Food Lover’s Spanish Camino


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    This unique approach to a classic pilgrimage route combines a passion for good food and produce, with the incredible history of the trail crossing northern Spain. With fully supported day walks on the best sections of the pilgrimage trail paths, including the original route from Oviedo, the essence of the pilgrimage is retained. The walking is combined with cooking demonstrations and numerous samplings of the local cuisine from the heart of Spanish modern cuisine in the Basque region to the small rural villages on the Camino, as the pilgrimage is commonly called. In the company of a local gastronomic expert, there will be many insights into the local culinary scene, two Michelin Star restaurant dining experiences.

    Highlights

    • Sample local gastronomic delights including the famous 2 Michelin star Casa Marcial restaurant & 1 Michelin star restaurant A Tafona
    • Enjoy cooking demonstrations and samplings
    • Walk on the original pilgrimage route to Santiago through superb scenery
    • Explore the magnificent cities of Leon and Santiago with their impressive architecture and cathedrals.
    • Enjoying the camaraderie of fellow food enthusiasts, walkers and pilgrims
    • Experience comfortable and welcoming hotels including two paradors (former palaces)

    Itinerary

    Day 1 Arrival in Bilbao
    On arrival into Bilbao transfer to your hotel and check-in and meet with your tour leader. Later we visit the impressive Guggenheim Museum before sitting down to our first special gourmet dinner at a men’s cooking club (sociedad gastronómica). (D)

    Day 2 Drive to Logroño via Pamplona (8km, 2hrs)
    We’ll transfer from Bilbao to Pamplona to enjoy a local coffee before taking a stroll along the Camino trail through Logrono. We will walk from Uterga to Puente de la Reina. Passing through the village of Obanos with its strong links to the pilgrimage in the Middle Ages. After the walk we’ll drive an hour to Logroño, with a short stop in Cirauqui to take in the ruins. In Logrono, our local guide will introduce you to the Camino history and share their favourite tapas bars. The choice is yours as to where you wish to dine this evening.  (B)

    Day 3 Wine tasting, walking and dinner at Echaurren Tradición in Ezcaray (6km, 2hrs)
    The day will be spent enjoying a guided visit and wine tasting at Marqués de Riscal Winery and enjoying this special wine region before transferring by vehicle to Nájera, the former capital of La Rioja, for lunch. A walk from Nájera to Azofra, right across a classic Riojan landscape of wheat fields, sunflowers and vineyards, will build your appetite for the anticipated dinner at Echaurren Tradición, famed for its exceptional interpretation of local Rioja cuisine. Before that there will be time to explore Santo Domingo de la Calzada, visiting the impressive cathedral and well known 15th century gothic henhouse (yes there is still live poultry)! (B, D)

    Day 4 To Burgos (9km, 3hrs)
    A short drive this morning before embarking on a walking route close to San Millan de la Cogolla. Alternatively, you can ride on the bus to visit the monasteries of Yuso (where Spanish was first written) (Baroque) and Suso (Romanesque). Mid-afternoon you will reach Burgos and enjoy free time to roam the city or you can join a guided visit to a traditional bota bag workshop. You may wish to visit the Gothic cathedral where El Cid is buried. For dinner this evening, a traditional meal of lechazo castellano is had at Ojeda Restaurant and tonight we’ll sleep in an impressive 500-year-old palace. (B, D)

    Day 5 Visit León, then travel to the Asturias region (4km, 1 or 2hrs)
    We drive 2 hours to Leon in the morning where we’ll take a fascinating guided tour of the spectacular Basilica of San Isidro, famed for its incredible stained-glass windows and the Panteon Real. Following lunch, we take a short walk along the Camino through part of the city before the long drive into Asturias to the town of Cangas de Onis. To Spaniards, “Asturias” means rural, green, friendly, tasty and authentic. This is the place to relax, walk, swim and sample fresh products, straight from the garden, mountain meadows or the sea. Thanks to a relatively mild and humid climate, temperatures are pleasant, even in the height of summer, and the landscape is green year-round. Rural Asturias is a patchwork of walled pastures, dense forests and farming villages, bordered by a magnificent coastline to the north and steep limestone massifs to the south. A rich cultural tradition, vibrant historical towns, pre-Romanesque churches and superb regional cooking combine to make travellers feel at home instantly. Your accommodation this evening is an idyllic old monastery. On clear days, from this historic building on the banks of the Sella River we see distant views of the snowy summits in the Picos de Europa. Nearby is the renowned Michelin- 2 starred restaurant run by chef Nacho Manzano: Casa Marcial, situated in the tiny village of La Salgar, where we’ll enjoy dinner this evening. (B, D)

