→ 4.2km.
To end of camino
165.70
Altitude
1020

Bar on road, higher prices for tourists reported so ask before you buy.

The Road

The camino passes the bar at the alto and keeps off of the road for a short distance. Between here and Fonsagrada it will follow adjacent to, or directly on, the main road. You will pass through Cabreira halfway to Fonfría.

Photo of Alto de Acebo on the Camino de Santiago
Photo of Alto de Acebo on the Camino de Santiago
→ 2.1km.
To end of camino
163.60
Altitude
980
→ 2.0km.
To end of camino
161.60
Altitude
950

Fonfría derives its name from the fresh spring that feeds water to the fountain here and which was the catalyst for the construction of a pilgrims hospital in the late Middle Age. From time to time one of the villagers opens up her kitchen to invite pilgrims in for a coffee.

The Road

Standing directly between Fonfría and Barbeitos is a small hill. The road goes around it to the north and the camino goes around it to the south. The two meet in Barbeitos.

→ 1.6km.
To end of camino
160.00
Altitude
925

The Mesón Catro Ventos is to your right when you arrive at this road interchange.

The Road

The camino crosses over the road here only to cross back when it gets to Silvela.

→ 1.5km.
To end of camino
158.50
Altitude
865
Notice

Old arrows from Paradanova may tempt you to follow the road, you are better off following the trail to enter Fonsagrada from the North on a quieter road.

The Road

Just beyond Silvela, on the forest track that connects it with Paradanova, you will pass an ermita and a restored capilla dedicated to Santa Bárbara. The camino passes straight through Paradanova 155.9. Immediately at the far end of town it crosses the road and climbs up to Fonsagrada along a back road. See note below about possible conflicting arrows.

→ 2.6km.
To end of camino
155.90
Altitude
845
The Road

Be advised that there have been a growing number of false arrows in Paradanova.  Some of them are the official looking blue and yellow plastic (most are painted arrows) signs.
These arrows are intended to detour you from Fonsagrada and towards A Proba de Burón and should be ignored.

The real camino into Fonsagrada follows South of the road (keep road on your right and dont cross it).

If you find that you have mistakenly followed the wrong arrows you will have another opportunity to get to Fonsagrada by turning left at the next large intersection.

→ 2.1km.
To end of camino
153.80
Altitude
955

Fonsagrada is the first town of any serious size since crossing into Galicia, and while it may not be a postcard quality village it does provide for everything you might need, including a selection of restaurants to choose from. If you are dining out consider trying the pulpo (octopus), it is the market food of choice in Galicia and is served with heavy bread and a local white wine. In recent years the addition of three albergues here has caused the closure of the old Padrón albergue in the next town.

Notice

The camino between Padrón and O Cádavo is arguably the most difficult of the route, and possibly the reason for the nickname the leg wrecker. Allow for extra time, especially after a rain since many of the sections become thick with mud.

History

The sacred fountain (fons sacrata) that gives the town its name is located behind the Iglesia de Santa María de Fonsagrada (on the aptly named Rúa do Fonte), a chapel-sized church in the center of town. The fountain and its curative waters are part of numerous miraculous bits of lore.

The Road

The camino exits Fonsagrada along the main road, and shortly after follows a secondary road parallel to it, into Padrón. Beyond Padrón it follows through forested paths off of the road.

→ 1.4km.
To end of camino
152.40
Altitude
880

The camino between Padrón and O Cádavo is arguably the most difficult of the route, and quite possibly the reason for the nickname 'Rompe Piernass'.  Allow for extra time, especially after a rain since many of the sections become thick with mud.

Accommodation in Padrón
Closed
Altitude
885
Accommodation in Complejo O Piñeiral
Private
→ 3.0km.
To end of camino
149.40
Altitude
885
Photo of Villardongo on the Camino de Santiago
→ 2.8km.
To end of camino
146.60
Altitude
975
→ 1.2km.
To end of camino
145.40
Altitude
1025
History

The ruins of the old Hospital de Montouto can be found here at the alto, though if history is any indication they may not stay for long; this refuge for pilgrims as been relocated more than once since it was built in 1357 as the camino route itself varied from century to century.

Fiesta

On the 25th of July the small chapel here is the destination for a romería from Fonsagrada in honor of Santiago.

The Road

From this alto it is a 300m descent to Paradavella in less than 4km. The path is entirely off of the road along a forest track.

→ 3.7km.
To end of camino
141.70
Altitude
685

There are several bars in this small village along the road.

The Road

From Paradavella the camino follows a trail to the right of the road and crosses it to descend into the village of Calzada (meaning road). The next village, also without services, is Degolada. The camino keeps to the south of the road along the path and eventually climbs up to rejoin it as it enters A Lastra.

