Camino de Invierno

Camino Arrow 209 km – 7 stages

Camino de Invierno

It is thanks to the Association “Camiños a Santiago pola Ribeira Sacra” that we are able to present you here with the official itinerary of the Camino de Invierno.

De Winter Way is a very old camino that was used (and still is, though less popular as in ancient times due to the decay of the pilgrimage in general decades ago) by pilgrims to enter Galicia avoiding (specially in winter) the difficult pass over the snowy mountains of El Cebreiro.

If you are a pilgrim on the French Way, when you get to the albergue in Ponferrada, you’ll have two options: one is to continue on the French Way (and note that in summer, it will become more busy and busy with thousands of pilgrims walking only the last 100k from Sarria to Santiago. In other words: winter is not the only factor that should be guiding you to get off the French Way and continue your adventure on a far less traveled road full of ancient beauty…

If we were able to awaken your curiosity about this Winter Way, you’ll turn left in Ponferrada and you’ll be enjoying wonderful views of the river Sil. The only Way that passes through all of the 4 Galician provinces after crossing the territory of León. Besides the loyal companion of the river Sil, you’ll pass through an archaeological park called Las Médulas (UNESCO World Heritage Site), you’ll cross a big part of the Ribeira Sacra.

In the tab ‘Stages’ you will find the stages as shared on the caminodeinvierno.com site. We urge you to visit this website and check the marvelous pictures. It really makes you wonder why you would indeed walk the final stretch on the Camino Francés…!!!

If daily stages of more than 15/20 km are simply not your cup of tea, just look at the itinerary below and choose your daily endpoints. You can use the name of those locations to search for a place to stay (see tab ‘Where to stay’).

In addition, please remember: most people do not walk any Way in one ‘holiday’. They simply take one or a couple of stages each time they have some time off. Take it easy – not everyone needs to walk 800 km to discover their true self…

In the tab ‘Where to start’ you will find information on the most common (and less common) places to start, including some information on how to get there.

Stage 1 Ponferrada- Puente de Domingo Flórez

35 km

Km 0: Ponferrada (All services)

Km 5,3: Toral de Merayo (cafe, restaurant, post office, bakery, water well, butcher, medical centre, pharmacy)

Km 7,5: Villalibre (cafe, water well)

Km 9: Priaranza del Bierzo (cafe, restaurant, water well, grocery shop, medical centre, farmacy, ATM)

Km 11,4: Santalla del Bierzo (cafe, grocery shop, water well)
Two arrows leaving town and a Mojon towards Villavieja. Don’t follow the arrows to ‘Las Barrancas’.

Km 16,4: Villavieja (Albergue coming soon, water well)

Km 21: Borrenes (grocery shop, bar with meals, pharmacy, rural house, water well)

Km 27,5: Las Médulas (All services)

Km 35: Puente de Domingo Flórez (All services)

Camino de Invierno Stage 1

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Stage 2 Puente de Domingo Flórez – A Rúa

28,5 km

Km 0: Puente de Domingo Flórez (All services)

Km 1,3: Quereño (Arrival in Galicia)

Km 5: Pumares (Natural spring fountain, no other services)

Km 6,5: Nogueiras

Km 10: Sobradelo (All services, including train station and a public pool)

Km 13: Éntoma (bar, well)

Km 16,5: O Barco (All services)

Km 21: Arcos (hotel)

Km 23,5: Villamartín (Albergue, bar, grocery, ATM, hostal, public pool, pharmacy)

Km 28: A Rúa (All services: get here everything you need, the next ~28 km do not offer many services).

Camino de Invierno Stage 2

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Stage 3 A Rúa – Quiroga

24,9 km

Km 0: A Rúa (All services: get here everything you need, the next ~25 km do not offer many services).

Km 7: Albaredos

Km 8,3: Montefurado (well)

Km 9: Hermidón

Km 15,9: Bendilló (well)

Km 17,6: Soldón

Km 20,7: Novaes

Km 24,9: Quiroga (All services)

Alternative route (the ancient way) via Hospital will lead you to visit some remarkable monuments. Follow the way at Caspredro instead of going down to the village and you’ll end up in Quiroga after a few kilometers with the feeling of being very happy not to have missed these few additional steps.

Camino de Invierno Stage 3

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Stage 4 Quiroga – Monforte de Lemos

33 km

Km 0: Quiróga (All services)

Km 1,5: San Clodio (nice river beach on the banks of the Río Sil, point of interest since several ancient roads to Monforte converge in San Clodio)

Km 4,2: Nocedo (well)

Km 13,5: Carballo de Lor (well)

Km 15,4: Barxa de Lor (bar, well, restaurant, hospedaje)

Km 19,7: Castroncelos

Km 22,9: Pobra de Brollón (All services)

Km 25,7: Cereixa (bar, restaurant)

Km 30,2: Reigada

Km 33: Monforte de Lemos (All services)Camino de Invierno Stage 4

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Stage 5 Monforte de Lemos – Chantada

28,5 km

Km 0: Monforte de Lemos (All services)

Km 2,1: A Vide (Quinteiro)

Km 5,7: Moreda

Km 7: A Broza

Km 7,8: Reguengo

Km 9,8: Piñeiro (well, hospedaje)

Km 12,7: Camiño Grande

Km 13,2: A Barxa

Km 14,2: Rendal

Km 14,8: Fontela (bar, restaurant, well, hospedaje)

Km 17,9: Cirdeiro

Km 21,5: Iglesia de Diomondi

Km 23,8: Belesar (bar, restaurant, well)

Km 26,2: Líncora (bar, well)

Km 28,5: Chantada (All services)

Camino de Invierno Stage 5

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Stage 6 Chantada – Rodeiro

25,7 km

Km 0: Chantada (All services)

Km 1,6: Centulle
After passing through Centulle the camino arrives at the highway and a mojon across the road indicates (with a shell) that the camino continues straight. Turn right and leave the road at km 92 to your left. The arrows are the right indicators.

