Of all the Camino de Santiago route possibilities, the Camino Francés, otherwise known as the French Way, is by far the most popular. Walked and biked by thousands of pilgrims each year, the infrastructure and network of on-route services are highly developed compared to lesser trekked routes. Departing from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, the route travels over 484.7mi, finishing in the holy city of Santiago de Compostela. This revered route travels through ever-changing landscapes—from the French Pyrenees and rugged mountains of León to the remote Galicia countryside and vineyards of La Rioja. Boasting beautiful scenery and challenging terrain, this lengthy adventure is optimal for intrepid spirits.

Though there are diverse motivations for conquering the sundry pilgrimage, the French Way often attracts walkers seeking a spiritual journey. With ample time to reflect, pilgrims can disengage from the real world and focus on reconnecting with themselves. Ironically, the Camino Francés is also one of the most energetic and lively routes. Ideal for meeting fellow pilgrims, this busy Camino is great for solo travellers seeking a companion. Connect with like-minded adventurers and conquer the lengthy pilgrimage. No matter the incentive, ending at the Santiago de Compostela will undoubtedly provoke a sense of personal achievement. Planning a grand adventure such as this one can be time-consuming, so let us help!

Camino Francés Itinerary

The Camino Francés travels through several terrains, exhibiting the diversity and beauty of the area. Unfortunately, the initial segment of the French Way is the most challenging, hiking over the foothills of the Pyrenees, but don’t let that discourage you—refer to our guide on how to prepare for the Camino de Santiago for suggested conditioning. Following the technical terrain, the route will reward you with treks through woodlands, luxuriant meadows, and charming villages. Eventually climbing the mountains of León, the Camino will travel into Galicia. From here, the incredible route will pass through rural roads, along forestland paths and expansive grasslands, before delivering pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela. Challenging and lengthy, you need to be prepared for this pilgrimage. Use this itinerary for suggested stages and check out our Camino de Santiago packing list to ensure you are all ready for this life-changing adventure. If planning an epic expedition like this intimidates you, consider a Camino Francés walking tour, and let us do all the heavy lifting.

Day 1: Arrival in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port

The first day of your adventure entails voyaging to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. If you are coming from France, get to Bayonne then take a train to the small French town. When travelling from Spain, get to Pamplona, then travel by bus to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. Once you arrive, check into your albergue and get some rest before your exciting adventure begins!

Accommodations: Refuge Municipal Ospitalia

Day 1 - Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port
Day 1 - Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port

Day 2: Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Roncesvalles

Day 2 is one of the toughest, if not the toughest stage along the French Way. Gaining over 4000ft of elevation, this walk is exhausting. The expansive vistas of the French Pyrenees provide the perfect distraction.

Distance: 16.2mi
Accommodations: Albergue de Peregrinos de Roncesvalles

Day 3: Roncesvalles to Zubiri

Again, today you will be rewarded with wonderful views of the Pyrenees. Walk the undulating path over rolling hills and through Espinal, a charming village. Once in Zubiri, make sure to check out the ancient, medieval bridge!

Distance: 13.7mi
Accommodations: Albergue de Peregrinos de Zubiri

Day 4: Zubiri to Pamplona

Hike alongside the Arga River and revel in the ever-changing scenery on your journey to Pamplona. Enjoy the inviting restaurants of Pamplona- eat tapas and sip on a glass of vino and after your long day.

Distance: 12.4mi
Accommodations: Albergue Jesús y María

Day 4 - Enjoy the inviting restaurants of Pamplona
Day 4 - Enjoy the inviting restaurants of Pamplona

Day 5: Pamplona to Puente de la Reina

Today you will be hiking through sunflower fields, meadowlands, and past El Alto del Perdón, a famous sculpture that represents pilgrims walking the Camino. End your day in Puente de la Reina.

Distance: 14.9mi
Accommodations: Albergue de los Padres Reparadores

Day 6: Puente de la Reina to Estella

Today is a relaxing day. Pilgrims will be guided through farmlands and charming vineyards. Wander Estella, and explore the old basilicas and monasteries at the end of your walk.

