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Many Forum members on the Lana (Part 1, Alicante to Cuenca) — GREAT planning guide

AJGuillaume

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Once in Fuentes, @alansykes says there's a 'cozy' albergue, a CR, and a couple of pensións
Given that we are slow walkers, by the time we get to Fuentes, the two beds in the albergue would be taken. So we'll settle for Los Palancares or the Pensión Los Cazadores.

This is this is a pretty short stage, but I will need the afternoon to visit this:
http://www.dinosauriosdecuenca.es/
This is a "just about getting to the limit for slow walkers" stage ;). We'll probably arrive towards the end of the afternoon to see the Centro de Interpretación Ruta de los Dinosaurios de Cuenca, which is in Fuentes. The main dinosaur museum is the Museo de Paleontología de Castilla-La Mancha, which is, as @peregrina2000 alluded to, in Cuenca.

And if we arrive late, we'll still get to see a life size statue of a dinosaur in Fuentes ☺️ :
 
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Ninja

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Please do it - I imagine you mean the the bullet, or the masked attacker, will come alive - I would like to see that! 😄
EDIT: And I expect a dinosaur gif moving around in Cuenca/on the trail on the next stage!!

All right, all right ... but I have to disappoint when it comes to a live dinosaur. Maybe another disappearing Oruju?

La-Mancha.gif
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Yes
This is one of the stages where I felt the most isolated from civilization. (But the worst one is yet to come.) If there is no people at Navarramiro (the center of the estate), you will be alone for 23 kms. Bring food & water. Since we are at 1000-1200 mtrs altitude, I imagine the weather to be harsh in some seasons. I've seen pictures of Montegaudo in snow: I wouldn't like to be caught in a blizzard in those woods...!

Check your cell phone: mine went on strike for 90 % of that stretch. The connection is bad up there, should you need help.

there's a 'cozy' albergue, a CR, and a couple of pensións

Hostal Los Palancares: recommended. The owners work in the first bar when you enter Fuentes (on your left at the entrance to town) and the rooms themselves are in another building.

Another suggestion for those who like longer stages would be to walk Monteagudo to Melgosa (35 km, very flat), where there is Hotel/ Casa Rural. That makes the next day into Cuenca a short 9 km and would essentially give you a rest day in Cuenca.

Walking the 40+ kms from Monteagudo to Cuenca is not an impossible feat either. Fuentes would then be half-way to target and (sorry for jumping ahead) the next stage has a bar in La Melgosa (at least in summer). And the part from Fuentes is such easy walking. Yes one would arrive late in Cuenca... But perhaps take the next day as a rest day.
 
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Day 15. Fuentes - Cuenca. 18.77 km.
(Rest day in Cuenca)
Today I'm short on time and my connection is patchy, but did not want to let this fall between the cracks! So all I will say is to post the stage, and say, "Discuss."

With Cuenca being a natural rest day (or starting place) there will be plenty to share. But first, let's cover the ground and get there for before getting too involved in the details of Cuenca itself.
 

Bad Pilgrim

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Past OR future Camino
Yes
Easy walking and nice countryside today!

Shortly after leaving Fuentes there is a couple of lagoons, pretty small but with many birds. We better not leave in pitch dark or we will miss them along the way. Then a beautiful walk up the hill Atalaya de Cuenca where there is a farm. Looking back from where we came is pretty. Rolling hills again, at least compared to flat-flat-flat. Even in summer it looked nice. With greenery and flowers in spring it must be even better.

Earlier, the only obstacle for the day was a field where you had to walk straight out amongst the crops until reaching the other side after 600 mtrs. It's still indicated in the Asociation's guide: "el cruce campo a través por una zona de cultivo entre las localidades de Fuentes y Mohorte". But since at least 2019 there is no trace of this way. The arrows take us to Mohorte on a regular dirt road without problems. I kind of miss the walk amongst the crops: it felt like an adventure walking right into the field not knowing where I would end up. Although in rain I guess it would turn into the Mother of all Mud.

There is a large fuente right before Mohorte. I don't think there is a bar in Mohorte, but La Melgosa is just a few kms away. These places are small and I don't know if the bars are open all year round.

When we leave La Melgosa and reach the N-420, we turn counter-intuitively away from Cuenca to cross the road further to the right. Then a sharp turn back to the left and then a walk right into the countryside with few or no arrows: here the Camino takes you in any direction except towards Cuenca! Only after a few kms do we turn left and head for the city. I guess the Asociación want to get us as far away as possible from the N-420. This makes the arrival to Cuenca pretty boring. The countryside stops abruptly, Salamanca-style, and we are suddenly in the grey suburbs of Cuenca. We have to walk for a while before entering the nicer parts of town.