→ 2.2km.
To end of camino
139.50
Altitude
720
→ 2.7km.
To end of camino
136.80
Altitude
805
The Road

At the far end of A Lastra keep to the left, along the oncoming exit road, and just before it returns to the main road turn left uphill towards the houses. The climb continues steeply uphill for a gain of about 150m and the last part rejoins the road as it enters Fontaneira.

→ 2.4km.
To end of camino
134.40
Altitude
900
History

Between Fontaneira and O Cadavo is a small plateau known as the Campo da Matanza. According to legend it was here that Alfonso II (the first pilgrim) and his troops defeated a Muslim invasion in the year 813.

The Road

At the far end of Fontaneira leave the LU-530 for a small road uphill (direction Pandelo). You will pass the cemetery and then return to the main road to follow it for close to 1km. The camino then leaves the road in favor of a path on the right. As you descend to O Cádavo you will cross the Campo da Matanza.

→ 4.8km.
To end of camino
129.60
Altitude
720

O Cádavo remains a largely agricultural town and is a checkpoint for travelers heading uphill in the opposite direction as its slightly lower altitude makes for a substantial difference in snowfall. The industry here is cows, both for dairy and for meat, and you are bound to see more than one dairy tanker cross your path. The town itself is otherwise rather unremarkable but for the vistas.

The Road

The camino between here and Castroverde manages to avoid the steep LU-530 entirely. From O Cádavo it continues uphill along a farm lane to the town of Pradeda where you can look back for a nice view of O Cádavo. Beyond Pradeda the climb continues up to the Alto de Vacariza.

→ 0.9km.
To end of camino
128.70
Altitude
740
→ 1.1km.
To end of camino
127.60
Altitude
840
The Road

The camino beyond the alto splits and there is now a new type of marker to contend with. In 2016 the Galician government installed new stones to mark the camino. When they were installed the routes were re-examined by planners and several changes and additions were made. In this case, the old camino route was re-named the complementaria route, and a second route was added as the official route. This business of creating complementaria routes has led to much confusion because in some localities (Arzúa is the nearest example) it was applied to a route (for historical reasons) which for decades has been the only option; causing many pilgrims to waste time looking for an official route which does not exist. In this case the old camino has been renamed the complementaria. This guidebook however continues to treat it as the original and still preferred option and the distances indicated are along it. It is 5.5km from the split to Castroverde along the complementaria option, and 4.7 along the newer option.

→ 4.1km.
To end of camino
123.50
Altitude
670

The Gothic church here is a national monument and is known locally as the Cathedral of Castroverde (an only slight exaggeration). In summer months you are likely to find a small food truck at the edge of town.

The Road

The camino follows the road from here all the way to Castroverde, and the first building on your right when you get back to the LU-530 is the municipal albergue.

→ 1.9km.
To end of camino
121.60
Altitude
590

Castroverde marks the end of the descent, and although the terrain ahead is not flat by any stretch of the imagination, it could be described as gently rolling hills when compared to where you have come from. The relative flatness means that the ability to farm increases and indeed the next 80km or so, with the exception of the center of Lugo, are entirely through farmlands. The most notable landmark in town is the 20m tall Torre de Homenaje, a tower which is the only part left standing of the 14th century castle that once stood here. The local church is dedicated to Santiago. A stamp is available at the town hall opposite the church.

Notice

Apart from vending machines there are no places to get food between here and Lugo, a distance of 21km. Pack a lunch.

The Road

The camino passes through town to the south (left) of the LU-530 and after passing the town hall it joins a trail through a chestnut forest. When it returns to the LU-530 it crosses straight over it (caution!) and turns left to go through a tunnel. It passes through San Miguel do Camiño and an unnamed hamlet before entering Souto de Torres.

Accommodation in Castroverde
Photo of Castroverde on the Camino de Santiago
→ 1.5km.
To end of camino
120.10
Altitude
535
→ 2.8km.
To end of camino
117.30
Altitude
505

Capilla and cruceiro at the entrance to the village.

The Road

Turn right at the entrance to town and follow this country lane all the way to Vilar de Cas, passing through one more unnamed hamlet along the way.

Photo of Souto de Torres on the Camino de Santiago
→ 2.2km.
To end of camino
115.10
Altitude
520
The Road

At the end of town there are markers for another complementaria route, this time for a detour to the Iglesia de Soutomerille (see below). This worthwhile alternative adds 700m to the journey, through an evergreen forest.

