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Brandon's VdlP Notes

"Hi all,

Last fall I walked the Via de la Plata from Seville to Santiago. It was a great peregrino experience and much less traveled than the Camino Frances.

As always, there were some changes and challenges along the way; details that differed from the CSJ small guide.

Here are my notes, for anyone interested in following this route in the near future. I've also passed them along the Alison Raju so that she might consider adding them to the next revision.

a. recommended place to stay in Seville: Hostal Backpacker's Triana on Triana St. about 22E. The Association there has odd hours and didn't speak much English. If you're pressed for time, better to get credential at the Cathedral.

b. Castilblanco de los Arroyos- stopped at the petrol station, the refugio was open, fine until 10pm when all the local drunks and homeless came and made it impossible to stay there. Feces spread on floor in toilet. They need to keep this locked or have a hospitalero. Dangerous for singles. I finally left at 11pm and went to Pension Salvadora 10E

c. El Real de la Jara- refugio on Pablo Picasso St. just as you enter town. 8E.

d. Monasterio- refugio closed, stayed at Hotel Moya 20E

e. Fuentes de Cantos- albergue in convent, 12E

f. Zafra- albergue in Convent San Francisco, 15E

g. Almendralejo- stayed at Irene's (house) #33 Ave. de San Antonio, 15E

h. Merida- now has pilgrim's albergue. Turn left off bridge and head 200 yds. along the river. 6E

i. Alcuescar- can stay at Monastery of the Slaves, Mary and the Poor. They serve dinner. Donativo. Noisy during October 8 festival.

j. Valdesalor- slept on floor in city council chamber; shower available n/c

k. Canaveral- albergue on the street next to Hotel Malaga, #3, donativo

l. Galisteo- stayed in Albergue Rusticio (6E), Hotel Medina Ghaliayah is another possibility

m. Jarilla- Hostal Asturias (18.80E)

n. Banos de Montemayor- albergue was filled with package tourists. I stayed in Don Diego Pension (13E). Very nice, central, close to spas

o. San Pedro de Rozados- stayed in cozy, home-like Albergue Miliario, calle Rosario 14 (8E) Trail was badly marked this day. Got lost on top of mountain by crosses and caught cattle path to the road.

p. Salmanca- stayed in new refugio next to gardens (4E) interesting Art Nouveau museum

q. El Cubo de Tierra del Vino- stayed in refugio at church; bed bugs and chiggers in beds. Poor condition. The path was unmarked today because of road construction

r. Zamora- refugio is still not open. The policia direct people to a Youth Hostel that is not accepting pilgrims this time of year when it houses only students. Eventually went to El Bar Jardin (12E)

s. Montemarta- new albergue (4E) well marked. Open all the time. Trail is again badly marked.

t. Granja de Moreruela- Casa de la Cultura, finished now (5E). village dancing on weekend night. Trail mostly unmarked today.

u. Tabara- albergue, donativo

v. Calzadilla de Tera- new albergue is just behind bus stop on road at entry into town. Room for seniors is downstairs. 6 beds upstairs. Hot showers. Donativo. Get key from Mayor.

w. Cernadilla- very cozy stone cabin for pilgrims. (3E) Get key from Mayor. Store closes early.

x. Puebla de Sanabria- stayed at Colegio Concertado (6E) run by nuns

y. Lubian- refugio (3E)

z. Lawa- (Laza) internet facilities

aa. Vilar de Barrio- very nice, new refugio in town square, donativo

bb. Ourense- albergue at the convent de San Francisco, donativo, internet nearby

cc. Cea- internet facility in community center, across from small park, odd hours

dd. Oseira- stayed at monastery, very cold, damp, cavernous, moldy room. Not recommended. Separate from the main monastery and unable to share food with the brothers. No showers. Dirty. Like being buried alive. NOT recommended. No market. Cafes are rather expensive. Nice Mass.

ee. A Laxe- modern, new refugio. Very nice. Good restaurant, Marie Jose, where they fix dinner earlier for pilgrims. Pilgrim friendly.

ff. Vedra- new albergue, donativo, very good condition. Restaurant at bottom of hill, quite a trek but good food.

gg. Santiago- highly recommend the private albergue St. Lazarro, much less crowded, clean sheets (yes, sheets), huge kitchen, near bus stop to town and airport. Only 45 minute walk to cathedral. (7-10E)


Brandon Wilson
author, Along the Templar Trail
VF 2000-2001"
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Kevin F. O*brien

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2002-2019 Via Podiensis, Camino Frances, Via de la plata, Camino del Norte, Camino Primitivo, etc.
Hello Brandon and thanks for the interesting notes. We sent in a few remarks after walking the VDLP in the autumn of 2005 and the spring of 2006. Interesting to note that the ref. at Canaveral has been moved from the centre of town (it was a sewer!) to beside the Hotel Malaga on the main road. We had to stay at the Malaga. Sorry to hear about your surely frightening experience at Castelblanco. Would it help to send a note to Los Amigos de Via de la Plata in Sevilla or ask Ivar to do it. They must put a stop to it.
We had one very long day, walking from Cacaboso via Caparra to Aldeanueva del Camino, but the ref. there was empty (key from the ladies next door) and we enjoyed a late breakfast next morning in a lovely little square in Banos.
Thanks again for the notes and the memories!


