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4.9

Camino de Santiago Francés

Camino Francés is by far the most favoured, most traditional and internationally the most celebrated of the many Camino routes. The French Camino starts in the French village St. Jean Pied de Port and passes shortly hereafter the boarder to Spain. From here it crosses Northern Spain on a route that is all together 800 km. to Santiago de Compostela. Therefore it is also known as the French Camino. A Camino experience of a lifetime.

  • From 0 /pers.
  • 310 Km
  • days
  • Difficulty
    ?
    NOTE: nowhere, in any Camino, will steep cliffs be found next to path!

    1: Very easy. Flat and without significant gradients. Good and normally wide paths.

    2: Easy. Slightly hilly. Good and normally wide paths.

    3: Medium. Hilly, possibly with longer distances between service facilities/cities. Good, sometimes narrow paths.

    4: Medium/Hard. Longer, steeper climbs, perhaps with few servicefacilities/cities. Good, sometimes narrow paths.

    5: Hard. Long gradient(s), possibly few facilities. Very hilly. Good, sometimes narrow paths.
  • Nature

From Leon you will see that the number of pilgrims increases, and there are many reasons for this. First, the stretch from Leon is in many ways one of the most interesting, with many historical sights along the way (most importantly; the Cathedral of León, the medieval bridge in Hospital de Orbigo, the Bishop's Palace of Gaudí in Astorga, the Iron Cross and the Monastery of Samos), lots of beautiful villages, excellent facilities and, above all, a varied terrain through beautiful landscape. 
Spain is More guests, who start their pilgrimage in León, often take the bus the first 35 km. to Hospital de Orbigo. Many people also choose to walk from León, making the trip one day longer. If you chose to walk from León, the first stage is flat, through industry and suburbs for the first 10 kilometers. Afterwards, the huge plain opens before you, followed afterwards to Rabanal del Camino, where the terrain gets quite hilly.

Many others choose to split the stage between Villafranca and O'Cebreiro, as this is long and relatively difficult. If you don't have time to split this stage, but are finding it too tough while traveling, there are good alternatives to travel by bus and taxi at that particular point. With an extra accommodation in Molinaseca or Villafranca, you can take a trip to Las Medulas, which is a spectacular UNESCO-protected nature area where ancient Romans mined for gold.

Possibility of dividing stages: Yes.

More information on León - Sarria

The stretch throug Galicia from Sarria to Santiago is the most popular and by far most used Camino-section, which can be clearly seen by the number of pilgrims on this route. It's very charming to come into contact with people from around the world, all of them walking in the same direction and with the same goal in mind. Sarria is 115 km east of Santiago and is the minimum distance required to walk to obtain the Compostela of Santiago.

Sarria, is also a good starting point for the Camino because there are bigger towns with all the necessary facilities you might need along this route. On this route there are two really exciting excursions, one to the huge monastery of Samos, from where you can walk back along the Camino to Sarria, and the other to Lugo and ahead to the world's best preserved Roman city wall.

The first stages after Sarria are fairly hilly, but also some of the most idyllic on the whole Camino. Many have said that these stages are their favourites of the entire Camino - it is so beautiful. You'll pass small farming communities, with stone houses and cobbled paths, you'll walk along the fields where cows graze and through forests where all you hear is the river's murmur. Nature is the main attraction along this way until reaching Santiago de Compostela. This stunningly beautiful town exudes atmosphere in the Old Town's sector of winding streets. It's the perfect ending to your Camino de Santiago. Service functions are generally very good.

Possibility of dividing stages: Yes.

More information on Sarria - Santiago de Compostela
Detailed itinerary (view all days )
Day 1.-
Day 2.- León – Viladangos 22 Km

Passing by way of the lovely Roman bridge in front of the Parador Hostal de San Marcos, you leave León. The first 8km pass through the industrial zone of León, and from here the road continues along the main highway. Fortunately, there is a much more tranquil and pretty path that Spain is More will show you. Once you´ve passed the industrial zone, exiting León, you will take this alternative route for the next 15km until Villar de Mazarife, where you will sleep. 
 

Distance: 22 Km

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ViladangosLeón
Day 3.- Viladangos – Astorga 28 Km

The most stunning point of this stage is when you find yourself with the Roman bridge in Hospital de Órbigo. In general it´s a calm and easy stretch with various miradores (vista points) from which you can see the striking mountains over which you will be trekking during the next few days.

Astorga, a 2000 year old walled Roman capital of one of the olded and extensive diocese in Spain, is crossed by the Camino Francés and Camino del Sur or Vía de la Plata. Worth the visit: Gaudi´s Bishop´s Palace, The Chocolate Museum, The Roman Route, The Roman Museum and all the city´s historic quarters.   

Distance: 28 Km

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AstorgaViladangos
Day 4.- Astorga - Rabanal del Camino 21 Km

A few kilometers after Astorga the landscape begins to change and becomes more mountainous. Before arriving to today´s destination you will pass through more beautiful, charming towns such as Castillo de los Polvazares that truly deserve a visit. Rabanal is a welcoming town with a great deal of pilgrim ambiance. 

Distance: 21 Km

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Rabanal del CaminoAstorga
Day 5.- Rabanal de Camino - Molinaseca 27 Km

This stage through the mountains is unforgettable because you'll reach the famous Iron Cross (Cruz de Ferro) where pilgrims traditionally leave a stones representing a burden or desire and carried from their home towns at the base of the cross. Next, along the way to Molinaseca, the wondrous natural scenery is marked by a few villages. Molinaseca is crammed with charming restaurants frequented by pilgrims and locals alike, all enjoying the city’s picturesque streets and cozy cafés.

