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3
moderate
Activities
  • self guided walk
Accommodation
  • 14 nights in a combination of hotels & farmhouse B&Bs
Meals
  • 14 Breakfasts

15 Days£1150GBP

Overview

Trip Code: CDI

Trip highlights


  • Walk along the newest official route to Santiago and qualify for the pilgrims certificate
  • Experience the Roman history of the trail including Las Médulas archaeological site
  • Enjoy the relative solitude of a less trodden trail
  • Discover the Ribeira Sacra region with its impressive vineyards
  • Reach Santiago on foot and experience the famous pilgrims mass

The Camino de Invierno was recognised as an official Camino trail in 2016, making it the newest route to Santiago. However there is nothing new about this route, having been used for centuries particularly in winter by pilgrims keen to avoid the mountains of O Cebreiro. The route takes walkers through outstanding scenery along an ancient Roman road which follows the Sil River Valley as it meanders into Galicia. Passing through the Ribeira Sacra region is a highlight, being an important wine growing area with carefully planted vineyards hugging the steep mountainside above the river. An option to hang up your boots for the day and visit a wine cellar and enjoy a tasting lunch and catamaran trip is well worth it. Other highlights of the route include Las Médulas which is an archeological park and UNESCO World Heritage Site, the dramatic canyons of the Sil River valley and the solitude a less walked trail offers. This 267km route ensures you are eligible for the official Compostela certificate of completion, which is issued by the Pilgrim's Office in Santiago de Compostela. Your entry into Santiago is from a different and more picturesque part of the city than other routes whilst the satisfaction and sense of joy on completing the route is still shared by other pilgrims on arrival at the cathedral.

Countries:

Spain

Starting Point:

Ponferrada

Finishing Point:

Santiago de Compostela


Itinerary

Ponferrada is a city on the cross roads of the French Way and the Invierno Camino routes to Santiago. It is here that pilgrims in winter veered south on their way to Santiago thereby avoiding O Cebreiro, notorious for poor weather during the colder months. Your pilgrimage begins in this impressive city with its' Los Templarios Castle home to the Knights Templars’ Library. Another sight of interest is the Renaissance church, Basílica Nuestra Señora de la Encina with its 17th-century bell tower. Aside from these great sights, there is a lively historic quarter with interesting bars and restaurants.

Meals:  Nil

The buzz of pilgrims recede as you cross the Sil river and head towards the Castillo de Cornatel which acts as a sentinel on your journey today. The chestnut lined route takes you to Villvieja before reaching the castle and descending to the small village of Borrenes. (22km / 14mi, +550m / 1750ft)

Meals:  B

A superb walk today to experience an important Roman site with spectacular scenery. Departing Borrenes the route takes you to Las Médulas, an archaeological park where you can do a 6km loop to take in the highlights. In the 1st Century, Romans searching for gold used hydraulic power techniques to tunnel into the mountainside. It was abandoned after 200 years and the effect of the ancient technology used by the Romans is still visible today, with the landscape noticeably affected exposing red clay eroded hillsides flanked by chestnut trees. Its a fascinating site and taking in the view of the hills from Orellán is highly recommended. The camino continues with a descent to Punete de Domingo Flórez. (15-21km/9-13mi, +350m/1150 ft)

Meals:  B

The route leaves Castile and Leon to enter Galicia in the province of Ourense, following the flow of the River Sil, starting with an ascent past an old hydro electric facility. The way is undulating along the valley with impressive countryside views and an introduction to the slate mining traditions of the region. The town of Sobradelo is a perfect lunch spot before continuing on a level route to O Barco where wine growing is an important part of its Economy. (18km/11 mi, +144m /475 ft)

Meals:  B

The trail continues along the Sil River Valley with impressive views. Pass by vineyars as you make your way to A Rúa, where evidence of Roman civilisation can be found including Cigarrosa Bridge, which crosses the Sil river. A gradual descent takes you to the town of Montefurado. From here you take a short transfer back to A Rúa for overnight accommodation. (24km/15mi, +158m/520ft)

Meals:  B

This morning (9am) you return to Montefurado to continue walking along the Camino Invierno. The views continue to inspire as you pass by rustic hamlets and a ruined castle and ascend and descend quiet trails to Quiroga. This afternoon you transfer off the trail to a rural hotel full of charm. (17km/10.5mi, +450m/1476ft)

