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.
Hiking and History Along El Camino de Santiago
11 days from $5,745
- A Q&A with Expert Ross King
- A Q&A with Expert Cassandra Potts Hannahs
- A Q&A with Expert Grant Nel
- A Q&A with Expert Michelle Thaller
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* Click on hotel name to visit hotel web-site.
Hotel Roncesvalles offers free Wi-Fi and bright rooms with a flat-screen TV. This restored Medieval hospital is next to Roncesvalles Monastery, an important point on the Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage Route. Hotel Roncesvalles combines original stone walls and wooden ceilings with elegant, modern décor. Each heated room has a work desk and a stylish bathroom with a hairdryer. The Roncesvalles Hotel’s rustic restaurant offers a daily buffet breakfast, and dinner can be served upon request. Hotel Roncesvalles also has a lounge bar and a large terrace.
Number of nights: 1
Nestled on the edge of the Taconera Gardens, this upscale hotel is 0.8 km from Pamplona Cathedral and 1.6 km from the site of the annual San Fermín festival, known for the running of the bulls. The stylish, modern rooms and suites offer flat-screen TVs, minibars and free Wi-Fi. Upgraded rooms add desks, Nespresso machines and/or city and mountain views, while suites feature separate living rooms and balconies. Room service is available. Dining options include a polished restaurant, a casual cafe, and a lobby bar. There's also a seasonal outdoor pool, a hot tub, and an exercise room, plus a business center and meeting space
Number of nights: 1
La Rioja, Spain
The hotel occupies a former 12th-century hospital near the cathedral, erected by St. Dominic to take in pilgrims traveling on the Way of St. James. It has a regal, elegant style, with majestic function rooms and a lobby filled with Gothic arches and wood coffered ceilings. Fine materials and eye-catching colors—whites and blues—give way to comfortable guest rooms decorated with exquisite taste.
You will find a warm, harmonious environment which is also highly suited to social events and meetings. Santo Domingo de la Calzada stands beside the banks of the Oja River on a vast plain. The town's founding is linked to the branch of the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela known as the French Route. Legend has it that in the 11th century, this location was a large holm oak forest on the banks of a tumultuous river that descended from the nearby mountains, now known as the Sierra de la Demanda. A hermit named Domingo took up residence in the heart of the forest, dedicating all his energy to making it easier for pilgrims traveling to Compostela to cross this difficult terrain.
Today you can enjoy the town by visiting sights such as the cathedral or Plaza de España (Spain Square) and savoring La Rioja's delicious cuisine.
Number of nights: 1
The NH Collection Palacio de Burgos, formerly known as NH Palacio de la Merced, hotel is in the heart of Burgos, by the River Arlanzón and a few minutes’ walk from the UNESCO-protected cathedral. The building itself is every bit as impressive as the setting – a magnificent Gothic creation built in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Our rooms are spacious and stylish in equal measure. They team elegant interiors with extras that ensure the highest levels of comfort.
Number of nights: 1
Set in a former monastery in Carrion de los Condes, the hotel is located near to the Santiago pilgrimage route. Rooms in Hotel Real Monasterio de San Zoilo look onto the beautiful gardens.
Featuring stone arches, drapes, and beamed ceilings, the rooms have a rustic feel. Some have four-poster beds and all of them have air-conditioning and heating. Each room has a TV and a private bathroom with free toiletries and a hairdryer. Free Wi-Fi is available.
Number of nights: 1
The Sercotel Alfonso V Hotel is an excellent 4-star hotel located in the centre of León . It is situated right in the commercial and financial center, only steps from the Old Town. This hotel in León boasts 62 rooms: singles, doubles, and suites that are elegantly decorated and with free wifi internet available. The bathrooms are all perfectly equipped and the climate control is self-adjustable.
Its central location makes this hotel in León the ideal spot for a couple of days sightseeing in the Castilian capital. It is a must-see stop for peregrines traveling towards Santiago and has an extremely interesting historic and cultural legacy to offer.
Number of nights: 1
The historic site of San Vicente do Pino is located in the uppermost part of the town of Monforte de Lemos. It is made up of the keep, San Vicente do Pino Monastery and the palace of the counts of Lemos, which houses the Parador de Monforte. The monastery dates back to the 9th century, although the current structure was built in the 17th century in the neoclassical style. The building has a neoclassical central cloister with exceptionally well carved stonework. It is the ideal space for events, or simply to enjoy a stroll amid the silence and beauty of the stone.
