Walking the Camino Frances from Leon to Ponferrada

You’ll start in Léon, one of the greatest cities in Spain and finish in Ponferrada, built by the Templars in the 12th century. The Camino de Santiago, or Way of Saint James, starts on the central high plateau and traverses the untouched Leon Mountains.


As with all of our tours, you’ll be treated to the very best local gastronomy, and stay in comfortable hotels and traditional guesthouses.

Leon Cathedral
Medieval & Roman heritage of Leon
sry 6 days
sry 5 nights
sry 103.3km
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sry
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Get Itinerary
From
€494
FREE CO 2 This trip creates 0.1525 tonne(s) of CO2, we offset it for free

Trip Highlights

Leon

A major city in the north of Spain and on the Camino, Leon is worth an extra night stop over so you have time to explore this fascinating city. From the many historical sights to visit during the day to the lively night life this city provides experiences for all age groups and interests. Two major standout attractions are located within the Roman walls of the city, the Cathedral with its magnificent Gothic sculptures and stained glass windows and the Basilica of San Isidoro that is renowned for its ‘Sistine Chapelesque’ frescos. Wander the streets to discover many cafes and restaurants with local gastronomy a specialty on the menus accompanied by the local El Bierzo wine.

Astroga

Within the Medieval walls of Astorga you will find a vibrant and attractive city. From Roman ruins to neo-Gothic Episcopal Palace designed by Gaudi there is a wealth of different architecture to take in. Be sure to visit the Cathedral with its Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements, learn more about the Camino in the Pilgrim Museum located in the Episcopal Palace and when the clock strikes on the hour be at Plaza Mayor to witness the chimes on the Bell Tower where two small figures of a man and woman in traditional dress strike the bell. Having worked up an appetite walking around this compact city try some of the local cuisine in the many cafes and restaurants or for those with a sweet tooth a visit to the Museum of Chocolate!

Cruz de Ferro - High Point of the Camino

1,504, above sea level this is the highest point of the Camino, Cruz de Ferro. Here you will find the simple iron cross atop a tall weathered pole. Marking the entrance to the Leon Mountains this cross has guided pilgrims on the Camino, particularly in the winter when the pass can be covered in snow. Some historians believe the placing of the cross here originates from Roman times as way of marking the boundary between territories. For pilgrims walking the Camino Frances it is hear that the traditions hails of leaving a rock at the foot of the cross that they have carried from the start of their journey. The rock symbolises any sins that the pilgrim has committed, and the undertaking of carrying and leaving the rock is supposed to absolve them of the sins.

Itinerary

Day 1

Leon
(Arrival)

The historic centre of Leon is well preserved and worth visiting. Over the course of time, Leon became the capital of the kingdom in the Middle Ages; a historic enclave on the pilgrim’s road to Santiago de Compostela. Don’t miss The Pulchra Leonina (the ‘Sistine Chapel’ of Spanish architecture) & the old Hospital de San Marcos.

Day 2
20km

Leon
to
Villadangos del Paramo

Leaving Leon, the urban area continues almost as far as Virgen del Camino (7km). From this point on, the route becomes more interesting as you follow the historical Camino along the Plateau of Leon.

Day 3
28km

Villadangos del Paramo
to
Astorga

You pass the famous “Puente de Orbigo” and leave behind the Plateau of Leon. The Leon Mountains can be seen up ahead and the end of this stage will bring you to Astorga, the capital of Maragateria. Not to miss in Astorga: Episcopal palace, the cathedral, and the city walls.

Day 4
20km

Astorga
to
Rabanal del Camino

We are now deep in the region as we gradually make our way up to the first foothills of the Leon Mountains. This part of the countryside is characterised by broom, oak trees and conifer plantations.

Day 5
33km

Rabanal del Camino
to
Ponferrada

One of the most rewarding days. Enjoy the beautiful broom and heather surroundings as you ascent to “Mount Irago”. Witness the “Iron Cross” on the mountain pass before making your way downwards to the wealthy area of Bierzo.

An option to split into two days 24km /8km. Accommodation is in a superb chalet hotel in Molinaseca.