I have only heard good things about the albergue so I guess it is top notch. Personally I have never been there, only at: Pensión Ángel. (15 euros.) Because it is easy to find and I can walk there in no time. The rooms are small and cramped - I guess that's what you get for 15 euros - but at least it is next to the Camino, which makes for an easy start the next day!
 
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peregrina2000

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Thanks for posting the next stage. All the wikiloc tracks I’ve seen, as well as @magwood’s report, indicate that it’s about 24 km. The 6 km difference from what you’ve posted is a little higher than the usual variations we see. Where did you get the distance, VN?

If 24 is accurate, then those who like shorter days, might want to stop in the Vaquería place I linked to earlier, which would then give a 9 km day into Cuenca.

Based on the pictures and descriptions from other forum members, it looks like nice terrain, flat, a bit varied, only bar possibility in Melgosa.

My preference would be to walk in 9km from Melgosa, to essentially have a rest day in Cuenca, or to do the long Monteagudo - Cuenca stage that BP recommends, and then stay for two nights.

Info about tourist attractions in Cuenca is easy to find, so what I would really like to hear are first hand recommendations. I have been there before and stayed in the parador, which is in 16C convent in an incredible spot. It‘s a terrific place for a view back to the city and is no more than a 15 minute walk into town. The other view I would very much like to see is ithe one @Undermanager captured in his thread. I think a walk up above the center is a not-to-be-missed opportunity (unless you have torrential downpours all day as poor @Magwood and @nijna did). There are three miradores there, all very close to each other.

I had done some hunting for a cheap-ish pensión, on the theory that if I spent two nights there, I would rather not move from albergue to pensión, but some have mentioned that a two night stay in the albergue is sometimes possible. For inexpensive pensión, I thought Hostal San Pedro looked good.

I’ve attached a screen shot showing where the hostal is and the miradores. You can also see the location of the parador.

536F7D22-D733-455F-8E13-E198E9D5FB95.png
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Yes
All the wikiloc tracks I’ve seen, as well as @magwood’s report, indicate that it’s about 24 km. The 6 km difference from what you’ve posted is a little higher than the usual variations we see.

21,6 according to the Asociación! But I guess Wikiloc is more correct, if corroborated by several people.
 

Flog

Active Member
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2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
I have only heard good things about the albergue
I can recommend the albergue. Note that in Kevin O'Brien's guide he mentions it's on Calle Mateo Miguel Ayllon but it's actually a couple of streets away on Calle Colôn. Luis is a most accommodating hospitalero and takes great care of the albergue. He's very proud of the place and has a lot of camino experience to draw from. He very kindly helped me out in the university library next door where he works: When faced with dealing with a long distance crisis at home, I had to scan, print and email a load of documents which took over an hour. I couldn't have sorted it on my own, it was a stressful business and I was grateful for his help.

I met him by chance again just 3 months ago as I rambled up through Portugal when covid cases were quite low in September...it was just north of Tomar. I thought he looked familiar but couldn't place him at first! We walked a few days together as far as Cernache where his walk ended and he returned to Cuenca...
 
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Past OR future Camino
Next up 2022?
Shortly after leaving Fuentes there is a couple of lagoons, pretty small but with many birds.
A pleasant day's walking from Fuentes, and bursting with wildlife in spring, here is one of the lagoons...
Here you go:
La localidad de Fuentes hace honor a su nombre ya que en ella existen numerosos manantiales, incluyendo el nacimiento del río Moscas. Toda esta circulación subterránea del agua ha disuelto el terreno yesoso dando lugar a once dolinas, de las cuales nueve mantienen agua de forma permanente.
Paisajísticamente destacan la laguna de los Cedazos y la laguna Negra, mientras que desde el punto de vista geológico resulta sorprendente que la fecha de aparición de la última dolina en los ojos de la Corva sea el año 2009.

This looks like a fantastic place. And it is the sort of place where I would say to anyone walking with me, You go ahead, I'll see you in Cuenca." (Unless of course that person was @Theatregal, in which case we would be planning an early morning so we could spend a bunch of time here checking out the local feathered residents.)


The 6 km difference from what you’ve posted is a little higher than the usual variations we see. Where did you get the distance, VN?
That was that was the measurement from my OSMand app, following the track of the Camino. Hmmmm. ???
 
