2024 Camino Classic, the French Way Gently, A Kinder Camino

Dates: October 11-19, 2024
Start/End: Lugo-Santiago
$6300, double-occupancy (+$1000 supplement for single-occupancy)

Duration:  8 Days/9 Nights
Distance:  66 miles/107 kms
Difficulty:  Low-Moderate

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Beginning in Lugo, a generously restored walled city and ending with a walking tour of the medieval city of Santiago de Compostela, this fully guided, amenities packed experience offers stunning natural landscapes, lodging in charming rural farmhouse inns and manor houses, regional-delicious local cuisine, and a full rest day while offering you peace of mind to reflect and explore life’s big questions.

El Camino:  An Epic Journey Awaits You!

Is walking El Camino on your ‘bucket list’?

Are you in transition and wanting space and time to reflect on ‘what’s next’?

Are you celebrating a milestone life event?

Are you seeking a travel experience that aligns with your deepest values?

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Camino de Santiago, also known as The Way of St. James, is the epic pilgrimage route of Europe. For 2024, we offer the Camino Classic, The French Way Gently, October 11-19 our kindest and gentlest Camino ever. Combining the stunning beauty of northern Spain with spacious time for you to reflect individually and with a caring, supportive community on your inner capacity to lead a more authentic, meaningful, and resilient life.

About Camino Classic, The French Way Gently, October 11-19, 2024

Photo Credit: Valerie Brown

We begin with a gentle walking tour of the generously walled ancient city of Lugo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the hidden gems of northern Spain. Surrounded by ancient monasteries, this magical landscape boasts ancient Roman ruins, chestnut and oak forests, picturesque villages, and the welcoming hospitality of the Galician people.

From this immersion into the natural landscape, you begin your life-changing pilgrimage, following the classic French Way through quaint villages and at a slower pace. You’ll arrive in Santiago de Compostela deeply inspired and connected to fellow pilgrims.

Travel that Touches Your Soul

Walk in Beauty Ethos

Our mission is to provide not just a travel experience but rather a pilgrimage journey so transformative that it becomes a defining moment in your life. We provide amazing support on meticulously planned itineraries, with a carefully cultivated community to support you,  family-run, charming accommodations, and regional-delicious cuisine so you can be fully present, enjoying ‘your Camino, your Way’.

We welcome and support people from diverse racial, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds, gender identities, languages, ages, abilities, immigration and socio-economic status, and spiritual practices.

Preparation in Body, Mind, & Spirit

You’ll be supported from the moment you register with ample resources to prepare you in body, mind, and spirit. You’ll receive newsletters,  a training schedule, maps, our Comprehensive Pilgrimage Resource Guide and Packing List, as well as Camino Community Conference Calls via videoconference to get to know fellow pilgrims and build a supportive community.  You’ll arrive in Spain with new friends, feeling prepared.

An Inward Journey through Reflection

Photo Credit: Valerie Brown

Based on the work of Quaker educator and writer, Parker J. Palmer and the Center for Courage & Renewal, Walk in Beauty Pilgrimage is a ‘moveable retreat’, which distinguishes this pilgrimage apart from all others. You’ll explore what is most meaningful to you, have space and time to listen to your own inner wisdom, reconnect who you are with what you do, and cultivate the courage to lean into action. Guided by core principles and practices, which include the belief that everyone has an ‘inner teacher’, an inner source of truth, the pilgrimage engages contemplative practices to support personal and societal transformation.

As a capstone experience, a version of the Quaker Clearness Committee, a process of individual discernment in community, will be offered during the pilgrimage to support your questions of ‘what’s next’.

Do you want to know more about the clearness committee and how this process might support you in gaining clarity about life’s most important questions? Please read, Coming to the Light, Cultivating Spiritual Discernment through the Quaker Clearness Committee, Valerie Brown, Pendle Hill Pamphlet #446, August 2017.

Private Van Support & Guides

Our fully supported private van, loaded with healthy snacks, water, medicine, and first aid kits, sets this pilgrimage apart and makes it accessible to all. A private vehicle and guide for logistical support is available during the entire pilgrimage route to assist you, to transport luggage, and to address any other needs. This means you can enjoy the scenery and not worry about the unexpected!

Photo Credit: Valerie Brown

With checkpoints along the way, our support vehicle is waiting with healthy snacks and cold drinks, or other assistance. If you do not want to keep walking for any reason, you can hop on the support vehicle at the next checkpoint.

