18 days
Moderate to Challenging

  Escape the crowds on the original pilgrim trail to Santiago

  Get the real pilgrim feeling completely off the beaten track

  Peaceful walks in the unspoilt countryside of Asturias and Galicia

  Enjoy the luxury of luggage transport and private transfers

  Discover traditional Spanish villages and market towns along the Camino Primitivo

Walking the Camino Primitivo

The Camino de Santiago is undoubtedly one of the great historical pilgrimages. This well-trodden route has been followed by pilgrims throughout the centuries, trekking over the rolling hills of northern Spain on their way to the Holy City of Santiago. The Camino’s origin can be traced to the miraculous 9th century appearance of the bones of apostle St. James in what was then a rural Galician village. Word spread throughout the Christian world and pilgrims came from all over Europe to visit the town. Among the first to undertake the journey was King Alfonso II of Asturias. He travelled from Oviedo, via Lugo, to Santiago and invited fellow kings and noblemen to follow in his footsteps.

The original camino route

The Camino Primitivo is the original route taken by King Alfonso, which became very popular in the early Middle Ages. It is a quieter and more challenging alternative to the more well-known Camino Fraces, and is ideal for walkers seeking to escape the tourist crowds. You will walk through the unspoilt regions of Asturias and Galicia, an area of rural beauty and tranquillity with traditional villages and market towns steeped in history. The first stage, across the mountains, is one of the most challenging of all Camino routes but the scenery is breath-taking. You then follow ancient paths through picturesque farmland, where you are assured of a warm welcome from friendly locals. Near Lugo, the route joins the more popular French route, which you then follow to Santiago.

Self-guided walking with luggge transportation

During this pilgrims’ route you will stay at comfortable hotels and rural guesthouses (rooms with en-suite facilities) and enjoy the luxury of luggage transport and private transfers.

17 DAY TOUR From €1,779 per person sharing*

*Discounts available for triple rooms. Please enquire for prices.
*A supplement will apply to solo walkers.

9 DAY TOUR It is also possible to walk either the first or second half of this route:
  • From Oviedo to Fonsagrada (9 days)
  • From Fonsagrada to Santiago de Compostela (10 days)

Please enquire for prices.

ACCOMMODATION A selection of different accommodations, ranging from traditional village hotels (2 nights), rural guesthouses (2 nights), charming and comfortable rural hotels (7 nights) to 3- and 4-star city hotels (5 nights). All rooms with en-suite bathroom. See the itinerary section for details of hotels for each night.
AVAILABILITY You can start on any day of the week, subject to availability, between April and October.
17 nights accommodation with en suite facilities
17 Breakfasts
9 Dinners
Luggage transfers
transfers as described in the itinerary section
Detailed walking notes &  maps
GPS tracks
Pre-departure information pack with logistical information
24/7 telephone support
Flights & travel insurance
Dinners not mentioned above
Pack lunches
Optional taxi transfer on day 8
Transport to start or from end of Camino
Anything else not mentioned in the “included” section
Additional nights before, during or after the walk
Single Room Supplement(s)

The capital of Asturias, Oviedo is a charming town that is full of character. Be sure to visit the Gothic Cathedral devoted to San Salvador, an important Saint for pilgrims going to Santiago. Enjoy the lively atmosphere in the old town centre with plenty of cafés, restaurants, bodegas and cider houses, just around the corner from your comfortable city hotel****.

Overnight: Hotel Campoamor

Distance: 23 km | Ascent: 250 m | Descent: 375 m | 6½ hrs approx

On your first walking day, you follow the Jacobean copper shells through narrow lanes in the city centre, then out into the green Asturian countryside. Tarmac lanes and old footpaths take you past quiet villages, some of which still have pilgrims’ hostels and historic inns. From Puerma, you continue along the main road to Grado. A short transfer from there will take you to your charming rural hotel*** in Sama de Grado.

Overnight: Hotel Rural Casa de la Veiga

Distance: 21 km | Ascent: 425 m | Descent: 350 m | 6 hrs approx

The first part of the route from Grado to Salas follows narrow trails and country roads through hilly countryside to Cornellana Monastery. Founded in 1024, this was a centre of great religious and political importance throughout the early history of the Christian kingdom of Asturias. For the second part of today’s route, from Cornellana to Salas, you’ll have to take a few detours, as the motorway is still under construction here.

