Hiking the Camino de Santiago

The Way of Saint James from Portugal

May 21 – 30, 2023 • 10 Days • $3490

The final 6 stages of what is arguably the world’s most famous pilgrimage hike covering the last 120 kilometers from Portugal to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Under the care of a fun group of local Portuguese walkers with opt outs every two hours.

Tour Type: Faith-Heritage, Long Distance Walks

Introduction to the Camino de Santiago
The Way of Saint James

James was the brother of John; both were part of the close-knit group of 12 apostles selected by Jesus Christ to help him spread his Gospel of repentance and forgiveness. John wrote several “books” of the New Testament of the Bible including the Gospel of John, the three epistles or letters of John, and the famed book of the Revelation. Three men named “James” played prominent roles in the early decades of Christianity after the death and resurrection of Christ. Two were apostles and one, the brother of Jesus, was author of the book of James that appears in the latter part of the New Testament. James the brother of John is the Church father for whom the Camino, the Way of Saint James, is named.

Two different legends explain how the body of James arrived on the Iberian Peninsula in the city of Santiago de Compostela. Regardless of the means of his miraculous arrival in the northwest corner of Spain, the enduring impact is the spiritual attraction the remains of James give to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. This is evidenced by the long trek pilgrims have been making to venerate or honor those remains for over 1000 years.

A ”Compostela” is a certificate of accomplishment given to pilgrims who complete the trek. According to the Roman Catholic Church, the Compostela certificate has proffered a special remission of sins to the pilgrim since the Early Middle Ages—starting in the 5th and 6th centuries.

The Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela is the objective of the pilgrim. The route taken is secondary and myriad routes have been forged over the centuries, from north, south, and east, and many points between. The French Way is the most traveled, not surprisingly since most of Christian Europe would logically arrive from the north and northeast. Second in popularity was the Camino Portuguese, the route we will be hiking.

The Portuguese Way is 625 kilometers (390 miles) long and starts in Lisbon, but the Compostela is granted for anyone walking a minimum of the last 100 kilometers. Our objective is to trek the last 120 kilometers, starting in Valença, Portugal.

Visitors come from all over the world to embark on this trek, some for spiritual reasons, some to mark a life turning point, others seeking contemplative value by pressing a very deliberate “pause” button, some simply out of curiosity or the thrill of a challenging, long-distance hike. Whatever the reason, only good can arise from hiking through a foreign land in the company of friends, rubbing shoulders with walkers from all points of the compass, and slowing the pace of life to engage in the oldest form of transport known to man.

Join us for the inaugural WAI pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago, the Way of Saint James.

Including:

  • All land travel as outlined—a bus is available to the group every day throughout the itinerary
  • Superior tourist-class or better hotel accommodations (no hostels)
  • 19 meals: all breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 4 dinners as denoted (BLD)
  • 6 Camino walk routes as listed, with opt out opportunities every 2 hours
  • 1 additional walk in Portugal
  • Walking fees for those collecting IVV credit (both Portugal and Spain) if sanctions approved
  • 1 Camino Credential per person
  • WAI guide service throughout (2 guides)
  • Cultural & historical expertise of national guides (at least 2) throughout
  • All tipping for guides, coach drivers, and group meals
  • Pricing is based on double occupancy; a limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $790. We also offer a roommate matching service.

Activities/Visits to:

  • Guimarães, Portugal walking tour
  • Ponta de Lima, Portugal walk
  • Valença, Portugal walking tour
  • Combarro sunset guided tour
  • Pilgrim Botafumeiro mass in Santiago de Compostela
  • Santiago de Compostela walking tour
  • 3 cultural tapas lunches
  • 2 cultural dinners
  • Countless opportunities to visit churches and religious monuments along the Camino
  • More fun and educational stops than we can list!

Optional Excursions:

  • Day in Porto (Day 1)
  • Galicia Seafood & Sunset Dinner (Day 5)

Adventure Pace

Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5

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Important Info

Group Size

Maximum 24 travelers

Hotels

Accommodations in a variety of small hotels. We use a hub and spoke model for the Camino, spending 5 nights in 1 hotel in the heart of charming Pontevedra, Spain.

