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4-day 1st- time Camino.

Unweekends

American - planning 1st time Camino
Time of past OR future Camino
Sept 2025
I'm American & I've never been to Europe/Spain. I only have a 2 week vacation from work - so I need to pack a lot of things I want to do in this short time- frame. I want to have a well- rounded vacation.

I'm thinking about spending week 1 touring the 2 big cities (about 3 days in each) Madrid/Barcelona. Then for the final week since I can't do the full Camino, I wanted to at least get a taste of it in hopes I could return someday for the whole experience The time of year will be late September/early October ( week 1 touring last week September; week 2 Camino 1st week of Oct)

I wanted to do 3÷4 days on a Camino, walking about 16-20KM per day. I want to go at a slower pace so.I can savor the experience & explore the places I'm in. I don't want to rush. I don't need an offical compatela. The rest of the time remaining on trip will be travel days.

I also want to say I am in late 40s & not an avid hiker. I want to choose the best route based on my 4 day time frame, beginner hiking skill level ( easier terrain), and scenic & cultural experience.

Overall which would be the best route?
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Maybe something like Logroño to Santo Domingo? Many people do that in just 2 days, but it could easily be stretched into 3 or 4 days if you are walking more slowly? Both cities are pretty easy to get to or get back to from Madrid. It's pretty and goes through wine country. No terribly steep stretches.
 
You are wise to be taking into account transport time/days. Like J Wilhaus, I would suggest a stretch where the start and end points are easy to travel to/from, and the Francés in general is always a good first-time route recommendation. I was thinking of the stretch just before the one she suggested: Pamplona to Logroño. It's generally four stages though a little bit longer in distance than what you had requested. According to Gronze (an excellent Spanish-language but easily readable/translatable resource), these are the stages:

Pamplona - Puenta la Reina 23.9km
Puenta la Reina - Estella 21.6km
Estella - Los Arcos 21.3km
Los Arcos - Logroño 27.6km

You could possibly take a taxi for part of the last stage if that seems too much.

Some benefits of this stretch are:

- Two dynamic cities (Pamplona and Logroño)
- Two towns steeped in camino culture/history (Puenta la Reina and Estella)
- One of the most famous camino 'landmarks' soon after Estella (I won't give it away here in case you want a surprise but it's a lot of fun!)
- The region of Navarra offers different cultural elements compared with Madrid/Barcelona.
- It's early on the camino (quite a few people begin the Francés in Pamplona), so if you like it and want to return, you could pick up where you left off in Logroño and walk to Santiago and then you'll have basically completed the full Francés. Another benefit of being early on the camino is that you should be able to connect well with other walkers who are also just beginning as opposed to jumping in somewhere in the middle and possibly feeling a bit out of place.

Good luck!
 
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The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
@Unweekends have you decided to disregard the helpful comments in your previous thread? https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/7-day-camino-sarria-to-santiago-110km.85948/

I urge you to consider that if you do want to spend time in Barcelona, Madrid and on Camino you are going to spend at least 3 days of your fourteen on Spanish public transport and presumably two on flights. Pamplona to Burgos on the Camino Frances will give you 9 days of amazing walking, companions from all over the globe and two great Spanish cities to explore. You'll go home with some amazing tales to tell.

Happy planning
 
@Unweekends have you decided to disregard the helpful comments in your previous thread? https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/7-day-camino-sarria-to-santiago-110km.85948/

I urge you to consider that if you do want to spend time in Barcelona, Madrid and on Camino you are going to spend at least 3 days of your fourteen on Spanish public transport and presumably two on flights. Pamplona to Burgos on the Camino Frances will give you 9 days of amazing walking, companions from all over the globe and two great Spanish cities to explore. You'll go home with some amazing tales to tell.

Happy planning
No, it's just that I won't even have the full 7- days to walk to Camino as I originally thought. Because I am adding in a few days as a cushion for travel days, I will only have time for a 4 day Camino
 
Hi @Unweekends For what it's worth - I think both suggestions from @J Willhaus and @jungleboy are excellent for the reasons they mention.

If you are concerned about distances being more than the 16-20 kms you mention, Logrono to St Domingo is a great option. Or you take the suggestion from @jungleboy and walk Pamplona to Los Arcos, but over 4 days. But if you think you can manage a little more I think 4 days from Pamplona to Logrono is hard to beat.

I want to go at a slower pace so.I can savor the experience & explore the places I'm in

As well as the towns and villages - there is much to savor and experience in the walking 'in between'. You will see some fabulous landscapes and almost certainly spend time with other pilgrims. All the best whatever you decide. Buen camino.

PS I also get what @Tincatinker is suggesting - but can understand the desire to visit Madrid and Barcelona.
 
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Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

€83,-
Maybe something like Logroño to Santo Domingo? Many people do that in just 2 days, but it could easily be stretched into 3 or 4 days if you are walking more slowly? Both cities are pretty easy to get to or get back to from Madrid. It's pretty and goes through wine country. No terribly steep stretches.
Ok, here's my stages:
Start in Logroño (nice smaller city, good tapas) walk to Navarette (12.6 km) or Ventosa (19 km). Walking through wine country. You leave Logroño through a park. There's one of the big black Spanish bull signs as you approach Navarette. Nice church in Navarette.

