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Camino Primitivo, route + accommodation info

Upbeat Adventures

New Member
Past OR future Camino
We completed the Camino Primitivo trek in September 2015. Yes - a long delay in posting, but hopefully better late than never. We are very grateful to everyone on the forum who shared info re routes, accommodation and other advice and as such, hope that this post is found to be useful by those who wish to do the Primitivo.

My husband and I flew into San Sebastien on 18 August, and spent a week carb loading, protein cycling and getting our fluids up courtesy of the famed San Sebastian pintxos, Iberian ham and Spanish wine. We had planned this week as a rest week from physical exercise, having run the Sydney City2Surf run the week prior. Not sure if we would advise others follow this training regime :)

Our walk started in Oviedo, and we took our time, spending 2.5 weeks in total. We used the guidebook "The Northern Caminos" by Laura Perazzoli and Dave Whitson. The guidebook was helpful overall, but was factually incorrect in sone locations. As such we were lucky to have enabled data through an EU-based SIM card on our Australian phones as preparation, so that we could use Google Maps if we got truly lost (this only happened once).

Our route and accommodation as follows:

Day 1

Route/ kms: Oveido to San Juan de Villepanada, 29.5km

Food: breakfast in Oviedo, we stopped at a church and ate pre-packed lunches that we'd bought from a supermarket in Oviedo, dinner we cooked ourselves with ingredients bought at a supermarket at Grado en route.

Accommodation: in Oviedo, we stayed at the Hotel Alteza; very cute and in a great location. In San Juan de Villepanada, we stayed at Albergue de Peregrinos, in care of the great Domingo. There were more trekkers than beds, so my husband and I ended up sleeping on the floor on mattresses, along with four others. But it was fun!

We met: a cool German/ Russian photographer who was dedicating her trip to taking photographs of pilgrim feet along the way. She considered ours too intact to be of any interest to her photographic essay :)

Day 2

Route/ kms: San Juan de Villepanada to Salas, 17.5km

Food: breakfast and lunch: leftovers and food brought from Grado the day before. We then shopped at a cafe and a supermarket in Salas for dinner which we cooked at the albergue + next day. Note, we ran out of water en route to Salas; the last few km's were very, very hot and unshaded and there was nowhere to buy or ask for water.

Accommodation: Albergue La Campa, with host Michel. Great albergue, multiple private bathrooms, and we were able to hire a private bedroom with a comfy double bed to make up for the previous nights' sleep quality.

We met: a group of four young German pilgrims who were super fast. Two funny older Italian men who also outpaced us.

Day 3

Route/ kms: Salas to Tineo, 18.9km. A scenic exit out of Salas with dramatic fog as we reached the forest canopy.

Food: breakfast and lunch: leftovers and food brought from Salas the day before. For dinner, we went to a nearby restaurant Cafe Alhambra where we tried a 'pilgrim's meal' for the first time. It was massive and delicious. My husband then went to the supermarket to buy food for our breakfast and lunch the next day.

Accommodation: Albergue de Peregrino Mater Christi. The sleeping arrangements was one big room, two bathrooms. There were lots of flies, and no cooking facilities.

We met: cyclists from Italy, working their quads hard as they cycled uphill for most of the morning.

Day 4

Route/ kms: Tineo to Borres, 14km in the book, but 17km according to my phone's GPS. A beautiful walk through farmland, with lots of shade. A kind resident has built a nice bathroom and vending machine, and a place to sit down in the shade on this route.

Food: breakfast bought from Tineo the day before. Lunch was at the cafe in Campiello, where everyone else seemed to be staying overnight. We wanted a head start on the Hospitales, so we continued onwards in the afternoon. For dinner, we went to a nearby bar, the El Barin (which is where you register for the albergue).

Accommodation: Albergue de Peregrino Santa Maria. Despite being super basic, this was a really nice albergue because it was small - there were only 16 beds and because of Borres' proximity to the much larger Campiello, not many people bothered going further to Borres. No cooking facilities, two bathrooms.

