Cross the Alps on the Via Francigena

Via Francigena
From €3,165 ppdo, (€700 single supplement)

***Due to the COVID-19 pandemic this itinerary has been cancelled. Watch this site for our upcoming 2021 itineraries.***

Spanning 1800 kilometers between Canterbury and Rome, the Via Francigena is a World Heritage pilgrim walk. The most challenging and beautiful section is its transit of the Alps at the Grand St Bernard Pass between Switzerland and Italy. This unforgettable Alpine walk features snow-capped mountain peaks, towering waterfalls and majestic forests, interspersed with castles, Roman bridges and spectacular mountain scenery. The walk is also the most difficult section of the Via Francigena, making a group excursion the safest and most enjoyable way to travel. 

 

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  • September 6, 2020 – Gather in Lausanne, Switzerland– Home to the International Olympic Committee, Lausanne sits on the north shore of beautiful Lake Geneva. Tonight, meet your fellow travelers and prepare for your first day of walking.
  • September 7, 2020 – Lausanne to Vevey (21.0km/13.0miles)– Leave Lausanne on charming lakeside trails, then head up onto vineyard-covered mountain sides on the way to lakeside Vevey.
  • September 8, 2020 – Vevey to Aigle (25.8km/16.0miles) – July’s annual Jazz Festival put Montreux on the map. Enjoy its lakeside promenade and then beautiful Chillon Castle before saying goodbye to the lake and heading up the Rhône Valley to Aigle.
  • September 9, 2020 – Aigle to St Maurice (16.6km/10.3miles)– As the valley narrows and the track slowly climbs, mountain towns like Ollon exude Swiss charm. Set along tall cliffs, the town of St Maurice holds one of Europe’s oldest monasteries.
  • September 10, 2020 – St Maurice to Martigny (16.7km/10.4miles)– The valley continues to narrow while the boulder-strewn route traverses mountainsides in quiet forests to the accompaniment of waterfalls cascading down steep cliffs.
  • September 11, 2020 – Martigny to Orsieres (18.4km/11.4miles) – The path continues to ascend on narrow mountain paths under tall forests. The valleys are just wide enough for a two-lane road, a train track, and your pathway.
  • September 12, 2020 – Orsieres to Bourg St Pierre (14.0km/8.7miles)– The last night in Switzerland is spent above the tree line in the sparse settlement of Bourg St Pierre after the truly first steep climb of the walk.
  • September 13, 2020 – Bourg St Pierre to Col St Bernard (12.6km/7.8miles)– The climb concludes in an enchanting land of heather, cool streams and tall, snowy peaks. Summit at the historic St Bernard Hospital where dogs are still trained to rescue stranded hikers.
  • September 14, 2020 – Col St Bernard to Echennevoz (14.8km/9.2miles) – The first steps follow cattle trails down the green peaks and then a path alongside a delightful wayside canal that feeds vast, irrigated fields far below.
  • September 15, 2020 – Echennevoz to Aosta (13.9km/8.6miles) – Italian Alpine towns like Etroubles dot the countryside as the road continues downhill to the Roman city of Aosta, now capital of the Italian Aosta Valley region.
  • September 16, 2020 – Aosta to Chattillon (27.7km/17.2miles) – Castles stand like silent sentinels on hilltops below tall peaks whose steep slopes end at the green valley floor below.
  • September 17, 2020 – Chatillon to Verres (18.5km/11.5miles) – A day
  • September 18, 2020 – Verres to Ponte-Saint-Martin (16.0km/10.0miles) – The town of Bard relives its medieval roots each day as its trendy shops welcome tourists and pilgrims both. Roman bridges cross the blue-green waters of the Dora Balthea River.
  • September 19, 2020 – Ponte-Saint-Martin to Ivrea (23.4km/14.5miles) – Widening out into the Po River Plain, the Aosta Valley ends at the castles of Ivrea, while the Italian National Kayak Team practices its maneuvers on the cascading currents of the Balthea River in the heart of town.
  • September 20, 2020 – Depart Ivrea– Catch a train to Milan or Torino to return home, or continue your holiday with a stop in Venice, Florence or Rome.

