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Camino - Leon to Santiago

Camino - Leon to Santiago

Trip Highlights

  • Walk through stunning scenery, visiting mountain villages
  • Experience the history of the trail marked by crosses, statues and grain silos
  • Arrival into Santiago and experience the satisfaction of reaching the end of the ‘Camino’
  • Enjoying the camaraderie of fellow hikers and pilgrims
  • Explore the magnificent cities of Leon and Santiago with their impressive architecture and cathedrals.

Trip Summary

Traverse the centuries of time and the borders of Europe on the medieval pilgrim trail of Compostela. In the 9th century, the tomb of the apostle St James was unearthed in Compostela. The site became the focus of a pilgrim trail beginning in France, and crossing northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela. This journey, also known as the ‘Way of St James’ winds its way across borders, following in the footsteps of thousands of medieval pilgrims through the beautiful Sierras of Navarre and Aragon. The route passes a multitude of churches and monasteries, resembling a travelling museum of Romanesque art.

This last stage of the pilgrimage route offers a fine balance of walks in spectacular natural settings with visits to inspiring cultural sites including the magnificent cathedral city of Leon. Enroute there are numerous reminders of the pilgrims who travelled the route including crosses, statues and grain silos. The Valley of Ponferrada, O’Cebreiro welcomes us to the gates of Galicia and leads us to the fabled Santiago de Compostela.

Suitability

MODERATE - GRADE 3

Daily walks are between 12-30km on well marked trails over diverse terrain – from relatively flat to mountainous. This is a well worn path where route finding will be reasonably straight forward (refer below for further details on self guided adventures). The main areas to concentrate on route finding are arriving and leaving towns and cities. The accent is on keeping a steady pace to take in all of the attractions, with time to stop and take photos. You will need a good level of fitness to participate fully in this adventure.

Itinerary

Leon is one of the most historic towns of Old Castile, a large province bordered by Galicia, Asturias, Palencia and Zamora. There is evidence of Roman occupation as well as the Moors; however it was the knights of Templar who built the castles and fortifications in the middle Ages. Ensure you take the time to visit the old city. One of Leon’s glories is without doubt the Cathedral. Constructed in the 13th Century for a period of 200 years the Collegiate Church of San Isidoro houses an impressive collection of early manuscripts. The Town Walls are of Roman and medieval construction. Overnight Leon.

Meals:  D

Leaving Leon, the route will take you right through town until you reach Virgen del Camino, where legend states that the Virgin appeared in front of a shepherd in 1506, and asked him to build a shrine. This section will be quite exposed as you cross the Paramo (desert). Ensure that you carry plenty of water and use sun protection. You will pass through some small villages so you will be able to pick refreshments up along the way before arriving in the village of Villadangos del Paramo. This town of Roman origin was the site of a battle that took place between the Queen Dona Urraca of Leon and her husband, Alfonso I of Aragon in the year 1111. Take a quiet walk around the streets and visit the Parish Church which contains an image of the Apostle Santiago from the 18th Century. Note: you may choose to shorten the walk today by 9km by taking a bus from Plaza Santo Domingo to Virgen del Camino. Buses leave every 30 minutes and the fare is around €1.

Meals:  B,D

The countryside becomes more agreeable as you make your way to Puente de Orbigo. As you progress, the landscape gradually changes with mountains appearing on the horizon. Walking across a fabulous stone bridge you will pass Le pont de Hospital de Orbigo probably one of the most famous buildings along the way. You will walk by the Santo Toribio stone cross near San Justo de la Vega and will see Astorga in the distant valley.

Meals:  B,D

The walk today is a steady climb to Rabanal Del Camino so we recommend that you start early to avoid the hottest part of the day. Walk through the village and follow the tree lined pavements before passing a polar grove and the River Jerga arriving at Murias de Rechivaldo. You will walk through the village of Santa Catalina de Somoza and onto El Ganso. The landscape will change into densely populated oak trees, heather and conifers as you ascend “los Montes de Leon” before reaching Rabanal Del Camino (1200m), a charming mountain village.

