Multi-Day Tour | Escorted, Group

The Crux of the Camino (19 days)

Captain's Choice

San Sebastian, Spain To Santiago De Compostela, Spain

The Crux of the Camino (19 days)

Day 2

St Jean Pied de Port, France

Day 3

Roncesvalles, Spain

Day 11

Arganza, Spain

Day 13

Portomarín, Spain

Day 14

Melide, Spain

Day 16

O Pedrouzo, Spain


Day 1
San Sebastian, Spain
Hotel de Londres San Sebastián Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

A geographically gifted city, San Sebastián’s beaches line

the Bay of Biscay. We land here for a short hedonistic stop

before the walk begins in earnest. Tonight, we call the

Hotel de Londres San Sebastián home. It is set directly

on Playa de la Concha, said to be Europe's best city beach.

Take a stroll along the sand before sitting down to a

classically Basque dinner in the Londres’ dining room.

Day 2
St Jean Pied de Port, France
Hotel Les Pyrénées Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

San Sebastián is also Spain’s gastronomic capital.

We explore the old city, then treat ourselves to pintxos

washed down with Txakoli, a fruity, quaffing wine. An hour’s

drive later, we cross the border and arrive in the town of

St Jean Pied de Port, starting point for the Camino Francés

route. Our residence, Hotel Les Pyrénées is famed for

both its accommodation and its exquisite Michelin-starred

restaurant – we let its chef pamper our taste buds tonight.

Day 3
Roncesvalles, Spain
Hotel Roncesvalles Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

On our first day of the walk, we cross the Pyrénées range,

climbing from 200 metres above sea level to just above

1,400 metres. This will be the most difficult day, not just

because our feet are unpracticed. The rolling landscape

reveals more of itself the higher we go, its beauty distracting

us at opportune times. Upon reaching Roncesvalles Pass,

we are again in Spain. From here, it is downhill into town

and the beckoning hospitality of the Hotel Roncesvalles.

Day 4
Pamplona, Spain
Gran Hotel La Perla Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Between Roncesvalles and Venta del Puerto, the

countryside undulates in a manner more forgiving than

yesterday’s route. Dotted around each bend we find

farms owned by the umpteenth generation of each family.

We are invited inside several to sample their delectable

sheep’s cheese, ham and produce, many of which are

on regular order by the Basque Country’s numerous

Michelin-starred chefs. In the last hour of this section,

we descend 200 metres in elevation to Zubiri, then drive

to Pamplona, bypassing the less inspiring portion of this

walk. We rest this evening in the Gran Hotel La Perla.

Day 5
Elciego, Spain
Hotel Marques de Riscal, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Elciego Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

While you have the choice of walking any section of

today’s journey, our recommendation is to rest your feet

and feast your senses on the grand churches dating from

the Middle Ages. Highlights are the Gothic Church of the

Crucifix and the Moorish-inflected Church of Santiago

el Mayor. We lunch in Logroño, the capital of La Rioja.

Appropriately, we indulge in a wine tasting, relishing

the oak and vanilla flavours characteristic of the region.

Tonight, our residence is the flamboyantly modern

Marqués de Riscal Hotel in Elciego, and we crown

the evening with an exquisite dinner at the hotel’s

Michelin-starred restaurant. Here we dine, not on

mere dishes, but what Chef Juan Bautista Peñas

calls ‘proposiciones gastronomicas’.

Day 6
Santo Domingo De La Calzada, Spain
Parador de Santo Domingo de la Calzada Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Winemaking in La Rioja originated with the Phoenician

settlers who once called it home. Today, we delve into

this pre-Camino aspect, meeting master winemakers at

renowned vineyards and new, inventive ones. Sample

their creations as we go. We drive to Santo Domingo

de la Calzada in the afternoon, where charming

medieval streets beg to be explored.

Give in to your curiosity or relax before an authentically

Riojan dinner at our hotel, the regal Parador de Santo

Domingo de la Calzada, a former pilgrims’ refuge from

the 12th century.

Day 7
Burgos, Spain
Palacio de Burgos Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

A morning drive places us in Villafranca Montes de Oca

in the region of Castilla. For the first time since we began

our journey, the walk then takes us over 1,000 metres

in elevation, granting peaceful views to be savoured.

Interestingly, for travellers past, this was a treacherous

stretch where bandits and thieves lay in wait.

Arriving in San Juan de Ortega, we drive on to Atapuerca,

where Europe’s oldest human remains were found. It is

the town’s Museum of Human Evolution that captures

our attention. We travel on to Burgos, where the best

examples of Gothic architecture are to be found.

