2022 Asturias Art & Adventure Camino
Walk in Beauty: Asturias Art & Adventure Camino
[Registration now closed]
Our Kindest and Gentlest Camino
October 17-26, 2022
Valerie Brown, Pilgrimage Leader
El Camino: An Epic Journey Awaits
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 2022, we offer two hidden gem pilgrimage options: Portuguese Coast Camino, and Asturias Art & Adventure Camino, our kindest and gentlest Camino. Both the Portuguese Coast Camino and the Asturias Art & Adventure Camino, Walk in Beauty Pilgrimage combine the stunning beauty of El Camino de Santiago, Spain with the Center for Courage & Renewal® Approach to reflect on your inner capacity to lead a more authentic, meaningful, and resilient life. The Approach includes spacious time in solitude and in community, journaling, and reflection with poetry and prose to life’s big questions. In these exclusive, small group pilgrimages, you are spoiled by breathtaking natural beauty of the sun-drenched north coast of Spain and Portugal, magnificent accommodations, and exquisite food.
The crown jewel of Spanish walking trails, the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela began as an act of faith as Europeans crossed Spain to visit the sacred tomb of the Apostle Saint James. One thousand years later, the Camino continues to draw spiritual seekers worldwide to enjoy the beauty of green rolling hills, stunning coastal views, and small hamlets of northern Spain. Come be part of this magical trail.
About the Asturias Art & Adventure Camino
Our kindest, gentlest Camino, ever!
Grab your paint brush, camera, a good novel, and your hiking shoes and join us on this unique pilgrimage in the coastline, beautiful beaches, and small fishing ports of Asturias in Northern Spain. In this our kindest and gentlest Camino, you’ve got options.
Named by National Geographic’s Best Trip for 2020, Asturias boasts a backdrop of the stunning mountainscape of Picos de Europa and hundreds of beaches tucked away along the rugged, emerald-green coastline and gorgeous villages. You’ll settle into our 15th century lovingly restored rural hotel for 10 days of painting, photography, reading, writing, and walking the famed Camino Primitivo, the oldest Camino trail and the Camino del Norte, following coastal paths and ocean views.
In this kind and gentle Camino, you’ll unpack your luggage once and return each day to the same hotel without the need to move to another hotel along El Camino. Instead, our country hotel becomes your home base for 10 full days while in the heart of Asturias. You’ll savor regional-delicious, chef-prepared, hearty meals served with warmth and hospitality.
Each day you have the option to enjoy creative arts in and around our rural hotel or walk 5 to twelve miles, following local hiking trails along established tranquil footpaths, ancient trade routes, through narrow canyons, over mountain passes, along the Senda del Oso, a converted rail track, and walk on the famed Camino Primitivo and the Camino del Norte along the coast. We offer flexibility with distances and choice of walks for each day, according to the needs of the group.
Unwind with fellow pilgrims to share evening reflections and a sumptuous dinner. All breakfasts and all dinners are included. Lunches are not included to offer you flexibility to sample local fare. A special bonus is an exclusive and fun cooking demonstration to learn how to prepare regional favorites.
Walk in Beauty Pilgrimage Ethos
We believe that traveling under your own power and at your own pace with a supportive community opens up an opportunity to connect more meaningfully with the world. 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 superb accommodations and regional-delicious cuisine so you can be totally 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.
About the Courage & Renewal® Approach to Reflection, Discernment, and Community
Walk in Beauty offers a distinctive opportunity for you to reflect intentionally and purposefully on the ‘big questions’ of your life before, during, and after the pilgrimage. We help you prepare for the pilgrimage with materials designed to support your reflection about your core values, your life meaning and purpose. Our exclusive Camino Community Video Conference Calls allow you to get to know fellow pilgrims and to build community. In other words, you arrive in Spain not with strangers, but with friends. And, since the experience of El Camino is powerfully transformational and non-linear, you’ll be supported in reflection and discernment after you return home.
What to Expect with the Courage & Renewal® Approach
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 Committees, a process of individual discernment in community, will be offered during the pilgrimage to support life and vocational issues or dilemmas. Explore Courage & Renewal® reflective practices to deepen your experience, allowing this ancient pilgrimage road to be a metaphor for your transformational life journey.
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.
About the Landscape & Hotel
Asturias, Spain’s hidden gem, is a magnificent area where the sea, sheer mountains, and green pastures abound. To the north are the Bay of Biscay and the Cantabrian Sea. To the south are the mountainscape of the Picos de Europa. Bucolic valleys and meadows are dotted with grazing sheep and goats, whose milk produces local artisan cheeses which are unique to the area. Settled by the Celts, the cool and contemporary capital city of Oviedo offers hearty, regional food, and restaurants, specializing in exceptional local cuisine and fresh ingredients.
