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700 km, which route?

auburnfive

Active Member
To mark my 70th birthday I would like to walk 700 km, starting from Pamplona. I have walked several times for 2 weeks on the Portuguese and from Leon. I do not want to walk to Sarria to Santiago section, and am looking at
a) Pamplona to Ponferrada, then bus to Ourense, then Ourense to Finnesterre/ Muxia
B) Pamplona to Sarria, then bus to Santiago and walk to Finnesterre/ Muxia.
I am a bit concerned about the lack of accommodation and infrastructure on Route A, and what looks to be a more confusing, less way marked route.
advice appreciated.
 
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henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
To mark my 70th birthday I would like to walk 700 km, starting from Pamplona. I have walked several times for 2 weeks on the Portuguese and from Leon. I do not want to walk to Sarria to Santiago section, and am looking at
a) Pamplona to Ponferrada, then bus to Ourense, then Ourense to Finnesterre/ Muxia
B) Pamplona to Sarria, then bus to Santiago and walk to Finnesterre/ Muxia.
I am a bit concerned about the lack of accommodation and infrastructure on Route A, and what looks to be a more confusing, less way marked route.
advice appreciated.
I can’t comment on ‘A’, but I’ve done ‘B’ (actually several times, other than that I’ve only been on the ‘bus once) and if it were permitted I’d happily do it again tomorrow.

Excellent stretch of the CF and a classic circuit to finish. All well marked and, if some semblance of normality returns, well provided with all that one might want.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
Try mapping Pamplona to Ponferrada; take the Invierno ‘till you join up with the Sanabres and throw a left for Fisterra at an appropriate junction. It’s waymarked from Santiago but any decent map app and Booking.com should see you right
I’ve just had a look at the ‘big map’ on my bedroom wall, and that’s a splendid suggestion.
 
John Brierley Camino Frances Guide
This guide is one of the ones that has been around for over 15 years. Updated yearly. Please read the reviews.
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trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I haven’t yet walked the Meseta, something I have wanted to do for a long time
I understand, but I think that there is a lot of value in one continuous walk. For that reason, if it were my choice I would think about doing the Meseta in the future and focus on walking from point A to Santiago.
 
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David

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Interesting. Have you thought of changing your start point?

Condom (on the Le Puy route), in France, is 700 kms from Ponferrada.
 

peregrino_tom

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
.
Hi auburnfive
Reviewing your original concern that there might not be sufficient infrastructure and accommodation from Ourense - I'd say there's not really an issue with this. It was pretty sparse when I walked this way 11 years ago, but Gronze https://www.gronze.com/etapa/ourense/cea shows lots of albergues for peregrinos and cheap pensions have appeared since then. So provided we return to a normal world and all of these have managed to weather the COVID storm you should be fine.
However, I think Tincatinker's suggestion for the Invierno is a really good solution (Mornington Crescent!!) and means you can just keep walking without having to think about linking up with buses. But three caveats...
- most importantly, the accommodation/infrastructure is definitely sparser here. Looking at Gronze there still (since I did it) appear to be some longish stages between A Rua - Quiroga- Montforte. But maybe some of the Invierno acolytes can step in here and comment on how they have dealt with this please?
- the Invierno is 50km longer than the Frances from Ponferrada, so for 700km to Santiago, your accurate starting point would look more like somewhere on the flat plain between Los Arcos and Logrono
- Santiago to either Muxia or Finisterre adds 86km, so if you do decide to take the Frances-Invierno-Finisterre and are truly intending to stick to 700km then your starting point is more like somewhere in the vine fields between Najera and Santo Domingo...
Cheers, tom
Workings from Gronze:
Pamplona-Ponferrada 500km (via Mazarife)
Ponferrada-CF-Santiago - 212km (via Samos)
Ponferrada-Invierno-Santiago 263km
Santiago-Fistera or Muxia |86km
 
Last edited:
Year of past OR future Camino
The French Way (2016), Portuguese Camino (2018),
To mark my 70th birthday I would like to walk 700 km, starting from Pamplona. I have walked several times for 2 weeks on the Portuguese and from Leon. I do not want to walk to Sarria to Santiago section, and am looking at
a) Pamplona to Ponferrada, then bus to Ourense, then Ourense to Finnesterre/ Muxia
B) Pamplona to Sarria, then bus to Santiago and walk to Finnesterre/ Muxia.
I am a bit concerned about the lack of accommodation and infrastructure on Route A, and what looks to be a more confusing, less way marked route.
advice appreciated.
70 is a year to celebrate. I hope to manage a third hike at 72. Following!
 
John Brierley Camino Frances Guide
This guide is one of the ones that has been around for over 15 years. Updated yearly. Please read the reviews.
2021 Camino Guides
Most all Camino authors have decided to use 2020 guides for 2021, with free PDF files with updates coming in the spring. Get yours today.

auburnfive

Active Member
Thanks for the suggestions. The 700 is not set in stone, but somewhat symbolic for 70 years, and with family commitments is about as long as I could stretch being away.
Some of those stages on the Invierno do seem very long, as around 20km is ideal, but perhaps by then I could be well conditioned.
 