Accommodation in Vilar de Cas
Private
→ 2.2km.
To end of camino
112.40
Altitude
485
The Road

The first 1.8km from Gondar are along the paved road. The camino will eventually leave it along a trail to the right. It nears the village of Bascuas 110.2 and then returns to the LU-530. Along this busy road to Lugo you will pass a sign announcing the entrance to Carballido, though you won’t ever see the town which is through the forest to your left. Instead, the camino turns to the right 400m after this sign to resume walking along a country road to the hamlet of As Casas da Viña.

Photo of Gondar on the Camino de Santiago
→ 2.2km.
To end of camino
110.20
Altitude
510

Bascuas lies to the North of the camino shortly beyond the sand pit.  Black and yellow arrows point to the right and will keep you on the camino, which no longer passes through this village.  Instead it turns left again and parallels the main road into Lugo.

→ 2.6km.
To end of camino
107.60
Altitude
490

If you are a devout follower of arrows, you will enter and exit Carballido without ever seeing more than the road signs.  The village didn't move, but the camino did.  The village is to the South through the trees.  It is a smaller than most, and is comprised mostly of one large estate and a slaughterhouse for chickens.  Continue on the road, being mindful of traffic.  The camino turns to the right just beyond town to follow another much safer asphalt road.

Photo of Carballido on the Camino de Santiago
→ 2.1km.
To end of camino
105.50
Altitude
500

As Casas is not much more of a village than any that you passed through along this stretch. It is, however, the last one you will pass before getting to the edge of Lugo and its suburbs.

The Road

As the route approaches Lugo it passes through some rather unappealing surroundings. Lugo is the capital of the region and is surrounded by divided highways which the camino must navigate safely. When it arrives at the highway it makes a right turn and continues to a small overpass which is much safer for pedestrians. You are on a mostly disused road until the next sign of habitation appears.

The barrio known as A Chanca sits along the río Rato in the shadow of a stone railway bridge. From here it is an uphill climb up to Lugo. After passing under the railway cross the road to your right at the first marked pedestrian crossing. Take the stairs on your left to the Rúa de Fontiñas. Turn left here, following the arrows, but cross to your right at the first pedestrian crossing. This road will take you straight up to the old walled city and one of the city gates. The municipal albergue is just inside the wall and to the right down a side street.

→ 6.3km.
To end of camino
99.20
Altitude
465

Lugo is the capital of the province of Lugo and one of the most populated cities in Galicia. The once defensive ‘muralla’ that surrounds it was built by the Romans in the 3rd century and is as tall as 15 meters in parts. If you have not had your fill of walking, make your way to one of the many staircases or ramps (one directly in front of the Cathedral) and enjoy an elevated view of the city from the pedestrian path that encircles the old town. It is over 2km long, has 71 towers, and counts 10 gates.

Notice

There is a stretch of 10km west of Lugo without any services for pilgrims. Stock up before you leave.

History

As is the case with most places dating back to the Romans, the actual origin of the name Lugo is not clear. Some argue that it is named after Lugos, the God of Light. However back when the Romans were first conquering these parts (13 B.C. ), it was called Lucus Augusti, and some argue that the name comes from the Latin Lucus, or sacred grove. When gods and topology vie for the namesake, nobody wins.

The walled city is obviously well placed, perched high above the three rivers (the Minho, Rato, and Chanca) that provide for natural boundaries. Its prosperity survived for many centuries but it was abandoned by the middle of the 8th century. A slow revival began and by the middle ages, the pilgrimage to Santiago had once again brought prosperity to the region.

Fueled by agriculture it has continued to grow right up to the present day and now covers an area much larger than the Romans had envisioned.

Fiesta

During the last weeks of June, the city celebrates Arde Lucus or Burn Lugo. The residents dress in full Roman regalia and celebrate Lugo's origins. If you are lucky enough to pass through at this time, allow for an extra day to take in all of the activities, but be advised that the celebration draws a crowd of people nearly a half a million strong and book your room early.

The Road

The camino leaves the walled city at the gate opposite the Cathedral and proceeds downhill along the Rúa de Santiago. Halfway down the hill it bears right onto the Rúa Calzada da Ponte. It crosses a divided boulevard and descends all the way down to the río Miño.

The Ponte Romano carries you over the river and once on the other side, it turns right to follow along the river bank. After passing the Iglesia de San Lázaro it turns up to the left and follows the road to pass under the N-540. There is one more large intersection ahead and it is a simple matter of crossing straight over it. From here you will follow along the paved road, the LU-P-2901, all the way to San Román de Retorta.

Landmarks along the way include the Santuario de Santo Matías and the hamlets of Seoane de San Xoán do Alto 92.2 and Carrigueiros 90.7.