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Pamplona to Burgos on the Camino de Santiago

Camino Santiago
From €2,050 (€500 single supplement)

***Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this itinerary has been cancelled. Please check back to this site for our upcoming 2021 departures.***

While the entire Camino de Santiago can require five to six weeks to complete, we split this premier pilgrimage walk into three, two-week portions, offering one portion each year. This year we lead participants in perhaps the loveliest stretches of the Camino: from the world-famous Basque city of Pamplona to the gateway to the vast, high plains of Spain. The route crosses the world-famous La Rioja wine region, with an overnight in the Riojan capital of Logroño, center of Northern Spanish tapas culture. Hear the story of the miraculous chickens at Santo Domingo de la Calzada and finish in historic Burgos, home of the Spanish hero El Cid as well as the location of one of Spain’s most elaborate and beautiful medieval cathedrals.

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  • May 25, 2020 – Overnight in Pamplona– Gather at your hotel in this world famous Basque provincial capital to enjoy dinner and meet your fellow travelers. Marvel at the intact medieval walls or trace the course of the annual Running of the Bulls.
  • May 26, 2020 – Pamplona to Puente la Reina (24.4km/15.2miles)– A gentle climb up to Alto del Perdón provides sweeping views back to the Pyrenees and wide vistas ahead to the vast farmland of Western Navarre. Overnight at the medieval pilgrim town of Puente la Reina and enjoy is picturesque bridge and pilgrim church.
  • May 27, 2020 – Puente la Reina to Estella (21.6km/13.4miles)– A day spent walking on rolling hills among grain fields and vineyards with an overnight at picturesque Estella.
  • May 28, 2020 – Estella to Los Arcos (21.6km/13.4miles)– Free wine is on tap at the Irache Winery and afterward transit on rolling hills through vineyards and farmland. Quiet Los Arcos hosts one of the most elaborate Baroque church interiors in Northern Spain.
  • May 29, 2020 – Los Arcos to Logroño (28.2km/17.5miles)– Cross into the Spanish wine region of La Rioja, passing through medieval Viana for lunch and arriving at Logroño, self-proclaimed culinary capital of Spain and site of Calle Laurel, home of La Rioja’s tapas culture.
  • May 30, 2020 – Logroño to Nájera (28.5km/17.7miles)– The extravagant altarpiece at Navarette is a showpiece of golden religious iconography, then the riverfront cafes and quiet streets and museums of the Old City of Nájera offer an outdoor rest or a quiet walk among tombs of the Kings of Navarre.
  • May 31, 2020 – Nájera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada (22.1km/13.7miles)– The vineyards transition to fields of grain under wide open skies before arriving at the majestic Cathedral of Santo Domingo, site of the famed chicken miracle.
  • June 1, 2020 – Santo Domingo to Belorado (22.5km/14.0miles) –Beautiful views of rolling hills and frequent villages allow walkers ample stops to refuel before arriving at the round, central plaza of Belorado, overlooked by ruins of its medieval castle.
  • June 2, 2020 – Belorado to Agés (27.7km/17.2miles) –The forest of the Montes de Oca once held wolves and bandits that preyed on pilgrims, but now it is a pleasant, shaded walk, punctuated by the Monastery of San Juan de Ortega and its window that shines on the statue of the Virgin at the equinox.
  • June 3, 2020 – Agés to Burgos (23.2km/14.4miles) –The quiet countryside slowly turns to vibrant city, culminating in the charming center city of Burgos, with its UNESCO World Heritage cathedral and fascinating Museum of Human Evolution.
  • June 4, 2020 – Depart Burgos– Plan to return next year for another 2-week leg of the multi-year journey to Santiago de Compostela.

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Assisi to Rome on the Via di Francesco

Pilgrim-Paths-Assisi-Rome
From €2,870 ppdo (€550 single supplement)

These departures have been cancelled due to uncertainties of travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Walk among vineyards and olive groves through the region St Francis loved, stopping at key sites in his life. See where he heard his call to poverty, where he spoke to the Pope, where he received his vision and look at a letter written in his own hand. Visit serene lakes and enjoy mountain vistas, then feel the mists of the thundering waters of the largest human-made waterfall. When it is all over, arrive at the incomparable Eternal City of Rome to enjoy an unforgettable pilgrimage made more real because you walked to get there.  Two 2020 departures: September 21-October 5, and October 6-20. 

