French Camino Stage 4 Astorga to Santiago

French Camino Stage 4 Astorga to Santiago

The French Camino Stage 4 Astorga to Santiago walk begins in the City of Astorga. The is one of the most beautiful regions of thew hole Camino : The Bierzo and Ancares Region with charming villages like Rabanal, Molinaseca or Cacabelos where you will walk by  “Cruz de Ferro” until you arrive in O Cebreiro, one of the most symbolic places on the French Way since the middle age. Continue walking through the villages of Sarria, Portomarin and Arzua until you’re arrival in Santiago de Compostela.

On the French Camino Stage 4 Astorga to Santiago expect to cover on average 20 to 25 kilometres per day walking between five and eight hours each day. You do not need high levels of fitness, however the fitter you are the more you will enjoy the experience. If you are a regular walker you should have no difficulty. Get in training be doing regular walks during the week of 30-45 mins and longer walks at the weekend. You should do as much walking as possible prior to your walk as this will simply add to your enjoyment. That said if you are not at peak fitness you will find you will soon walk yourself fit.

We recommend April/May when the spring flowers are at there best and September/October when the what the autumn leaves are turning. It can get very hot in June, July and August.

Highlights

  • Experiencing a sense of timelessness and freedom amongst the rolling green hills.
  • Enjoying an endless succession of beautiful churches and buildings on the route.
  • Experiencing the buzz and bustle of some of Northern Spain’s most beguiling cities.
  • Meeting fellow pilgrims, hearing their stories and travel tips along the way.

LOOKING FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT?

Don’t worry. Just because it’s not here, doesn’t mean we can’t do it. Let us tailor make your Camino walk the way you want it. Call us on +353 1 2590133 or email sales@adventure-holidays.ie and tell us what you’re looking for.

Start Point: Astorga
End Point: Santiago
Duration: 14 nights 15 days
Total distance: 161km
Accommodation:2, 3, 4* hotels bed & breakfast
Meals: 14 Breakfasts
Luggage Transfer: Available at €130 supplement.

Fitness Levels

Expect to cover on average 20 to 25 kilometres per day walking between five and eight hours each day. You do not need high levels of fitness, however the fitter you are the more you will enjoy the experience. If you are a regular walker you should have no difficulty. Get in training be doing regular walks during the week of 30-45 mins and longer walks at the weekend. You should do as much walking as possible prior to your walk as this will simply add to your enjoyment. That said if you are not at peak fitness you will find you will soon walk yourself fit.

What type of trails will I be walking on?
A mixture of farm/dirt tracks, minor roads and footpaths. The route is way-marked on rocks walls and buildings with yellow painted arrows and shells. The are always other walkers to ask for assistance if required.

When do I need to book?
We suggest you book as far in advance as possible as the Camino is very popular with up to 100, 000 people walking the route. Ideally you should not leave it later than 8 weeks before departure.

Why is baggage transfer optional?
Most walkers carry their own bags. If you pack lightly (10kgs) you can comfortably carry what you need. As you will be staying in hotels you will be provided with toiletries, towels etc. If you want to avoid washing you clothes along the way, or bring more clothes use the luggage transfer option.

When is the best time of year to go?
We recommend April/May when the spring flowers are at there best and September/October when the what the autumn leaves are turning. It can get very hot in June, July and August.

What happens if I can’t walk a stage?
Public transport and taxis are available, if you are need of support our local partner in Spain will be more that happy to help.

What we do

We put together the trip for you: reserve the hotels, transfer the luggage and organise your transfers to the start of your itineraries. Each tour includes a complete Road book with detailed itineraries, information for visits along the way, a detailed map and total peace of mind with our 24-hour local support.

We work with local operators through-out each destination that are passionate about their regions.

We can tailor make this tour, if you want to add an extra rest day, spend a few days relaxing before or after the trip just let us know and we will be happy to provide a quotation.

