The Pilgrims' Trail to Santiago de Compostela is one Europe's great historical migrations. And it all began with the Camino Primitivo!
According to legend, the 9th century saw the bones of apostle St. James, murdered in Palestine, miraculously appear in a village of what is now Galicia. Word spread round the Christian world, reaching (among others) King Alfonso II of Asturias. He undertook the pilgrimage - journeying through dark woods and daunting mountains, from Oviedo via Lugo to Santiago – and invited fellow kings and noblemen to follow in his footsteps. This original route became very popular in the early Middle Ages, when pilgrims aimed to avoid areas south of the Cantabrian Range which were in constant dispute between Christians and Moors.
Visit of the Gothic Cathedral devoted to San Salvador, an important Saint for pilgrims going to Santiago. Enjoy the lively atmosphere in the old town centre with plenty of cafés, restaurants, bodegas and cider houses, just around the corner from your comfortable city hotel****.
We follow the Jacobean copper shells through narrow lanes in the city centre, then out into the green Asturian countryside. Tarmac lanes and old footpaths take us past quiet villages, some of which still have pilgrims’ hostels and historic inns. From Puerma we continue along the main road, to Grado. From there, short transfer to our charming rural hotel*** in Sama de Grado.
The first part of the route from Grado to Salas follows narrow trails and country roads through hilly countryside directly to Cornellana Monastery. Founded in 1024, this centre was of great religious and political importance throughout the early history of the Christian kingdom in Asturias. For the second part of today’s route, from Cornellana to Salas, we’ll have to take a few detours, as the motorway is still under construction here. Your Hotel*** in Salas is located in the historical town centre, right next to the castle and museum for Pre-Romanesque architecture.
After a short ascent through beautiful terrain in the fields outside Salas, you again follow the main road for about 5km (in ascent) then definitely leave it behind in La Espina. The next section on the way to Tineo takes you through quiet woodlands and fields, with very little tarmac just quiet country tracks! In Tineo’s historical centre you will find your accommodation
After a hearty breakfast in Tineo you will walk through woodlands to reach the peaceful setting at Obona, with its historic Monasterio de Santa María la Real. Then you continue on to Campiello and your next accommodation, a welcoming family-run establishment
The taxi driver will take you to Borres to begin your walk along the original high route, or “ruta de los hospitales”, crossing steep slopes to reach Puerto el Palo. Several pilgrims’ hospitals were built here centuries ago - on either side of the mountain pass - due to the extreme weather conditions in winter. You will enjoy superb views on your way up to the highest point, the pass called “Puerto El Palo”. From there you’ll continue for another 9,5km - mainly on the road - to reach your hostel in Berducedo.
From the tiny village of Berducedo, the Camino first makes an ascent up to the windmills above La Mesa , then it does a steep descent down to Lake Salime. You’ll enjoy superb views for the first 5km, then the lovely shade of chestnut trees as you walk down to meet the road. The last 2,5km follow the tarmac road across the dam and up to your hotel in Grandas de Salime
After your first week on the pilgrimage, you may wish to take a day off to rest and relax. If you prefer to do a walk today, there are 2 routes to choose from: a short walk to the village of Grandas de Salime, where you can visit the ethnographic museum or take a dive in the local swimming pool (swimming cap required) OR a 5-km section on the Camino, from Lake Grandas to Castro where you can visit Chao Sanmartin, an interesting archaeological site of Celtic and Roman origin. You can book a taxi transfer back to the hotel.
The taxi drops you of at Castro to continue your pilgrims’ tour with a section which more or less follows the main road to Puerto El Acebo (1165m), gateway to the province of Galicia. You walk mostly on the main road, taking frequent shortcuts, especially on the descent down into Galicia. At the end, there’s one more short ascent to reach the town of Fonsagrada, not a very pretty village but friendly in its own way, with all the major services a pilgrim requires.
From Fonsagrada we first descend to the village of Proba de Burón, to pick up the oldest Camino Primitivo trail, a high route across green pastures and fields of heather on the way to the ruins at Hospital de Montouto (another pilgrims’ hospital of ancient origin). After an easy descent to Paradavella, a taxi drives you back to Fonsagrada, as there is no other suitable accommodation nearby.
After a taxi transfer to Paradavella (or a bit further), today’s route mainly follows rural tracks through wooded areas and open fields, with some short sections on the main road. After O Cádavo, you walk through Villabade (interesting church) before finally reaching Castroverde.
Today, we really enjoy the beauty of Galician countryside, as we walk on quiet tarmac lanes and dirt tracks from one hamlet to the next, passing gorgeous examples of traditional architecture until you walk directly up to your modern hotel*** in the heart of Lugo’s historical centre, just 100m from the splendid Roman walls, a UNESCO World heritage site.
From Lugo onward, several Caminos come together to join the main French Route (Camino Francés). Today you have a long walk to reach the next accommodation, situated in Ferreira. The first 20km until O Burgo are practically paved and but mainly uphill, but don't worry because it is quite easy to hire a taxi in Lugo to shorten this stage!
Luckily, today's stage is not as long as yesterday's. However, the Camino starts and continues uphill until O Requián, and then there is another climb until Monte da Feira. Once there, the route will be a piece of cake until Melide!
