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Search 69,459 Camino Questions

Extra day if you're not a city person

Eve Alexandra

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2017 Astorga-SDC, April 2022 SJPP-Muxia
If the idea of extra time in Pamplona, Burgos, Leon, etc, kind of gives you nightmares because you really just aren't a city person, do you have other favorite places to spend an extra day?
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
If the idea of extra time in Pamplona, Burgos, Leon, etc, kind of gives you nightmares because you really just aren't a city person, do you have other favorite places to spend an extra day?

I spent a particular quiet Sunday in Rabé de las Calzadas. Did a lot of observation, reading, wrtiting and talking. Those quiet villages where time stands still.
It was a very special day for different reasons.

You will find your Rabé when you are there. Could be Rabé or Ventosa, Obanos or Morgade. To name only a few.
Did not spent an extra day but just had a short walk from Burgos to Rabé.
 
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Instead of extra day somewhere, why not do some short days. Half the distance. I've done that a few times. Can be nice to leave late and stop early sometimes.

I'm planning on doing that for a few days, too. Just wondering about smaller places where it might be nice to have an extra day.
 
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Samos is definitely on my list to see this time. I hear the walk itself is just gorgeous. I kind of thought there isn't much there other than the monastery?
 
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There is a very good museum in Mansilla de las Mulas, 18 km before Leon. The Museo de los Pueblos Leoneses is worth a couple of hours to see what life was like in the pueblos of Leon. The website is in Spanish but the descriptions on displays in the museum are also provided in English. It doesn't open until 10 a.m., so it is good timing for a day off, but it is closed on Mondays.

There are also town walls to walk around, and a convenient bus service into Leon if you want.
 
The first edition came out in 2003 and has become the go-to-guide for many pilgrims over the years. It is shipping with a Pilgrim Passport (Credential) from the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.
Las Médulas (area and town of the same name) near Ponferrada are on my wishlist.
This is an ancient mining region, dating back to the Romans.

cabecera2.jpg


https://www.spain.info/en/destination/las-medulas/
 
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We all walk our own Camino with our own priorities, and for some of us, that includes some research ahead of time. I appreciate the suggestions of small towns worth an extra day, from those who have walked many times.

I'll probably still stop at the cities, maybe making the walk into them a short day, to see one or two things, but then back out the next day.

I'm taking notes on all your suggestions. Thank you!
 
If the idea of extra time in Pamplona, Burgos, Leon, etc, kind of gives you nightmares because you really just aren't a city person, do you have other favorite places to spend an extra day?
Molinaseca, by the time you get down the mountain you will have earned the rest. Its a lovely place where the locals have formed a swimming pool in the river, its quite lovely. Really pretty place.
The water is really cold if you swim, but refreshing.
We had an amazing breakfast there last time too, they mixed up our orders completely but it didnt matter, it was great.
Also at the next town, Ponferada, there is a templar castle to explore if you like.
You can do the two in one day. Take a leisurely morning in Molineseca, then a short walk to Ponferrada.
 

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Samos is definitely on my list to see this time. I hear the walk itself is just gorgeous. I kind of thought there isn't much there other than the monastery?
Going via Samos , gives you a lovely walk to Samos through the country side - really pretty, then a nice walk to Sarria the next day, a much more pleasant option.
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
Molineseca, by the time you get down the mountain you will have earned the rest. Its a lovely place where the locals have formed a swimming pool in the river, its quite lovely. Really pretty place.
The water is really cold if you swim, but refreshing.
We had an amazing breakfast there last time too, they mixed up our orders completely but it didnt matter, it was great.
Also at the next town, Ponferada, there is a templar castle to explore if you like.
You can do the two in one day. Take a leisurely morning in Molineseca, then a short walk to Ponferrada.

I was bummed I didn't have time to see the Templar castle the first time. I am hoping to have time to see it this time around.
 
Two places came to my mind right away. They are big enough to have things to see but small enough to not be considered cities. Astorga and Sahagun. We spent days in each (two different reasons to recover). Sahagun has its saint's day near June 12 with lots of interesting goings-on. Also, it considers itself the halfway point of the CF. That in itself would make a good break point. There is a train station there too if you want to visit some place off camino.

Condes de Carrion, mentioned above, is another good spot.
 
Two places came to my mind right away. They are big enough to have things to see but small enough to not be considered cities. Astorga and Sahagun. We spent days in each (two different reasons to recover). Sahagun has its saint's day near June 12 with lots of interesting goings-on. Also, it considers itself the halfway point of the CF. That in itself would make a good break point. There is a train station there too if you want to visit some place off camino.

