Vega de Valcarce is a municipality in the province of León, belonging to the region of El Bierzo. It is framed in the beautiful Valcarce Valley, which follows the course of the French Way for 14 kilometres before reaching Galicia. It is the largest municipality in the valley and comprises 23 localities. If you are on the Camino de Santiago you will pass through some of them: Portela de Valcarce, Ambasmestas, Las Herrerías, La Faba and Laguna de Castilla.
The origin of this town dates back to the 11th century and, according to popular legend, it was born from a Galician family who, before building their first house, lived for a few months inside a chestnut tree.
The history of the village is closely related to the Camino de Santiago and the medieval entrance to the Kingdom of Galicia. The whole Valcarce valley formed a lordship in the Middle Ages and, during much of it, powerful archbishops of Compostela placed in the area numerous feudal lords who divided the lordship in the region.
The feudal lords imposed on anyone who wanted to pass to Galicia a payment known as “portazgo”, something like a toll as we know today. In 1702 King Alfonso VI intervened to suppress this privilege, but it would not disappear until many years later.