Camino Groups

León to Sarria (entering Galicia)

2024 Route Outline

Number of days

8 days’ walking, though with the possibility of extending this with shorter stages.

Description

This is one of the most picturesque Camino stretches of them all – each day brings a new vista! After leaving León and arriving at the Roman town of Astorga, you are then climbing uphill into the Galician mountains, passing the highest peak on the Camino Francés. 

Cebreiro, the Cruz de Ferro and Ponferrada’s Templar castle are all iconic Camino landmarks.

This is a challenging section: while the walk is achievable by people with an average level of fitness, good preparation is strongly recommended. There are steep uphill climbs to Foncebadón and especially Cebreiro as well as sharp descents into Molinaseca and Triacastela. 

It’s about 200 km from León to Sarria; the distance you travel is of course dependent on your final itinerary.

Remember that every trip is unique and we can tailor yours to suit you.

Astorga - statue outside Albergue
  • Price per person sharing is available upon request and upon agreeing  a final itinerary.
  • Minimum booking: 2 people.
  • Accommodation is in ensuite rooms on a B&B basis (typically 3* standard). We choose our accommodations to give you the best value while still maintaining high standards.
  • Private airport transfer from Santiago or Bilbao airport to León and from Sarria to Santiago airport. (once you pass León, Santiago is your closest airport)
  • Bag transfer each day.
  • Pilgrim Passport – we use those issued by Camino Society Ireland – the only officially-recognised Irish pilgrim passport.
  • Detailed walking notes for each stage, as well as ongoing advice and 24/7 emergency phone service.
  • The security provided from booking with a licensed and bonded travel agency.
  • Flights not included. As a licensed travel agency, we can book your flights for you (€20 pp fee applies, no fee for group bookings).
  • Travel insurance not included – we recommend that all customers take out adequate travel insurance (We can also arrange that separately if required).
Day 1 – Fly from Dublin to Santiago or Bilbao.

Private transfer to León, one of the Camino Francés’ great cathedral cities. 

Take the chance to explore León, perhaps adding an extra night to your itinerary to do so.

Day 2 – Walk 31.5 km to Hospital de Órbigo

Hospital de Órbigo is famous for its medieval bridge, the longest on all of the Camino Francés.

If today’s walk is too ling, you also have the option of getting a taxi from León to Virgen del Camino, thus taking 7km off the length of the day.

Day 3 – Walk 16.5 km to Astorga

In Astorga, you can explore the old Roman ruins, the Gaudi-designed Bishop’s palace and the town plaza (keep an eye out for the clock figures above the ayuntamiento – they move on the hour!).

You might like to try the local specialty, “maragato”, for dinner.

Day 4 – Walk 25km to Foncebadón

Today sees a steady ascent once you leave Astorga, passing through Murias de Rechivaldo, Santa Catalina de Samoza, El Ganso and Rabanal del Camino before arriving in the land that time forgot. Foncebadón is a tiny village that was once deserted, but has now begun to recover on the back of the Camino. Nowhere else on the Camino will you feel more removed from modern technology than here – there’s also an amazing paella to be had for dinner if you pick your dinner provider carefully!

Day 5 – Walk 26.5 km to Ponferrada

One of the most difficult days on the Camino, a day that combines a steep climb to the Cruz de Ferro and a difficult descent to the beautiful Molinaseca. Pass the bohemian albergue in the otherwise-deserted Manjarín, walk through the pretty villages of El Acebo and Riego de Ambros and finish up at the Templar castle in Ponferrada. A day within a week that contains a world of Camino beauty.

Day 6 – Walk 23 km to Villafranca del Bierzo

Today is a little easier on the feet and is relatively level from Ponferrada to Cacabelos, a pretty town worth a stop. A short ascent follows before descending into Villafranca. Villafranca takes its name from its occupation by French troops in times past as well as the Bierzo region; it is also home to the Puerta del Perdón, an historically important destination on the Camino. Rest up well – tomorrow will present a challenge!

Day 7 – Walk 28 km to O Cebreiro

Perhaps the toughest stage of the Camino other than the walk through the Pyrenees from St Jean to Roncesvalles, the sore feet are easily forgotten in a day of stunning mountain scenery. From Villafranca, you climb slowly through the villages of Pereje and Trabadelo before reaching the town of Vega de Valcarce.

Soon afterwards, from the pretty village of Las Herrerias, the road starts to climb steeply. On a day when you pass from Castille y León into Galicia, O Cebreiro is your final destination and a jewel in the Camino crown.

Option: You can split this stage into 2 by staying overnight in Las Herrerías, a tiny village lying just before the steep climb to Cebreiro begins.

Day 8 – Walk 21 km from Cebreiro to Triacastela

The earlier part of your day sees you passing the iconic statue of San Roque before a short, sharp ascent up to San Poio. At the end of the day, you descend steeply into Triacastela, a little town in a pretty valley setting.

Day 9 – Walk 17 km from Triacastela to Sarria (San Xil route)

You are now down from the steep hills and in very typical Galician countryside – pretty hamlets, dairy farms and rolling hills.

An alternative route (about 7 km longer) from Triacastela allows you to pass through Samos with its magnificent monastery.

Day 10 – Fly back

Transfer from Sarria to Santiago for return flight home.

Interested? Get in touch