Photo of Lugo on the Camino de Santiago
Photo of Lugo on the Camino de Santiago
→ 7.0km.
To end of camino
92.20
Altitude
540
→ 1.5km.
To end of camino
90.70
Altitude
535
→ 0.7km.
To end of camino
90.00
Altitude
540

The bar here is the first stop from Lugo. Ignore the worn out sign on the building; it is open daily from 8. They serve food and can wrap you up something to take away if you like. Very pilgrim friendly. The nearby Iglesia de San Vicente is rarely open but if you ask at the bar they may know someone with keys.

The Road

Beyond As Searas, the camino leaves the road for a trail that passes through the village of Bacurin 86.3. During periods of heavy rain, it is possible to stay on the road. From Bacurin the camino returns to the road and passes through the hamlets of O Paso, Hospital, and San Pedro de Abaixo. The next hamlet, Taboeiro 81.9, may have a bar which is open. If not there is a small detour of 100m to the bar in nearby Crecente (closed Mondays).

Photo of As Searas / San Vicente del Burgo on the Camino de Santiago
→ 3.7km.
To end of camino
86.30
Altitude
565
→ 2.4km.
To end of camino
83.90
Altitude
575
→ 1.0km.
To end of camino
82.90
Altitude
585
→ 1.6km.
To end of camino
81.30
Altitude
580

The bar in San Román is open daily from 11am. Nice and helpful, they keep tabs on the bed availability in the two albergues up the trail; which are often listed as being in San Román.

The Road

Things tend to get a bit tricky here if you are not fully aware. San Román sits at the intersection of two country roads, and from here the camino goes off in two different directions, or at least it did until last year. This means that old arrows may still exist which would take you to Palas de Rei on the Camino Francés rather than to Melide.

From the bar in San Román head west (turn right when leaving the bar). When you emerge on the road some 70m later, cross the road and take the path opposite you. The albergues are a short distance onward.

→ 1.0km.
To end of camino
80.30
Altitude
580
The Road

The camino follows the country lane out of Castrelo. It passes the village of Burgo de Negral 77.6 (with picnic area) and Pacio 75.6. The next town is Ferreira and one of the albergues there (Cruz Ferreira) is actually located along the road 1km before town.

→ 2.7km.
To end of camino
77.60
Altitude
520
Picnic area at entrance to village.
→ 2.0km.
To end of camino
75.60
Altitude
545
→ 3.8km.
To end of camino
71.80
Altitude
525

The camino follows the road out of Ferreira but will depart from it onto a trail on the left to pass through the hamlet of Leboreira 70.7. It returns to the road shortly before San Xurxo.

Accommodation in Ferreira
→ 1.1km.
To end of camino
70.70
Altitude
605
→ 1.0km.
To end of camino
69.70
Altitude
575

Picnic area at start of the village.

The Road

Shortly beyond the church in San Xurxo, near the stone marked 68.3, the camino splits. It is possible, but not at all recommended, to follow the LU-P-2901 south to Palas del Rei. To avoid doing so, look for the arrows which have you leave the road in favor of a trail on your right. The trail doesn’t last long and soon you are on a different paved road and entering the hamlet of Merlán.

Photo of San Xurxo on the Camino de Santiago
→ 1.5km.
To end of camino
68.20
Altitude
550

Picnic area past the church, up stairs on your right.

The Road

Shortly after passing through Merlán turn off the road to your left. This narrow lane will deliver you to As Seixas.

→ 0.8km.
To end of camino
67.40
Altitude
585

Vending machines at the albergue, which is a modern restoration of a village home. To get there turn right up the first road, following the signs. Otherwise, continue straight on through town.

The Road

Beyond As Seixas the camino leaves the road and follows a trail to Casacamiños.

Accommodation in As Seixas
Closed
Private
→ 1.5km.
To end of camino
65.90
Altitude
645
The Road

From town, the camino turns north to O Hospital das Siexas, the last hamlet in Lugo. Shortly beyond, on the ridge of the Sierra del Careón, it enters the region of La Coruña.

→ 1.2km.
To end of camino
64.70
Altitude
670
→ 0.8km.
To end of camino
63.90
Altitude
710

This high point marks the border between Lugo and La Coruña.

The Road

The camino goes up and over the ridge that divides Lugo from La Coruña. A short distance beyond it leaves the road for a trail and descends through the hamlets of Vilouriz and Vilamor before entering Irago de Arriba.