You won't want to miss a visit to the Colegio de Los Escolapios (Piarist School), a majestic building more than 100 meters in length. Construction of the structure was begun in 1593 and completed in 1913, after more than three centuries of work. Its grandeur evokes El Escorial Monastery and its walls bear the coats of arms of the counts of Lemos, the House of Alba and the Piarist Fathers, who were responsible for completing the work. The school's museum, previously the sacristy, houses paintings by El Greco and Andrea del Sarto, among others.
Monforte de Lemos is also an exceptional location for exploring the Ribera Sacra region, with its rivers, vineyards, Romanesque churches, gastronomy, and festivals. In the area around the town, you will discover indescribably beautiful landscapes, including the Sil River Canyon and the magical Sierra de O Caurel mountains.
Number of nights: 1
Combining history, art and tradition, the goal of pilgrims and the emblem of St. James, the Hostal dos Reis Católicos, in the Plaza do Obradoiro, forms together with the cathedral one of the world’s most remarkable, and most visited, urban settings.
The Hostal, which first saw life as a Royal Hospital in 1499 to house the many pilgrims arriving in Santiago, today still invites the traveler to enjoy this universal and fascinating city.
Considered the oldest hotel in the world, it is also one of the most luxurious and beautiful. It has four extremely beautiful cloisters, elegant public rooms, spectacular bedrooms and a luxurious dining room offering Galician style fish and meats and the classic apple filloa pies and crème brulee.
Number of nights: 2
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.
For the convenience of our travelers, Travel Guard provides an on-tour Insurance Plan. On-tour emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only). It also includes up to $25,000 medical and up to $500 dental expense coverage, and 24-hour worldwide travel and medical assistance. Please click here to view complete coverage details.
Please visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1-800-208-6142 to learn about additional (optional) coverage.
Smithsonian Journeys engage travelers in the mission of the Smithsonian – “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Like the Institution, our tours enrich our guests’ lives and satisfy their curiosity about the world. Your participation benefits the work of Smithsonian’s 19 museums, National Zoo, and nine research centers, helping to preserve our national treasures and shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions.
What Is Provided With Your Tour
- Expertise of select speakers, Adventure Guide, and local guides throughout the tour as described in each itinerary
- All gratuities for all tour staff
- On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents Only)
- Pre-tour information, including a reading list
- All on-tour transportation, unless otherwise noted
- All accommodations for the duration of the tour
- Meals, as noted in the itinerary (B-breakfast; L-lunch; D-dinner; R-reception)
- All sightseeing and visits as noted in each itinerary
What Is Not Provided With Your Tour
- International and in-country airfare and departure taxes
- Passport and all visa fees and photos; immunization(s) and medication(s); and any other travel documentation fees as required
- Optional travel insurance
- Personal items, unless otherwise stated, such as wine, liquors, a-la-carte orders
- Expenses incurred by our tour operator in making any individual travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour
- Communication charges (e.g. phone, internet, etc.)
- Other items noted as optional or not specifically mentioned as included
A deposit of $500 per person for a land tour reservation, unless otherwise noted, is required to reserve a space on a tour. All payments must be made by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express) to the tour operator. Deposits are applied to final payment of the tour price. Final payment is due 95 days prior to departure, unless otherwise noted. Balance is due upon invoicing. If full payment is not received by the final payment due date, your place cannot be guaranteed on the tour.
Any registration received within 95 days of departure is considered “on-request” and is subject to specific confirmation. Some tours are more restrictive. Payment in full must be made immediately by credit card before confirmation is possible.
Once confirmed, cancellation penalties apply as set forth below. If confirmation is not possible, all payments made will be refunded in full by the tour operator. Late registration confirmation procedures apply to any participant who is transferred from the wait list to the tour within the designated late registration period for that tour.
A Note About Costs
All prices are based on two persons sharing accommodations. All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars. Tour costs are based upon current airfares, tariffs, currency values, and on the basis of a presumptive minimum number of participants. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, they are subject to change. Due to fluctuations in oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your tour fee (e.g. internal flights, cruises, etc.). Details and costs will be advised at the time of final invoicing.
If the tour of your choice is fully subscribed, you may choose to be placed on a waitlist by contacting a Reservation Specialist at 1-855-330-1542 Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time), or SJReservations@si.edu. Individuals on the wait list will be contacted if space becomes available and can inquire about tour status by contacting a Reservation Specialist. If you choose to withdraw from a wait list, please notify us.
