Compostela DIY

If you want to be a Pilgrim and walk the Camino Frances across the north of Spain, it is quite easy to make your arrangements yourself. Using the internet you can find flights to a convenient airport. Santiago (make sure its not the one in Chile!) or Caruna on the coast or, if you want to walk furthur you could fly to Bilbao or Beyonne in France and start walking on the Pyrenees.  Here are some useful steps you might like to research.

Book flights

Ryanair fly from London Stansted to Santiago for under £90 return. No frills but watch out for the extra fees, www.ryanair.com.

 

Or try a flight earch such as www.cheapflights.co.uk

 

If you are doing a longer Pilgrimage a return may not be your best bet as you will have to travel back to your arrival airport. You may be able to get a discount of flights out of Santiago with your Pilgrim Compostela Certificate.

Arrange Airport transfers

Try a flight bus to London Stansted and other airports bookable at www.nationalexpress.com (£20 each way from Coventry.)

 

In Spain you can find public transport bus or rail on the web or at www.independenttrip.com. From Santiago to Ponferada is from 16-30 E.

 

We often start at Villafanca del Bierzo 165km from Santiago. 10 days is then enough to travel there and back and to enjoy a day in Santiago at the end (or go a bit slower!). 25km - 15miles is do-able if you are fit and well.

Finding your feet. Beginning and end.

To prebook your first and last nights in comfort and to remove hassle you can use www.Booking.com or similar to find a range of cheap or expensive places to stay prices go from £20 for one. You can also book direct. Do mention that you are a Pilgrim as there may be discounts.

 

At the end Santiago can get pretty booked up and the Refugios often permit only one nights stay. They can also vary from one year to the next. We stayed at the Seminary one year but the next year found it closed. Some have been known to tret themselves to a night at the Parador de Santiago de Compostela by the Cathedral. Not cheap but "the oldest hotel in the world". 

Eat and Sleep

Get this year's handbook from the Confaternity of Saint James -www.csj.com -  you'll have to join - and plan how far you want to walk. You can see the distances between villages and the facilities for eating and sleeping that each offers.

Most villages have Official Refugios where its  first-come-first-served and also some private rooms where it may be possible to book ahead (but where;s the fun in that?). 

Refugios cost around 5E a night when I last went. Rooms around 15E. Don't forget to have to have your Credential stamped as often as you can.

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