Primitive Camino (16 Days)

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The Camino de Santiago, which originates in Oviedo and joins the French Way in Melide, is known as the Primitive Way. The name “primitive” is due to the fact that this is the first route of which there are historical references; King Alphonse II of Asturias and his retinue left Oviedo in the 9th century to visit the tomb of the Apostle St. James, discovered a few years earlier.


DAY 2: OVIEDO-GRADO (28 KM): Following in the footsteps of Alphonse II the Chaste on his way to the tomb of Saint James the Apostle, the pilgrimage starts from the Cathedral of San Salvador and, after leaving Oviedo thanks to the trail of bronze shells stuck to the ground, passes through San Lázaro de Paniceres, Llampaxuga – with its medieval hermitage. The first historical monument is the 13th-century Gallegos bridge over the River Nora. This takes you to the Las Regueras neighbourhood, where you climb up to Escamplero, where there used to be a pilgrims’ hospital, first by road and then through a forest of chestnut and oak trees known as the Castañéu del Soldáu. After twelve kilometres, the route descends to Valsera, where the sealed road to Premoño begins. In this village, on the left, is the chapel of Santa Ana, the only visible trace of the old pilgrims’ hospital. Paladín and its rivers Soto and Puerma are the next towns to be crossed, and the district of Las Regueras passes the baton to Grado. Now you can see the course of the river Nalón, the longest and most abundant river in Asturias. To reach it, first cross the village of L’Arache. Once you have crossed the bridge, you will come to the N-634 road, which takes you to the village of Peñaflor, where you will find the church of San Juan. The village of Moscona is just a stone’s throw away, and the route follows a pleasant path along the confluence of the Cubia and Nalón rivers. Finally, the route reaches Grado. Accommodation in Grado.

DAY 3: GRADO-SALAS (23KM): On the second day, those who have slept in Grado will start the day with good climbs to San Juan de Villapañada and Alto del Fresno. After a refreshing break and some once enviable views, now spoilt by the A-63, you descend towards San Marcelo and La Doriga. From here, a slippery path leads down to the road at Casas del Puente. The route then heads towards nearby Cornellana, which is washed by the river Narcea, and continues to its destination, passing through Llamas, Quintana and Casazorrina. Accommodation in Salas.

DAY 4: SALAS-TINEO (22 KM): This leg begins under the arch that joins the palace of Valdés Salas with the medieval tower. After leaving the town we are welcomed by a gently ascending path that is barely demanding, thanks to the oak and chestnut forest that surrounds us and the flow of the river Nonaya alongside the path. We enter Bodenaya along the well-known Camín de Misa and after crossing the national road. Just over a kilometre and a half separate it from La Espina, a village where the N-634 heads away towards the Bay of Biscay. The Primitive Camino continues straight on towards Tineo. Accommodation in Tineo.

DAY 5: TINEO-POLA DE ALLANDE (31KM): From Tineo, a series of more abrupt sections begins, where the landscape is still remarkable and the wide valleys give way to a terrain of woods and mountains, crossing Borres over a series of slopes to take a path on the left that runs parallel to a pine forest. Before entering Samblismo, a milestone points to the other option for this stage, the mountainous route that climbs to the ruins of the Fonfaraón hospital and descends to Montefurado. In this instance, take the one that goes to Pola de Allande. Accommodation in Pola de Allande.

DAY 6: POLA DE ALLANDE – LA MESA (22KM): The Palo Pass is an apt name for the difficult obstacle ahead, but today is one of the most beautiful stages of the pilgrimage. We walk to the village of La Mesa. At the end of the day, transfer to Pola de Allande. Accommodation in Pola de Allande.

DAY 7: LA MESA-GRANDAS DE SALIME (18 KM): At the start of the day we take you back to La Mesa, a short leg with a long descent to the Grandas de Salime reservoir. This is the last leg in Asturias. Accommodation in Grandas de Salime.

DAY 8: GRANDAS DE SALIME-FONSAGRADA (28KM): At the top of the Acebo (Holly) Pass, where this shrub grows, the Primitive Way enters the province of Lugo, Galicia. There are still 145 kilometres to go before reaching Santiago. The scenery until A Fonsagrada is spectacular. Accommodation in A Fonsagrada.

DAY 9: TO FONSAGRADA-O CÁDAVO (26KM): The route follows the LU-530 again. The Fonte do Pastizal is soon on the right, a good place to fill your water bottle. The route continues through a pine forest, but inevitably returns to the road to join another path. The scattered masses of eucalyptus trees that accompanied us on the first two days in Asturias are back today. The most interesting part of the day is the old hospital of Santiago de Montouto, which dates from the 14th century and was still in use at the beginning of the 20th century. The desire to get there makes the last part of the walk seem endless. There are still a few kilometres to go and Cádavo Baleira will only show itself when it is beneath our feet. Accommodation at Cádavo Baleira.

