Camino francés: Part 2 Tour
Burgos ⇒ Astorga
With over 60% of all Pilgrims walking this Way to Santiago, Camino Francés is, without any doubt, the most well-known, historically significant and iconic of all the Caminos. Paolo Coelho’s bestseller “The Pilgrimage” and Martin Sheen’s Movie “The Way” are set on this Camino, and its unparalleled diversity of landscapes, superb infrastructure and fantastic comradery of Pilgrims from allover the World make walking this Camino a truly unique and amazing experience.
Starting in Burgos, this Tour crosses the vast Meseta – the High Plains of Spain. Its mostly flat terrain is easy to walk and the dramatic, wide-open landscapes are interrupted by villages, towns and even cities of major significance and beauty. Romanesque and gothic churches and cathedrals are particularly abundant and stunning here.
This Tour’s pace is quite slow and, because of the easy, flat terrain, it is suited for most walkers, even those with little or no hiking experience. Some of the daily distances, specifically the ones leading into places of major interest, are rather short, allowing for ample time to explore and enjoy. The stunning city of León (on this picture), located in the second half of the journey, is very much worth considering spending an additional stop / rest day in.
Read More about the Camino Francés ⇒
The French Way, or Camino Francés, is the most popular of the many routes to Santiago de Compostela. Saint Jean Pied de Port – a charming town on the French side of the Pyrenees – is the beginning of this fascinating 800 km. (500 mi.) long journey across Northern Spain.
The French Way leads you across the majestic Pyrenees mountains into the charming hilly countryside of Navarra and on into the fertile wine region of La Rioja. Then, pilgrims enter the vastness of the wide-open Meseta: its endless grasslands and dramatic cloud movements in the sky allow for some epic, panoramic vistas. Having crossed the Meseta, the Camino now winds up the passes of another mountain range – the Montes de León, with the enchanting El Bierzo region lying in its valley. The last ascent summits at O Cebreiro and also demarcates the entry into Galicia – the land of strong Celtic tradition, mystical forests, foggy mornings and an absolutely unique, mysterious feel.
The French Way became the main route for pilgrims in medieval times and, to this day, its historical and cultural riches never seize to fascinate thousands of pilgrims from around the World. Picturesque villages and towns of medieval charm, vibrant, contemporary cites and countless tales and legends of miracles – all of these complement the natural landscape diversity along the Way. Blended with the superb infrastructure and – last but, most definitely, not least – the great comradery among Pilgrims, these make the Camino Francés an absolute highlight.
In the 11th century, the first waves of pilgrims reached their height, and King Sancho III of Navarra established a Way over the Pyrenees to Nájera – the ancient Capital of Navarra. The Royal Cities of Pamplona, Burgos and León became connected by the Camino Francés, and thousands of pilgrims contributed to these regions’ economy and left their lasting cultural imprint.
The medieval pilgrims impacted the regions of Northern Spain very strongly, and many traces of that time can still be found along the French Way. When foreign traders, craftsmen and artists settled along the Camino Frances, many Spaniards would simply refer to them collectively as “Franks”, although certainly not all settlers belonged to that ethnic group. But the term stuck – and that is how the Camino Francés got its name.
It is true, however, that especially the superior Frankish craftsmanship and architectural knowledge shaped many cities along the Camino. The movement of pilgrims also rendered a strong economic stimulus. Bridges and other aspects pf infrastructure were put in place, and numerous hospitals were founded along the way to treat pilgrims that had gotten ill. Cities like Logroño, Burgos and Santo Domingo de la Calzada owe their size and prestige partly to their location along the Camino Francés. Over time, many towns along the way acquired Christian relicts and constructed churches, while also more and more miracles were reported to have been witnessed in various locations.
The French Way has remained the most popular among the routes to Santiago to this day, with over 60% of all pilgrims to Santiago walking this trail. In 1993, the Camino Francés became inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage for its historic and cultural significance.
Tour Type: Self-Guided
Availability: March through October
- March 01 – June 15: Regular Season
- June 16 – August 15: High Season
- August 16 – October 31: Regular Season
Duration: 14 Days Total / 12 Days Walking
Total Distance: 215.3 km. (133.8 mi.)
Average distance: 17.9 km. (11.1 mi.) / Day
Prices (per person):
Starting at € 850
Starting at € 1,080
13 nights in single / double room
English-speaking emergency assistance
Your full digital Travel Info Package
We are proud to be working together with hand-picked, high quality and mostly locally owned and operated service providers.