Meals

19 meals included: all breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 4 dinners. Meals are denoted in itinerary as (BLD).

Airfare

International air not Included. Travelers will fly into Porto Francisco Sa Carneiro International Airport, Portugal (airport code OPO) and out of Santiago de Compostela Airport, Spain (airport code SCQ).

Transportation

Included: Bus transport is used from Porto to Ponte de Lima, Portugal, and to shuttle walkers to and from trailheads each day.

Traveler Age

Our travelers usually range from 50–75 years of age. All ages welcome!

Your Guides

Roger & Jana Dorway

Roger & Jana have always appreciated the experiential, paradigm-expanding value of travel, and have been privileged to explore destinations on 6 continents.

Roger’s business background connecting buyers and sellers, and Jana’s career as a teacher provide this couple with a gift for connecting with people. Retirement has only increased their appetite for discovering more of the world, largely satiated by sharing international cultural and historical insights as part of the WAI guide team.

Hugo Palma and the Borealis Team

We first met Hugo and his wife, Patricia, in the fall of 2013. It was a serendipitous encounter…Scott Isom and I were headed to Portugal to build a new tour opening up the Douro River and north region of the country; we had no contacts in northern Portugal at the time.

A week or two before our flight, we received a random email from a walking club based out of Ponte de Lima, a small town north of Porto, saying that they had seen the new Portugal tour on our website, and would we like any help to plan it?

That was Hugo, and a few days later he and Patricia greeted us and introduced to a side of Portugal we had not known existed. Northern Portugal is one of Europe’s best kept secrets, full of wonderful scenery, compelling history, and especially a remarkably hospitable culture with a contagious appreciation for food! During our 2013 planning trip, it seemed like every slight pause in the walk provided an excuse to dig into their packs for more delicious homemade food and brew.

Since then, Hugo and the Borealis team have welcomed several groups of WAI walkers for memorable visits to this part of the Iberian Peninsula.

Hugo is a guy with a love for the outdoors and sharing hidden corners of Portugal and Spain with visitors who also happens to be an aerospace engineer. About 20 years ago, Hugo started Borealis Trekking, and began gather together a group of likeminded Portuguese hikers with a passion for sharing all things Iberian with others.

Hugo is the Borealis lead guide for the inaugural WAI Camino trekking tour. Assisting him will be any number of other members of the Borealis team at different points along the path. The fun thing is…you never know what the Borealis team will have ready to share next.

Itinerary

Click on each day to reveal more details. BLD refers to meals included, Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner.

DAY 1-May 21: Arrive Porto, Portugal (D)

Optional Porto Douro River Walk – 8 km, rated 2A

Travelers arrive today in the historic northern Portugal city of Porto. Getting from the airport to our hotel in the historic center is easily arranged by taxi or shared ride.

Optional Day in Porto
Travelers are encouraged to arrive in Portugal a day early. Those who opt to do so are invited to join us on a day of exploring Porto, a venerable northern Portugal town that gave its name to the famous wine—Port. Porto’s history and development is closely linked to the Douro River, and Porto is today the primary city in the north of Portugal. Our walk winds down narrow streets, past 16th century arcaded buildings and Baroque churches, and crosses the city’s iconic 19th century iron bridge. After free time for lunch, we visit one of the esteemed Port wine cellars that has been storing and shipping Port wine for over 200 years. Estimated price: $60 per person

The first official group activity is a Welcome Orientation this evening, followed by dinner. We look forward to getting reacquainted with travel companions from previous Adventures, making new walking pals, meeting our local Portuguese guides, and receiving the official Pilgrim’s Credential used to mark and memorialize our progress along the fabled Camino de Santiago, the Way of Saint James.