Day 1
Astorga
Overnight:4* Hotel Ciudad de Astorga in Astorga

Day 2
Astorga – Rabanal

Passing Through
Astorga, Murias de Rechivaldo, Santa Catalina de Somoza, El Ganso, Rabanal del Camino

The capital of the county of Maragatería in the province of León offers a rich medieval legacy, the result of its location at the crossroads of: the Pilgrim’s Road to Santiago de Compostela and the Ruta de la Plata (Silver Road). Its walled town preserves churches, convents and hospitals which take travellers back to the purest tradition of the Pilgrim’s Road. Another outstanding feature in the town’s streets is a culminating work by the Modernist architect Antoni Gaudí: the Bishop’s Palace. Astorga is, also, a good opportunity for enjoying the rich cuisine of this area.

Flora, fauna and crops
The pilgrim enters a transitional area between the plains sown with cereals and the area of El Bierzo, with its reddish earth covered with oaks trees, heather and gorse.

Gastronomic products
Cakes and pastriesThe cocido maragato (chickpea stew) is the most famous local dish; other specialities are sausage meats and pulses.

Rest areas
There are rest areas in Murias de Rechivaldo (beside the hostel): area with shade, benches and tables; Santa Catalina de Somoza (at the end of the town): areas with trees, tables and benches; El Ganso (past the town): area with tables, benches and a few trees.
Distance: 20 Km
Overnight: Cottage Hotel Posada de Gaspar in Rabanal

Day 3
Rabanal – Molinaseca
Passing Through
Rabanal del Camino, Foncebadón, Manjarin, El Acebo, El Acebo, Riego de Ambros, Molinaseca

Main difficulties
Hard climb up to Foncebadón, at a height of 1,439 metres. Straight after the route descends sharply.

Gastronomic products, cakes and pastries
Transitional gastronomy between the Maragateria and Bierzo regions. Delicious beef served with pulses and potatoes.

Distance: 25 Km
Overnight: 3* Hotel Floriana in Molinaseca

Day 4
Molinaseca – Cacabelos

Passing Through
Molinaseca, Campo, Ponferrada, Ponferrada, Columbrianos, Fuentes Nuevas, Camponaraya, Cacabelos

Ponferrada, capital of the region of El Bierzo, is one of the major staging posts on the Pilgrim’s Road to Santiago de Compostela as it passes through the province of León. The historic quarter of this town sits below an imposing castle built by the Knights Templar.

Flora, fauna and crops
Land with grapevines and fruit trees combined with a profusion of chestnut trees.

Gastronomic products, cakes and pastries
The local gastronomic specialities include botillo(cured stuffed meat), sausages (particularly cecina(cured meat), wine from El Bierzo, brandies, and garden produce such as peppers, apples, chestnuts, cabbage greens and potatoes.

Rest areas
Camponaraya (on the way out of town beside the modern cross): area with pine trees and drinking fountains, benches and tables.

Distance: 24 Km
Overnight: Cottage Hotel Moncloa de San Lazaro in Cacabelos

Day 5
Cacabelos – Ambasmestas

Passing Through
Cacabelos, Pieros, Villafranca del Bierzo, Pereje, Trabadelo, La Portela de Valcarce, Ambasmestas

Villafranca del Bierzo is the last important town in Leon that is crossed by the Pilgrim’s Road to Santiago de Compostela. Its rich monumental heritage, and the influence of the St. James pilgrims, have made it an important tourist centre. Its old town has been declared Property of Cultural Interest.

The main square, or Plaza Mayor, the City Hall, calle del Agua (Water Street), the arch at which it ends, the mansions, such as a 15th-century Moorish one, the convent of Agustinas Recoletas, and other palaces, make up the tourist circuit. At the entrance of the village, you can find the 12th-century Romanesque church of Santiago. The Puerta del Perdón gate is at one of the sides. Pilgrims who could not make it to Santiago de Compostela because they were ill were given the jubilee blessing here. The Castle-Palace of the Marquises of Villafranca is near this church. However, the best place to see palaces is Calle del Agua: amid coats of arms some emblematic buildings appear, such as Torquemada Palace, Casa Morisca or the birthplace of the writer Gil y Carrasco. Other monuments that are worth visiting are, amongst others, the Gothic Collegiate Church of Santa María, built by Gil de Hontañón, the Baroque convent of San Nicolás el Real, the convents of la Anunciada and San José, founded in the 17th century, and the Church of San Francisco, which has a beautiful Mudejar coffered ceiling. We should also visit the Natural Science Museum.

