Walking holiday in Camino de Santiago - French Way / Camino Francés
My trip to Camino de Santiago was as a part of a school trip for transition year. I travelled as part of group of 28 students and 3 accompanying teachers. At the end of our walking holiday, we calulated we walked just under 50km in total. Our trip was split into 3 days of walking and sighseeing.
DAY 1: Thursday 26 April, Boente to Arzúa (8.5km)
Thursday was our departure day with a bus transfer to the airport for our flight out to Vigo at 10:50am.
We arrived into Vigo, just outside of Santiago de Compostella. Following our arrival, we then got a bus transfer to Boente which was the starting point of our walking holiday. The transfer took around 2 and a half hours and took us through Santiago. When we arrived in Boente we walked 8.5km to Arzúa, which is back towards Santiago. Boente is a very small town with only 2 restaurants and a small supermarket.
Our walk was very uphill and tough, although we walked faster than many who were also walking the Camino. That night, we went to a lovely restaurant in Arzúa, the town we were staying in for the night. The restaurant was only a 5 minute walk from the hostel; we also had breakfast here the next morning. The town was very small with a few restaurants and tourist shops as well as a few hostels and a supermarket.
The hostel that night was above everybody’s expectations; our school had a whole floor to ourselves with 3 rooms for teachers, boys and girls as well as a kitchen/living room as a common room for us. With a curfew of 10.30, we had lots of time to look arund the town before returning to our hostel.
DAY 2: Friday 27 April, Arzúa to O Pedrouzo (20km)
Friday we had our latest start with breakfast at 8am and then free time until 9:30am before we had to meet to start walking.
We were walking from Arzua to O Pedrouzo which is another small town along the Camino.
This walk was 20km and at a much slower pace than the day before as we had the full day to walk it. We were walking mostly on small roads surrounded by lovely green fields but we also had a long stretch of forestry near the town. The town itself was much bigger than the previous two. We had dinner at an Italian restaurant and they also served us breakfast the next day at 7:30am.
The town had 2 playgrounds and a football pitch as well as many tourist shops and cafes. The hostel that night wasn’t as private as the one in Arzúa but was still a very nice hostel. This hostel gave us a curfew of 10pm but with everyone wrecked after the day we were all back my 9:30pm.
Day 3: Saturday 28 April, O Pedrouzo to Santiago de Compostella (20km)
We set off early on Saturday with breakfast at 7:30am and walking by 8:30am. We had again to walk 20km but our goal was to finish by 1:30pm so we could have the afternoon in Santiago.
We were walking mostly on roads with industrial surroundings as we were coming into the city. This walk was the hardest for us, as the road was very tough to walk on in comparison to the tracks. We did manage to make it in time to have the afternoon in Santiago
We were staying in a hotel just a 20 minute walk from the cathedral in Santiago. The hotel was above a shopping centre which meant we were able to buy gifts and to get lunch there without people getting lost.
We then spent our afternoon in the centre of the city looking around the tourist shops and sight-seeing. We had our dinner just a few minutes’ walk from the cathedral in an Italian restaurant. The city was lovely but the part we got to see was very tourist-orientated. The hotel we stayed in was also very nice.
We got a bus transfer back to Vigo airport at 7am on Sunday morning and the hotel made us breakfast to bring with us on the bus. After our flight we got a bus back to the school and got collected there at in the afternoon.
Tips & Tricks
Our trip was overall a great once in a lifetime holiday. I didn’t know what to expect when we were going but by the end of it I would definitely recommend it.
For the Camino, I would recommend walking boots although for the part we were doing they were not necessary. I would also highly recommend good breathable socks and lots of blister patches. One thing that struck me was the lack of facilities on the trail. The towns we passed through all had bathrooms and shops but apart from in the towns, there are no bathrooms along the way. I would also recommend bringing plenty of water but do account for buying some along the way as you could weigh yourself down if you bring too much. I personally felt that 2 litres was perfect for carrying as you can also buy more or fill your bottle up in towns along the way. The north of Spain also tends to be very reasonably priced as well so we only brought €10 a day which was enough for lunch, water and an ice cream.
Written by Roisin Shaw (who works in Kane's Travel on Saturdays)