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Starting in Leon...accomodation and first day walking

2020 Camino Guides

holhum

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning for Leon to Santiago June 2019
Hi! Some advice please...

1. I fly into Madrid, stay one night and my travel agent is booking on the train from Madrid to Leon and into a posh hotel in Leon, which seems a little unnecessary, so I was wondering what recommendations people might have of where to stay in Leon the night before I start walking? I would like a good nights sleep so thinking my own room somewhere central but does not need to be fancy. I won't be jetlagged as I am coming from Australia but via a stay in Italy.

2. Will I be able to pick up my credencial that afternoon at the Cathedral? Or can I organise that now from Australia somehow? I would visit the Cathedral anyway that day assuming my train arrives in time (but I don't have that info yet).

3. I can only manage 15km a day....but it looks like the first accomodation options are more like 22km out of Leon. Any suggestions?

Thank you!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Lourdes/Burgos/SdeC (by train) 77; Frances 12,15,17; Finisterre 17; Lourdes/Aragones 18; Meseta 19.
If all you want is a decent cheap place to crash and then hit the road, consider the Hostal Don Suero http://www.hostaldonsuero.es/ ... It's not really in what I think of as el centro, but it's close enough, and it is right on the CF on it's way out of town. ... You can easily walk to it from the train station.

But my gosh, Leon is such a swell place! Is there no way you can find a day to explore it?

I think you may need to get your credential at the albergue on the Plaza Santa María del Camino. rather than the cathedral...
 
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mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
In Leon the Benedictinas (Carbajalas) next to their albergue also offer the
Hospideria PAX
with private accommodation which is very nice and which you can reserve.
Here is their web--
http://www.hospederiapax.com/

Their Pilgrim albergue provides dormitory accommodation for 134 with shared facilities but does not accept reservations except for groups. Both facilities are located on the plaza Santa María del Camino.

You may also obtain a Credential at the albergue even if you do not stay there.


The Hospideria has a pleasant dining room open to all with a good inexpensive daily menu .

While often staying in the pilgrim albergue I peeked at the Hospideria facilities which appear to be very comfortable. The choice is up to you!

Do check out the many tips/advice in this earlier forum thread re the Leon to Astorga stretch.
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/leon-to-astorga.24955/

Buen camino!
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020? Hopefully Via de Bayona/Burgos to Ponferrada/Camino de Invierno
Hi! Regarding the Credential, you could always buy one from the forum shop, something less to worry about.... But do check the postage, I do not know what it is like for Australia.
Buen camino!
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
A heretic thought. The walk out of Leon is ghastly - unless you just enjoy sad beauty parlors, garages and gas stations, used furniture stores, ironmongers, iffy bars, and narrow sidewalks. Hop a bus for La Virgen del Camino leaving often from Plaza Santo Domingo a 5 minute walk from the cathedral - get off at the last stop the Camino is right in front of the stop the left fork is the one you want- save yourself 5k and walk out from there hitting your 15k limit!
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
Listen to Scruffy1!!!! That walk out of Leon was interesting only because it was so unlike the rest of the Camino route. Bus to La Virgin, take the route to the left, and make sure you stop at the Humanitarian Aid stop (just past Fresno) for a snack, fresh coffee, and one of the most interesting toilets on The Way. 👍
 

holhum

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning for Leon to Santiago June 2019
A heretic thought. The walk out of Leon is ghastly - unless you just enjoy sad beauty parlors, garages and gas stations, used furniture stores, ironmongers, iffy bars, and narrow sidewalks. Hop a bus for La Virgen del Camino leaving often from Plaza Santo Domingo a 5 minute walk from the cathedral - get off at the last stop the Camino is right in front of the stop the left fork is the one you want- save yourself 5k and walk out from there hitting your 15k limit!
That sounds like brilliant advice....it's not like I am starting in Saint Jean and doing the whole walk...starting at La Virgin is no different to starting in Leon!
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Whether or not you take a bus or walk out of Leon it is only 7 km to La Virgen del Camino and an extraordinary 20th century church. The town is named for a famous 15th century figure of the Virgin holding the dead body of Christ. Today the figure is in a splendid church designed in the 1960s by a Dominican monk, Francisco Coello, a follower of the Brutalist style of Le Corbusier. Located directly on the Camino Frances at Av Astorga, 87, in the midst of chaotic suburb the church is a superbly maintained architectural gem as well as a haven of peace. Be sure to enter it; the calm interior is splendidly lit with deep chrome yellow glass.