DAY 2-May 22: Porto – Ponte de Lima, Portugal (BD-picnic)

Guimarães Birthplace of Portugal Walking Tour – 3 km, rated 1A
Ponte de Lima Medieval Portugal Walk – 6 km, rated 1A

We drive north, this morning, to Guimarães, an ancient town whose renown relates to the Middle Ages and the founding of the nation of Portugal. In 1128, the key battle in the movement for independence from Spain was fought in the fields surrounding Guimarães Castle. In decades that followed, Guimarães became the center of the young state of Portugal.

The city is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and our walk explores the historic core, passing the 10th century castle and wandering picturesque medieval lanes and baroque palaces of this wonderful walking town.

Farther north, Ponte de Lima is a delightful enclave just a stone’s throw from the Spanish border. Its claims to fame are twofold: a picturesque and historic Roman bridge (renovated in the Middle Ages) over the Lima River and the first official town charter offered by the queen of the new Portuguese nation in the 12th century. Our walk here parallels the river, crosses the Roman bridge, and explores the charms of this attractive and historic village far off the radar of American travelers.

DAY 3-May 23: Ponte de Lima – Pontevedra, Spain (BL)

Camino Walk ~ Stage 1: Valença – Porriño
Distance: 22 km (~13.7 miles)
Relatively flat terrain: 13.7 km
Elevation gain: 1089’ for about 4.1 km
Elevation loss: 1158’ for about 4.1 km

We leave Ponte de Lima this morning on a drive north, stopping short of the Spanish border in the town of Valença, Portugal, situated on the Minho River, boundary between these medieval, Iberian Peninsula neighbors.

Valença marks the start of our Camino experience. A walking tour of the town introduces us to the start of the Camino and give us better understanding of the international linkage between Spain and Portugal.

Our official launch of the Camino pilgrimage begins by crossing the International Bridge over the Minho River, taking us into Spain and the border town of Tui in the province of Galicia. Tui boasts a lovely historic center of medieval stone edifices including the Cathedral of Santa Maria, the Convent of Clarisas, and the Gothic church of Santo Domingo.

Leaving Tui, we embark into rural and wooded areas, traversing quiet Galician villages, often overlapping with the ancient Roman road XIX which connected Bracara (present day Braga, Portugal) with the thriving Roman center of Arturica (present-day Astorga, Spain).

Historically significant are the Bridge of Fevers where, in 1251 AD, Saint Telmo died while on his pilgrimage, and the five, stone Santa Comba crosses near Ribadelouro.

We’ll be sure to get our Credentials stamped today at the appropriate establishments, possibly the tapa bar where today’s lunch is provided.

Later this afternoon, we arrive into Porriño, the final stop on today’s route, and rendezvous with walkers who have opted out during the day. Home this evening, and for the following 4 nights is in the enchanting old Spanish town of Pontevedra, a 40-minute drive north.

OPT OUT OPPORTUNITIES
Throughout the six days of our Camino experience walkers are encouraged to monitor and manage their energy and participation. Though the itinerary is centered around hiking the Camino each day for the distances listed, opt outs are available approximately every two hours. Our bus and one of our guides will take opt out hikers to visit points of interest that lie within a short distance from our Camino route. They will not, however, be transported to the hotel until the end of that day’s walk when opt out walkers rendezvous with full walk hikers for a return to our hotel.

The plan will fluctuate each day according to the route and opportunities along the route. For example, some lunches will be taken together in tapa bars along the way before the end of walk rendezvous for that day.

Introduction to Pontevedra
We are excited to offer 5 evenings to explore the many attractions of Pontevedra.

The city’s original name, Pons Vetus (Old Bridge), from Latin, is evidence of its likely Roman origin, though locals hold to the legend of its founding by the Greek, Teucro, following the Trojan War. The ancient, 11-arch bridge still spans the Lérez River at its entry into the Pontevedra Ria (Estuary), a site that contributes to Pontevedra’s long maritime tradition dating at least to the Middle Ages. It’s probable that Christopher Columbus’s primary ship, the Santa Maria, was built here.

