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Camino Primitivo

Oviedo - Santiago

  • 312 Km
  • 13 stages
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Camino Primitivo

Camino Primitivo is also known as the “Original Way of Saint James”, it was one of the first pilgrimage routes to Santiago. Camino Primitivo is one of the most challenging pilgrimages, but also, with an extremely rewarding nature scenery.

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History Camino Primitivo

  • Length: 312 km / 194 miles
  • Start: Oviedo
  • End: Santiago
  • Length: 322 km. / 200 miles.
  • Start: Oviedo. 
  • End: Santiago de Compostela.

There is a popular saying that states, “Whoever comes to Santiago and does not come to San Salvador, the Cathedral of Oviedo, visits the servant, but forgets the Lord.” The Camino Primitivo has its origin in Oviedo and connects to the Camino Francés in Melide, which you will follow during the last couple of stages to Santiago de Compostela.

Camino Primitivo is Spanish for "Original Way." It is called this because it was the first pilgrimage route with historical reference and is thus described as the oldest pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. In the 9th century, King Alfonso II of Asturias traveled from his residence in Oviedo to Santiago to visit the tomb of St. James, which had been discovered a few years earlier. The route that the king took is well documented and the path he followed is largely the same as the "Camino Primitivo" today.

One of the notable characteristics of this route, however, is its level of difficulty. It is significantly hillier than the French Camino, especially between Oviedo and Lugo, where you will find yourself constantly hiking up or down.

There are a limited number of pilgrims on this fairly unknown route.  In fact only about 3% of all pilgrims arrive in Santiago via the Camino Primitivo, which is why it is perhaps the most pristine and charming. But the number seems to be increasing, as more pilgrims like to challenge them selves, and also at the same time, get rewarded with the amazing nature scenery found throughout this Camino route. 

Of course, besides meaning "Original," this route's name also means primitive, in the sense that there are significantly fewer villages, restaurants and hotels along this route compared to the other pilgrimages. Therefore, it doesn't allow as much flexibility in modifying the stages as we do with the other routes. Still, we have made this trek most rewarding with careful planning. We've included in the price a picnic that you pick up each morning before leaving the hotel (after Melide the picnic isn't included since the Camino Primitivo joins up with the Camino Francés and there are innumerable possibilities at your disposal).  In summary, despite its challenges, you can expect generally good and authentic accommodations at every stop.

On the Camino Primitivo the beauty of the countryside and nature awaken all of your senses. You will walk through some of the least populated areas in all of Spain, crossing dozens of forests, rivers, streams, pasturelands, valleys, hills, mountains, and villages. You will hear the sounds of nearby animals and birds singing more often than the usual, "Buen camino" and "Hola."  This segment, especially through the Asturian landscape, is fabulous. For the person who is physically prepared for the level of difficulty involved, this route is without a doubt, one of the loveliest available.

Besides stunning nature, this trip also offers significant urban life and culture. We definitely recommend adding one more day to stay in Oviedo, to see one of Spain's most beautiful cities with its fortress castle and charming Old Town filled with history and atmosphere.

Later, you will also pass Lugo, where you won't want to miss the world's best-preserved Roman walled city.

Finally, by the end of your journey, you will joyfully arrive in Santiago de Compostela, a jewel in every way, marveling at this city that speaks for itself. It's an unforgettable moment and surely you'll find the word "Rejoice" on your lips!

Please contact Spain is more for further information and reservations, we will be more than happy to find the best route planning for your upcoming Camino.

Buen Camino! 

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