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Flog

Active Member
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2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
I'm afraid I've nothing more useful to contribute to this thread as Cuenca was to be my last stage of the Lana. After twelve days of solitary walking, I decided to take the bus to Madrid to visit my dying friend (she sadly passed away 2 months later) and then on to Burgos with a heavy heart where I began walking again... 36 more days of wandering around Spain... across the meseta to Leon, over the Salvador to Oviedo, the bus to Irun to walk the Norte to Santander, then on up to the Somport Pass to walk back down across the Aragones to Puenta La Reine... all of them wonderful ways, eventful and interesting as caminos invariably are, but I felt the Lana was especially so and it stuck with me, this thread brought it back .
It was a challenge more than usual; every day walking in solitude without meeting a single other pilgrim to share with, some cold and uncomfortable nights and hardly a word of spoken english anywhere, but poor as my Spanish is, it never really held me back and I encountered nothing but kindness and humility from locals along the way; an umbrella from the landlady of a bar who insisted I take it with me when I only stopped for a quick coffee while waiting for a shower to pass, a baker who came out the door after me and pushed a little bag of cakes into my hand to make me 'strong for the walk', a mobile food vendor beeping his way through a village who wouldn't accept any money for fruit and countless other simple gestures from people leaving me smiling for days after. Oh, and who could forget all the rabbits, literally thousands and thousands of them!
I hope to pick it up again and continue to Burgos one day, but for now I will lament and follow the rest of the way here on this thread. The Lana is probably not for first timers, or those who crave company, there is a certain melancholy about it, but it is indeed a beautiful way...
 
Past OR future Camino
Next up 2022?
So, Cuenca as a rest day...any words of wisdom from the old Lana hands?

It looks like a wonderful place.
Check out these photos;

I am distracted by some of the nearby natural parks, so if I had time it might be a nice place to linger for a while and take some side trips up there into the mountains.
 
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Arles-SDC 2015, Lisbon-SDC 2017, Part Ruta de la Lana 2019, VDLP 2019
I recommend the Green River Hostel, Av Virgen de la Luz, 15,16002 Cuenca. Breakfast was in the price. Laundry, dryer. In the next street over from the camino albergue. Across the road from the Río Júcar. Right on the bus route to the distance trains station if you're leaving the camino here (there is another right in town). Just clarify which way the bus is going before hopping on.

Yes, fantastic walking and the ratio of important church buildings is high, many restored and put to alternative use.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
The stage is not too long for slow walkers, but it looks like we will appreciate a rest day to discover this city.
Amazing what drones can do! If I hadn’t seen the car moving at the beginning of the video, I would have thought it was a fake model city!

Looks like an interesting octagonal church, Iglesia San Pedro. I did a bit of reading, and not much is original from the 12th century. I read that the views from the bell tower is spectacular, as the church is in the high part of town.

I recommend the Green River Hostel,
@Bernice M, is there a reason you chose a private hostel over the albergue?
 
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Ninja

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Hola. Here’s your stamp! And I give you Louis too. He is concentrating very much to register our names and he even draws your country’s flag making it the coolest albergue registration book of all Caminos.

Cuenca_sello_19.jpg

Louis_Cuenca_Albergue.jpg
 

Flog

Active Member
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2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
Hola. Here’s your stamp! And I give you Louis too. He is concentrating very much to register our names and he even draws your country’s flag making it the coolest albergue registration book of all Caminos.

View attachment 91195

View attachment 91196
I had forgotten about that, the coloured-in registration book in that lovely albergue! Here is Luis more recently in Portugal, he has walked many times!
 

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D

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My burning question is what is that huge pink building near the cathedral,
Is it the same as the one in the google earth screenshot below? If so, we're looking at the convento de las petras. (Convento de San Pedro de las Justinianas).

I thought the dusty pink was perfect. As the wikipedia page says, it's an otherwise austere facade.
and how much grief did the owner get from everybody else in town for painting it that color?
None. The neighbors in the square painted their own walls in colors to complement it. Reminds me of some streets in Notting Hill or San Francisco.
 

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C clearly

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Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
Here you go:
This looks like a fantastic place.
The Camino seems to coincide fairly closely with the sendero shown in this map. Am I correct?
I am distracted by some of the nearby natural parks, so if I had time it might be a nice place to linger for a while and take some side trips up there into the mountains.

BP tells us that the “real” second half of the Lana starts in Monteagudo... but we are already in Cuenca. Why don’t we finish up with Cuenca...? ...Then, VN, could... start a Part II Lana thread from Cuenca to Burgos
I think that's a good idea. I am more interested in the second half of the Lana, than the first. Maybe I'd arrive in Spain, spend a couple of days acclimatizing in Cuenca, and then start on the Lana II. It would be nice to gather some more information about the Cuenca sights and natural parks - more than enough to keep me busy for a few days!
 

peregrina2000

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I don’t think that anyone has mentioned what is probably a very obvious thing to see in Cuenca, the casas colgadas (hanging houses). The best way to see them is from the bridge on the way over to the parador, and if you like abstract art, the Spanish museum of Arte Abstracto is located in one of them. I know this is more of a romanesque crowd, but I’m guessing there are some members who would enjoy this place.