Pontevedra has one of Galicia’s best preserved historic centers. The city’s many lovely stone buildings and squares are testimony to its medieval wealth as a maritime center.

A stroll connecting the city’s many picturesque squares takes you past a plethora of classic architectural jewels from centuries past including the Church of San Bartolome (now the Main Theatre); Casa das Campas; Palace of the Mendoza; House of the Baron; 16th century Plateresque Church of Santa Maria la Mayor (designated a national monument); 14th century Gothic-style convents of San Francisco (also a national monument) and Santa Clara; Rococo-style La Peregrina Sanctuary from the 18th century; and 14th century convent of Santo Domingo, converted to an archeological museum.

DAY 4-May 24: Hiking the Camino from Pontevedra, Spain (BL-box lunch)

Camino Walk ~ Stage 2: Porriño – Redondela
Distance: 16.7 km (~10.4 miles)
Relatively flat terrain: 9.9 km
Elevation gain: 846’ for about 3.5 km
Elevation loss: 912’ for about 3.4 km

We return to Porriño this morning to begin Stage 2 of the Camino, 17 kilometers to Redondela.

At about the 6 km mark, we enter the community of Mos, home to the Church of Santa Eulália and a 17th century manor house converted to the town hall. Mos is also a place to take a break while we collect a stamp in our Credentials book from the Albergue (inn) de Mos.

An ascent from Mos takes us to the 18th century cross of Os Cabaleiros, followed by a stretch of dirt trail through forest to the village of Inxertado. The highest point of this stage is a picnic area around the Chapel of Santiaguiño, a good stop to enjoy today’s box lunch.

Several times along this 120 km Camino we encounter ghosts of the Roman Empire in the form of 2000-year-old milestones marking the route of Via Romana XIX. We pass one today before entering Vilar de Infesta.

Shortly before entering Casal do Monte, at about the 12 km mark, the trail descends steeply (note the blue 16% grade on the graph above); additional care is important here and walking sticks are recommended.

Redondela, the end of our day’s trek, is known for the 16th-century convent of Vilavella, Casa da Torre, the Romanesque Church of Santiago, and the 16th-century manor house that serves as the town’s pilgrim hostel. We are not far from one of Galicia’s rias, or Atlantic estuaries, and Redondela is famous for its delicious seafood tapas, which beckon us to a no-host dinner before boarding the bus for the 30-minute drive back to our hotel in Pontevedra.

This is the shortest of the 6 stages on our journey, but we also walk more asphalt on this stage equating both to better, more even footing and harder surfaces. Note also that on some sections of this stage country roads are narrow, and pilgrims walk on the shoulder of the road rather than on dedicated footpaths.

Opt outs are offered again today every two hours as described above under Day 3.

DAY 5-May 25: Hiking the Camino from Pontevedra, Spain (BLD)

Camino Walk ~ Stage 3: Redondela – Pontevedra
Distance: 18 km (~11.2 miles)
Relatively flat terrain: 8.3 km
Elevation gain: 1457’ for about 5.0 km
Elevation loss: 1440’ for about 4.8 km

Due to long, luxuriant stretches through pine and eucalyptus forests and dramatic views over the Vigo Ria (estuary), today’s stage is reputed to be one of the Camino’s most scenic. Enjoying the beauty is earned through two rather steep ascents, the first at about 3 km into the hike after we leave Cesantes.

At about 7 km, we cross picturesque Ponte Sampaio (Sampaio Bridge) over the Verdugo River. It was here, in June 1809, that local militia defeated General Ney’s troops, leading to their withdrawal from Galicia during the War of Independence from France.

Our second climb comes at about the 10 km mark, followed by lunch, a special tapas affair in one of the Galician villages along the Way.

After lunch, the latter part of today’s trail takes us along many pastoral paths of the province of Pontevedra directly to our hotel in the provincial capital city of the same name. Pontevedra enjoys a reputation as the primary city of the Camino in Galicia, and this is the second of five nights in the same hotel here.

