On the Camino de Santiago

Destination: Madrid, Spain

| Activities: Hiking and Culture

The Road of Saint James (El Camino de Santiago) has many traditions. In addition to being a pilgrimage route for Christians wanting to visit the tomb of Saint James, many experts believe that pre-Christian people traveled it into the setting sun to the "end of the earth". There are also Celtic traditions, Goddess traditions, even traditions having to do with the lost city of Atlantis. This intertwining of traditions is one of the most interesting aspects of the Road: there is something there for almost everyone, but not always what people expect at the outset of their journey. Pilgrimage lore says that while a pilgrimage of any sort is by nature an intensely personal experience, the best way to complete this journey is in a small group of like-minded people. Maximum group size: 10


  • Walking hotel to hotel with no transfers, so you have the satisfaction of covering the entire distance
  • Learning the history and practicing the traditions of the Road
  • Receiving your Pilgrim passport at the beginning and the Compostela certificate at the end
  • Enjoying the local food: hearty "caldo gallego" soup, almond cake, cheese, octopus, and empanadas and tasting the regional white wines

Departures and Prices

September 05 to September 14, 2024
$4795.00 - Available
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June 19 to June 28, 2025
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September 11 to September 20, 2025
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  • A local English-speaking guide and an Adventures in Good Company guide (If there are fewer than 8 on the trip, there will not be an AGC guide)
  • Nine nights lodging in twin/double rooms with private toilet and shower
  • All dinners (except 1) and breakfasts from dinner on the first night to breakfast on last night
  • Your Pilgrim passport and shell
  • Luggage transfer during the walk
  • Private transportation from Madrid to Ponferrada

Not included: Travel to and from Madrid, transportation from Santiago back to Madrid at the end of the trip, guide gratuities, beverages, 1 dinner, lunches and travel insurance. Most lunches will be at cafes where you can order an empanada/sandwich or eat your own picnic bought the day before.

Trip Info

This trip is designed for women who are interested in traveling a traditional pilgrimage route on foot, who are able to enjoy walking four to six hours each day on consecutive days and want to experience the community of the Camino de Santiago. The trip is rated 3. Prior to beginning the trip, participants should be engaging in aerobic conditioning, such as walking vigorously up hills, jogging, cross country skiing or stair stepping for 30 - 45 minutes at least 3 - 4 times a week. Rating: 1 2 [3] 4 5.

This is not a typical hiking trip, although we are hiking every day. We are following an historic pilgrimage route and will be observing some of the pilgrimage traditions that have grown up along the Road over the years. The route includes a mixture of dirt roads, some paved roads, and some trail. In addition to hiking 4 to 6 hours a day, we will feast on local foods, chat with pilgrims from all over the world, and learn the lore and legends of the Road.

We will be staying in double occupancy rooms with ensuite bathrooms in different types of accommodation, typically mid-range family-run hotels that are chosen for their hospitality or proximity to the path. Limited single accommodations are available for an additional cost. If interested and available select this option when you register.

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

Our trip starts at 5 p.m. when we meet at our hotel in Madrid. We will have our trip briefing that is as detailed as our jet lag allows us to stay awake for; fortunately we can always finish up the next morning. We will then walk to dinner where we start getting to know each other as we enjoy the first of many dinners together. (D)
We leave Madrid on a private bus this morning, bound for Ponferrada and the beginning of our trip. The Cebreiro pass, which is the gateway to Galicia, is the last big climb on the Road for pilgrims who are coming from France. Our private bus will meet us at the Ponferrada bus station and transfer us partway up the pass, allowing us a warmup walk for the last 2 - 3 miles as we enjoy the green hills and views back down the valley. At the top of the pass our guide will recount the legend of Cebreiro's church and see the "pallozas", a Celtic style stone and thatch dwelling almost unchanged for more than two thousand years. We then transfer to Sarria where we have our first dinner and night on the road. (B, D)
We're going to start today with our only bus transfer, a short one that will have us start walking at the 105-kilometer marker. Walking the last 100 kms (62 miles) and stamping our pilgrim passport entitles us to an official pilgrim certificate at the end of the trip. Today we'll walk through tiny stone hamlets with slate roofs, often following lanes between stone drywalls that thread their way through oak and chestnut forests. Our destination is Portomarin: when the original town was flooded by a reservoir built in the 1960's, the entire town, including one of the original churches, was relocated to the top of a hill above the water.