In this customized pilgrimage, our ground support has signals in places where some people take the wrong turn to ensure you’re on the right path. After the daily walk, and after you’ve had lunch you’ll return to the hotel to shower, freshen up, enjoy well-deserved rest, reflect on the day, and savor a delicious-regionally sourced dinner.

Walk at Your Own Pace

Photo Credit: Valerie Brown

Everyone walks at their own pace and you will be met by our guides and support vehicle at various checkpoints along each stage. At the checkpoints you can enjoy a snack, fruit and cold beverages and our guides will assist you in case you need anything else. We also offer assistance for any emergencies or simply to relieve muscular pain or cure blisters.  If for any reason you do not want to continue walking, our support vehicle is at your disposal.

Luggage Support

Luggage is transferred from one hotel to the next using the support vehicle. You need only carry a small/medium backpack for your essentials and leave the rest to us! (Please review luggage requirements under Frequently Asked Questions.)

Regional-Delicious & Healthy Cuisine

Photo Credit: Valerie Brown

Traditionally prepared hearty breakfasts and most locally-sourced and delicious dinners with local wines served with exceptional hospitality and ambiance are included in your Camino. Lunches are not included to provide more flexibility during your walk to sample local foods in the quaint towns at the end of the daily stage. Vegetarians, vegans, or those with a special diet (e.g. gluten-free) can always find suitable options.

Superior Accommodations

Photo Credit: Valerie Brown

Carefully selected accommodations vary from rural charming farmhouses on the heart of El Camino.  All lodgings are well known for outstanding hospitality and service with private en-suite bathrooms.

*All hotels are subject to change and depend on availability.

Map Route

Click here for the complete profile of this route for the Camino Classic, the French Way Gently.

Catch the spirit of El Camino and watch this brief poignant video: 

What People Are Saying

Watch this 2-minute video of Don and Karen Kovacs speak about their experience with Walk in Beauty Pilgrimage.

Camino Classic, the French Way Gently Daily Itinerary

Day 0: Thursday, October 10 – Arrival in Lugo

Arrival in Lugo and check in hotel.

Day 1:  Friday, October 11 – Sarria – Barbadelo – Portomarin

Meet in our designated hotel in Lugo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and generously walled ancient city, and begin with a gentle walking tour. Afterwards we board our private van for the 40-minute ride to a small village outside of Sarria where we will begin our pilgrimage through the green scape of Galicia. 11 miles/18 km. Dinner included.

Day 2:  Saturday, October 12 – Portmarin – Airexe

Starting in Portomarin located on the Rio Miño, we walk through woodlands, forests and lovely small villages of the Sierra Ligonde, climbing gradually until we reach Airexe, a petite village where we stop for the day. Our driver will take us from Airexe to our countryside hotel for the evening.  10.5 miles/ 17 km. Breakfast and Dinner included.

Day 3:  Saturday, October 13 – Airexe – O Coto

Beginning in town of Palas de Rei, or Palace of the King, named after an 8th-century Visigoth king, we walk along stopping perhaps for a frothy coffee or fresh-squeezed OJ and a chat with your Camino buddies and new friends along the path. The route undulates and eventually drops us in San Xulian, a classic Camino village with a 12th-century church worth admiring. 

Our pilgrim group will continue onward, traversing forested trails and two river valleys.

In Leboreiro, we’ll meet up with our driver and be driven to our hotel for a well-earned dinner and a good night’s rest. 10 miles/16 km. Breakfast and Dinner included.

Day 4:  Sunday, October 14 – O Coto – Arzua

After a hearty breakfast, we start our walk in the charming hamlet of Leboreiro, walking to the medieval village of Furelos, with an impressive Roman bridge. From there we walk to Melide, where we lunch at a local pulperia to sample one of Galicia’s specialties—pulpo Gallego steamed octopus. After lunch, we ascend and descend, traversing quaint hamlets and eucalyptus forests to end our walk in Arzua, a charming town where you can sample local artisanal organic cheese or Casa Frade, home-made Galician wine in china saucers. 10.5 miles/17 km. Breakfast included. Dinner not included.

Day 5:  Monday, October 15 – Full Rest Day

Sleep in, journal, linger over a steamy cup of café con leche, enjoy a leisurely lunch, or explore the countryside. You choose. Breakfast included. Dinner not included.