We met: a farmer just outside of Borres who gave my husband and I flowers to wear in our backpacks and gave us encouraging words to continue walking :). A nice German/Austrian couple who we taught to play a Russian/Mongolian card game "nichte" with us. We beat them every time woop.

Day 5

Route/ kms: Borres to Berducedo, 23.9km. Stunning scenery, quite cold at the top despite being summer. We ran out of water at the end - again, despite being in forest the route was unshaded past Lago, and the bar that the guidebook promised was permanently closed. We ended up knocking on the door of a kindly resident who let us have some water.

Food: we had bought heaps of snack-like foods that didn't require cooking, at Campiello the day before. As such, breakfast and lunch were had en route. A stunning lunch break at the peak of the Hospitales. Dinner that evening was at Bar Casa Marques. We had a pilgrim meal which was so big we couldn't finish it.

Accommodation: we did not stay at the private or municipal albergue. Instead we stayed at a pension above Bar Casa Marques; which had the luxury of its own bathroom, and ample secure space to hang out laundry.

We met: two women from Latvia who were hiking in sneakers, two American women who were the only ones on the trip taking it more easy and slowly than we were.

Day 6

Route/ kms: Berducedo to Grandas de Salime, 20km. Incredible scenery, from a stunning view over the dam, to the abandoned houses on the dam, to the forest in the hills behind the town.

Food: breakfast at the bar. Lunch on the dam (Embalse de Salime), and this deserves a special mention to express what a standout, stand-up meal this was. We had the pilgrim special at the Hotel Las Grandas. The restaurant was near empty, despite its perfect views, tables on the terrace, bathrooms. The meal was simple, but I never tasted anything so good again in all of Spain. I had some sort of bean/chickpea soup, cooked cod, and a divine coffee custard flan. I almost wanted to stay overnight here. The building is bright yellow and the route goes right by it - you can't miss it. Dinner: we shopped nearby at a small supermarket and cooked at the albergue.

Accommodation: Albergue de Peregrinos. A brand new, MASSIVE albergue with superb bathroom and kitchen facilities. The sleeping situation was a bit awkward, there was a large, long room and the bunks were positioned very closely. Rather too intimate.

We met: John, an american boy, the same German man and his son, German/Austrian couple, and Latvian women. They all stayed at the same albergue as us that evening, and we beat them all at nichte. A nice Spanish couple who told us to head to Barceloneta.

Day 7

Route/ kms: Grandas de Salime to A Fonsagrada, 25.2 km A slug of a walk, lots of walking next to a highway, an uphill curve that you can see coming from miles away.

Food: breakfast and lunch on the way with food bought from Grandas the day before. We cooked dinner at the albergue with ingredients found at a small shop near the albergue in A Fonsagrada.

Accommodation: Albergue Hostal Cantabrico. Superb kitchen and laundry facilities at this hostel.

We met: the same German man and his son, German/Austrian couple, and Latvian women. No one wanted to play nichte with us anymore as they were losing too much money and pride, but we did sit around and have lots of wine.

Day 8

Route/ kms: A Fonsagrada to Cadavo Beleira, 25km (book says 22km, GPS assures me that it is not).

Food: breakfast and lunch on the way with food bought from A Fonsagrada the day before. Dinner was hilarious: we just went to the supermarket and bought junk -chips, proscuitto, salami, custard, all manner of cookies and soft drink. We ate it all on the bed in our hotel room.

Accommodation: Hotel Moneda in town. The albergue was full.

We met: no one, we needed an introverted, junk-food filled night to ourselves in a nice bed J

Day 9

Route/ kms: Cadavo Beleira to Castroverde, 9km. We opted for a very easy day today.

Food: breakfast was included at the hotel. Dinner was cooked at the albergue at Castroverde, note they had almost no cooking items.

Accommodation: Albergue de Peregrinos

We met: the German/Austrian couple, and they wanted to play nichte. They asked for it!