Walking: about 9.5 miles, more down than up (B, D)
Again, today we pass through small stone villages where time seems to have stopped. Some of the older people still wear traditional clothes and we may be greeted with "Buen Camino" (Good Road), the traditional greeting for pilgrims on the Road. We will start seeing eucalyptus trees today. While not native, they were introduced more than 100 years ago and now look like part of the landscape.

Walking: about 15 miles, rolling terrain with some ascents (B, D)
Today we leave the province of Lugo and enter Coruna province. The change is apparent in the use of tile on the roofs (instead of slate) and more eucalyptus and pine; the oak and chestnut trees almost disappear. After we finish our walk, you have the opportunity to try octopus at a lunch spot, a Galician specialty! Typically, it's washed down with local white wine sipped from ceramic cups. If Octopus isn't your favorite, don't worry there's also a delicious salad option among other food.

Walking: about 9.5 miles, more down than up (B, D)
On the outskirts of Melide we pass a pretty church and, not far from that, a fun stepping-stone bridge. Then our road becomes a series of ups and downs through forest and farmland to Castaneda. This is where medieval kilns burned the limestone that long-ago pilgrims brought from near Cebreiro, their way of contributing to the construction of the Cathedral. After Castaneda, a steep descent takes us to Paradise Bridge, a play on the name of the Iso river. Our lunch spot is by the river, so you will have a chance to dabble your feet in the water before we climb to Arzua, a town known for a smooth cow cheese and delightful local restaurants. Dinner is on your own tonight so you can peruse options from casual Italian pizza to small town fine dining.

Walking: about 9 miles (B)
The trail from Arzua is mostly forested and rolling, though lots of hamlets. We pass several memorials to pilgrims who died on the Road just a day from Santiago; some pilgrims leave a pebble, a flower, or even a note. With any luck we'll have another chance for Arzua's cheese at a factory shop just off the Road. We'll ascend a small pass and take a rest stop at the top before our last descent.

Walking: about 12 miles, rolling with a moderately big up and down towards the end (B, D)
Today is the final day of our Camino journey, and boy is it a beautiful one. Our hike today includes a forest where you might feel that magical creatures are hiding behind the trees, even if you cannot really see anything specific. We ascend our last real hill and go around the runway of the Santiago airport, inexplicably built on top of the ancient route. In medieval times, pilgrims washed in a stream in Lavacolla, perhaps for the first time since they started their journey (somehow the name in Spanish is explicit without being naughty). At Monte del Gozo we get our first sight of Santiago and fulfill our last pilgrim traditions before reaching the city (you should bring a stone from your home for one of these traditions). After our time in the countryside, it is quite a shock to return to a city - but soon we are in the medieval quarter, following the traditional route to the Cathedral square and the end of the Road right in front of the Cathedral. After celebrating our arrival with photos and hugs, we'll get our pilgrim certificates and then have most of the afternoon to wander.

Walking: about 15 miles, rolling with a moderate ascent (B, D)

Overnight: Santiago de Compostela
We will awake this morning with a full day to explore the historical town of Santiago de Compostela. A full day in town will allow us to have all of Friday to explore the museums, cathedrals, and maybe a trip to the coast (if time allows). The old part of Santiago is great for strolling or people watching, with a lot of sidewalk cafes and gift shops. Don't miss the traditional jet, silver, or enamel jewelry, often with Celtic symbols. We will probably see other pilgrims we have met during our journey, all with different reactions about having reached their destination. It's traditional though certainly not obligatory to attend mass - we might get to see the huge botafumeiro incense burner swing in front of the main altar, almost touching the roof on both sides. At night, a celebration dinner full of memories and maybe plans to return to Santiago someday.