Today you begin walking directly from Melide. You have now joined the French Route, or Camino Francés, which is the most popular of all the Camino variants. Suddenly, you find yourself among a multitude of pilgrims from all over the world, as you follow trails, country roads and footpaths parallel to the main road. Your accommodation for this evening is located just outside the village of Arzúa.
This section of the Camino is one of the least interesting, as it basically parallels the main road, but there are lots of new friends to make. The excitement shared with fellow pilgrims grows, combined with a weary feeling of having to soon face the end of your pilgrimage! Overnight stay at the best available hotel** with friendly owners.
The last section of your pilgrimage brings you back to modern life as you pass the regional airport, cross the highway, railway track and ring-road around Santiago. Nevertheless, it’s still easy to imagine the sheer joy ancient pilgrims felt when they caught a first glimpse of Santiago and the spires off in the distance. From Monte del Gozo, pilgrims historically make one last stop at the spring in Lavacolla, to wash face and feet before presenting themselves before the Saint at the Cathedral on Plaza del Obradoiro.
After today's breakfast your Camino Primitivo comes to an end. Time to return home with all the experiences this pilgrimage has provided you with along this tour!
A selection of different accommodations, ranging from traditional village hotels (2 nights), rural guesthouses (2 nights), charming and comfortable rural hotels (7 nights) to 3- and 4-star city hotels (5 nights), rooms with en-suite bathroom
Recently renovated hotel, located in the very centre of Oviedo, in front of the Campoamor theatre and close to Gascona street, a very lively street with many typical cider houses. With comfortable, quiet and spacious rooms.
This Monumental Hotel offers the quietness and tranquility of an 18th century baroque palace, combining the initmate style and the traditional decoration with the services and amenities of a 4 star modern hotel.
Old farmhouse built at the beginning of the 20th century and restored to dedicate it to rural tourism, starting this activity in 1995. It has a washing machine, dryer and offers the service of stamping credentials for the Camino passport.
Right on the Camino. Featuring a seasonal outdoor pool, A Lúa do Camiño offers a welcoming accomodation in Melide. The rooms have a nice and bright decoration, some feature views of the pool or garden, and there is a shared lounge at the property.
A historical hotel created in the mid-18th century (founded in 1742). An oasis of tranquility and a welcoming place, ideal to enjoy some relax with family or friends. From here, charged with energy, we can step out to walk the last stages of the Camino de Santiago.
This ancient farmer´s house is today a rural guest house, with several rooms and some apartments . They feature a lareira to sit by and get warm on the cool days and an outdoor swimming pool and garden for the sunny summer days. Their restaurant offers good quality and typical dishes from the area.
Modern and elegant hotel, overlooking the towers of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela and next to the Bonaval park. It is located in a very quiet area and a step away from the historic center and the area with atmosphere and a wide range of restaurants.
Hotel built on the basis of a former Asturian manor house, preserving the landmarks and the traditional architecture from the area. Spacious and bright rooms, completely equipped and with wonderful views to the valley.
Set in a 16th century historical builiding ( the former palace of the Counts of Miranda), restored and transformed into a rural hotel with 12 quaint and comfortable rooms that preserve the medieval essencce of the original building. Located in Salas, surrounded by valleys and mountains of great beauty
Located in the centre of the town of Tineo, this hotel is in the former Palace of Merás (from 1525) and is one of the architectonical examples of the civil palace architecture from the 16th century in Asturias. With spacious rooms in which every detail has been taken care of.
Located in a crossroads and former stop for the Vaqueiros de Alzada, mule drivers, traders, scribers, notaries and, especially, pilgrims on their journey to Santiago. These people would gather in this inn which dates from the 17th century. Our facilities have been recently renovated and modernized.
This hotel is located in the small town of Berducedo. It has 6 spacious and bright rooms, decorated in a basic but very colourful way.
Magical place for its location, a place to enjoy the natural surroundings and the lake views. With comfortable and spacious rooms. It also has a nice restaurant that offers local dishes and a terrace overlooking the lake.
Strategically located in the centre of A Fonsagrada, near the church and the Sacred Fountain. The basic services in town are quite close; restaurants, bars, supermarkets, pharmacy, taxi, etc...
Restored old manor house in which the traditional architecture has been very well preserved, with a property of 70,000 m2 and surrounded by native trees. It has 10 beautiful rooms decorated in atraditional style and some common areas such as several lounges, outdoor terraces and a dinning room.
What is included
· 17 Nights in double room in **/*** hotels , B&B and agriturismi with breakfast
. 10 dinners
· luggage transportation from hotel to hotel
. transfers as detailed in the programme (except optional taxi on day 8)
· maps and detailed description of the itinerary
. Pilgrim Passport
· Medical and luggage travel insurance
· 24h phone assistance
What is not included
. Transfers to the starting location and from the arriving location of the tour
· lunches and dinners, if not otherwise stated.
· visits and entrance fees - tips
· personal expense
· possible sojourn taxes
These services can be added to the ones included in the base price of the tour:
. Extra nights
. Single room supplement
. Half Board supplement
· Transfers to reach the starting location or to leave the arriving location of the tour, which will be quoted on request.
· everything that is not mentioned in the "What is included" section.