Start: Oviedo Finish: Santiago de Compostela
Visit of the Gothic Cathedral devoted to San Salvador, an important Saint for pilgrims to Santiago. Enjoy the lively atmosphere in the historical city centre, with plenty of cafés, restaurants, bodegas and cider houses.
Challenge: Arrival in Asturias
Villages along the way: Oviedo
We follow Jacobean copper shells through narrow lanes, then out into the green Asturian countryside. Tarmac lanes and ancient foot paths take us to quiet villages, some of which still have pilgrims hostels and historic inns. From Puerma we continue by car to Cornellana Monastery, founded in 1024, and our hotel, a renovated historic castle in Salas.
Challenge: 5,5hrs, 18,5km 220m ascent & 300m descent
To avoid traffic, and the motorway under construction, we first drive to El Pedregal then walk the first part of the day 10km to Tineo and have lunch in the old town centre. In the second part, we make a detour to the monastery of Obona, important centre for learning and retreat for scholars in the Middle Ages. We can be picked up here on at Villaluz, to go back to Tineo, to our beautiful hotel; a restored Reinassance palace.
Challenge: 5.5-6hrs, 19km, 250 ascent and 350m descent
This morning we drive to Borres, where we start our route following the original high "ruta de los hospitales" crosses steep slopes toward Puerto el Palo. Due to extreme winter weather, several pilgrims' hospitals were built on either side of this challenging mountain pass. Superb views before along the ridge that takes us to Puerto del Palo, were we will be picked up to drive to our hotel in Pola de Allande. If the weather conditions are back (stormy, cold or heavy rain) there is an option of walking on the alternate valley variant of the Camino, that goes up to Lavadoira pass and down to Pola de Allande.
Challenge: 5.5hrs, 15km, 450m ascent and 125m descent
From Allande we drive to the hamlet of Berducedo, to then descend through fields and woods to the village of Villapedre. Here a boatman will help us to cross Lake Salime, a recently-constructed reservoir which has cut off access to parts of the original Camino. In Grandas de Salime, we visit the interesting ethnographic museum. Overnight stay in a simple hotel in the centre of town.
Challenge: 5hrs 16km, 250m ascent and 800m descent
Since this section of the camino has been surfaced, and is now tarmac from Grandas to Fonsagrada, we start off the day with a short drive. Once in Galicia, from Paradanova we pick up an ancient trail, which takes us through green pastures and fields of heather to Póboa de Burón, village which once had a castle and large pilgrims' hospital. We end our walk in Paradavella. Short transfer to a nice rural accommodation near Castroverde.
Challenge: 6hrs, 18km, 300m ascent and descent
Our last day of walking is a delight, as we enjoy the pastoral Galician countryside following quiet tarmac lanes and rural tracks from one hamlet to the next. Beautiful examples of traditional architecture such as the well-preserved 'pazos' and 'casas grandes', impressive buildings in stone and wood often turned into modern-day hotels. From Gondar, we drive to Lugo where the Camino Primitivo merges with the classic French Route. Here we stay in a comfortable hotel in the city centre.
Challenge: 6,5hrs, 20km, 200m ascent and 450m descent
To avoid walking along the main road to Santiago, we drive to Monte del Gozo, hilltop which affords a pilgrim's first glimpse of Santiago. From here we walk onward, entering the city on foot amidst emotions and excitement as we approach St James' Cathedral in the historical city centre. Afternoon free to explore Santiago de Compostela.
Challenge: 1hr, 5km, 100m descent
Our pilgrimage comes to an end today after breakfast. Departure from Santiago de Compostela. OR, if you've booked an extra night(s), you can extend your stay at hotels in Santiago, Lugo, Oviedo or Bilbao.
You can start on any day of the week, subject to availability, between April and October
Arrival in Oviedo
If you are flying to Asturias airport-Ranon (OVD), there’s a regular shuttle bus service to Oviedo city centre. Departures every hour on the hour. Travel time is 45min.
If you are flying to another airport (Santander-SDR, Bilbao-BIO or Valladolid-VLL), there are good bus connections to Oviedo from those cities. For timetables and reservations, go to www.alsa.es. You can also book your bus tickets in advance through S-cape Travel.
Departure from Santiago de Compostela
If you’re travelling back to Asturias airport (OVD), Santander (SDR) or Bilbao (BIO), there’s a morning bus from Santiago that takes you to Oviedo, Santander or Bilbao. The trip to Oviedo takes about 8h30min, to Santander 9h30min and to Bilbao 11h30min.
Bus tickets can be booked online at www.alsa.es or through your agent, S-cape Travel.
Direct taxi transfers can be booked in advance through S-cape Travel. Prices on request.
GPS tracks are available on request.