About our Camino Hiking Tours

What is a self-guided hiking tour?

A self-guided hiking tour gives you the freedom to enjoy the wonderful Irish countryside at your own pace. Hiking without a guide, we will provide you with all the resources you need to successfully complete the trail alone or in the company of good friends.

We’ll plan your route, transfer your bags and show you all the best places to visit but you decide whether you want that extra hour in bed in the morning!

Do you offer guided hiking tours?

Guided hiking tours are not available from Hillwalk Tours.

When can we start our Hillwalk Tours hiking holiday?

You can start your hiking tour on any day of the week between the 1st of March and the 31st of October.

Does a 7-Day tour include 7 days of hiking?

Our 7-Day tours include 5 days of hiking. The first and last days of all our hiking tours are travel days used to transfer to/from the town where your hike will begin/end. If you would like to hike for 7 days, simply select one of our 9-Day tours.

Does a 7-Day tour include 7 nights of accommodation?

Our 7-Day tours include 6 nights of accommodation – specifically the first 6 nights on your hiking tour. Your tour finishes on the seventh day when you check out of your last B&B.

What is a single supplement?

A single supplement is an additional charge for walkers booking single accommodation (a room for one person). The total tour price per person requesting a single room is the price per person plus the single supplement. The supplement covers the extra costs associated with accommodating a single person in their own room.

Can we bring our dog?

It is not possible to bring your dog on Hillwalk Tours hiking holidays. Unfortunately, the majority of our accommodation providers do not accept pets of any kind.

Can we buy bus/train tickets in advance of our trip?

Yes, bus and train tickets can be purchased online in advance of your trip. Once your booking is received, we will send you all the detailed public transport information needed to make your journey as convenient as possible. In addition, specific public transport information is also available on the tour pages of each hiking region. For example, visit our Camino Frances travel information page.

If we arrive by car, where can we park while we are on our hiking tour?

We can generally arrange for you to park at your first B&B. If you are bringing your car, please contact us in advance.

About Luggage Transfers and Accommodation

Will we have to carry our own bags during our hiking tour?

No, on all our Camino de Santiago hiking tours, your luggage will be transported to your next accommodation each day as you walk and will arrive before 2pm. A maximum weight limit of 20 kg per person applies to this luggage transfer service.

What type of accommodation will we be staying in?

You will be staying in family-owned hotels, boutique pensiones (guesthouses), casas rurales (country cottages) and traditional pazos (manor houses) during your hiking trip. To ensure your comfort, each accommodation you will stay in has been personally checked by a member of the Hillwalk Tours team. You can expect a warm welcome, en-suite facilities and a tasty breakfast each morning.

Can we get a list of our accommodation before we leave?

Yes, we normally post out your hiking pack (which includes details of where you will be staying) to your home address one month in advance of the start date of your tour. This can be sent sooner upon request.

Will our B&B be close to the local town/village?

In general, we try to book accommodation which is as close to the local amenities as possible. If you are staying in a remote location (where access to local pubs/restaurants is not feasible), the owner of the B&B that you are staying at will ensure that you are well fed.

What is the difference between a ‘twin’ and a ‘double’ room?

A ‘twin’ room is a room for two people with two separate beds. A ‘double’ room has just one large bed (for two people).

About Your Hiking Pack

What’s included in my hiking pack?

– Official Camino de Santiago Credencial del Peregrino (Pilgrim’s Passport)
– Route notes (prepared by a member the Hillwalk Tours team who has walked every step of your tour)
– Detailed hiking map(s)
– Waterproof map-case
– A sneak-peak at where you will be staying
– Our tips on the most interesting attractions to visit along the trail
– A look at fascinating local history
– A guide to the best places to eat and drink
– Mountain safety information, emergency contact details & the country code

What is the Credencial del Peregrino (Pilgrim's Passport)?

The Credencial del Peregrino or Pilgrim’s Passport is a small booklet that allows you to document your progress along the Camino by collecting stamps or sellos from many accommodations, cafes, shops, churches, etc. on the route. If your itinerary covers at least the last 100km of the walk to Santiago, the Credencial (stamped at least twice per day) will serve as the necessary proof required to obtain your Compostela (the certificate of completion of the Camino offered by the Pilgrim’s Office in Santiago).

Do you provide GPS co-ordinates?

We have purposely decided to steer clear of GPS for the most part as we are trying to keep the walks as true to nature as possible (i.e. just get out in the fresh air with a pair of boots and leave all that modern technology behind). However, we do provide GPS coordinates for each of the accommodations at which you will be staying.

