Private Bedroom and Bathroom
We understand that people do want to walk the Camino, but would rather not sleep in albergues, the communal dormitories available along the trail. Some pilgrims enjoy having their own bedrooms with a door, an en-suite bathroom, and plenty of hot water!
Freedom From Your Bags
Our self-guided clients do not want or cannot carry all their belongings with them. In fact, they enjoy being able to add some extra weight to their load and have some creature comforts, such as that Ipad!
A Live Person to Help
Are you nervous and scared! Coming to a foreign country to walk for a couple of weeks is daunting no matter how many books and web forums you've read. You want more than just an Orientation Packet sent to you in the mail - you want a LIVE person to answer your questions and help you take those first steps on your journey.
Meals with Friends, IF you wish
Independence can be great when traveling, but it is also nice to have some occasional companions to share those tales from the trail and a meal or two!
In the afternoon, your Fresco Tours guide will hand out your Orientation Packets and review all the materials to get you ready for your Pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago! Afterwards, we will take a walk around Roncesvalles, where we attend a moving Pilgrim’s Mass. The blessing at the end is an appropriate way for you to start your journey. Afterwards, we have our first night's feast – perhaps some trout, like the ones Hemingway used to catch in the local river! (D)
Roncesvalles – ZubiriAccommodation: Zubiri / Walking: 22 km
With our boots and scallop shells on, your Fresco Tours guide escorts you out of town following various Camino markers and the famous yellow arrow. You follow the yellow arrow through pastures and fields that make this part of Basque Navarra so famous for its local fresh produce. You walk by "caserios", giant stone farm houses that have been in the same family for generations and generations. Tradition is the theme here! Entering Zubiri, you come across the Gothic bridge known as "La Rabia," which was used by farmers in a ritual to prevent their livestock from developing rabies (rabia). (B)
Zubiri - PamplonaAccommodation: Pamplona / Walking: 21 km
This morning, you continue to Larrasoaña, a town with strong ties to the Camino as it was mentioned in the 12th century Codex Calixtinus, the official Camino guide book of the time! Keep an eye out for several Jacobean signs and armor shields on the stone buildings. You work your way into Pamplona, where you come across the 15th century Cathedral of Santa María la Real, with its beautiful cloisters and interesting façade. Pamplona's patron saint is San Fermín, and in keeping with tradition, this energetic university city is always filled with tourists and locals, ready to keep the festivities going! (B)
Pamplona – Puente la ReinaAccommodation: Puente la Reina / Walking: 25 km
You leave Pamplona and make your way to Cizur Menor, where you can see the Church of San Miguel Arcángel. To get the blood going, the Camino gives you your first steady climb to the crest of the Alto de Perdón, where you can enjoy the views of the surrounding valleys. Following the scallop shells, you come to Puente la Reina, named in honor of Doña Mayor, who had the bridge built to make sure pilgrims coming from the French & Aragonés routes, could continue walking safely. (B)
Puente la Reina - EstellaAccommodation: Estella / Walking: 22 km
Leaving Cirauqui, you walk through rich agricultural fields of olives, grapes, almonds and fruit trees and will suddenly find yourself along ancient Roman roads and bridges leading into Lorca. After a few ups and downs, you enter the once magnificent town of Estella, where you can still see evidence of its importance in the 11th century as a merchant town. Pilgrims were also greatly respected, and their rights specifically protected in Estella’s town charter. (B)
Estella – Los ArcosAccommodation: Los Arcos / Walking: 22 km
Walking out of Estella, you come across the ancient Benedictine Monastery of Irache, where the winery still honors the ancient tradition of providing free wine to pilgrims! Have a sip, but not too much as you still have km's ahead! The tower of the 12th century Church of San Andrés lets you know you’ve arrived in Villamayor de Monjardín, before continuing on to Los Arcos, whose ancient entrance was known as the Gate of Shells and was the access point to the Jewish quarter. (B)
Los Arcos - VianaAccommodation: Viana / Walking: 19 km
Your walk today takes you through kilometers of vineyards. While in Torres del Río have a look at the Iglesia de Santo Sepulcro, attributed to the Knights Templar and known for its special acoustics, before continuing to Viana. Viana is an energetic town with a lot of Camino history, including the 13th century Church of Santa Maria, where Cesare Borgia is buried. Borgia was said to be the illegitimate child of Pope Alexander VI, and he was killed while defending Viana in 1507. (B)
Viana - LogroñoAccommodation: Logroño / Walking: 10 km
7 days of walking, 141 kilometers, and you arrive to Logroño, the capital of La Rioja, and famous for its superb red wines. Today is a shorter walk, so it would only be appropriate to spend the afternoon sampling some of the Rioja’s fine wines in this buzzing university city! Also, make sure to visit the 14th century Cathedral of Santa Maria la Redonda, known for its twin towers (Las Gemelas). Congratulations – you’ve completed the first chapter of your Camino! (B)
Logroño - Tour Ends
After breakfast, your tour has come to an end. Safe travels! (B)
* Please note: this itinerary is subject to slight modifications due to hotel availability, weather, festivals & other occurrences.
