The Camino de Santiago can sound a little daunting if you plan to walk a full route, but there are plenty of shorter Camino sections! If you are looking for a shorter Camino break – look no further! We have selected some of our favourite sections of the Camino that take just 4 days to walk.
These are great for people who are short on time but still want to experience a little of the Camino. They are a lovely way to start to understand the Way of Saint James. After your first taste, you will probably be hooked, so you can always come back later for more!
Explore the Camino de Santiago’s 4-day itineraries and get ready for adventure!
4 Days on the Camino Frances
The Camino Frances (or the French Way) is perhaps the most famous of the nine major Camino de Santiago routes. The full Camino Frances will take pilgrims at least 30 days to complete, but there are plenty of shorter sections for those with less time. Follow in the footsteps of Martin Sheen in the film “The Way” on the Camino Frances.
Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Pamplona
Walk the first section of the famous Camino Frances route from St-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Pamplona! This short section is an excellent choice for people with less time.
The section is only 66.7km over 3 or 4 walking days, but the terrain is a bit challenging.
Your first stop on the Camino Frances is the quaint French town of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. This town in France is the traditional starting point of the Camino Frances. Before you set off through the Pyrenees, explore this scenic gem. Soak in the excitement of the town as pilgrims flock to start their pilgrimage.
The Camino Frances follows the Route de Napoleon over the Roncesvalles Pass (which climbs to 1500m) in the Basque country. Then the route becomes more gentle in the Navarra region as you near Pamplona.
Pamplona is famous for its Running of the Bulls festival in San Fermin. It is also an excellent spot for gastronomy and wine!
From Medieval city walls to impressive La Catedral de Santa María la Real de Pamplona – this city is well worth an extra night if you have one! Spend time wandering the ancient streets and working up an appetite to enjoy traditional Basque influenced dishes and modern fusion-style dishes.
Leon to Ponferrada
The walk from Leon to Ponferrada is 103km over 4 Camino walking days and it links two lovely cities.
You’ll start in Léon, one of the greatest cities in Spain. Discover delicious tapas and wine, explore museums and the Roman walls, and marvel at the cathedral. The Camino de Santiago starts on the central high plateau and traverses the untouched Léon Mountains.
You will pass through the medieval walled city of Astorga on this route too. Astorga has everything – Roman ruins, a neo-Gothic Episcopal Palace designed by Gaudi, and the Cathedral with Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements. If you enjoy museums be sure to visit the Pilgrim Museum and the chocolate museum!
Stand on the highest point on the Camino Frances at the Cruz de Ferro. This iron cross is where pilgrims leave a stone to symbolise letting go of their troubles.
And finally, Ponferrada, built by the Templars in the 12th century on the banks of the Sil River. Among the things to see here are the Knights Templar’s Castle and the historic quarter. There are many lovely churches and some excellent museums. Of course, the food here is also splendid.
4 Days on the Camino Portuguese
The stunningly scenic Camino Portugues (or the Portuguese Way) is perfect for anyone wanting to experience the Camino de Santiago from a different angle. There are two variations – the inland route and the coastal route. The paths are quieter than the Camino Frances but equally fascinating.
Portuguese Coastal Route from Porto to Oia
This route usually takes 5 talking days to cover 127km. If you only have 4 days to walk the Camino, then skip the first walking day by taking the subway. The resulting 4 day Camino is the best part of the section!
The first day walking out of Porto is not as beautiful, so missing this day is a great way to make up time and head straight to the good part!
The coastal walking route is an excellent alternative to the traditional inland Camino Portugues to Santiago de Compostela. The Coastal route, as its name suggests, takes you up the coastline of northwest Portugal crossing the border into the coastal region of Galicia.
The first section from Porto to Oia includes lovely beaches, boardwalks and spectacular oceanic views. Sip on delicious port wine, indulge in exquisitely fresh seafood and soak in the culture of Portugal.