Distance: 27 Km

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MolinasecaRabanal de Camino
Day 6.- Molinaseca - Villafranca del Bierzo 29 Km

Today you pass through Ponferrada, the city with a famous 12th-century Templar castle, Castillo de los Templarios, at the town center. Ponferrada is a large mining city with a population of over 60.000 and an important stop on the Camino. As you leave, you´ll pass through Cacabelos, a small medieval stop for pilgrims, today home for a large number of wine-cellars (bodegas). Then, it’s on to Villafranca del Bierzo, often known as the “other” or “little” Santiago. Notice the 12th century Romanesque Church of Santiago and its north entrance, Door of Forgiveness. Villafranca del Bierzo is one of the most pleasant Camino towns found in the middle of Bierzo, which has established itself as one of Spain’s greatest wine regions. 

Distance: 29 Km

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Villafranca del BierzoMolinaseca
Day 7.- Villafranca del Bierzo - O Cebreiro 28 Km

Today, in the region bordering Galicia, you'll walk along ancient paths shaded by birches, oaks, chestnuts and poplars up to the emblematic mountaintop village of O’Cebreiro. There is a lovely 12th century Romanesque church with a fascinating legend, and curious old straw-roofed dwellings called Pallozas. This path offers some of the most panoramic views, but is also one of the toughest stages. Often shrouded in mist, the small stone village is extremely charming. If you arrive on a clear day, the views are dazzling!

Its possible to split this stage in two.

Distance: 28 Km

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O CebreiroVillafranca del Bierzo
Day 8.- O Cebreiro - Tricastela 21 Km

After a lot of uphill on one of the highest points of the trip, O Cebreiro, today will mostly be downhill. Once again, you´ll have many splendid views of the surrounding countryside. Today you'll also begin to notice stone granaries called "horreos". Also, the weather will change a bit, due to the winds and rain from the Atlantic Ocean. Although none of the castles still exist today, the name Triacastela, meaning "three castles," carries on. Limestone used to build the Cathedral de Santiago came from quarries near Triacastela.

Distance: 21 Km

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TricastelaO Cebreiro
Day 9.- Tricastela - Sarria 18 Km

The landscape begins to change as you begin the descent, perhaps a welcome relief after the last few days of hilly terrain. The route to Sarria give you the choice of two paths, one in a couple of hours allows a recommendable visit to the Benedictine Monastery of Samos, founded in the 6th century and one of the oldest in western Christendom. From here its a idyllic hike through the forrest to Sarria. The other route is a quicker way to reach the end.
Sarria itself is a town of about 13,000 residents and is the last place pilgrims with limited time can hike the minimum distance to the Cathedral de Santiago, 100 km, to receive their Certificate of Completion on the Camino. Because of this, Sarria is a major starting point for many pilgrims. You’ll notice an increased number of fellow pilgrims from here to Santiago.

Distance: 18 Km

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SarriaTricastela
Day 10.- Sarria - Portomarín 23 Km

Galicia is one of the most beautiful regions in Spain, both in nature and glorious tradition. Today’s walk is one of the most attractive stages of the entire Pilgrim’s Way; traveling through authentic rural Spain and its verdant forests, grassy meadows, fertile orchards and simple stone-built hamlets.

Distance: 23 Km

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PontomarinSarria
Day 11.- Portomarin - Palas de Rei 25 Km

The terrain becomes flatter, though still hilly. Optimism takes over in this magnificent, lush area. By now your goal feels achievable. The journey continues along farm tracks and quiet country roads through the lush Galician countryside to Palas de Rei. Palas de Rei is a small village of around 2,000, with an illustrious past, although nothing remains today as a reminder since the historic city was engulfed in 1960 with the water from the dam and lake that were built.

NOTE: the two stages between Portomarin and Arzúa can be divided into three stages with the following km. distribution: 17, 16 and 20 km.

Distance: 25 Km

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Palas de ReiPontomarin
Day 12.- Palas de Rei - Arzúa 28 Km

Today's views will seem somewhat familiar. A typical day on the Camino de Santiago, through rolling green landscapes, dotted with cows, stone walls and tiny Romanesque churches. Take time to talk and learn about myriad of legends and stories that this route offers. Today´s stage can also be divided into an extra night in Melide.

NOTE: the two stages between Portomarin and Arzúa can be divided into three stages with the following km. distribution: 17, 16 and 20 km. Or we can just divide the long stange between Palas de Rei and Arzua in two stages.

Distance: 28 Km

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ArzúaPalas de Rei
Day 13.- Arzúa - O Pedrouzo 20 Km

An exhilarating atmosphere unfolds as your journey's end draws closer. Pilgrims now feel the close joy of having reached their goal and they begin to revel in happiness and relief with the many companions they met along the way. Today’s walk is along natural pathways through tall groves of Eucalyptus that provide superb shade during your walk.

Distance: 20 Km

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O Pedrouzo Arzúa
Day 14.- O Pedrouzo/ A Rua - Santiago de Compostela 20 Km

Congratulations, you achieved an admirable goal, so it's time for a number of traditional pilgrimage rituals. First, be sure to get proof of this feat: the last stamp in your pilgrim passport.

Along with the rituals, enjoy the End Station of the Pilgrim Route, Santiago de Compostela, which offers a veritable cornucopia of attractions and one of the world’s most important cultural centers. This university town exudes charm and has a myriad of cozy streets offering ample opportunity to sample the many local delicacies.

The Cathedral is surrounded by a historic center which is on UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list, and its old town is incomparable to any other. Its monuments stand as true works of art in different architectural styles.

Distance: 20 Km

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Santiago de CompostelaO Pedrouzo
Day 15.-