Opposite the church you can choose to either continue on the main camino which parallels the highway or pick up the peaceful alternative camino route going slightly southwest towards Villar de Mazarife. It is always very pleasant to escape the N120 highway noise and suburban sprawl while crossing wide flat plains up to V de M where there are several pilgrim albergues and regular accommodation. From V d M the alternative camino continues to Hospital de Órbigo to rejoin the main CF. You can read more about the alternative more rural route in this earlier Forum thread .

Hospital de Orbigo offers many accommodation options; my favorite is the Albergue Verde. They accept reservations and offer wonderful group meals each evening. Leaving HdO turn right to follow the camino towards Astorga via Santibanez de Valdeiglesias on a rolling rural path.

Carpe diem!
 
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Dsavid Keyte

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de San Salavador (2015)
Camino de la Costa (2016)
Camino Lebaniego 2017
A heretic thought. The walk out of Leon is ghastly - unless you just enjoy sad beauty parlors, garages and gas stations, used furniture stores, ironmongers, iffy bars, and narrow sidewalks. Hop a bus for La Virgen del Camino leaving often from Plaza Santo Domingo a 5 minute walk from the cathedral - get off at the last stop the Camino is right in front of the stop the left fork is the one you want- save yourself 5k and walk out from there hitting your 15k limit!
There is nothing ghastly about León, the walk out passes the wonderful San Marcos convent, the Roman bridge, and as you leave Leòn, wonderful views of the City and Cathedral in the distance, I live in León just slightly down river from the Roman bridge, and one of the walks I do when practising for the Camino, is to walk up to Virgen Del Camino and back Also there are a couple of Supermarkets for topping up any supplies you may need
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Once you get off the bus at La Virgen del Camino, and visit the modern church (it is an amazing place), the walk to Hospital de Obrigo is only about 15 km. There are plenty of albergues and hostals there. You can book ahead on www.booking.com.

The first 5 - 7 km out of Leon to La Virgen del Camino is bleak. It is a major highway with big box stores, car dealerships, businesses, and light industrial parks on both sides of the divided roadway. Great, if you have a car and are looking to buy something. But, not so fun if you are a pilgrim on foot.

The bus ride takes maybe 15 minutes. I usually get the bus from the main bus terminal.

You can use the ALSA app, available for free at the Android and Apple app stores to find the bus schedule. Easy and cheap...

Both Scruffy and MSPath are long-time veterans, and have seen and done it all. You can take their advice "to the bank..."

Hope this helps.
 

cooldavidt

New Member
Hi! Some advice please...

1. I fly into Madrid, stay one night and my travel agent is booking on the train from Madrid to Leon and into a posh hotel in Leon, which seems a little unnecessary, so I was wondering what recommendations people might have of where to stay in Leon the night before I start walking? I would like a good nights sleep so thinking my own room somewhere central but does not need to be fancy. I won't be jetlagged as I am coming from Australia but via a stay in Italy.

2. Will I be able to pick up my credencial that afternoon at the Cathedral? Or can I organise that now from Australia somehow? I would visit the Cathedral anyway that day assuming my train arrives in time (but I don't have that info yet).

3. I can only manage 15km a day....but it looks like the first accomodation options are more like 22km out of Leon. Any suggestions?

Thank you!
Take a bus for the first 7 K. If you are only doing 15 K per day this will happen again. Take a bus from where you sleep. In the last 100 K you should not take the bus at all in order to get a credential
 

Hurry Krishna

Indian on the Way
Camino(s) past & future
2009 (from Sarria), 2014 from St Jean Pied de Port, 2016 from Porto, 2018 from Le Puy to Santiago.
Hi! Some advice please...

1. I fly into Madrid, stay one night and my travel agent is booking on the train from Madrid to Leon and into a posh hotel in Leon, which seems a little unnecessary, so I was wondering what recommendations people might have of where to stay in Leon the night before I start walking? I would like a good nights sleep so thinking my own room somewhere central but does not need to be fancy. I won't be jetlagged as I am coming from Australia but via a stay in Italy.

