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Astorga to Cruz de Ferro

2020 Camino Guides

JoelMal

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning my first for May
Hello All,

I am planning my first Camino. I am very excited about the spiritual and physical journey I plan on undertaking. Due to work constraints I can only take off a couple of weeks. Therefore, I plan on starting in Astorga and finishing in Santiago. For the spiritual aspect of my journey I wish the arrive at Cruz de Ferro on May 4th. This date has significance for me.

So my question is - What day should I start my journey from Astorga if I wish to arrive at Cruz de Ferro on the 4th?

Thanks,
Joel
 

november_moon

Veteran Member
Since you are starting in Astorga, you probably need to take it easy the first few days at least to get your Camino legs. Plus, it's somewhat of a climb to get from Astorga to the Iron Cross - then there's the walk after the Iron Cross to get to where you'll end the day to consider - you don't want to bite off more than you can chew.

If you are in good shape and used to hiking, you could start on May 3:
May 3: Astorga to Rabanal (20.6 km)
May 4: Rabanal to El Acebo (17 km) - passing the Iron Cross about 1/3 of the way into your day. There is a great new albergue in El Acebo - comfortable bunks and a nice terrace overlooking the valley below. Or if you are up for it, continue onto Molinaseca, which is another 7.5 km.

If you want to take an extra day, which would allow for an easier Camino start plus allow you to visit the Iron Cross early in the morning, start of May 2:
May 2: Astorga to Santa Catalina del Samoza (9.3km) - short day, but you could hang around Astorga a bit in the morning - it's a very nice town.
May 3: Santa Catalina to Foncebadon (16.6 km) - Foncebadon is a neat little mountain town not far from the Iron Cross - a lot of people stay there and get up early to be at the cross for sunrise.
May 4: Foncebadon to Molinaseca (19.5 km) - it's only 2 km from Foncebadon to the iron Cross, so you could get there early in the morning before the day-trippers in buses and on motorcycles get there.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019)
Cruz de Ferro was a very important place for me on my first Camino. The suggestion that the last 2 contributors submitted are both good. Definitely get there as early as you can. If you start at 7k out if you leave even as late as 6am you can be there by 8. Get some food the night before to eat on the way. It should be pretty quiet so you can take your time to do what you need to do in peace. A word of advice. I have no idea your reason that you need to be there but it is obviously important. You may (as I did) want to walk and walk afterwards. I did and walked a long way, about 7 more hours. But I had started in St. Jean. I could do it without a problem. I don’t know your age or condition but remember to take it a little easier because your just stating out.
 

jmcarp

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2013
Camino del Norte a Chimayó (USA), 2015
Camino Portugues, 2017
The Cruz de Ferro was the spiritual climax of my first Camino--even more so than reaching Santiago and experiencing the Pilgrims' Mass there. I second the suggestion of @november_moon to spend the night in Foncebadón in order to get to the Cruz de Ferro just as the sun rises.
 

fraluchi

RIP 2019
Camino(s) past & future
One every year since 2007
Astorga-Rabanal is a good start, not too difficult or too long a walk. Staying at Refugio Gaucelmo (CSJ) is quite an experience. The following day, steep up to Foncebadon and then along mountain range to Cruz de Ferro. After that, basically down all the way, sometimes pretty steep, past Manjarin (quite a story about this place and its character), El Acebo and Riego de Ambros to Molinaseca. All in all 25 km and feasible for a normal hiker. All these small villages offer accommodation and food & beverages.
Buen camino; ultreya!
 

JoelMal

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning my first for May
Since you are starting in Astorga, you probably need to take it easy the first few days at least to get your Camino legs. Plus, it's somewhat of a climb to get from Astorga to the Iron Cross - then there's the walk after the Iron Cross to get to where you'll end the day to consider - you don't want to bite off more than you can chew.

If you are in good shape and used to hiking, you could start on May 3:
May 3: Astorga to Rabanal (20.6 km)
May 4: Rabanal to El Acebo (17 km) - passing the Iron Cross about 1/3 of the way into your day. There is a great new albergue in El Acebo - comfortable bunks and a nice terrace overlooking the valley below. Or if you are up for it, continue onto Molinaseca, which is another 7.5 km.

