GALICIA AND THE ST. JAMES WAY BY THE SEA

This exclusive tour showcases Galicia, a verdant region on the Atlantic coast renowned for natural beauty, Romanesque architecture, fabulous seafood, excellent wines, and friendly people. You’ll have the experience of finding your “way” on a sailboat, walking paths taken by pilgrims for many centuries and sharing experiences with our expert local guides. You’ll travel back in time as you explore the famous St. James Way by the Sea, the historic route originally taken to bring St. James to Santiago de Compostelo. We’ll teach you the “ropes” of sailing, walk with you along coastal paths and guide you in every moment of the adventure! Along the way you’ll delight in spectacular Spanish nature, art and architecture, and dine on some of the best seafood in the world. You’ll visit wineries and taste Galician wines grown on the steep cliffs of river valleys, visit an island with a beach considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world, learn to prepare traditional Spanish cuisine and rest in charming accommodations. In Galicia you’ll feed your mind, body and soul with rich history, beautiful scenery and fantastic food.

1st Day (Friday): From Madrid you’ll travel to Galicia’s La Ribera Sacra or “Sacred Shore” which has one of the greatest concentrations of Romanesque architecture in the world. Along the way you’ll stop for lunch and exploration at Las Medulas, a UNESCO world heritage site where the Romans mined for gold used hydrologic power to create a dramatic landscape. You will continue to Ribera Sacra where you’ll stay and dine in a quiet rectory transformed into a charming hotel. BLD

2nd day (Saturday): The steep slopes of the valleys of the Mino and Sil Rivers hold remote monasteries and hermitages dating from the 8th century that use terraced vineyards to produce red Mencía, white Albariño and white Godello wines. These vineyards are worked by hand as access is difficult and sometimes only possible from the river. Your exploration of the spectacular canyons of the Sil River begins after breakfast by boat and you’ll appreciate the effort needed for the wine harvest in this area. We’ll toast their heroic effort and sample some of the local wines on board. For lunch we will visit a fabulous restaurant in an important winery and enjoy more wine tasting. After lunch, the owner and passionate wine enthusiast, will explain the process in creating his product. Dinner and rest in the rectory .BLD

3th day ( Sunday ): In La Ribera Sacra, wine is central to the rhythm of life and today you’ll visit to a family winery. You’ll taste traditional food made by the owner of the winery and savor their delicious wines and have the experience of a real relationship with people not open to most visitors. After free time, we will have the opportunity to see a ceramic craftsman, using the same processes since 10th century! Relax and dinner together. BLD

4th day (Monday): After breakfast we’ll visit some of the Sacra Ribera”s impressive Romanesque monasteries and churches.  After a traditional Galician lunch we are going to beautiful Bayona, where the caravel “ La Niña“ returned after the first expedition of Cristobal Columbus to America. Rich with history, this small city has witnessed many battles in different eras of Galician history. Explore on your own until the evening when we will be together in a special dinner before our first day of navigation on the St. James Way by the Sea. You will stay in a wonderful castle converted in hotel in Baiona. BLD

5nd day (Tuesday): Today we begin the St. James Way By the Sea and sail the path that St James was taken by his two disciples, Teodoro and Anastasio, when they brought him to Santiago by boat from Palestine when he died. The incredible legacy for humanity, The Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela or St. James Way was made possible by this undertaking. You will be sailing on a Galician galleon guided by an expert captain and even if you are a sailing novice we will “show you the ropes”. The beautiful views of the coast will transport you 20 centuries back in time, feeling the sensations and good emotions that sailing can bring. We will stop at Cies Islands which were called the God Islands by the Romans because of their remarkable beauty. (The Guardian newspaper called Rodas Beach on Cies Island the most beautiful beach in the world.) The islands and their stunning landscapes form part of the Islas Atlánticas National Park, outstanding for rich marine life and some of the most important colonies of marine birds in the world. You’ll taste traditional Galician foods on the boat at lunch time and travel continues on the evening sail to the beach side town of Sanxenxo. Accommodations in a charming hotel. BLD

6th day (Wednesday): The sailing resumes on the Arousa Ria following the last part of St James’s travel by the sea. This sea inlet is sprinkled by beautiful islands and is rich with fabulous seafood including lobster and the mussels raised in the numerous farms. You will dine lunch on these delicacies at a small port. Afterwards the sailing voyage continues up the Ulla River, passing large crosses on each bank and ending in Padrón a town famous for its green peppers. The accommodations and dinner is in a traditional house converted to a hotel. BLD

7th day (Thursday): Today we are going to walk about 4 hours on the path pilgrims have traveled for centuries to arrive at Santiago de Compostela, the final resting place for St. James. In this final part of the way, you will find pilgrims doing the last miles with a great emotion because the expected goal is very close. People say that when you do the St James Way a part of you will change because traveling the camino is a means to find yourself , to think about and to develop harmony. We will take a picnic lunch on the way and in the evening we will reach Santiago along with many pilgrims. Enjoy the good sensations, comeraderie and relax! Afterwards you’ll have free time to explore the city and dine on your own. You’ll stay in a historical place, a pilgrim hospital founded by Catholic kings in the 15 century, now transformed in a luxury hotel, considered the first hotel in the world, because as the same time it was hospital and hotel. BLD.

8th day (Friday): Today you’ll take a guided visit to the famous city of Santiago and explore its impressive Cathedral and remarkable history. There is a great atmosphere in the little streets of this legendary city and we’ll take lunch in a noted traditional restaurant. The evening is free to enjoy the city. Maybe you can visit the Cathedral again and can witness the ritual of Botafumeiro where the incense burner is swung or you can visit the museums, or one of the many little shops since Galicia is famous for its designer clothing, ceramics. Dinner free. BL

9th day (Saturday): A special experience is planned for today as we will be preparing traditional Galician food for sharing with your fellow travelers. We will attend a cooking class, purchase ingredients at the spectacular Santiago market and prepare a fabulous meal for lunch. Free evening and we will meet again to assist to a bewitched event and dinner to say a special goodbye to this fascinating city.. BLD

10th day (Sunday): Our time in this special part of Spain has finished and we must say goodbye to Santiago. You’ll travel to Madrid by train and stay in a charming hotel near the great museums. Enjoy this magnificent city on your own . B

11th day: (Monday ): After breakfast we must say adios as we end the St. James Way By the Sea Tour! You can continue your exploration of Spain or catch your flight home but as always we invite you to join us on another adventure in Spain with CultureConnectTours. Hasta pronto!