Condes de Carrion, mentioned above, is another good spot.
Oh! Astorga...the chocolate museum! :) I forgot about that. I'll look up Sahagun too. Thank you!
 
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It’s really pretty amazing how many nice little cities/big towns there are along the Francés. I think you’ve got so many choices that you can be pretty certain that if you feel like a day off, you won’t be far from a good option.

If the weather is nice and you fancy sitting in a café by the river and watching the world go by, I think Molinaseca (as @Anamiri suggested) is a good choice. A little bigger, i think, would be Villafranca, which has some nice churches, nice gardens, etc.

For totally just chilling out in a rural spot, Morgade would be my choice. Absolutely wonderful people, comfortable place, lots of little walk to take, but it’s all rural countryside.

My pal (and forum member) @Juanma’s albergue Maralotx is a great spot, in the small town of Cirauqui, just 7 km beyond Puente La Reina. I think the suggestion to take short days into some of these places is a good suggestion, because in some of them you will not likely find a way to spend a full day plus the afternoon of the day you arrive, unless you are just in total chillout mode. (Same for Morgade, 12 km beyond Sarria).

Threads like this make me think that maybe it’s time to go back to the Camino Francés!
 
My husband spent an extra day in Morotinos due to a lost charger for his phone waiting for stores to open on Sahagun the next day. San Bruno is a lovely albergue and the surrounding countryside is peaceful. A great restaurant in the next town of San Nicholas is Casa Barunta.
 
Atapuerca is a nice small place, whose major claim to fame is the archaeological remains - some of the earliest discovered evidence of human civilisation in Europe. As long as you're not there on a weekend, (so avoiding tourist coaches), it would certainly be on off-camino distraction, while still on the camino.
But it is hard to beat Santo Domingo de Calzada. Great small town and museum behind the Cathedral.
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
Charming ordinary smallish Leonese town, low-stress, restful riverside parks, lots of nice places to sleep and eat? May I suggest Cacabelos -- between Ponferrada and Villafranca? Most peregrinos just blow through on their way west.... Unpretentious archaeological and Bierzo wine museums. Notable for you "Sharpe" fans as the scene of a firefight during Moore's retreat to Corunna.

Splurge (mildly) on a glassed-in balcony room @ Hostal Siglo XIX overlooking the town church, get yourself a bottle of the good stuff, and give thanks for your many blessings! Worked for a tired me on a rainy day!
 
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If the idea of extra time in Pamplona, Burgos, Leon, etc, kind of gives you nightmares because you really just aren't a city person, do you have other favorite places to spend an extra day?
If its your first time in this part of Spain I strongly recommend spending an extra day in each of these cities. I started from Pamplona in 2015 but spent two days in Burgos and 3 in Leon (mostly due to extreme weather). In 2017 I again decided on two days in each city. One they are interesting cities; two you (or at least I did) need a rest, do your washing in a real machine. Cheers
 
I think it's wonderful to have an extra day, or as many as possible, in the bank and awaiting a spot that speaks to you in that moment. You'll have all the great suggestions from this thread in the back of your mind and can spend extra time wherever seems right.

At least for me, my favorite stops had at least as much to do with the weather and the hospitaleres and my fellow pilgrims as the town itself. For example, I absolutely loved Rabé de las Calzadas but probably only because everyone at Bar-Hostal La Fuente was so welcoming and my room was cozy on a cold day. Hosts who heat the room in preparation for one's arrival are Camino heroes!
 
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They are all great. I would second Atapuerca both because it is a very significant place in human history and because it is not a big city.

For me this area also has very special memories of descending from the Atapuerca hill into a glorious sea of (wheat?) grain that provided a golden and green spectacle that flowed back and forth in the wind. It looked to me like herds of tiny golden ponies, full of excitement and energy, galloping around on the tops of the grain.
 
There is a very good museum in Mansilla de las Mulas, 18 km before Leon. The Museo de los Pueblos Leoneses is worth a couple of hours to see what life was like in the pueblos of Leon. The website is in Spanish but the descriptions on displays in the museum are also provided in English. It doesn't open until 10 a.m., so it is good timing for a day off, but it is closed on Mondays.