Most impressive is the town’s cathedral and, at its centre,

the tomb of El Cid, military genius and national hero.

Our residence tonight is the Palacio de Burgos, near the

Plaza Mayor. Choose to dine at Casa Ojeda, an institution

since 1912, or more casually, in a tapas bar.

Day 8
Carrión De Los Condes, Spain
Real Monasterio de San Zoilo Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack

Welcome to the Meseta, the plateau that is Spain’s

heartland. While it is flat and easy walking, there is little

in the way of shade. For this reason, we drive to Frómista.

Here, we take to our feet, strolling past the occasional

Romanesque ruin – churches or refuges now unused.

In the distance, low hills punctuate the horizon.

Our destination for the day is Carrión de los Condes

where Romans, Visigoths and Moors once held sway.

Extraordinarily historic, our home for the night is the

Real Monasterio de San Zoilo, a 10th-century complex

featuring a cloister with 200 carved arch keystones.

This evening, dine on the famed lamb at the rustic

Mesón de Villasirga.

Day 9
León, Spain
Hotel Real Colegiata Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today we investigate more of Spain’s past, as told by

its architecture. In Quintanilla de la Cueza, we visit

an ancient Roman villa, La Tejada. While its roof has

crumbled, its intricate mosaic floors remain as captivating

as the day they were made. In Sahagún, we see the

original mudéjar-style buildings – it was here that

Muslim and Christian influences first combined,

before spreading throughout the country.

León welcomes us in the afternoon. Founded in the

1st century BC, there is a wealth of sights and sounds to

discover. Tonight’s residence is another lovingly restored

monastery, the Hotel Real Colegiata. We celebrate the

halfway mark of our journey at a private dinner in the

atmospheric cloister. As a chamber orchestra plays,

we recount our day, becoming more like friends and

less like travel companions.

Day 10
Astorga, Spain
Posada Real Casa de Tepa Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

The path out of León now runs through industrial areas,

which is why we choose to drive today. But before you

rue modernity, consider its contribution to the Basilica

La Virgen del Camino’s façade – its eerie bronzes of the

Twelve Apostles and Mary were sculpted in the 1950s by

Josép Maria Subirachs, whose most famous works are on

the Passion Façade of the basilica of the Sagrada Família.

We arrive in Astorga after lunch, where we are free

to explore the city. A highlight is the Episcopal Palace

of Astorga, one of only three Gaudí buildings outside

Catalonia. This evening, we dine on the regional specialty,

cocido maragato at Casa Maragata. Our home for the

night is the Posada Real Casa de Tepa.

Day 11
Arganza, Spain
Palacio de Canedo Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After the last two days, our legs are ready for some work.

The Meseta is nearly behind us – the land becomes

a little more lush and, the path, a little less straight.

Our goal is the cobbled streets of Rabanal del Camino.

Here we drive to Ponferrada where the grandest castle,

built by the Knights Templar, stands as it has since the

12th century. A short detour from the Camino takes us to

rural Arganza for the night, where the Palacio de Canedo

welcomes us. The walk will have whet our appetites for

the chef’s tasting menu and wines from the hotel’s estate.

Day 12
Sarria, Spain
Hotel Alfonso |X Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

In the morning, we explore the atmospheric Templar

ruins of Sarracín Castle. Then, a new province calls. With

Kerry-esque green hills and misty lakes, Galicia is a mirror

of the northern British Isles, in culture and in landscape.

The high point of today’s walk is at its end – O Cebreiro is

an ancient Celtic town where time has stood still for more

than 1,500 years. Here we marvel at pallozas, low stone huts

with sweeping circular roofs. To top off a remarkable day, we

join the Benedictine Monks of the Monastery of St Julian of

Samos for evening vespers, an unbroken tradition since the

6th century. Tonight, we rest at the Hotel Alfonso IX in Sarria.

Day 13
Portomarín, Spain
Pousada de Portomarín Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Those determined to earn their Compostela must walk

the rest of the way. We collect, in our pilgrim’s passport,

a stamp at each town, proof that we are committed to

our challenging journey.

A gentle uphill climb takes us through Vilei and into

Barbadelo, where we visit the 12th-century Iglesia de

Santiago, one of Galicia’s premier Romanesque churches.

As the sun sets on the farm of Santa Mariña, we gather

around for queimada, Galicia’s fire drink. Grape liqueur,

coffee beans and lemon peel are stirred together while

an incantation is recited. The drink is set on fire and sugar

poured in, fueling the flames. When they die down, the

ladle is passed around and we each take a sip – the group

is now protected from evil spirits that may lie in wait.