Distance: 13.7mi
Accommodations: Albergue de Peregrinos de Estella

Day 7: Estella to Los Arcos

Day 7 is an exciting trek. After departing Estella, you will arrive at the famous wine fountain! Drink some vino, then meander through wheat fields, olive groves, and vineyards.

Distance: 13.7mi
Accommodations: Albergue de Peregrinos Isaac Santiago

Day 8: Los Arcos to Logroño

Walk through luxuriant meadows, through lush woodlands, and past olive plantations before entering La Rioja region. In Logroño, enjoy sampling the region’s famous wine at one of the many pilgrim-filled bars.

Distance: 17.4mi
Accommodations: Albergue de Peregrinos de Logroño

Day 8 - In Logroño enjoy sampling the region’s famous wine
Day 8 - In Logroño enjoy sampling the region’s famous wine

Day 9: Logroño to Nájera

Day 9 will return you to the wilderness. Wander beneath the shade of fruit trees and vineyards. Travel past the historic town of Navarrete and end your day in Nájera.

Distance: 18.0mi
Accommodations: Albergue de Peregrinos de Nájera

Day 9 - La Rioja region - wander beneath the shade of fruit trees and vineyards
Day 9 - La Rioja region - wander beneath the shade of fruit trees and vineyards

Day 10: Nájera to Santo Domingo de La Calzada

Boasting wonderful views of the La Rioja region’s vineyards, this trek will leave you craving a glass of wine. Enjoy the countryside before arriving in the bustling city of Santo Domingo de La Calzada.

Distance: 14.9mi
Accommodations: Albergue de la Cofradía del Santo

Day 11: Santo Domingo de La Calzada to Belorado

Congrats, you’ve made it 10 days! Walk through lovely sunflower fields and enjoy views of the encompassing rolling mountains before arriving in the charming town of Belorado.

Distance: 13.7mi
Accommodations: Albergue Municipal El Corro

Day 11 - Belorado
Day 11 - Belorado

Day 12: Belorado to San Juan de Ortega

Today’s walk will guide pilgrims through the Orca Mountains. This lovely section of the pilgrimage ends in San Juan de Ortega, a charming town that has a beautiful monastery and ancient church worth visiting.

Distance: 14.9mi
Accommodations: Albergue Parroquial de San Juan de Ortega

Day 13: San Juan de Ortega to Burgos

Day 13 will end in Burgos. This stage guides pilgrims through enchanted pine forests and the Atapuerca Mountains before ending in Burgos. Make sure to explore Burgos’ vibrant city center.

Distance: 16.2mi
Accommodations: Albergue de Peregrinos Casa del Cubo y de los Lerma

Day 13 - Make sure to explore Burgos’ vibrant city center
Day 13 - Make sure to explore Burgos’ vibrant city center

Day 14: Burgos to Hornillos del Camino

Escaping the hustle and bustle of Burgos, pilgrims will be rewarded with a walk through grain fields and lush grasslands. Be sure to wear sunscreen and a sunhat, as the sun is unbearably hot in the summer months.

Distance: 13.0mi
Accommodations: Albergue de Peregrinos de Hornillos del Camino

Day 15: Hornillos del Camino to Castrojeriz

Like yesterday, day 15 travels through exposed landscapes. Before arriving in Castrojeriz, you will pass the ruins of San Anton Monastery.

Distance: 12.4mi
Accommodations: Albergue de Peregrinos San Esteban

Day 15 - Travel through exposed landscapes - Castrojeriz
Day 15 - Travel through exposed landscapes - Castrojeriz

Day 16: Castrojeriz to Frómista

Today pilgrims will walk through the meseta before ascending to the highest point of the Castilian Plateau. End your day in the mountain town of Frómista.

Distance: 15.5mi
Accommodations: Albergue de Peregrinos de Frómista

Day 16 - Frómista
Day 16 - Frómista

Day 17: Frómista to Carrión de los Condes

This charming route treks along the flows of the Ucieza River. Walk through the countryside to Carrión de los Condes, a quaint historical town laden with monasteries and churches.