Cancellation and Refund Policy
Following enrollment, a participant’s withdrawal from the tour for any reason, including, but not limited to, illness, injury, family engagements, work-related issues, or geopolitical concerns, etc., will be deemed a cancellation. Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policy.
Per person cancellation fees are based on the date of written notice. Tour operator will refund on the following basis:
- Cancellations within 7 days of booking: Full Refund (unless it is within final payment date, 95 days before departure)
- Cancellations after 7 days of booking: Full Deposit Retained
- Cancellations made within final payment date, 95 days before departure: No Refund
- Cancellation by Smithsonian Journeys: Full Refund or Credit
This policy also applies to pre and post tour extensions. If we cancel a Tour, we will not be responsible for any additional expenses incurred by participant in his/her preparation for the Tour (e.g. nonrefundable airline tickets, visa fees, if applicable, clothing, equipment and medical expenses, etc.).
If you have scheduled your own airfare and it is delayed or if for any reason you are prevented from joining the tour on the scheduled departure date and time, or if you choose to leave the tour early, we cannot provide a full or partial refund or credit toward a future tour.
Smithsonian Journeys reserves the right to cancel any tour due to low enrollment and when a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning is issued for the destination.
Air Service/Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour
International and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time. If you make your own airline reservations, we recommend that you do not purchase nonrefundable tickets or tickets with high penalties for changes.
We urge you to check airline cancellation penalties before purchasing airline tickets since international departure times and flights can change. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator accepts liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased independently in conjunction with a tour.
Basic medical and evacuation travel protection is purchased on your behalf (Tour cancellation is not included in this plan). Optional Tour-cancellation protection is available at an additional cost and is strongly recommended. For more information about and to enroll in the option available through Travel Guard, visit the “Travel Insurance” section of our website at www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys.
Participants are responsible for obtaining any documents required for their participation in the tour such as a valid passport, all visas, vaccination certificates, and any other documents. If your tour requires a visa or other entry documents, the tour operator will send you the appropriate information after you make a reservation. Failure to obtain documents does not negate the terms and conditions, and any extra costs incurred for rerouting or delay due to travel without the necessary documents will be the participant’s responsibility. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact your embassy or consulate to ensure you obtain the proper documentation.
For all international departures, a passport valid for at least six months after the completion of your tour, and with at least six blank visa pages, is required for U.S. citizens on all tours. For more information on how or where to apply, please visit Travel.State.Gov/ApplyEarly or call the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778/1-888-874-7793 (TTY/TTD).
For more information about traveling to destinations abroad, we recommend the “Learn about your destination” section on the U.S. Department of State travel website www.travel.state.gov. For medical information, we recommend contacting the Centers for Disease Control at (877) FYI-TRIP or www.cdc.gov/travel
Physical and Medical Considerations
Smithsonian Journeys strives to offer programs that optimize our travelers' time and enjoyment, and we want participants to be aware of the physical requirements involved. By registering for a Smithsonian Journeys tour, the participant certifies that he/she is physically fit and does not have a condition that would limit mobility or trip participation. Participant further certifies that he/she does not have any mental, physical, or other condition or disability that would create a hazard for him/herself or other participants. For Tours that take place at higher elevations (above 5,000 feet), participant certifies that he/she does not suffer from a respiratory, cardiac or circulatory disorder. Participant must notify tour operator of any medical issues well before departure. We reserve the right in our sole discretion to accept, decline to accept, or remove any participant on a Tour at any time during the Tour. In the event of removal from a Tour, refunds are not given. Hospital facilities or appropriate medical facilities or doctors are often unavailable and evacuation can be prolonged, difficult, and expensive. We assume no liability regarding provision of medical care. Participants will receive appropriate health information and provide the tour operator with his/her medical history and any dietary restrictions as requested on the Personal Information Form. On certain designated Tours, a Physician Certificate must be signed by the participant’s physician and returned to us within 30 days after the participant receives it.
Each tour carries an activity rating from Level 1- Level 5. For the most satisfying experience (and in fairness to your fellow travelers), please carefully review the itinerary and physical requirements for your specific trip. If you have questions about the physical demands of your itinerary, call us at 833-254-6678.
Please be aware that healthcare standards, facilities, and services abroad may be different or even inadequate for treating certain health conditions. It is essential that you inform tour operator in writing of any existing condition for which you may require medical attention or accommodation during the tour. We will make reasonable efforts to accommodate the needs of our participants; however, services of a personal nature cannot be expected or guaranteed. By forwarding the deposit for pre-registration or registration in full, you affirm that you do not have any physical or other limitations that would create a hazard for yourself or other participants or would require adjustments to the tour for other participants.