2. Will I be able to pick up my credencial that afternoon at the Cathedral? Or can I organise that now from Australia somehow? I would visit the Cathedral anyway that day assuming my train arrives in time (but I don't have that info yet).

3. I can only manage 15km a day....but it looks like the first accomodation options are more like 22km out of Leon. Any suggestions?

Thank you!
On your question 3: Have you checked the app ‘My Camino Bed’ - it gives several options well befor 22 kms. The walk out of Leon is not hard and there are lots of villages several with accommodation all along the way. My Camino Bed is worth getting. It lists both albergues and hotels and everything in between. Buen Camino.
 

Dsavid Keyte

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de San Salavador (2015)
Camino de la Costa (2016)
Camino Lebaniego 2017
Once you get off the bus at La Virgen del Camino, and visit the modern church (it is an amazing place), the walk to Hospital de Obrigo is only about 15 km. There are plenty of albergues and hostals there. You can book ahead on www.booking.com.

The first 5 - 7 km out of Leon to La Virgen del Camino is bleak. It is a major highway with big box stores, car dealerships, businesses, and light industrial parks on both sides of the divided roadway. Great, if you have a car and are looking to buy something. But, not so fun if you are a pilgrim on foot.

The bus ride takes maybe 15 minutes. I usually get the bus from the main bus terminal.

You can use the ALSA app, available for free at the Android and Apple app stores to find the bus schedule. Easy and cheap...

Both Scruffy and MSPath are long-time veterans, and have seen and done it all. You can take their advice "to the bank..."

Hope this helps.
It is only their opinion, and I have mine
 

alhartman

346 joyful days in Spain and France since 2005
Camino(s) past & future
Hope so!
There are many stopping places out of Leon that do not require 22km. Use Gronze to play with the stopping points. I have done an easy start: Leon, Virgen, Manzarife, Santibanez, StaCatalina, Foncebadon for the first 5 days. Total under 80 km. And there are lots of other places to stop. Easy start to deal with jet lag.
Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino June 2018 from Leon to SdC. Plan SJdP to SdC 2022 & Porto & Fisterra & Muxia 2023
We also started from Leon last June and took the alternate route to Villar de Mazarife and stayed in Hostal Tio Pepe. Had a really fun night, terrific atmosphere, great hosts and meeting lots of other peregrinos. The walk, all the way from Leon was a relatively easy 22 Km's and the first night's great experience bode well for the rest of our Camino.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
Those who bus out of Leon miss the hobbit houses.

I don't mind the walk out. You see another aspect of Spain. In my view, skipping the unpretty parts is like not walking when the weather is bad.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
Those who bus out of Leon miss the hobbit houses.

I don't mind the walk out. You see another aspect of Spain. In my view, skipping the unpretty parts is like not walking when the weather is bad.
I have never took buses to skip the urban slogs out of Leon or into Burgos, but I have stayed an extra day in a town when the rain was coming down outside like a monsoon and no let up in sight. I don't like being wet and cold. Been there, done that enough in the army and used to curse I would never do it again :D . Well worth a few euros to hang out an extra day, and the couple of times I did do it the next day was gloriously sunny and bright after the front moved through.
If you got the time and the euros, why not?
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
Isn't that called a strategically timed rest day?
 

holhum

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning for Leon to Santiago June 2019
A heretic thought. The walk out of Leon is ghastly - unless you just enjoy sad beauty parlors, garages and gas stations, used furniture stores, ironmongers, iffy bars, and narrow sidewalks. Hop a bus for La Virgen del Camino leaving often from Plaza Santo Domingo a 5 minute walk from the cathedral - get off at the last stop the Camino is right in front of the stop the left fork is the one you want- save yourself 5k and walk out from there hitting your 15k limit!
[/QUOTE

Oops wrote my reply in the wrong spot...I think this is brilliant advice. As I am not starting at the 'beginning' it doesn't really matter where exactly I start....it's MY beginning :)
 

holhum

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning for Leon to Santiago June 2019
On your question 3: Have you checked the app ‘My Camino Bed’ - it gives several options well befor 22 kms. The walk out of Leon is not hard and there are lots of villages several with accommodation all along the way. My Camino Bed is worth getting. It lists both albergues and hotels and everything in between. Buen Camino.
Thanks I had seen there were a few different apps and didn't know which to get!
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
Isn't that called a strategically timed rest day?
One time I took a rest day on a beautiful sunny day. The next day I walked it drizzled half the morning and poured down that afternoon. Murphy's law I guess. Go figure. :D
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
I don't mind the walk out. You see another aspect of Spain.
Same here. After I had read the description of the walk out of Leon in this thread I started Google Earth to view it again since I did not recall it as described.