Meals:  B,D

Passing through forested areas you will continue your ascent to the famous “Mount Irago”. By the mountain pass you will see the “Iron Cross” (1490m) and you will now be surrounded by mountains. The route continues downwards to Bierzo. Passing by a coniferous forest you will come to Cruz de Ferro and the Hermitage of Santiago. From Manjarin you will be able to see the valley floor and the Leon mountains. A descent into the Ponferrada Valley passes the quaint village of Acebo before you arrive into Molinaseca with its slate roofs and wooden balconies.

Meals:  B,D

The terrain today is relatively easy as you continue across the Valley of Ponferrada. You will see the Templar castle before walking through a well-watered valley to Villafranca del Bierzo. The region of Bierzo is situated in a low lying area whose agreeable climate allows for the cultivation of many fruits and vegetables.

Meals:  B,D

A day to enjoy the sights of Villafranca and have a rest from the trail.

Meals:  B,D

Your final day spent in the area of El Bierzo is both one of the most beautiful and challenging. The route passes through woodlands of chestnuts, conifers, oaks, heather and bracken. You will pass through the narrow valley of the River Valcarce before tackling the challenging ascent of O Cebreiro (1300m), situated between the ranges of los Ancares and La Sierra do Courel.

Meals:  B,D

The day begins with an ascent through the pine covered slopes of Monte Poso e Areas before joining the track in the direction of Linares. You will walk through forested areas before arriving at Padornelo where you can fill your water bottles at the fountain. After the village of Fonfria the trail passes through birch forest which takes you to Biduedo, from where you descend to Triacastela. Continue on to Samos where you will have the opportunity to visit its impressive monastery which is one of the oldest in Spain.

Meals:  B,D

A shorter day today to allow you ample time to visit the monastery. Continue in the afternoon towards Sarria. You will not pass through any other villages so pack some snacks. Sarria is located on a hilltop with a river on either side affording you great views of the region.

Meals:  B,D

A day to enjoy the sights of Sarria and have a rest from the trail.

Meals:  B,D

We recommend before leaving town that you take the time to visit the Church of the convent of La Magdalena. Over the “Meseta lucense”, the Lugo Plateau, you will pass through many hamlets dotted along areas of cultivated land, grazing pastures and woodlands and view the first “horreos”, typical raised grain silos. A relatively easy walk until your descent, crossing the Dam of Portomarin where you can see ruins of the ancient flooded village, and into the town for your accommodation.

Meals:  B,D

The route takes you through the brooms which have a magnificent fragrance. Along the path you will pass charming hamlets and calvaries. Over this stage you will pass through Ventas de Naron where you can fill your water bottles, over the gentle Sierra de Ligonde, then downhill through Previsa, Lameiros and Ligonde where will find a church dedicated to the apostle St James. Emperor Charles V stayed here in the modest village of Ligonde, on the 24th of March 1520.

Meals:  B,D

The terrain becomes much easier today as you walk through the villages of Carballal, San Xuilan do Camino and Lebereiro and past Eucalyptus trees. You will be able to stop at one of many villages for lunch. Crossing over the River Seco on the Magdalena Bridge you will reach Furelos and onto Arzúa in the province of La Coruña.

Meals:  B,D

Today’s walk will bring you to the small town of Rua which has a population of only 50 people. The walk today is lovely, as you pass large green fields and rural landscapes.

Meals:  B,D

Today you will pass many ancient sites including monuments, chapels and bridges – all which have a story to tell. Follow country lanes and forest paths through increasingly populated countryside. The last day on the trail is always a special one. Continue downhill to the city. Arriving in the fabled Santiago de Compostela there is plenty to see and do – or simply relax and celebrate the end of the journey. Dinner is not included tonight so you can try one of the many restaurants in town.

Meals:  B

Trip arrangements conclude after breakfast.