→ 2.5km.
To end of camino
61.40
Altitude
565
→ 2.2km.
To end of camino
59.20
Altitude
490
→ 0.8km.
To end of camino
58.40
Altitude
450

Welcoming, if somewhat curious, bar. This is the last stop on the Camino Primitivo before it joins the Camino Frances in Melide. The number of pilgrims will increase noticeably. So too will your options for accommodation and morning coffee.

The Road

Between Irago and Melide there are a number of small villages and urban sprawl. The first bars appear on the road into Melide.

→ 5.7km.
To end of camino
52.70
Altitude
455

Although it has been on the menu as far back as O Cebreiro, pulpo (octopus) doesn’t seem to garnish much attention until Melide. Despite its apparent disconnect with the sea, Melide’s thriving Thursday market meant that shipping pulpo was a profitable enterprise. It is served today as it was then: on a wooden plate, garnished only with a healthy drizzle of olive oil and a shake of paprika. It is eaten with a rather crude looking toothpick, alongside heavy Galician bread and a bowl of the local Ribeiro wine. One of the better places to try it is Pulpería a Garnacha, the last door on your left before you get to the main road in Melide.

Melide, long the crossroads between territories, is also the meeting point of the various camino routes which come from the north, including the part of the Camino del Norte and the Camino Primitivo. Because of this, and the proximity to Santiago, the road become a great deal more congested. The melindre is another of Melide’s favorite foods. It resembles a glazed donut and is sold from dozens of identical booths during festivals.

History

Melide is an ancient settlement and despite its importance as a natural crossroad since Neolithic times, it has never been protected by a wall. In Medieval times the overwhelming bulk of the town industries were tied to the camino.

The Road

The traffic through Melide can be dangerous, particularly on market days when booths line the crowded streets and the arrows through town become difficult to spot. Arrows direct you towards a small side street through the old part of town that parallels the main road. There are many other yellow arrows that direct you towards the many albergues in town, they are often attached to adverts or are painted alongside a simple ‘A’. These can be ignored.

To end of camino
49.40
Altitude
450
To end of camino
47.20
Altitude
415
Place
The Road
1037
→ 5.8km.
To end of camino
46.90
Altitude
390

The first building in Boente on your left is the Bar de los Alemanes, and this is the best bar in town. Further down the hill, the camino crosses the main road (caution) where two albergues and a few bars are located.

You can get a sello in the Iglesia de Santiago de Boente, and curiously enough the entrance that most pilgrims use leads directly to the sacristy. A collection of hundreds of prayer cards from around the world adorn the walls, and if the priest is not there to stamp your credencial he leaves it out for you to take matters into your own hands.

The Road

Walking past the church the camino turns right and descends more. The hills ahead are steep in both directions, take it easy.

Accommodation in Boente
Private
→ 2.8km.
To end of camino
44.10
Altitude
380
History

It is said that the ovens that produced lime for the construction of the Cathedral were here in Castañeda. Pilgrims carried the raw materials here from Triacastela and swapped it for lime which they carried to Santiago.

The Road

It is uphill once more, followed by a steady descent into the valley below, steep at points.

Accommodation in Castañeda
Private
→ 2.5km.
To end of camino
41.60
Altitude
305

A bar near the river with a large patio for celebrating a successful walk. The river here is quite cold and the perfect place to dip your feet.

The Road

The camino to Arzúa begins with a steady walk uphill. By the time you reach the road it levels out and the remaining kilometers are flat into town.

Accommodation in Ribadiso da Baixo
→ 0.8km.
To end of camino
40.80
Altitude
350

There is now an albergue in the upper part of Ribadiso. It is located at the top of the climb and before you get to Arzua. The albergue here is bookable online.

Accommodation in Ribadiso da Carretera
Private
→ 2.3km.
To end of camino
38.50
Altitude
385

Arzúa is a pleasant town with almost enough beds for pilgrims. If you find everything to be full and don’t feel like splurging on one of the many hotels in the area, the Polideportivo (sports hall) is often used to house pilgrims. Between here and O Pedrouzo lie a string of very small Galician hamlets of little note. The locals in these parts enjoy telling you, without the slightest tone of irony or sarcasm, that ‘no hay vacas in Galicia’ (there are no cows in Galicia). Hold that thought in your head while you slosh through a soggy trail on an otherwise sunny day.

History

Tetilla Cheese: You might have seen this curiously shaped cheese in the shop windows. If you made a connection between the name and the shape you are not mistaken. It was shaped this way by cheese makers in protest to the bishop of Santiago. At the time the Portico de la Gloria (Master Mateo’s famous sculptures at the Cathedrals main entrance) was being finished and the bishop took issue with the odd smile on the prophet Daniels’ face. The clever bishop followed his gaze across the doorway and found that Queen Esther’s bosom was augmented by a cheeky sculptor. Daniel kept his smile, Esther had a reduction, and we got boob-shaped-protest-cheese.