Opt outs are offered again today every two hours as described above under Day 3.

Optional Galicia Seafood & Sunset Dinner
Galicia is famous for seafood and sunsets. After time to freshen up in Pontevedra, join us for a 20-minute drive to the other side of Pontevedra Estuary to the seaside town of Combarra, a perfect place to enjoy the sunset and sample the exquisite seafood dishes of Galicia. Estimated price: $80 per person

DAY 6-May 26: Hiking the Camino from Pontevedra, Spain (BL)

Camino Walk ~ Stage 4: Pontevedra – Caldas de Reis
Distance 23 km (~14.3 miles)
Relatively flat terrain: 15.9 km
Elevation gain: 1132’ for about 4.1 km
Elevation loss: 915’ for about 3.4 km

Our hotel in Pontevedra is the start point for today’s 23- kilometer Camino hike. The trail has relatively less elevation gain/ loss, more paved and cobblestone surfaces, and a refreshing abundance of streams and waterfalls.

The first several kilometers of this morning’s route are a mixture of urban and rural countryside featuring photogenic Church of Santa Maria de Alba at about the 4 km mark. At 6 km, we pass through Cerponzons and enter the most scenic stretch of this stage, 5 km of idyllic fields and forests crisscrossed by streams, until we reach San Mamede da Portela, where we get our Pilgrim Credential stamped.

Another highlight on today’s trek is a special tapas lunch before we reach today’s terminus at Caldas de Reis. Caldas de Reis is known, among other things, for its thermal spring of las Burgas, where pilgrims indulge their weary feet in the warm thermal waters.

Opt outs are offered again today every two hours as described above under Day 3.

After strolling through Caldas de Reis, perhaps visiting its cathedral and wandering along the Umia River, perhaps engaging in conversation with pilgrims and hikers from different parts of the globe, we return by bus to Pontevedra for a free evening.

DAY 7-May 27: Hiking the Camino from Pontevedra, Spain (BL-box lunch)

Camino Walk ~ Stage 5: Caldas de Reis – Padrón
Distance: 19 km (~11.8 miles)
Relatively flat terrain: 10.1 km
Elevation gain: 968’ for about 4.4 km
Elevation loss: 1001’ for about 4.4 km

After breakfast at our hotel, we drive 30 minutes north to rejoin the Camino in Caldas de Reis. Today’s 19 km is another lovely section of trail, for some pilgrims the favorite stage of the Portuguese Camino. Elevation gain/loss is again moderate, and we are again in forests, rural areas, and small Galician villages for much of the day, intersecting once again with Roman roads and mileposts.

For many, the highlight of this stage is the forest called Mount Albor, verdant green foliage suggestive of a German fairytale. Somewhere along this stretch we stop to enjoy our box lunches, then continue into Padrón.

Padrón has deep connections to Saint James and the Camino. According to legend, in 44 AD it was here in Padrón that the boat came to rest that had carried the beheaded remains of James. The story has the boat embarking from the Jewish port of Jaffa, crossing the Mediterranean Sea, passing through the Strait of Gibraltar, and continuing up the Atlantic Coast to the Sar River. A church, of course, was ultimately erected on the spot where the boat came to rest, and the remains of the boat are current interred beneath the altar of the Church of Santiago de Padrón.

Other important points of interest in Padrón include the Fountain and Convent of Carmen and the pleasant gardens along the Sar River, which contain a monument in honor of favorite son and 1989 Nobel Prize winner in Literature, Camilo José Cela.

Another Padrón claim to fame is its internationally known peppers, which form the basis for many exquisite local tapas. We expect to have a couple of hours of free time for wandering and perhaps an early tapas no-host dinner before we return by bus to Pontevedra for our 5th and final night.

Opt outs are offered again today every two hours as described above under Day 3.