Meals:  B

18 day version

Leon is one of the most historic towns of Old Castile, a large province bordered by Galicia, Asturias, Palencia and Zamora. There is evidence of Roman occupation as well as the Moors; however it was the knights of Templar who built the castles and fortifications in the middle Ages. Ensure you take the time to visit the old city. One of Leon’s glories is without doubt the Cathedral. Constructed from the 13th Century for a period of 200 years the Collegiate Church of San Isidoro houses an impressive collection of early manuscripts. The Town Walls are of Roman and medieval construction. Overnight Leon.

Meals:  D

Leaving Leon, the route will take you right through town until you reach Virgen del Camino, where legend states that the Virgin appeared in front of a shepherd in 1506, and asked him to build a shrine. This section will be quite exposed as you cross the Paramo (desert). Ensure that you carry plenty of water and use sun protection. You will pass through some small villages so you will be able to pick refreshments up along the way before arriving in the village of Villadangos del Paramo. This town of Roman origin was the site of a battle that took place between the Queen Dona Urraca of Leon and her husband, Alfonso I of Aragon in the year 1111. Take a quiet walk around the streets and visit the Parish Church which contains an image of the Apostle Santiago from the 18th Century. Note: you may choose to shorten the walk today by 9km by taking a bus from Plaza Santo Domingo to Virgen del Camino. Buses leave every 30minutes and the fare is around €1.

Meals:  B,D

The countryside becomes more agreeable as you make your way to Puente de Orbigo. As you progress, the landscape gradually changes with mountains appearing on the horizon. Walking across a fabulous stone bridge you will pass Le pont de Hospital de Orbigo probably one of the most famous buildings along the way. You will walk by the Santo Toribio stone cross near San Justo de la Vega and will see Astorga in the distant valley.

Meals:  B,D

The walk today is a steady climb to Rabanal Del Camino so we recommend that you start early to avoid the hottest part of the day. Walk through the village and follow the tree lined pavements before passing a polar grove and the River Jerga arriving at Murias de Rechivaldo. You will walk through the village of Santa Catalina de Somoza and onto El Ganso. The landscape will change into densely populated oak trees, heather and conifers as you ascend “los Montes de Leon” before reaching Rabanal Del Camino (1200m), a charming mountain village.

Meals:  B,D

Passing through broom, heather and other plant species you will continue your ascent to the famous “Mount Irago”. By the mountain pass you will see the “Iron Cross” (1490m) and you will now be surrounded by mountains. The route continues downwards to Bierzo. Passing by a coniferous forest you will come to Cruz de Ferro and the Hermitage of Santiago. From Manjarin you will be able to see the valley floor and the Leon Mountains. A descent into the Ponferrada Valley passes the quaint village of Acebo before you arrive into Molinaseca with its slate roofs and wooden balconies.

Meals:  B,D

Relatively easy days terrain as you continue across the Valley of Ponferrada. You will see the Templar castle before walking through a well-watered valley to Villafranca del Bierzo. The region of Bierzo is situated in a low lying area whose agreeable climate allows for the cultivation of many fruits and vegetables.

Meals:  B,D

A day to enjoy the sights of Villafranca and have a rest from the trail.

Meals:  B,D

Your final day spent in the area of El Bierzo is both one of the most beautiful and challenging. The route passes through woodlands of chestnuts, conifers, oaks, heather and bracken. You will pass through the narrow valley of the River Valcarce before tackling the challenging ascent of O Cebreiro (1300m), situated between the ranges of los Ancares and la sierra do Courel.

Meals:  B,D

The day begins with an ascent through the pine covered slopes of Monte Poso e Areas before joining the track in the direction of Linares. You will walk through forested areas before arriving at Padornelo where you can fill your water bottles at the fountain. After the village of Fonfria the trail passes through birch forest which takes you to Biduedo, from where you descend to Triacastela. Continue on to Samos where you will have the opportunity to visit its impressive monastery which is one of the oldest in Spain.