Fiesta

Famous for its cheese, Arzúa hosts an annual (and three day long) Festival of Cheese in March. They have been doing so for 40 years. Apart from this and several other secular celbrations, Arzúa celebrates Corpus Christi, as well as Nuestra Señora del Carmen, who is celebrated on the 16th of July.

The Road

The camino leaves Arzúa along a footpath, NOT the road. If you arrived at the main square, walk past the church (with your back to the road) and turn right onto the side street. The terrain is pleasant, a blend of trails and paved roads through small towns and lots of forests. There are a few steep sections but none of any considerable length.

Photo of Arzúa on the Camino de Santiago
→ 2.3km.
To end of camino
36.20
Altitude
340
Accommodation in Pregontoño
Private
To end of camino
35.20
Altitude
385
→ 0.9km.
To end of camino
32.50
Altitude
385
→ 1.7km.
To end of camino
30.80
Altitude
345
→ 1.4km.
To end of camino
29.40
Altitude
380
Altitude
370
→ 1.8km.
To end of camino
27.60
Altitude
365

There is a pair of bars in Salceda, and a restaurant (La Esquipa) that is thick with pilgrims every day but Monday when it is closed.

Notice

The camino rejoins the road in Salceda, and while it does not walk on the road it does remain quite close. In fact, the camino crosses the road several times between here and Santiago. The speed of traffic, the curves in the road, and the abundance of pilgrims makes this the most dangerous stretch along the camino. Cross carefully and quickly and always under the road when possible.

The Road

The camino leaves town to the right of a wedge shaped park next to La Esquipa, not along the road.

→ 2.6km.
To end of camino
25.00
Altitude
370
Accommodation in Brea
→ 1.6km.
To end of camino
23.40
Altitude
405
Several roadside bars that cater to trucker and pilgrim alike.
Notice

CAUTION crossing the road, dangerous intersection. 

The Road

The camino crosses the main road at the highest point in the road, there is no marked crosswalk and the arrows on the other side of the road are often obscured by parked cars. You may see pilgrims continuing along the road but are advised against following them as the camino returns to the trail when you turn off the road.

Half way down the hill it splits and arrows indicate that you should either turn left to go under the road or continue straight. Unless you have reason to visit Santa Irene you can keep on straight and avoid the hassle of crossing back over the road. If you continue straight you will arrive at the important part of Santa Irene (the part with the bar).

Accommodation in Empalme
Private
→ 1.0km.
To end of camino
22.40
Altitude
355
Photo of Santa Irene on the Camino de Santiago
→ 1.4km.
To end of camino
21.00
Altitude
280
The Road

Where the camino returns to the road at the start of O Pedrouzo you will find an abundance of arrows and a large map which is nearly worthless. Arrows and dozens of signs advertising various hostels and hotels point in every direction. If you have a reservation, review the map to find the best path, otherwise turn left up the road. If you are not staying the night in O Pedrouzo, cross the road here and continue along the camino.

Accommodation in A Rúa [O Pino]
→ 1.6km.
To end of camino
19.40
Altitude
280

Unfortunately, there is little to say about this modernized town. When it comes to charm, or monuments, or outrageous legends, it comes up short. During the busier periods along the camino the town feels overrun with pilgrims; most of whom are excited to have finished their penultimate day of walking.

Notice

Avoid the temptation of following the main road out of Pedrouzo. There are very few arrows to get you back to the camino and following along the road puts you in very real danger and takes you away from a lovely forest walk. See note below to get back to the camino. 

The Road

If you spent the night in O Pedrouzo, it is important to find your way back to the camino proper which runs through the forest to the north. To get to it, find the intersection of the main road and Calle de Condello (where the Casa do Concello is located). Continue uphill (north from here) and in a few hundred meters the camino presents itself. Turn left and continue through the forest to Amenal.

The camino between here and Santiago is a mixture of rural and urban settings, some forests and some sprawl. The up and downs that you have been experiencing continue: the elevation gain/loss is +308/-339m, a not insignificant amount.

→ 0.7km.
To end of camino
18.70
Altitude
270
→ 2.3km.
To end of camino
16.40
Altitude
250

Two bars, one on either side of a dangerous crossing.

Notice

The camino crosses the very busy N-547 by passing underneath it. Do not cross over the road. 

The Road

Leaving the bar behind you climb steeply uphill a short distance. The path soon levels out on a comfortable trail surrounded by eucalyptus trees. The Santiago Airport is very near, and the camino follows a path around the runway.

