León is undoubtedly one of the most important cities on the French Way; over the centuries it has witnessed the pilgrims’ pilgrimage and has remained faithful to its eternal hospitality. In this section of the French Way from León to O Cebreiro, you will discover small villages of medieval origin, cathedrals, Templar castles and natural landscapes of great beauty such as the Mountains of León and the Bierzo Valley, until you reach the spectacular mountains of Os Ancares.

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Travel Itinerary

León has always welcomed pilgrims, tourists and travellers with open arms. A city that will make you fall in love with some of the most spectacular monuments in Spain. You will have the opportunity to be dazzled by the imposing façade of the Cathedral, which stands out from the rest of the buildings in the old town, and to admire the stained glass windows inside, considered the most beautiful in Europe.

The Romanesque frescoes of the Collegiate Church of San Isidoro, known as the Sistine Chapel of the Romanesque, and the most important façade of the Plateresque, the Hospital of San Marcos, also stand out. And of course, if you are passionate about modernism, you can’t miss Gaudí’s Casa de Botines.

You are in the perfect city to start your Camino de Santiago. A city that combines culture and gastronomy. Between the Barrio Húmedo and the Barrio Romántico, you will find the perfect balance to combine visits to its rich architectural and cultural heritage with moments of “tapas” and relaxation.

You will begin your first day as a pilgrim by following the bronze shells that emerge from the Cathedral. After leaving León, which is somewhat tedious and monotonous, you will head towards the vast seas of cereal fields of the Castilian steppe.

At this stage you will face a dilemma. When you reach the village of Virgen del Camino, you will have to decide between two alternatives: the original route to Villadangos del Páramo that goes through a couple of villages without services, or the alternative that leads us to Villar de Mazarife, enjoying the tranquility of the countryside.

Villadangos del Páramo is one of the most santiaguistas localities of this route, from the iconographic point of view. You can visit the parish church of Santiago Apostle and, at the exit of the village, the lagoon of Villadangos, which is catalogued as a Wetland of Special Interest, as it is one of the most valuable wetlands in the province of León.

Today’s stage is simple and much nicer than the previous one, with hardly any asphalt but with the occasional steep climb. You will enjoy natural spaces until you reach Hospital de Órbigo, where you can discover the history of the Puente del Paso Honroso (Bridge of the Honourable Passage).

After leaving this location, you will again be presented with two route options. Continue straight on along a monotonous road next to the national road or turn right towards Villares, a much more interesting route. The two routes coincide at the Crucero de Santo Toribio.

From Santo Toribio, you can see how Astorga begins to appear on the horizon, a sign that your goal is very close.

You will finish the stage entering fully into the heart of the Maragatería, Astorga. The French Way and the Vía de la Plata converge in this historic city. The years of cultural crossroads, from its pre-Roman and Roman beginnings to its medieval and later splendour, have made Astorga one of the most important points of artistic and cultural interest in our country. This small city has a large number of monuments that are a must to visit, among others, the rich legacy of the Roman era, the Cathedral of Santa Maria or the Episcopal Palace, the work of the genius Gaudi. And to recharge your batteries, you can’t leave without trying its spectacular cocido maragato.

Today the difficulty of the stage will increase a little bit compared to the previous ones because the terrain becomes more and more mountainous. With your eyes set on the Montes de León, you will walk through the Maragatería region, where the Romanesque style is undoubtedly the protagonist.

In the first stretch of the stage you can opt for a small variant that brings you closer to Polvazares Castle, a highly recommended detour that will add an extra kilometre to your stage and will allow you to visit one of the best preserved villages in the region.

In Rabanal del Camino, you can visit the hermitages of Bendito Cristo de la Vera Cruz and San José. As a civil building, the Casa de las Cuatro Esquinas stands out, a famous place because according to history it was the place where King Felipe II spent the night during his pilgrimage to Santiago. Finally, and among other things, in the highest part of the village, you can visit the parish church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, a 12th century Romanesque temple declared of Cultural Interest in 1982, which is a perfect example of the Leonese Romanesque style.