Overnight: Casa Sueño

Distance: 20 km | Ascent: 575 m | Descent: 300 m | 6 hrs approx

After a short ascent through beautiful rural countryside outside Salas, you again follow the main road for about 5km (in ascent) as far as La Espina. The next section on the way to Tineo takes you through woodlands and fields, along quiet and peaceful country tracks. In Tineo’s historical centre you will find your accommodation

Overnight: Hotel Palacio de Meras

Distance: 18 km | Ascent: 500 m | Descent: 300 m | 6 hrs approx

After a hearty breakfast in Tineo you will walk through woodlands once more to reach the peaceful setting of Obona, with its historic Monasterio de Santa María la Real. Then you continue on to Campiello and your next accommodation, a welcoming family-run establishment

Overnight: Casa Herminia

Distance: 18-22 km | Ascent: 520-615 m | Descent: 450 m | 7-8½ hrs approx

The taxi driver will take you to Borres to begin your walk along the original high route, or “ruta de los hospitales”, crossing steep slopes to reach Puerto el Palo. Several pilgrims’ hospitals were built here centuries ago – on either side of the mountain pass – due to the extreme weather conditions in winter. You will enjoy superb views on your way up to the highest point, the pass of “Puerto El Palo”. From there you’ll continue for another 9,5km – mainly on the road – to reach your hostel in Berducedo.

Overnight: Casa de Aldea Araceli

Distance: 15 km | Ascent: 330 m | Descent: 970 m | 6 hrs approx

From the tiny village of Berducedo, the Camino first ascends up to the windmills above La Mesa, before a steep descent down to Lake Salime. You’ll enjoy superb views for the first 5 km, then the lovely shade of chestnut trees as you walk down to meet the road. The last 2,5 km follows the tarmac road across the dam and up to your hotel in Grandas de Salime

Overnight: Hotel Las Grandas

Distance: 5 km | Ascent: 310 m | Descent: 20 m | 2½ hrs approx

After your first week on the pilgrimage, you may wish to take a day off to rest and relax. If you prefer to do a walk today, there are 2 routes to choose from: a short walk to the village of Grandas de Salime, where you can visit the ethnographic museum or take a dive in the local swimming pool OR a 5 km section on the Camino, from Lake Grandas to Castro, where you can visit Chao Sanmartin; an interesting archaeological site of Celtic and Roman origin. You can book a taxi transfer back to the hotel.

Overnight: Hotel Las Grandas

Distance: 20 km | Ascent: 530 m | Descent: 225 m | 6 hrs approx

Begin the day with a short transfer to Castro to continue your pilgrims’ tour with a section which more or less follows the main road to Puerto El Acebo (1165 m), the gateway to the province of Galicia. You will walk mostly on the main road, taking frequent shortcuts, especially on the descent down into Galicia. At the end, there’s one more short ascent to reach the town of Fonsagrada, not a very pretty village but friendly in its own way, with all the major services a pilgrim requires.

Overnight: Hostal Cantábrico

Distance: 14.5 km | Ascent: 400 m | Descent: 650 m | 5 hrs approx

From Fonsagrada you first descend to the village of Póboa de Burón, to pick up the oldest of all Camino Primitivo trails, a high route across green pastures and fields of heather to the ruins at Hospital de Montouto (another pilgrims’ hospital of ancient origin). After an easy descent to Paradavella, a taxi transfer will take you back to Fonsagrada for the night, as there is no other suitable accommodation nearby.

Overnight: Hostal Cantábrico

Distance: 20 km | Ascent: 400 m | Descent: 475 m | 6 hrs approx

After a taxi transfer to Paradavella (or a bit further, if you want to shorten the walk), today’s route mainly follows rural tracks through wooded areas and open fields, with some short sections on the main road. After O Cádavo, you walk through Villabade (interesting church) before finally reaching Castroverde.

Overnight: Casa Rural La Longarela

Distance: 22 km | Ascent: 150 m | Descent: 250 m | 6 hrs approx

Today you can really enjoy the beauty of Galician countryside, as you walk on quiet tarmac lanes and dirt tracks from one hamlet to the next, passing beautiful examples of traditional architecture along the way. Your hotel*** is located in the heart of Lugo’s historical centre, just 100 m from the splendid Roman walls, a UNESCO World heritage site.