DAY 10: O CÁDAVO-LUGO (32KM): Unconsciously and as if seeking the safety of the big city, the route leaves Cádavo Baleira on a gentle climb that crosses Pradera and crowns the peak of Vaqueriza. A descent through a pine forest leads to the hermitage of Nuestra Señora del Carmen, almost at the entrance to the village of Villabade. Here you can see its Gothic church, known as the Cathedral of Castroverde. Casas da Vina is the last village before we reach the thousand-year-old city of Lugo through the district of A Chanca. We enter the walled enclosure through the gate of San Pedro, next to which is a stone with the inscription: “This is where King Alphonse II the Chaste entered in the 9th century, giving rise the first pilgrim’s route to Santiago”. Accommodation in Lugo.

DAY 11: LUGO-A PONTE FERREIRA (29 KM): Leaving the Roman wall of Lugo behind, you walk to Ponte Ferreira. The itinerary goes from Lugo to San Roman, Guntin and Pacio, until you reach Ponte Ferreira. In San Roman the beautiful hermitage of San Román da Retorta deserves special mention. From its 12th century Romanesque origin, only the façades and the lateral columns remain. Nearby is the church of Santa Cruz da Retorta, also Romanesque and from the same century. When you reach Ponte Ferreira, you cross the small Romanesque bridge with a single arch. Accommodation in Ponte Ferreira.

DAY 12: A PONTE FERREIRA-MELIDE (20 KM): Today you will reach the point where the Primitive Camino meets the French Camino. Melide is our next destination. Melide is at the crossroads of the Pilgrims’ Roads to Santiago de Compostela. The French Camino and the Primitive Camino cross in the centre of the town. The traces of the history of the Camino as it passes through Melide have left us a Pilgrims’ Hospital, dating back to 1502, nowadays converted into the present-day Museum of the Earth of Melide. The Serra do Careón is the gateway to the Primitive Camino in the Terra de Melide. The route of this path passes through the parishes of Vilouriz and Villamor, both with deep-rooted archaeological traces such as forts, stone crosses and fragments of the path paved in the framework of places where the natural landscape seems to have stopped time. It will be in front of the old Pilgrims’ Hospital, now a museum, where the Primitive Camino crosses the French Way, in the Plaza del Convento, the most important square in the town and where the Obra Pía de Santo Antón is also located, which includes the Chapel and the Town Hall. Accommodation in Melide.

DAY 13: MELIDE-ARZÚA (14 KM): After Melide, the Camino passes through Boente and Castañeda before reaching Arzúa, a cheese-making town. On this leg, the Camino is easy and in very good condition, combining earth and stone paths with minor roads between villages, with gentle ascents and descents that alternate with flat stretches.

DAY 14: ARZÚA-O PINO/AMENAL (19 KM APROX): There are still almost 40 kilometres between Arzúa and Santiago Cathedral. The wisest and most logical thing to do is spread this leg over two days, spending the night in either Santa Irene or O Pedrouzo. Arzúa town gives way to O Pino, a comfortable route, with gentler slopes and paths that are always close to the N-547.

DÍA 15: O PINO/AMENAL-SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA (22 KM APROX): We are almost there. The walk is becoming serene, perhaps out of fear of finishing and not wanting to or not knowing what to do next. We reach the last villages on leaf-strewn paths, among the last patches of closely growing and symmetrical pine and eucalyptus forests, in some areas there are even some oak trees. Today’s leg will take us first to Lavacolla. When you reach the summit, you pass the airport and begin the gentle descent towards the village. There is a stream running through Lavacolla, where the pilgrims of old used to wash and purify themselves before entering Santiago de Compostela. Lavacolla, now in the municipal district of Santiago, is very close to Monte do Gozo (the Mount of Joy), a small elevation from which pilgrims get their first glimpse of Santiago de Compostela Cathedral . In the Jacobean Year ’93 El Monte do Gozo was converted into an area for pilgrims. There is a large monument on the summit, a fountain and San Marcos Chapel. From here, the route is practically all urban, reaching the Cathedral through San Lázaro Quarter, Rúa de San Pedro, Porta do Camiño, Rúa das Casas Reais and Praza de Cervantes, to go straight down to the cathedral and enter through the Holy Door if it is a Holy Year, or through the Azabachería door if it is not.

– Accommodation in double or single room. Breakfast incl.
– Transport of backpacks for each of the stages along the route (max. 15 Kg per backpack).
– Accommodation along the way: Hotels, rural houses, hostels or pensions.
– 1 Guided tour of Santiago (historic centre): 2h in Spanish.
– Informative dossier.
– Travel insurance with 24-hour telephone assistance service.
– Support car. Transfers IN/OUT

– Discount for third person in extra bed sharing room with 2 adults 10%.
– Half board supplement (no discount for 3rd person) per person/night €18.00
– Picnic lunch supplement: sandwich, drink and dessert person/day €9.40
– Santiago-Sarria airport transfer supplement: (max. 4)* €162.50
– Santiago city to Santiago airport transfer supplement: (1 to 3 people) €41.25
– Santiago city to Santiago airport transfer supplement: (4 to 7 people) €63.75
– Private transfers and/or support car during the route: please ask.
– Cancellation insurance: please ask.