  • Day 1 – Gather, overnight in Assisi (optional Assisi tour).The beautiful hometown of St. Francis is one of the most beloved pilgrim sites in all the world.
  • Day 2 – Assisi to Spello (easier: 13.8km/8.6miles; harder: 17.6km/10.9miles) –The climb on Assisi’s Mount Subasio offers spectacular views of the Tiber River Valley. Choose this for its views or stay below in the easier and still scenic route among olive groves.
  • Day 3 – Spello to Trevi (19.1km/11.9miles) – Onto the valley floor now, enter Foligno, where Francis sold his father’s cloth to raise money to rebuild the Church of San Damiano then climb to delightful Trevi famous for its beautiful views.
  • Day 4 – Trevi to Spoleto (easier: 19.1km/11.9miles; harder: 27.6km/17.2miles) – Either descend to the valley floor for a quiet walk along a flat bike path or take the longer mountainside option through Poreta. Spoleto is a cultural capital of Umbria as it hosts the annual Due Mondi festival that attracts the world’s finest classical musicians each year; its cathedral houses a hand-written letter of St Francis.
  • Day 5 – Spoleto to Macenano (20.4km/12.7miles) – A brisk 45-min climb takes you to the Monteluco Franciscan convent, and then a long downhill wilderness trail leads along dramatic gorges into the Valnerina recreational area. Overnight at the ancient Abbey of San Pietro in Valle (when available).
  • Day 6 – Macenano to Arrone (10.4km/6.5miles) – A perfectly restful day with a quiet, flat walk along a green mountain-bike path to the charming Umbrian hill town of Arrone.
  • Day 7 – Arrone to Piediluco (15.2km/9.4miles) – Leave later in the morning so you can arrive when the waters are flowing at majestic Cascata delle Marmore, a waterfall on the Velino River made by the Romans over 2000 years ago. Walk alongside the Velino River to quiet Piediluco, home to the Italian National Crew Team.
  • Day 8 – Piediluco to Poggio Bustone (21.8km/13.5miles) – Atop a mountain stands the 800-year old Beech Tree of St Francis. The day ends in Poggio Bustone, site of the cave where St. Francis had two visions that would change his life.
  • Day 9 – Poggio Bustone to Rieti (17.7km/11.0miles) – A quiet and verdant walk to the gorgeous village of Cantalice and then the sanctuary of La Foresta where legend attributes a key miracle to St. Francis. End the day in Rieti, an important stop on the ancient Roman salt road.
  • Day 10 – Rieti to Poggio San Lorenzo (21.8km/13.5miles) – Walk along the ancient Roman Salt Road through quiet farms of the Sabine Region to tiny Poggio San Lorenzo.
  • Day 11 – Poggio San Lorenzo to Ponticelli (21.6km/13.4miles) – An up-and-down day of forested ridges, olive groves and sheep pastures with views to castles and quiet villages. Overnight at 15th c Castello Orsini.
  • Day 12 – Ponticelli to Montelibretti (13.2km/8.2milesl) – The mountains begin to spread out before you and the hills begin to flatten as you prepare for the broad Tiber Valley ahead.
  • Day 13 – Montelibretti to Monterotondo (16.6km/10.3miles) – Although Rome is near, the path carries you through lush nature preserves, away from traffic and city life. In clear weather the first glimpse of St. Peter’s can be seen in the far distance.
  • August 4 – Monterotondo to Monte Sacro (19.3km/12.0miles)- With some sadness leave nature behind and walk the second half of this day through Roman suburbs to a comfortable lodging in the Monte Sacro district of Rome.
  • August 5 – Monte Sacro to the Vatican (15.4km/9.6miles) – Follow quiet bicycle paths until the right moment to dive into the city, walking through Piazza del Popolo and on the edge of Piazza Navone. Cross the Bridge of Angels and take the first steps out of Rome into Vatican City at the doors of the Basilica of Saint Peter, our journey’s goal.
  • August 6 – Depart Rome – With your testimoniumin hand and your mind full of memories say goodbye to Rome. This pilgrimage through the Roman countryside in the places beloved by St. Francis stays vivid in your mind for a lifetime of cherished memories.