Itinerary or Program Modifications
Smithsonian Journeys strives to improve tour itineraries and their features. If improvements can be made, or unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary, at our sole discretion, we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute elements of the tour. These elements include, but are not limited to: hotels, staff, speakers, and services for any stated in the itinerary. We will not be responsible for providing any reimbursement for delays in the Tour due to bad weather, trail conditions, river levels, road conditions, transportation delays, or government intervention.
Every effort will be made to carry out the tour as planned but alterations may still occur after the final itinerary has been sent to you. Please note that weather and other conditions may force changes to the advertised sailing schedule on cruise tours. The ship’s captain has the authority to change the ship’s schedule. Smithsonian Journeys and the tour operator reserve the right to substitute motorcoach transportation using hotels, inns or lodges for cruise accommodations if necessary due to weather, water conditions or levels, other events of force majeure, mechanical, or other conditions beyond their control.
Smithsonian Journeys chooses hotels based on a combination of location, service, atmosphere, and price. On adventure tours and tours in out-of-the-way places, best-available hotels are used. Tour prices are based on two persons sharing a room with a bath.
Singles and Roommates
Accommodations (hotels, lodges, tents, etc.) are always reserved for single participants, however, the number available on a tour may be limited. Therefore, we recommend that you register early. Please note that a single supplement will most likely apply for a single room. If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room/cabin, we will do our best to find someone of the same gender to share with you. If a roommate cannot be found, a single supplement will be charged. Please note that the single rooms in many foreign hotels may be smaller than those to which you are accustomed.
All tours except family journeys are designed for adults. Some may be suitable for children 16 and older. Regardless of age, children must pay full price unless otherwise noted, moreover, a parent or guardian must accompany those under 18.
Special Travel Arrangements
Participants may wish to extend their stay in the group hotel either before or after the tour. Our tour operator will work with you on these arrangements, dependent upon space availability. Your pre-tour bulletins will further explain all options.
If a complaint arises, the participant should first inform a member of the on-tour staff, so that the staff can attempt to rectify the matter. If the issue remains unresolved, the individual should submit the complaint in writing to Smithsonian Journeys within 30 days of the completion of the tour.
Photography and Video
Participants on tour may be photographed or recorded (audio and video) for the educational and promotional purposes of the Smithsonian Institution and Smithsonian authorized third parties. This content may be used in marketing publications and posted on websites to promote Smithsonian Journeys without compensation to the participant. Participants who prefer that their name, voice and/or image not be used must notify us in writing prior to the beginning of the tour.
For the comfort of all participants, we ask that there be no smoking during all group activities, including excursions and meals. On certain cruises, there is no smoking aboard the ship. Your pre-tour bulletins will provide further information.
Smithsonian Journeys tours are organized and administered by professional tour operators hired as independent contractors. The use of designated tour operators allows the Smithsonian to offer travelers a wide array of educational travel opportunities. The tour operator acts only as an agent for the respective suppliers by making arrangements for transportation, accommodations, and other services. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator shall be held liable for personal injury, death, property damage or accident, delay or irregularity arising out of any act or omission of these suppliers. The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, and safety of our travelers.
The Smithsonian Institution and its designated tour operator also reserve the right, without penalty, to withdraw the tour, to decline to accept any person as a participant in a tour, or to require any participant to withdraw from the tour at any time (including, but not limited for inappropriate, or offensive behavior) when such action is determined by tour staff to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general welfare of the tour group or the individual participant.
Dates, schedules, tour details, and costs, although provided in good faith based on information available at the time of publication on the website, in the brochure or catalog, are subject to change and revision.
Responsibilities of Participants
Participant is responsible for understanding the conditions as described in the Tour Itinerary and selecting a Tour in consultation with us that is appropriate to his/her interests and abilities. In addition, the participant should prepare for the Tour by reading the Tour Itinerary and supplemental Tour information in the pre-Tour materials and bringing the appropriate clothing and equipment as advised in those materials. The participant should also consult his or her physician to determine his/her suitability for the Tour and to discuss any over the counter or prescription medicines he/she should consider taking in the case of Tours which travel to higher altitudes. Screening for fitness (for Tours rated “Level 4 or Level 5”) is made during the confirmation of booking. In addition, we strongly urge all participants to review any State Department warnings, alerts, advisories, and destination specific information at www.travel.state.gov as well as specific health information for their destination at www.cdc.gov.