    Day 6 Transfer to the coast, walk on the Camino Norte, continue to Oviedo (13km, 4-5hrs)
    This morning we have a visit to the Bufones de Pria & Playa de Guadamia (beach) – which includes a 20 minute walk (750m) to the bufones which are natural fissures in the cliff face which allows the large waves coming in off the Cantabrian Sea to blast through creating a natural spectacle. Later we’ll walk along the Camino Norte, a less travelled route on the Camino. The walk view today is quite spectacular as we walk from beach to beach along the limestone cliffs. We continue on to Oviedo where we will have an afternoon guided tour of the Historical Centre. Later, dinner will be light tapas taken at a cider bar. Here we will have the opportunity to taste this special beverage. (B, D)

    Day 7 Morning in Oviedo, first walk along the Camino Primitivo (12km, 3-4hrs)
    Oviedo is a beautiful place. It boasts Gothic Cathedrals as well as Pre-Romanesque UNESCO World Heritage listed monuments. This morning we will be joining the first walking route on the Camino Primitivo, otherwise known as the original pilgrims’ route, to Santiago. Follow Jacobean copper shells through narrow lanes, then out into the green Asturian countryside. Tarmac lanes and old foot paths take us between quiet villages, some of which still have pilgrims hostels and historic inns. A transfer takes us back to our XVlll century hotel in the centre of Oviedo. Note: the walk today is optional – you can choose to have a day at leisure in Oviedo where there are many sights of interest. (B)

    Day 8 Walk to the abandoned monastery of Obona, overnight Tineo (15.7km, 5-6hrs)
    This morning we transfer to Salas to pick up lunch supplies before we continue to the start of our walk at El Pedregal. The route takes us through beautiful countryside to reach the abandoned monastery of Obona, which was an important school and retreat for wise men in the middle ages. We’ll take a break mid walk to try some freshly baked Asturian empanadas from a small local bakery that still uses a woodfired oven. From here we transfer to our unique accommodation of a renovated old palace in historic Tineo. (B, D)

    Day 9 Cross the El Palo Pass (13.3 or 15km, 6-7hrs)
    It’s a challenging ascent today along one of the most famous stretches of the Camino. Our walk will take us along sections of the original high “ruta de los hospitales” and crosses steep slopes toward Puerto el Palo. Due to extreme winter weather, several pilgrims’ hospitals were built on either side of this challenging mountain pass. Superb views will reward your walking efforts. This evening, regional specialities at the renowned Nueva Allandesa. We will overnight in Lake Granadas. (B, D)

    Day 10 Walk the high route towards O Cadavo, transfer to Castroverde (12.3km, 5-6hrs)
    This morning we shop for picnic supplies in Grandas before transferring to Fonsagrada.  Today’s section of the Camino has been surfaced and is now tarmac from Grandas to Fonsagrada. After driving to Póboa de Buróna, a village which once had a castle and large pilgrims’ hospital near to Fonsagrada, we will walk along one of the most ancient sections on the Camino, the high route which leads to O Cádavo. We end our walk in Paradavella. Afternoon transfer to our welcoming rural accommodation near Castroverde. (B, D)

    Day 11Rest day Castroverde or walk on the Camino (9km, 3hrs)
    Today is an opportunity to have some time to explore a small rural area independently, relax in the garden or read a book. Alternatively, there is an opportunity to take an optional walk along a high ridgeline above Castroverde that affords great views. In the evening, we’ll be treated to a unique tradition: the “queimada”, a ritual followed in preparing this tasty beverage of coffee infused with liqueur (the Galician speciality called “orujo” – an eau-de-vie distilled from grape skins after they’re crushed to make wine). Overnight Castroverde. (B, D)

