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Secret Trails of Medieval Spain

From £999 for 8 days
Trip Overview
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 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.
Essential Info
Starts: Start Covarrubias.
Ends: End Covarrubias.
Ages: Min 16
Theme: Walking
Trip Code: ETSR
Activity Level:     
Countries visited: Spain
What's Included


All breakfasts and 7 dinners are included


7 nights in a traditional Spanish family-run hotel 5 days centre-based walking; 1 free day


Trip 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

Dates & Availability
Start date
End date
Departing: 15th May 2021
Returning: 22nd May 2021
Availability: Good
Departing: 5th Jun 2021
Returning: 12th Jun 2021
Availability: Good
Itinerary & Notes
Our trips starts in Covarrubias, a small village and municipality in the province of Burgos located approximately 200km north of Madrid. **
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I've been on walking holidays in Spain before but I don't think I've ever felt the country's essence quite as much as I did here. The base is a wonderful medieval village full of half-timbered houses where even the tourists are mostly Spanish, and the local saint's day is celebrated with bonfires, barbecues and dancing in the streets. The walks mostly leave from the hotel, are well-paced and lead to spectacular views. The hotel overlooks a leafy square next to the church: the owners don't speak English but are very generous with food and drink and always ready to help. It all added up to an excellent holiday.
A very enjoyable trip because all the walks were excellent and because so much was arranged for us to do after the walks that informed us of the area we were in. I did not know rural Spain and this trip made me want to know more.
Gentle walks in extremely quiet Spanish countryside with fantastic views from some of the ridges. Mostly flat with occasional climbs that varied between long but gentle or a few minutes ascent and then flat again .
A week of great walks, in a beautiful, and fabulously quiet place, what more could you want! Lets face it, it's always exciting, but also a little nerve wracking, setting off on a trip to meet a random group of people you've never met before, in a place you've never been. But this trip was absolutely lovely, a great group of ten people and an excellent tour leader. The walks were really beautiful (even the couple in the rain), and thanks to our very dedicated tour leader we had lots of additional activities and opportunities, allowing us all to get the most from our trip. The hotel was in one of the traditional buildings and the rooms were great and added to the atmosphere of staying in the beautiful village of Covarrubias.
Very enjoyable walking in beautiful and varied landscapes. The terrain was generally not very rugged or challenging, so the 10-12 mile hilly walks felt easily doable, but with a sense of achievement. The hotel was run by very helpful and friendly people, the town was full of historic interest and beautifully situated with a river running through. The hotel location was peaceful, away from traffic, and in good weather it was lovely sitting out on the square. There was a good mix of walking and visiting places of historic interest.
The guide Xavier Martin was very knowledgeable both on the places visited and on the local birds. If he was leading a walk at the front he continually ensured that walkers at the rear were managing OK and came down a slope to check on me when I lost my footing and fell backwards onto a rock ( I was OK ! ). The hotel was excellent ; the staff could not do enough for us and the food provided was excellent with a varied choice of dishes.
Good, varied, moderate grade walking in a very attractive area of rural Spain. An opportunity to see a wide variety of wild flowers and hear and see a very wide variety of birdlife and to walk in unspoilt countryside some of which appears to have changed little over the centuries. You will also stay in the charming village of Covarrubias which must be quite unique in preserving so many buildings from mediaeval times.
Having enjoyed travelling with Exodus several times now, we were certainly not disappointed this time - this trip was one of the best. Covarrubias has a charming small medieval town centre, and the hotel is well-situated in the old part where limited traffic access meant it was very peaceful. The hotel was very comfortable and the meals good - substantial breakfasts and varied dinners (with wine provided). Our host, Eloy, looked after us very well. The walking matched the grade very well for us - 17-20 km walks with leisurely 9.30am starts, and usually ending back at the hotel between 4pm and 5pm - in time for a relaxing beer or two afterwards under the shady trees in the square. The climbs were often gradual, with just a few steep pinches; but the views from the top were well worth the effort. The maximum climbing in one day was 450m (not all at once though). We often had quite hot weather (up to 33°C), but as a lot of the climbs were in the morning, often in partial shade, this wasn't too bad. Rucksacks were a bit heavy though, with up to 2 litres of water, packed lunch and the precautionary waterproofs etc. The main effect of the hot weather was some sore feet after long descents on stony paths - very comfortable boots are needed for such conditions. All but one of the walks started from the hotel, taking us quickly into the lovely countryside. The vast expanses of wild flowers were an unexpected bonus (we thought they'd be over by June). All the walks took in different views and terrain, and were planned to allow for plenty of opportunities to stand and stare, take photos and enjoy leisurely elevenses and lunch. The villages were interesting, if rather quiet. The free day spent in Burgos was worthwhile. The cathedral is spectacular, and the town centre very pleasant to wander around, especially by the river. For a more relaxing day it's worth sharing a taxi to return to Covarrubias late afternoon rather than taking the regular 1pm bus.
Signed up for this with a friend - our first walking holiday with Exodus and we weren't disappointed! Based out of Covarrubias, a picturesque and characterful town 2hrs north of Madrid - an undiscovered gem off the usual tourist route. 5 days of walking and each day was different, striking off in a different direction each morning. The terrain was varied and we had some fantastic views! Our leader Emily was wonderful - the perfect combination of enthusiasm and professionalism, and so full of knowledge about the local area and the walks themselves. Our day off trip to nearby Burgos was also a pleasant surprise - plenty to see for those culturally/ religiously inclined (famous cathedral and spotting Camino pilgrims) as well as modern evolution museum that far surpassed expectations. Would highly recommend this for all ages - the name of the trip implies a more historic trip - and while there was certainly plenty of history, the emphasis was most definitely on the hikes themselves.
The area around Covarrubias is lovely for walking, enough ups and downs to keep it interesting with lovely views and amazing wildlife. We saw griffin vultures on the cliffs and circling above us, windflowers in the meadows and swifts and house martins flying round the village. The hotel is excellent with plenty of food at breakfast and dinner and a varied menu. I don't eat red meat and there was plenty of fish and vegetables at each meal. We made our own lunches each day with food from the local bakery and supermarket.
The best Exodus walking trip I have done. We were a small group with a very knowledgeable and enthusiastic leader. By the end of the week (if not before) it felt like we belonged in Corruvabias and had known each other for a long time. This trip is a chance to explore a not very visited part of Spain, with a ton of local history, scenic surprises around almost every corner and an opportunity to mingle with Spanish local people. There is also the modern day history of 'The Camino' present locally and in particular in Burgos, where 'pilgrims' gather in cafes and in the wonderful Cathedral.
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