Set on a hillside in a lovely, green valley in Las Ubiñas-La Mesa, Biosphere Reserve Natural Park, our lovingly restored country farmhouse hotel is a rural gem, offering peace and tranquility as our home base for this 10-day Art & Adventure Camino.
Want to learn more about Oviedo? Watch this 3-minute video:
Carefully selected hearty breakfasts and locally-sourced and delicious dinners served with exceptional hospitality and ambiance are included in our Asturias Art & Adventure 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. All breakfasts and dinners are included. Vegetarians, vegans, or those with a special diet (e.g. gluten-free) can always find suitable options.
Private Van Support & Guides
Private van support and luggage transfer, an essential feature of the Walk in Beauty Pilgrimages.
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 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!
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.
For the pilgrimage 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.)
Walk at Your Own Pace
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. You won’t have to worry about not finding your way as there will always be yellow arrows to point the way. You will never feel alone on the Camino as there will be other pilgrims on the way. After the walk and lunch we will go back to our rural hotel to freshen up and enjoy some well-deserved rest.
One Day 7 of this Camino an optional rest day, time of leisure to reflect and integrate this once in a lifetime experience: read, journal, draw, paint, whatever you choose….or join a walk.
Preparation in Body, Mind, & Spirit
Soulful preparation is key to Walk in Beauty pilgrimage experience. We understand that a pilgrimage is different from a ‘hiking vacation’ and we assist you with not only physical training, but soulful training, to open the heart, mind, and spirit. Resources include Pilgrim Newsletters, Pilgrim Training Schedule, maps, comprehensive Pilgrimage Resource Guide, and packing list with recommendations on what to bring, as well as Camino Community Conference Calls via videoconference to get to know fellow pilgrims and build a supportive community.
DAILY ITINERARY at a glance
October 17-26, 2021
Day 1 – Sunday, Oct. 17 – QUIRÓS: Meet in Oviedo, trail walking, and transport to rural hotel (6-8 miles). Welcome & Orientation. Dinner included.
Day 2 – Monday, Oct. 18 – QUIRÓS: Senda del Oso & Via Verdes rail track walks (5-12 miles). Breakfast and Dinner
Day 3 – Tuesday, Oct. 19 – ALBA, Quirós Valley: 3- 7 miles, 100/310m elevation gain/loss. Breakfast & Dinner
Day 4 – Wednesday, Oct. 20 – RICABO: 5-7 miles, 75/250m elevation gain/loss. Breakfast & Dinner
Day 5 – Thursday, Oct. 21 – PRAVIA/SAN ESTEBAN DEL MAR/CUDILLERO and Camino del Norte: 3.5 miles, 130/40m elevation gain/loss. Breakfast & Dinner
Day 6 – Friday, Oct. 22 – LAS XANAS: 5.5- 11.5 miles, 490m elevation gain/loss. Breakfast & Dinner
Day 7 – Saturday, Oct. 23 – QUIRÓS/ENTRAGU– Optional Rest Day or Walk: 6+ miles, 220m elevation gain. Breakfast & Dinner
Day 8 – Sunday, Oct. 24 – GRADO/CAMINO PRIMITIVO: 6 miles, 445/390m elevation gain/loss. Breakfast & Dinner
Day 9 – Monday, Oct. 25 – BERMIEGO to BÁRZANA: 7.5 miles, 300m elevation loss. Breakfast & Dinner
Day 10 – Tuesday, Oct. 26 – Return to OVIEDO. After breakfast, we will drive to Oviedo. Breakfast only
*The daily itinerary is subject to change.
Day 1 – Sunday, October 17: QUIRÓS.
We meet in Oviedo at 10am at the Hotel Fruela. Come ready to walk, with your walking shoes or hiking boots and daypack. We recommend you sleep at least one night in Oviedo to enjoy this beautiful city to especially enjoy the Museum of Bellas Artes and El Mercado de Fonton (market), in the old quarter, which is packed with stands of fresh fruits, local meats and cheeses, hand-crafted goods and an assortment of everyday items, new and old. The market opens at 8am and you’ll want to purchase picnic supplies for your backpack to eat out in the countryside today. We will store them in our private van so feel free to buy plenty.
We’ll begin our adventure on the very first of the pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela, the Camino Primitivo. King Alfonso II of Asturias walked from Oviedo to Santiago in 950 AD to verify the relics of St James, thus making him the original pilgrim. This first stage of this pilgrimage route is quite level, starting in Oviedo at 230 meters above sea level with various rolling hills along route. We’ll walk from one sleepy village to another: San Lázaro de Paniceres, Llampaxuga, Lloriana and Bolguina where the Camino takes us to Ponte de Gallegos (Bridge of the Galicians – 13th C), over the Nora River, up to Escampleru. From here we will transfer, by private van, to home base for the next 10 days, our 15th century converted farmhouse hotel, in the hamlet of Faedo. The hotel is set on a hillside in a lovely, green valley in Las Ubiñas-La Mesa, Biosphere Reserve Natural Park, part of the massive Cordillera Cantábrica Mountain range.