Walking: 0-3 miles, around the city of Santiago (B, D)
DAY 10
You are free to leave anytime today. There are a number of options from here. If you have to return home, then the easiest way to get back to Madrid is by train or plane. But if you have time for more adventures, the Santiago airport offers flights to other European cities. Or perhaps you want to continue walking - some pilgrims continue on to the sea and then up the coast, a route that has fewer people and is also full of historical significance. (B)


(68 reviews)
4.2 Food
4.4 Lodging
4.8 Safety

*These are the unfiltered reviews of women who have been on this trip in answer to the question "What made this trip special for you?". We take reviews very seriously and often tweak itineraries based on feedback. Please feel free to contact us about any questions you have.

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Most Recent

Amelia M.
0 months ago

Carrie and Anne

Jennifer D.
0 months ago

The Camino de Santiago was an amazing experience! I enjoyed the hike, the beauty of Spain and most of all, the company of the women in our group. This was my first trip with Adventures in Good Company, and also the only guided trip I've ever taken. In the past I've completed long distance hikes and backpacking trips with my husband. I'm a fairly strong hiker and prior to signing up felt unsure if a guided trip would be a good fit. But as the trip neared, I found comfort in the knowledge that I would be travelling in a group and with guides while in a foreign country. In Spain, hiking the Camino de Santiago was beautiful and just challenging enough to make it fun and rewarding. Buen Camino!!

Luz I.
0 months ago

(please do not post on your website) This is my first "adventure" trip. I didn't really know what to expect. I did have butterflies concerning my fitness for the trip. The leaders and the trip overall were above and beyond. I was very surprised with the fine dining and the luxurious accommodations. Since this was a hiking trip, I was expecting not necessarily "rough and rural", but more towards basic and bare necessities.

Julia W.
1 month ago

The women, the total experience, the blending of historical and cultural info with the physical experience of walking, especially how Anne shared her knowledge and enthusiasm for the Camino with us.

Diane M.
1 month ago

Carrie and Anne were great. Loved all of my new friends

Leslie F.
1 month ago

The comradery on an AGC trip is so special. Everyone takes care and looks after one another.

Linda S.
9 months ago

Having knowledgeable guides allowed the group to gain insights and have experiences that wouldn't have been possible if planning a trip like this on your own.

Susan H.
9 months ago

The beauty and meaning of the places we visited; the congeniality of the women I had the privilege of travelling with; the care and knowledge of our guides.

Maureen P.
10 months ago

I ca not say enough good things about the guides. Sharon and Anne, were exceptional. Each provided their expertise individually, but they also complemented each other so well. Anne’s knowledge of the Camino history, her network of special stops, hotel and restaurant choices were outstanding and very special. I got sick early in the trip and Anne and Sharon made sure I had food—since I couldn’t go to dinner—and brought back amazing soups. This is remarkable because Spain does not do carry-out. The chefs had to improvise in the devices for proving the food—but without Anne it never would have happened.

Annette T.
10 months ago

The guides, Anne and Sharon, were remarkable. Their knowledge of the Camino and the the time both of them took to share that knowledge with all of us was extraordinary. Their desire to make sure every hiker was safe, happy and healthy throughout the trip made this trip so enjoyable. They were friendly and kind and just overall two very remarkable guides and people.

Gretchen W.
10 months ago

Not doing any of the planning!

Linda U.
10 months ago

Linda H.
1 year ago

I had a fabulous time exploring the Camino and Spain for the first time. El Camino has been on my bucket list for a number of years. We had a great group of ladies with us, including our AGC guides, and I loved chance meetings with pilgrims along the way. The architecture, the forests and gardens, all the villages along the way made this trip special. And the horreos (corn cribs) were everywhere! I'm glad I spent extra days at the front and back of this trip to do extra exploring in Madrid, Santiago, and Finisterre.