Km 2,9: Casasoa

Km 4,5: Boán

Km 5,3: Lucenza (bar, hospedaje)

Km 8: Penasillás (bar, restaurant, well, hospedaje)
Penasillas marks the beginning of a long climb to the Alto de Faro.

Km 12,6: Ermita de Nuestra Señora de O Faro

On the way up to the Alto you will pass a small picnic area on your right hand side. Immediately after that the road merges with another coming from the right. Turn right here, and that same small picnic area will be on your right again. A short distance on you will come to a left hand curve which also has a service road on the right. Take that service road and when it splits take the path the the right, following along the spine of the ridge with the windmills to your left.

Near the bottom this path crosses over a highway.  Here the signs have been manipulated.  Keep on the road with the windmills, and after the second windmill turn to the left.  There is at least one bar along this route. [source: wisepilgrim.com]

Km 20,3: Casa de Camba

Km 21,7: Río (well, restaurant, bar)

Km 25,7: Rodeiro (All services)

Camino de Invierno Stage 6

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Stage 7 Rodeiro – A Laxe (Lalín)

26,8 km

Km 0: Rodeiro (All services)

Km 5: Penerbosa

Km 10: Eirexe (well)

Km 11,8: Ponte Pedroso (well)

Km 18,9: Palmaz (well)

Km 22,2: Lalín (All services)

Km 26,8: A Laxe (Albergue)

Camino de Invierno Stage 7

 

Camino ArrowContinue on Camino Sanabrés to Santiago de Compostela

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Booking.com

OUR PRIMARY SOURCE: BOOKING.COM

We always use booking.com. There are good things and less good things to say about this site, but the downsides are related to their very broad customer population (you get a lot of hostels in the results that are no way within walking distance. You can apply some filtering based on amount of km from the city center however.

There is one big advantage for us: the map on their site. Once you entered the name of the village (or nearest bigger city) and hit search you’ll get an overview of (lots of!) places to stay. If you scroll a bit down, you’ll see a little map. Click on it, and it will open up a bigger and interactive map with all the locations. Just look near where you are (don’t forget to zoom in to see more locations!), review the info, chose a place to stay and the best part: book it online and you’ll be sure to have a place to stay that night.

We didn’t book ahead (only when we were nearing Santiago as it was getting very busy in all albergues so we knew the hostels would get full soon too). However, it was nice to pull up the app of booking.com during breakfast and estimating where we would end up that day and to have some alternative plan B in case our first choice were to be fully booked.

They also have a filter you can apply to search for e.g. only inns, or… rural houses.We like to get comfortable once in a while…

Here’s an impression of their map for a search on ‘Arzúa’.Booking.com results for Arzúa on the French Way

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Google Maps

Occasionally, booking.com will not have many hostels near you because there are of course lots of small hostels that are not yet on booking.com. This seems to be the case with the example location we chose: Arzúa.

In this situation, we visit googlemaps.com, type a search for ‘hostels in [name of location]’ – Google will suggest immediately a ‘hostels near xxx’. Hit search and you’ll get the results.

Here’s an impression of their map for a search on ‘Arzúa’:

GoogleMaps results for Arzúa on the French Way

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Turgalicia

Once you are in Galicia, the best way to find places to stay is turgalicia.es (English version).

They are the official tourist information site by the local government (Junta de Galicia, in Gallego ‘Xunta de Galicia’). Obviously, it’s their duty to provide this information and being listed on that site is important and free for hostel owners.

This is how their site looks. In the right menu bar you should click ‘Municipalities’ and check the ones you need to search: for the Camino Francés that might be Lugo or La Coruña, where that route runs through. Once checked off the boxes, hit ‘accept’ in the municipality window and search in the same right menu.

use of turgalicia english site

Once you get the results page, hit the button ‘Map’ in the left upper corner menu.

Here’s an impression on their map search for places to stay in Arzúa – it not only gives an additional 10+ places to stay (you will need to zoom in) but it also indicates very well what type of lodging it is (rural houses are the nice green ones) and in the menu above the map you will find many more interesting things (things to see, things to do, etc). Needless to say you can click on each hit and get more information about the hostel.

Turgalicia results for Arzúa on the French Way

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Ponferrada or Monforte de Lemos

The Camino de Invierno is a relatively short trail compared to the Francés.

Starting in Ponferrada would be the most obvious choice but if you have less time and you want a little bit more challenge than Sarria offers as a starting point, Monforte de Lemos would be a good choice.

You can get there by train from Sarria for only 4 Euros.

Consider staying here if you can afford it (90 Euros) and if not, it shouldn’t stop you from at least visiting it!

Parador de Monforte de Lemos

Camino de Invierno - Monforte de Lemos

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