Day 14
Melide, Spain
Pazo de Andeade Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Imagine a time when pilgrims risked life and limb to

complete the Camino. Today, the only danger comes in

the form of a very pretty countryside, which distracts us

and slows our pace. Old villages, once hubs of activity,

lie quietly along our path. The peace is disturbed only by

the occasional bird or chatty walker. Nearly 15 kilometres

later, we arrive in Melide, to be driven to our rustic yet

luxurious residence, Pazo de Andeade. Fortified by a bath

and the kitchen’s most delicious offerings, we turn in.

Day 15
Arzúa, Spain
Pazo de Andeade Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Pazo de Andeade is one of the most charming hotels

on the trail, which is why we spend a second night here.

Those who wish to abstain from today’s 14 kilometre walk

may revel in its grounds. The rest of us visit Castañeda,

where lime kilns once fired stone used for the cathedral

in Santiago de Compostela. Pilgrims would collect a

stone from Triacastela and carry it all the way here, so that

they could say they helped build the cathedral. Our walk

concludes at the Church of Santa Maria Magdalena in Arzúa,

then we return to Pazo de Andeade for an afternoon of rest.

Day 16
O Pedrouzo, Spain
Casa Grande do Bachao Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We awake feeling lighter than ever before, revelling in

the knowledge that in just one more day, we will be in

Santiago de Compostela. More pilgrims join us, creating

a moving community on two feet. In Barrosas, we stop in

the Chapel of San Lázaro, before proceeding to Calzada

and Salceda, then resting for the night in O Pedrouzo.

Casa Grande do Bachao promises an idyllic, if brief, respite.

Day 17
Santiago De Compostela, Spain
Parador de Santiago de Compostela Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We have but 20 kilometres left to go. One hour from

Santiago de Compostela, we reach Monte do Gozo,

where we glimpse our first sight of the grand cathedral’s

spires. We feel an emotional tug – we are on the finishing

stretch. Modern roads give way to winding medieval

lanes as we enter the old city, then suddenly, from the

square of Obradoiro, we see the cathedral itself, soaring

from the ground. We have arrived. With reverence, we

enter via the Portico of Glory, itself a microcosm of the

bible in exquisite stone. We each take a moment, coming

to terms with the magnitude of our endeavour.

This evening, celebrate with a mariscada seafood feast.

The magnificent Parador de Santiago, built by King

Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, is our home for two nights.

Day 18
Santiago De Compostela, Spain
Parador de Santiago de Compostela Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

One final ceremony marks the end of our journey –

the legendary pilgrims’ mass at the cathedral. It features

the incredible Botafumeiro, a giant thurible, or incense

burner on chains. Weighing 80 kilograms when full and

21 metres at maximum swing, it requires eight men to

operate. They pull on it in unison, swinging the thurible

above the congregation’s heads and perfuming the air.

Tonight, we indulge ourselves with a private dinner within

our hotel, calling for multiple toasts to our incredible

experience. It would not be amiss to say that we have

grown in wisdom and resilience, and lighter in spirit.

Day 19
Santiago De Compostela, Spain
None Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Your journey comes to a conclusion in Santiago de

Compostela. Take the chance to farewell newfound

friends before you set off for home.

Tour Features


Experiences have not been selected at this time


In AD 812, news spread that St James’ tomb was found.

Thus began the Camino de Santiago, the Way of St James,

a pilgrimage that promised to wash away punishment for sins.

All over Europe, many paths were created, but one stands out

for its beauty – the Camino Francés. Today, we follow ancient

scallop shells in search of James’ shrine in the grand cathedral

at Santiago de Compostela, on a journey reserved for just 18.

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Antarctic Flyover

By: KC

Reviewed on: 31 Mar 2019

This was the most amazing and enjoyable journey. I booked it on the spur of the moment via Main Beach Travel. I’m thrilled that I did so. From the happy throng at the departure gate, the welcome from the Captain’s Choice staff and interactions with them including photos with the penguin (!) it was obvious that this was not going to be any ordinary flight. The excitement was palpable. It’s not everyday you can say, “I’m going to Antarctica!”. The welcome continued with the very friendly air crew. Over the course of the journey their service and unflagging enthusiasm for their passengers enjoyment was constantly demonstrated. I enjoyed interacting with them and seeing the happiness of a first time flyover crew member. The plentiful food was outstanding. My favourite drink, bubbles, flowed. And a raffle and auction in the air - what fun! The interaction among the passengers was excellent as we took our turn enjoying the most stunning, incredible scenery below. Amazing day. Don’t miss it!