Distance: 11.8mi
Accommodations: Albergue Parroquial Santa María

Day 18: Carrión de los Condes to Terradillos de los Templarios

Today is a day of trekking through the rural countryside. Without much to see along this stage, it’s a good idea to surround yourself with friendly adventurers to make the time go by quickly.

Distance: 16.8mi
Accommodations: Albergue Jacques de Molay

Day 19: Terradillos de los Templarios to Bercianos del Real Camino

Day 19 will guide pilgrims through the countryside before intersecting with Sequillo, Valderabuey, and Cea rivers. End your day in Bercianos del Real Camino.

Distance: 14.3mi
Accommodations: Albergue Parroquial Casa Rectoral

Day 20: Bercianos del Real Camino to Mansilla de las Mulas

Unfortunately, today is a mundane one. Walking along a road, you will be in the company of cyclists and cars. Eventually, you will descend into Mansilla de las Mulas, a town famous for its tomato fighting festival.

Distance: 16.2mi
Accommodations: Albergue de Peregrinos de Mansilla de las Mulas

Day 21: Mansilla de las Mulas to León

As you hike towards León the route will become increasingly urban. When you arrive in León, wander around the historical centre and grab a bite at one of the city’s many tapas bars.

Distance: 11.8mi
Accommodations: Albergue del Convento de las Carbajalas

Day 21 - Leon
Day 21 - Leon

Day 22: León to San Martín del Camino

This tranquil day of walking passes the church of Virgen del Camino. Hike through grainfields and meadowlands to San Martín del Camino.

Distance: 15.5mi
Accommodations: Albergue de Peregrinos de San Martín del Camino

Day 23: San Martín del Camino to Astorga

Today’s walk will gently climb towards the Mountains of León. Now hiking through Galicia, the trail will become increasingly forested and rainy.

Distance: 14.9mi
Accommodations: Albergue de Peregrinos Siervas de María

Day 23 - Astorga
Day 23 - Astorga

Day 24: Astorga to Foncebadón

Climbing out of the meseta, pilgrims will pass Rabanal del Camino. Enjoy the change of scenery as you hike through the now mountainous landscape.

Distance: 16.2mi
Accommodations: Albergue Parroquial Domus Dei

Day 24 - Ponteferada
Day 24 - Ponteferada

Day 25: Foncebadón to Ponferrada

Day 25 is a scenic section of the pilgrimage. Soon after your departure from Foncebadón, you will pass the Cruz de Ferro, a symbolic place where Camino adventurers leave rocks, shells, and letters.

Distance: 16.8mi
Accommodations: Albergue Parroquial San Nicolás de Flüe

Day 26: Ponferrada to Villafranca

You’re almost there; keep going! Intersecting with several rivers and passing lovely vineyards, this is an easy day before a difficult trek tomorrow.

Distance: 14.9mi
Accommodations: Albergue de Peregrinos de Villafranca del Bierzo

Day 27: Villafranca to O Cebreiro

Today warrants a strenuous climb to O Cebreiro. Enjoy epic views of the verdant landscape as you near the final leg of the French Way pilgrimage.

Distance: 17.4mi
Accommodations: Albergue De peregrinos de O Cebreiro

Day 28: O Cebreiro to Triacastela

Today is another day with great elevation change. Revel in the panoramic vistas of Galicia as you descend the mountain to the charming town of Triacastela.

Distance: 13.0mi
Accommodations: Albergue de Peregrinos de Triacastela

Day 29: Trisacastela to Sarria

Hike through lovely Galician forests on Day 29. End your day in Sarria, a popular pilgrim convergence.

Distance: 11.2mi
Accommodations: Albergue de Peregrinos de Sarria

Day 29 - Hike through lovely Galician forests - Sarria
Day 29 - Hike through lovely Galician forests - Sarria

Day 30: Sarria to Portomarín

You will likely be joined by many other pilgrims in Sarria, as many walkers hop on to satisfy the last 62.1mi to the Compostela. The final push of your adventure begins here—how exciting!