→ 0.4km.
To end of camino
16.00
Altitude
285
→ 4.0km.
To end of camino
12.40
Altitude
335
History

The written history of San Paio has been lost to the ages, but the church here is dedicated to San Paio (or Payo), the 14 year old saint who was kidnapped by the invading Muslim troops, taken to Sevilla, and ultimately martyred to pieces and tossed into the río Guadalquivir.

→ 2.1km.
To end of camino
10.30
Altitude
295
History

The name Lavacolla has one of the most debated origins of all the camino towns. They range from the bland “field at the bottom of the hill” to the more profane “scrub your scrotum.” What is more widely accepted is that pilgrims bathed in this river before entering the Cathedral.

The Road

If you walked down the stairs to visit either of the bars at the bottom, turn and walk up the steps towards the Iglesia de Benaval. The camino continues around to the right-hand side and down to cross the road. At the road, cross at the crosswalk and continue along the road and over the famous river (see inset below).

The last hill is ahead, and if you are a stickler for doing things according to tradition you should start running now. It is said that the first of your group to arrive in Monte de Gozo is entitled to be called King. Be advised that there is no prize.

→ 1.3km.
To end of camino
9.00
Altitude
350
→ 3.7km.
To end of camino
5.30
Altitude
365
Accommodation in San Marcos
→ 0.3km.
To end of camino
5.00
Altitude
340

Monte de Gozo, or ‘Mount Joy’, was once the first place that pilgrims could get a glimpse of the Cathedral spires. A new stand of trees blocks the view now. It is a large gathering place for pilgrims, who flock to the over-sized monument commemorating the pilgrimage that Pope John Paul II made here in 1993. The modest Capilla de San Marcos has the last stamp and a small kiosk selling cold drinks.

The Road

You do not need to enter the complex but for the sake of curiosity, carrying on down the road will take you where you are heading.

Pass the outdoor gallery of a local (and gifted) sculptor of stone and cross the bridge over the highway. It is midway over this bridge that you enter the city of Santiago de Compostela but to keep pilgrims from crossing the road half way across the bridge, the sign indicating such has been moved further into the city.

Photo of Monte del Gozo on the Camino de Santiago
→ 1.7km.
To end of camino
3.30
History

This outermost barrio of Santiago was once the closest point that pilgrims affected with leprosy were permitted to go.

The Road

The walk into Santiago is through the urbanized zone that has grown up around the old town. After passing over the highway bridge the first part of Santiago you walk through is the Barrio San Lazaro; the church here is said to be the limit for pilgrims with leprosy. There is a fairly large intersection to cross where the arrows disappear and are replaced by blue and yellow signs on posts.

At last, you will enter the old town, through the Porta do Camiño, winding gently through the stone paved lanes, through the Plaza Cervantes, under the Bishops residence, and into the Plaza de Obradoiro. Congratulations, and welcome to Santiago de Compostela!

→ 3.3km.
To end of camino
0.00
Altitude
250

Welcome to Santiago! There are a tremendous amount of things to see and things to do in Santiago de Compostela; you are encouraged to stay for at least one full day extra for exploring the web of streets, all of which seem to bring you back to the Cathedral.

Your pilgrim related business is likely to start in front of the cathedral, kilometer zero. A shell and plaque mark the spot in the center of Plaza Obradoiro (see below).

If you are interested in receiving your Compostela, the certificate of completion, you will need to visit the Pilgrim’s Office, which was relocated in 2016 to a bright new building. To get there from the Plaza Obradoiro, face the Parador (the hotel on your left if you are facing the Cathedral) and look for the road that goes downhill to the left. Halfway down you pass the public restroom, and at the next street turn right. The office is at the end of that road and is easy enough to find. Note that there are few arrows indicating the way.

The Cathedral is the single largest attraction to Santiago and for good reason. Both inside and out it presents countless treasures to investigate, too many to list in fact but below are the best.

The Cathedral - Plaza by plaza
1. Plaza de Inmaculada, a.k.a. Azabache: As you enter the city, the first part of the Cathedral that you pass is the Puerta de la Azabachería. This is the entrance that faces the Monastery of San Martín Piñario.

2: Obradoiro: From Azabache you pass under the Palace of the Bishop which is adjoined to the Cathedral and cannot possibly be the sort of palace that affords much peaceful sleeping; the sound of bagpipes welcoming you can be heard from dawn to dusk. The stairway leads directly to the Plaza de Obradoiro and kilometer zero for pilgrims. In the center of the plaza is the last scallop shell and you are likely to find pilgrims taking their shoes off for a photo with it, and the Obradoiro Facade behind them.
This facade is the most majestic and most photographed of the Cathedral and was part of the 18th century building projects that took place in Santiago. The baroque design will keep your eyes moving and the massive amounts of glass allow for the illumination of the Pórtico de la Gloria that lies behind it. That Pórtico was the original front to the church designed by Maestro Mateo 600 years before the new facade.

