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Alternative route for joining Camino Frances later, off the Camino del Norte

If you want to avoid Arzúa, and join the Camino Frances as late as possible to avoid the crowds, there is an alternative route from Boimorto which joins the Frances just before St Irene.

It starts at the far end of Boimorto village, and the locals have kindly made home made signs. The albergue in Boimorto also gives out photocopied maps (photo 1). It's very easy, flat, all on tarmac, and very quiet, although the occasional car can come quite fast, so keep alert. You need to take food and water for the whole day, there is one bar but opening is uncertain, and the water point by the chapel is unreliable.

It's 25 km from Boimorto to Arca-O Pedrouzo.

Route directions are very simple: leaving Boimorto, bear right at the health centre by the basketball court (instead of left for the normal route via Arzúa). A home made blue and yellow laminated sign shows the two options. You'll soon see the Football Stadium on your right, keep going straight, a few km later a pretty chapel (Capilla Da Mota) on your left. Keep going straight straight straight. Locals have installed a sign to prevent you going wrong at one place (photo 2).

There is only one point in the whole day when you have to turn, so don't miss it: once you have passed the chapel, start to look out for a very distinctive white cylindrical concrete pigeon tower with a pointy roof in a garden on your right (photo 3). When you see it, turn next left (homemade sign to 'Sta IRENE' and a painted red arrow, photo 4) and then 200m later turn right (official signpost 'Parroquia de Oins' with a shell sticker on it, photo 5).
[NB the map makes it look like the turning is just after the chapel, it is actually quite a long way after. The pigeon tower is a better landmark than the stop sign shown on the map, as there is more than one stop sign]

After the turning, keep straight again for several km, eventually through the scattered houses of Oines. Around here are the only yellow arrows you'll see, but you don't really need them. Cross the workings of a new highway (when the road is complete you will have to detour a little to the right onto a new bridge for this, but it will be obvious). Keep going straight.

Finally you will come to a T Junction with a slightly busy road with houses (O Xen). Cross this road, and go through a gap in the hedge opposite [not along the road itself, as the map implies]. You'll see the path and a stone marker post of the Camino Frances. Turn right for Arca-O Pedrouzo.

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this was really helpful to us, as we did this alternative. Boimoto has a great refugio, a real palace, but few pilgrims.
Moreover, the town has the BEST restaurant with sensational menu del dia. It is worth a night there just for that.
You do need to call the hospitaliero though as the refugio has so few visitors that it doesn't seem to keep to the opening hours set.
Thanks so much, glad it was useful

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