Your journey will be booked through, and your Travel Package will include all the information you will need to access your lodging locations and to process your check-in.
Luggage transfer on walking days
Breakfasts (subject to availability)
Lodging for additional night(s) stays
If you wish to walk your Camino Stages with a light backpack, carrying only the basic necessities, we will be happy to arrange for your luggage to be forwarded from one hotel to the next on your walking days.
Breakfasts are not available everywhere, and they are often served late, starting around 8 am. However, if you wish to include brekfasts, we will be happy to do so, where possible.
Spending an extra night in a given town throughout your journey is often a good idea: you give your body a rest, relax and enjoy exploring the town. In Santiago, two nights are included in most of our Tours by default as we believe it’s the least a Pilgrim would need to enjoy the City; however, you have the option to opt out of it.
We will be happy to arrange for an airport shuttle transfer for you from your airport of arrival to the starting point of your journey. The same goes for the departure, unless you end your journey in Santiago and fly out of Santiago Airport. In that case, a taxi can be easily arranged for the time of your choice directly at the Reception Desk at your Hotel.
What’s NOT Included:
We do not book flights, nor organize any rail or commercial busline travel. However, if you need assistance in deciding how to get to and back from your Camino Tour, we will be happy to give you assist you with tips and ideas!
We strongly recommend to all our travelers to get a Travel Insurance; however, we do not sell any such policies. For our international clients, it is best to get a policy in their country of residence, as some countries offer insurances only to their own residents.
This is a date-flexible tour; therefore, it is self-guided – no Tour Guide will be accompnying you. If you are interested in joining a Group Tour with a Tour Guide, please check our Guided Tours page. (Note: our Guided Tours take place on set dates that are planned ahead.)
Day 1: Arrival in Burgos
Your travels bring you, at last, to the beautiful city of Burgos – the starting point of your Camino. Check in at your hotel, and enjoy the rest of your day! Burgos offers a plethora of attractions to explore, and touring its UNESCO-listed Cathedral alone make take a couple of hours. Our tip: take a quick hike up to the Mirador del Castillo (only 7-10 min. from the Cathedral Plaza) for an absolutely gorgeous panoramic view of the Cathedral and the Old Town. And doing so at sunset / twilight may be even more rewarding than at daytime.
Day 2: Burgos – Hornillos • 19.5 km. (12.1 mi.)
Today’s journey is both rather short and quite easy, so there is no need to rush out of Burgos too early. As you leave the city behind, you now officially enter la Meseta – the Castilian High Plain – characterized by wide-open spaces with occasional hills. Trees become more scarce, and distances between villages seem larger as the landscape seems more monotonous. In the middle of today’s journey, at Rabé de las Calzadas, the quaint little Chapel Ermita de la Virgen de Monasterio is well-worth a stop: the kind nuns in attendance give a lovely and touching blessing to all pilgrims who pass by. Take some time to admire the impressive murals on the outskirts of this village – they are among the best on the whole Camino. Beyond that, up and over a few hills, you will find yourself enjoying the impressive panoramic views down the valley and for as far as your eyes can see – the true beauty of the Meseta. Down below the valley lies the pretty Hornillos del Camino with the typical flair of a Meseta village along the Camino de Santiago.
Distance: 19.5 km. (12.1 mi.)
Day 3: Hornillos – Castrojeriz • 21.5 km. (13.4 mi.)
The first 11 km. (6.8 mi.) of this day’s hike take you across the low, barren hills with no villages in-between. The only place to stop and rest in the shade is San Bol – in the middle ages, a hospice that treated people with leprosy had once stood here; now, there is a thicket of trees and a small pool with clean, running water. After more hills and grasslands, the charming village of Hontanas with surprise you as it pops out of nowhere. The rest of the journey mostly follows a road with trees and songs of many different birds that nest in them. Be sure to stop and look around the ruins of the old Augustinian monastery of San Antón before reaching the end of today’s stage – Castrojeriz. The Camino traverses this whale-shaped town for over 1.5 km. (1 mi.) and Castrojeriz is a true jewel of the Camino! Some of the many places to explore here will be seen as you enter it: the former Collegiate Church of Santa María, the ruins of the medieval castle (“Castro” – hence the town’s name) nested atop the hill. In the town center and right on the Camino also lies the magical “Hospital de Alma” – the Hospital for the Soul – which is very much worth paying a visit to.
