We say goodbye to Molinaseca with our minds set on Villafranca del Bierzo along a path that leads us to the village of Campo, where we find picturesque ancestral homes and the church of Nuestra Señora de la Encina. We cross the river Boeza and arrive at the city of Ponferrada, capital of the region of El Bierzo. It is well worth a stop to visit the Templar Castle, the main tourist attraction of the city.
We skirt the castle and leave the city. We pass a sports site and take a track that leads us to the Church of San Esteban de Columbrianos. We meet again with the vegetation, saying goodbye definitively to the Castilian farmland. The route continues through Fuentes Nuevas, which has services, and the town of Camponaraya.
A little further on we see a fork that leads us to Carracedo del Monasterio, a variant that adds up to a couple of kilometres and that takes us to an important Benedictine abbey, nowadays in a state of abandonment.
We continue along the original route for almost 6 kilometres until we reach Cacabelos, where we can have a drink and rest. The Camino leads us to Pieros, which shows us a crossroads with two alternatives. A shortcut takes us along stretches of road shoulder, while the official route through Valtuille de Arriba passes through comfortable vineyards and is only 2 kilometres longer. We recommend the official route, as walking on the hard shoulder is always more dangerous.
After choosing one of the two options, we arrive at Villafranca del Bierzo. We will enjoy a relaxing afternoon admiring the Puerta del Perdón, the church of Santiago and, why not, taking a dip in the river beach.
Easy stage that goes along good asphalt and dirt tracks, through vineyards. In summer it is advisable to protect yourself from the sun and heat, as temperatures tend to be very high in this area.
Places of interest
- Castle of the Templars – Ponferrada
- Basilica of the Encina – Ponferrada
- Church of San Esteban – Columbrianos
- Hermitage of the Divine Christ – Fuentes Nuevas
- Church of San Ildefonso – Camponaraya
- Convent of San Francisco – Villafranca del Bierzo
- Main Square -Villafranca del Bierzo
- Sausages from Bierzo
- Bierzo Peppers