Itinerary Camino Journeys Spain – 300km 16 Days: Not long ago, a great opportunity to revisit the Camino presented itself. After having last been on the Road to Santiago in 1997, we eagerly accepted the opportunity. With a specialist travel firm, Active Travel, we put together an 18 day journey (16 walking days) from Léon to Santiago de Compostela which would have us walking into the city of Saint James on Easter Saturday this Holy Year. Spanish holy years occur when St. James’ day July 25 falls on a Sunday.
The following is an outline of the 18-day walk (including a few days in Santiago) itinerary Camino Journeys Spain that we chose. We decided on this itinerary because of the reasonable distances and the available accommodation.
- Begin at: Leon.
- How to get there: Fly to Madrid. Take the Metro to Atoche RENFE, and then a train to Leon.
- How to get back from Santiago: Taxi to Santiago Airport.
Day 1. Leon.
Arrive in Leon with its glorious light filled Gothic cathedral. Its stained glass windows are considered to be some of the best in the world.
Day 2. Leon.
Then visit the Hospital (now parador) of San Marcos, once the headquarters for the Knights of Santiago. Make time visit the superb Real Basilica de San Isidoro and to see the Crypt and Pantheon of Kings.
Day 3. Villadangos (19 km)
Today we walk to Villadangos del Paramo, with its historic Church of Santiago.
Day 4. Hospital Del Orbigo (11 km)
A shorter walk today to give us an early rest. Puente del Orbigo is the longest original bridge on the Camino, subject of one of the most romantic legends of the Way.
Astorga & the Wilds
Day 5. Astorga (17 km)
Our journey takes us to Astorga, where the Camino Frances meets up with the Via Del Plata. We visit the Cathedral with its Museum of the Way, Gaudi’s Palace, and the Museo Romano. For those with a sweet tooth there is a museum of chocolate.
Day 6. Rabanal (21 km)
The next few days are a little more challenging – across the mountains to Ponferrada. We walk through the old region of the Maragatos, a mysterious, race of muleteers to Rabanal Del Camino. We visit Santa Maria with its Romanesque Templar origins.
Day 7. El Acebo (18 km)
From Rabanal and Foncebadón we climb to the emblematic iron cross called Cruz de Ferro, with an enormous mound of stones placed by pilgrims at its base. We then enjoy a fairly level section through heather and broom before descending quite steeply into the lovely little stone village of El Acebo.
Day 8. Ponferrada (14 km)
We enjoy a gradual descent through the hills to the larger town of Ponferrada. Here we visit a fabulous Templar Castle, and if time also the Basilica de la Encina (has Statue of the virgin) and the Museo del Bierzo.
The Big Climb
Day 9. Villafranca Del Bierzo (20 km)
A longer walk today brings us to the foot of a mountain range. At Villafranca we visit the Church of Santiago with its Puerta del pardon. The Church of San Francesco was reputedly established by St. Francis when he journeyed to Santiago.
Day 10. O Cebriero (27 km)
Bus to La Portela. The stiff walk up to the ancient village of O’Cebreiro, just on the Galician side of the León-Galicia border is one of the most famous stages of the entire Way. We visit the Church of Santa Maria Real.
Day 11. Triacastela (21 km)
We climb through the pass at Alto San Roque. The Church of Santiago in Triacastella is another attractive church along the Way.
Day 12. Sarria (24 km)
A beautiful stretch of walking today – although it passes through extremely rural areas with very few services. Samos Monastery is historically very important. The Sarria Churches of Santa Marina and El Salvador are worth a visit.
Day 13. Portomarin (22 km)
Portomarin has a great setting and Pilgrim’s atmosphere. A nice place to relax, read, and update your journal. We walk across the Mino Bridge and visit the Church of St. Nicholas.
Day 14. Palas De Rei (25 km)
Out in the countryside again. We pass small hamlets and Eucalypt stands to arrive at Palas de Rei. There is a Pilgrims’ monument there.
Day 15. Arzua (28 km)
We hike through rolling rural terrain. Much of the walk to Melide (wonderful square and church) is on quiet surfaced country lanes, dirt and cobbled paths and medieval bridges. Then on to the bustling town of Arzua.
Day 16. Arca (21 km)
Other northern pilgrim’s routes merge with the Camino Frances in Arzúa – we will notice more pilgrims from here on. Walk through Ste. Irene and another Eucalyptus Forest.
Day 17. Santiago (17 km) – our destination!
Our last stretch before arriving in Santiago.
Day 18. Pilgrim Office. We found the Pilgrim Office and entered the ancient building, relieved to find a short queue ahead of us. In the lobby we saw a pile of staves left by pilgrims who had arrived in Santiago after their adventures. We presented our passports, were asked a few questions about our motivations for undertaking the pilgrimage and were each issued with a brand new Compostela.
Exploring Santiago. There are many things to do once you reach Santiago de Compostela. Apart from being a beautiful city in its own right, there are churches, museums, and exhibitions many of which offer a pilgrim discount. And if you’re not too exhausted, there is some lovely walks around the parks, through its ancient cobbled streets, and even onwards to the coast at Finisterre.
The Cathedral. You will spend some hours here, appreciating the vast church. Here you have the opportunity to Hug the Apostle. There is also a great rooftop tour. Take an English language tour of the city and enjoy the restaurants.
Eventually you will have to return home. You will still be on the Camino for some time yet, even after you come home.
camino journeys in spain
Walking this old pilgrim path is a real treat. Along the way you have a choice to stay in Refugios or hotels. Spend some reflective time in the wonderful churches. The Way will facilitate experiences and aspects of life that you may not have thought of. There are rivers to cross, two mountain ranges to cross and many foods and wines to sample.
This is a once in a lifetime journey through northern Spain, following in the paths of pilgrims throughout the ages. Food, history, culture and fellowship. Don’t forget to bring your camera. Be prepared for rain and the wonderful walking. The Way is well marked.
CAMINO JOURNEYS SPAIN. ISBN -978-0-9578968-4-0 (334pages):
A fully illustrated account of the pilgrim’s journey from Leon to Santiago in Spain. The e-book is compatible with any PDF capable e-book reader or computer.
The Pilgrim Path
We’ve put together our experiences of life on the Camino to help you plan your journey. The ebook is easy to read. Lots of historical background and photos to show you what the journey is like. Camino Journeys SPAIN includes:
- Walker’s Information.
- Pilgrim Information.
- Itineraries for Leon – Santiago.
- Fully Illustrated.
- Overview Maps.
- Sites to Visit.
- Informative Narrative.
- Spanish Culture.
- Pilgrim’s duties in Santiago.
- Obtaining your Compostella.
- Clothes to Wear.
- Gear to Take.
- Price includes Post.
- PDF ebook.
We email you a download link once we have received your payment through Pay Pal.