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Florence to Assisi on the Via di Francesco

Florence-Assisi
From €3,280 ppdo (€600 single supplement)

***Due to the Coronavirus pandemic this departure has been cancelled.***

After enjoying the capital of the Renaissance, figuratively step back in time to ancient forests and monasteries of the Middle Ages. The beautiful Casentino National Forest is the setting and St Francis’s beloved Santuario della Verna atop serene Mount Penna with its active Franciscan convent is the first goal. His hometown is the final destination. In between, walk among the towns and forests that were his inspiration, including the town of Gubbio where he made peace with the wolf, and Montecasale where he converted the three thieves. At Valfabbrica he was robbed and stripped and of course, at Assisi he was born and was buried. No itinerary brings you closer to the person and the legend that walking from Florence to Assisi on the Way of St Francis.

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  • June 6, 2020 – Gather, overnight in Florence – Capital of the Renaissance, gather here to meet other participants and orient yourself to the walk.
  • June 7, 2020 – Florence to Pontassieve (18.9km/11.7miles) – Walk along the quiet banks of the Arno River among locals.
  • June 8, 2020 – Pontassieve to Consuma (17.8km/11.1miles) – Vineyards turn to forests as you climb to the first reaches of the Casentino National Forest where you’ll remain for the next days.
  • June 9, 2020 – Consuma to Stia (17.0km/10.6miles) – Almost exclusively on paths and gravel roads, see the green side of Tuscany and the first hints of breathtaking mountain views. Sita stands at the headwaters of the Arno amidst forests of oak, birch and pine.
  • June 10, 2020 – Stia to Camaldoli (16.6km/10.3miles)– For over 1000 years monks and hermits have called Camaldoli their home. See their chapels and shop among their soaps and medicinal herbs at Camoldoli Hermitage and Monastery.
  • June 11, 2020 – Camaldoli to Santicchio (16.0km/9.9miles) – Walk forested mountain trails to the retreat center at the foot of Monte Penna, stopping for lunch in Badia Prataglia.
  • June 12, 2020 – Santicchio to Santuario della Verna (8.0km/5.0miles) – Walk up through a fairy tale forest to the beloved Santuario della Verna, site of the miracle of the stigmata and home to a functioning Franciscan convent at one of Italy’s holiest places.
  • June 13, 2020 – Santuario della Verna to Pieve Santo Stefano (15.2km/9.4miles) – After a downhill walk on forested paths the Tiber Valley opens up and the mountain town of Pieve Santo Stefano welcomes us.
  • June 14, 2020 – Pieve Santo Stefano to La Montagna (22.8km/14.1miles) –Visit the hermitage of Cerbaiolo after a stiff climb to quiet and serene La Montagna.
  • June 15, 2020 – La Montagna to Citerna (23.7km/14.7miles)- Visit the convent of Montecasale, where St Francis converted two thieves. Enjoy lunch at historic Sansepolcro, then enjoy a flat walk through farms ending at the walled, hilltop town of Citerna with its sweeping views of the Tiber Valley and the mountains beyond.
  • June 16, 2020 – Citerna to Città di Castello (20.3km/12.6miles)- A green day of farms nurturing sunflowers. Climb the famed cylindrical tower at Città di Castello and enjoy the delicacies of this picturesque town.
  • June 17, 2020 – Citta di Castello to Pietralunga (29.8km/18.5miles)- From the Tiber Valley climb a pass toward the Chiascio Alto, the headwaters of the river that waters Assisi, before your overnight at medieval Pietralunga.
  • June 18, 2020 – Pietralunga to Gubbio (26.5km/16.5miles) – Everyone loves medieval Gubbio, the town of the Ceri races, the wolf tamed by Francis, and acrobatic funicular that ascends to Basilica San Ubaldo above the settlement.
  • June 19, 2020 – Gubbio to Biscina (22.7km/14.1miles) – The Chiascio River drains these forested hillsides among castles and convents ending in a hostel stay in a former hermitage.
  • June 20, 2020 – Biscina to Valfabbrica (15.9km/9.9miles) – Lake Valfabbrica is a constant companion as you near beautiful Assisi.
  • June 21, 2020 – Valfabbrica to Assisi (13.4km/8.3miles) – Climb the ridge separating the two towns and see Assisi’s Rocca Maggiore and then the beloved Basilica San Francesco. Receive the final stamp on our pilgrim passports and then your testimoniumthat confirms completion of your pilgrimage walk. A 6:00 mass in the Basilica welcomes all pilgrims. Afterward toast your accomplishment over a beautiful dinner with your pilgrim companions.
  • June 22, 2020 – Depart Assisi – (overnight option, tour option) You’ve had a memorable pilgrimage in unforgettable scenery accompanied all the way by the memory and spirit of St. Francis.