3. Plaza Platerias: If you continue around the Cathedral you arrive at the Puerta de las Platerías (named for the silver craft that still exists in the shops below it). You will notice that some of the stonework stands out as a different material. These are replacement carvings, the originals were damaged and subsequently moved to the Cathedral Museum; and unfortunately the original composition was forgotten, leaving a somewhat nonsensical layout. In front of the doors are a set of stairs and the Platerías fountain, the usual meeting point for pilgrims commonly referred to as “the horse fountain”.

4: Plaza de Quintana: Continuing up the stairs and around the Cathedral we arrive in the large Plaza de Quintana and the Puerta de Perdón. The actual Holy Door is behind this facade (which is not actually a structural part of the Cathedral, it is more like a highly decorated wall around the Holy Door itself). The carvings here are impressive and depict 24 Saints and prophets.

In medieval times it was common for pilgrims to spend the night in the Cathedral, sleeping on the stone floors and fighting (to the death on a few occasions) for the privilege of sleeping close to their chapel of choice.

The best time to visit is early in the morning before the crowds arrive, when paying a visit to the crypt and hugging the bust of Santiago can be done quietly and with a bit of contemplation.

The botafumeiro, quite possibly the largest thurible in the Catholic Church, is swung across the transept (from north to south) by a group of men called the tiraboleiros. It has only come loose from the ropes twice, and never in modern times. At the time that this book was printed, the tradition of swinging it during the Friday evening mass had been canceled. Inquire at the pilgrim’s office for more information.

The Monastery and Museum of San Martín Piñario
The enormity of this Monastery is difficult to comprehend, but if you pay close attention to this building as you walk around Santiago you will find that you are almost always standing next to it if you are on the north side of the Cathedral. There are three cloisters! The facade of the church often feels like it is somewhere else entirely and is quite curious for the fact that you must descend the staircase to get to the doors, rather than the other way around. The reason for this was a decree by the Archbishop that no building should exceed in elevation that of the Cathedral; the architects did not compromise by redesigning San Martín to be less tall, they simply dug down and started at a lower point.

San Fiz de Solovio
Compared to the two churches above, San Fiz feels like an almost minuscule affair. To find it, make your way to the Mercado de Abastos (Supply Market). San Pelayo (the hermit that rediscovered the bones of Santiago) was praying here when the lights called him. Grand and majestic it is not, but the oldest building site in Santiago it certainly is. The church that exists today is not the original, but excavations have revealed the foundations and necropolis dating to the 6th century.

The Supply Market (Mercado de Abastos)
The produce market is a great place to wander for lunch. Compared to other markets in Spain (like those in Madrid and Barcelona) the Santiago market is a fairly solemn affair. In fact, the architecture appears almost strictly utilitarian and is as Galician as it gets. The vendors make the experience, and even if your Spanish is not up to par, it is worth the visit for a glimpse into the way the locals go about their most ordinary business.

The buildings you see today date from the early 1940’s but replace ones that stood for 300 years. In fact, many of the vendors are second, third, or fifth generation market operators.

Alameda Park
Alameda Park was once the sort of place where the people of Santiago would turn out for elaborate displays of personal wealth and stature; the various paths that cut through and around the park were only to be used by members of a certain class. Nowadays it is far more democratic. The park is the site of a Ferris wheel and feria during the Summer months, an ice skating rink during the Winter holidays, and a massive eucalyptus tree overlooking the Cathedral year round.

The Hidden Pilgrim
Hiding in the shadows cast by the Cathedral, in the Plaza Quintana, is the hidden pilgrim. He is only visible at night and might take a while to discover.

And lastly, there are the many other Monasteries, and while it would be a challenge to visit all of them it is important to realize their construction shaped the city that we see today. Taking the time to walk between them will reveal countless little treasures.

Notice

One word of caution regarding accommodation is in order. If you are arriving in the high season, you are advised to make a reservation in advance. There have been several additions to the albergue roster in recent year but the numbers of pilgrims still exceed capacity in the high season.

Fiesta

The Feast day of Saint James is celebrated with a full week of music and dance, with a fireworks display in the Plaza Obradoiro on the evening of the 24th of July. The best views can be had from Obradoiro, or from Alameda park.

Accommodation in Santiago de Compostela
Photo of Santiago de Compostela on the Camino de Santiago