Susan R.
1 year ago

Knowing that I was travelling with AGC gave me the assurance of a safe, well-planned trip with an awesome guide, along with being with 2 friends that I had met on previous trips. Having excellent accommodations & abundant food didn't hurt either! Having time in Madrid prior to and in Santiago afterwards was a great way to learn more about the culture.

Christine C.
1 year ago

I was very interested in walking a pilgrimage route and I’m so glad that I was able to do it with AGC!

Antoinette K.
1 year ago

Annes knowledge of the history and lore related to the Camino. Being able to go to Majorca for a few days.

Ann J.
1 year ago

Sisterhood, cheeky and supportive guides and the positively tangible kindness of the group.

Carolyn N.
1 year ago

The Camino has always been on my wish list and this trip was magical! Our local guide, Anne Pinder, was a font of knowledge and wisdom - I can't imagine a better guide for the Camino. Our AGC guide, Carrie, did a fantastic job of taking care of us and keeping us organized, while being warm and easy-going.

Nancy S.
1 year ago

History of the pilgrimage (Ann is incredible) Amazing journey Camaraderie Inspirational

Peggy-Ann J.
1 year ago

Wendy S.
1 year ago

Hiking through all of the little towns and villages. Anne knew so much about this history and that really added to the experience.

Linda K.
1 year ago

Anne the Spanish guide had so much information to share about the Camino and Spain which was a great enhancement to the trip.

Patricia M.
1 year ago

The guides were fantastic. I learned so much from a group of women who started off as strangers to me to becoming trusted amigas. The scenery, food, language, trails.

Debbie H.
1 year ago

It has been decades since I had the type of trip where all I had to think about was food, putting my shoes on each morning and starting to walk- with the thought of “one foot in front of the other “. I felt the weight of my day to day life lifted off my shoulders. It was definitely a Zen experience.

Gail M.
2 years ago

The people, it was a great group. I liked that the walk was in nature and through towns. Not AGC’s fault, but covid certainly put a bit of a damper on the trip

Lynn W.
2 years ago

It was fantastic to walk village to village along the Camino, seeing the land and the residents, the flowers and trees, and the other pilgrims, enjoying the scent of eucalyptus in places. During the rain, there was a different kind of beauty. Experiencing the spiritual aspects of the Camino was meaningful: visiting churches and cathedrals and the special memorials along the path, all of which contributed to the inner journey. The physical aspect of hiking and walking while in a diverse group of positive and supportive women was a very important aspect of this trip for me. The guides were helpful and knowledgeable. Ann had a lot of stories and history to share which was great! I also enjoyed hiking with Scout again! I would love to do a similar and even longer trip with longer days on another Camino route. I also loved traveling with my friend Gail and making new friends on this trip.

Erin O.
2 years ago

Debra H.
2 years ago

The route from Sarria to Santiago with the small local churches and through the eucalyptus forests was very special. I liked interacting with the owners at the little refreshment stands along the way and talking with other pilgrims on the walk. A highlight was a choir group who happened to be on the trek scheduled to sing at the little village churches at the evening town rest stops --This was probably one of my most memorable experiences.

Heidi S.
4 years ago

Andrea H.
4 years ago

I had no expectations in the beginning just happy to be joining friends and seeing a different country. The beauty of the Spanish countryside and friendliness of the people exceeded my expectations.

Mary M.
4 years ago

The cherished time with old friends. Also meeting up with numerous other travellers at various points along the way. Entering the plaza at the cathedral - that literally blew me away, for a multitude of reasons.

Karen L.
4 years ago

The trip was spectacular in many ways. We were blessed with great leaders, perfect weather and a physically and emotionally challenging 'pilgrimage"- which is what I was hoping for.