Day 10,11

Route/ kms: Castroverde to Lugo, 21.6km. We got very, very lost upon approach to Lugo. We had to find wifi and call our hotel. But otherwise a nice easy walk, with abandoned Spanish villages on the way.

Food: breakfast and lunch was food we’d bought from the supermarket the day before. We had lunch in a field of sunflowers and a deer came to visit us. Very idyllic. Dinner that night, and subsequent meals the next day, at several bars in Lugo.

Accommodation: Hotel-Apartmentos Ciudad de Lugo. On our second night, we stayed at the albergue. We arrived there at 1pm and were 5th in line. It was very chaotic, people trying to push in etc. The dorm rooms were ok.

We met: nobody. We stayed in Lugo for two nights, and as such everyone we’d been on the road with walked onwards.

Day 12

Route/ kms: Lugo to Ferreira, 26km. A lovely walk on well-marked roman roads.

Food: breakfast and lunch en route, dinner was included in the albergue price and was a fun Camino group experience.

Accommodation: Ponte Ferriera. One of the nicest ever albergues, great host who had visited NZ. A dog on site to play with, and lots of seats in the sunshine. The dorm room was big, and made of stone and was very cosy.

We met: a family traveling together.

Day 13

Route/ kms: Ferreira to Melide, 20.6km through cornfields, on a road, through cute little towns one with rainbows painted everywhere through it.

Food: breakfast and lunch en route with ingredients bought the day previous, dinner cooked at the albergue from a good supermarket on the way. A pre-dinner snack of pulpo from one of the many pulpo restaurants in Melide.

Accommodation: San Anton hostel, one of the best albergues we stayed at. A private albergue very close to sights of Melide, with a good laundry and sunshine-dowsed seated area.

We met: the best wine for 1 Euro, called Los Mojinos.

Day 14

Route/ kms: Melide to Arzua, 13km. The route now starts getting very busy.

Food: breakfast cooked at the albergue before we departed. Lunch at a café on a main road in Arzua. Dinner at a good restaurant that did a pilgrim’s meal, recommended by a waitress in a nearby café.

Accommodation: many hostel options, but we ended up at the Da Fonte. Good location, nice bathrooms.

We met: our passion – a bar with electronic darts. An Aussie guy who left at 4am.

Day 15

Route/ kms: Arzua to Pedrouzo, 19km. Quite crowded.

Food: breakfast at a café, lunch at a restaurant in A’rua on the highway where there are three restaurants plying for pilgrim business. We skipped dinner that night, but went to the supermarket to buy dessert, and food for the next day.

Accommodation: Pension Bule-Bic, which had a great balcony from which we could see pilgrims as they walked on by, and a good bar downstairs.

We met: no one. The more crowded it got, the more to ourselves we kept.

Day 16

Route/ kms: Pedrouzo to Santiago de Compostella, 21km. Very crowded and loud, especially as there were tour buses with large American pilgrims doing the last few kilometres.

Food: breakfast at the Bule-Bic, we were in SDC by lunchtime.

Accommodation: Hostal Suso, lovely and comfy accommodations very close to the pilgrim’s office and good restaurants.

• We met
: no one. We were done!
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Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Caminos Madrid, Frances and Finisterre (2015)
Camino Norte-2017; Camino Ingles from A Coruna - 2017
Thank you for posting this information. I am considering the Primitivo as part of my 2018 Camino. The information about where you found meals will be very helpful. It's nice to know that there are options for shorter stages.


Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte, Primtivo, Portuguese, VDLP
Thank you for posting this information. I am considering the Primitivo as part of my 2018 Camino. The information about where you found meals will be very helpful. It's nice to know that there are options for shorter stages.
On the Primitivo the one place not to miss for a Menu del dia is Casa Pachon in Salas. 10, yes, 10 courses. Then for breakfast, also in Salas, on the other side of the arch is your typical bar but ... the lady who runs it prepares a bacadillo and fruit in a brown paper bag for pilgrims to take with them, free of charge. Very sweet of her to surprise us like that.
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