amid hills on the ancient Hospitales route of Camino Primitivo
 amid hills on the ancient Hospitales route of Camino Primitivo

Camino Primitivo, Oviedo to Santiago

302 km
18 days | 17 nights
Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct
price from
€ 1.764
CO2 footprint
324 Kg/person
  1. Spain
  2.  | 
  3. Self-Guided
  4.  | 
  5. Tourcode ESSW013

The Camino Primitivo is the closest route to the original itinerary of the Camino de Santiago: it's a more rugged, challenging, and rural path compared to the French route, but it offers a unique experience through priceless natural landscapes.

Starting from Oviedo, the ancient capital of Asturias, the journey continues through Asturias and Galicia, the mountains of Cantabria, Lugo with its Roman walls, the lively market town of Melide, all the way to legendary Santiago.

This trip can be split in two sections too:

  • From Oviedo to Fonsagrada (9 days)
  • From Fonsagrada to Santiago de Compostela (9 days)


  • The first and original Way of Saint James
  • Get the real pilgrim feeling completely off the beaten track
  • Authentic villages with intimate testimonies of true devotion
  • Vast and impressive landscapes, green and lush throughout the year


Day 1

Arrival in Oviedo

Arrival in Oviedo

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****.

Day 2

From Oviedo to Grado to Sama de Grado, 26 km

From Oviedo to Grado to Sama de Grado, 26 km

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.

Distance: 26 km

Elevation gain: +250 / 375 m

Day 3

From Grado to Salas, 21,5 km

From Grado to Salas, 21,5 km

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.

Distance: 21,5 km

Elevation gain: +425 / -350 m

Day 4

From Salas to Tineo, 20 km

From Salas to Tineo, 20 km

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 

Distance: 20 km

Elevation gain: +575 / -300 m

Day 5

From Tineo to Campiello, 14 km

From Tineo to Campiello, 14 km

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 

Distance: 14 km

Elevation gain: +300 / -340 m

Day 6

From Borres to Berducedo, 18 or 22 km

From Borres to Berducedo, 18 or 22 km

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.

Distance: 22 or 18 km

Elevation gain: +620 / -450 m

Day 7

From Berducedo to Grandas de Salime, 15 km

From Berducedo to Grandas de Salime, 15 km

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

Distance: 15 km

Elevation gain: +330 / -970 m

Day 8

Rest day or Grandas - Castro to Hotel Grandas, 5 km

Rest day or Grandas - Castro to Hotel Grandas, 5 km

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. 

Distance: 5 km

Elevation gain: +300 / -20 m

Day 9

From Grandas de Salime to Castro – Fonsagrada, 20,5 km

From Grandas de Salime to Castro – Fonsagrada, 20,5 km

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.

Distance: 20 or 25 km

Elevation gain: +530 o 370 m / -175 or 225 m

Day 10

From Fonsagrada to Paradavella & transfer to Fonsagrada, 15 km

From Fonsagrada to Paradavella & transfer to Fonsagrada, 15 km

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.

Distance: 15 km

Elevation gain: +400 / -650 m

Day 11

From Paradavella to Castroverde, 20 km

From Paradavella to Castroverde, 20 km

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. 

Distance: 20 km

Elevation gain: +400 / -475 m

Day 12

From Castroverde to Lugo, 22 km

From Castroverde to Lugo, 22 km

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.

Distance: 22 km

Elevation gain: +150 / -250 m

Day 13

From Lugo to Ferreira, 26.5 km

From Lugo to Ferreira, 26.5 km

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! 

Distance: 26,5 km

Elevation gain: +200 / -200 m

Day 14

From Ferreira to Melide, 20 km

From Ferreira to Melide, 20 km

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!

Distance: 20 km

Elevation gain: +280 / -350 m

Day 15

From Melide to Arzúa, 14 km

From Melide to Arzúa, 14 km

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.

Distance: 14 km

Elevation gain: +150 / -200 m

Day 16

From Arzúa to A Rua, 18 km

From Arzúa to A Rua, 18 km

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.

Distance: 18 km

Elevation gain: +150 / -200 m

Day 17

From A Rua to Santiago de Compostela, 21 km

From A Rua to Santiago de Compostela, 21 km

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.

Distance: 21 km

Elevation gain: +350 / -350 m

Day 18

Goodbye Santiago!

Goodbye Santiago!

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!


Is this for me?

This trip is perfect if you have already walked the French Camino and would like to adventure on an alternative route: the Camino Primitivo starts in Oviedo, the ancient capital of the Asturias, which you will walk across before joining the French  Way in Lugo, 55 km from Santiago. This is a tougher but considerably less touristic alternative to the French Path. 


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

Optional Services

  • These services can be added to the ones included in the base price of the tour:
  • Extra nights
  • Single room 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.


We work with 3* hotels, B&Bs and farmhouses that reflect our way of experiencing travel: they are comfortable and characterful structures, which we choose one by one, managed by passionate and welcoming people.