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Terms and conditions

At registration, all participants must affirm that they have read and understood the Terms and Conditions listed below:

Nature of Pilgrimage and Accommodations: Pilgrim Paths organizes religious and cultural travel itineraries in the pilgrimage walking tradition. Accommodations are based on double occupancy and these itineraries will utilize a range of accommodation ranging from pilgrim hostels where no hotel is available to 3-star hotels in larger cities.

Participant Responsibilities:As a member of a Pilgrim Path walking group you have responsibility to Pilgrim Paths and to other group members, including:

  1. Selecting a walk appropriate to your interests and abilities and being in sufficient good health and fitness to do the walk. If you have any medical or physical conditions that are likely to affect your capability to do this walk, or adversely affect the experience of other participants, you must submit a letter from your medical doctor stating that you are capable of participating in this walk.
  2. Preparing for your walk by reading all the information on the website and material sent to you by Pilgrim Paths, especially that relating to the daily walking stages, accommodation, transport and the role of the Group Leader.
  3. Respecting the other members in your group, especially the Group Leader, as well as the laws, customs, traditions and culture of the areas visited.

At the Group Leader’s discretion, a member may be asked to leave the group if the leader feels that the person´s further participation may be detrimental to other group members or to the individual.

Passports and Visas:Participants must carry with them a valid passport with the necessary Visa as required by local law. Any information from Pilgrim Paths regarding visa applications is only a guideline. The participant is responsible for all necessary visa and legal documentations, noting that European Union (Schengen) visa requirements apply and may vary depending on the country of origin.

Price:The published price per person includes ground transportation as published on the itinerary (from starting point to ending point of the walk only); luggage transfer service; lodging (per person at double-occupancy); breakfast each day and dinner most days; and the presence of a qualified tour leader. The price does not include airfare, lunch each day (estimate $15/day), occasional dinners out (approximately one out of three nights), recommended travel insurance, personal expenses, or anything not expressly stated on the itinerary. Tips for the tour leader and assistant are not allowed.

Payment Information:A deposit of 30% is required to secure a reservation and $500 is non-refundable but transferable to another Pilgrim Paths itinerary. The final payment is due 90 days prior to departure. Payment can be made by e-commerce site (with additional fees), personal check or money order. Trip prices and costs are listed in Euros and translation to other currencies is to be based on Google Finance conversion rates.

Cancellations: Minimum group size is 8 participants. If an itinerary fails to meet its minimum, Pilgrim Paths may cancel the group up to 90 days before departure.

If a participant cancels 90 days or more before departure, all payments will be refunded except $500 of your deposit which is transferable to another trip with Pilgrim Paths adventure. If the cancellation is made fewer than 90 days before departure, the following non-refundable charges are added to the $500 withheld by Pilgrim Paths:

  • 15% 31-90 days before departure
  • 25% 15- 30 days
  • 50% 8- 14 days
  • 75% 4- 7 days
  • 90% up to 3 days
  • 100% at less than 3 days, no-show, interruption

These mandatory charges are included in order to cover the cost to Pilgrim Paths of subcontractors who have required advance payment in order to confirm bookings. Other terms and conditions may apply at registration.

Release and Assumption of Risk: I understand and agree that during the tour in which I will participate, under the arrangements of Pilgrim Paths, certain risks and dangers may arise, including, but not limited to, acts of God, the hazards of the forces of nature (including but not limited to animal or insect bites), dangers and risks inherent in trekking activities (including but not limited to falls or injuries), and accident or illness in remote places without access to medical facilities, transportation, or means of rapid evacuation and assistance. Pilgrim Paths shall not be responsible for any injuries, damages, or losses caused to any traveler in connection with any of the above, mechanical or construction failures or difficulties, diseases, local laws, climatic conditions, abnormal conditions or developments, or any other actions, omissions, or conditions outside the travel company’s control. Traveler assumes complete and full responsibility for, and hereby releases the agent from any duty of, and all safety or security conditions at such destinations.

In consideration of, and as a part of the payment for, the right to participate in such treks, tours, expeditions, or other activities and as a part of the payment for, the services arranged for me by Pilgrim Paths and its agents, employees, associates, affiliated companies, or subcontractors, I do hereby expressly assume all of the above risks.

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