Ponferrada and the Start of the Camino de Invierno → 5.50km → Toral de Merayo
To end of camino: 
265.10
Altitude: 
539

Ponferrada is a city of about 67,000 people and a very busy stop on the Camino Francés. Because cyclists must start no closer than 200 km from Santiago to receive the Compostela, Ponferrada (about 210 from Santiago) is a popular starting point. The city’s most prominent landmark is its impressive and completely restored Templar castle.

Pilgrims can begin the Invierno trail at the Albergue de Peregrinos San Nicolás de Flüe in Ponferrada, where credentials are available but often little encouragement from hospitaleros. Do not worry: this Camino is well-marked.

Ponferrada has more to offer than initially meets the eye. The Templar castle is one of the best-preserved examples of its kind and offers a good glimpse into what castle life must have been like. The Basílica Nuestra Señora de la Encina is named after a Templar legend according to which her image was found in the trunk of an Oak tree. It is located in the oldest part of town, near the castle.

Fiesta: 

Saturday is market day. The Fiesta de La Encina begins on September 8th and celebrates the patron Saint of El Bierzo, La Virgen de La Encina (oak), and lasts a week.

History: 

Ponferrada was at one point one of the most important of the Roman settlements due to its location at the junction of two rivers (The Sil and Boeza) in a valley both fertile and rich in minerals. Its name derives from the construction of its original bridge. Built in 1082 it was one of the first to be decorated with iron and so Pons Ferrata became Ponferrada. The original bridge no longer exists.

The Road: 

We begin in Ponferrada at the Albergue de Peregrinos where you can pick up a credential and a very basic map of the camino as it passes through El Bierzo. Turn left out of the albergue gate and continue to the first cruceiro. On the sidewalk across the street is the first mojon marking the Camino de Santiago de Invierno. It will take you to your left, down a hill, and cross the 16th-century Puente Boeza (bridge).

Ponferrada will be across the river to your right. Just past the Embutidos Pajariel factory on the left, the asphalt road goes to dirt. Do not be tempted by a trail marked with white arrows that goes off to the right. After the first three km along the Río Boeza, the ascent starts. Keep to the left road, and soon familiar scallop-shell mojones will reappear. Nice views over Ponferrada.

 

TabGroup

Services
ATM: 
Yes
Bar: 
Yes
Grocery: 
Yes
Pharmacy: 
Yes
Medical Center: 
Yes
Correos: 
Ave General Vives, 24401, Mon-Fri: 0830-2030 & Sat: 0930-1300, 987 403 187
Train: 
Yes
Bus: 
Yes
Bus Terminal: 
Yes
Photo of Ponferrada and the Start of the Camino de Invierno on the Camino de Santiago
Photo of Ponferrada and the Start of the Camino de Invierno on the Camino de Santiago
Photo of Ponferrada and the Start of the Camino de Invierno on the Camino de Santiago

Accommodation in Ponferrada and the Start of the Camino de Invierno