(6-10 miles/10-16 kilometers, 300m elevation gain/loss) Dinner included.
Day 2 – Monday, October 18: QUIRÓS
A narrow footpath, a long-distance farming route, out the backdoor of our rural hotel will be the start of our morning walking trail. We will enjoy a leisurely picnic by a lake in the valley floor with an optional continuation after lunch, along the Senda del Oso (Bear Trail), a 30-kilometer footpath recently converted from rail tracks into Via Verdes, or Greenways, for the pleasure of walking in nature.
(5-12 miles/8-20 kilometers, 80m elevation gain/loss) Breakfast and Dinner included
Day 3 – Tuesday, October 19: ALBA
Starting from Alto de la Cobertoira at 1200meters (don’t worry, we will drive there), today’s trail is part of the GR109, “Asturias Interior,” a 600km-long route that crosses Asturias from the borders of neighboring regions of Cantabria and Galicia. Our terrain is gentle, as we traverse the flank of the Sierra de Aramo, with only the odd cow for company. Views are spectacular looking across to Faedo, Las Ubiñas mountains and down into the Quirós valley. Our destination is the Ermita de Alba, site of a yearly pilgrimage in August.
(3- 7 miles/5-12 kilometers, 100/310m elevation gain/loss) Breakfast and Dinner included
Day 4 – Wednesday, October 20: RICABO
A short drive up the valley brings us to the remote village of Ricabo, situated in a dramatic position beneath the high peaks. Our trail, which will lead us back to our hotel on foot, forms a part of the Relics Route, a highly protected religious pathway used to transport relics from Jerusalem, by way of Toledo, to Oviedo. During the Middle Ages, the capital of the Kingdom of Asturias was, a cornerstone of Christianity in the Iberian Peninsula, a land primarily dominated by the Moors. The destination of the relics was the Holy Chamber in the Cathedral of Oviedo, since declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. The track contours the valley, connecting the sleepy hamlets of Ronderos, Villamarcel, Coañana and Faedo and varying between stone pathways banked with mountain shrubs, chestnut trees, and tiny country lanes. If the weather allows, we will be afforded views of the mountain Gamonal and the Sierra de Aramo where we walked yesterday.
(5-7 miles/8-12 kilometers, 75/250m elevation gain/loss) Breakfast and Dinner included
Day 5 – Thurday, October 21: PRAVIA / SAN ESTEBAN DEL MAR/CUDILLERO
Thursday is market day in Pravia, so let’s buy picnic supplies before heading to the coast for a gentle walk on the Camino del Norte to the secluded beach of Playa Aguilar. Our private van will pick us up and scoot us ahead to Cudillero, one of the most picturesque fishing villages in all of Spain. It is best known for its hanging houses with brightly colored eaves and windows perched on a horseshoe of steep cliffs around the port. A leisurely afternoon is planned to soak up the atmosphere.
(3.5 miles/6 kilometers, 130/40m elevation gain/loss) Breakfast and Dinner included
Day 6 – Friday, October 22: LAS XANAS
From the town of Proaza, we will walk the Senda del Oso to Villanueva, a charming village with a medieval bridge. Let’s stop for a coffee in the bar before heading up into a gorge called El Desfiladero de Las Xanas; the most popular route in this valley, and with good reason. Climbing steadily, a well-planned path hugging the sides of this canyon will take us up to the hamlet of Pedrobeya where we’ll feast on a lunch of the famous Asturian bean stew, Fabada. After a short siesta under a tree (weather permitting), we will follow another path that leads us back to the start of this trail.
(5.5- 11.5 miles/9-18 kilometers, 490m elevation gain/loss) Breakfast and Dinner included
Day 7 – Saturday, October 23: QUIRÓS/ENTRAGU
Take a rest day to sleep, read, reflect, journal, gaze contemplatively at the views, or for those of you who want to keep moving, we will walk another branch of the gentle Senda del Oso, following the River Teverga, through a wide canyon to Entragu. Here we can have lunch then an option to walk further should we wish.
(6+ miles/10+ kilometers, 220m elevation gain) Breakfast and Dinner included
Day 8 – Sunday, October 24: GRADO/CAMINO PRIMITIVO
Our first stop for the day is to visit Asturias’ most bustling Sunday market in Grado. In the local municipalities, a cheese called Afuega’l Pitu has been produced for hundreds of years. Up until the 1600s, it was used to pay rents, taxes, and used in trading. Sampling (and buying) cheese at the market is a must!