Distance: 21.5 km. (13.4 mi.)
Day 4: Castrojeriz – Boadilla del Camino • 19.3 km. (12 mi.)
Soon after leaving Castrojeriz, the terrain will surprise you with a lengthier ascent up the Table Mountain called Alto de Mostelares – once you reach the summit, enjoy the magnificent panorama with the farewell view of Castrojeriz below. An absolute highlight is the famous medieval chapel of San Nicolás and, just a short distance away, the imposing bridge over the river Pisuerga, which also demarcates the border between the Provinces of Burgos and Palencia. The Camino then leads you on across open Meseta landscapes into the quaint village Boadilla del Camino. If you are an early riser, you will enjoy the concerts that morning birds nested under the roof of the church will perform for you.
Distance: 19.3 km. (12 mi.)
Day 5: Boadilla del Camino – Villalcázar de Sirga • 19.2 km. (11.9 mi.)
The beginning of today’s stage is particularly beautiful as you will be walking right next to the Canal de Castilla – set out at dawn, and enjoy the mysterious vistas of the fog above its waters. Once you reach the town of Frómista, be sure to visit the Romanesque Church of San Martín – one of the finest pieces of medieval architecture on the entire Camino Francés. The Camino follows the highway into Población de Campos: from here, you can continue on along the road, or opt to turn right and walk past Villovieco along the bed of the River Ucieza – a slightly longer, but much more quiet and peaceful walk which we recommend. Both Ways converge again as you reach Villalcázar de Sirga, today’s destination. Be sure to visit the impressive 13-century Church Santa María la Blanca: its construction demonstrates elements of transition between Romanesque and Gothic periods, and this constituted part of the monastery of the Knights Templar.
Distance: 19.2 km. (11.9 mi.)
Day 6: Villalcázar de Sirga – Calzadilla de la Cueza • 22.4 km. (13.9 mi.)
After the first 6 km. (3,7 mi.) of walking along the highway, you will reach the beautiful town Carrión de los Condes. At the end of town, you will cross the River Carrión over another stunning medieval bridge: walk off to the right to enjoy a lovely view of it. Just beyond, the Camino takes you past the magnificent, renaissance Monastery San Zoilo. Beyond that, the Meseta flattens out almost entirely. After some 6 km (3.7 mi.) of walking on a path rimmed with trees, the Camino will unfold before you – arguably – the most stunning stretch of the Meseta: you will be walking straight ahead on this endless, treeless highland all the way until you reach Calzadilla de la Cueza, which will hid from your sight in a small valley until the very end.
Distance: 22.4 km. (13.9 mi.)
Day 7: Calzadilla de la Cueza – Sahagún • 22.4 km. (13.9 mi.)
Beyond Calzadilla, the landscape will not be as flat as before, and the Camino will wind around, taking you into and out of a number of small, delightful, typical Meseta-villages. If you’ve never been to The Shire, you will see your first Hobbit House as you enter Moratinos – you can walk up on top of it for a lovely 360 view. The terrain will continue to get somewhat hillier, and the Camino will cross the next Provinces border: you will step out of Palencia and into León. Soon thereafter, you will walk into Sahagún – a more populous town with an appealing historic center and famous brick churches built in the Mudéjar-Style. Sahagún is also the official half-way point of the Camino Frances, and pilgrims can obtain here a Certificate of Completion of the first half of their Way
Distance: 22.4 km. (13.9 mi.)
Day 8: Sahagún – El Burgo Ranero • 20.1 km. (12.5 mi.)
At the edge of Sahagún, another scenic medieval bridge takes you over the River Cea and after 4 km. (2,5 mi.) the Camino splits. The option on the left is shorter, but it follows along the highway. We recommend turning right and into Calzada de Coto offers a much more scenic hiking on the high Meseta plains along the historic Roman road Calzada Romana, where one can often walk in complete solitude. Passing the lovely, quiet village of Calzadilla de los Hermanillos, one will eventually have to turn left towards the bridge to El Burgo Ranero – the day’s final destination – entering it from the north. Enjoy the peace and quiet of this sleepy village and the tasty, hearty local food.
Distance: 20.1 km. (12.5 mi.)
Day 9: El Burgo Ranero – Mansilla de las Mulas • 19.3 km. (12 mi.)
