down to the village of Sete Fontes. We will eventually arrive to Arcade, a place known for it's delicious seafood! Once you have had a good taste, we are off to the historic site Pontesampaio where the route crosses the river Verdugo and one of the greatest defeats of Napoleon's army during the Revolutionary War took place!
We ride on to more points of interest, like the St. James Bertola, as we approach Pontevedra. After reaching the city, the road will leads us to the square and across the street to Santina. The road runs parallel to the railway line Pontecabras and we ride under the pine and eucalyptus trees until we arrive to the church of Santa María de Alba. We find the trail of Casal de Eirixio and O Pino in the deciduous forests, which are located near the old mills. At the mill of Solleiros the road bends slightly to Valga and then we will ride in the direction of Padrón, in the Province of Coruna. We stop in Santiaguiño do Monte, which has a charming view, and a chapel dedicated to Santiago and an altar with the pictur of Santiago in one of the stones. In Santiago we enter O Obradeiro, where we can appreciate the principal entry of the Saint James Basilica. After the cathedral visit we will transport you to the Airport or train station, where our services will finish. Additional overnights can be arranged of course.

   --This is only a guideline. the actual itinerary may vary with time of year--

French Route   Northern Route   Portuguese Route   Top


-- click here for larger map


Rates and Dates for Pilgrimage Route

Rates include:

Accommodations, meals, 5 riding days, transfers.
Longer trip extensions are available on request (longest route is 21 days).

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionEUR ~US$
    A
    201922 day ride, AP- French Route from Logroño€6250$7500
  • B
    201910 day ride, AP- French Route from Astorgo€2900$3480
  • C
    20197 day ride, AP- French Route from O Cebreiro€1875$2250
  • D
    20199 day ride, AP- Portuguese Route from Viana do Castelo up the coast€3600$4320
  • E
    201910 day ride, AP- Portuguese Route from Porto€3000$3600
  • F
    20198 day ride, AP- Portuguese Route from Barcelos€2400$2880
  • G
    20197 day ride, AP- Portuguese Route from Ponte de Lima€2300$2760
  • H
    20196 day ride, AP- Portuguese Route from Tui€1800$2160
  • I
    201910 day ride, AP- North Route from Luarca€3000$3600
  • J
    20199 day ride, AP- North Route from Vegadeo or Ribadeo€2700$3240
  • K
    20198 day ride, AP- North Route from Mondoñedo€2400$2880
  • L
    201910 day ride, AP- Sea Route from Tui€3000$3600
  • M
    20199 day ride, AP- Sea Route from A Guarda€2700$3240
  • N
    20197 day ride, AP- Sea Route from Soutomaior Castle€2100$2520
  • O
    20196 day ride, AP- Sea Route from Pontevedra up the coast€1800$2160
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 1.2

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionEUR~US$
2019 Single supplement, pp, per night 40 $50
2019 Transfer to/from Santiago for 4:00pm on Day 1 0 $0

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
M 2019 07/20 - 07/28 9d / 8n 9 day ride, AP- Sea Route fr... 4 /14 Expired
N 2019 07/21 - 07/27 7d / 6n 7 day ride, AP- Sea Route fr... 4 /14 Expired
O 2019 07/22 - 07/27 6d / 5n 6 day ride, AP- Sea Route fr... 4 /14 Expired
L 2019 08/03 - 08/12 10d / 9n 10 day ride, AP- Sea Route f... 4 /14 Expired
M 2019 08/04 - 08/12 9d / 8n 9 day ride, AP- Sea Route fr... 4 /14 Expired
N 2019 08/05 - 08/11 7d / 6n 7 day ride, AP- Sea Route fr... 4 /14 Expired
O 2019 08/06 - 08/11 6d / 5n 6 day ride, AP- Sea Route fr... 4 /14 Expired
J 2019 08/17 - 08/25 9d / 8n 9 day ride, AP- North Route ... 4 /14 Expired
K 2019 08/18 - 08/25 8d / 7n 8 day ride, AP- North Route ... 4 /14 Expired
C 2019 08/31 - 09/06 7d / 6n 7 day ride, AP- French Route... 4 /14 Expired
C 2019 09/11 - 09/17 7d / 6n 7 day ride, AP- French Route... 4 /14 Expired
C 2019 09/21 - 09/27 7d / 6n 7 day ride, AP- French Route... 4 /14 Reserve
M 2019 10/05 - 10/13 9d / 8n 9 day ride, AP- Sea Route fr... 4 /14 Reserve
N 2019 10/06 - 10/12 7d / 6n 7 day ride, AP- Sea Route fr... 4 /14 Reserve
O 2019 10/07 - 10/12 6d / 5n 6 day ride, AP- Sea Route fr... 4 /14 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Alcoholic drinks. Entrance fees. Gratuities

Other Info
Meeting: Santiago de Compostela
Airport: Santiago de Compostela
Transfer: Santiago de Compostela Airport (SCQ) or Railway station.

Climate:
                                    Santiago de Compostela area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

53

55

59

62

66

73

77

77

74

66

58

54

Average Low Temperature (°F)

40

40

42

44

48

53

56

56

54

50

45

42

Average High Temperature (°C)

12

13

15

17

19

23

25

25

23

19

15

12

Average Low Temperature (°C)

4

5

6

7

9

12

13

14

12

10

7

5

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

15

13

13

13

12

7

4

5

7

13

14

14

Source: NOAA


Seasons
The climate of Galicia is classified as Atlantic, with mild temperatures throughout the year. The north-east of Spain has an average rain fall comparable with that found in the UK and France with four distinct seasons, although with what most would view as an extended summer.

Santiago de Compostela, the capital city, has an average of 129 rainy days and 1,362 millimeters (53.6 in) per year (with just 16 rainy days in the three summer months) and 2,101 sunlight hours per year, with just 6 days with frosts per year. But the colder city of Lugo, to the east, has an average of 1,759 sunlight hours per year, 117 days with precipitations (> 1 mm) totaling 901.54 millimeters (35.5 in), and 40 days with frosts per year.

The more mountainous parts of the provinces of Ourense and Lugo receive significant snowfall during the winter months.

What To Bring:
This list is only a basic guideline for you...

TRAVEL
Travel documents and Trip Voucher
Flight tickets
Passport
Visa (check with your consulate)

RIDING GEAR
English or Western riding attire - whatever you are most comfortable riding long distances in!
Comfortable and worn-in riding boots
A hard hat is not required, but always recommended for safety
Riding gloves
Hat (with chin strip) for sun protection
Rain proof coat

PERSONAL CLOTHING
Jacket or sweater for cooler evenings
Comfortable T-Shirts
Jeans
Shorts
Underwear and socks
Pyjamas
Light summer jacket
Trekking boots /comfortable shoes
Swimsuit
Bandana
 
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO BRING
Personal Toiletries
Insect protection
Personal medications
Sore cream (for the emergency)
Sewing kit
Handkerchiefs
Adapter for any electric appliances
Camera and enough extras (films, batteries, memory cards etc)
Belt pack
Sun glasses with strap
Sun tan lotion and lip balm
Small bar of soap
Flashlight