How many hiking packs are provided?

One hiking pack will be provided per four people. Therefore, for a group of 1 – 4 people, one hiking pack will be sent. For 5 – 8 people, two hiking packs will be sent, etc.

What language will my hiking pack be in?

The contents of your hiking pack (route notes, accommodation information, history, etc.) will all be in English.

About Fitness Levels

How fit do we need to be to take a hiking tour?

We believe that the Camino de Santiago should be enjoyed by everyone. With this in mind, we designed our hiking tours to cater for practically all levels of fitness. Our range of ‘Gentle’, ‘Moderate’ and ‘Challenging’ hikes in most regions allows you to decide how far you wish to walk each day. So, whether you are a novice walker or an experienced hiker, we have the tour to suit you.

What is the difference between Gentle, Moderate and Challenging Hiking Tours?

The difference between these tours is the distance that you will hike each day. Our ‘Gentle’ Camino de Santiago tours cover an average of 10-14 km (6-9 miles) per day, our ‘Moderate’ tours cover an average of 17-20 km (11-12 miles) per day and our ‘Challenging’ tours cover an average of 23-29 km (14-18 miles) per day. For a more detailed breakdown of how we grade our hiking tours, click here.

Can we take a rest day?

Yes, we are more than happy to organise an additional night for you anywhere you please. Suggestions on interesting places to take a rest day are available on the tour pages of each hiking region. For example, visit our Camino de Santiago Extra Days/Activities page.

About Money, Flights and Insurance

Will there be ATM/Credit Card facilities along the hiking route?

ATM facilities are available in many of the towns along the route. Credit cards are also accepted by many bar and restaurants. However, we suggest that you also bring a reasonable sum of cash as a back-up.

Do they use the Euro in Spain?

The currency used in Spain is the Euro (€).

Are flights and transport to the start of our hiking tour included?

Flights and transport to the start of your hiking tour are not included in our prices. However, we do provide detailed timetables on how to make it to the start of your hike by public transport on our tour pages. For example, visit our Camino Frances Travel Info page.

Do I need to buy insurance?

Hillwalk Tours strongly encourages you to take out adequate insurance cover prior to travel.

Tour Grading

Which Camino Hiking Tour Should You Choose?

Choosing the right hiking tour can be tricky. It’s important to consider the balance of physical challenge and comfort level that you require. To make your decision easier, we have drawn up a menu of Gentle, Moderate and Challenging hiking tours.

Before we explain the difference between the various grades, it is important to note that each hiking tour within a specific region follows the same official hiking trail. So, if you choose to go hiking on the Camino Frances, it doesn’t matter whether you pick a ‘Gentle’ tour or a ‘Challenging’ tour – you will still be walking along the established Camino Frances pilgrims’ route. But to make these walking trails more accessible to all walkers, we have shortened the average daily hike between accommodations for the gentle and moderate tours.

  • Same Trail, Shorter Distances: For example, on the Camino Frances you can walk the entire section from O Cebreiro to Santiago de Compostela on a 8-Day Challenging Tour, a 10-Day Moderate Tour or a 13-Day Gentle Tour. However, while the Challenging tour requires you to keep up a brisk pace of 27km (17 miles) per day on average, the Moderate tour has a more leisurely average of 20km (12.5 miles) per day and the Gentle tour only requires an average walking distance of 14km (9 miles) per day.

Below is a general overview of each tour grading level. Note that the figures for ‘Average Daily Hike’ and ‘Hiking Time’ may vary between regions. Poor weather conditions can affect the average hiking time which is based on a person of normal fitness walking at a moderate speed of around 4km/h (2.5 mph). The hiking time takes into account the terrain covered but not the time required for lunch stops, photos, etc. For more details on daily distances, the level of ascent and the terrain the trail crosses; refer to the itinerary page of each individual tour.

Gentle

10-14km (6-9 miles) 3-5 hours
Our Gentle Hiking Tours are designed with the part-time hiker in mind. While you can still expect some climbs, these tours offer the shortest average daily hikes, which in turn means less ups and downs. This will give you plenty time to enjoy the sights and scenery, take photos, have a long lunch and, if necessary, negotiate the more tricky sections of a walk.

Moderate

17-20km (11-12 miles) 5-7 hours
Our Moderate Hiking Tours will suit people who are used to some regular exercise or who have done some previous hiking. They offer longer but still manageable daily hikes and should give you a little more of a challenge without going beyond your limits. There will be more climbs in a day but harder days are generally followed by easier ones. Of course, you will also still have time for a relaxed lunch and to take photos.