There are also town walls to walk around, and a convenient bus service into Leon if you want.
Yes I went there in October 2021 and it is fascinating. I got an unexpected short personal tour by one of the staff too. Lots of agricultural interest too, especially to someone brought up on a wee farm in rural Ireland. Thank you for reminding me.
Ena
 
In Spring 2017, I made a two day silent retreat at San Salvadore de Monte Irago Benedictine Monastery in Rabanal del Camino. Requirements are: stay at least 2 days & nights, be silent, and eat with the monks. Very, very nice & hospitable. This village comes right after Astorga. The monastery is right next to the British Confraternity's albergue. This was a great place to rest my shin splint on a very cold & rainy week.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
In Spring 2017, I made a two day silent retreat at San Salvadore de Monte Irago Benedictine Monastery in Rabanal del Camino. Requirements are: stay at least 2 days & nights, be silent, and eat with the monks. Very, very nice & hospitable. This village comes right after Astorga. The monastery is right next to the British Confraternity's albergue. This was a great place to rest my shin splint on a very cold & rainy week.
I’ve actually walked to Rabanal before. Very sweet memories. A few of us attended mass and because we all happened to speak English the priest asked me to do the readings.
 
In Spring 2017, I made a two day silent retreat at San Salvadore de Monte Irago Benedictine Monastery in Rabanal del Camino. Requirements are: stay at least 2 days & nights, be silent, and eat with the monks. Very, very nice & hospitable. This village comes right after Astorga. The monastery is right next to the British Confraternity's albergue. This was a great place to rest my shin splint on a very cold & rainy week.
If you are a woman you will not be allowed to eat with the monks.....
 
If you are a woman you will not be allowed to eat with the monks.....
Yeah I’m not doing the monastic thing. My relationship with Catholicism at this point is….ummm…complicated. I’m surprised they even let me read. Still. I like Rabanal. It’s lovely.
 
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I have long advocated taking your rest days in a smaller place as days in Burgos etc easily turn into a tourist day, with temptations to shop (although hotels can have some very luxurious and spirit-affirming bathtubs). Forum habitués know that I recommend Estella, as being 5 days out of SJPdP, and a good place to recoup after the initial burst of adrenalin-- as well as a few decent restaurants and some agreeable plazas for lounging, it has the Maesztu gallery, and two very good churches-- San Pedro, and San Miguel. The cafés provide one with a good vantage point to watch bedragged pilgrims enter the town.

Next in delight would be Molinaseca, for its riparian swimming pool, where one can enjoy a swim in the very refreshing river, and impress pilgrims entering the town with one's athletic prowess. Again, there are some decent restaurants and a few good terraces for watching pilgrims (one of the traditional activities of the permanent residents of towns along the Camino).
 
Lots of great advice and suggestions. Regarding places to sit (espresso, journaling, people watching), I feel compelled to add: I am a BIG fan of Ponferrada (Templar Castle, pedestrian- old city center, beautiful Plazas), and Astorga (Chocolate, archeological digs, Chocolate Museum, great places to stay, Gaudi Episcopal Palace, chocolate). As a member already pointed out, we all have our attractions, desires, agendas, that direct our own Camino. I have no doubt that you'll find yours. Buen Camino and Peace
 
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
It was when my husband reminded me that on my last solo trip I sat and read and had coffee more than seeing the sights (Salem, MA) that I realized the usual suggestions for days off just aren’t my jam. It’s funny how easy it is to forget our personal preferences when the guides all keep saying xyz.

I’ve put Estella, Astorga, and Ponferrada at the top of my list. Still working on a couple more. This is helping so much. Getting excited. Thank you!

Edited to add: For any lurkers who may be getting ideas too? I’m looking up the suggestions in the Moon Santiago book, which is just fantastic tor the things not often mentioned in V2V or Brierly.
 
Samos is definitely on my list to see this time. I hear the walk itself is just gorgeous. I kind of thought there isn't much there other than the monastery?
The walk is amazing! Unfortunately the monastery was closed (to visitors) when I passed through this last summer (due to COVID), but the walk was definitely worth it! I didn't see one pilgrim on my way to Samos, it was SO peaceful!
 
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I did take a rest day in Burgos, Leon, and Santiago (before heading to Muxia/Finisterre). If you do stay in these locations it is nice because it is easy to get a hotel with a bathtub to soak your aching muscles, machine wash laundry, buy some groceries to carry with you (not that you need a lot - but there is more variety in the cities), and then you can see a few museums/churches. I did enjoy my rest days - but really an entire rest day is overkill. This summer I am walking again and I might not take any rest days. Instead, I might just do a few shorter days. I did love the small towns along the way, but I got restless when I had too much downtime in the afternoon/evenings. Anyway, don't plan anything, just walk and decide as you go along! There are a lot of beautiful places - some will inspire you more than others.
 