Unless otherwise specified in the travel listing, all provide private en-suite rooms with breakfast included.


Hotel Campoamor (Oviedo)

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.

Hotel Pazo de Orbán (Lugo)

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.

Casa da Ponte (Ferreira)

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.

Hotel A Lúa do Camiño (Melide)

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.

Pazo de Santa María (Arzúa)

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.

O Acivro (A Rua)

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.

Hotel Bonaval (Santiago de Compostela)

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 Rural Casa de la Veiga (Sama de Grado)

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.

Hotel Castillo Valdés (Salas)

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

Hotel Palacio de Meras (Tineo)

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.

Casa Herminia (Campiello)

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.

Casa Rural Camín Antiguo (Berducedo)

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.

Hotel Las Grandas (Grandas de Salime)

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.

Hostal Cantábrico (Fontsagrada)

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...

Casa Rural La Longarela (Castroverde)

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 to bring

Clothing and other items
You will need your regular walking/cycling gear, including some sort of reflective garment. For the evenings, smart outdoor style trousers (or shorts) are invaluable, as are quick-dry t-shirts. These can be washed easily and will dry overnight and still look good for sightseeing or having a drink in town.

Take as little as possible to avoid potentially lugging a heavy suitcase up three flights of stairs at the end of the day. Please be aware that laundromats (“Laverie”) are not common in rural areas, so plan to do handwashing of small items.

Lightweight walking shoes/ trainers
For wearing around towns & villages. They can also be a back-up pair.

Socks & underwear
Take only good quality socks with quick-dry and insulating qualities. Road test them before you go on the trip. Take a suitable quantity of underwear as washing facilities are limited.

Warm jacket, hat, gloves
Bring a fleece, Polartec or warm layers for the evenings especially in spring or autumn; be sure it is totally suitable for your needs.
A fleece jacket which blocks the wind (Wind-stopper) is the most preferable. In the summer months a lightweight jacket is suitable for evenings.
If you are cycling/walking in mountainous or coastal areas, even in the height of summer, the weather can change very quickly and unexpectedly and you should be prepared for fog, mist, rain, snow or hail at any time. Always take an extra layer with you, as well as a warm hat and gloves.

Waterproof jacket & trousers
If you are caught in heavy rain, with good waterproof clothing you should remain dry. Remember that most garments will lose their properties over time. Few will remain waterproof for more than five years and many deteriorate in three years or less. We recommend a rain jacket with a good hood and collar and waterproof or thermal walking/cycling trousers or tights.

Dress code
In general, you should wear suitable clothing when entering a church (in many places, it is considered unacceptable to go inside wearing shorts or a tank-top). We suggest that women carry a shawl to cover up bear shoulders or low-cut tops. It also comes in handy when your shoulders get sunburned!

It is considered inappropriate for men to go without a shirt / T-shirt (other than at the beach).

Trekking poles (adjustable)
Highly recommended. A pair works best, depending on what you are comfortable with. If you suffer from back or knee pain this should be considered essential. Remember to practise walking with your pole(s) on different types of terrain in the months preceding your trip.

Walking boots
The importance of good footwear cannot be stressed enough. Your boots should be sturdy and of good enough quality to handle all types of terrain. Lightweight boots, (cordura/leather boots) which have Gore-Tex or sympatex water-proofing are most suitable for this trip. They should provide good ankle protection and be well broken in. Waxing leather boots regularly prolongs their life.

Walking tops & trousers
We recommend walking trousers and shorts and quick-dry wicking t-shirts. These can be washed easily and will dry overnight and still look good for sightseeing or having a drink in town. Wicking T-shirts are fast drying, keep moisture away from your skin and are available at outdoor stores. You should also bring one pair of loose-fitting trousers to wear in cities and for evenings out, etc. Shorts or zip-off trousers are useful in warmer weather.

Practical info

How to arrive

The closest airports are Asturie (OVD), Santander (SDR) and Bilbao (BIO)

Mobile App

Use the SloWays APP for iOS and Android smart phones in combination with the written documentation provided.

The App has the detailed tracks and maps that you can use offline and without roaming. Thanks to the phone’s internal GPS, you can check your exact position on the map, so you always know exactly where you are. It also helps you self-navigate you way while travelling. More information on how to use the App inside the roadbook documents.

The navigation features include:

  • Offline navigation. Mobile data not required after initial download
  • Accurate GPS tracks
  • Autorotation of the maps
  • Daily route summary and elevation chart
  • Panorama of the track and at street level
  • Alarm and vibration that alerts you in case you go off track.
  • Emergency SMS button with position coordinates
  • Possibility to record and take georeferenced photos of problems on route alerting fellow travelers
  • Hotel information
  • Points of interest along the way
  • Historical background

Wanderlust Nominee Best Specialist Tour Operator 2023
Nominee Best Specialist Tour Operator 2023
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