Challenging

23-29km (14-18 miles) 6-9 hours
Our Challenging Hiking Tours are designed for the experienced hiker or those walkers who love a good challenge. They offer the longest daily hikes with more elevation gain and will often test your endurance by having you walk all day. Of course, as with all of our tours there will be a hot shower and the finest local hospitality waiting at the end of your walk to re-charge your batteries each evening.

How To Book

How do I book my hiking holiday?

1. Simply choose the type of hiking tour you want to take: ‘Gentle’, ‘Moderate’ or ‘Challenging’

2. Next, identify the number of days you want to spend on your hiking tour

3. Click the ‘Make a Booking’ button on the top right of our webpage

4. Finally, fill out our booking form and make a €100 deposit per person

What happens after I make a booking?

1. If you paid by credit card, you will receive an e-mail within 24 hours verifying receipt of your booking form and deposit payment. In this email, you will be asked to confirm your tour details. If you paid by bank transfer, payment will take a few days to reach us. Therefore you will receive your email confirmation and request to confirm your tour details shortly after we have assigned the bank payment to your booking form. In this case, you may receive an automatic email outlining that a booking form has been received, but no deposit has been received – you can disregard this email.

2. Once your confirmation is received that all details on your booking form are correct, we will begin making the arrangements for your tour. Therefore, the sooner you send us this confirmation, the sooner we can start to book your tour.

3. After all the arrangements for your tour have been confirmed (this process normally takes seven to ten working days) you will be sent a breakdown of the balance outstanding for your tour and a due date for payment.

4. Once your final payment has been received, we will send you an e-mail confirming receipt.

5. Your walking pack will be posted to your home address at least one month in advance of the start date of your tour (arrangements can be made to post this sooner if necessary). If the tour start date is less than one month away, your walking pack will be posted to your first B&B for you to collect upon arrival. If this is the case, you will also be sent soft copies of your walking pack documents by email.

What are the payment options?

Deposits and Final Payments can be made using:

1. Credit Card – through PayPal, used by 180 million people worldwide to make secure online credit card payments. Please note if you have opened a PayPal account at any stage in the past, you must log in to your account in order to make the payment.

2. Bank Transfer – please contact us for the required account details.

Don't Forget..

ESSENTIALS:

◻ WATERPROOF JACKET AND OVER-TROUSERS – You never know when you will need protection from wind and rain – so prepare for unpredictable weather by packing a waterproof, breathable jacket and over-trousers.

◻ BASE LAYER – This is what you wear against your skin and the best options are breathable and wicking fabrics instead of cotton. They will move moisture away from the skin so that you feel more comfortable when you are walking.

◻ FLEECE – It keeps you warm in the cooler months and on top of the hills, and will allow you to shed layers when you are working hard in the summer.

◻ LIGHT AND COMFORTABLE TROUSERS – Make sure you choose trousers that are stretchy or allow enough space to move your legs freely. Zip-off trousers or shorts can be a great idea for the warmer months. Denims are not suitable for hill walking and dry very slowly once they get wet.

◻ WICKING SOCKS – Choose non-cotton socks that fit well and will move moisture away from your feet to stop them feeling sweaty. This will help to reduce the likelihood of blisters and ‘hot spots’.

◻ FOOTWEAR – We recommend that you bring comfortable, waterproof, lightweight shoes or boots, that provide good ankle support and offer good grip on rock, grass and mud. Our tip: If you buy new boots for you holiday make sure to try them out on one or two longer walks before your tour!

◻ BACKPACK / RUCKSACK (with Waterproof Cover or liner) – To store all your essentials and keep them dry – including extra layers of clothing, sun protection, your waterproofs, first aid kit, camera and your lunch, snacks and drinks. Don’t forget how important it is to stay hydrated. Even though there are many places where you can fill up your bottles or buy refreshments along the trail try to bring at least 1 – 2 litres of water per person each day, depending on the weather.

◻ SUN CREAM, SUNGLASSES AND SUNHAT Essential in the summer months but may be needed all year round in Spain.

◻ WARM HAT & GLOVES – They can be essential, even in the summer, at higher altitudes and on exposed places.

◻ CASH – Bring enough cash (€) for the duration of your tour/hike as ATM/cash machine & credit card services may be limited.

