Camino San Salvador León to La Robla | Wise Pilgrim Guide to the Camino de Santiago

About the Camino de San Salvador

The Camino de San Salvador stretches from Leon, in the central meseta, to Oviedo in Asturias. It covers 122km of terrain which varies between gentle rolling hills and intense mountain climbing. The first 1/3 follows the Rio Bernesga North out of Leon, and apart from some moderate climbs remains relatively flat going. The middle third conquers much higher altitudes as it passes over the Cantabrian Mountains via Pajares. The last third resumes more moderate climbs and altitudes and follows along the valleys leading to Oviedo.

For anyone accustomed to the amenities found on the Camino Francés it is necessary to note that accommodation along many stretches does not leave you spoiled for choice. There are several stretches as well where food and water is to be found in your backpack or nowhere at all. On top of that a word of caution must be made for the most difficult of stretches of this camino. Passing over the Cantabrian Mountains is no walk in the park; snow remains late in the year, cell phone coverage is absent, and getting lost is a real possibility. I have done my best to describe the route, and in recent years many more elevated arrows (snow and overgrowth cover the ground markings) have been planted along the more precarious stretches. It is nothing to be afraid of, but something definitely to be respectful of. Let people know where you are going, put away the ipod and enjoy the views, and be aware of where you are heading. An inexpensive plastic compass would be a practical thing to bring along. Before starting the more difficult stretch, consult with the locals in Poladura for an up to date report on snow conditions. Carry water. Carry snacks. The view from the top is amazing and getting there often means peaceful isolated walking.

If your plans are flexible, here are a few sample itineraries which end in comfortable places to sleep. Anything less than 6 days definitely requires a higher level of fitness:

4 Days:

León to Pola de Gordon or Buiza: 35 or 41 km

Pola de Gordon or Buiza to Pajares: 31 or 25 km

Pajares to Pola de Lena: 24.4 km

Pola de Lena to Oviedo: 31.9 km

5 Days:

León to La Robla: 26 km

La Robla to Poladura: 24.8 km

Poladura to Campomanes: 32.3 km

Campomanes to Mieres 20.3 km

Mieres to Oviedo: 19 km

6 Days:

León to La Robla: 26 km

La Robla to Poladura: 24.8 km

Poladura to Pajares: 15.4 km

Pajares to Pola de Lena 24.4 km

Pola de Lena to Mieres: 12.8 km

Mieres to Oviedo 19 km

7 Days:

León to La Robla: 26 km

La Robla to Buiza: 15 km

Buiza to Poladura de Tercia: 9.8 km (difficult stretch)

Poladura de Tercia to Pajares: 15.4 km (difficult stretch)

Pajares to Pola de Lena 24.4 km

Pola de Lena to Mieres: 12.8 km

Mieres to Oviedo: 19 km

Credencial:

You will need a credencial, or pilgrims passport. These can be found in the Albergues in Leon, or less conveniently in the Albergue in Oviedo.

Signage:

This is a mixed bag. The camino in Leon starts with brown and yellow wooden mojones (see photo) provided by Cuatro Valles. Yellow arrows are self explanatory in their yellowy arrow-ness. The shells however require a bit of awareness. In every region but Asturias, you are meant to follow the open end of the shell. In Asturias you are meant to walk in the direction of the hinge. I make another mention of this in the guide when you get to Asturias.

The Prize:

Beyond photos, memories, and blisters, completing the Camino de San Salvador also entitles you to a certificate to hang on your office wall. It is called the Salvadorana and is a recent invention. Unfortunately it is only available in the Albergue in Oviedo which maintains less than convenient hours.

Unlike other guidebooks and other caminos, the Camino de San Salvador depends a bit on pilgrims sharing their discoveries along the way. It is up to us to promote and advise. If you have the time and patience to leave a comment in the app where you find errors, omissions, or things worth noting, please do so. They will remain there, and sometime incorporated into the guide (with credit if you leave your name) with the next update.

Thank you for your support, I wish you a wonderful camino.

Now, to begin:

Finding your starting point, and the departure route from Leon is quick and painless. Begin facing the Parador San Marcos. Cross the plaza to your right and follow the side walk that turns left and wraps around the parador. At the first roundabout, adorned with a bright yellow North American T6 single engine plane, continue straight on. That is it, yellow arrows and brown mojons will lead the rest of the way.