Meals:  B

Return to Quiroga by vehicle and continue through rural scenes following a route that ascends to take in panoramic views. On arrival in A Pobra do Brollon, transfer to a rural hotel a short distance from the town. (21km/13mi, +450m/1476ft)

Meals:  B

Continue walking from A Proba do Brollón along a mainly descending route to the city of Monforte de Lemos, gateway to the Ribeira Sacra (sacred riverside), an important wine growing region. However Monforte has a number of sights including a castle, compact historic quarter and plenty of reminders of ancient times. Tomorrow you have the option to add a day to the trip and take a tour of the Ribeira Sacra including wine tasting lunch, cellar visit, catamaran journey on the river and vineyard experience. This must be requested at the time of booking. There is also the option to upgrade your accommodation to stay in the Parador, a highly recommended experience.

Meals:  B

Todays walk is long and at times quite challenging but there is an option to shorten the stage with a morning transfer to Piñeiro (12km/ 15 minutes). If you choose this option, you will still qualify for your Compostela if you cover the last 100km on foot to Santiago. The route takes you through pretty countryside, then down through the woods to Belesar. It is around here that represents the marker for 100km from Santiago. After crossing the river, a fairly steep ascent takes you up to the town of Chantada. (29 or 17km/18 or 10.5mi, +780m/2560ft)

Meals:  B

A pleasant walk today through rural landcapes and forests to Rodeiro. From here a transfer takes you back to Chantada or a rural house for overnight accommodation. (26km/16mi, +650m/2130ft)

Meals:  B

This morning you return to Rodeiro and continue along the camino trail to Lalín where the route joins the Sanabrés Way and the Vía de la Plata, a route originating in Seville in southern Spain. (22km/13.5mi, +190m/625ft)

Meals:  B

More pilgrims may join you on your walk today as you approach the last few days to Santiago. You will come across the bridge Ponte Taboada built in 912 and surrounded by natural beauty. A mixture of dirt trails and some tarmac to follow before you arrive in Bendeira. (23km/14mi)

Meals:  B

Today's walk is quite varied, including numerous small ascents and descents and a particularly steep one before reaching another old bridge, Ponte Ulla. There will be some unavoidable tarmac walking today, but with hardly any traffic before you arrive in Galegos. (17km/10.5mi, +180m/590ft

Meals:  B

Today's trail will lead you into Santiago de Compostela. It starts with a steep ascent to a charming chapel before leading along country lanes and forest paths through increasingly populated countryside. The last day is always a special one, as you continue downhill to the city. On arrival in the fabled Santiago de Compostela there is plenty to see and do – or you can simply relax and celebrate the end of your journey. (18km/11 mi+250m/820ft)

Meals:  B

Trip arrangements conclude after breakfast. If you’d like to add an extra night, please ask our office for details. It is also possible to add a day trip to Fisterra on the Atlantic coast.

Meals:  B


Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


Inclusions

  • 14 breakfasts : Breakfasts are usually continental inclusive of breads, cheese, ham, tea, coffee & juices.
  • 14 nights in a combination of hotels & farmhouse B&Bs on a twin share basis generally with ensuite facilities (upgrade to superior hotel in Arzua (recommended) and Santiago - supplement applies )
  • Information pack including route notes & guidebook per room booked
  • Luggage transfer (1 bag of 20kg max pp - additional bags and excess weight will attract a surcharge)
  • Visitor tax
  • Emergency hotline
  • Pilgrim's Passport

  • Travel to Ponferrada and from Santiago
  • Drinks, lunches and dinners
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Entrance fees
  • Guide - this is a self guided tour
  • Transfers unless specified. Optional transfer on day 9 possible to shorten the stage by 12 km with a morning transfer (15’) from Monforte to Piñeiro (pilgrims will still qualify for the Compostela, as the remainder distance is greater than 100km)
  • Travel insurance - mandatory
  • excess baggage charges - please advise us if you will have more than one bag weighing a max of 20kgs as extra charges will apply for additional pieces of luggage. Please do not tie smaller bags onto your main luggage as we only include one bag and they will be charged as an extra bag. Charges will be higher if not paid when final balance for your trip is due.
  • Accommodation upgrade to Parador in Monforte (supplement applies)
  • Accommodation to superior hotel or Parador in Santiago (supplement applies)
  • Wine excursion in Ribeira Sacra: Pick up hotel-wine cellar visit with tasting-lunch (drinks included)-catamarán trip 1 h-18.00 h arrive hotel (timetable can change depending on the catamaran trip). Private transport is included (Mercedes type). Guided activities only in the wine cellar and during the catamaran trip. minimum of 2 people. - supplement applies