◻ FIRST AID KIT & FOIL BLANKET– It’s a good idea to have a small, basic first aid kit to deal with little injuries such as sprains, scrapes, cuts and blisters. Good things to bring are plasters & wound dressings, sterile cleansing wipes, pain killers, tweezers (for splinters & ticks), bandages, zinc oxide tape or elastoplast tape (for blisters or sprains) and a foil rescue blanket to keep you warm (or cool) in case of an accident.

◻ WHISTLE & TORCH – In the very unlikely event you need to signal for help (whistle) or if your walk takes longer than expected and you end up walking in the dark (torch).

◻ MOBILE PHONE – We recommend that you bring or purchase a mobile/cell phone. It will allow you to contact your accommodation and transfer providers from the trail and call for help in an emergency.

  • Visitors from other European Countries: Most European billpay and prepay customers can use ‘roaming’ in Spain, but check with your operator for the best rates before you travel.
  • Visitors from the United States, Canada and elsewhere: Make sure that you have a GSM/UMTS phone compatible with European networks and a roaming service / suitable phone plan for the country you are travelling to. If your phone is unlocked and GSM/UMTS compatible, you can also purchase a Spanish SIM card and use it in your own phone.
  • Alternatively, you can purchase a cheap pre-pay phone when you arrive. It is possible to buy a basic pre-pay phone in the lager cities and towns for as little as €20. You can then top-up with vouchers or a credit/debit card.
  • Make sure your phone is fully charged before you start your walk. You might not always have a phone signal on the trail but, in general, the level of coverage is quite good.

◻ PLUG ADAPTER (/CONVERTER) – The power plugs used in Spain are of the type F electrical plug (also known as a Schuko plug) which is used in many European countries. It has two 4.8mm round pins spaced 19mm apart – the standard voltage is 230V.

 

ADDITIONAL SUGGESTIONS:

◻ INSECT REPELLENT Our tip: Avon ‘Skin So Soft’ moisturising cream – it’s not made specifically for midges but we find it works better and is also cheaper.

◻ CAMERA – Vital for capturing photos of the stunning scenery along your trip, which help you brag to your friends about your holiday.

◻ WALKING POLES – Assist forward movement, reduce impact on your knees, and help with balance in difficult terrain. A pair is best but many hikers also just use one.

◻ EARPLUGS – We know how important it is to get a good night’s rest. However, as there may be other guests in the guesthouse with different plans for their night, we recommend bringing a pair of earplugs to ensure sweet dreams!

During Your Tour

When will my room be available?

Your room will be ready each day from 2pm at the latest and sometimes sooner

What time will my luggage arrive at?

Your luggage will arrive by 2pm each day

What types of breakfasts are available?

A tasty continental breakfast is available every morning

Where can I get a packed lunch? Can I pick this up along the trail?

Packed lunches can often be purchased from your accommodation hosts or a nearby shop or cafe before you start your walk. However, on most days you will pass many shops or cafes along the trail that offer plenty of opportunities to purchase food and drink.

Where can I get an evening meal?

You can generally buy an evening meal in one of the local restaurants, cafes or bars close to your accommodation. If there aren’t any restaurants/cafes/bars in the local area, evening meals can be obtained from your host.

Will there be drying facilities at my accommodation?

You will usually be able to dry your clothes at each accommodation.

What is the difference between kilometres and miles?

1 kilometre = 0.62 mile
1 mile = 1.61 kilometres

Will I have cell phone reception?

Most areas have cell phone reception, even while you are hiking. However, you may pass through some remote areas where reception will be either limited or unavailable entirely.

Will our accommodation have Wi-Fi connection?

Yes, in most Bed and Breakfast’s Wi-Fi is available.

Are the trails clearly way-marked?

Yes, most routes are very clearly way-marked with a marker directly before and after each turn.

Climate

Galicia is located on the Atlantic coastline in north-western Spain meaning that the climate is different from that of many other popular Spanish tourist destinations. The region experiences relatively mild and rainy winters and quite sunny summers with temperatures generally lower than found in other parts of Spain.

Spring can be wet and windy but also offers cooler walking conditions than the summer. Nights are often cold and rain is plentiful especially in mountain areas. August is the hottest month in Galicia with an average temperature of 18°C (64°F) but short heatwaves are possible during the summer, with highs around or above 30 °C (86 °F). At these times the wooded and shaded landscape of Galicia makes temperatures much more bearable than conditions in other regions of Spain. Early autumn offers more stable and cooler weather but later months also bring once again the risk of heavy rain.