The Iglesia de Santa María was once a hospital for pilgrims. Those pilgrims, like today’s pilgrims, had to choose between two westward routes. They did not have maps or gps or Pepe who gives a description of the following days walk every night at 7pm at the municipal albergue.
Keep in mind that Pepe was part of the group that waymarked the Ballota route, so his opinions are somewhat biased. Choose the option that suits you best.
If you arrive early, consider an extra 2km to the beach, signed.
From Soto de Luiña there are two different routes to take. Both are well waymarked and the split is evident. It occurs along the road and there is a marker with two shells indicating which direction to go.
Option 1: Mountain Route - 19.9
This route is entirely mountain walking and is far and away the most scenic option. As the name suggests it takes you up to and along the ridge of the mountain. If you chose this route be sure to pack enough food and water as there are no services along the way. At the point where the camino splits, the Mountain Route turns left and begins to climb.
Option 2: Road / Ballota Route - 19.5
Although this route does not reach great heights, it does do a considerable amount of climbing and descending; it is essentially a long series of switchback shortcuts that parallel the road. A word of caution is in order. Because this route frequently joins the road it is necessary to keep a watch for all the arrows which take you away from it. Although you will reach your destination if you stay on the road, you will walk a great deal farther and do a lot more up and down. There are quite a few more services along this route. To follow it, simply keep to the road where the split occurs.