Routing
Camino de San Salvador
information
Altitude: 
842

León is now a fully modernized city home to more than half of the population in the province. Like Burgos behind and Santiago ahead, it is worthy of more time than the average pilgrim spends here. To explore in full would take several days, to cover the basics at least two. If you are keen to...

Name Beds Price booking.com

1

Albergue Ciudad de León
Campos Góticos

Closed
64 5 León - Albergue Ciudad de León León - Albergue Ciudad de León

2

Albergue de Peregrinos de las Benedictinas - Sta. María de Carbajal
Pl. Santa Maria del Camino, 11

Parochial
132 5

3

Albergue San Francisco de Asis
Alcalde Miguel Castaños, 4

Parochial
90 10 Photo in San Francisco de Asis Fundación Ademar on the Camino de Santiago

4

Albergue Unamuno
San Pelayo, 15

Private
85 10

5

Albergue Leon Hostel
Ancha, 8

Private
20 12/14 Photo in Albergue Leon Hostel on the Camino de SantiagoPhoto in Albergue Leon Hostel on the Camino de Santiago

6

Hostel Urban Río Cea
Legión VII, 6

Private
20 18/20* Photo in Hostel Urban Río Cea on the Camino de Santiago

7

Albergue Muralla Leonesa
Tarifa, 5

Private
80 10 Photo in Albergue Muralla Leonesa on the Camino de Santiago

8

Hotel NH Plaza Mayor
Plaza Mayor, 7-11

Hotel
Photo in Hotel NH Plaza Mayor on the Camino de Santiago

9

Parador San Marcos
Plaza San Marcos, 7

Parador
Photo in Parador San Marcos on the Camino de Santiago

10

Albergue Check in León
Alcalde Miguel Castaño, 88

Private
40 10

11

Hostal Albany
Paloma, 13

Hostal
Photo in Hostal Albany on the Camino de Santiago

12

Hostal Alda Casco Antiguo
Cardenal Landázuri, 11

Hostal
Photo in Hostal Alda Casco Antiguo on the Camino de Santiago

13

Hotel Le Petit León
Pozo, 2

Hotel
Photo in Hotel Le Petit León on the Camino de Santiago

14

Pensión La Torre
La Torre, 3

Pension
Photo in Pensión La Torre on the Camino de Santiago

15

Hotel Real Colegiata de San Isidoro
Plaza Santo Martino, 5

Hotel
Photo in Hotel Real Colegiata de San Isidoro on the Camino de Santiago

16

Hostal Quevedo
Quevedo, 13

Hostal
Photo in Hostal Quevedo on the Camino de Santiago

17

Hostal Londres
Roma, 1

Hostal
25 15 Photo in Hostal Londres on the Camino de SantiagoPhoto in Hostal Londres on the Camino de Santiago

18

Hostal Misericordia
Misericordia, 15

Hostal
Photo in Hostal Misericordia on the Camino de Santiago
Photo in León - Start of San Salvador on the Camino de SantiagoPhoto in León - Start of San Salvador on the Camino de SantiagoPhoto in León - Start of San Salvador on the Camino de Santiago
Altitude: 
861

Carbajal has a few bars, but I have yet to see one of them open. Others report better success.

Another option for food is either in Leon or at the cafeteria ´El Palacete´ located on your left less than 1km outside of Leon.

The next town with food is Cascantes.

The camino...

Altitude: 
903

No services in town but 4 beds are available in the municipal albergue.

Name Beds Price

1

Albergue de Cabanillas
Iglesia, 20

Municipal
16 Donativo
Altitude: 
915

Crossing the bridge to visit La Seca, and the Ermita de San Blas, is optional. Keep on straight to follow the camino.

Altitude: 
929
Altitude: 
959

La Robla is the first developed city outside of Leon. In addition to an albergue, there are also hostals and pensions. Avoid those at the entrance to town just over the foot bridge, and continue into the center. There is also a tourist information office near the ayuntamiento if you need a stamp...

Name Beds Price

1

Hostal Ordoñez de Celis

Hostal

2

Pensíon Mundo
Gordón Ordás, 9

Pension

3

Albergue de La Robla
Mayor, 69

Municipal
16 Donativo