Walking the Camino Francés to Santiago de Compostela

The “Camino Francés” from León to O’Cebreiro

A Self-Guided Trip lasting 10 Days & 9 Nights

After a first night in the historic city of León, this itinerary covers approximately 170 km of the Camino Frances route over the course of 8 days of walking to finally enter Galicia and end in the emblematic hilltop hamlet of O’Cebreiro.

  • The unique energy and camaraderie of the “pilgrimage” – every day you’ll share the trail with fellow pilgrims from around the world, and inevitably, the traveller soon finds herself imbued with the unique and magical spirit of the “Camino “.
  • León – this UNESCO World Heritage city is home to some of Europe’s greatest masterpieces of Gothic art and a wonderful pilgrim’s atmosphere, its old quarter is perfect for strolling and enjoying tapas and the excellent local wine.
  • Some of the Camino’s most emblematic and fascinating sites – this section of the Camino definitely offers some of the pilgrimage’s most interesting towns, villages and spots such as Astorga, Castrillo de los Polvazares, Cruz de Ferro, Manjarín, Villafranca del Bierzo and O’Cebreiro.

 

Day
1

León

Independent arrival in León. Explore on your own, there’s lots to see, including some of the world’s finest stained glass windows in the Gothic cathedral or the amazing Romanesque frescos in the “Pantheon of Kings”. Overnight: in León, just steps from the cathedral 

Day
2

León to Orbigo

After a long exit from León, our trail follows quiet country lanes and farm tracks across a mix of gently undulating and very flat, mostly treeless terrain known as paramos (barren heathlands) so typical of western León. Overnight: near Hospital de Orbigo

Day
3

Orbigo to Astorga

On entering Hospital de Orbigo, you cross a beautiful and very famous bridge, subject of one of the most romantic legends of the Way. The Way wends across gently rolling scrubby farmlands, culminating with a superb and oft-photographed panorama of historic Astorga from the emblematic cross of St.Toribio before descending into the one of  Spain’s most important towns under the Roman empire. Overnight: Astorga 

Day
4

Astorga to Rabanal del Camino

Mostly level terrain 1st 2/3 of the day, with gentle climb to Rabanal at end of stage. Just off the main Camino, stone-built Castrillo de los Povazares is one of Spain’s best preserved medieval villages. The walk from there to Rabanal passes through more typical stone villages and gently rolling heaths. Overnight: Rabanal del Camino 

Day
5

Rabanal del Camino to El Acebo

The Way climbs up steadily on rocky trails, farm tracks and quiet country lanes through beautiful landscapes of windswept, largely treeless heaths, with broom, Mediterranean aromatics and heather on the approach to emblematic iron cross called “cruz de ferro”, with an enormous mound of stones placed by pilgrims at its base. A bit further on, reach highest point on the entire Camino in Spain (1517 m),  before descending into the tiny stone village of El AceboOvernight: El Acebo

Day
6

El Acebo to Ponferrada

A short but intense stage today, begining with a lovely but steep descent through hamlets and river valleys with great views to attactive little Molinaseca, a good spot for an early lunch. Ponferrada, is the capital of El Bierzo, a fertile pocket of verdant low hills and valleys ringed by large mountains, justly famed for its wine, cured meats, preserved fruits and vegetables. The town is also home to one of Spain’s finest castles, built by the order of the Knights Templar. Overnight: Ponferrada

Day
7

Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo

Soon you are in the heart of wine country and rural landscapes, walking among vineyards, cherry orchards and vegetable patches on your way to Villafranca del Bierzo. Considered the “gateway to Galicia”, the last major town before the Way begins the arduous ascent to O’Cebreiro, it is sometimes known as “Little Compostela” for its wealth of historic sites. Overnight: Villafranca del Bierzo

Day
8

Villafranca del Bierzo to Ambasmestas

There are 2 different routes out of Villafranca, the standard route often closely paralleling a quiet main road, and a more challenging high level route through the hills to the N of the main road, which merge in Trabadelo, 4.5. km before Ambasmestas Overnight: Ambasmestas

Day
9

Ambasmestas to O’Cebreiro

A short, but challenging —and beautiful— walk up the lush Valcarce Valley. This is the Camino’s steepest climb, through dense chestnut and oak forest and tiny hamlets and then a final few kilometres among high pastures, crossing the Leon/Galicia border shortly before reaching O’Cebreiro. With its curious pre-Roman thatch-roofed dwellings called pallozas, the chapel of this fascinating hilltop stone village is the site of one of the Camino’s most famous legends.  Overnight: O’Cebreiro

Day
10

Departure from O’Cebreiro

After breakfast, transfer by taxi to one of several possible hubs for travel within Spain or overseas, such as Santiago de Compostela or León. Consult us for more details! 

 

Includes: 

  • 9 nights accommodation
  • 9 breakfasts, 3 dinners with local wine and bottled water. Other nights to explore on your own
  • Local maps of León and Astorga
  • Custom-written, detailed daily route instructions, hotel contact information, public transport schedules and other information necessary to complete your personal itinerary.
  • Luggage transfer (as required by itinerary, days 2 – 9, between walking starting (León) and ending (O’Cebreiro) points).
  • Local English-speaking Iberian Adventures contact
Extra night prices include excellent buffet breakfast and taxes. 
Prices per person:
In twin/double rooms: —-€

Single room Supplement: —€

Extra nights in León:
80€per person (double/twin)
120€ per person (single room)
Discounts for 3 or more people. Consult us.
  • Duration: 10 Days, 9 Nights
  • Meeting Point: León—various public transport options: daily connections to Madrid & Barcelona by air; several daily connections to Madrid and other Spanish cities by rail and bus. For further details on getting to and from our trip start points, please see our FAQ’S page or consult us for more info.
  • Ending Point: O’Cebreiro—several options: eg. transfer by taxi to one of several points for further travel by air, rail or bus: Santiago (2 hrs), León (2 hrs); Ponferrada (45 min). For further details on getting to and from our trip start points, please see our FAQ’S page or consult us for more info.
  • Walk Difficulty and Terrain: C – due to length of walks, averaging 21.5 km daily over 8 days walking for a total of approximately 189 km. For most people this would be about 5 to 6 hours of walking.
  • Accommodations: we use the best available lodgings in each overnight stop in rural areas (usually 2* – 3* hotels or equivalent inns). In larger towns such as León,  Astorga and Villafranca del Bierzo we usually use quality 3* properties with plenty of charm and character. Upgrades to 4 * or 5* historic hotels such as paradors or similar are available in León and Villafranca del Bierzo.
  • Dates: start any day between March 1 and October 30.
  • Minimum Group size: 1

French Pilgrim’s Way Photo Gallery