Camino San Salvador León to La Robla | Wise Pilgrim Guidebooks for the Camino de Santiago
Map of all Caminos to Santiago de Compostela

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 gently 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 are 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, 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 Bendueño: 30.3 km
Bendueño to Mieres 22.3 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. It is  available in the Albergue in Oviedo and the Cathedral. 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 send an email where you find errors, omissions, or things worth noting, please do so.  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 which is entirely along the road, but on adjacent trail, to Carbajal.  Note that there is a quieter river option but it is not signposted.

km →
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...

The Road: 

Leave León by way of the road behind 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.

Accommodation in León - Start of San Salvador
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
10.30km → Cabanillas
Altitude: 
861

Bar Central is the bar most likely to be open, so don't pass it hoping for another.  There is also a small shop in town for basic food supplies. Another option for food is either in León or at the cafeteria El Palacete located on your left less than 1km outside of León. The...

The Road: 

The camino follows along the main road right up to the end where it turns to dirt. It is well marked. On the way to the next village, the camino passes the Fuente de Villabura, a fountain and rest area for pilgrims.

Ruins of Villalbura and Fountain

Recent pilgrims report that the fountain here is not working. You are invited to leave your name in the guestbook here.

NOTE: Not far after the fountain the visible trail you are on splits and the natural tendency is to keep on it as it turns left. The camino instead climbs up a smaller trail to the right. From here the camino begins to diverge from the elevation of the river and begins to ascend and descend regularly.

km →

Fuente San Pelayo

Another small resting place, with another mailbox.  There is also another fountain which has also been reported to be non functional.

km →
2.00km → La Seca
Altitude: 
903

No services in town but 4 beds are available in the municipal albergue. If you plan to stay here you are advised to call the hospitalero (Antonio) in advance: 987 580 156.

The Road: 

Avoid accidentally following the road out of Cabanillas. The camino turns to the right at the edge of town and follows along a hiking trail through an oak forest and to La Seca.

Accommodation in Cabanillas
Name Beds Price

1

Albergue de Cabanillas
Iglesia, 20

Municipal
16 Donativo€
2.30km → Cascantes
Altitude: 
915

Crossing the bridge to visit La Seca, with a bar and the Ermita de San Blas, is optional.

The Road: 

Keep on straight (with the bridge on your left) to follow the camino.

4.40km → La Robla
Altitude: 
929
The Road: 

In Cascantes the camino crosses the main road and follows a paved side road into and through the town.  At the end, it rejoins the main road to La Robla. At the entrance to town is the Chapel of Celada, and beyond that a large power plant.  You will pass through a tunnel and then over the...

2.30km → Puente de Alba
Altitude: 
959

La Robla is the first developed city outside of León. 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...

The Road: 

The camino from La Robla, at least once you get to the end of town, is along a pleasant path adjacent to the River. It passes a restored aqueduct.

Accommodation in La Robla
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 7€