Karen K.
4 years ago

Ann and Brenda were excellent guides and very personable. The ladies I met were all very enjoyable. I had my crew of 3 that I knew and one I have known a long time very well of the three. I would do another trip with the group even without my core friends. For me, I would have liked more strenuous hikes and longer hikes but the breaks were enjoyable with 2nd breakfast and just chatting with the group. The hotels and the breakfast and dinners were very good. The driver with our packs did an excellent job and was very friendly and helpful. I'd recommend you suggest warmer hats and gloves for some of the early mornings as I was prepared but others were not.

Santa S.
4 years ago

The highlight was the people and experience of hiking El Camino I did not have as much opportunity for "solo wandering" as I would have liked. I did not have the freedom to "go at my own pace". I understand the guides are responsible for the group, but I would thought I'd be given the destination for each day and the freedom to get there.

Lorie B.
4 years ago

The highlight of the trip was the serenity and peacefulness I experienced along the trail.

Jane B.
4 years ago

The beautiful pastoral scenery. Alone time to be with my own thoughts

Dawn M.
4 years ago

i loved sharing this experience with a wonderful group of women. The guides both spoke Spanish and were extremely helpful with their translation and their knowledge of the region. Anne was particularly delightful with her wide knowledge of the Spain’s rich history. I never expected such leadership and guidance from both AGC guides!

Elizabeth K.
4 years ago

The overall experience of the ‘camino’ experience was great. The ‘rites and ‘rituals’ of the Camino (example shell and stamps). Made me believe I could do on my own next time.

Sally P.
5 years ago

Absolutely exceeded my expectations ... The guides were exceptional and made it so easy for us with absolutely everything preplanned. I so appreciated all the hard work that was put into making it so wonderful for us!

Margie T.
5 years ago

So many highlights: our wonderful AGC guide, Karen. She was fantastic and a joy be around! The women I met were great and easy to travel with. Our guide Ann was extremely knowledgeable and taught us so much on our journey. The Camino itself is a magical place and is now in my heart and I feel a yearning to return to it. I would love to see AGC add a trip from Santiago to Fisterra.

Leanne J.
5 years ago

The ladies in the group were all fun and positive. The country was beautiful. Everything was perfect (the weather helped, It was gorgeous everyday!)

Anita B.
5 years ago

We have always been told to hike are own hike. On this trip however our Spanish Camino guide wanted us to stay together We really were not free to hike ahead. The trail was very well marked and there were lots of people hiking so it would have been pretty difficult to get lost. I would have liked to at least be free to hike my own place to our next rest stop.

Jane M.
5 years ago

This was a trip of a lifetime - just incredible from start to finish

Peggy N.
5 years ago

Lori P.
5 years ago

The actual experience of walking the Camino and both of our guides!

Jennifer M.
5 years ago

Highlights included an immersion in the culture of the Camino with our incredibly knowledgeable local guide Anne Pinder, including the ability to stay at the little hotels on the Way without ever leaving the Camino. I think that probably took a huge amount of organization to locate and book the appropriate hotels at appropriate intervals for each day's hike. The whole group was congenial and supportive and good humored, but I got plenty of alone time and personal space which I needed for this particular trip. The whole thing was just so well done.

Mary T.
6 years ago

The trip was very thoroughly planned, the local guide was extremely knowledgeable and the AGC guide was very attentive to the women on the trip. I would suggest that one of the guides recommend each morning that we stretch before beginning the day. I would like to have gone directly to Santiago at the end of the trip instead of breaking it into 2 days. We would have arrived in Santiago in time for the Pilgrim's noon mass and would have had a full day in Santiago.

Cheri C.
6 years ago

I so appreciated the guides' sensitivity to our needs while not coddling us. And, see #10.

Daina A.
6 years ago

Wendy K.
6 years ago

Very well organized and the guides were awesome!

Linda V.
6 years ago

I started this trip with no expectations because it was going to be so far out of my realm of experience! Anne's energy and passion was the best part, and her knowledge of the history and lore made each step more purposeful and enlightened.

