The Camino Primitivo or Original Way is a pilgrimage from Oviedo through the Cantabrian Mountains to Santiago de Compostela and the tomb of St James. Passing through famous Spanish towns and cities such as Oviedo, Lugo and Melide you have ample opportunity to experience the Cantabria and Galician culture. The walk is one of the most beautiful but also challenging as you pass through a mountain range 1100m above sea level to descend to the hilly countryside of Galicia.
FREE This trip createstonne(s) of CO2, we offset it for free
The Camino Primitivo is a quiet route and perhaps one of the toughest due to steep climbs and descents as you move through the mountain range from Oviedo to Lugo. The up side of this however is that you really get an in-nature experience. Spending days out in the remote countryside with some of the best views on the Camino you really get to feel at one with nature. The small cities of Oviedo and Lugo sit well along the natural landscape with many parks and natural flow through as you move through them. Enjoy the serenity of the natural landscape then revel in the excitement of more people as you join the Camino Frances in Melide for the final destination of Santiago de Compostela.
Lugo is famous for its Muralla Romana de Lugo, the roman walls of Lugo that were constructed in the 3rd century. They are still mostly intact and were added to the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Another interesting place to visit is the Cathedral with its impressive architectural mix of Romanesque and Gothic styles. Take time to follow the tapas route around the city or visit Campo Square and sample some of the generous appetizers or if you want a more substantial feed one of the many restaurants that serve a wide range of local cuisine.
The Camino Primitivo takes you up into the Cantabrian Mountain range. With some steep sections up and down you need to be prepared fitness wise for this. But with this great effort comes spectacular views and panoramas over the mountains. The effort to walk up will not be the only thing to take your breath away on this section. Witness the rugged natural landscape, discover tiny towns and villages in the mountains and take in the modern windmills on the mountains reminding you that you are not lost in time!
Oviedo to Santiago De Compostela
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Specially chosen 2-3* hotels or equivalent
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Day Tours Available
You will be booked into a hotel in the heart of the town of Oviedo. The rooms are en-suite.
Day 2 24.9km
Our day begins at the Cathedral of El Salvador and, after leaving the town of Oviedo, we head west. We arrive at the chapel of El Carmen in Lampajúa (Llampaxuga) and from here we descend toward Ponte de Gallegos. The Camino then follows a beautiful trail along the river Nora to finish in a steep ascent to the lovely village of Escamplero. As we get closer to the river Nalón, we cross the N-634, and the river.
Day 3 22km
We begin this day with a tough start, climbing up for 5 kilometres to Alto del Fresnu. You will then enjoy a gentle downhill walk through hilly farmlands and hamlets until you reach Cornellana. Here we recommend a visit to the monastery (monasterio) of El Salvador. From here to Salas, the Camino follows an upwards trajectory through more farmland and typical Asturias granaries (horreos). Finally, we approach Salas on more gentle terrain.
Day 4 19.8km
This is a tough stage of the Camino, not because of its length (it’s actually shorter), but because it is ascending constantly. There is practically no break in the climb of almost eight hundred metres. Fortunately, most of the climb is concentrated at the beginning. Following the national road for a short while, the Camino continues on a quieter, paved path that leads us to La Espina. Here we quit the ‘Camino Norte’ that continues North West. We now enter an area with strong regional character and traditions.
Day 5 29.3km
POLA DE ALLENDE
This is another challenging stage of the Camino, with ups and downs throughout the day. After following the road for a short time, the Camino comes to a path descending through woodlands. Then it passes the small villages of Vega el Rey, Berrugoso and Campiello. We finish the day with a steep descent of about three hundred meters to arrive in Pola de Allande.
Day 6 17.1km
POLA DE ALLENDE
Today is another challenging day, beginning with an ascent of almost 600m, reaching the summit of Puerto del Palo. Here, your climb will be rewarded with amazing views of the Cantabrian Mountains. This is followed by a drop of 250m on what is called the “Camino de los Hospitales”, so be prepared and be careful! Finally, passing through some woods, we arrive in Berducedo.
Day 7 20.1km
GRANDAS DE SALIME
This is the most rewarding part of the Camino Primitivo, but also one of the hardest. We start by climbing to Aerogenedores at 1100m above sea level, where you will get spectacular views of the Embalse de Salime (artificial lake), the River Navia below and of course the mountains surrounding us! Then it is a steep descent of 900m in just 7km. Finally, passing the dam, the Camino make its way up to Grandas Salime after a more gentle 350m ascent.
