Itinerary

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3rd September

 

Burgos

The end of a long day travelling including flight to Madrid, then train.  An interesting city, plenty to see and of course, excellent food.

 

Hotel Cordon (+34 947 26 5000; www.hotelcordon.com).  Rather bland, but comfortable pre-booked hotel in centre of old town (€48)

4th September Leon

Another very civilised city with Gaudi buildings, city walls, cathedral etc...and only a couple of hours by train from Burgos.  Plenty of places to stay at a range of prices, including pilgrim hostel if you wish.

 

Hotel La Pousada Regia (+34 987 213 173).  Lovely old townhouse with creaky wooden staircase; full of character and very comfortable (€55)

5th September Astorga

A surprisingly interesting and compact town; about an hour by train from Leon.  Episcopal Palace by Gaudi, plus cathedral and beautiful Plaza(s).

 

Hotel La Peseta (+34 987 617 275; www.restaurantelapeseta.com) with excellent restaurant.  Balcony overlooking Plaza San Bartolome and churches (€43)

6th September Ponferrada

Disappointing modern city with characterful older part.  Very touristy with permanent exhibition about the Camino.  Start of the real Camino for me (i.e. walking rather than train) and my first and last night in a pilgrim hostel.

 

Refugio Parroquial, about a mile out of centre of town.  Free if you are too cheap to make a donation.

7th September

Villafranca (Stage 25; 23.3km)

First day of walking and seemed a lot further than the map showed; always a penalty if you follow the "pedestrian" signs rather than the possibly less picturesque, but significantly easier, bicycle route!

 

Hotel San Francisco.  Corner of Plaza and balcony with view of church (€43)

8th September

El (O) Cebreiro (Stage 26; 27.8km)

Murderous last 8km with a climb of 800m, but finally arriving at the ridge with a fabulous view to Leon one way and Galicia the other.  Next time I would stay at Las Herrerias, at the end of the valley with couple of decent looking hotels and restaurants with excellent views.

 

Managed to find room over bar despite fiesta; overpriced €36 for room reflected heavy demand rather than quality!

9th September Triacastela (Stage 27; 21.2km)

Relatively easy day along ridges mainly and overall descent; made up for previous day and still fabulous views.  Nothing special in Triacastela, but good place to stay.

 

Complexo Xacobeo (+34 982 548 037).  Brand new Albergue with private rooms right on Camino, very clean (€30 for private room, €8 for dormitory).  Restaurant further along road part of same establishment, very popular with locals and good food, excellent value (€8 menu del dia)

10th September Sarría (Stage 27; 21km)

Split stage 27 into two days and took the interesting route via the monastery at Samos.  It is a lot further than the map shows (nearer 30km according to my pedometer equipped fellow travellers), but well worth it.  Sarría was, as expected, rather touristy as the start of the "commercial" Camino.

 

Hotel NH Alfonso IX (+34 982 530 005).  Modern, comfortable right on Camino (€54)

11th September Portomarín (Stage 28; 21.5km)

Uneventful, reasonable day's walk and a surprisingly interesting town.  Built in the last fifty years, when relocated to avoid the reservoir, I had expected a rather characterless place so was pleasantly surprised to find an arcaded Plaza Mayor with half-decent restaurants.

 

Hotel Villa Jardin, just off Plaza.  Some rooms have fabulous view across valley, mine of rear street, but still comfortable enough (€35)

12th September

Palas de Rei (Stage 29; 23.9km)

A long, but not too arduous, climb out of Portomarín for a couple of hours, but then relatively easy going and a decent hotel at the end of the day.  Not much of a town, but usual good food and accommodation.

 

Hotel Casa Benilde (+34 982 380 717; www.hotelcasabenilde.com).  Right in centre, but quiet and comfortable (€44)

13th September

Arzua (Stage 30; 28.6km)

A generally good day's walk although the last few km were somewhat tedious through suburbia and workshops.  The main road runs through the noisy Plaza, but with plenty of street life to watch as the world goes by.

 

Pension on entry to town.  Friendly, clean, adequate (€24)

14th September Lavacolla (Stage 31; 29km)

Last night on the Camino and a very pleasant walk through eucalyptus forests, right up until the detour round the end of the main runway at Lavacolla (Santiago airport).  Nothing at all in the town, but comfortable hotel and prospect of arriving in Santiago the next morning more than compensate.

 

Hotel Ruta Jacobea (+34 981 888 211; www.rutajacobea.net).  Comfortable, modern, edge of town (€45)

15th September

Santiago de Compostela (Stage 31; 10km)

An easy walk, all downhill and with plenty of energy after a good night's sleep.  Breathtaking arrival in the Cathedral Square (Praça do Obradoiro), but then you realise you have finally made it and it is almost an anticlimax to know it is all over.  Still, a beautiful city; I wish I could have stayed longer

 

Hotel Rua Villar, (+34 981 51 98 58; www.hotelruavillar.com) right opposite pilgrim office.  Beautiful, comfortable, excellent breakfast included (€90)

 

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