Camino Portuguese from Porto to Tui
Similar to the route mentioned above, the way from Porto to Tui is usually 6 walking days, and 126km. Thanks to the train, you can easily skip from Porto straight to Arcos and start your walking days from there. This gives you a lovely 4 day walking itinerary on the Camino Portuguese through northern Portugal.
Some of the highlights of this route include Barcelos and Ponte de Lima bridge.
Barcelos is a delightful medieval town, perched on a hill above the Cavado River. If you can plan to be here on a Thursday then you will find a fantastic old outdoor market. It sells delicious food, handwoven linens and local pottery. One particular piece of pottery that you will see everywhere is the rooster of Barcelos.
Ponte de Lima is one of the oldest towns of Portugal. The town’s bridge supposedly marks the spot where the Romans crossed the river. The legend goes that the troops wouldn’t cross the river as they thought it was the river of forgetfulness. So, one of the Generals crossed the river and then called each of the soldiers across by name dispelling the myth. On the riverbank, you can today see 24 wooden soldiers waiting to be called across.
Cycle the Camino Portuguese from Tui to Santiago
Another option, if you would rather make your way to Santiago under your own steam, is to cycle from Tui to Santiago! Doing the Way of Saint James by bike is a wonderful and slightly alternative experience. You will be able to cover more ground in less time on a bicycle, while still seeing the gorgeous landscapes and towns on your way.
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4 Days on the Camino Inglese
A Coruna to Santiago de Compostela
The Camino Inglese or English Way is a gorgeous route through the north of Galicia. This is the Camino route that many pilgrims from the UK and Ireland would have taken after arriving in A Coruna by boat.
This 4 day Camino covers 72.6km. If you would like to still receive your Compostela certificate for covering 100km of Camino you can actually complete up to 25km of your walk in the UK or Ireland before you go to Spain! Read more about the “Celtic Camino” routes on our blog.
Once you arrive in the beautiful coastal city of A Coruna you will find plenty of lovely beaches, excellent food, and historic monuments. Some of the main highlights of the city are the San Anton Castle, the 12th century Church of Santiago (Igrexa de Santiago), the Plaza de Maria Pita, Parque de los Menhires and the Tower of Hercules.
Your walk south to Santiago leads through country roads, parks, past churches and Roman bridges, forests, and historic towns.
The end of your Camino is the magnificent cathedral of Santiago! The experience of walking into the square and seeing the cathedral for the first time is unforgettable.
4 Days on the Camino del Norte
Ribadesella to Oviedo
From Ribadesella, you still get to enjoy the coastline for a while as you meander through towns and beaches. You will pass a fascinating Templar site and the Benedictine Monastery of Santiago before arriving in Colunga. As you head inland you will be surrounded by the gorgeous greenery of Asturias.
This route also leads through Villaviciosa – sometimes referred to as the “apple capital” of Spain. Villaviciosa is an excellent producer of apple cider.
On your journey look out for the church of San Salvador de Valdedios. It is the religious centre of Asturias and includes the small Oratory of San Salvador and the Cisterian monastery built around the Basilica of Santa Maria. The church is one of the finest examples of Asturian Pre-Romanesque Art and is popularly known as ‘El Conventín’.
Oviedo is a wonderful city full of history. It is also the end of the Camino del Norte and the starting point of the Camino Primitivo. Throughout the year there are many different festivals in Oviedo all with their own charm and allure. Oviedo is known for its delicious local apple cider. Make sure to stop in one of the many “ciderias” to try this local drink with some of the traditional food of the area.
Plan your 4-Day Short Break on the Camino with Follow the Camino
These short Camino itineraries are just a small selection of what is available, to get you feeling inspired! Follow the Camino is a specialised Camino tour company. We can customise any route to suit you and your timeframe. Whether you only have 3 days to walk part of the Camino or 30+ days to walk a full Camino route – we can plan the ideal trip for you.
To get started with planning your pilgrimage, get in touch with us! We will send you a free customised itinerary and answer all your questions.
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Originally published on 17th November 2021