Day 8 25.6km
GRANDAS DE SALIME
Today the Camino starts with a steep ascent to El Acebo (1050m) for some fine views of the Cantabrian Mountains. It is now time to bid our farewell to Asturias and to say hello to the land of the Celts – Galicia! After passing the mountain villages of Cabreria, Fonfría, and Barbeito we arrive in A Fonsagrada, for a well-deserved rest! In the town centre stands the Fons Sacra. This town bore witness to one of the miracles of the apostle Saint James, who, after being attended to by an impoverished widow, turned the water from this fountain into fresh milk for her children.
Day 9 24km
O CADAVO BALEIRA
After leaving A Fonsagrada, the Camino passes through A Pobra de Buron. This Camino has been referred to as the “Camino de Oviedo”. Coming to Hospital de Montouto, we can see the actual hospital sitting on a hilltop. It is now in ruins, but was one of the last to close, and was probably the most important on all the mountain Caminos of Galicia. There is also a magnificent dolmen in the vicinity of the hospital. The Camino then makes its way to the town of O Cadavo, passing quaint villages such as Calzada, Degolada and A Fontaneira. O Cadavo is the second most important town that the pilgrims on the Camino Primitivo will pass on their way to Santiago. According to local history, Alphonse II the Chaste fought the Moorish Army nearby.
Day 10 30.5km
O CADAVO BALEIRA
The Camino continues through lands famous for their slate mines as far as Paradavela. This attractive village, which retains much of its original character, ishome to a number of “Pallozas” (primitive thatched dwellings) and other buildings of interest. Then, passing by the convent of San Francisco de Vilabade we arrive later in the pleasant town of Castroverde. After Castroverde, the Camino passes the abandoned village of Soutomerille, nestled in a landscape of great beauty. Finally, crossing farmland, the Way arrives in “Lucus Augusti”, or Lugo, by the Gate of Saint Peter. Lugo is the oldest town in Galicia! Take some time to explore it.
Day 11 18km
SAN ROMAN DA RETORTA
After leaving Lugo through the Porta Mina, the oldest gate of the wall, the Camino heads towards the old Roman Bridge and the quarter of San Lazaro. A couple of kilometres later, it passes Santa de Boveda; a national monument and a museum where the most interesting early medieval paintings of the Iberian Peninsula can be seen. The Camino continues through a mix of farmland and forest.
Day 12 28.5km
SAN ROMAN DA RETORTA
After a brief transfer back to San Romao de Retorta, we begin our walk again. On the road from the hamlet there is a Roman milestone, which would appear to indicate that the present-day Camino was laid out following an ancient Roman road. Further on, you will pass a 13th-century Romanesque church, one of the many which are characteristic of the area surrounding Santiago. The Camino Primitivo follows ancient paths that are still in use today and connects an endless number of small rural villages such as Seixalbo, Xende, Ferreira, and Merlan. Finally, the Camino enters the province of A Coruna through the borough of Toques to the historic pilgrimage town of Melide. Coming to Melide (454m), you can stop in one of the many restaurants to try the traditional octopus dish, “Pulpo a la Plancha”.
Day 13 14.1km
This is the perfect start as the stroll quickly leaves Melide and heads off to the quiet countryside, along forest track and through a few hamlets. At Boente de Ariba, you will pass by the ancient church of Santiago before continuing through a forest track and reaching Catanada. You will then cross a few streams, and the last stretch to Arzua is an long uphill bit. Once in Arzua, you can then relax in the hotel.
Day 14 17.4km
This shaded section of the Camino will pass through woods, along streams and through sleepy villages. Take your time and visit the chapel of Santa Irena, with its unique statues of Santiago. The rest of the way to Rua-O Pino is on a quiet country road. Rua (310m) is one of the less crowded stopping points before Santiago de Compostela.
Day 15 20.7km
SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA
You’re nearly there! The next stage will be Lavacolla where pilgrims traditionally washed in the river before reaching Santiago de Compostela. The tall eucalyptus trees line your way to Monte del Gozo (368m), or Mount of Joy. From here, you can see your goal – the Cathedral of Santiago! After a descent to the city (264m, population 80,000) you’ll be able to witness this UNESCO World Heritage Site up-close. Marvel at the architecture and relish the wonderful atmosphere in this cultural and spiritual mecca.
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
How to Get There
Getting to Oviedo, Spain
It is best to fly to Santander or Oviedo
Fly into Santander
Ryanair is the only low-cost airline that currently offers direct flights to Santander. They offer flights from London Stansted and now Dublin, Frankfurt, Milan and Rome, as well as Reus and Madrid in Spain. Iberia offers a good selection of internal flights from Alicante, Barcelona, Gran Canaria, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, Seville and Valencia.
From Santander to Oviedo: buses (takes 3h), several a day.
Fly into Oviedo
Oviedo Airport is located 47Km northwest of Oviedo, 17 Km west of Aviles. Buses run every 2 to 3 hours during daytime, the cost from/to Oviedo is approximately €5 and from/to Aviles is approximately €3.