Distance: 13.7mi
Accommodations: Albergue de Peregrinos de Portomarín

Day 31: Portomarín to Palas de Rei

Travel in the company of cars as you walk along the road and birds as you trek through the lush woodlands. Nearing the end, you will be in the company of many pilgrims.

Distance: 15.5mi
Accommodations: Albergue de Peregrinos de Palas de Rei

Day 32: Palas de Rei to Arzúa

Today’s scenery is stunning. Stop in Melide and try ‘pulpo a feira’, cooked octopus tentacles!

Distance: 18.0mi
Accommodations: Albergue de Peregrinos de Arzúa

Day 32 - Today’s scenery is stunning - Arzua
Day 32 - Today’s scenery is stunning - Arzua

Day 33: Arzúa to Pedrouzo

Nearing the end, your excitement will motivate you. Pilgrims will be guided along roads and Galician forestlands along this route.

Distance: 11.8mi
Accommodations: Albergue de Peregrinos de Arca – O Pino

Day 34: Pedrouzo to Santiago de Compostela

Today is your final day of hiking, so savour every step of the way! You will be in the company of fellow pilgrims on your walk to Santiago de Compostela. Note backpacks are not allowed inside the cathedral, so drop them off at your albergue! Take a trip to the Pilgrim’s Office and get your official Compostela!

Distance: 12.4mi
Accommodations: Albergue Parroquial Fin del Camino

Day 35: Departure from Santiago de Compostela

Sadly, today is your last day. Explore the city, drink plenty of vino and eat lots of tapas—you deserve it!

Camino Francés Map

When is the best time to hike the Camino Francés

Choosing the best time of the year to hike the Camino Francés can be tricky. The length and diverse topographies of the route warrant ever-changing weather conditions and seasonal closures. Though the French Way is the most popular route, many albergues close in the winter months. Additionally, the altitude of the initial segment of the trek through the Pyrenees is subject to seasonal closures due to extreme conditions. Check out our article about the best times of the year to walk the Camino de Santiago if you are seeking a more in-depth guide of the seasonality. We suggest walking the French Way in the late spring or early autumn for the best weather. If you would like to find out more about the pilgrimage in general, check out our extensive guide to the Camino de Santiago.

We suggest walking the French Way in the late spring or early autumn for the best weather

About the Camino Francés

Follow in the footsteps of so many pilgrims before you along the French Way. Though it’s not the oldest route, the Camino Francés was developed by King Sancho the Great and King Alfonso VI not long after the Original Way was founded. Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port was a popular convergence place for thousands of pilgrims travelling from France and other regions of Northern Europe on their way to Santiago de Compostela.

Even today, as pilgrims walk the religiosity of the region becomes evident, passing countless ancient monasteries, chapels, and cathedrals. Travelling through charming towns full of stories such as Pamplona, León, and Ponferrada, there is no shortage of cultural experiences, stunning scenery, and epic treks along the Camino Francés. Whether you hike or bike, there are several ways to experience the Camino de Santiago. If you are seeking to explore the Camino in a unique way, check out our tours of the Camino de Santiago in France and hop off the beaten path. Seeking a more extravagant way to experience the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela? We urge you to consider a Camino de Santiago luxury tour– trading hostels for comfortable hotels with luggage transportation, what a treat!

Frequently Asked Questions about the Camino Francés

How long does it take to walk the Camino Francés?

The Camino Francés takes between 33-36 days, walking from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Santiago de Compostela.

How long is the Camino Francés?

The French Way travels over 484.7mi from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Santiago de Compostela.

Is it safe for women to walk the Camino Francés?

There are inherent risks in walking the Camino Francés alone, both male and female. Many solo travellers prefer the French Way as it is the busiest route and you can usually find a companion.

How busy is the Camino Francés?

The French Way is the most popular Camino Route, with over 60% of pilgrims hiking this route in 2017.

When is the best time of the year to walk the Camino Francés?

Though the trek can be ventured outside of peak season, the best times to walk the Camino Francés are in the late spring and early fall.

How much should you budget when walking the Camino Francés?

When walking the Camino Francés it is a good idea to budget 25-50€ per day, assuming you are staying in public albergues.