Susan M.
6 years ago

Anne was excellent at sharing stories and legends about the Camino, and her relationships with the owners of the hotels and many of the restaurants we visited meant that we were always welcomed warmly.

Frances M.
6 years ago

I was not going for the religious experience. It was to be a challenge to my rapidly changing body as I head towards my 70's. I found the interaction between the women to be my spiritual connection. I have always had insight into other women. Surprise on this trip, I found some insight into me too! Meeting people from all over the world s we walked was awesome. We were on a quest. The greatest characters met were Norma from Ireland at 75 going on her own and ironically LuLu the dog who probably had the least amount of aches at the end of the day....

Pamela E.
6 years ago

Great guides, good hotels, good food

Suzie C.
7 years ago

Had hoped for a more physical challenge. More reflective time which I found was hard to get in a group and sharing a room. More "freedom" on the Camino versus always thinking I was part of a group

Marcie A.
7 years ago

Spending time with my daughter, challenging myself physically. Seeing Spain and experiencing the Camino

Kathleen H.
7 years ago

The people in the group...all fantastic women. The group "meshed" so well. The itinerary was well planned and well-paced. The scenery was beautiful. Mass in Santiago was an experience to be remembered for a lifetime.

Kim L.
7 years ago

Meeting the other women in the group and getting to know them was definitely a highlight.

Sarah A.
7 years ago

Cynthia F.
7 years ago

The support from trip leaders and the great folks on the trip

Anita B.
8 years ago

Highlight of the trip was the actual walking on the Camino. It was a great itenerary. Perfect stops. Terrific local and AGC guide!

Jan S.
8 years ago

Christine G.
8 years ago

Trip was well planned, perfect size, and perfect amount of time. Professional, but not stuffy!

Leslie W.
8 years ago

Amy A.
8 years ago

Beautiful landscape, great experience walking the pilgrimage route, learning more about the history of the Camino and Spanish culture, delicious food and wine, camaraderie

Pamela J.
8 years ago

Communication was excellent prior to the trip. The tour leaders both Ann and Debra were excellent and patient. How the trip was organized and planned out for a smooth, hassle free experience

Marie B.
8 years ago

Great and interesting people,delicious food,great accommodation and the guides Ann and Deb are pretty knowledgeable about the trip.

Mary S.
8 years ago

Great people, food, itinerary, weather, wild flowers, scenery. Wonderful trip. I'm an AGC raving fan !

  1. Where do we eat?

    Your breakfasts will typically be buffets at the hotels where you're staying. Dinner is either at the hotel where you are staying or a nearby restaurants. They are either served family style or you will have a choice of a couple of different entrees. For lunch you will stop at different bars (small restaurants) where you can purchase lunch; you will also have the opportunity to stop at a market to purchase snacks or a picnic style lunch for yourself.
  2. What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?

    Vegetarian options for this trip are available but will be limited. If you are concerned about having enough protein during your trip, plan to bring some plant-based protein sources such as nut butter, instant dried hummus, or high-protein energy bars. If you cannot eat gluten or if you have other dietary restrictions i.e. vegan, you will need to bring some supplemental food with you.
  3. Are hairdryers available at the hotels?

    Most hotels have hair dryers in the room or available at the front desk.
  4. Are ATMs readily available along the way?

    There are ATMs in all overnight towns except the last two nights.
  5. What laundry facilities will we have?

    Most hotels have coin-operated laundry or will wash clothes for you, except last two nights. Santiago hotel does not have laundry but there is a coin-operated laundry relatively nearby.
  6. Are there grocery stores and drug stores along the way?

    There are stores (smaller or larger) almost every day along the way.
  7. I will be coming by myself. Do I need to pay a single supplement?

    You only need to pay a single supplement if you want to guarantee you have your own room. Otherwise we’ll pair you up with someone and then switch roommates every time we switch lodging.