The day begins with a challenge, the ascent to the Montes de León, a natural barrier between the Maragata and El Bierzo regions. A long climb that will take you to the Cruz Ferro, one of the most mythical and emblematic places of the French Way. Many pilgrims bring a stone from their place of origin or from the beginning of their Camino, and deposit it there with the intention that all their problems remain in this place. Moments of great emotion are frequent.

You will continue your stage walking with the Teleno on your left, until you start a steep descent of 17 kilometres down the slope of Monte Irago. After passing through the villages of El Acebo and Riego de Ambrós, you will reach Molinaseca.

Molinaseca is one of the most beautiful villages on this route, in fact, is declared a Historic Site of Cultural Interest, by the good state of preservation in which they are their stone houses, which still look at present a great medieval appearance.

This stage, although long, will be much gentler than yesterday. You will walk through fields of vineyards, passing through quiet villages full of services in which to rest. The landscape will become greener and greener as you go on, Galicia is already close.

The first 8 kilometres of the day will take you to Ponferrada, where you can visit its famous Temple Castle and stroll through the charming streets of its old town. The yellow arrows will take you into the green Bierzo Valley, passing through small villages and roads that run between pleasant fields of vines to the capital of cherries: Cacabelos; a town that will make you fall in love with its narrow streets, its balconies full of geraniums and its thick stone floors.

Villafranca del Bierzo is a monument in itself. We recommend you to get lost walking through its narrow streets, where you will find coats of arms and samples of the traditional architecture of Bierzo, with its characteristic slate roofs and wooden corridors. In this town it is essential to enjoy the rich gastronomy of the Bierzo: botillos, sausages, pies and trout, all accompanied by its rich wines. This gastronomic walk must be done along the Calle del Agua.

This is the queen stage of the French Way. An exciting tour that will stay in your memories forever. Not only for its extraordinary beauty, but also for the feared ascent to O Cebreiro, one of the longest ascents of the whole route. So arm yourself with patience and enjoy, because the extraordinary environment in which you find yourself will undoubtedly reward all your efforts.

O Cebreiro has been considered for centuries the gateway to Galicia from Castile. It is located in the heart of the Sierra de Os Ancares, a magical place of great tradition and mysticism, cradle of legends, mysteries and miracles. Strolling through its cobbled streets is a real treat for the senses, so enjoy and disconnect and savour all the kilometres you have covered; there is no better place to end your Camino.

This last day you are in charge, you can return home or continue seven more stages to Santiago de Compostela. The Galician section is one of the most spectacular of the entire French Way, and arriving at the Plaza del Obradoiro is a very emotional moment worth living.

But in case your Camino is over, we are sure that it will not be your last days as a pilgrim. We congratulate you and we hope to see you again, because doing the Camino de Santiago has only one problem, and that is that you will want to repeat.

Map of the Way

Type of accommodation

Detalles

Services included

8 days / 7 nights accommodation8 days / 7 nights accommodation
Luggage transfer during the stagesLuggage transfer during the stages
Complete documentationComplete documentation
Pilgrim’s CredentialPilgrim’s Credential
24 hour emergency telephone assistance24 hour emergency telephone assistance
Travel insuranceTravel insurance

