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Secret Trails of Medieval Spain

from $1,549.00

Discover spectacular scenery following historic pilgrim routes

  • Reviews 28 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Guided
  • Activity Level Moderate
    5/8
  • Group Size Small Group
    4 - 16
All about the Secret Trails of Medieval Spain.

The undiscovered lands of Old Castile, one of the historic mediaeval kingdoms of Spain, encompass an incredibly varied landscape where high plains and fertile valleys alternate with rugged hills, dramatic windy ridges and deep wooded gorges. Here, in the heart of the nation’s gone but remembered glory and power, we venture on a fantastic journey during which we walk secret pilgrims’ routes, explore rich mediaeval heritage and enjoy the typical warm Spanish hospitality.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

* All breakfasts and 7 dinners
* 7 nights in a traditional Spanish family-run hotel
* Airport transfers (at designated times)

Group normally 4 to 16 plus leader. Min age 16 yrs

What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Follow historic pilgrim routes
  • Enjoy impressive gorges and spectacular scenery
  • Stay in a family-run hotel based in a traditional historic village
  • Explore the city of Burgos with its impressive Gothic Cathedral on your free day
  • Attend vespers sung in Gregorian chant by Benedictine monks
  1. Day 1 Start Covarrubias.

    Our trips starts in Covarrubias, a small village and municipality in the province of Burgos located approximately 200km north of Madrid.**

  2. Day 2 Circular walk in the Valles de Ura, home to numerous species of local flora and fauna.

    We set out from Covarrubias and walk by the Arlanza river to the village of Puentedura and then down into a gorge. After lunch we climb out of the gorge and make our way to a hermitage, Ermita de Redonda, and then back to Covarrubias.

  3. Day 3 Full-day circular walk: ascend the Sierra de las Mamblas and circle the distinctive Muela mountain.

    We climb out of Covarrubias to another hermitage, Ermita de Nuestra Señora de Mamblas, followed by lunch on the ridge looking north. After lunch we complete the circuit of Muela and return to Covarrubias down a wooded valley.

  4. Day 4 Beautiful walk from Rio Arlanza to Santo Domingo de Silos; visit the beautiful Benedictine monastery.

    We take hired transport along the Arlanza river and then climb gently onto the plateau for a break at the Tenadas de Valcarcel with a second break at Tenadas del Campo and lunch on the top of the ridge facing the spectacular mountain of San Carlos. We descend to Silos with time to visit the Cloister museum (optional) before being collected by our private transport for the return journey to Covarrubias, taking in a short visit to La Yecla gorge on the way back.

  5. Day 5 Walk through vineyards and beautiful valleys to the 'The Three Villages', three remote and primitive settlements.

    We leave Covarrubias by the Arlanza river and climb through vineyards on the way to the first village of Retuerta. We then climb over the ridge and descend to the second village of Castroceniza. Lunch will be taken in this beautiful valley on the way to the third village of Ura. Another climb out of the valley takes us through forest and farmland to a highpoint overlooking Covarrubias, before descending back to the hotel.

  6. Day 6 Free day to relax or visit cathedral city of Burgos and its many sights.

    A suggested day is to take the 9:00 public bus to the cathedral city Burgos and its many sights. Return on 13:00 bus to Covarrubias for tapas lunch at our hotel. The choice of a siesta or short afternoon walk before an optional evening visit to Silos for vespers is possible before dinner.**

  7. Day 7 Walk along the crest of the Sierra de las Mamblas for stunning panoramic views.

    Another steady climb out of Covarrubias brings us through the dense forest to a limestone edge. After lunch we continue along the edge with wonderful views to the Sierra de la Demanda, before descending back to Covarrubias. An optional visit to a bodega (winery) is possible before dinner.

  8. Day 8 End Covarrubias.

    Out trip ends today in Covarrubias after breakfast.

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Where you stay

Hotel Rey Chindasvinto

This is a centre-based tour, spending 7 nights in the 3-star family-run Hotel Rural Rey Chindasvinto based in the picturesque village of Covarrubias.

The hotel is an elegant conversion of a traditional village house, set in a quiet square within the town walls. The hotel offers comfortable accommodation whilst retaining a mediaeval feel, with each of the rooms named after a local king or queen. Twin bedded and single rooms have a shower and WC, TV and telephone. Free Wi-Fi is also available in the hotel. The excellent dinners are accompanied by complimentary wine and include a good choice of regional and vegetarian dishes.

There are a limited number of single rooms which can be requested at the time of booking. Single supplements are subject to availability.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 7 dinners are included.

The excellent home cooked dinners are accompanied by complimentary wine. Please note that mealtimes in Spain are later than in many other countries; dinner is usually taken between 20:00hrs and 21.30hrs. The hotel offers a picnic lunch each day for a charge of EUR 5 or there are local shops to purchase your own lunch items from.

Vegetarians are catered for given prior notice, and most other dietary requirements can also be accommodated as long as you let us know in advance (at the time of booking). Please note that food choices may be limited.

Activity Level 3 (Moderate)

This is a moderate walking holiday with 5 days walking and 1 free day. The walks follow historic pilgrim routes, mule tracks and trails through the rural countryside of the Spanish heartland, as well as allowing free time to explore the cathedral city of Burgos.