Main difficulties
The long climb up to O Cebreiro is the most difficult part of this stage.

Gastronomic products, cakes and pastries
The gastronomy here is transitional between the El Bierzo region and Galicia, and includes items such asbotillo (cured stuffed pork), empanada (savoury filled pastry), potatoes, octopus, beef, large game animals, cabbage greens, sausages and cured meats, chestnuts, etc.

Rest areas
Pereje (beside the main road): modern rest area with tables and benches.

Distance: 23 Km
Overnight: Cottage Hotel Ambasmestas in Ambasmestas

Day 6
Ambasmestas – Cebreiro

Passing Through
Ambasmestas, Vega de Valcarce, Ruitelan, Las Herrerias, Hospital, La Faba, La Laguna, O Cebreiro

On the French route of the Pilgrim’s Route to Santiago de Compostela, O Cebreiro has a Grail some consider to be sacred and others to be miraculous.O Cebreiro is a village which has a series of pallozas, or round stone houses with a straw roof, which are still standing and which were inhabited until relatively recently. One of them, but of recent construction, forms part of one of the two country holiday establishments in town; another, much older, has been converted into an ethnological museum, which has free entry and is open in the mornings and afternoons.A must in O Cebreiro is a visit to the pre-Romanesque church, the oldest remaining fully intact on the Pilgrim’s Route to Santiago de Compostela, and which contains a Holy Grail. Its bells rang during the winter to guide the pilgrims through the mists. You should also stop by the San Giraldo de Aurillac lodging house, without a doubt the most frequented after Roncesvalles since it has been in operation since the 9th century.

Main difficulties
The route uphill to O Cebreiro is hard going.

Flora, fauna and crops
Areas with abundant vegetation: oaks, yew, poplar, ash, alders, etc. can be seen beside the path on the steep climb up to O Cebreiro. Area with small plots of farmland enclosed by slate walls.

Gastronomic products, cakes and pastries
The local gastronomic specialities are botillo (cured stuffed pork), empanada (savoury filled pastry), octopus, wines and brandies from El Bierzo, potatoes, sausages and cured meats, particularlycecina (cured meat) and large game animals such as venison and wild boar, etc.

Rest areas
Las Herrerías: on the way out of town at the Don Suero drinking fountain there is an area with shade, tables, benches and barbecues.

Distance: 15 Km
Overnight: Cottage Hotel Cebreiro in O Cebreiro

Day 7
Cebreiro – Triacastela

Passing Through
O Cebreiro, Liñares, Hospital da Condesa, Padornelo, Fonfría, O Biduedo, Fillobal, Pasantes, Ramil, Triacastela

Main difficulties
The uphill stretches of the route are more difficult.

Flora, fauna and crops
The local vegetation consists mainly of holly, thicket, chestnut and birch trees. Species of fauna include deer, partridge, wild boar, bears and wild horses; and the crops are wheat, potatoes, pulses and beet.

Craft products
Paintings, bedspreads, towels and hand-woven rugs.

Gastronomic products, cakes and pastries
The most typical local products are cheese with the Designation of Origin label, pork sausages and cured meats, roscones (pastries), filloas (Galician crêpes), honey, turnip greens, empanada (savoury filled pastry), buñuelos (a type of doughnut), and botillo(cured stuffed pork).

Rest areas
In Pedrafita, Val da Cabrita and Chao da Ser

Distance: 26 Km
Overnight: 2* Pension Complexo Xacobeo in Triacastela

Day 8
Traicastela – Sarria

Passing Through
Triacastela, A Balsa, San Xil, Montan, Fontearcuda, Furela, Pintín, Calvor, Aguiada, San Mamede, Sarria

In its architectural legacy, arising from the fact that the Pilgrim’s Road to Santiago de Compostela passed through these lands, we can find examples of medieval structures for religious civil and military purposes. Sarria city was founded by Alfonso IX under the name of Vilanova de Sarriá. But these lands have been populated since ancient times, as the megalithic graves uncovered here reveal, although it is difficult to establish who the first settlers were. There are several archaeological sites and hill-fort remains in the area.The fact that the Pilgrim’s Road to Santiago de Compostela passed through the area has given it a great many ecclesiastic buildings, and the same can be said of its medieval legacy, which has left several examples of civil and military architecture. We recommend stopping to take in the castle, the convent of Magdalena, the churches of Santa Mariña and El Salvador and, why not, to have a look at some of the objects sold in the many local antique shops.The town has beautiful natural spaces such as the recreational area of O Chanto, on the banks of the rivero Sarria. Lovers of outdoor activities can also go fishing and hunting in several game reserves, or go hiking and horse-riding. This is complemented by its delicious cuisine, chief examples of which are Galician stew, octopus, pie, meat on the grill, sausages and cold meats and especially game.