Kevin and Kari


Staff member
Thanks for these notes, they are very helpful as I try to decide whether to commit to the Vdlp next year!

I have a question about that long slog between Cacaboso and Aldeanueva del Camino. Mundicamino lists an albergue in the municipio of Caparra, in Hervas, which the notes describe as 3 km from the arc in Caparra. The albergue has a website, it's a touristic, not pilgrim, albergue.

Has anyone ever stayed there? That would cut the 38 km into two 20 km days, if my calculations are right.

Thanks, Laurie


New Member
Re the alburege in Hervas. I've not stayed in it but I did stop by it on Paseo de la Estacion. It was clean and attractive (former railway building) and the manager (Carlos) kept a delightful and very well behaved dog called Hippy. The town/village itself is interesting including the juderia. If you are a meat lover Meson 60 is great (try the secreto). It's a back to basics bar downstairs with a wood grill and a no frills comedor upstairs. Avoid the vino de piterra (fortified wine) and stick instead to the Ribera or Rioja. Bar Tito is friendly with inexpensive tapa.
The number I have for the albergue is 927 47 34 70

Kevin F. O*brien

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2002-2019 Via Podiensis, Camino Frances, Via de la plata, Camino del Norte, Camino Primitivo, etc.
Hello Laurie, I read your note and thought about that long slog from Cacaboso. It's not hard, the terrain is relatively flat (and very beautiful) and the way is well marked. You can get water at a farmhouse at Venta Quemada about 11km from Cacaboso, and again at the museum at Caparra. After that its downhill to a crossroads with the highway and from there its about four km to Aldeanueva. According to Alison you can ring to a hostal and they come and get you at Caparra and deliver you back there the next day (Hostal Asturias). We were fairly fit by the time we got that far and, apart from the heat, its not a particularly hard day. Hervas is up past Aldeanueva on my map but its sounds good. Note! there is plenty of shade, so you can rest under the trees.


Kevin and Kari

PS. After reading Brandon's notes I see that this day stands alone as a long stage on the VDLP, the rest have been shortened in the last two years.
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More from Brandon's VdlP Notes

Re: Notes from the Via de la Plata

Glad they were helpful to you. Again, they were just the changes since the CSJ small blue guide was published.

To answer your questions, I left Seville on September 28th. The only major rain I encountered was just outside of Seville, of all places. There was heavy rain and flooding. You may have seen the news footage of cars being washed down streets. At one point, the trail was flooded and everyone was diverted onto the highway. Also, a farmer helped me cross a swollen stream by throwing me a steel cable attached to his tractor.

After three days, the skies cleared and I encountered no more heavy rain--even in Galicia--although it sprinkled rain at times. The south was generally hot during the day, in the 80s (F) with cool nights. By the time I reached Galicia, the trees were changing colors and it was colder (50s) with frost at night, but it was still generally sunny.

I arrived in Santiago on November 4th. I walked for 38 days averaging 16-36 kms. a day. These varied so much because of the uneven distances between village with refugios.

I never ran into problems finding water and found the fall an excellent time to walk. I would have been very concerned finding water though in the south in the summer's 100 degree temps. Plus, there are long stretches with no shade. So my advice is to walk it in the autumn.

Hope this helps. I will also try to upload a chart with villages, accommodations, and distances. I found it very useful for planning.

Brandon Wilson


  • Via de la Plata.pdf
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Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
In Spain, France, Portugal, Germany since 2003
I was in Hervas two weeks ago. No problems with sun or heat as some are discribing!! It is not there always. We had much rain and cold weather for some days. A lot of problems crossing rivers which are usually not there!!! Many wet stories to be told in the albergues in the evening!!

If you do not want to walk the long distance from Carcaboso to Aldeanueva, you can phone Hostal Asturias on the N-630 the day before. They collect you from the arch in the afternoon (927477057).
(Some 6-7 km away from Caparra but only 2 km from the route the following morning. You just walk back to pick up the camino next morning).

We then walked to Hervas the next day and stayed there. (Rain, rain, rain and nearly snow!) It is about 6,5 km from Aldeanueva to Hervas, and about the same (6,5 km) from Hervas to Banos de Montemayor. Hervas is worth a visit, and the alberge is perfect! (Albergue Turistico, not a pilgrims albergue).

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