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Complete Guide to the Lebaniego Way: Everything You Need to Know

Pilgrimage through the impressive Picos de Europa


Cantabria is the only region in the Christian world that boasts two UNESCO World Heritage pilgrimage routes: the Lebaniego Way and the Northern Way.

Since the Middle Ages, the influx of pilgrims to the Sanctuary of Santo Toribio, where the saint's remains rested, believed to have healing and miraculous properties, has been recorded. It was also a place of worship for the Lignum Crucis, hence the pilgrims of the Lebaniego Way were known as "crucenos", "Pilgrims of the Cross", those who came to worship the Cross.

The Lebaniego Way is not merely a route; it is a transformative experience that delves into the depths of Cantabria's rich history, spirituality, and natural beauty.

The Lebaniego Way starts in San Vicente de la Barquera, a coastal area, and connects with the Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana, traversing landscapes that speak of a millenary past and a nature that overflows at every step.

The route unfolds in 3 stages designed to immerse you in the mountains and their nature in all its splendor. You will walk close to the coast, follow the course of rivers, and cross dense forests, while the snow-capped peaks of the mountains decorate the southern horizon.


Distance and Difficulty

Length: The Way stretches for approximately 72 kilometers, allowing you an intimate connection with Cantabria's landscape and culture.

Difficulty: The route features altitude variations and traverses mixed terrains. With a moderate level of difficulty, it is an ideal option for those seeking to combine a physical challenge with a profound spiritual experience.


Find your journey along the

Lebaniego Way of Saint James



The heart of the Lebaniego Way is the Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana. This Franciscan sanctuary, originally built in the 6th century, is a treasure of pre-Romanesque architecture.

The monastery is the custodian of an invaluable spiritual relic: the Lignum Crucis, the largest known piece of the cross where Christ was crucified.

During your journey, you will discover ancient churches, refuges of the Christian faith during the Muslim occupation, and witnesses of the beginning of the Reconquest, in places as emblematic as the Battle of Covadonga, in neighboring Asturias.

Scenic Beauty

Throughout the way, you will encounter green valleys, hills, and small villages that exude tranquility and tradition, an authentic reflection of the less-known rural Spain.

The blooming fields, with cows grazing and meandering rivers, create a mosaic of colors and textures that delight the senses.

The journey of the Lebaniego Way is an ode to Cantabria's natural beauty, with paths leading you from imposing mountains to serene valleys. The route invites you to immerse yourself in the majesty of the Picos de Europa, offering an immersive experience through lush forests and panoramic views.

Enjoy the strategic viewpoints, offering unforgettable panoramas of the way and its surroundings.


Gastronomy: A Feast for the Senses

The route is also a gastronomic journey, where you can taste traditional dishes such as Lebaniego stew, exquisite meats, local cheeses, and the sweet "sobaos pasiegos".

Each meal is an opportunity to connect with the land and its people, thus complementing your pilgrimage experience.



The route is meticulously signposted with traditional yellow arrows and specific signs of the Lebaniego Way, ensuring safe and seamless navigation.

The stages of the Lebaniego Way are perfectly marked at all its turns, always with visible marks and in some points with distance information to the next villages.



Proper preparation is key to enjoying the way. It is essential to have appropriate footwear, such as hiking boots, to tackle the diversity of terrain, from mountainous paths to irregular terrains. This ensures not only safety but also comfort during your pilgrimage.


We recommend carrying enough water for the stages, especially on hot days, as there are not always nearby sources. And regarding food, although several villages are crossed in each stage, not all have a bar or store to buy food.



The region's climate adds a dynamic element to the journey. Characterized by cold winters and mild summers, the oceanic climate of the region invites preparation for rain and sudden temperature changes, especially when entering the mountain areas.


Find your journey along the

Lebaniego Way of Saint James


By integrating these details, the Lebaniego Way reveals itself as a rich and multifaceted experience, offering not only a journey through breathtaking landscapes and sites of historical and spiritual significance but also a path that challenges and satisfies, both physically and emotionally.

Do you want to know 5 reasons why you have to do this route? Don't miss this blog