@VN has already found the Paleontology Museum. A little out of the center, but not too far.

@islandwalker will want to visit the archaeological museum. Right in the center.

The cathedral is gothic, its museum is in a 13-16C espiscopal palace and looks like it would be interesting.

And I found a nice hotel, but not as much of a splurge as the parador, in a 17th century convent. Right in the casco histórico.

Ok, and now let’s get walking again!
 
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@islandwalker will want to visit the archaeological museum. Right in the center.
Me too!

Ok, and now let’s get walking again!
Haha...Not until we've had a decent meal!
Michelin has 3 listings, since we seem to be splurging:
 
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And heads up, Lanaphiles. If you want to see the route between Relleu and Torremanzanas (on the Villajoyosa alternative), turn on your coverage of the Vuelta, now. The peloton is headed that way, and Relleu is bound to get some video coverage, because an intermediate sprint is there. They'll be there in 50km from now, maybe a tad more than an hour?
 
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peregrina2000

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Staff member
Adding to this thread, because I just discovered Villena is famous for its fabulous Bronze Age treasure:


And this:


(Badgers in Asturian caves dug a rabbit hole straight here. ;) )
I was starting to question my sketched out but changeable plan, which doesn’t stop in Villena but continues to Caudete. But then a click on one of the links you provided informed me that the Archaeological Museum is closed and is being moved to a different location. Which is likely to involve a several year process, in my experience. Whew, one less hard decision to make!
 

dick bird

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the alternative start from Villajoyosa, and it looks pretty good.
It looked much preferable to the official route in terms of what one walks through - but the terrain is much more challenging. But if you're comfortable with some ups and ups downs, go for it!

Here is the map from the top of the thread, kindly posted by @amancio :
Villajoyosa
Benidorm
Altea

Those three go via Relleu, Torremanzanas, Onil.

These three merge inland, just before the end of their first stage, the Altea option goes through Benidorm. All these three routes are seriously hilly and physically demanding compared to the Alicante start. Before joining the Alicante branch, you need to climb 2600 meters in 4 days, that would be the equivalent of 1 Cebreiro a day, 4 days in a row. I would have no problem with those climbs, but it would be nicer if they were further ahead of the route, not on the first 4 days.

To make things more complicated, I believe you can also start from Jávea (also spelled Xabia) and then Valencia further up North.

This is a small illustrating map: red is the Alicante route, black is the 3 alternative routes, green is where all starting points join.

View attachment 87492
 
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peregrina2000

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the alternative start from Villajoyosa, and it looks pretty good.
These are great websites, thanks so much. I hadn’t seen the first one and it is very comprehensive. Even has a contact person, whom I will WhatsApp to see if I can get some info on the covid situation.

Maybe the third time’s a charm. Fingers crossed I will be starting from Villajoyosa this April!

Are other members of this stalwart planning group hoping to walk the Lana in 2022?
 
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Fingers crossed I will be starting from Villajoyosa this April!
Woohoo. Laurie! May it be so.

Are other members of this stalwart planning group hoping to walk the Lana in 2022?
Not me, for sure. If I end up having a Spanish walking window, it would be November-December; and anyway I think I would rather tackle the Viejo first.

(Edited my last post to add the map.)
 
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anamcara

Camino Walker
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2022 Chemin du Piémont 😎
I’ve only just discovered this thread … better late etc. Another wonderful resource to add the Lana to my growing list of paths I’d like to walk some time soon. I’ll tuck this one in a special place alongside the virtual planning threads for the the VdeP and Invierno.

Thank you to all. 🙏
 

AJGuillaume

Pèlerin du monde
Past OR future Camino
Via Gebennensis (2018)
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anamcara

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2022 Chemin du Piémont 😎
Maybe the third time’s a charm. Fingers crossed I will be starting from Villajoyosa this April!
Fingers and toes crossed for you Laurie - and for all with Camino plans!

I couldn’t help but Google Villajoyosa - love the name. From the pictures alone, it looks like a ‘joyful village’. 😎
 
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Frances (2013), del Norte, Finisterre and Muxia (2016), del Norte (2018), Ruta de la Lana (2021)
These are great websites, thanks so much. I hadn’t seen the first one and it is very comprehensive. Even has a contact person, whom I will WhatsApp to see if I can get some info on the covid situation.

Maybe the third time’s a charm. Fingers crossed I will be starting from Villajoyosa this April!

Are other members of this stalwart planning group hoping to walk the Lana in 2022?
I have not been able to bring myself to a definite decision, but I want to go end of April. Following this thread when it was created last year was such a delight as well as a respite. Seeing your post lifts my heart.
 

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