Molinaseca, by the time you get down the mountain you will have earned the rest. Its a lovely place where the locals have formed a swimming pool in the river, its quite lovely. Really pretty place.
The water is really cold if you swim, but refreshing.
We had an amazing breakfast there last time too, they mixed up our orders completely but it didnt matter, it was great.
Also at the next town, Ponferada, there is a templar castle to explore if you like.
You can do the two in one day. Take a leisurely morning in Molineseca, then a short walk to Ponferrada.
+1 for Ponferada and the Templar Castle, with its very old library and walled tunnel down to the rive to get water.
 
Im looking to do fairly short days ( 15 km approx ) from Leon. Do you think some of those smaller villages will still have places to stay with the fallout from covid? And would it be nec to book? First timer.... not too worried but just not liking the thought of having to walk onto the next village/town if no room at the inn!! Thanks.. appreciate any fback
 
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Im looking to do fairly short days ( 15 km approx ) from Leon. Do you think some of those smaller villages will still have places to stay with the fallout from covid? And would it be nec to book? First timer.... not too worried but just not liking the thought of having to walk onto the next village/town if no room at the inn!! Thanks.. appreciate any fback
Gronze dot com has the most accurate info on what’s open, and it’s really clear what towns have options and which don’t. I double check by googling the albergue name.

The closer you get to Santiago the more options. Booking ahead is a really personal decision (and a hotly debated topic among pilgrims). At the very least I’d book near Easter if you’ll be on trail then. And from Sarria to Santiago it’s common to also book ahead, even if it’s just a day or two.
 
If the idea of extra time in Pamplona, Burgos, Leon, etc, kind of gives you nightmares because you really just aren't a city person, do you have other favorite places to spend an extra day?
What about a detour, such as to the two Monastries of San Milllan de la Cogolla. I took a bus from Najera. I walked from Ventosa, left my pack in an albergue in Najera and took the bus to San Millan and back to Najera for the night. But there are many others ways to do it and other detours along the Camino.
 
Still working on a couple more.
Villafranca del Bierzo is a lovely low-key place to pause.

Las Médulas (area and town of the same name) near Ponferrada are on my wishlist.
It's on the Invierno! Turn right at Ponferrada and a day's walk will get you there!

One other detour would be to go from Logroño, Najera or Santo Domingo to Haro - a wonderful town in the middle of Rioja wine country.

From Santo Domingo, it's about 18½km, walking the Vasco backwards.If you went that way, you could either retrace your steps the next day, or walk on to Miranda de Ebro, picking up the Via de Bayona which will take you to Burgos in 4 days. A quiet and fantastic walk, with albergues along the way.
 
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The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
If the idea of extra time in Pamplona, Burgos, Leon, etc, kind of gives you nightmares because you really just aren't a city person, do you have other favorite places to spend an extra day?
Astorga is a reasonable size town but worth an extra day if you need a rest
 
My wife and I had only been walking 2 hours when we came across Estella. A fellow pilgrim told us it had a great chocolate shop. So that was it - we went into the village and decided to book a room for the night and have the rest of the day off. A market was in full swing in the village square, we then had a long lunch just watching the world go by. Then in the evening a band played in the square and all the locals came out for dinner in the evening. Was a great decision to stop in an unplanned way and just enjoy Spain and its unique and quaint villages. A lasting memory of our pilgrimage.
 
Just be aware that for those walking the whole way from St Jean, and having got into their daily routine over the early weeks, then two nights with a whole day in between can seem like an eternity. I know I still walked about 20km around Leon sightseeing on my "day off" and was on the road again super early after the second night! - Leon is a logical stop and has everything you need.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
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Just be aware that for those walking the whole way from St Jean, and having got into their daily routine over the early weeks, then two nights with a whole day in between can seem like an eternity. I know I still walked about 20km around Leon sightseeing on my "day off" and was on the road again super early after the second night! - Leon is a logical stop and has everything you need.

I remember this too when I was there the first time. It was weird, which is why I want to make some of my "off days" maybe just a 5km walk to the next town. And if I am going to stay two nights. I will make sure to book this time in a place where I am allowed to stay two nights! lol
 
If you have good weather, the little town of El Acebo…past Foncebadon is a small lovely town. The albergue has a lovely swimming pool gorgeous mountain views and nice outdoor seating and dining …call ahead in high season!. Good placeto break on the downhill section to Molineseca!

