The first stage of the way: Madrid – Tres Cantos
Perhaps the first stage is not the most beautiful of the way at a landscape level, since except for what is Madrid city, the rest lacks landscape interest, however, it should be noted that it is precisely what makes this stage peculiar, as it is not something that is repeated in the following.
Departing from Madrid we must cross the gorge that circulates next to the railroads of the train and of the bicycle lane, arriving at the end of the same one to the locality of Tres Cantos.
Tres Cantos – Manzanares el Real
This stage begins in Tres Cantos and lasts 25 kilometres, so as you can see the first two stages have a certain level of demand in relation to the distances to be covered.
The route begins in the meadows to reach the stream of Tejada and finally reach Manzanares el Real, which is a beautiful village crowned by a large reservoir and unparalleled views of the Sierra de Guadarrama. Please note that if you have time it is advisable to visit Soto del Real, a village a few kilometres away.
Third stage: Manzanares – Cercedilla
This stage is a little shorter, about 20 kilometers, in which we can enjoy the extraordinary views offered by the Sierra de Guadarrama. We will get to know villages like Mataelpino, which has a hostel, and Cercedilla. It has hostels although the youth located on the outskirts are the best for young people.
The fourth: Cercedilla – Segovia
This stage stands out for its hardness so you have to be careful. It’s 30 kilometers, which we’ll take about 30 kilometers to cover. We have to take into account that we have to overcome a difference in level of 600 meters, and then descend 800 meters. We recommend to be careful in the descents, since it is when more sprains are produced by the excess of confidence.
This stage is considered the queen stage, because of its difficulty, however, it is worth it, because it is the one that holds the most beautiful landscapes of the whole route. Point out that it is advisable to leave early so that it is not done at night and in this way we do not have to run in the last stretch because it is done at night.
Segovia – Santa María la Real de Nieva
It should be pointed out that at this stage we will be able to get to know the fields of Castile, which if it is true that they do not have the green of Asturias or Cantabria, it is also true that they have peculiarities that make them unique. However, it is necessary to be careful in summer with the Sun since we are quite exposed to the light of the same one.
To indicate that at the end of the day we will be able to visit the Monastery of Santa María la Real de Nieva of which it is necessary to emphasize its cloister, which counts on 87 capitals.
Santa María la Real de Nieva – Coca
In this stage, which lasts 22 kilometers and we can travel in about 6 hours. We will finally find the land of Valladolid and end in Coca, which is the birthplace of Theodosius the Great. He was known because he is the last emperor of the Roman Empire before it was divided between his two sons.
Note that in Nave de la Asunción there is a small refuge that can make the areas of hostel in the sports center, which is useful if you catch the night, however, you must warn before if you want to sleep there.
Coca – Alcazarén
This stage lasts 24 kilometers which will take about six hours to cover, so it should not stop but neither should we make the stage running because we will miss the views of the pine forests that crown this route.
One precaution to keep in mind is that if you find yourself in one of the stages with herds of cattle you must be careful with the mastiffs, because they are very respectful dogs until you get into what they consider their territory. Don’t play with the cattle since they’ll attack you, most likely.
Alcazarén – Puente Duero
This stage of 25 kilometers has a duration of about 6 hours. Again we recommend that you do not stop too much but do not run either, it is not necessary. Point out that there is only one population nucleus between Valdestillas, which is almost at the end of the tour, so you must go with sufficient means to get there.
Bridge of Duero – Peñaflor de Hornija
This stage is of medium difficulty. It has about 27 kilometers of route and can take about 7 hours, so beware that you do not do at night.
The first town we will reach is Simancas, but first we must cross the Pisuerga river through the medieval bridge. In this stage among other curiosities we can see the statue of the Visigoth king Wamba. This was elected in this town, hence the name of it.
Peñaflor de Hornija – Medina de Rioseco
This stage is easier than the previous one because its duration is shorter. He thinks that we have already exceeded the 100 kilometres by far and, therefore, every kilometre is noticeable. It lasts 24 hours, takes 6 hours and we can see many monuments in Medina de Rioseca. This was an important city in the past, known as the City of the Admirals of Castile.
Medina de Rioseco – Cuenca de Campos
The best way is the one that runs along the Canal de Castilla, because it has more shade. This is to be thankful especially in summer. It is advisable to visit the Torre del Conjuradero which is located in Cuenca de Campos.
The stage lasts 25 kilometres and we can cover it in 6 hours, although we will begin to notice the accumulated tiredness.
Campos – Santervás de Campos Basin
It barely lasts 21 kilometers, which you’ll appreciate, believe me. It will take you less than 6 hours to cover it so you can rest a bit. Remember to stock up in Villalón de Campos as you won’t have a chance after doing so.
Santervás of Campos – Sahagún
This is the last stage since the next thing will be to begin the route of the French Way. For that reason, it is necessary to bear in mind that we already said goodbye to it. Reason why it is convenient to begin the stage with joy but to stop to enjoy the landscape since it is our last stage.
It is important to highlight the Pilgrim Shrine, which is the end of the Way in the strict sense. In the we will be able to observe the mojón that to indicate that only they are already (scarcely) 358 kilometers to arrive at Santiago.
Once we arrive at the town of Sahagún, the route continues following the French Way until it reaches the end, Santiago de Compostela, curiously the city that next to Madrid has the kilometer 0.
Signposting and accommodation
Like all the Ways to Santiago de Compostela, it is marked with yellow arrows and the so-called pilgrim’s shell, thanks to the Association of Friends of the Camino de Santiago, especially since 1996. Nowadays, both the signposting and the infrastructure have been much improved for the pilgrim, so that it is increasingly known to those who decide to do it on foot or by bicycle.
As for accommodation, along the route you will find both public and private hostels and in the most notable cities you can stay if you wish in hostels and pensions and even in hotels. Remember that you have to carry your credentials if you plan to stay in public hostels. If you haven’t already done so, you can get one at the Almudena Cathedral and the Church of Santiago or through the Association of Friends of the Camino.
Finally, we want to give you some advice before embarking on this adventure. The first of these is the choice of time of year to do the Camino in the way from Madrid. It is recommended that this route be done in spring or autumn, as in summer it will be too hot and in winter the temperatures drop too much at the highest levels.
Secondly, we must plan the stages well and make sure of the time we have if we want to get to Santiago de Compostela. The question is not to do it in the shortest time possible, but to enjoy this adventure. Plan well the arrival points as well as to be well informed about the accommodations in which we have the possibility to stay.
Thirdly and finally, prepare your backpack well or if you are cycling your kit for this trip, better prevention than cure. Maybe what to take to the Camino de Santiago on foot or by bike can help you.
If you dare after reading this post to make this beautiful way, we wish you Good Way!