2022 Route Outline

Ponferrada – the Templar castle

Number of days

6 days walking, usually booked as a 7 night package. However, If you can spare some time, why not include León and its magnificent cathedral on your itinerary? An extra 2 days will get you from León to Astorga.

Description

This is one of the most picturesque Camino stretches of them all – each day brings a new vista! You are climbing uphill into the Galician mountains, passing the highest peak on the Camino Francés. Cebreiro, the Cruz de Ferro and Ponferrada’s Templar castle are all iconic Camino landmarks.

This is a challenging section – While the walk is achievable by people with an average level of fitness, good preparation is strongly recommended. There are steep uphill climbs to Foncebadón and especially Cebreiro as well as sharp descents into Molinaseca and Triacastela. 152km is the distance from Astorga to Sarria, make it close to an even 200km if starting from León.

Remember that every trip is unique and we can tailor yours to suit you.

  • €595 per person sharing (based on 4 people sharing double/twin rooms).
  • Flights aren’t included, but we can book those separately for you.
  • Group rates available.
  • single supplements apply.
  • 7 nights’ accommodation in ensuite rooms on a B&B basis (typically 3* standard). We choose our accommodations to give you the best value while still maintaining high standards.
  • Private airport transfer from Santiago airport to Astorga and return from Sarria to Santiago..
  • Bag transfer each day.
  • Pilgrim Passport – we use those issued by Camino Society Ireland – the only officially-recognised Irish pilgrim passport.
  • Detailed walking notes for each stage, as well as ongoing advice and 24/7 emergency phone service.
  • The security provided from booking with a licensed and bonded travel agency.
  • Flights not included. As a licensed travel agency, we can book those as a separate booking if required (€10pp fee applies).
  • Travel insurance not included – we recommend that all customers take out adequate travel insurance (and can arrange that separately if required).
Day 1 – Fly from Dublin to Santiago

Private transfer to Astorga, where you can explore the old Roman ruins, the Gaudi-designed Bishop’s palace and the town plaza (keep an eye out for the clock figures above the ayuntamiento – they move on the hour!). You might like to try the local specialty, “maragato”, for dinner.

Day 2 – Walk 27km to Foncebadón

Today sees a steady ascent once you leave Astorga, passing through Murias de Rechivaldo, Santa Catalina de Samoza, El Ganso and Rabanal del Camino before arriving in the land that time forgot. Foncebadón is a tiny village that was once deserted, but has now begun to recover on the back of the Camino. Nowhere else on the Camino will you feel more removed from modern technology than here – there’s also an amazing paella to be had for dinner if you pick your dinner provider carefully!

Day 3 – Walk 29km to Ponferrada

One of the most difficult days on the Camino, a day that combines a steep climb to the Cruz de Ferro and a difficult descent to the beautiful Molinaseca. Pass the bohemian albergue in the otherwise-deserted Manjarín, walk through the pretty villages of El Acebo and Riego de Ambros and finish up at the Templar castle in Ponferrada. A day within a week that contains a world of Camino beauty.

Day 4 – Walk 24km to Villafranca del Bierzo

Today is a little easier on the feet and is relatively level from Ponferrada to Cacabelos, a pretty town worth a stop. A short ascent follows before descending into Villafranca. Villafranca takes its name from its occupation by French troops in times past as well as the Bierzo region; it is also home to the Puerta del Perdón, an historically important destination on the Camino. Rest up well – tomorrow will present a challenge!

Day 5 – Walk 29km to O Cebreiro

Perhaps the toughest stage of the Camino other than the walk through the Pyrenees from St Jean to Roncesvalles, the sore feet are easily forgotten in a day of stunning mountain scenery. From Villafranca, you climb slowly through the villages of Pereje and Trabadelo before reaching the town of Vega de Valcarce. Soon afterwards, from the pretty village of Las Herrerias, the road starts to climb steeply. On a day when you pass from Castille y León into Galicia, O Cebreiro is your final destination and a jewel in the Camino crown.

Day 6 – Walk 23km from Cebreiro to Triacastela

The earlier part of your day sees you passing the iconic statue of San Roque before a short, sharp ascent up to San Poio. At the end of the day, you descend steeply into Triacastela, a little town in a pretty valley setting.

Day 7 – Walk 19km from Triacastela to Sarria

You are now down from the steep hills and in very typical Galician countryside – pretty hamlets, dairy farms and rolling hills. An alternative route (slightly longer) from Triacastela allows you to pass through Samos with its magnificent monastery.

Day 8 – Fly back

Transfer from Sarria to Santiago for return flight home.

Optional extra days

Start in León and include and extra 2 days to reach Astorga (32km to Hospital de Órbigo and then 18km to Astorga)

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