For over a thousand years, pilgrims have hiked the Camino de Santiago across northern Spain. Whether you’re on a spiritual journey or simply want the thrill of hiking this famous pilgrimage route, join us on this new Active Journey.

Starting at: $5,745 * Price includes special offer Register Interest or Call 833-254-6678
 Shell symbol for El Camino de Santiago  The cathedral at Santiago de Compostela  Monument to the running of the bulls in Pamplona  The cathedral in Santiago de Compostela  Cabo Fisterra, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean

Hiking and History Along El Camino de Santiago

11 days from $5,745

For over a thousand years, pilgrims have hiked the Camino de Santiago across northern Spain. Whether you’re on a spiritual journey or simply want the thrill of hiking this famous pilgrimage route, join us on this new Active Journey.

or Call 833-254-6678


Level 3: Moderate / Active

Expectations: This trip is part of the Smithsonian Active Journeys collection. These trips feature a daily schedule of physical activities—such as hiking, rafting, and/or bicycling—in addition to activities designed to offer context to the culture, history, or natural history of your destination. Each trip entails a different level of physical expectations. The following information outlines a general overview for Activity Level 3. More specific information will be posted soon. Please contact an Active Journeys Specialist to discuss the trip at more length, including details on the Activity Level.

Almost anyone who is reasonably fit should be comfortable on a Moderate/Active tour (Level 3), which generally features daily hikes of two to four hours through landscapes and small towns in Europe. Our Active Journey to Alaska and river rafting trip on the Colorado River are also Level 3. These trips are great for those travelers starting out on groups hikes and include our most popular Active Journeys. Hikes are taken at a leisurely to active pace over various types of terrain that may include groomed or gravel trails, and alongside roads or through open meadows. Some hikes are coastal or mountainous, which can entail being exposed to wind and rain. Surfaces can be uneven, with uneven steps, rough limestone bedrock, mud, and exposed roots. A few long travel days with early morning departures may be expected.

Hiking boots and day packs for daily necessities are a must; some travelers may wish to bring hiking poles. Hikes are generally not long enough to require support vehicles so once a hike is begun it is necessary to finish. (However, depending on the tour, it is sometimes feasible to skip a day’s activities and relax at the hotel, if desired.) Leisure time can be limited to the evenings).    

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit, expect a slightly vigorous pace, are comfortable participating in up to four hours of hiking per day, and enjoy challenging themselves physically. 


Day 1 — Depart the U.S. for Spain

Day 2 — Arrive in Pamplona, Spain and Transfer to Roncesvalles

Arrive in Pamplona this morning. Depending on your arrival schedule, meet your guide at the airport or train station, and drive to the nearby town of Roncesvalles for an introduction to the history of pilgrimages along the Camino de Santiago.

Join your guide for a walking tour of the historical sites of Roncesvalles. Before our welcome dinner, gather for the first of our lectures. Tonight, trace the roots of Spain from 1500 BCE to 711 CE. (D)

Day 3 — Roncesvalles to Viscarret and Pamplona

Today we properly begin our pilgrimage, hiking from Roncesvalles to Viscarret in Nararra. Stop to enjoy a lovely lunch before we drive back to Pamplona. Founded by the Roman General Pompeius, Pamplona is the first big city that the pilgrims discovered when they arrived in Spain.

Take a walk through the old city, including the streets where the famous "running of the bulls" takes place. Our lecture this evening will focus on the history of the Basque people. Hiking 5 miles, 3 hours (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Pamplona to El Alto del Perdon and La Rioja

Today’s hike begins right from our hotel in Pamplona. We will follow the Camino to the town of El Alto del Perdon. Following a picnic lunch, we will transfer by van to the town of La Rioja, where will visit a local winery for a tour and tasting. Check in to our hotel before joining your guide for a talk on Spanish History.

Tonight, we focus on the years from 711 CE to 1492 and La Reconquista, the period when Christianity expanded throughout Spain, leading to the era of exploration. Hiking 6 miles, 3 hours (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Burgos and El Cid

After breakfast this morning, continue to follow the Camino into the city of Burgos, the main capital of the Kingdom of Catilla in the 9th century. Situated on the Rio Arlanzon, Burgos was home to El Cid, famed warrior Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, whose statue still guards the Puente de San Pablo. Check into our hotel before enjoying a guided tour of the Gothic-style cathedral and the old town.

Tonight’s talk will discuss the legacy of El Cid. Hiking 5-6 miles, 2-3 hours (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Carrion de los Condes

This morning, a short transfer takes us from Burgos to the start of our hike in Boadilla del Camino. We will follow the Camino today to the village of Fromista in the Province of Palencia. After lunch, visit the Romanesque Church of San Martin de Fromista before continuing by coach to the charming Castillian town of Carrion de los Condes. Take a guided tour of the old town, then settle into the hotel, impressively located within a restored medieval monastery.

Our lecture tonight will discuss the famous kings and queens of Spain and the dynasties. Hiking 4.5 miles, 2-3 hours (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Leon and Christian Spain

After a week of hiking as pilgrims along the Camino, we will give our legs a break today. After breakfast this morning, transfer by coach to the capital of Christian Spain: the city of León. Take a historical tour of the city and its early Gothic-style cathedral, one of the most famous in Spain. Visit the Colegiata de San Isidoro and learn about its fascinating history dating back to its original incarnation as a temple to the Roman god, Mercury.

Our talk tonight will discuss the history of the Jews in Spain. Dinner tonight is free for you to choose from one of the many excellent restaurants and bistros in León. Walking, 2-3 hours (B,L)

Day 8 — Monforte de Lemos and the Celts

We will rejoin our pilgrimage today. A short drive brings us to the village of las Herrerias en El Bierzo. We will hike from the town square to the hilltop hamlet of O Cebreiro, the oldest church, and village along El Camino de Santiago. Be sure to leave a coin at the village cross for good luck! This is the northwestern region of Galicia, known for its Celtic history and rolling hills. Soak in the beauty of the surrounding countryside before transferring to Monforte de Lemos.

Our hotel tonight is a Benedictine monastery. Join your guide to visit the tower and monastery before our evening lecture. Tonight we will discuss Spanish history from the 1900s: the Civil War and Franco. Hiking 6 miles, 3-4 hours (B,L,D)

Day 9 – Santiago de Compostela

This morning we will embark on the final stretch of El Camino. It’s a special feeling to catch your first glimpse of the towers of Santiago’s cathedral and know that your pilgrimage is near its end. Depending on the interests and fitness of our group, we have two trailheads to choose from.

We will continue by foot into the heart of the city to Plaza do Obradoiro, arriving at the foot of the cathedral the same way countless pilgrims have before us. Take a moment to meditate on your achievement before checking into the hotel.

Our final lecture tonight will trace Spanish history from the time of Franco through today. Hiking 6-10 miles, 3-5 hours (B,L,D)

Day 10 – Finisterra and Farewell

Journey this morning to Cabo Fisterra, the westernmost tip of Spain and an extension of El Camino for many pilgrims. Return to Santiago for lunch and a guided tour of the cathedral and the city’s old quarter, a World Heritage site.

For those who wish, join a Pilgrims Mass at the cathedral this evening before gathering with your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner and toast to our Buon Camino. Walking 2-3 hours (B,L,D)

Day 11 – Departure

After a final breakfast, a transfer is provided to the Santiago de Compostela airport for your flight home. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)