Walking the Via de la Plata from Monesterio to Merida
This Walking Holiday explores the 2nd section of Via de la Plata, the longest of all Camino routes to Santiago de Compostela! It runs through the whole country from South to North, from the hot Andalucian plains to the green mountains of Galicia, from Moorish influenced buildings to traditional stone farmhouses and much more! This Camino in its whole offers most of Spain’s rich and mixed culture.
From Monesterio, the Camino stretches through the South of Extremadura, a region of dry and sparsely populated farmland. Walking through dry land with little shade can be seen as challenging but we have split most stages into shorter days and the geography of the flat ground presents no particular difficulty, so it only requires an average level of fitness. Olive tree orchards, vineyards and wild flowers add patches of colour to the dominant red earth landscape. Roman influence is still predominant in the area as you will notice, either with the many bridges crossed along the day, or in cities such as Zafra or Merida where there is plenty to see and enjoy!
Monesterio is strongly linked to the history of the Camino de Santiago when Templars from the Order of Santiago brought wealth to the town, back in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Nowadays, little remains as witness to this heritage and Monesterio is a quiet Extremaduran town.
Monesterio to Fuente de Cantos (22km, 5h30)
Today the Camino can be quite exposed, walking on long undulating tracks, even though scattered oak holms and fig groves provide you with shelter from the sun here and there. A few kilometres after Monesterio, don’t miss the 5000 year old megalith, 10 metres off the track. Gazing pigs will probably be the only inhabitants you will see along the way, as the Camino here doesn’t pass through any villages before reaching Fuente de Cantos, a pretty village.
Fuente de Cantos to Zafra (25km, 6h30)
When leaving Fuente de Cantos, we follow an ancient Roman route and we start to see the first vines of this section, a sign of changing soil. A few kilometres further on, we pass through Calzadilla de los Barros. After that, it is an isolated and peaceful stroll along undulating dirt tracks, bordered by vineyards and olive groves. The walking day ends in Zafra, a charming old town.
Zafra to Villafranca de los Barros (20km, 5h15)
The first few kilometres after Zafra gently climb up before zig-zagging down to the whitewashed town of Los Santos de Maimona. Then it is an enjoyable up and down walk through farmland, vineyards and olive trees with smashing views over the surrounding countryside.
Villafranca de los Barros to Almendralejo (14km, 4h15)
Leaving Villafranca de los Barros, we find ourselves surrounded mainly by vines as the area produces a well-known wine. The flat ground and short distance to Amendralejo makes today an easy and pleasant stroll through the countryside.
Almendralejo to Merida (26km, 6h30)
After Almendralejo, we start to see mountains in the distance to our right and the crops also diversify as sunflower and cereal fields alternate with vines and olive groves. Toremegia is the only town we pass through before continuing through the countryside before getting back to civilisation when approaching Merida and its rich historical heritage.
Merida. End of the Camino
After breakfast, we bid you farewell.
- Great mix of comfortable accommodation in 2-3* hotels or equivalent
- Bed & Breakfast
- Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel
- Our Holiday/ Pilgrim Pack
- 24/7 Customer Service
- Great dinners with local food
- Extra nights
- Upgrade to authentic & luxury accommodation
- Airport transfers
From Seville Airport, bus to Seville bus station (Approx. 25min). Then bus to Monesterio (Approx. 1hr), 9 departures a day.
Option 1 – Sevilla
From Merida, bus to Seville (Approx. 2h30), 7 departures a day.
Option 2 – Madrid
It is also possible to get a bus to Madrid (Approx. 4h30) if you fly back home from there.