Accommodation


Suitability

moderate

3

The walking is graded moderate (3). Daily walks are between 15 and 29km on well marked trails over diverse terrain – from relatively flat to mountainous. This is a well worn path where route finding will be reasonably straight forward (refer below for further details on self guided adventures). The main areas to concentrate on route finding are arriving and leaving towns and cities. The accent is on keeping a steady pace to take in all of the attractions, with time to stop and take photos. You will need a good level of fitness to participate fully in this adventure.


Departure dates

Daily

Notes

DN1
Departures from November to February are likely to experience wetter and colder conditions than at other times with snow possible. Winter can be a magical time to experience the Camino with fewer people and more local encounters, but the walking day is shorter.
DN2
Subject to availability over the Xmas and New Year period

Total Priceper person from

£1150GBP

Options & Supplements*
  • Parador Upgrade, Twin MonforteGBP£19
  • Single SupplementGBP£410
  • Single Traveller SurchargeGBP£710
*Prices listed are per person

Frequently Asked Questions

The walking is graded moderate (3). Daily walks are between 14 and 24km on well marked trails over diverse terrain – from relatively flat to mountainous. This is a well worn path where route finding will be reasonably straight forward (refer below for further details on self guided adventures). The main areas to concentrate on route finding are arriving and leaving towns and cities. The accent is on keeping a steady pace to take in all of the attractions, with time to stop and take photos. You will need a good level of fitness to participate fully in this adventure.

In order to secure your place on the trip we recommend you book as soon as you are ready. Bookings open for the following year in mid September.

The closest airport is Santiago de Compostela, from the airport you need to take a bus to Sarria (with one change). Some people prefer not to fly into Santiago de Compostela and instead choose to fly into Madrid. From Madrid you can take the train to Sarria, the journey takes approximately 6 hours.

We are able to cater for gluten free diets, however at times, choices are limited. Breakfasts served at the hotels are generally continental style and we suggest bringing your own gluten free breads or cereals. We also recommend bringing your own snacks. Generally in Europe it is quite easy to purchase gluten free foods from supermarkets and shops, but can be harder in restaurants.

This trip can be booked from 1 February to 15 November. The summer months tend to be busy months on the Camino Trail and the weather can be quite hot. In our experience starting the trip in late April or May, or from September to early October, is the best time to travel. The trail is less busy and the weather is cooler. Galicia experiences rain year round.

The Pilgrim's Passport or 'Credencial' is included on this trip and you will receive one locally. The Pilgrim's Passport makes a great souvenir and way to track your walk. You can ask to have your Pilgrim's Passport stamped at churches, your hotels and many other places along the route.

The Compostela is a certificate of completion of the Camino de Santiago and you must walk at least the last 100km into Santiago to receive it. This trip starts in Sarria which is 110km from Santiago, so you will be able to receive your Compostela at the end of the walk. To show that you have walked the last 100km you will need to have at least 2 stamps per day in your Pilgrim's Passport.

The Camino Trail is exceptionally well waymarked, with yellow arrows and markers used frequently throughout the route. It is nearly impossible to get lost on this walk.

It is possible to book an extra night at any of the hotels we use which would allow you to have a rest day. However, this does need to be advised at the time of booking.


Trip reviews


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Personal Experience

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Our well priced trips offer great value for money. Included in your package are comprehensive route notes, maps & guide books along with bag transfers and locally run accommodation. We take the stress out of organising your holiday.

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We have have been operating active self guided holidays for over 45 years. We handle all the necessary logistics so that you can relax and explore your destination at your own pace. Many of our tours depart daily, giving you even greater flexibility.

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