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Luggage Transfer Correos

Getting to Villaviciosa

2020 Camino Guides

Peligro

I walk between cafe breaks
Camino(s) past & future
St. Jean to SdC the slow way (Aug'15, Aug'17, Jan'18, Aug'18, Jan'19, Jul'19) Primitivo (May'20)
I will have 15 full days between the day I fly into Asturias airport and the day I fly out of Santiago. I know I could walk from Oviedo to Santiago in less than 13 days but unless I fall in with some fast pilgrims I'll probably follow the guidebook more or less. That leaves two extra days to start in Villaviciosa or thereabouts to do the connection from the el Norte. At about 45 km from the airport it would be a pretty expensive cab ride if they would even take me. Any suggestions? I'd rather plan to spend my extra time before getting to Oviedo than after arriving in Santiago since there's a good chance of gaining a day along the way as I get used to the pilgrim life after a few days.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
You would have no trouble getting a cab, and it's likely much less than the $200 rome2rio suggests, but why not take the airport bus into Oviedo, which leaves hourly, and then from the Oviedo bus terminal to Villaviciosa? It takes about an hour from Oviedo, and leaves at 11.30, 13.00, 14.30, 15.30, 17.00, 17.30, 19.30, 21.00, and I think there's a few other departures. I recall it being about 5 euro.

Villaviciosa is a pleasant town and a good place to adjust after the flight. I have stayed at the Neptuno and to the south, the Carlos I on the plaza. They were both fine. There is an interesting church or two, and the Parrilla at the southern end of c/de Sol turns out a decent meal.
 

Mima1965

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte/Primitivo/Frances (2021)
My advise is to get the ALSA (Asturian coach company) from Ranon-Asturias airport to Gijon and then get from the same station the ALSA Gijon-Ribadesella (departs 10 times a day) which goes through Villaviciosa and it only takes 30 minutes to get there.
This is a convenient and direct route and will cost less than 20 euros.
 

Peligro

I walk between cafe breaks
Camino(s) past & future
St. Jean to SdC the slow way (Aug'15, Aug'17, Jan'18, Aug'18, Jan'19, Jul'19) Primitivo (May'20)
Thanks both of you for the advice!

Here's a crazy thought - I've seen that many el Norte pilgrims skip Gijón by cutting over to Oviedo and then back to Avilés. Do you think I could walk backwards from Avilés to Oviedo and find albergues? I'll probably still go to Villaviciosa but the thought intrigues me.

Also, I've read that La Ferrería is great just a couple of km past Villaviciosa- has anybody reading this stayed there?
 

Peligro

I walk between cafe breaks
Camino(s) past & future
St. Jean to SdC the slow way (Aug'15, Aug'17, Jan'18, Aug'18, Jan'19, Jul'19) Primitivo (May'20)
You can walk from Avilés to Oviedo in one day.
Thanks. I just asked another similar question on a pre-existing thread - hope that's not frowned upon. Is Avilés worth a visit? I could sleep off my jet lag there. I always have to take it easy fresh off the flight from the US.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
For reasons I can't quite recall, I stayed two days in Avilés, and can only recommend it if you have a fair bit of sleep to catch up on. The Niemayer Centre is a leftover from the days of impressive arts facilities without much in them or much in the way of funds to do so. The Church of San Tomas de Canterbury is interesting and there are several decent restaurants. The plaza is a good place to hang out, and I found a garden bar with home-made vermouth, which was very nice.

Another option is to walk west slowly from the airport, taking a night in Muros de Nalon, or in Aguilar with its incredible beach, or the scenic but not yet too touristy Cudillero.
 

Peligro

I walk between cafe breaks
Camino(s) past & future
St. Jean to SdC the slow way (Aug'15, Aug'17, Jan'18, Aug'18, Jan'19, Jul'19) Primitivo (May'20)
My advise is to get the ALSA (Asturian coach company) from Ranon-Asturias airport to Gijon and then get from the same station the ALSA Gijon-Ribadesella (departs 10 times a day) which goes through Villaviciosa and it only takes 30 minutes to get there.
This is a convenient and direct route and will cost less than 20 euros.
I looked into this with an eye toward splitting the two bus trips with an overnight in Gijon and Gronze has no pilgrim albergues listed there. Am I missing something? Seems hard to believe!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks both of you for the advice!

Here's a crazy thought - I've seen that many el Norte pilgrims skip Gijón by cutting over to Oviedo and then back to Avilés. Do you think I could walk backwards from Avilés to Oviedo and find albergues? I'll probably still go to Villaviciosa but the thought intrigues me.

Also, I've read that La Ferrería is great just a couple of km past Villaviciosa- has anybody reading this stayed there?
Some scattered thoughts raised by your questions. Walking “backwards” on any camino is always a challenge, because it is only marked in one direction. And it won’t be like the Francés, where you can just keep walking towards the crowds coming at you. But it would be very easy to do with a GPS. I don’t know where you have seen that many Norte pilgrims skip Gijón by going down to Oviedo and then back up. I have done that several times, but have never met more than one or two people on the way “up” to Avilés from Oviedo. But the route is very well marked and not industrial, so it has the advantage that you will skip the industrial entrance into Avilés you would have on the the Norte.