DAY 8-May 28: Pontevedra – Santiago de Compostela (BL)

Camino Walk ~ Stage 6: Padrón – Santiago
Distance: 25.5 km (~15.8 miles)
Relatively flat terrain: 15.6 km
Elevation gain: 1827’ for about 6.3 km
Elevation loss: 961; for about 3.7 km

The last stage of the Camino begins with our final departure from Pontevedra, a 40-minute drive back to Padrón to begin our longest trek of the tour, 25.5 km to Santiago.

About 6 km into the day, we reach the impressive Sanctuary in Esclavitude, which legend claims was built with a donation made by a farmer who drank from a nearby fountain and was healed of multiple ailments.

Our final day on the Camino is celebrated with our final special tapas cultural lunch!

At Agro dos Monteiros the towers of the Cathedral of Santiago first come into view, about 6.5 km  from Obradoiro Plaza and the Cathedral itself. We walk with mixed feelings, eager to finish our journey and our pilgrimage but reluctant, on the other hand, to end this epic odyssey of 120 kilometers.

Though this final stage has the most elevation gain, a look at the graph above tells us that the gain comes mostly gradually; there are no steep sections. Countering that, to some degree however, is the fact that the trail surface is more uneven than most of our hiking so far.

Opt outs are offered again today every two hours as described above under Day 3.

We have seen much of the Galician countryside. We have spent hour upon hour hiking with walking friends old and new. We have had time to contemplate and consider where life has taken us and what we still feel called to do. Hopefully, our purpose, focus, and zest for life are renewed.

After visiting Obradoiro Plaza, we check into our hotel several hundred meters from the Cathedral. After dinner on your own, consider joining us this evening for the Botafumeiro pilgrim mass. The Botafumeiro is a huge censer affixed to the central dome of the Cathedral. Censers are used for liturgical reasons and the smoke from the censer symbolizes the rising of prayer to God. The Botafumeiro is massive, weighing over 100 pounds and requiring 8 men to get it swinging over the heads of the assembled pilgrims. It’s a phenomenal spectacle which we’ve witnessed at the end of our Northern Spain tour!

DAY 9-May 29: Activities in Santiago de Compostela (BD)

Santiago de Compostela Pilgrimage Walking Tour

Today is devoted to exploring the timeless historic center of Santiago de Compostela. We start a bit later with a guided post-breakfast walking tour of the historic core. At some point today, those interested in turning their Pilgrim Credential will need to visit the Pilgrim’s Office to receive their Compostela certificate.

The afternoon is free to explore the picturesque, labyrinthine lanes of Santiago de Compostela and perhaps do some final shopping. Join us for a fun, cultural Farewell Dinner this evening as we reminisce together about this one-of-a-kind walking adventure along the Camino Portuguese!

DAY 10-May 30: Depart from Santiago de Compostela (B)

No group activities are planned today other than breakfast. You are therefore free to plan your departure from Santiago de Compostela at whatever time suites you.

We hope you return home renewed, refreshed, and re-centered by your pilgrimage experience in Portugal and Spain.

More Details

Click on each heading for more details. More information will be provided at the time of registration.

How Do I Lock in My Place on This Adventure?

To register, a non-refundable $300 deposit is required to hold your spot. A final payment is due 90 days before departure and is non-refundable after the due date. You will receive an email prompt from us 2 to 3 weeks in advance.

Soon after registration, an “Adventure Advice” email will be sent with critical information on flight arrangements as well as important steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you review this Adventure Advice email.

Please follow this link to read our full General Tour Conditions.

Unique Aspects of this Tour

Hiking the Camino de Santiago is the first WAI long distance hiking tour. The core of this Adventure is 6 days of hiking an average of 20 km (~12 miles) per day through the countryside of the Spanish province of Galicia. The Camino de Santiago (Way of St James) is a pilgrimage route. As such, we will be encountering people from different parts of the world, hiking for a variety of reasons, some spiritual, some personal, and some recreational. More even than a traditional walking adventure itinerary, Hiking the Camino de Santiago is about the journey more than the destination.