Day 6

Ponferrada

After breakfast we bid you farewell

Section 1

Leon
to
Villadangos del Paramo

The historic centre of Leon is well preserved and worth visiting. Over the course of time, Leon became the capital of the kingdom in the Middle Ages; a historic enclave on the pilgrim’s road to Santiago de Compostela. Don’t miss The Pulchra Leonina (the ‘Sistine Chapel’ of Spanish architecture) & the old Hospital de San Marcos.

Section 2

Villadangos del Paramo
to
Astorga

Leaving Leon, the urban area continues almost as far as Virgen del Camino (7km). From this point on, the route becomes more interesting as you follow the historical Camino along the Plateau of Leon.

Section 3

Astorga
to
Rabanal del Camino

You pass the famous “Puente de Orbigo” and leave behind the Plateau of Leon. The Leon Mountains can be seen up ahead and the end of this stage will bring you to Astorga, the capital of Maragateria. Not to miss in Astorga: Episcopal palace, the cathedral, and the city walls.

Section 4

Rabanal del Camino
to
Ponferrada

We are now deep in the region as we gradually make our way up to the first foothills of the Leon Mountains. This part of the countryside is characterised by broom, oak trees and conifer plantations.

Camino Frances from Leon to Ponferrada

Fly in Icon

Fly In

Option 1- Madrid
Virtually every company flies to Madrid
Spanish national company: www.iberia.com

Option 2 – Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela airport with Aerlingus, Ryanair and Iberia/BA.

Spanish Airport Website



Getting Home Icon

Starting Point

1 – From Madrid, train 4h30, several per day
2 – From Santiago de Compostela. Bus 4h, several per day or Train 6h, several per day



Getting Home Icon

Getting Home

Option 1 – Santiago de Compostela
Bus (takes 3h, 4 per day @11.45, 15.45. 18.45, 20.45)
Train (takes 3h, 2 per day)

Option 2- Madrid
Train takes 6h



Our Great Service

Included
  • Great mix of comfortable stay in 2-3* hotels or equivalent
  • Bed & Breakfast
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Our Holiday/ Pilgrim Pack
Add-On
  • Premium Accommodation
  • Airport Pick-up
  • Additional Night
  • Dinners
  • Day Tours Available
Not Included
  • Flights/train
  • Insurance
  • Drinks/Lunch

“From start to finish, Follow the Camino organised our trip with great attention to detail, which left us with more time to enjoy our adventure... they’re the ultimate professionals! ” Read more.
Andrea Smith, Journalist – Ireland

“Our charity Camino trip was made special by the great accommodation organised by Follow the Camino. This played a big part in everyone mixing so well and making it a very special Camino experience.” Read more.
Ann Tracey, Fundraiser & Co-ordinator at Gary Kelly Cancer Support – Ireland.

"Thanks must go to Follow The Camino for facilitating a most wonderful experience.” Read more.
Tim Begbie – Australia

“Follow The Camino did a fantastic job organising our fundraising trip to the Camino de Santiago. The organisation was of excellent quality and all of our 28 travellers had a great time...” Read more.
Frances Black, Senator & CEO of The Rise Foundation – Ireland

“All went like clockwork, including the pick up at the airport, and the luggage drop to the various accommodations. Totally recommend the Follow The Camino crew.” Read more.
John Dillon, Pilgrim – Ireland.

“A transformative two weeks for both of us - thanks to Follow the Camino.” Read more.
Jamie and Flo McIvor – UK

“Our team leader Geraldine O’Callaghan was fantastic – pretty, bubbly, tireless – efficient and very kind. Arriving at the great cathedral of Santiago was an exhilarating, emotional finale to a completely mad week.” Read more.
Joan Flynn, retired – Ireland

“Thank you for helping us plan our journey in Spain. What a wonderful time we had trekking through the countryside. The places we stayed were wonderful!
We LOVED our trip!” Read more.
Georgia Meckes – USA

“Thank you Umberto and the Follow the Camino crew. It was an absolute pleasure to have you make our arrangements, and support us so magnificently along the way, in our efforts to raise awareness for Well Ways. You are all fabulous!" Read more.
Cheryl McInnes, Well Ways Mental Health Charity, Australia

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