Leon to Ponferrada

Stage 6 of 8

103.9km

6 days

Comfort

Popular time

september

Starting from

€494

Overall

Distance:

19.8 min | 26km average | 31.7 max

Ascent:

246.1 min |371.9m average | 604.1 max

Cardio:

3   3.3   4

Follow the Camino Preview Map Trip 283

You’ll start in León, one of the greatest cities in Spain and finish in Ponferrada. Built by the Knights 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 traditional guesthouses and hotels.

Leon city with old buildings and architecture surrounded bu trees

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 nightlife, this city provides experiences for all age 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 Chapel-esque’ frescos. Wander the streets to discover many cafes and restaurants with regional specialities accompanied by the local El Bierzo wine.

Astorga

Astorga

Within the mediaeval 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!

Crus de Ferro

Cruz de Ferro - High Point of the Camino

1,504m 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 for centuries, 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 a way of marking the boundary between territories. For pilgrims walking the Camino Frances, it is here the tradition of leaving a rock they have carried from the start of their journey at the foot of the cross hails from. The rock symbolises any sins the pilgrim has committed, and carrying and leaving the rock behind is supposed to absolve them of those sins.

Leon to Ponferrada

Starting from € 494

LEON

PONFERRADA

Camino Details
Contact Details

Services

Included in this package

Bed & Breakfast

Specially Hand-Picked Accommodation

Our Holiday or Pilgrim Pack

24/7 Customer Service

Virtual Face-to-Face Pre-Departure Briefing

Add-On

Premium Accommodation

Airport Pick-Up

Additional Nights

Dinners

Luggage Transfers from Hotel to Hotel

Day Tours to Local Sites of Interest

Not included: Flights/trains, Insurance, Drinks/Lunch

Itinerary

Day

1

km

LEON

You will be staying in a traditional hotel. From the many historical sights to visit during the day to the nightlife in the bars and restaurants as the sun goes down, this city provides experiences for all ages and interests. Two standout attractions are the Cathedral with its magnificent Gothic sculptures and stained glass windows, and the Basilica of San Isidoro.

Day

2

21 km

LEON VILLAR DE MAZARIFE

Leaving Leon, the urban area continues almost as far as the site of Virgen del Camino (about 7km outside Leon), where a local shepherd once sighted the Virgin Mary. The area is now marked by a number of statues depicting the historical scene. From this point, the route becomes more interesting as you follow the historical Camino along the Plateau of Leon.

Day

3

31.7 km

VILLAR DE MAZARIFE 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 the ancient region of Maragateria. Not to miss in Astorga: the Episcopal Palace, the cathedral, and the city walls.

Day

4

19.8 km

ASTORGA RABANAL DE CAMINO

We are now deep in the Maragateria region as we gradually make our way up to the foothills of the Leon Mountains. This part of the countryside is characterised by broom, oak, and conifer plantations. Your destination is the mountain town of Rabanal Del Camino.

Day

5

31.5 km

RABANAL DE CAMINO PONFERRADA

Today is one of the most rewarding days along the French Way. 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.

If you would like to walk at a more relaxed pace, we can arrange to split this section into two days (24km on the first day, 8km on the second day). Accommodation is in a superb chalet hotel in Molinaseca.

Day

6

km

PONFERRADA

After breakfast we bid you farewell. While you are in Ponferrada, you should visit the town’s 16,000 square metre-Castillo de los Templarios, a castle built by the Knights Templar in the 12 Century. Las Médulas, ancient Roman gold mines listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are also only a few kilometres away from Ponferrada.

How to Get There

Getting to Leon, Spain

It is best to fly into Madrid or Santiago de Compostela in order to get to Leon.

Fly into Madrid

Virtually every airline flies into Madrid, including Ryanair, Easyjet, and Iberia/BA from Ireland and the UK, as well as most US airlines.

Going from Madrid Airport, you can catch a shuttle bus to the main train station in the city. From there, you can get a direct train onto Leon. This journey will take 2 hours and 30 minutes.

    Fly into Santiago de Compostela

    Ryanair, Aer Lingus and Iberia/BA fly direct to Santiago de Compostela from the UK and Ireland. Ryanair flies from Stansted, Iberia/BA operates from Gatwick and Aer Lingus operates from Dublin. Santiago de Compostela can also be reached by a number of locations around Spain and Portugal, as well as major European cities. Iberia offers the best selection of flights and you can fly to and from Santiago De Compostela returning to Frankfurt, Paris, and Rome, Barcelona, Bilbao, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Madrid, Malaga, Palma, Seville, Tenerife and Valencia.

    Travelling from Santiago Airport, if you want to take the train it will take 5 hours and 15 minutes. Meanwhile, taking a bus will take longer, at around 5 hours and 45 minutes.

      Getting home from Ponferrada, Spain

      Fly from Santiago de Compostela

      The bus or train from Ponferrada to Santiago takes between 3 hours and 45 minutes, and 4 hours.

        Fly from Madrid

        To travel from Ponferrada to the centre of Madrid on a train takes around 4 hours, while a direct bus will take about 5 hours. From there, it is simple to find transport to Madrid Airport

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          On this section you move up into the mountains so be sure to have light layers packed.
          January Off season
          February Off season
          March Off season
          April Good time
          June Good time
          July Good time
          August Good time
          October Good time
          November Off season
          December Off season