Walking the Camino Frances from Ponferrada

  • 13 Nights
  • Flights available (optional)
  • Spain
The historic city of Ponferrada, on the Camino Frances, is home of the iconic medieval Templars Castle and a great place to start your Camino de Santiago journey. Walking the Camino Frances from Ponferrada can be completed in two weeks, covering just over 200kms over ten walking days.

In addition, on this self guided Camino Frances tour we have included a rest day in Sarria, as well as two nights in Santiago de Compostela so you have time to explore and get to know this wonderful city.

The Camino Frances from Ponferrada takes pilgrims from the region of El Bierzo into Galicia and ultimately Santiago de Compostela. The Camino Frances trail in this region offers magnificent scenery, lovely towns and villages, as well as peaceful tracks across lush woodland and country lanes.

Before starting your walk, definitely take the time to visit the Templars Castle, the most impressive castle on the Camino de Santiago route. The castle-fortress was built as a hill fort originally but in 1211 King Alfonso IX gifted the town and the village to the Knight Templars that transformed the building and fortified the town in order to protect and secure safe passage to pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela. 

The stretch from Villafranca to O Cebreiro is one of the hardest along the whole Camino Frances, with a climb of 1000 metres to tackle. However the village of O Cebreiro and the mountain views are worth this challenge. O Cebreiro with its thatched cottages is unique and one of the most picturesque along the route. 

From Triacastela onwards, pilgrims leave the mountains of O Cebreiro behind and Galicia’s rolling hills, farmland and oak forests become your new companions for the Camino until you reach Santiago and its magnificent cathedral. 

On this great route you will admire the medieval Templars’ Castle, taste the delicacies of El Bierzo and Galicia, enjoy the views of the Mountains of O Cebreiro and after getting your Compostela pilgrim certificate you will get to explore the stunning UNESCO-listed Old Town in Santiago de Compostela.

Walking the Camino Frances from Ponferrada

The historic city of Ponferrada, on the Camino Frances, is home of the iconic medieval Templars Castle and a great place to start your Camino de Santiago journey. Walking the Camino Frances from Ponferrada can be completed in two weeks, covering just over 200kms over ten walking days.

In addition, on this self guided Camino Frances tour we have included a rest day in Sarria, as well as two nights in Santiago de Compostela so you have time to explore and get to know this wonderful city.

The Camino Frances from Ponferrada takes pilgrims from the region of El Bierzo into Galicia and ultimately Santiago de Compostela. The Camino Frances trail in this region offers magnificent scenery, lovely towns and villages, as well as peaceful tracks across lush woodland and country lanes.

Before starting your walk, definitely take the time to visit the Templars Castle, the most impressive castle on the Camino de Santiago route. The castle-fortress was built as a hill fort originally but in 1211 King Alfonso IX gifted the town and the village to the Knight Templars that transformed the building and fortified the town in order to protect and secure safe passage to pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela. 

The stretch from Villafranca to O Cebreiro is one of the hardest along the whole Camino Frances, with a climb of 1000 metres to tackle. However the village of O Cebreiro and the mountain views are worth this challenge. O Cebreiro with its thatched cottages is unique and one of the most picturesque along the route. 

From Triacastela onwards, pilgrims leave the mountains of O Cebreiro behind and Galicia’s rolling hills, farmland and oak forests become your new companions for the Camino until you reach Santiago and its magnificent cathedral. 

On this great route you will admire the medieval Templars’ Castle, taste the delicacies of El Bierzo and Galicia, enjoy the views of the Mountains of O Cebreiro and after getting your Compostela pilgrim certificate you will get to explore the stunning UNESCO-listed Old Town in Santiago de Compostela.

Itinerary

The Camino Frances from Ponferrada self guided tour includes:

  • 13 nights accommodation in our selected hotels
  • Breakfast each day
  • Luggage transfers on walking days, so your luggage will be delivered to your next stop (One 20kg luggage piece per person)
  • Pilgrim travel pack with holiday information, pilgrim passport and route notes
  • Transfers to accommodation when required

OPTIONAL

  • Flights
  • Dinners
  • Airport pick up
  • Dinner
  • Hotel upgrades to boutique and luxury hotels or paradores where available
  • Travel insurance
  • Talk to our team if you require additional services

CAMINO FRANCES FROM PONFERRADA ITINERARY

DAY 1 – PONFERRADA

Today you will make your way to Ponferrada to start your Camino de Santiago journey. Explore this lovely city and visit the Templars Castle if you can, an impressive castle-fortress where the Knight Templars kept a close eye on the city and looked after passing pilgrims in the Middle Ages.

Ponferrada is the capital of El Bierzo and a charming city with plenty to see and taste! 

DAY 2 – WALKING FROM PONFERRADA TO VILLAFRANCA DEL BIERZO – 24KMS

The Camino Frances from Ponferrada to Villafranca takes pilgrims across the lush and fertile region of El Bierzo, home to many regional food specialties as well as wines, fruit and vegetables. The historic village of Villafranca del Bierzo is also known as ‘Little Compostela’ and has many wonderful monuments to visit. 

The 12th century St James Church in town has a door known as the Door of Forgiveness, Puerta del Perdón, which is open only during Holy Years. This means, pilgrims that can’t continue all the way to Santiago can still get their plenary indulgence, once they reach Villafranca.

DAY 3 – WALKING FROM VILLAFRANCA DEL BIERZO TO HERRERIAS – 20KMS

Today, the Camino Frances trail leaves picturesque Villafranca del Bierzo behind and heads towards Galicia and the mountains of O Cebreiro. Your stop for the night will be the last village in El Bierzo: Las Herrerias, so you can tackle the climb to O Cebreiro tomorrow. 