The tracks are mostly well marked but some of the terrain under foot can be a little rough. All walks take around 5-6 hours and require a moderate level of fitness. Walking is on a variety of dirt tracks, gravel and some tarmac. There are some rocky sections that may require some scrambling and in less visited areas be aware paths may be overgrown and rougher underfoot, therefore walking boots are recommended. A few steep ascents and descents should be expected. Walking hours stated in the itinerary are given as approximates only. Timings stated include lunch and photo stops and will vary depending on the pace of your group.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 25/06/2020
4/5

Take a second look at SIERRA DE LAS MAMBLAS

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    On (I think) the second day we lunched in the shade of a large rock at the top of a ridge and I looked out on the opposite ridge line, with other ridgelines in the distance (I guess that's the "sierra" bit of the region), and I also saw the broad strip of patchwork farmland in the lower part of the valleys, and saw a sheppard with his/her flock. I loved seeing the overall pattern of the natural and human landscape. I saw it several times over the week, and from more spectacular viewing points, but that first time impressed me the most.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Bob knows the area well, has obviously done his research well and has walked every trail and path in the region. He was always able to explain where we were in relation to Covarrubias (home) and other sites we had visit or were yet to visit. He also pointed out opportunities for short cuts home, so it was good to know that there was a lot of flexibility in our route (if say, a massive storm came through). He also has a very good approach to briefing: we were absolutely clear about what was coming up for the day (unlike other wonderful, charming, and more charismatic leaders I've had with Exodus in the past who kept describing the day's landscape as "undulating" regardless of whether that was flat-undulating or mountainous-undulating, hehehe). I think Bob's approach is ideal for people who prefer the security of knowing exactly what's coming up in terms of physical effort or the most minor of expenses. Despite that, he also kept a couple of nifty "surprises" up his sleeve, which were fun too. What Bob lacks in charisma, he more than makes up for in knowledge and anticipation of the group's needs.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Water: The tap water at the hotel is drinkable so don't waste your luggage space with water purifiers. Laundry: I couldn't see any laundry facilities available at all, so several of us did hand washing, but we were asked not to hang stuff on our balconies outside during the day.Paths: While the paths are mostly perfectly OK, there are a few paths on a slope with a bit of loose stone, so walking sticks are a plus if your legs are a bit wobbly. Additionally, on the routes Bob took on my week, there were two very steep, and potentially slippery bits of path. They needed all my attention for about 10 minutes each. Bob did warn us ahead of time that they were coming up, so it was possible to avoid them (and on one occasion, one person did take the shortcut home). Nonetheless, 99% of the walking was quite easy to moderate and at no point were we ever rushed. The pace was quite leisurely with plenty of breaks, which meant that the group pretty much stayed fairly close together; never more than a few hundred metres between first and last person. Nonetheless, that distance also provided enough space to get a bit of privacy in discussions too, if it was wanted.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you can possibly swing it, I'd strongly recommend going in May: the flowers and scented herbage are at exactly the right growth stage, the weather is warm enough but also cool enough for exertionJust for the record, on my trip, everyone in the group was really lovely and some were quite funny, and most were very interesting. I'm over 45 and was one of the youngest in the group. No one was a fuddy duddy (not at all!) but I guess that the nature of the trip attracts people like us. I suspect that a very modern-type of person in the 18-30 age group might find a group like mine a little boring, socially. I think the social side of these walking holidays is easily 50% of the fun (otherwise you'd do a self-guided trip, right?) so that might be a factor to take into account in selecting the trip.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

SIERRA DE LAS MAMBLAS

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The evening visit to Vespers to hear the Benedictine Monks doing their Gregorian Chant.Watching the vultures perched on the edges of the cliffs and gliding overhead.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Bob was very helpful and knowledgable about the area.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It was very hot so be prepared for that - bring breathable socks or you could end up with a heat rash.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

WALKING THE SPANISH HEARTLAND

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The landscape and old villages, a bird list of 40 species, including an azure-winged magpie and countless spotless startlings.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent. A very competent trek leader so one felt happy with his level of skills on the hill.He knows the area well and he was always very personable. 
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Book it!
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A very enjoyable break!

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

Spanish Heartlands

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The ridge walk on the last day was amazing, and the gregorian chanting in the monastery one evening.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Chris was a really excellent leader. He guided the walks well, and adjusted the lengths as he got to know the group. He was very measured, informative and good company.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

Secret Trails of Medieval Spain

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I don't really do "inspirational". I prefer "highlights". All the walking was good. I was touched by the story of the Princess Christina, entombed in the church in Covarrubias after a short life, ending far from home.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Chris was very good leader. He told us exactly what we'd be doing each day and he led the walks with precision. He had plenty of interesting information too.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We all went to Vespers in a nearby monastery. With hindsight, I'd have passed on that. I was bored. But others in the group enjoyed the music.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I thoroughly recommend this holiday as a good walking week.

LEAVE YOUR COMMENT

Package Confirmed Dates Trip Status Trip Status Price (PP) Excluding Flights Price (PP) Including Flights  
May 15, 2021
Available
$1,549.00
N/A
June 5, 2021
Available
$1,549.00
N/A