Day 6:  Tuesday, October 16 – Arzua to Alto de Santa Irene

We continue onward, through small hamlets, eucalyptus forests, along moss-covered stone walls and ancient Roman roads, ending the day in the quiet hamlet of Alto de Santa Irene, with its 17th century chapel and hermitage of St. Irene and its baroque fountain whose water is said to have curative properties. 11.8 miles/19 km. Breakfast and Dinner included.

Day 7:  Wednesday, October 17 – Alto de Santa Irene – Lavacolla 

Today’s stage takes us mainly through wooded areas and forests until we reach Lavacolla, the place where the purification ritual needed to arrive in Santiago was performed in ancient times. Afterward we drive to our family run pazo (palace) for our penultimate evening together. 10.5 miles/17 km. Breakfast and Dinner included.

Day 8:  Thursday, October 18 – Lavacolla – Santiago de Compostela

Today is our journey’s most exciting day!

On our final full day on El Camino, we climb from Lavacolla until we reach the Monte do Gozo (Mount of Joy) where we can enjoy a marvelous panoramic view of Santiago in which we will be able to see our final destination: Santiago de Compostela’s Cathedral.  An exhilarating and emotional end to our Camino is at the steps of the Cathedral, and afterwards, we gather for a celebratory dinner. 6.8 miles/11 km. Breakfast and Dinner included.

Day 9:  Friday, October 19 – Santiago de Compostela

To culminate our Camino, a guided two-hour walking tour in Santiago awaits us in the morning, through the old city, its main monuments and squares.

Your Camino through life begins!

Breakfast included.

Price Includes:

  • Guided preparation and facilitation before, during, and after pilgrimage
  • Comprehensive pre-pilgrimage preparation, including customized training schedule, newsletters, and resource guide
  • Private Vehicle Support fully stocked with supplies and healthy snacks
  • English-speaking guide assistance
  • All transfers
  • All breakfasts
  • Six dinners
  • Carefully selected en-suite charming accommodations
  • Pilgrims’ Kit, a small backpack loaded with resources
  • Pilgrim’s Passport & Credentials
  • Informational program and route map
  • Farewell dinner
  • Rest day in Arzua

Price Does Not Include:

  • Airfare
  • Lunches
  • Cancellation Insurance (recommended)
  • Tips for Guides

Cost, Registration & Payment Schedule: 

Cost: $6300.00/person, double-occupancy
(Single occupancy supplement: +$1,000.00)

To secure your spot:

1) Click above to register and
2) Pay your initial deposit.

Payment Instructions

To pay your initial $1500 deposit and hold your spot–and for future installation payments:

  • Pay by check: please make checks out to: Lead Smart Coaching, LLC and mail to 95 Old York Road | New Hope, PA 18938. DO NOT MAKE CHECKS PAYABLE TO VALERIE BROWN.
  • Pay by Venmo: @Valerie-Brown-140 (security code -9978)

Payment Schedule:

Payments for double occupancy are scheduled as follows:

  • Initial deposit due with signed registration form: $1500.00
  • Payment #2: $2400.00 due by April 2, 2024
  • Payment #3: $2400.00 due by July 2, 2024

Payments for single occupancy are scheduled as follows:

  • Initial deposit due with signed registration: $1500.00
  • Payment #2: $2900.00 due by April 2, 2024
  • Payment #3: $2900.00 due by July 2, 2024

Cancellation Policy:

Please see our Terms and Policies page for full information on cancellations, liability and other policies.

Individual Cancellation Fees and Refunds. Notice of cancellation must be signed, dated, and received in writing via e-mail to Valerie Brown/Lead Smart Coaching, LLC. Valerie Brown will refund your payment for services not received by you, minus applicable cancellation fees, according to the following schedule:

  • Before April 2, 2024: the cancellation fee is $2500.00 (this fee covers the amount of the non-refundable, non-transferable deposit, plus administrative expenses);
  • After July 2, 2024 (when the final payment is due): there are no refunds.
  • Please see Cancellation Policy »
  • Questions? Contact Valerie Brown

COVID-19 Policy & Protocol for Walk in Beauty Pilgrimages »

Additional Resources:

Walk in Beauty Frequently Asked Questions

Brief History of El Camino

Camino Classic 2023 Flyer


Oct 02 - 13 2023


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