Samos is another obligatory staging post on the Pilgrim’s Route to Santiago de Compostela. The history of the town is closely linked to that of the monastery; since the peacefulness of these lands made it an ideal place for prayer and retreat.The monastery of San Xian de Samos, built on the banks of the river Sarriá -also called the Ouribio- was the site of a community of hermits favoured by the religious hierarchy and who gradually built the monastery which eclipses the rest of the town. The monastery, which has been Benedictine since the 12th century, is a compendium of styles, combining Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and baroque structures. Samos was where Father Feijoo, a native of Ourense who died in the 18th century and whose memory forms part of the history of Galicia, lived and taught.The monastery was almost burnt to the ground by fire at the beginning of the 20th century. But fortunately it was rebuilt and visitors can still stroll through the cloisters: one named after Feijoo and other called Nereidas (sea nymphs).You will also find several churches, chapels and Galician country houses in the area.Samos has other attractions in store for the visitor. Nature and hiking lovers can tour the Lóuzara valley and the spectacular Sierra do Oribio mountains. There are also places to go paragliding or potholing.

Gastronomic products, cakes and pastries
The most typical products in Samos are the caldo gallego (a hearty Galician soup), cocido, (chickpea stew), empanada (savoury filled pastry), steak, potato omelette, lamb, kid and a variety of meat and fish.

Rest areas
Rest areas in Samos: Penapartida, Renche, Samos, Foxos, Teiguin, Ceda and Empalme.

Distance: 18 Km
Overnight: 3* Hotel Alfonso IX in Sarria

Day 9
Sarria – Portomarin

Passing Through
Sarria, Barbadelo, Rente, Peruscallo, Lavandeira, Ferreiros, Rozas, Mercadoiro, A Parrocha, Porto Marín

Porto Marin: The reservoir of Belesar, on the river Miño, flooded the old village of Portomarín. Its main historic buildings were rescued stone by stone: they are the Romanesque church of San Pedro and the monumental church fortress of San Nicolás.Some of the old medieval palaces were also placed in the main square of the new town of Portomarín, located on top of a hill. The medieval bridge stayed underwater and all that remains is the base and one of its arches at the entrance to the new bridge.The old Portomarín was formed by the medieval hamlets of San Pedro and San Nicolás (today San Xoán). The church of San Xoán or San Nicolao was built at the end of the 12th century by followers of the Maestro Mateo, -the façade is influenced by the Portico of Glory at the Cathedral of Santiago-, and has been declared a Historic-Artistic Site. The nearby church of San Pedro, which is Romanesque, dates from the 10th century. Close to the church of San Pedro are the palaces of Berbetoros and of the Marquis of Paredes. Out of town and away from the main group of historic buildings, it is worth mentioning other Romanesque churches: Cortapezas and Castromaior.Prominent among the popular architecture are the old slate houses and the traditional wine cellars, very common in this wine-growing region. But in Portomarín it is not the wine which is famous, but rather the local liquor, so renowed that they dedicate the Festa da Augardente to it on Easter Sunday.

Distance: 23 Km
Overnight: 2* Hotel Villajardin in Portomarín

Day 10
Portomarin – Palas

Passing Through
Portomarín, Gonzar, Castromaior, O Hospital, Ventas de Narón, Ligonde, Eirexe, Lestedo, A brea, Palas de Rei

Main difficulties
In winter the cold, frost, snow, rain, fog and the strong winds make the pilgrims’ route more difficult.

Flora, fauna and crops
In the area of Monterroso there are blackberries, raspberries, asparagus, chestnuts and wild mushrooms. The fauna in the Portomarín area includes eels, trout, partridge, hare, rabbit, wild boar and deer; and the flora consists of oaks, chestnut and birch trees.

