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Camino Frances
FR04

Way of St. James from León to O Cebreiro

Distance
Difficulty
Stages
Duration
151 km
●●●○○
6 stages
8 days
from

235 €

This section of the Way of St. James, from León to O Cebreiro, definitively crosses the Castilian plateau. It crosses the fields of León and the historic Maragatería and, further on, continues through the region of El Bierzo, discovering its spectacular Mencia wines and landscapes. All this just before climbing the Os Ancares mountain range to the gates of Galicia.
It travels through the mountains of León and El Bierzo to the gates of Galicia.
Enjoy delicious mountain gastronomy
It ends in the mythical village of O Cebreiro.
Camino Frances
FR04

Way of St. James from León to O Cebreiro

Distance
Difficulty
Stages
Duration
151 km
●●●○○
6 stages
8 days
It travels through the mountains of León and El Bierzo to the gates of Galicia.
Enjoy delicious mountain gastronomy
It ends in the mythical village of O Cebreiro.
from 235 €
This section of the Way of St. James, from León to O Cebreiro, definitively crosses the Castilian plateau. It crosses the fields of León and the historic Maragatería and, further on, continues through the region of El Bierzo, discovering its spectacular Mencia wines and landscapes. All this just before climbing the Os Ancares mountain range to the gates of Galicia.

The recipe for great journeys

Natural, historical and ethnographic heritage, spectacular gastronomy, good company, slow pace and time for time. These are the ingredients with which we design trips in Viando. Are you staying at home? 

Is this trip for me?

Type of trip: Half distance
Journeys to savour slowly, with the best of each space and that indescribable sensation of overcoming your own limits.
Type of services: Configurable
You choose your category of accommodation, if you want breakfast or not, if you want us to carry your luggage, etc. You decide and we will make sure everything runs smoothly.
Travel style: On your own
Programmes designed so that you can travel the route on your own, at the pace set by your steps. Full autonomy and the peace of mind of knowing that we are with you if you need us.
Physical demands: Hiking
Routes of small or medium physical demand, of medium distance (20-30 km / day) and surfaces that facilitate walking, and that can be covered autonomously.

Services included

Accommodation
monitored

Full documentation

Pilgrim's badge

24h travel assistance

Advanced travel insurance

VAT and taxes

And also...

Luggage transport
Private transfers
Breakfast
Half board (dinners)
Cancellation insurance

Free if you book through our website

Luggage transport
Private transfers
Reinforced breakfasts
Half board (dinners)
Cancellation insurance

Itinerary

Day 1. Arrival in León

To do the Camino de Santiago from León, the first thing to do is to get to this provincial capital. You can do it on your own, because it is well connected, or hire the optional transfer that we offer.

In any case, León offers a wide variety of monuments of great relevance and if you have an extra day, we recommend you to book an extra night to dedicate time to it.

One of the finest Gothic cathedrals awaits you here, the Cathedral of Santa Maria, with its high ceilings and impressive stained glass windows. Also located here is the so-called "Sistine Chapel of Romanesque art", the crypt of the Basilica of San Isidoro. Tickets are limited and sell out quickly in the summer months. If you want to visit it, let us know and we will reserve them for you.

Hostel: Hostel Quartier Leon Jabalquinto or similar
Standard accommodation: Hotel Neru or similar

Day 2. Stage León - Hospital de Órbigo

Distance: 31.8 km
Difficulty: ●●○○○
AccommodationHospital de Órbigo

This first stage is basically flat. When we reach the town of Virgen del Camino we will have to decide between the historic route or the variant through Villar de Mazarife.

We recommend that you continue along the historic section, because despite being urban, it allows you to shorten your journey today by 4.2 km. However, if you opt for the variant, let us know so we can find you the best accommodation in Villar de Mazarife and not in Hospital de Órbigo.

Be careful with this fork because the signposting gets a bit confusing as both paths are marked with yellow arrows. The jewel of Hospital de Órbigo is undoubtedly the magnificent medieval bridge of Paso Honroso, from the 13th century, which is located on the old Roman road León-Astorga.