Meals:  B,D

A shorter day today to allow you ample time to visit the monastery. Continue in the afternoon towards Sarria. You will not pass through any other villages so pack some snacks. Sarria is located on a hilltop with a river on either side affording you great views of the region.

Meals:  B,D

A day to enjoy the sights of Sarria and have a rest from the trail.

Meals:  B,D

We recommend before leaving town that you take the time to visit the Church of the convent of La Magdalena. Over the “Meseta lucense”, the Lugo Plateau, you will pass through many hamlets dotted along areas of cultivated land, grazing pastures and woodlands and view the first “horreos”, typical raised grain silos. A relatively easy walk until your descent, crossing the Dam of Portomarin where you can see ruins of the ancient flooded village, and into the town for your accommodation.

Meals:  B,D

The route takes you through the brooms which have a magnificent fragrance. Along the path you will pass charming hamlets and calvaries. Over this stage you will pass through Ventas de Naron where you can fill your water bottles, over the gentle Sierra de Ligonde, then downhill through Previsa, Lameiros and Ligonde where will find a church dedicated to the apostle St James. Emperor Charles V stayed here in the modest village of Ligonde, on the 24th of march 1520.

Meals:  B,D

The terrain becomes much easier today as you walk through the villages of Carballal, San Xuilan do Camino and Lebereiro and past Eucalyptus trees. You will be able to stop at one of many villages for lunch. Crossing over the River Seco on the Magdalena Bridge you will reach Furelos and a little while later the town of Melide.

Meals:  B,D

Continue walking towards Ribadiso crossing over the Rio Boente and the Rio Iso rivers enroute. Shortly after Ribadiso you arrive into the town of Arzúa in the province of La Coruña.

Meals:  B,D

Today’s walk will bring you to the small town of Rua which has a population of only 50 people. The walk today is lovely, as you pass large green fields and rural landscapes.

Meals:  B,D

Today you will pass many ancient sites including monuments, chapels and bridges – all have a story to tell. Follow country lanes and forest paths through increasingly populated countryside. The last day on the trail is always a special one. Continue downhill to the city. Arriving in the fabled Santiago de Compostela there is plenty to see and do – or simply relax and celebrate the end of the journey. Dinner is not included tonight so you can try one of the many restaurants in town.

Meals:  B

Trip arrangements conclude after breakfast.

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 16 breakfasts, 15 dinners (no dinner in Santiago): Breakfasts are usually continental inclusive of breads, cheese, ham, tea, coffee & juices. Dinner will consist of 3 courses, usually starting with a salad, followed by chicken, red meat, fish or a pasta dish & finishing with a dessert of fruit or cakes.
  • 16 nights in a combination of quality hotels, farmhouse B&B’s (Posadas) and guesthouses on a twin share basis generally with private facilities. There is an option to upgrade the hotel in Arzua (highly recommended) and to the Parador in Santiago - additional cost applies.
  • Maps, route notes and guide book per room booked
  • Visitor tax
  • Organisation and booking fees
  • Baggage transportation (max 20kgs per person)
  • Note: the 18 day version also includes one extra breakfast, dinner, luggage transfer and accommodation in Melide

What's Not Included

  • Travel to and from Leon / Santiago de Compostela
  • Drinks
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Entrance fees
  • Tour guide – this is a self guided walking trip
  • Transfers
  • Travel insurance

Upcoming Travel Dates

AT A GLANCE

Duration:17 Days
Countries:Spain
Starting Point:Leon
Activities:SELF GUIDED WALK
Grade:Moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:CT2
Prices From:GBP£1290 Per Person
upgrade to superior hotel in Arzua - twinshare pp:GBP£60  Click for more information
upgrade to superior hotel in Arzua - single:GBP£90  Click for more information
Single Supplement:GBP£360  Click for more information
Single Traveller Surcharge:GBP£460  Click for more information