Craft products
Shotguns for hunting and wicker and reed baskets are among the typical products of Monterroso. In
Portomarín, typical drinks are wine from the Ribeira Sacra area and the local brandy from Portomarín.

Gastronomic products, cakes and pastries
Portomarín: eels, brandy and sweet tarts.

Rest areas
In Portomarín pilgrims can rest in: Ventas de Narón (with a hostel); Gonzar (hostel); Campo Fiesta in Portomarín; Parque Antonio Sanz; Portomarín viewing point

Distance: 23 Km
Overnight: 2* Hotel Benilde in Palas de Rei

Day 11
Palas – Arzua

Passing Through
Palas de Rei, Carballal, San Xulián do Camiño, O Mato Casanova, Couto, Leboreiro, Disicabo, Furelos, Melide, Santa María de Melide, O Raído, Boente, Castañeda, O Pedrido, Ribadiso, Arzúa

Flora, fauna and crops
The local vegetation consists mainly of oaks, chestnut, pine, eucalyptus and birch trees. And the fauna includes trout, partridges, rabbits, and wild boar; and crops are mostly garden produce, corn, and tubers.

Craft products
This area is famous for its leatherwork (bags, belts, shoes and bracelets…)

Gastronomic products, cakes and pastries
The local gastronomic specialities are octopus, cheese, veal, sweet cakes and macaroons.

Rest areas
Recreational area of the Furelos river, rest area on the industrial estate, rest area in Agüeiros, and the O Barreiro rest area.

Distance: 29 Km
Overnight: Cottage Hotel Fogar de Lecer close to Arzúa

Day 12
Arzua – Lavacolla

Passing Through
Arzúa, Cortobe, Ferreiros, Boavista, A Salceda, A Brea, Santa Irene, Arca, O Pedrouzo, (O Pino), Santo Antón, Amenal, A Lavacolla

Distance: 29 Km
Overnight: Cottage Hotel Xan Xordo in Lavacolla

Day 13
Lavacolla – Santiago

Passing Through
A Lavacolla, S. Marcos, S. Lázaro, Santiago de Compostela

Discover Santiago de Compostela, the capital of the Region of Galicia. Millions of people from all over the world come to this city every year, many of them reaching the end of the Way of Saint James pilgrimage route. Its historic centre has been designated a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. This is not the only reason to come, however. Here you can discover the main reasons to visit Santiago.

Distance: 11 Km

Overnight: 1* Hotel Santa Clara in Santiago or 1* Hotel Bonaval

Day 14
Journey Home

Dates:
Available January – December

Price

  • €865 per person Sharing double room.
  • €379 single supplement
  • €130 optional baggage transfer
  • Accommodation as per Itinerary
  • 14 breakfasts
  • Luggage transfers available at €130 supplement
  • Detailed route notes and maps
  • 24/7 local support

Your Accommodation

Where you rest your head after an active day is hugely important to us. We go to great lengths to find properties that are unique expressions of the region you are travelling through. Think of them as the charming and intimate garnish atop your trip. 

Whether nestled in the heart of a village or lost in the countryside and surrounded by nature, all accommodations are chosen using a strict criteria of comforthospitality, and authentic charm. We like to use locally run independent small hotels, guest houses and B&Bs instead of the larger “chain” hotels.  All of them are hand-picked, visited, and re-visited by our local partners. On most of our holidays you will be staying in different hotels and their  uniqueness and individual character only adds to the enjoyment of your holiday. You will also benifit with knowledge that your trip is contributing to local economies, and supporting local family run businesses.

You will be welcomed in a double or twin room (2 beds) – based on double occupancy.
All of our rooms have private bathrooms.
Individual rooms are possible upon request when you book; they are subject to availability and incur a supplemental fee.
For biking trips, all of our inns have a safe place to keep bicycles for the night

Flights are not included in the price. Adventure Holidays do not book flights. We will  advise you on best times, dates and airfares to book.

Getting There
The best place to fly in and out from would be Santiago de Compostela. From Santiago you can either take a private transfer, or you can take a bus with ALSA. The bus takes aprox 4.5 hrs.

From Price pp

€865