If you want to take an extra day, which would allow for an easier Camino start plus allow you to visit the Iron Cross early in the morning, start of May 2:
May 2: Astorga to Santa Catalina del Samoza (9.3km) - short day, but you could hang around Astorga a bit in the morning - it's a very nice town.
May 3: Santa Catalina to Foncebadon (16.6 km) - Foncebadon is a neat little mountain town not far from the Iron Cross - a lot of people stay there and get up early to be at the cross for sunrise.
May 4: Foncebadon to Molinaseca (19.5 km) - it's only 2 km from Foncebadon to the iron Cross, so you could get there early in the morning before the day-trippers in buses and on motorcycles get there.
Thank you so much!! I am still looking into flights to see when I will arrive in Astorga. I am planning on flying from the US on the 1st. Most flights have me arriving in Barcelona the morning of the 2nd. If I can get to Astorga early enough by bus then 9.3 km might not be too bad. Unless I am wiped out from my flight! Ha!
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
Forget Barca, it is on the other side of the world from Galicia. There is a sleeper train from Madrid that arrives early in the morning in Astorga. It would give you a day to decompress there or walk 10 kms towards Cruz de Ferro. Two days up the hill to the Cruz but then where do you want to spend the night?
 

november_moon

Veteran Member
I wouldn't plan on flying from the US, arriving on the Camino and starting to walk that day. I'm pretty good at dealing with jet lag, but I would not leave the US on May 1, arrive in Spain on May 2, bus or train to Astorga and try to walk my first leg on May 2. That is just too much. Either leave a day earlier so that you can arrive in Astrorga on May 1 and get your bearings (and a good sleep) before starting the walk - or - start the walk on May 3 knowing you'll have some climbing to do on May 4.
 

Sailor

Donante Vitalicio
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Infinito
Concur with above statements. No way Jose. Do not start walking on your first day in Spain [just my opinion]. Also, you are traveling from the USA and unplanned things do happen, like your flight arriving Spain five hours late causing you to miss your train and your bus transportation [this happened to my wife and me in September, with non-refundable train and bus tickets], bottom line, give yourself plenty of time to make it to Astorga, get some rest, and then start walking when you are fresh and ready to go. Good luck with your planning and execution, y que la luz de Dios alumbre su camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF last 150 to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2022)
Lots of good advice above.
On both my previous Caminos I stayed in Foncebadon the night before and left at dawn to get to the Cross.

This time I might try something different.

Has anyone walked up to the cross late in the day?
I'm thinking late afternoon and then down to El Acebo for the night.

If the afternoon gets crowded though, I'll stick with the dawn option.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
I really looked forward to the Cruz de Ferro. Then on the day we left Rabanal, there was a huge party of school children just head of us on the track. Reaching the cross just minutes before us - loud, shouting, shoving each other, sliding on the stones... completely not what I was hoping for. I had hoped for some reflective space. It was not to be. Ended up walking away feeling a bit cheated. Next time..
 

Mark McCarthy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2014 2015
Lourdes 2 SdC 2016
Sarria 2 SdC April&Oct 2016 & (April 2018)
Camino Baztan June 2017
There is a lot to see and do in Astorga itself (Gaudi's bishop palace, the chocolate museum and the Roman museum), if you have part of a day to decompress in Astorga. There is a good but expensive outdoor shop run by a very helpful Swiss guy in Astorga if you need any last minute equipment like walking poles. There is a bus service direct from Madrid airport to Astorga which runs four times a day (www.alsa.es). There is normally one overnight stay between Astorga and Cruz de Ferro, so if you want to arrive at Cruz de Ferro on May 4th you should plan to leave Astorga on May 3rd and therefore plan to arrive in Astorga on May 2nd. Personally I would plan to stay in the British CSJ refugio in Rabanal (www.csj.org.uk/about-us/hospitality-our-refuges/refugio-gaucelmo-at-rabanal-del-camino/). From there I would stop El Acebo (May 4/5), Ponferrada (May 5/6), Villafranca del Bierzo(May 6/7), La Faba (May 7/8), Triacastela (May 8/9), Sarria (May 9/10), Portomarin (May 10/11), Palas de Rei (May 11/12), Ribadiso (May 12/13), Pedrouzo (May 13/14), Santiago(May 14/15).
 

