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León to Hospital de Orbigo


I returned last week from 10½ days walking from León to Santiago and had a wonderful time. I'll post some photos later of the snow at Foncebadón, a good 10 - 15cm, but I'd like to make sure everyone knows about this rather, on the face of it, disgraceful behaviour.

At Virgen del Camino, on the eastern edge of León, there are a choice of two routes to Hospital de Orbigo. One follows the N120 main road passing through Villadangos del Paramo(32km), the other cuts across country and on a mixture of earth farm tracks and minor roads and passes through Villar de Mazerife(36km).

Except that this time (20 December), all the arrows pointing to the left had been obliterated, and even the concrete bollard had been smashed down. It was very obvious that "they" did not want you to go via Villar de Mazerife. I'd walked that route before and loved it, so really didn't want to have to follow the N120. I was on my own with just photocopies of the CSJ and the Miam-Miam-Dodo guides of 2007. The MMD guide has schematic maps at a good scale, so I thought what the hell, I'll give it a go - I can cross back later to the N120 if there's a problem.

The yellow arrows reappeared shortly after, even official violet road signs as the camino passed over a couple of motorways, and there was absolutely no problem with the path whatsoever - it was a gorgeous walk. Well of course it got me thinking a bit. Who are the "they" who did not want us to go that way and why.

It could not be because of the state of the path - it was perfect for walking. I could only think it was not a question of "The Villar de Mazerife route is no longer suitable" but rather "We want you to walk by the side of the N120". Why??? Not for the health, safety or sanity of the pilgrims, that's for sure!

I had a pretty sure idea what I thought, but asked in a bar in Villar who confirmed my suspicions. I also met a hospitalera from León a few days later and she was also sure - that it was likely to be one of the owners of the private albergues along the N120 route trying to encourage people to pass by their albergue.

Apart from publicising this, there is not much I can do - my Spanish is limited - but hopefully someone reading this with connections could spread the word to the correct ears and get the arrows and bollard replaced.

So, for anyone heading out of León, THE ROUTE VIA VILLAR DE MAZERIFE IS OPEN !!! And if your legs wont take you to Hospital (36km), there are three albergues in Villar (24km).
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Active Member
I have walked El Camino twice and always from Leon to Villar de Mazarife, the stage is better than by Villadangos. From Leon to Villadangos the stage goes next to the Highway 120, ad with much noise and cars and dangerous.
To Villar de Mazarife the CAMINO is very calm and pretty, and Villar de Mazarife has a very good shelter with Jésus like hospitalero. and in the village you can find all you need.There are interests so that we go by Villadangos,.-
And then two options.-

1 Leon - Villadangos ....-Next stage. VILLADANGOS (Hospital de Orbigo) ASTORGA

2 Leon- Villar de Mazarife...Next stage VILLAR DE MAZARIFE (Hospital de Orbigo) ASTORGA

What a pity

my translation Babil Fish.
Some photos From Leon to Villar de Mazarife.






Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
Thanks Mike for that info which I will note in my guidebook.... and thanks Javier for some more inspirational and spectacular photographs!


Wandering for the love and growth of it
Past OR future Camino
Hi everyone,
I too have taken the route through Villar de Mazarife and agree with what the others have said. Whenever you have a choice to take the highway or a smaller path, definitely take the smaller path. That's when you see more beautiful scenery and villages and meet gentler people.
Hola Javier. Beautiful pictures!!


New Member
We´ll be over by Virgin del Camino next week and we´ll see what can be done about replacing the arrows.

This kind of monkey business is shameful, but quite common along the Camino. When I walked in 2001, the pavement at the fork in the road was painted with ¨Way of Peacefulness¨ pointing to Mazarife, and "Way of Noisy Marketing" pointing at the N120 route! So I guess that competition is long-running.

We have some nasty competitiveness hereabouts, too. Our neighbors who are trying to build a small albergue in Moratinos are constantly receiving denuncias (legal charges) filed by the guy who runs the albergue in the next town. His harrassment and threats are endless and quite mean-spirited.

Destroying bollards seems to be a growing sport among residents who don´t care for pilgrims or the pilgrimage. We have anti-pilgrim vandals from Terradillos de Templarios who smash up bollards and paint graffiti where the bike pilgrims and road traffic can see it... but obviously they are not pilgrims or pilgrim-savvy themselves, as they so far have left alone the camino most traveled by walkers.

Yeah, Capitalism and pettiness are everywhere, even on The Way of Peace. Thankfully it is pretty minor stuff.

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New Member
Villar de Mazarife

Does anyone know if there is accommodation at Villar de Mazarife which provides a private room, with sheets on the bed and ideally an ensuite bathroom...what are the refuges like in Villar de Mazarife? Facilities

We are staying in hotels//hostals/pensions/fondas for the rest of our pilgrimage

Hope you can help with information....


Active Member
Vilar de Mazarife

I stayed in a private room at Tio Pepe in Mazarife. Had ensuite bath - even a TV set! The rooms and albergue are upstairs from the bar/restaurant. I liked the place.


Staff member
Thanks for this information, Javier. I thought I had heard that there was a big private albergue in Villar de Mazarife that was run by some Brazilians. Is this the only private albergue in town? Is the municipal one still in operation? I've never stayed there but I thought it was not quite up to the highest hygiene standards when I stopped for a short rest. But that was in 2004, so maybe it's improved.

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