DAY 4 – WALKING FROM HERRERIAS TO O CEBREIRO – 9KM

Today you have 9kms of constant climb up to O Cebreiro but the scenery and views are truly magnificent. O Cebreiro is an enchanting mountain village with thatched round cottages known as ‘pallozas’, of pre-roman origin, and one of the most magical on the whole Camino Frances.

DAY 5 – WALKING FROM O CEBREIRO TO TRIACASTELA – 21KM

The Camino Frances continues from O Cebreiro along tracks between the mountain ranges of O Courel and Os Ancares. It is a much easier stage after yesterday’s challenge but still with a couple of climbs. 

Stop at the pilgrim statue at Alto de San Roque to enjoy the wonderful views and have a rest. The climb to Alto do Poio will be short but steep before starting your descent into Triacastela, down in the valley.

DAY 6 – WALKING FROM TRIACASTELA TO SARRIA – 18KM

From Triacastela pilgrims can choose between two trails to reach Sarria: the ‘San Xil’ option is very scenic, taking pilgrims through native oak woodland; but if you wish to visit the impressive Samos Monastery, you should take the trail along the river valley.

Either way you will reach the market town of Sarria, your stop for the night and a very important stop on the Camino Frances, as it is here where many pilgrims start their journey, just over 100kms away from Santiago de Compostela.

DAY 7 – REST DAY IN SARRIA

Today we have booked a second night in Sarria so you can have a rest day and relax in this lively market town before continuing your Camino walk to Santiago de Compostela. If you prefer to continue, instead of spending the day in Sarria, let our travel experts know.

DAY 8 – WALKING FROM SARRIA TO PORTOMARIN – 22KMS

Your first day walking the Camino de Santiago from Sarria is quite easy. As you head out of Sarria you will pass the Magdalena Convent and cross the medieval bridge of Ponte Aspera, heading into the countryside.

The Camino Frances trail takes in oak woods and quiet country roads dotted with tiny hamlets and lovely Romanesque churches such as the St James Church in Barbadelo. To reach Portomarin, you will be crossing the bridge over the River Mino. 

DAY 9 – WALKING FROM PORTOMARIN TO PALAS DE REI – 24KMS

Today’s stretch on the Camino Frances from Portomarin is a little hillier than the day before, particularly as you head out of the town, gradually climbing up from the river valley and up to the Serra de Ligonde.

This section takes pilgrims mainly along country roads, passing little villages and Romanesque churches such as Santa Maria in Castromaior. There are plenty of places to stop for a rest. Your stop for the night will be the town of Palas de Rei.

DAY 10 – WALKING FROM PALAS DE REI TO ARZUA – 28KMS

From Palas de Rei to Arzua, you have 28kms to walk, so if you’d prefer to make it a bit shorter, you can opt to stop the night in Melide, breaking the long walk into two shorter days. 

Some wonderful forest and country trails await today as you leave Palas de Rei behind. About 3kms from Palas, you will pass the pretty hamlet of San Xiao (or San Xulian) do Camino, one of the prettiest of the route. Spot the iconic Galician granaries (known as ‘horreos’), used to store grain and a constant feature in rural Galicia.

More Romanesque churches, farmland and country lanes make today’s journey. Melide is famous for its ‘octopus’ restaurants so make sure you taste this traditional dish. Another wonderful hamlet is Ribadiso you will pass today.

Pilgrims stop here for refreshments and to get their feet in the River Iso in an idyllic place by a medieval bridge. Arzua is a market town famous for its local ‘tetilla’ cheese; it even hosts a cheese festival each year.

DAY 11 – WALKING FROM ARZUA TO PEDROUZO – 19KMS

From Arzua, the Camino de Santiago trail takes pilgrims again through more woodland and quiet little hamlets in rural Galicia. Don’t forget to stamp your pilgrim passport twice each day, you can do that at churches (stop at the Santa Irene Chapel with the figure of St James), cafes, shops and hotels and guesthouses. 

The trail to the pretty hamlet of Rúa and Pedrouzo, your stop for the night, offers pilgrims a good mix of country roads and forest tracks. 

DAY 12 – WALKING FROM PEDROUZO TO SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA – 19KMS

Today is your last day walking the Camino de Santiago and the excitement is palpable among all pilgrims. Only 19kms to go. The terrain is quite easy, without major difficulties. From Monte do Gozo you will catch your first glimpse of Santiago Cathedral.

Walking down Rua de San Pedro and getting closer to the Old Town, the atmosphere is of vibrant jubilation. As you walk down the steps into Praza de Obradoiro this is the culmination of your Camino journey: you have arrived at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Pilgrims congratulate and hug each other; there are smiles and tears of joy.

This is a wonderful and emotional moment for pilgrims, a day to remember, enjoy it!

Don’t forget to request your Compostela certificate at the Pilgrims Office.

DAY 13 – EXPLORE SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA

After your Camino walk, you deserve a day to explore Santiago de Compostela at your own pace, discovering beautiful nooks and crannies in its magnificent Old Town, visiting the Abastos Market, relaxing in the Alameda Park or simply sipping coffee in one of its many squares and watching the world go by. Enjoy!

Rear our blog post Things to do and see in Santiago de Compostela for inspiration. 

DAY 14 – SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA AIRPORT

Today, it is time to make your way back to Santiago de Compostela airport for your flight back home. You can catch the airport bus from the city centre or talk to our travel experts to arrange a taxi for you.

The Camino Frances from Ponferrada self guided tour is flexible and can be adapted to your needs, talk to our travel experts for advice and start planning your trip.

 

  • Price quote per person sharing, on a twin or double room
  • Single rooms available on request
  • A deposit is required to secure your booking

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