Leaving El Burgo Ranero, you could walk back over the bridge to the Calzada Romana, but this time, we recommend staying with the option of walking along the road. Here, the shaded path is pleasant, and crossing the hilly Meseta landscape is easy. Enjoy the wide-open spaces and the few villages along the way until you reach today’s destination: Mansilla de las Mulas, which earned its name from the famous cattle markets that used to be held here (Mulas = cattle). Mansilla has a small but charming old town center worth taking the time to enjoy and relax in. However, it is also worth it to walk towards the end of town – like in many places before, a lovely medieval bridge is situated on the western edge of town, and you can spend quality time right next to it, on the shaded banks of the River Esla.
Distance: 19.3 km. (12 mi.)
Day 10: Mansilla de las Mulas – León • 18 km. (11.2 mi.)
Today’s journey is easy, though not the most scenic – particularly the last half of it suggests that you will soon be entering a big city. But the reward is awaiting ahead: once you reach the historic city center of León, its beauty will cast a spell on you! Similar to Burgos, León is another logical place to consider taking a “day off” – the amount of things to explore and sights to see can otherwise seem overwhelming. Paying a visit to the Cathedral, the Church of San Isídoro and the Parador is a must, but just as rewarding is simply getting lost in the labyrinth of the narrow streets of the Old Town’s Barrio Húmedo – the “Humid District” – which has earned this name because of (tapas-) bars beyond count that are situated here. Treat yourself to a drink or snack at the upstairs restaurant terrace of the Hotel NiMú Azotea, from where you can enjoy a stunning panoramic view of León.
Distance: 18 km. (11.2 mi.)
Day 11: León – Villar de Mazarife • 21.7 km. (13.5 mi.)
8 km. (5 mi.) after León the Camino reaches the town Virgen del Camino, where it splits again into two options: the first one follows the highway for 25 km. (15.5 mi.) all the way to Hospital de Órbigo, and we do not recommend it. The other option is scenic and very peaceful: it traverses pleasant landscapes and pops in and out of lovely Meseta villages. The end of today’s stage is Villar de Mazarife, where you can unwind and relax after spending time in a big city the day before.
Distance: 21.7 km. (13.5 mi.)
Day 12: Villar de Mazarife – Villares de Órbigo • 18 km. (11.2 mi.)
This is the last day of truly being on the Meseta. Setting out from Villar de Mazarife, you will encounter yourself amidst wide-open spaces one last time – with the difference that, now, the mountains lying ahead will be drawing nearer and nearer with every step. Enjoy the flat vastness of the terrain, and the liberating feeling of finding yourself in the middle of nowhere! After 15 km. (9.3 mi.) the Camino will lead you into the charming town Hospital de Órbigo. Spend some time here, and enjoy the site of the massive medieval bridge comprising 20 (!) arches – there is no other one like this on the whole Camino. With only 2.6 km. (1.6 mi.) left to today’s final destination, Hospital de Órbigo is a wonderful place to relax without any hurry. Once you reach Villares de Órbigo, you can again enjoy the quaint peacefulness of a small village and get ready for tomorrow’s hike to and sightseeing in Astorga.
Distance: 18 km. (11.2 mi.)
Day 13: Villares de Órbigo – Astorga • 15.4 km. (9.6 mi.)
Today’s stage is not only easy, but also short. After passing the first of only two small villages, Santibáñez, not long after setting out, you will then start gaining a bit of altitude and – again – passing first patches of forest. Enjoy a lovely rest at La Casa de los Dioses – an enchanting oasis right on the Camino. Once you reach the Cross of Santo Toribio, you will be rewarded with a picturesque panoramic view of mountains to the west and to the north, and the city of Astorga with its majestic Cathedral spires lying straight ahead. Explore Astorga: its Cathedral, the Episcopal Palace (by Gaudí), the city walls and the ancient architecture of this once-Roman city are but a few sights to visit, both in daylight and at dusk.
Distance: 15.4 km. (9.6 mi.)
Day 14: Departure from Astorga
Farewell, Astorga; farewell, Camino – and safe travels on your journey back home or to your next adventure! Or, here is another option well-worth considering: to continue onto our next Part 3 of the Camino; from Astorga to Santiago de Compostela – the end of the Camino Francés.
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tour combination options
our camino francés: Part 2 tour can be easily combined with:
Camino Francés: Part 1
St Jean Pied de Port ⇒ Burgos
Starting at € 940
Duration: 15 Days
Distance: 287.4 km. (178.6 mi.)
Camino Francés: Part 3
Astorga ⇒ Santiago de Compostela