Opts out are available every two hours during each of the 6 Camino days. Nevertheless, this itinerary is focused more on the activity of walking/hiking than the typical walking adventure. The walk route itself is an introduction to the history, culture, and natural beauty of Portugal and Spain, but the activity of being off the bus and walking/hiking is the core of the experience.

What's a Long Distance Walking Tour

Long Distance Walking Tours are, as the name implies, focused more on longer walks and less on sightseeing activities using a motorcoach. In some cases, sections of well-known long-distance trails are featured, such as the Appalachian Trail or Spain’s Camino de Santiago.

The general idea is to enjoy the attributes of longer walks: more time in nature, the sense of accomplishment gained by covered longer distances, and, in some cases, a pilgrimage objective that has religious benefits derived from staying the course towards an objective with time for contemplation and prayer along the way.

In the case of the Camino Portuguese featured on this tour, we are walking an average of 20 kilometers (about 12 miles) per day for 6 consecutive days. A couple of days at the beginning and end of the itinerary are devoted to gathering and sightseeing/educational activities.

Opt Out Opportunities
Throughout the six days of our Camino experience walkers are encouraged to monitor and manage their energy and participation. Though the itinerary is centered around hiking the Camino each day for the distances listed, opt outs are available approximately every two hours.

Our bus and one of our guides will take opt out hikers to visit points of interest that lie within a short distance from our Camino route. They will not, however, be transported to the hotel until the end of that day’s walk when opt out walkers rendezvous with full walk hikers for a return to our hotel.

The plan will fluctuate each day according to the route and opportunities along the route. For example, some lunches will be taken together in tapa bars along the way before the end of walk rendezvous for that day.

Training and Equipment
As you would imagine, long-distance walking requires greater attention to preparation, both physically and with your travel and walking gear. Though Opt Out Opportunities are available, the primary focus of the itinerary is the longer walks. To maximize the benefit from these longer walks, training is necessary; be outdoors walking and hiking on variable grades and terrain in the months before the Adventure. To give yourself the best chance of completing your walking objectives having the right equipment is important. Hiking shoes (hard soles) and hiking boots are essential. Walking sticks should be strongly consider by most walkers.

More information about training and equipment will be offered for consideration in the coming months.

What's a Faith Heritage Tour

Faith Heritage Tours are a new style of travel incubated during tours in Israel and Turkey (Seven Churches of the Revelation) over the past 15 years. The new concept, however, will likely be broader in scope, including destinations over a wide geographic range. In a world moving increasingly in a secular direction based upon a random, self-evolving view of the universe, itineraries explored on Faith-Heritage Tours assume a God-centered universe and may share evidence and reminders of that conviction throughout our itinerary.

Walk Ratings

NOTE: This description of walks and walk rating applies only to the non-Camino walks on this itinerary.

We generally walk at a pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. Walks that are oriented more towards education may take longer due to stops for guide commentary. Nature walks, on the other hand, generally continue at a steadier pace because we’re stopping less to talk.In most cases, we are not “strolling.” We are walking at a relaxed but steady pace. Your experience will be significantly affected by your level of physical fitness. If not walking regularly at home, we strongly recommend that you make a priority of “training” beforehand to both enjoy the trip and avoid medical issues due to overexertion.

If you have questions about your ability to participate, please contact our office at [email protected].

We have adopted a walk difficulty rating system which contains a numeric indicator for trail incline and an alpha indicator for trail terrain. The explanation for this system is presented on the table below:

INCLINE

1. Minimal hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: <200 feet.
2. Some moderate hills and stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: 200-1000 feet.
3. Some significant hill or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: 1000-2000 feet.

TERRAIN

A. Almost entirely on pavement.
B. A significant part of the route is on well-groomed trails with very few obstacles.
C. A significant part of the route is on somewhat difficult terrain (rocky / rooted paths or soft sand).

Elevation on Tour

We are near seal level for much of this Adventure and elevation is not an issue. We do not exceed 1000 feet above sea level during the tour.

How is Airfare Arranged?