Overnight: Hotel Pazo de Orbán

Distance: 26½ km | Ascent: 200 m | Descent: 200 m | 8 hrs approx

From Lugo onward, several Caminos come together to join the main French Route (Camino Francés). Today you have a long walk to reach the next accommodation, situated in Ferreira. The route follows quiet country roads through wooded landscapes. You can easily shorten today’s stage by taking a taxi from Lugo.

Overnight: Casa da Ponte

Distance: 20 km | Ascent: 280 m | Descent: 350 m | 5 hrs approx

Luckily, today’s stage is not as long as yesterday’s. However, the Camino starts and continues uphill until O Requián, and then there is another climb to Monte da Feira. Once there, the route will be a piece of cake until Melide!

Overnight: A Lua do Camiño

Distance: 14 km | Ascent: 150 m | Descent: 200 m | 4 hrs approx

A shorter walking day today, beginning in Melide. You have now joined the French Route, or Camino Francés, which is the most popular of all the Camino variants. Suddenly, you find yourself among a multitude of pilgrims from all over the world, as you follow trails, country roads and footpaths parallel to the main road. Your accommodation for this evening is located just outside the village of Arzúa.

Overnight: Pazo de Santa María

Distance: 19 km | Ascent: 200 m | Descent: 225 m | 5 hrs approx

This section of the Camino is one of the least interesting, as it basically parallels the main road, but there are lots of new friends to make. The excitement shared with fellow pilgrims grows, combined with a weary feeling of having to soon face the end of your pilgrimage! Overnight stay at the best available hotel** with friendly owners.

Overnight: O Acivro

Distance: 20 km | Ascent: 175 m | Descent: 175 m | 5 hrs approx

The last section of your pilgrimage brings you back to modern life as you pass the regional airport, cross the highway, railway track and ring-road around Santiago. Nevertheless, it’s still easy to imagine the sheer joy ancient pilgrims felt when they caught a first glimpse of Santiago and the spires off in the distance. From Monte del Gozo, pilgrims historically make one last stop at the spring in Lavacolla, to wash their face and feet before presenting themselves before the Saint at the Cathedral on Plaza Obradoiro.

Overnight: Hotel Alda Bonaval

Your trip and our services come to an end after breakfast this  morning.

Getting to Oviedo

  The nearest airports are Asturias airport (OVD)Santander (SDR) or Bilbao (BIO). You can also fly into Madrid and catch an internal flight from there, or a train which will take approx 7-8 hrs.
If you are flying to Asturias airport-Ranon (OVD), there’s a regular shuttle bus service to Oviedo city centre. Departures every hour on the hour. Travel time is 45 min.
If you are flying to another airport (Santander-SDRBilbao-BIO or Valladolid-VLL), there are good bus connections to Oviedo from those cities. For timetables and reservations, go to www.alsa.es.

Departure from Santiago de Compostela

  Santiago de Compostela Airport is situated 12 Km outside of Santiago city, with regular bus connections to the city centre. You can check the Santiago Airport website for flight possibilities.
If you’re travelling back to Asturias airport (OVD)Santander (SDR) or Bilbao (BIO), there’s a morning bus from Santiago that takes you to Oviedo, Santander or Bilbao. The trip to Oviedo takes about 8½ hrs, to Santander 9½ hrs and to Bilbao 11½ hrs.

Bus tickets can be booked online at www.alsa.es.

Oviedo Cathedral on the Camino Primitivo
The Church of Santa Maria del Naranco in Oviedo
Hiking on the Camino Primitivo at Puerto del Pablo
Obona Monastery, Camino Primitivo
Signpost near Obona, Camino Primitivo
Salas, Asturias (c) Carmenmoran via Wikimedia Commons
Street in Tineo
Tineo, Asturias (c) Carmenmoran via Wikimedia Commons
Camino Primitivo (c) Jose Antonio Gil Martinez, via Wikimedia Commons
Lobreiro, Camino Primitivo
Camino Primitivo (c) Antonio Gil Martinez, via Wikimedia Commons
Grandas de Salime
The Roman Walls of Lugo, A UNESCO World Heritage Site on the Camino Primitivo
Lugo (c) D. Rovchak via Wikimedia Commons
First view of Santiago from Monte del Gozo
Pilgrims view of Santiago de Compostela
The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela
The historic streets of Santiago de Compostela
Camino de Santiago
Santiago de Compostela
Statue of St. James in Santiago de Compostela

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