On today’s hike, stage 2 of the Camino Primitivo, we find that the terrain is rather “rolly,” but let’s not forget we are in Asturias, which is the most mountainous province in Spain. The route takes us climbing up to San Juan de Villapañada at the high point of Alto del Fresnu, where, from the top of this hill, we’ll see the Sanctuary of Virgen del Fresno. We begin our descent to San Marcelo and La Doriga, and later to Cornellana where the Monastery of San Salvador (11th century) is located. The town is also known for its “casinitas”: chocolate almond cookies.
(6 miles/10.5 kilometers, 445/390m elevation gain/loss) Breakfast and Dinner included
Day 9 – Monday, October 25: BERMIEGO to BÁRZANA
From the hamlet of Bermiego, famous for its decorative horreos (corn cribs), we will set out on an adventure through the Ubiñas mountains to the small village of Cortes. This is the birthplace of San Melchor, a humble missionary, later a bishop, who in 1858 was martyred in Vietnam. A few more miles will bring us into Bárzana where we will have a relaxing lunch together.
(7.5 miles/12 kilometers, 300m elevation loss) Breakfast and Celebratory Farewell Dinner included
Day 10 – Tuesday, October 26: Return to OVIEDO
After breakfast, we will drive you to Oviedo to arrive by 10am at the train or bus station. Breakfast included
What People Are Saying
“Wow…is the first word that comes to mind. This pilgrimage was all that it promised to be and more.”
“I came to the experience unaware of the depth and breadth of Walk in Beauty. Thank you for helping me to open my eyes and look more clearly inward and outward.”
“I am seeing and hearing and walking differently. And it’s glorious.”
“Thank you. Thank you. To be split wide open by life!”
“My heart is filled with gratitude”
“The Camino my way! Curiosity, Courage, Laughter, Community, Contemplation, Reflection.”
Valerie shares her spiritual journey in her book, The Road that Teaches: Lessons in Transformation through Travel
“The Camino contributed greatly to help me shift my values. Today, my deepest aspiration is to support others in this process of transformation. I believe that the Camino should be accessible to everyone, not only the physically fit. As a pilgrimage leader, I have escorted hundreds of people of varied abilities along the Way of Saint James and this gives me deep joy and inspiration.”
— Valerie Brown, Lead Smart Coaching, LLC
Want to Know More?
Read Pilgrimage As Activism.
$6,299.00, per person, double occupancy. Deposit: $1350.00 non-refundable and non-transferable deposit secures your place.
Note: only double-occupancy rooms are available. Most of the rooms have 2 single beds; additionally, there are 2 “couples'” rooms with king size beds, which available for 2 couples only.
Courage & Renewal ® Approach to reflection and expert facilitation
Comprehensive pre-pilgrimage preparation, including customized training schedule, newsletters, Camino Community Meetings via Zoom, and Resource Guide
15th century restored farmhouse hotel accommodations
Fully stocked private van support
9 Breakfasts / 9 Dinners
English-speaking guide assistance
Price does NOT include:
Round trip airfare
Ground transportation from Santiago
Tips & gratuities
Registration, Deposit, & Payments
The $1,350 nonrefundable, nontransferable deposit secures your double occupancy. No single rooms are available. All rooms are double occupancy. To complete registration for this pilgrimage, you will need to: (1) Complete the online registration, and (2) Submit the initial deposit.
Please see below for the installment payment plan.
Registration [registration has closed]:
The total registration fee is $6299.00. We have broken this up into 3 installments. To register for this pilgrimage, complete the online registration and submit the initial deposit to secure your space.
Payment installation information:
Payments for all rooms are based on double-occupancy and are scheduled as follows:
- Initial deposit/registration: $1,350 – To reserve your space
- Payment #2: $2474.50 due by April 17, 2022
- Payment #3: $2474.50 due by July 17, 2022
Please see our Terms and Conditions 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 17, 2022: the cancellation fee is $2524.50 (this fee covers the amount of non-refundable, non-transferable deposit, plus administrative expenses).
- After July 17, 2022 (when the final payment is due): there are no refunds.
Interested in Pre-or post Pilgrimage Options?
Registered participants will receive recommendations on pre-or-post-pilgrimage options.
About Your Pilgrimage Leader
Valerie Brown is an international retreat leader, writer, accredited leadership coach, spiritual director, and Chief Listening Officer of Lead Smart Coaching, LLC, specializing in application and integration of mindfulness and leadership. She transformed her high-pressure, twenty-year career as a lawyer-lobbyist, representing educational institutions and nonprofits, to human-scale work with leaders and teams to foster trustworthy and authentic connections.
Valerie has been leading pilgrimage since 2004 and has accompanied hundreds of pilgrims on journeys worldwide. She shares her transformational story in her first book, The Road that Teaches: Lessons in Transformation through Travel (Quakerbridge Media, 2012). Learn more about Valerie.