 
If you have good weather, the little town of El Acebo…past Foncebadon is a small lovely town. The albergue has a lovely swimming pool gorgeous mountain views and nice outdoor seating and dining …call ahead in high season!. Good placeto break on the downhill section to Molineseca!


Thank you for the albergue recommendation. I am most definitely stopping in El Acebo this time, rather than continuing to Molinaseca after that rocky descent. Made that mistake the first time. Was not so good on my feet! lol
 
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Post #47 mentions a festive market in Estella, their market day is only on Thursdays. I have planned some of my itineraries to be there on Thursdays because several of the restaurant around the square feature roast suckling pig on the menu del dia on Thursdays. You can find market days in other town by searching on Google, they are always a way to kick back and have a relaxing day. En el Camino in Boadilla is a great rest stop, Eduardo is a fantastic host and he has created a wonderful garden and pool to chill around, There is also a very posh hotel that he operates next door to the albergue. Just up the route is Fromista, it is small and has several fantastic restaurants worth waiting around for the menu del dia. I totally agree with Molinseca and Villa Franca del Bierzo, I have also stayed at Moncloa de San Lazaro in Cacabelos which is like a resort stop with a one of a kind restaurant. There is a Bierzo wine expo center there but it isn't always open.
 
If you want to stay two nights in a smaller place on the camino, I would second Rabanal and recommend the Stone Boat as a place to spend the two nights, if you are not interested in retreat time in the monastery.
 
Post #47 mentions a festive market in Estella, their market day is only on Thursdays. I have planned some of my itineraries to be there on Thursdays because several of the restaurant around the square feature roast suckling pig on the menu del dia on Thursdays.
This is good to know! I just looked at my itinerary, and it looks like I am arriving in Estrella on a Thursday, so yay! Last summer due to COVID - there weren't any events going on in any of the towns as I walked through - except for Ponferada
 
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This is good to know! I just looked at my itinerary, and it looks like I am arriving in Estrella on a Thursday, so yay! Last summer due to COVID - there weren't any events going on in any of the towns as I walked through - except for Ponferada
The market starts to wrap up a little after noon but the menu del dia usually doesn't start until well after one or two. I arrived on a Wednesday and stayed at Hotel Cristina near the square and used the market day as a rest day. I looked up on line to confirm that Thursday is the market day because that was what my memory was telling me, two sites say Thursday and one site says Friday.
 
The market starts to wrap up a little after noon but the menu del dia usually doesn't start until well after one or two. I arrived on a Wednesday and stayed at Hotel Cristina near the square and used the market day as a rest day. I looked up on line to confirm that Thursday is the market day because that was what my memory was telling me, two sites say Thursday and one site says Friday.
Ah... oh well, looks like I might miss the market!
 
The market starts to wrap up a little after noon but the menu del dia usually doesn't start until well after one or two. I arrived on a Wednesday and stayed at Hotel Cristina near the square and used the market day as a rest day. I looked up on line to confirm that Thursday is the market day because that was what my memory was telling me, two sites say Thursday and one site says Friday.

Here's another vote for the Christina. Decent and affordable room, superb location.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Also at the next town, Ponferada, there is a templar castle to explore if you like.
We loved the Templar Castle and the lovely views in all directions. The rooftops are all dark slate; such a contrast to the bright orange clay used in other areas we walked earlier. Each are lovely in their own way and materials used were most likely local.
1) Templar Castle- Ponferrada; 2) Santiago rooftop.
Edit...I see I've digressed a bit in my enthusiasm.
Screenshot_20220301-102215~2.pngScreenshot_20220301-102822~2.png
 
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Late to the party here.

I’d second those who recommend Atapuerca. Aside from the UNESCO archaeological site there is a very nice little restaurant there, with good food and wines that were interesting and very good, and a small comfy b&b type place to stay, if it’s still open.
I’d also second Santo Domingo de la Calzada. It has a Parador and the church has chickens (to commemorate the miraculous events of long ago; from Wikipedia:
“Santo Domingo de la Calzada is … the site of the miracle of the ‘hanged innocent’ a pilgrim wrongly accused of theft. The witnesses for his successful appeal, a pair of beheaded, supposedly cooked chickens are represented by their descendants, a pair of whom are kept at all times in the choir loft of the cathedral. Other descendants are kept in the local pilgrimage refuge.”), and rooftop access. You can look out over the town in the evening and enjoy the peaceful view.
Best,
Paul
 
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