On the next day to Najera (10 km from Ventosa or about 16 km from Navarette) or Azofra (which is 5.7 from Najera). Interesting history in Najera. Good albergues in Najera (both private and municipal). Azofra has a welcoming municipal albergue with 2 person rooms, large courtyard, and spacious common area a kitchen to meet other pilgrims.

On to Santo Domingo de la Calzada which also has a lovely stories and a cathedral. There are also two Paradores if you want to end your Camino with a luxury stay.

If you reach this point in 3 days, you could walk on towards Belorado or see Santo Domingo and make a very short day to spend a night in the iconic Grañón albergue Hospital de San Jaun Bautista would give you an experience of pilgrimage with the community. Communal meal, evening meditation, and pilgrim mass are available although you'll sleep in a mat on the floor instead of a bunk.

Either route suggested by me (shorter days) or @jungleboy (longer days) would be a nice Camino sampler.

Edit: Good bus service all along to make your way to Madrid for your exit .
 
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I'm American & I've never been to Europe/Spain. I only have a 2 week vacation from work - so I need to pack a lot of things I want to do in this short time- frame. I want to have a well- rounded vacation.

I'm thinking about spending week 1 touring the 2 big cities (about 3 days in each) Madrid/Barcelona. Then for the final week since I can't do the full Camino, I wanted to at least get a taste of it in hopes I could return someday for the whole experience The time of year will be late September/early October ( week 1 touring last week September; week 2 Camino 1st week of Oct)

I wanted to do 3÷4 days on a Camino, walking about 16-20KM per day. I want to go at a slower pace so.I can savor the experience & explore the places I'm in. I don't want to rush. I don't need an offical compatela. The rest of the time remaining on trip will be travel days.

I also want to say I am in late 40s & not an avid hiker. I want to choose the best route based on my 4 day time frame, beginner hiking skill level ( easier terrain), and scenic & cultural experience.

Overall which would be the best route?
The best choice for your criteria would be the Camino Ingles from A Coruña. It is about 75km plus or minus from Santiago, and so fits your time and preferred distance well. If you want to earn a Compostela, you will need to find a local approved route of 26km or more (I believe) that you can walk as a preface before you arrive in Spain. I know of a few such routes in the UK, Ireland and here in Canada. I'm not sure where you are, though. Your local national pilgrim association can probably advise on the availability of such a route if a Compostela is important to you.
 
The best choice for your criteria would be the Camino Ingles from A Coruña. It is about 75km plus or minus from Santiago, and so fits your time and preferred distance well. If you want to earn a Compostela, you will need to find a local approved route of 26km or more (I believe) that you can walk as a preface before you arrive in Spain. I know of a few such routes in the UK, Ireland and here in Canada. I'm not sure where you are, though. Your local national pilgrim association can probably advise on the availability of such a route if a Compostela is important to you.
David, I actually wrote exactly the same thing hours back but then deleted it, because @Unweekends is going to be in Madrid and want’s to minimise travel time, and isn’t worried about finishing or getting a Compostela.

It’s still valid advice for anyone else wanting a short walk though
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
David, I actually wrote exactly the same thing hours back but then deleted it, because @Unweekends is going to be in Madrid and want’s to minimise travel time, and isn’t worried about finishing or getting a Compostela.

It’s still valid advice for anyone else wanting a short walk though
From Madrid to A Coruña is only an hour longer by plane or two hours longer by train than to Logroño. They may not worry about finishing, but given a choice, may prefer to walk a complete Camino.
 
I would re-examine your urban schedule; do your 4-5 days in either Barcelona or Madrid, but not both. To do both will eat up 1-2 travelling days on a tight schedule, and will introduce a possibly unnecessary frazzle element to your trip. Pamplona-Logroño/Santo Domingo over 5-7 days will give you a very good feel for the Camino without exhausting you-- Pamplona is easily accessible from Barcelona or Madrid (and if you go from Barcelona to Pamplona by train, you can break your journey in Zaragoza or Tudela).

But if you want to do both major urban centres, others have given you useful advice.
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
I'm American & I've never been to Europe/Spain. I only have a 2 week vacation from work - so I need to pack a lot of things I want to do in this short time- frame. I want to have a well- rounded vacation.

I'm thinking about spending week 1 touring the 2 big cities (about 3 days in each) Madrid/Barcelona. Then for the final week since I can't do the full Camino, I wanted to at least get a taste of it in hopes I could return someday for the whole experience The time of year will be late September/early October ( week 1 touring last week September; week 2 Camino 1st week of Oct)

I wanted to do 3÷4 days on a Camino, walking about 16-20KM per day. I want to go at a slower pace so.I can savor the experience & explore the places I'm in. I don't want to rush. I don't need an offical compatela. The rest of the time remaining on trip will be travel days.

I also want to say I am in late 40s & not an avid hiker. I want to choose the best route based on my 4 day time frame, beginner hiking skill level ( easier terrain), and scenic & cultural experience.

Overall which would be the best route?
Finnistere would be perfect
 
so I need to pack a lot of things I want to do in this short time- frame. I want to have a well- rounded vacation.
If you did Roncesvalles to Pamplona you could leave your extra clothing, etc. at a hotel or left luggage place in Pamplona, take a bus or taxi to Roncesvalles, walk for three days with only the things that you need for the Camino, then pick up your extra stuff in Pamplona.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
The first edition came out in 2003 and has become the go-to-guide for many pilgrims over the years. It is shipping with a Pilgrim Passport (Credential) from the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.

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