Optional Services

ServiceIn private hostels from León to O CebreiroIn hostels and guesthouses from León to O CebreiroIn hotels and superior accommodation from León to O Cebreiro
BreakfastBreakfastConsult55€ per person60€ per person
MP (Breakfast and dinner)MP (Breakfast and dinner)Consult165€ per person175€ per person
Supplement for single roomSupplement for single roomConsult105€ per single room125€ per single room
Extra nightExtra night25€ per person55€ (sing. room) / 70€ (doub. room)70€ (sing. room) / 90€ (doub. room)
Breakfast Breakfast
In private hostels from León to O Cebreiro Consult
In hostels and guesthouses from León to O Cebreiro 55€ per person
In hotels and superior accommodation from León to O Cebreiro 60€ per person
MP (Breakfast and dinner) MP (Breakfast and dinner)
In private hostels from León to O Cebreiro Consult
In hostels and guesthouses from León to O Cebreiro 165€ per person
In hotels and superior accommodation from León to O Cebreiro 175€ per person
Supplement for single room Supplement for single room
In private hostels from León to O Cebreiro Consult
In hostels and guesthouses from León to O Cebreiro 105€ per single room
In hotels and superior accommodation from León to O Cebreiro 125€ per single room
Extra night Extra night
In private hostels from León to O Cebreiro 25€ per person
In hostels and guesthouses from León to O Cebreiro 55€ (sing. room) / 70€ (doub. room)
In hotels and superior accommodation from León to O Cebreiro 70€ (sing. room) / 90€ (doub. room)

Photos

Frequently Asked Questions

In this modality you will do the Camino de Santiago at your own pace and you will only have to worry about choosing the route you like the most, the type of accommodation and your departure date. If you choose this option you will travel alone or with the people that appear in your reservation, and you will have all the services included so that you only have to worry about walking and enjoying the experience.
The Way of Saint James on your own includes the following services
  • Accommodation
  • Luggage transport
  • Dossier with information about the stages
  • Pilgrim's credential
  • 24-hour helpline
  • Travel insurance
In addition, you can customize your trip by adding the following optional services
  • Breakfast or half board
  • Private transfers to the start of the stage from Santiago de Compostela or from the airport.
  • Extra night at the beginning or end of the stage
Unlike the group trips, no bus service, guide or support vehicle is included between stages. But you will have a 24-hour hotline where you can contact us in case of any problem or unforeseen event, which we will solve quickly.
Yes, you will have total freedom to choose your departure date. However, if you want to do your Camino de Santiago in the months of December, January and February, we recommend that you check availability before making your reservation. At this time of year most accommodation is closed and many services may not be available.
In your travel documents, you will find the names of the accommodations assigned to you, as well as their contact telephone number and location.   As a general rule, all accommodation is located in the centre of the different towns along the Pilgrims' Route to Santiago de Compostela, without the need to deviate too far from the route. But sometimes, due to lack of availability, it is possible that some accommodation may be a little far from the village or even in neighbouring towns.   For all the accommodations that are at a considerable distance from the route of the Camino, we will provide you with a free taxi service that you can use to get to your accommodation and return to the Camino the next morning.   In any case, these are exceptions that we will inform you at the time of booking.
Luggage transport service by default is included in all our trips and it is not necessary to request it. You will be able to do the Camino de Santiago without your luggage on your back with the peace of mind that your suitcase will be at your next accommodation on your arrival.   Along with your credential you will also receive stickers, which you must cover with the requested information and stick it in a visible place on your suitcase.   Once you have arrived at your accommodation, we recommend that you ask at reception where you can leave your luggage. You will have to leave your luggage at the indicated place first thing in the morning for our carrier to pick it up. This way, when you arrive at your next accommodation your luggage will already be there.
We have a taxi service that you can hire whenever you need it. You can hire it, for example, to go from the airport to the start of your Camino, or to go from Santiago to your starting point to pick up your car once you finish the stage.   The price of the transfers will depend on the distance from your point of origin to the destination. If you have any questions about this service do not hesitate to contact us.
We include a compulsory insurance with each trip that will cover you for any inconveniences that may arise during the Camino de Santiago. We will send you the insurance policy together with your travel documents.
The basic travel insurance included in our packages has a wide coverage against unforeseen events, with which you will also have guaranteed medical assistance and numerous benefits that you can consult in the General Conditions of Travel Insurance.
In your travel documents you will find an emergency telephone number where we are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This way you will travel with peace of mind knowing that one of our companions will help you to quickly solve any problem, incident or doubt that you may have along your Camino de Santiago.
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