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 It is called this because it was the first pilgrimage route with historical reference and is thus described as the oldest pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela.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 travelled 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 folowed 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 pilgrmis arrive in Santiago via the Camino Primitivo, which is why it is perhaps the most pristine and charming.
Of course, besides meaning "Original," this route's name also means primitive, in the sense that there are significantly fewer villages, restaurants and good 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!
Do it now before everyone else (re-)discovers this amazing and beautiful camino-walk.
Make your trip personal! Spain is More offers and guarantees the following on this trip:
✔ Daily Departures.
✔ Hotel-to-Hotel Baggage Service is optional.
✔ Your personal Pilgrim's Passport.
✔ Specially Selected Hotels - always with private bathroom - selected for best location, service and authentic charm.
✔ Spain is More Camino Guidebook (which you will receive some weeks before departure) contains practical pilgrim information, suggestions for packing list, recommended restaurants, maps of all cities along The Camino- and hotel location, Pilgrim's Passport/Credential, advice and guidance, service phone numbers and much more, all to make your trip on The Camino an experience of a lifetime!
✔ Dividing stages: Yes, sometimes.
✔ Day trip to Finisterre.