Hostel: San Miguel Hostel or similar
Standard accommodation: Don Suero de Quiñones Guesthouse or similar

Day 3. Stage Hospital de Órbigo - Astorga

Distance: 16.5 km
Difficulty: ●●○○○
Accommodation: Astorga

From Hospital de Órbigo we will gradually perceive the beginnings of a mountainous terrain. These are modest mountains that have nothing to do with what is to come in the last stages as we enter Galicia.

Just outside Hospital de Órbigo there are again two good options: the first, turning off to the right, goes through villages such as Villares de Órbigo or Santibáñez de Valdeiglesias along paths through woods and fields, but the route is 1.2 km longer.

The second option, straight on, follows a path alongside the main road to the Santo Toribio crossroads, which offers a panoramic view of the city of Astorga, which is only 3.6 km away.

Named as Asturica Augusta The city was built by the Romans, so when you arrive you can enjoy some of its most notorious charms. We recommend a visit to the Cathedral and the impressive Archbishop's Palace, and, if you have a sweet tooth, a visit to the Chocolate Museum.

Hostel: San Javier Hostel or similar
Standard accommodation: Hotel Imprenta Musical or similar

Day 4. Stage Astorga - Rabanal del Camino

Distance: 26.8 km
Difficulty: ●●○○○
AccommodationRabanal del Camino

We continue on this Way of St. James from León to O Cebreiro, leaving Astorga behind us to find the small Ecce Homo Chapel, a place of great symbolism. Further on, in Murias de Rechivaldo, you can choose to continue along the official route or take a variant (less than 1 km further) that takes you to the village of Castrillo de los Polvazares, declared a historic-artistic site and a magnificent example of Maragata architecture.

From there, you will soon reach Santa Catalina de Somoza and further on Rabanal del Camino, where you will find the 18th century chapel of the Bendito Cristo de la Vera Cruz. Also here is the Casa de las Cuatro Esquinas, where Philip II is believed to have spent the night on his pilgrimage to Compostela. A magnificent end to the stage to get to know this picturesque town.

Hostel: La Senda Hostel or similar
Standard accommodation: El Tesín Inn or similar

Day 5. Stage Rabanal del Camino - Ponferrada

Distance: 26.8 km
Difficulty: ●●●○○
Accommodation: Ponferrada

In the fourth stage of the Camino de Santiago from León we will cross the mountains of León, the natural barrier between the regions of La Maragatería and El Bierzo, through a fully mountainous route.

The section begins with a steep ascent to the Cruz de Fierro, an emblematic point on the Way of St. James at 1,496 metres above sea level.

From there we continue onwards and upwards to the village of Manjarín, where we can see the unique Tomás Martínez hostel-shelter with Templar images, which offers the assistance services of the ancient order.

We are now close to reaching an altitude of 1,505 metres, the highest point of the stage, to then begin the long descent to Ponferrada, crossing two beautiful villages: El Acebo and Molinaseca, where it is worth stopping to recharge our batteries.

On your arrival in Ponferrada we recommend you visit the Castle of the Templars, the church of Santo Tomás de las Ollas, from the 10th century and one of the best examples of Mozarabic style, or the basilica of La Encina, in Renaissance style and which houses the patron saint of El Bierzo.

Hostel: Guiana Hostel or similar
Standard accommodation: Hotel Aroi Bierzo Plaza or similar

Day 6. Stage Ponferrada - Villafranca del Bierzo

Distance: 22.5 km
Difficulty: ●●○○○
Accommodation: Villafranca del Bierzo

After the toughness of the previous day, this fifth stage takes pity on us. Without significant slopes, the section corresponds to the region of Bierzo, a large bowl surrounded by mountains, with a microclimate ideal for wine production but which can lead to high temperatures without shade for pilgrims.

When you reach Pieros you have to make a new choice: you can either continue along the official route or take the shortcut along the road. Our recommendation is to continue on the official road, which is better conditioned and less dangerous, until you reach Villafranca del Bierzo.

At the entrance you will pass by the Romanesque church of Santiago, where you will find the famous Puerta del Perdón (Door of Forgiveness). Here, disabled pilgrims could gain the Jubilee thanks to a privilege granted by Pope Calixtus III in the 15th century without having to reach Santiago de Compostela.