A large part of this walk are housing areas, either small houses or higher buildings, frequently with a small shop of some kind or other on the ground floor. The industrial areas are not factories with smoking chimneys but low level functional buildings. It's where people live and work. Maybe the busdriver lives there and the bus gets serviced there. I see no reason why I should not set my pilgrim's eyes on it and my pilgrim's soul did not get destroyed there. In fact, now that I think about it, I recall several moments of an encounter with people or environment that were quite nurturing. 😊
 
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JennyH94

Pilgrim in progress
Camino(s) past & future
CF - sections and whole (2012-2019) and part VF (2017)
Hi! Regarding the Credential, you could always buy one from the forum shop, something less to worry about.... But do check the postage, I do not know what it is like for Australia.
Buen camino!
Hi domigee - good suggestion about buying the credential from Ivar - I always buy mine from the Forum shop as I like to support Ivar and the Forum as much as I can.
I ordered six credentials last week from the Forum shop - 2 euros each credential - total 12 euros, with another 12 euros for postage - so a grand total of 24 euros. I'm gifting a credential to each family member I'm walking from SJPDP to Santiago with in June. Most of us are going to visit the St James Church office in Sydney to receive the first stamp on our credentials so for this reason it's important to have them soon.
Cheers from Oz -
Jenny
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020? Hopefully Via de Bayona/Burgos to Ponferrada/Camino de Invierno
Same here. After I had read the description of the walk out of Leon in this thread I started Google Earth to view it again since I did not recall it as described.

A large part of this walk are housing areas, either small houses or higher buildings, frequently with a small shop of some kind or other on the ground floor. The industrial areas are not factories with smoking chimneys but low level functional buildings. It's where people live and work. Maybe the busdriver lives there and the bus gets serviced there. I see no reason why I should not set my pilgrim's eyes on it and my pilgrim's soul did not get destroyed there. In fact, now that I think about it, I recall several moments of an encounter with people or environment that were quite nurturing. 😊
I recall having a fantastic breakfast in one little cafe in that ‘industrial’ area, on the right handside 😎
There is always the other way out of Leon, rather nice... If you can find it 😉
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I never thought of myself as a "true pilgrim" before, but I have "suffered" by walking out of Leon twice! 😛
 

Jim Stinson

ibrew4u
Camino(s) past & future
5/2015 CF
4/2017 CF
5/2019 CF fr Astorga
9/2019 CF fr Astorga
Don't forget to hit the Four Lions Brewpub just around from the Cathedral. Last good beer till Santiago!
 

Rowena

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015, 2018) Chemin de Saint Jacques (2016) Geneva Way (2017) Portugues (2019)
Following John Brierley’s advice, I have twice bused in and out of Leon. However I have since realized the error of my ways, because it is the only part of the entire route from Geneva to Santiago that I have not walked, and that seems wrong! Always Camino dreaming, next time I’m planning to start walking at Mansilla de las Mulas, spend a day exploring Leon, and later take the Invierno into Santiago.
 

DC Camnio

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Camino 2018
I HIGHLY recommend taking the alternative route from Virgen del Camino. It's very picturesque (It's the path that heads to the left just past the modern church).

Regargarding whether to start in Leon or Virgen del Camino:

My Camino also started in Leon and I walked out of the city. I can see how opinion might be split on whether to walk from Leon. For me, I enjoyed the walk out of the city. Once you get to VdC the landscape quickly turns rural. That transition, the walk from urban to rural, resonated with me; where I was at in life, and why I was doing the Camino. For many, the Camino is a break from the hustle. A chance to to connect with nature and one's self. As I observed the shift in landscape I began to feel a transition in my mindset as well. It was a great "day one" experience that set my thinking for the whole walk (which may I say was the experience of a lifetime).

Regarding accommodation in Leon: I stayed at Hostel Covent Garden. It's a really cool place. The hostel owner Juan is a real good human. He gave me some great Camino advice and was just overall super pleasant. He runs a great space. I stayed in a four bed room. Not sure if he has private rooms.