Kathryn1966

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017
I would suggest walking to Rabanal and staying two days at the monastery it is an amazing experience they cook for you and it is nice and quite place to stay check out John Brieleys guidebook for details I sent them an email to ask if I could stay they are a great bunch of priests
 

CESAR Ribeiro

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes, I made the way in August (2015), starting from Pamplona.
Hi Joel, I wish you an excellent trip to Santiago and that you admire the magic of the Iron Cross. I made the way that you will now, You can leave from Astorga on the 3th of May, walk for 27 Km and rest in Foncebadón.

The next day you can wake up early and admire the Iron Cross, which is approximately 2,5 Km from Foncebadón.

Buen Camino!
 

Willy51

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2016
Hey Joel - I, too, am one of those who walked from Astorga to Foncebadon before stopping for the day. By doing so, most of the uphill climb after Rabanal was completed and the village of Foncebadon was one of my favorite stops along the CF. The next morning, the remaining trek up to the Cruz de Ferro was short and easily reached before the sun came up. There are a couple albergues in Foncebadon with good food available. Buen Camino!
 

Steadfast

DB2
Camino(s) past & future
Planning May (2018)
Since you are starting in Astorga, you probably need to take it easy the first few days at least to get your Camino legs. Plus, it's somewhat of a climb to get from Astorga to the Iron Cross - then there's the walk after the Iron Cross to get to where you'll end the day to consider - you don't want to bite off more than you can chew.

If you are in good shape and used to hiking, you could start on May 3:
May 3: Astorga to Rabanal (20.6 km)
May 4: Rabanal to El Acebo (17 km) - passing the Iron Cross about 1/3 of the way into your day. There is a great new albergue in El Acebo - comfortable bunks and a nice terrace overlooking the valley below. Or if you are up for it, continue onto Molinaseca, which is another 7.5 km.

If you want to take an extra day, which would allow for an easier Camino start plus allow you to visit the Iron Cross early in the morning, start of May 2:
May 2: Astorga to Santa Catalina del Samoza (9.3km) - short day, but you could hang around Astorga a bit in the morning - it's a very nice town.
May 3: Santa Catalina to Foncebadon (16.6 km) - Foncebadon is a neat little mountain town not far from the Iron Cross - a lot of people stay there and get up early to be at the cross for sunrise.
May 4: Foncebadon to Molinaseca (19.5 km) - it's only 2 km from Foncebadon to the iron Cross, so you could get there early in the morning before the day-trippers in buses and on motorcycles get there.
Since you are starting in Astorga, you probably need to take it easy the first few days at least to get your Camino legs. Plus, it's somewhat of a climb to get from Astorga to the Iron Cross - then there's the walk after the Iron Cross to get to where you'll end the day to consider - you don't want to bite off more than you can chew.

If you are in good shape and used to hiking, you could start on May 3:
May 3: Astorga to Rabanal (20.6 km)
May 4: Rabanal to El Acebo (17 km) - passing the Iron Cross about 1/3 of the way into your day. There is a great new albergue in El Acebo - comfortable bunks and a nice terrace overlooking the valley below. Or if you are up for it, continue onto Molinaseca, which is another 7.5 km.

If you want to take an extra day, which would allow for an easier Camino start plus allow you to visit the Iron Cross early in the morning, start of May 2:
May 2: Astorga to Santa Catalina del Samoza (9.3km) - short day, but you could hang around Astorga a bit in the morning - it's a very nice town.
May 3: Santa Catalina to Foncebadon (16.6 km) - Foncebadon is a neat little mountain town not far from the Iron Cross - a lot of people stay there and get up early to be at the cross for sunrise.
May 4: Foncebadon to Molinaseca (19.5 km) - it's only 2 km from Foncebadon to the iron Cross, so you could get there early in the morning before the day-trippers in buses and on motorcycles get there.
 

Bala

Veteran member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: SJPdP-Burgos, (2015); Burgos-Sarria (2018); Sarria-Santiago (2018).
Frances (2020)
I would suggest walking to Rabanal and staying two days at the monastery it is an amazing experience they cook for you and it is nice and quite place to stay check out John Brieleys guidebook for details I sent them an email to ask if I could stay they are a great bunch of priests
Kathryn, how far in advance did you contact them? And did you stay in the 4-room facility inside the monastery or their other pilgrim guesthouse? I would love to stay there, but at this point I don't have any idea when I'll pass through that area, and probably won't until I'm actually walking. Four rooms isn't very many!
 

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