The Camino de Invierno or Winter Way traditionally developed as an alternative route for pilgrims to walk in Winter when the climb up to the summit of O Cebreiro would be impassable due to snow. The route followed by the Camino de Invierno has been in use since Roman times and was also used by Napoleon’s troops in the early 19th century. It is also through this area that the first railway connection with Galicia and the rest of the peninsula was built in 1883. The Camino de Invierno passes through all four provinces of Galicia. Starting from Ponferrada which is just outside Galicia the route quickly enters the province of Ourense where it follows the Sil River. As you move closer to Santiago then the route passes through the southern part of the province of Lugo before briefly going through the Deza district which is part of the province of Pontevedra before finally arriving at Santiago de Compostela in the province of A Coruna. Today the solitude that can be experienced on this route appeals to people who are looking a more reflective experience. During the peak season on the Camino Frances for those that find the crowds too much this is a great alternative route to Santiago from Ponferrada. Solitude is not all you will find on this route. Just one day walking from Ponferrada you will come upon the World Heritage site of As Médulas. Moving on you then pass through parts of the Valdeorras and Ribeira Sacra wine regions. Romanesque churches and monasteries abound and a particular highlight is the town of Monforte de Lemos. From Lalin you then join the last section of the Via de la Plata to arrive from the south-east into Santiago de Compostela.
FREE This trip createstonne(s) of CO2, we offset it for free
One of the main highlights of the Camino de Invierno is its stunning natural beauty. The route takes walkers through picturesque landscapes, including lush forests, rolling hills, and breathtaking mountain views. The winter way offers a quieter and more solitary experience compared to other Camino routes, allowing pilgrims to immerse themselves in the serenity of the surroundings and find spiritual solace amidst nature.
Rich Cultural Heritage
The Camino de Invierno passes through several charming and historically significant towns and villages. Along the way, pilgrims have the opportunity to explore local Galician culture and traditions, interact with friendly locals, and experience authentic regional cuisine. The route’s historical significance is also evident in the ancient bridges, Romanesque churches, and other architectural gems that dot the path, adding to the cultural richness of the journey.
Ponferrada to Santiago De Compostela
Camino de Invierno
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Included in this package
Bed & Breakfast
Specially chosen 2-3* hotels or equivalent
Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel
Our Holiday or Pilgrim Pack
24/7 Customer Service
Day Tours Available
You will be pre-booked into a traditional hotel in the heart of the town.
Day 2 27.5km
Leaving Ponferrada you will climb through woodlands of varying fruit trees to be welcomed by a wonderful view back over Ponferrada. Descending through vineyards you will then again ascend to Villavieja and the Castle of Cornatel before the final descent to La Medulas, a world heritage site that was once the Roman's biggest gold mine.
Day 3 24km
O BARCO DE VALDEORRAS
A gentle ascent takes you up and out of Las Medulas. Take a moment to stop and appreciate the wonderful views back over Las Medulas. A long descent follows down the valley to the village of Puente de Domingo Flórez. Shortly after here you will cross over into Galicia, arriving at Quereno you can choose which route to take but all will take you to O Barco de Valdeorras.
Day 4 12km
O BARCO DE VALDEORRAS
A short but pleasant walk today will take from O Barco skirting the town of Arcos and following the natural curve of the River Sil you pass by the village of Vilamartin staying beside the river. Passing the Valencia reservoir and a great photo opportunity over the Valdeorras Valley, you will arrive into the town of A Rúa de Valderorras. Be sure to visit here the Church of San Esteban which houses a beautiful carving of St James. Also of interest is the Ponte da Cigarrosa which has Roman origins but the bridge we see today is a reconstruction in the 16th century.
Day 5 28km
Leaving A Rúa you are sent on your way with beautiful views over the River Sil. Walking by olive groves, walnut and fig trees you then come to a section of Mediterranean bushes of broom and rockrose to descend to the stream of Ferreiros. Crossing the stream you enter Montefurado where ahead you will see the towers of the Church of San Miguel de Montefurado. Ascending through olive groves you can appreciate views of the tunnel built by the Romans for mining gold surrounded today by vineyards. Passing then through the parish of Bendilló, this is where pilgrims use to discard their old rags before reaching Santiago. Descending through a pine forest, thenpassing the remains of fort and orchards of fruit trees, olive groves and vineyards you arrive in Quiroga.