    Day 12 O Cádavo to Gondar, transfer to Lugo to join the French route (14.5km, 4-5hrs)
    Our last day of walking is a delight, as we enjoy the pastoral Galician countryside following quiet tarmac lanes and rural tracks from one hamlet to the next. Beautiful examples of traditional architecture such as the well-preserved ‘pazos’ and ‘casas grandes’, impressive buildings in stone and wood often turned into modern-day hotels. At Lugo, The Camino Primitivo blends with the French Route and we’ll stop here for the night to enjoy its impressive Roman Walls and outstanding tapas bars. This evening we’ll learn about regional wines and classic Galician cooking. Our highly specialized guides will share their in-depth knowledge, as well as their love of good food and wine. Dinner at a local restaurant, where they prepare the traditional dish “pulpo a feira” (Galician-style octopus) among other delicacies. (B, D)

    Day 13 Wine tasting in the Ribeira Sacra region, walk along the Camino Sanabrés (4.35-8km, 1-3hrs)

    A treat for the senses today, with wine tasting in the Ribeira Sacra region. After the winery visit, we take a short walk down through the vineyards to the Miño River. Enroute to Lalin we visit a small family-run cheese factory before lunch in Lalin. Later we drive to a lovely pazo in the country, on the Camino Sanabres (Via de la Plata) not far from Santiago de Compostela, which will mean easy access to the city the following morning. Later in the afternoon we will have an optional afternoon walk from the pazo’s doorstep to the oldest bridge on the camino (9th century) ending at either a very cosy pilgrims-bar near Silleda OR the town centre of Silleda, a friendly pil¡grims’ town. We then transfer back to Pazo for overnight accommodation. (B, D)

    Day 14 Walk into Santiago along the Camino Sanabrés, markets and Pilgrims mass (8km, 2hrs)
    After an early breakfast we drive to Cruceiro de Sar where we follow the last section of the Camino Sanabres into the city of Santiago to enjoy both the Pilgrims’ Mass and the local market. Free time to explore the city. You may wish to share emotions with other pilgrims as they approach the St James Cathedral in the old centre of town. This evening sit down to a superb farewell dinner. This is the perfect way to complete the tour. (B, D)

    Day 15 Tour concludes after breakfast
    A farewell to your fellow travellers as the trip concludes after breakfast. We do recommend that you stay an extra day in Santiago as there are many things to do in this fabulous city. (B)

    Inclusions

    • Tour escort throughout and local gastronomic experts at points through the trip
    • Accommodation at carefully selected hotels (twin share basis) including all breakfasts (continental style)
    • 4 very special gourmet dinners (wine not included): Men’s cooking club in Bilbao (day 1), Restaurant Echaurren Tradición (day 3), Casa Marcial in Arriondas (day 5) and A Tafona in Santiago de Compostela (day 14)
    • 4 authentic dinners featuring regional cuisine: Roasted lamb Castilian style at Ojeda Restaurant Burgos (day 4), Tapas Asturian style at an authentic cider house in Oviedo (day 6), Creative cooking with ancestral recipes at Hotel Grandas in Grandas de Salime (day 9) and classic Galician cooking (day 12)
    • 4 dinners featuring home cooking (3 course set menu served at your accommodation) in: Tineo (day 8), near Castroverde (day 10 & 11) and Andeade (day 13)
    • 9 guided visits: Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao (day 1), Logrono (day 2), Marqués de Riscal Winery (day 3), Bota bag workshop (day 4), Cathedral and Panteón in León (day 5), Oviedo Historical Centre (day 6), Lugo (day 12), Dairy (day 13), and Winery in the Ribeira Sacra (day 13)
    • 2 wine tasting sessions: Marqués de Riscal (day 3) and Ribeira Sacra (day 13)
    • Guided or self guided walks as per the program
    • All transfers according to program

    UTX-CCT

    Images courtesy of Utracks