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.

León - Start of San Salvador

6.77km
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 keep your feet moving every day, consider spending an extra afternoon in León and setting out after lunch for a half day of walking. Between here and Astorga there are two routes to choose from and plenty of albergues.

The Cathedral of Santa María de la Regla is a magnificent example of Gothic architecture whose multicolored windows are not to be missed, particularly on a sunny day when the interior is filled with light. The Virgen Blanca on the main portico is a reproduction, the original is in a chapel behind the main altar. You'll also notice that quite a few sculptures have been removed for restoration. The Church of San Isidoro is the other not to be missed church; it houses the relics of San Isidoro and is the site of the Pantheon of Kings where 23 of the Leonese monarchy are resting. Fans of Gaudi will not want to miss the Casa de Los Botines just a short stroll from the Cathedral, and perhaps capture a selfie with a bronze statue of the architect seated on a bench in front.

Every service imaginable can be found in León. The best food and the liveliest crowds can be found in the Barrio Humedo, a twisted knot of narrow streets near the Plaza Mayor whose name implies that the drinks are overflowing. The region of León is unique in Spain as the only one that produces hops for the production of beer. A few new breweries have appeared on the scene in recent years (Four Lions is recommended) and most produce a local beer known as Zerep.

As you walk around town you will notice several types of plaques embedded in the pavement. One is the impression of the left foot of a Roman soldier and marks the boundary of the original Roman settlement and wall. The other, seen closer to the Plaza Mayor, is a symbol of the peninsula and bears the Hebrew word ספרד which translates as Sefarad, the Jewish name for Spain. It was that Jewish population that was expelled from Spain under the Alhambra Decree in 1492. The marker indicates the start of what was once the Jewish barrio of León.

History: Nearly one thousand years ago, the city of León was the jewel in the crown of the most powerful king in the Iberian peninsula, at the time a fractured version of what would not become a unified nation for several hundred years. One thousand years before that, it was a Roman settlement critical in protecting the wealth of gold that came from the mines to the west of Ponferrada. Only briefly was it under Muslim control and it holds the distinction of being the seat of Europe’s oldest democratic parliament.

The Road: Leave León by way of the Parador San Marcos. While facing the Parador cross the square to your right and follow the path around the building. Arrows dedicated to the San Salvador route will appear, as well as a fairly unique mojon (see photo).

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
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

Carbajal de la Lengua

10.60km
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 follows along the main road right up to the end where it turns to dirt.

On the way to the next village, it passes the Fuente de Villarua, a fountain and rest area for pilgrims.

La Seca

2.22km
Altitude: 
915

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

La Robla

2.39km
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 or a glossy brochure.

Hostal Ordóñez de Celis, on your right before the Ayuntamiento, is recommended.

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