Day 6 33km
Setting out the now familiar River Sil accompanies you before you ascend through a forest then down to the Lor River basin. Although a tough section, the solitude and peacefulness of the forest makes it worthwhile. At the Hermitage of the Remedies panoramic views over the Lor River will provide a picturesque backdrop. Crossing the river you then begin a final ascent to the plateau of the Lemos valley and your final destination for this section Monforte de Lemos.
Day 7 31.6km
Starting from Monforte de Lemos, pilgrims cross the medieval bridge and venture towards Campo de San Antonio, passing by the historic Clarisas convent and a traditional Galician stone cross. Along the way, they'll encounter charming hamlets, quaint villages, and beautiful chapels, traversing forest tracks that lead to the town of Chantada. En route, the picturesque village of Belesar offers stunning vistas of the River Miño, adorned with breathtaking canyons and terraced vineyards. Notably, the village features the renowned 'Codos de Belesar,' an ancient Roman road.
Day 8 26km
Leaving Chantada, the Camino de Invierno presents one of its most challenging stretches as it ascends towards Monte Faro and its picturesque chapel. The rewarding climb offers panoramic views where, it is said, one can behold all four provinces of Galicia. Along today's path, you will encounter numerous 'cruceiros' (stone crosses) and 'petos de animas' (monuments honoring the souls of the departed), traditionally erected at crossroads to safeguard travelers and pay homage to those who have passed.
Day 9 22.2km
As you embark on the final day of your Camino de Invierno adventure, you will soon merge with the Via de la Plata in the charming town of Lalín. Today's stage offers a tranquil and effortless journey, characterized by gentle terrain across serene forests and picturesque farmland nestled on low hills. It's important to note that there are no services along the way, so be sure to pack ample snacks and water to sustain you throughout the day.
Day 10 15km
As the Camino de Invierno merges with the Via de la Plata route, your journey continues from Lalin. Today's stage is a delightful and relatively short one, offering a pleasant experience as you traverse rolling hills, serene woodlands, and charming farmlands. Along the way, you will encounter idyllic small hamlets that add a touch of rustic charm to your path. Your destination for the day is Silleda, renowned for its vibrant cattle and country fairs, including the internationally recognized Green Week (Semana Verde).
Day 11 18.9km
This day first starts with an easy stroll towards Bandeira, a town well-known for its empanadas (Galician pasties). As the day goes on, the Camino continues downhill through farmlands and villages. Just before descending to Ponte Ulla, the old castle is worth a visit for whoever is keen to enjoy more great views. In Ponte Ulla, have a closer look at the Iglesia de Santa Maria de Magdalena and its very detailed Romanesque facade.
Day 12 19km
SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA
Today is special, not only because it is the last day of this section, but also because it is the finishing line of the whole Via de la Plata or Camino Mozárabe route! As you leave Ponte Ulla, we first walk up towards Pico Sacro with its Ermita de San Sebastian and wonderful scenic views. The last kilometres to Santiago still reflect the rural atmosphere of Galicia and it is sometimes difficult to believe you are so close to such an attractive city. Finally you reach Santiago and its world-famous Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA
After breakfast, we bid you farewell. If you wish to stay in the area, we recommend that you: – Take your time and visit the magnificent historic centre – Continue with us along the wild “Camino Fisterra” (Finisterre Way), and stay overnight at the 2* hotel in the light house! – or take a bus to Fisterra. (Bus to fisterra: 9am, 10am, bus back in Santiago 16:45 & 19:00. takes 3hours) – Visit the unspoilt sandy coves and beaches of the west coast. With very few tourists, you are guaranteed a very special experience.
How to Get There
Getting to Ponferrada, Spain
It is best to fly to Madrid or to Santiago de Compostela. More info.
Ryanair and Iberia/BA fly direct to Santiago de Compostela from the UK. Ryanair flies from Stansted, Nottingham East Midlands and Liverpool and Aer Lingus operates from Dublin. Many of the flights that arrive at the airport are from internal Spanish destinations. Iberia offers the best selection of flights and you can fly to and from Santiago De Compostela from: Frankfurt, Paris and Rome and Barcelona, Bilbao, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Madrid, Malaga, Palma, Seville, Tenerife and Valencia.
–Take a shuttle bus to the bus station. Then a direct bus to Ponferrada (3-4hrs).