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Advice - Ponferrada-Santiago or Sarria-Santiago + Finisterre?

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bmac123

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
Hello!

After two years of wanting to do a segment of the Camino, I am finally in a place to be able to do it!

I am trying to decide between two options:
1. Walk the Frances route from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela (9 stages).
2. Walk the Frances route from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela (5 stages) and then continue on to Finisterre (4 stages).

I am leaning heavily toward the second idea but want to hear from those who have done it before. Also, if I do the latter route, I will be arriving in Sarria on July 21 in the evening. I heard that July 25 is the day of St. James and there is a large festival. Should I try to walk the route in four days so I can aim to be in Santiago by July 25? Or is it not worth rushing? (Note: I am quite fit and regularly walk long distances in normal life, so I'm not as worried about fitness but am more wondering if doing too much mileage during the day would ruin the experience).

From my understanding, most hostels do not have space and/or do not check people in late in the evening, otherwise I would start walking on July 21 (I would arrive at 7pm or so). I've mapped out different options for fixing this problem so that I can get to Santiago by July 25, and here they are:

Sarria - Portomarin (22.1 km)
Portomarin - Melide (40.9 km)
Melide - A Rua (32.4 km)
A Rua - Santiago (20.9 km)

Sarria - Portomarin (22.1 km)
Portomarin - Palas de Rei (25.7 km)
Palas de Rei - Arzua (29.6 km)
Arzua - Santiago (38.9 km)

Sarria - Gonzar (30.7 km)
Gonzar - Melide (32.3 km) -- my hesitation here -- how hard is it to get accomodation in Gonzar?
Melide - A Rua (32.4 km)
A Rua - Santiago (20.9 km)

Thank you everyone for your input! Buen camino!
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, @Bmac,

Welcome to the forum! I am sure others will chime in with their opinion, but my guess is that the overwhelming consensus will be that you are likely to find massive crowds and no accommodation if you walk from Sarria in time to arrive in Santiago for St. James day. St. James Day is always very crowded in Santiago and accommodations are very tight, but this year is a Holy Year and things will be even tighter. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great time to be in Santiago. I was there on the feast day several years ago and had arranged my accommodation months in advance. Based on your post, I’m assuming that you haven’t made reservations. You should do a little checking and see what you can find.

I think you will find things much easier to arrange and much less crowded if you walk from Ponferrada, starting on the 21st. Sarria to Santiago will be very crowded all summer, no matter when you walk it, but those days right before St. James’ feast day will be the most crowded of all.

Buen camino, Laurie
 
Past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
May I present two other options?

If you are getting to Sarria by busing from Santiago then you pass through Lugo first. You qualify for a compostela from there also. That saves you some pilgrim traffic until you join the CF in Melide. You still end up in SdC for St. James Day if you want that.

Do the SdC - Finisterre - Muxia - SdC loop in either direction. Again, fewer pilgrims. Each qualifies for a compostela as well.

My personal choice would include heading west from SdC in some way.
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Past OR future Camino
2019
Knowing I will draw fire for this comment, but I didn’t find SdC to Finisterre that exciting. Perhaps it’s because the previous 600 miles of walking was so spectacular or that after SdC it was a bit anti-climactic, but for whatever reason I found the terrain a bit boring and not a lot of pilgrim spirit on it. Now everyone: commence firing! 😎
 
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Pugliese

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances From Leon 2018
We walked the Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela in October 2018 and the Ponferrada to Sarria section was the best and most beautiful part. It just became too crowded from Sarria and the Camino lost some of it's magic.
 

bmac123

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
Okay, after some research I am now deciding between these two options:
Walk the Camino Primitivo from Lugo to Santiago and then continue to Muxia and Finisterre - OR - Walk the Camino Ingles from Ferrol to Santiago and then continue on to Muxia and Finisterre. Thoughts on the Ingles?
 

Peter462

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept/Oct 2019
Caminho port june 22
Keep walking til the "end of the world", it'll be so worth it
 

SabineP

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
Okay, after some research I am now deciding between these two options:
Walk the Camino Primitivo from Lugo to Santiago and then continue to Muxia and Finisterre - OR - Walk the Camino Ingles from Ferrol to Santiago and then continue on to Muxia and Finisterre. Thoughts on the Ingles?

Big fan here of the Ingles! And also of the epilogue to Fisterra.
The Ingles is a perfect mini Camino imho.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
We walked the Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela in October 2018 and the Ponferrada to Sarria section was the best and most beautiful part. It just became too crowded from Sarria and the Camino lost some of it's magic.
Yes there are some standouts in that section, I always live the arrival in O'Cebreiro (you know you've arrived in Galicia) and Samos is lovely. I like the long downhill from Alto de Poio, the view out with the morning mist is lovely.
 
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Richard of York

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
May I present two other options?

If you are getting to Sarria by busing from Santiago then you pass through Lugo first. You qualify for a compostela from there also. That saves you some pilgrim traffic until you join the CF in Melide. You still end up in SdC for St. James Day if you want that.

Do the SdC - Finisterre - Muxia - SdC loop in either direction. Again, fewer pilgrims. Each qualifies for a compostela as well.

My personal choice would include heading west from SdC in some way.
I'm pretty sure it's only 97km from Lugo. Ferrol is 122, and easy to get to from Santiago, less so from Sarria/Lugo though it can be done.


The direct bus from Santiago to Saria does not go through Lugo, it follows the Camino francés. It leaves at 10ish from Santiago, and goes through all the towns (not villages) along the camino to O Cebreiro and turns around and arrives back in Santiago around 6pm. There are services that go via Lugo, but you change there, and getting the train from Lugo to Sarria is an option. Finding these out is a challenge. Look at Monbus.es and RENFE.
 
Past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
I'm pretty sure it's only 97km from Lugo.
Vive Camino says:
It is true that in the last change of signaling of this route, carried out by the Tourism Agency of Galicia, the milestone at the entrance of the old city now marks 99.583 km to Santiago instead of 103.625.

With this distance it is not possible to get the Compostela, but even so the Pilgrim's Office grants it anyway to avoid damaging the economy of the city and the pilgrims. However, in order to obtain the Compostela, pilgrims must have a stamp from the city in their passbook.

 
Past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Great, I'll be doing that then!
I should have added that a sello from the Lugo cathedral can't hurt your getting a compostela. Remember, you still need two a day.

Old Lugo is surrounded by a wall. I've only seen pictures but it looks pretty impressive. Lugo is on the Camino Primitivo if you want to do any internet searches for information. It joins the Francés at Melide.

Buen camino.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
I should have added that a sello from the Lugo cathedral can't hurt your getting a compostela. Remember, you still need two a day.

Old Lugo is surrounded by a wall. I've only seen pictures but it looks pretty impressive. Lugo is on the Camino Primitivo if you want to do any internet searches for information. It joins the Francés at Melide.

Buen camino.
You can walk around the top of that wall - we took a side trip from Sarria to Lugo to see the wall and the old town Funny seeing a whole set of different pilgrims.
Enjoyed mass in the cathedral there.
 
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