International air is not Included. The official start point of the tour is our hotel in Porto, Portugal, which is about a 15-20 minute taxi ride from the Porto Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport (airport code OPO).

The official finish point of our tour is our hotel in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, which is about a 15-20 minute taxi ride to Santiago-Rosalía de Castro Airport (airport code SCQ).

We recommend that you contact Laura Pfahler, the travel agent we work with, to help book your flight arrangements.

Details about flight arrangements and recommended travel agent contact information will be provided by email after you register for the Adventure. Please do not book your airfare prior to receiving these flight details from us!

Travel Insurance

WAI believes strongly in the importance of travel insurance for financial and medical protection from any number of unforeseen circumstances that can arise before departure or during your Adventure. Many travel insurance providers are available for you to consider. Laura Pfahler and Sharon Mitchell of World Travel Inc. are travel agents who provide air travel and insurance services to many WAI travelers.

Laura Pfahler: 503.434.6401 or [email protected]

Sharon Mitchell: 971.261.2091 or [email protected]

Check out Insurance Tips from World Travel for a short introduction to travel insurance. (NOTE: WAI receives no commission or financial remuneration from World Travel Inc.).

As always, do some shopping to ensure you are getting the best value. Using the SquareMouth.com website can be a good way to compare pricing.

Other options include:

Allianz
Betins
Travel Guard
Travel Insured International

WAI bears no responsibility for travel insurance benefits advertised by various credit card companies. If you are relying on this type of benefit for insurance, we advise you to verify coverage types and limits and that your purchase does in fact qualify you for this insurance.

NOTE: We suggest purchasing from a reputable, well-established insurance company (avoid buying insurance from an unknown company found only online). Travelers interested in purchasing “cancel for any reason” insurance coverage should be careful to check pricing and terms BEFORE they register for a tour. Recent changes in the international travel landscape has caused changes in the policies of some insurance companies, and made the purchase of this particular type of policy even more time-sensitive.

What if WAI Cancels the Tour?

Walking Adventures International reserves the right to cancel this tour departure with fewer than 12 participants, in which case registered participants would receive a 100% refund of payments received.

This refund policy contains one exclusion. Many suppliers require non-refundable deposits as a condition of booking services. Though it is rare, unforeseen circumstances can force us to cancel a tour. In cases where supplier’s non-refundable policies are imposed, WAI attempts to retrieve as much of these deposits as possible but cannot guarantee a 100% refund. In cases where full refunds cannot be obtained for a cancelled tour, we will do our best to transfer unrefunded money as traveler credits to be applied to a future tour to that destination.

COVID-19 Policies for This Tour

Portugal and Spain have now dropped all COVID-19-related restrictions.

WAI has also relaxed our policies and currently require no mitigation procedures (current WAI Coronavirus Policy). However, Walking Adventures International policy includes endeavoring to comply with any COVID-19 policies in place in the destinations through which we travel.

Travelers participating in Hiking the Camino de Santiago must agree to abide by policies in place at the time of travel. We are not currently aware of any COVID-19 policies or restrictions that will impact this tour in Portugal and Spain. WAI will update travelers upon learning of any changes.

What Happens Next?

Upon registering for this Adventure, you will receive a welcome email and initial invoice notifying you of your tour balance and due date. All payments for the tour or optional services/excursions can now be made online.

Soon after registration, an “Adventure Advice” email will be sent with critical information on flight arrangements as well as important steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you review this Adventure Advice email.

A final payment is due 90 days before departure (February 20, 2023) and is non-refundable after the due date. You will receive a prompt email from us a week or two in advance. Please see our General Tour Conditions for the full terms and conditions for participation in this Adventure.

Around 2-3 weeks before departure, you will receive a final email packet with details of the program, including hotel names and contact information, a list of fellow travelers, and a more detailed daily schedule.

Take a few minutes to browse through this new long-distance hiking itinerary along the fabled Camino de Santiago. This concept of long-distance pilgrimage walking promises a deeper connection with the history, culture, and natural wonders of our destination, and a deeper inward connection as well.