Villafranca's historical heritage, with elements such as the castle, the Calle del Agua, the collegiate church and the church of Santiago are well worth a visit after lunch.

Hostel: Femita Vineyard or similar
Standard accommodation: Casa Méndez or similar

Day 7. Stage Villafranca del Bierzo - O Cebreiro

Distance: 28 km
Difficulty: ●●●●○
AccommodationO Cebreiro

Last stage of this section of the Camino de Santiago from León to O Cebreiro and, undoubtedly, one of the hardest of all the French Way, especially the last 8 km.

On leaving Villafranca del Bierzo you can take the Pradela variant path, also known as the "mountain variant". It is 1.5 km longer than the historic route and has a steeper climb, but you can enjoy stunning views of the Valcarce valley and a quiet walk through chestnut forests, returning to the official route at Trabadelo.

If you continue along the official route, the first town will be Pereje, whose pilgrim influence can be seen in the church of Santa María Magdalena, the pilgrims' hospital, the old prison and the hostel. In Trabadelo you can still appreciate the traces of the Romans who extracted gold in this area. Just four kilometres away is La Portela de Valcarce, which owes its name to the payment (portazgo) that the feudal lords imposed on all those who wished to pass into Galicia.

From this point, the Way of St. James that we start in León requires a special effort due to the hard ascent to O Cebreiro. The cultural jewel of this stage is located at an altitude of 1,300 metres, with its privileged views, its legends, its pre-Romanesque church and its pallozas restored.

Hostel: Casa Campelo Hostel or similar
Standard accommodation: Hotel O Cebreiro or similar

Day 8. Welcome to O Cebreiro, congratulations!

After yesterday's stage you deserve to have a good rest and enjoy the views and the landscape of a town with real charm, despite being really small.

Barely a kilometre and a half from O Cebreiro you will find a large milestone that informs you of your entry into Galicia, perhaps one of the most photographed on the route. And no wonder.

Be sure to enjoy the cheese with the Designation of Origin of O Cebreiro, a soft cheese with a rich flavour that you will find in the small shops in the town.

Gain free cancellation
when booking on the website

Frequently asked questions

What to expect from this tour?
Most people who do this section of the Camino have in mind to complete it later from O Cebreiro to Santiago, so it is a good way to divide the entire route from León to the city of the apostle if you do not have enough days to do the entire route. It is a route of great ethnographic interest, with a profile that becomes more complicated as it crosses the region of El Bierzo, and which presents its greatest challenge in the last stage, when you have to climb O Cebreiro (one of the most intense climbs of the French Way). Nevertheless, thousands of people walk it every year and it is an exercise in self-improvement.
The French Way between León and O Cebreiro is open all year round. Although it can be done in the middle of winter, taking into account a series of technical conditions (more information here) and the presence of snow, the most advisable time is usually spring or the first half of autumn, when the weather is milder. It can also be done in summer, although temperatures can reach high records and it is necessary to take this into account.
All stages of this route can be completed on foot, so there is no need for additional transfers. There is the possibility of including transfers both to the starting point and from the end point of the route.
Both hostels and standard category accommodation (private rooms with private bathroom) are available on this route. You can find more information about the categories of accommodation we use in Viando. in this link.

By default and compulsory, all our programmes include travel insurance with specific coverage for the Camino de Santiago. You can see the details in the section Insurance of our website. 

All our programmes include a 24-hour telephone support service, should you need help at any time during your experience. This means that you can also contact us outside office hours (when you are on pilgrimage). 

If you want to book this programme, you have the following options available a form where you can indicate the starting date, the type of accommodation and a series of optional services. The price will be updated according to the options you choose, so you have full control. Once you have configured your trip, click on "Book" to make the payment.

Once we receive your request, you will automatically receive a proof of purchase and within 48 working hours we will contact you to confirm the details of your booking and provide you with the documentation. 

In Viando we also work with tailor-made programmes (short stages, intermediate rest days, itineraries different from those proposed, etc.). If you are looking for a Camino that meets your needs/preferences, you can ask us for a quote. here.