A Fresco Tour guide will hand deliver you an Orientation Packet and give you a detailed meeting on the first night in Roncesvalles. Your Welcome Packet is filled with all the materials you'll need to transform into a pilgrim: Your credentials (Pilgrim's Passport), a scallop shell, daily maps of the route, a guide book with historical information of the villages that you will pass through, and a few other goodies for the trail! We'll answer any questions that you have before starting your journey from Roncesvalles and on the next morning, lead you out on The Way!
Minimum of 3 people for this service to be provided.
8 nights in a combination of 3 & 4-star hotels, restored manor homes, and small pensions / inns located on the Camino. All rooms have their own bathrooms. We’ve chosen places for their hospitality, comfort, and location.
*Keep in mind that as you will be walking through rural countryside, the availability of 3 & 4-star hotels all along the route is not possible.
All breakfasts are included with your hotels. We have arranged that they will be supplemented from the standard Spanish breakfast of coffee & toast. The first night of the itinerary, our guide will take you for dinner in Roncesvalles - wine and beer included. Afterwards, we will provide you with a list of places along the Camino with food recommendations. Let us know if you have any dietary restrictions and we can ask our hotels to accommodate for those as well!
Limited Group Size
Although this tour is Self-Guided, we've limited the size of each departure 15 passengers. Availability is on a first come, first serve basis.
We will arrange for the transfer of 1 suitcase / piece of luggage (20 kg / 45 lbs MAX) per person between your hotels on your walk along the Camino. If the weight of your bag exceeds the limit, you will need to divide it into 2 pieces. Please contact us for details for rates for extra bags.
We are here to help! Need assistance with hotels prior to or after your trip? Train or bus tickets to and from your tour? Questions about what to wear? Need a taxi while on the trail? Based in Spain, we are here to make sure that your trip runs smooth as can be - we are available!
On the Road
What is the weather like on the A Fresco Start Chapter 1 Tour?
A Fresco Start Chapter 1: Camino de Santiago Tour covers 141 km of the Camino. Coming down from the Pyrenees, the first couple of days may have cooler temps, but as you continue along the vineyards of Navara and Rioja, it can get warmer.
What is the change in elevation on the A Fresco Start Chapter 1 Tour?
You will be walking from Roncesvalles to Logroño, 141 km of the Camino de Santiago. For a detailed map of the distances between towns along the Camino and their respective altitudes, please click here.
What is the terrain like on the A Fresco Start Chapter 1: Camino de Santiago Tour?
On this part of the Camino, the terrain is rolling hills – the first stages are more challenging with inclines and descents albeit not treacherous descents. The trail is a combination of compact dirt and stone footpaths and small country roads.
How many kilometers are walked each day on the A Fresco Start Chapter 1: Camino de Santiago Tour?
The amount of km's scheduled for each day varies an average of 10 km to 25 km. We have designed this tour to allow the possibility to walk 141 km to Logroño.
What if I am unable to walk the scheduled daily kilometers?
We will provide you with daily maps of your walk. These maps include the elevation gain and loss along the stage, the address and a detailed map of where your hotel is located, our favorite restaurant recommendations along the trail for lunch and dinner, and a list of taxi phone numbers in case you need a lift.
How much water should I carry on the Camino?
There are many places along the Camino where you can refill water, thus, you should not need more than 1 liter and also, you will find cafes/bars along the way where you can purchase water as well...never refill your water from fountains marked 'non-potable'.
Will I have access to WiFi?
Yes, but you will be walking in some of the most rural parts of Spain so the service may be a bit difficult or slow in certain locations. Nonetheless, many cafes along the way also offer Wi-Fi so you'll have several opportunities to be online. Finally, remember that one of the greatest joys of the Camino is cultivating the ability to disconnect and enjoy your immediate surroundings!
How much should I budget to hike the Camino?
You should budget 30 – 40 Euros per day for lunch/dinner and incidentals.