Meggins

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances - One complete St.J.P.P to Santiago plus twice more for 500km each time.
I haven’t yet walked the Meseta, something I have wanted to do for a long time
I absolutely Love the Meseta - have met people who hated it and people who have taken the bus past it. I found it has for me, a very zen feeling. I walked in late September. can't wait to get back on the Camino! --)
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017, 2018, 2019
Thanks for the suggestions. The 700 is not set in stone, but somewhat symbolic for 70 years, and with family commitments is about as long as I could stretch being away.
Some of those stages on the Invierno do seem very long, as around 20km is ideal, but perhaps by then I could be well conditioned.
This thread about shorter (<25km) stages on the Invierno might help you to decide whether it's right for you:
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
I haven’t yet walked the Meseta, something I have wanted to do for a long time
I have walked the Meseta and I am going to walk the VDLP from Sevilla. I watched more than a few videos and VideoBlogs of the VDLP and a whole lot of the camino up to around Salamanca or Zamora sure doesn't look very different from the Meseta. As I say I haven't walked yet but it would be great if someone who has done both could tell me if I am way off the mark.
 

Eric G

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
1st timer
To mark my 70th birthday I would like to walk 700 km, starting from Pamplona. I have walked several times for 2 weeks on the Portuguese and from Leon. I do not want to walk to Sarria to Santiago section, and am looking at
a) Pamplona to Ponferrada, then bus to Ourense, then Ourense to Finnesterre/ Muxia
B) Pamplona to Sarria, then bus to Santiago and walk to Finnesterre/ Muxia.
I am a bit concerned about the lack of accommodation and infrastructure on Route A, and what looks to be a more confusing, less way marked route.
advice appreciated.
Have you considered the Camino Labienago from Ponferada to Santiago? Its well marked and very few pilgrims. Its a great way to walk into Santiago without all the crowds.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2012
The Meseta or Meseta Central covers a lot of ground (if you'll pardon the pun). Quite a few of the classic Camino routes encounter the geographic Meseta. The Camino Frances skims the northern edge where the Meseta butts up against the Cordillera Cantabrica (those big lumpy bits before you get to Galicia and need your poncho). The Camino Madrid is walked entirely on Meseta except for that lovely lumpy bit, the Sierra Guadarrama. The Levante and the Lana will both give plenty of Meseta time. Even the Plata offers opportunity but not till you're North of Zamora.


Map-Spain-Wikimedia-2.png

So, @auburnfive , if you want to walk some Meseta you've plenty of choice, plenty of infrastructure and even plenty of buses ;)
 

Paul J W

Paul J
Year of past OR future Camino
Miscellaneous camino routes since 2000.
From personal experience: ALL routes well waymarked:
Pamplona to Merida: accommodation essentially in inexpensive pensions/hostels;
Merida onwards: adequate refuge accommodation (also hotels/hostels).

Prepare for arrangements to be flexible due to occasional inexplicable closures of accommodations.

Choose time of year with awareness of seasonal climate.

Enjoy marking your 70th!
 

vanrobin

Vanrobin
Year of past OR future Camino
Sarria-SdeC(2010) Newark,UK-SdeC via Portsmouth & Santander (2014-17) CF SJPP-Sarria (2018-19)
If you go from Logrono to Ponferrada and then on to Santiago via the Invierno it is about 730km. Cut that down a bit by starting in Santo Domingo de Calzeda. And you get the Meseta after Burgos.
 

auburnfive

Active Member
Helpful ideas, I hadn’t really considered the Invierno. I was surprised to see that there is a new Brierley guidebook for that route and the Sanabres. Has anyone seen it yet?
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017, 2018, 2019
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patgreen

Member
I’ve just had a look at the ‘big map’ on my bedroom wall, and that’s a splendid suggestion.
I've walked the Sanabres and it does have a last 100km vibe, some people were just doing the last 100km and a few joined from the Frances. While it did get a bit busier it's nothing like the last 100km of the Frances.
 

Raggy

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2017, 2018, 2019
I've walked the Sanabres and it does have a last 100km vibe, some people were just doing the last 100km and a few joined from the Frances. While it did get a bit busier it's nothing like the last 100km of the Frances.
I guess that any official route for the last 100km is going to have that "100km vibe," to some degree. That said, I did not feel that Ourense to Santiago was at all crowded when I walked it in September 2019.

To completely avoid any"100km vibe," one could skip over from Ourense to Ribadavia and take the unofficial, unmarked, un-supported Camiño de Santiago da Geira e dos Arrieiros ... Around 800 pilgrims went that way in 2019 so it should be pretty tranquil at any time of year. but since the OP wants a properly waymarked route, that's not going to work.
 
Last edited:

Isca-camigo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Various ones.
Option B sounds a great idea, you will see some of the best places on the CF, and hopefully meet some great Camino friends without it being to busy on the way to Sarria. There is a train once or twice a day from Sarria to Ourense as well as the busses to Santiago.
Buen Camino
 

peregrino_tom

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
.
Helpful ideas, I hadn’t really considered the Invierno. I was surprised to see that there is a new Brierley guidebook for that route and the Sanabres. Has anyone seen it yet?
Looks like Ivar has sold quite a few and there's plenty of five star feedback. I imagine he's done his usual thorough research on accommodation and thought about the best ways to divide up the stages. I'd just go ahead and buy it - surely an essential item to charge to your 'Research Budget' ;)
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I was surprised to see that there is a new Brierley guidebook for that route and the Sanabres. Has anyone seen it yet?
I have bought it from the forum store. It is a typical Brierley guide, and I found the maps to be very helpful in sorting out the various route options being discussed in the recent thread.

As is stated in the sub-title of the guide, it covers the Camino Invierno from Ponferrada to Santiago, but the Camino Sanabrés only from Ourense to Santiago.
 
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dick bird

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
If you really like the meseta that much, why not start in Madrid? You join the Francés at Sahagún so you can continue to Ponferrada and then divert to the Invierno, which joins the Sanabrés just south of Santiago. Both the Madrid and the Invierno can be a bit lonely, but I suspect that isn't a problem for you.
 

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