Depart on our transatlantic flight to Toulouse.
Arrive Toulouse, France. Meet your tour escort and driver. Transfer to Lourdes. Dinner and overnight in Lourdes. Participate in the religious activities and evening candlelight procession.
Breakfast. In the 19th century, a sanctuary was created in this lovely Pyrenees valley surrounding the Grotto where the Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette in 1858. We will have an opportunity to visit the Neo-Gothic Basilica, the Rosary Church, the underground Basilica, the Via Crucis and Saint Bernadette’s home. In the afternoon you will be able to enjoy the religious activities, the holy baths and candle light procession. Dinner and overnight in Lourdes.
Breakfast. Early in the morning we will enter Spain and travel through the green North of Spain to the little village San Sebastian de Garabandal. In our way to Garabandal we will stop in Loyola, birthplace of Saint Ignatius, with its Baroque sanctuary and his birth site known as the Santa Casa. Continue to Garabandal. Dinner and overnight in Garabandal.
Breakfast. Situated in the Cantabrian Mountains of northwest Spain, San Sebastian de Garabandal is a small hamlet of some 80 dwellings. For centuries the people of this humble and remote village have gathered together daily for the recitation of the rosary and litanies of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Garabandal is unique in the history of Marian apparitions, with the Blessed Virgin Mary appearing over 2000 times from July 2, 1961 until November 13, 1965. Our lady gave two important Messages for the world. The first was on October 18th, 1961 and the second on the 18th of June 1965. The Messages of Garabandal have to do with our conversion of heart. We must ask forgiveness for our sins and strive to lead good lives. Travel to Burgos in the afternoon. Dinner and overnight in Burgos
Breakfast. Burgos welcomes us with its tale of the origins of Castile at the Renaissance gate of Santa María, with special reference to the historical figure named El Cid. Visit the Cathedral, an outstanding example of Gothic architecture and World Heritage Site. A walk through the city will take us to the Casa del Cordón, the Main Square, the Paseo del Espolón promenade, and the Consulate. In the outskirts we will discover two great monuments: the Cistercian monastery of Las Huelgas, a royal pantheon from the 13th century; and the Cartuja de Miraflores, church and burial place for the parents of Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Castile. Dinner and overnight in Burgos.
Breakfast. We resume our journey along the Path of Saint James in the Castilian plains as we encounter the narrow Arch of Saint Antón near Castrojeriz. Awaiting us in Frómista is the church of Saint Martin, one of the purest examples of Romanesque. A few kilometers away lies a village with an important Jacobean past: Carrión de los Condes and its two magnificent Romanesque façades in the churches of Santiago and Santa María del Camino. Sahagún will take us to the Mudéjar style brick of the church of San Tirso, while San Miguel de la Escalada represents the other medieval Arabic style from the north of Spain known as Mozárabe. Continue to León. Dinner and overnight in León.
Breakfast. As one of the capitals of Medieval Spain, León offers Romanesque style works of art in painting, sculpture and architecture in San Isidoro, and one of the most important collections of stained glass in its Gothic Cathedral. We cannot leave without first contemplating the beautiful façade of the former pilgrimage hospital of San Marcos, nowadays a luxurious Parador. Our journey will take us to Astorga, another city of Roman origin, with its picture perfect Roman and Medieval city wall, its Gothic Cathedral and its Modernist Episcopal Palace, designed by famous architect Antonio Gaudí.
In the afternoon we will traverse one of the most authentic and untouched sections of the Path of Saint James -Rabanal del Camino, Cruz de Ferro and Molinaseca- ending at Ponferrada, known for its famous castle of the Knights Templar. Dinner and overnight is Ponferrada.
Breakfast. Villafranca, the ancient capital of El Bierzo offers an important urban setting in which the Romanesque church of Santiago stands out. Here is where pilgrims began their climb to O Cebreiro, the entry gate to Galicia. This hamlet surprises with its particular architecture and the legend that surrounds its humble church. We will continue our journey along the green countryside of Galicia until arriving at the Miño River in Portomarín, where we will discover the Romanesque church-fortress of Saint Nicholas. Dinner and overnight in Santiago de Compostela.
Breakfast. A walk through the narrow streets of the historical district will lead us to the Cathedral of Santiago that, since its construction, has been the object of almost all the Christian pilgrimages, and the monumental Plaza del Obradoiro, surrounded by granite works of art. Farewell dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight in Santiago de Compostela.
Breakfast. Transfer to the Santiago de Compostela Airport to catch our return flight home.