Walking from Villaviciosa to Oviedo has the additional advantage that you can take a very short detour to visit an amazing pre-romanesque church in Valdediós. Even if you don’t like ancient religious architecture, the setting is spectacular, church and monastery nestled in a valley. The way up out of the valley is short and stiff, with great viEws back down. It is only about two km longer than the more direct route— you can see a schematic map here. https://www.gronze.com/etapa/villaviciosa/pola-siero. The last time I did this route, I left from Villaviciosa early in the morning, had to wait a while for the church in Valdediós to open, and then had a long picnic in the meadow just soaking it all in. So I decided to stop in the albergue in Vega de Sariego, 10 kms earlier than I had planned, which was perfectly adequate. I have also walked on further to Pola de Siero, and its albergue is superior. Pola is a much bigger town, an Oviedo suburb in many ways. If you are going to want to spend time in Oviedo, of course, it makes more sense to walk on to Pola de Siero so that the next day you have just a very short walk and can spend most of the day enjoying Oviedo.

Avilés has “cleaned up” its historical core a lot. I was on the Norte there a few years ago with a Spaniard who was pretty dumbfounded to see all the tapas bars, pedestrianized streets, etc. It is pleasant, but I agree with @oursonpolaire that there is not much to see there. Not like Oviedo, which is a beautiful city with lots to see and do.

The walk from Pola de Siero into Oviedo is your typical commercial outskirts of a city — lots of car dealerships, but no industry like you would get walking into Avilés from Gijón. So that makes it, IMO, more tolerable, though it isn’t beautiful by any means.

Buen camino, Laurie

p.s. And though this isn’t anything you have asked about, since you are going to enjoy a lot of flexibility, you might want to consider taking some of the many absolutely beautiful coastal options that are oh so close to the Camino del Norte, which frequently trudges along the side of the highway. Check them out here: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/coastal-alternatives-to-the-nortes-asphalt.49578/
 

Peligro

I walk between cafe breaks
Camino(s) past & future
St. Jean to SdC the slow way (Aug'15, Aug'17, Jan'18, Aug'18, Jan'19, Jul'19) Primitivo (May'20)
Some scattered thoughts raised by your questions. Walking “backwards” on any camino is always a challenge, because it is only marked in one direction. And it won’t be like the Francés, where you can just keep walking towards the crowds coming at you. But it would be very easy to do with a GPS. I don’t know where you have seen that many Norte pilgrims skip Gijón by going down to Oviedo and then back up. I have done that several times, but have never met more than one or two people on the way “up” to Avilés from Oviedo. But the route is very well marked and not industrial, so it has the advantage that you will skip the industrial entrance into Avilés you would have on the the Norte.

Walking from Villaviciosa to Oviedo has the additional advantage that you can take a very short detour to visit an amazing pre-romanesque church in Valdediós. Even if you don’t like ancient religious architecture, the setting is spectacular, church and monastery nestled in a valley. The way up out of the valley is short and stiff, with great viEws back down. It is only about two km longer than the more direct route— you can see a schematic map here. https://www.gronze.com/etapa/villaviciosa/pola-siero. The last time I did this route, I left from Villaviciosa early in the morning, had to wait a while for the church in Valdediós to open, and then had a long picnic in the meadow just soaking it all in. So I decided to stop in the albergue in Vega de Sariego, 10 kms earlier than I had planned, which was perfectly adequate. I have also walked on further to Pola de Siero, and its albergue is superior. Pola is a much bigger town, an Oviedo suburb in many ways. If you are going to want to spend time in Oviedo, of course, it makes more sense to walk on to Pola de Siero so that the next day you have just a very short walk and can spend most of the day enjoying Oviedo.

Avilés has “cleaned up” its historical core a lot. I was on the Norte there a few years ago with a Spaniard who was pretty dumbfounded to see all the tapas bars, pedestrianized streets, etc. It is pleasant, but I agree with @oursonpolaire that there is not much to see there. Not like Oviedo, which is a beautiful city with lots to see and do.

The walk from Pola de Siero into Oviedo is your typical commercial outskirts of a city — lots of car dealerships, but no industry like you would get walking into Avilés. So that makes it, IMO, more tolerable, though it isn’t beautiful by any means.

Buen camino, Laurie

p.s. And though this isn’t anything you have asked about, since you are going to enjoy a lot of flexibility, you might want to consider taking some of the many absolutely beautiful coastal options that are oh so close to the Camino del Norte, which frequently trudges along the side of the highway. Check them out here: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/coastal-alternatives-to-the-nortes-asphalt.49578/
Wow - this is an incredible amount of information Laurie - thanks so much! I got a reply from Sergio at the Albergue Ferreria en Amandi just outside of Villaviciosa and he assured me that I would arrive in time for the communal dinner and even said they could delay dinner a little bit if I was running late. So far the great things I've heard about him, his wife and the albergue are true. So my starting point is decided. I will definitely dip down into Valdedios and then I'll see if jet lagged I can make it to Polo de Siera the first day walking or if I need to stop at Vega de Sariego. This will be great - thanks again!
 

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