How do I get Euros along the Camino?
The best way is to use ATMs. Before you leave, talk to your bank and make sure that you have the correct PIN and inform them that you will be traveling to Spain, so your account is not frozen after 1 transaction. Nonetheless, you should always have some cash on you in case your card does not work for any reason.
Getting There & Back
How do I get to the A Fresco Start Chapter 1: Camino de Santiago Tour starting point?
Roncesvalles (Spain) is the official starting point of the A Fresco Start Chapter 1: Camino de Santiago tour and can be reached via bus from Pamplona. Traveling from either Madrid or Barcelona, one can choose between the train (RENFE) or the bus (ALSA).
Once in Pamplona, you need to make your way to Roncesvalles by bus: Pamplona to Roncesvalles
If you need assistance with these travel arrangements, we will be happy to help.
How do I get from Logroño to Madrid and other cities?
There are now RENFE trains that will get you from Logroño to Madrid, some in less than 4 hours. While routes and availability may vary upon time of booking, there are several daily trains from Logroño to Madrid. Additionally, there are buses from Logroño to Madrid.
Can you help with purchasing online train tickets?
Unfortunately, the RENFE website can be a bit temperamental and is not very user friendly. However, all is not lost! If you are having difficulties, we like the Rail Europe website for purchasing tickets. Keep in mind that train tickets cannot be purchased until 60 days prior to departure. Routes and availability are subject to vary based on maintenance needs.
How do I get from the Madrid Airport to the City Centre?
If your flight flies into Madrid's T-4 (Aeropuerto T-4) terminal, you have a local Cercanias train that will get you from the airport to the Atocha and Chamartín train station in 25-30 minutes. These trains leave the T-4 station more or less every half an hour. For more information, please see: https://www.renfe.com/es/en/suburban/suburban-madrid/timetables
In addition, there is an express bus that services all terminals at the airport with the Atocha Train Station: http://www.emtmadrid.es/Bloques-EMT/Aeropuerto.aspx?lang=en-GB.
How do I get to and from the Airport?
The national organization of airports in Spain (AENA) has a great website that explains how to get to and from the major city for your airport of choice. It also has information regarding the routes serviced, the corresponding airlines, terminal information, and much more. You may have to re-click the "English" tab at the top once you have chosen your airport.
Before You Go / Preparing
What type of boots do I need for the A Fresco Start Chapter 1 Tour?
Footwear is a very personal question - depending on how active you are and how much support you will need. Since we will be walking on a daily basis on the Camino de Santiago, I believe that comfort is key - you do not want to get blisters. You probably won't need a full high boot that covers your ankle (unless you need this support), but rather light trail walkers or even running shoes if you are used to walking. In the spring, there may be mud and water along the trail, so keep that in mind. Most important: Make sure that they are well broken in!
What sort of conditioning do I need to undertake Camino de Santiago Tour?
We encourage you to walk before and be prepared for your own enjoyment. However, this is your vacation and not boot camp! Start with a short hike and work your way up to the average mileage you would like to achieve on the Camino (for most people this is between 20 and 30 kilometers per day). The most common injuries on the Camino are blisters (painful and can get infected), shin splints, stress fractures, and joint pain. Proper footwear, a light pack, and conservative daily distances all help to protect your joints, bones and muscles from injury and fatigue. If you have joint problems, hiking poles can be helpful!
How do I purchase travel insurance?
If you are interested in travel insurance, we like TravelInsurance.com, which allows you to compare various policies across the top Insurance Providers. With the current situation, make sure to review their section regarding "Coronavirus Information" to select a policy that fits your needs.
Where do Fresco Tour clients come from?
We are very fortunate to have had clients join us from around the world giving us a wonderful mix of diversity. The internet allows us access to the world, and since 2006 we have had travelers from the USA, Canada, Puerto Rico, Bermuda, Panama, Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, the United Kingdom (England & Scotland), Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, China, Singapore, India, South Africa, Namibia and even Egypt! It truly is a small world after all!
When do most people walk the Camino de Santiago?
According to the Pilgrim's Office in Santiago de Compostela, in 2019, 33.4% of all pilgrims who requested the Compostela arrived in July and August. This makes sense since many Europeans and students have their vacation time in the summer. Whenever you decide to walk, you will always be able to find that "quiet time" for yourself along the trail. In addition, walking with Fresco Tours means that you won't have to worry about your meals, your pack, where you'll sleep, or anything else. You do the walking and leave everything else up to us!