All the best to you. Enjoy it! The bad weather, the good weather, the people, the conversation, the solitude, the coffee. Blessings and love!

-Devin
 

Nancy McD

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2018)
Hi! Some advice please...

1. I fly into Madrid, stay one night and my travel agent is booking on the train from Madrid to Leon and into a posh hotel in Leon, which seems a little unnecessary, so I was wondering what recommendations people might have of where to stay in Leon the night before I start walking? I would like a good nights sleep so thinking my own room somewhere central but does not need to be fancy. I won't be jetlagged as I am coming from Australia but via a stay in Italy.

2. Will I be able to pick up my credencial that afternoon at the Cathedral? Or can I organise that now from Australia somehow? I would visit the Cathedral anyway that day assuming my train arrives in time (but I don't have that info yet).

3. I can only manage 15km a day....but it looks like the first accomodation options are more like 22km out of Leon. Any suggestions?

Thank you!
I spent two nights in Leon. I needed a good nights sleep and I wanted to see the city. I stayed at an older hotel with a charm of its own and maybe 35€ per night...but I needed the rest for a couple days. I stayed at Hotel Quindos. Nothing fancy, very close to the Camino on its way out of town, and a short walk (maybe 15 minutes) from the cathedral. Several tapas bars nearby and a great little sporting goods shop almost next door ( I needed a new daypack and they even opened the shop after they closed).
 

ozbj

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances - May 2013 and April-May 2016
Hi - I see you are not going until June. If you join the Australian Friends of the Camino (https://www.afotc.org/) they can issue your credencial (which is quite a nice document in itself) with an initial stamp. I have used this service twice previously and have been very happy (and have had nice comments from various people issuing sellos on the Camino).
Buen Camino
Barry
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
Leon has some fabulous storefront restaurants in a little barrio north and west of Plaza Major.
Tio Pepe's in Villar de Mazarife is a great stop and not that long to walk to from Leon. I have stayed there 3 times and every time it was after walking all day in the rain from Leon. There is a remarkably warm atmosphere and a nice patio in back.
I usually only walk as far as Hospital the next day. There is wonderful medieval fair and jousting event there in the middle of June, not to be missed.
The next day to Astorga isn't a bad walk either bu take the route away from the road, just after you leave Hospital turn right.
 
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RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
Leon is well worth spending a day in. The walk out is not that bad and only about 7 km's I believe to La Virgen, which I have stayed before and not a bad place to stop. The split is just outside of town and you can go left or right. I have done both. Stayed in Vilar de Mazarife and in San Martin del Camino. I liked them both. No wrong decision there. Also stayed in Hospital just up the road. Lovely town and I liked staying at the albergue San Miguel with the artwork from pilgrims who have stayed there.
 

Nancy McD

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2018)
León is a great city and spending a day is a must if you have the time. The walk out of town is not so bad...yes, it is streets and an industrial area, but not terrible. Hospital de Obrigo is fascinating but I can highly recommend Albugue El Encanto in Villares de Obrigo, just a short walk past Hospital. I was lusting after a private room that night. It was as nice as any 5 Star hotel I have been to and the owner is lovely. It is in an old house newly remodeled to be an alburgue. Perfect for the rest I needed. A quiet little village but the alburgue is a distinct highlight of my 2018 Camino.
 

mark connolly

Member
Camino(s) past & future
sept 2016 CF
sept 2017 Lourdes to SJPDP via Piemonte
SJPDP to SDC via CF
2019 CF (God willing)
As far a hotel, this one is about 100 yards from the cathedral, about 50euro for the night. Info via photo.


52347


Buen Camino

Mark
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
Albergue La Muralla Leonesa has some private rooms (with shared, very clean bathrooms). It is very close to Plaza Mayor, brand new, the manager is a kind lady, and you will know some pilgrims that will be with you in the Camino next days, As a plus, there is a section of the old medieval wall in the basement...
It is available for reservations in booking.com
 

holhum

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning for Leon to Santiago June 2019
Hi! Regarding the Credential, you could always buy one from the forum shop, something less to worry about.... But do check the postage, I do not know what it is like for Australia.
Buen camino!
I took your advice and it arrived last week! Not expensive, and one less thing to do when I arrive!
 

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