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Via Augusta in December 2022 - some thoughts

Calisteve

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Future Camino - Primitivo, Norte, Mozarabe
Well I walked the Via Augusta from Cadiz to Seville - 6 days from last Tuesday 13th to Sunday 18th December 2022. The consensus of those who have previously completed the route seemed to be it is a bit boring, with very few fellow walkers/pilgrims, and few places to stop for refreshments. So why choose it? Well a combination of: only having 6 days available, the attraction of forecast 20 degree temperatures when the UK was heading to minus 7, and meaning I'd have walked from the coast to Astorga (having completed the VDLP earlier this year). I thought I'd post some thoughts in case others are contemplating this route.

My stages were Cadiz to Puerto Real (29 kms); Puerto Real to Jerez de la Frontera (26 kms); Jerez to El Cuervo (25 kms); El Cuervo to Las Cabezas de San Juan (28 kms); Las Cabezas to Utrera (32 kms); and Utrera to Seville (32 kms). Note the distances quoted are the 'official' ones, but they seemed to me to be a little on the low side compared to the reality on the ground (although that was no doubt exacerbated by my navigation short-comings). Also - there's not a lot of scope for alternative stages as most days you're walking from one town/city to the next town/city with very little in between. Conclusions...

1. Yes it's flat - apparently the flattest camino. Not a problem for me, although I preferred the Salvador (although not in December).
2. Yes there are few pilgrims (I didn't see any) but there's plenty of other people around.
3. I read references to being reasonably fluent in Spanish as essential. Not any longer - my Spanish is rudimentary in the extreme (just the essentials - beer, coffee, thank you).
4. Some reports of lots of road walking. Have to say I didn't find it significantly more road based than other caminos - although given the circumstances (see point 5) any road stretches were actually a welcome relief!
5. It rained in the first 4 days - not all the time but there was a lot of it even by English standards. The TV news was reporting flooding in the metro in Madrid and flooded streets in Seville. On the Camino it meant paths that were difficult to pass in places without getting wet feet and mud (lots of it) - even on the last day. Nothing too extreme though.
6. Not particularly attractive scenery, but some pleasant towns.
7. Few albergues if any, but some reasonable accommodation easily available on Booking.com - in particular I'd recommend the following as good value & clean: Pension Cadiz (close to the Cathedral and train station); Nuevo Hostel in Jerez (a beautiful building); Via Sevilla-Cadiz in El Cuervo; Novo hostel in Las Cabezas; and Pension Hidalgo 1 (not 2) in Utrera (very friendly hosts).
8. Several reports of a section with heavy mud before Las Cabezas - can be avoided by following the signs alongside the canal.
9. Yellow arrows - if you manage to navigate the Via Augusta by them alone you are either lucky or possessed of superhuman powers. They seemed to come in patches and then disappear for a day or so. Might have been me (probably was), but GPX was essential. Having said that on 2 occasions the GPX took me to a 'you can go no further' point. That then required some close examination of the phone to find a way around.

Hope the above is of some help to others. In short - check the weather and if it's raining be prepared for mud (but that applies to other Caminos) and definitely take the GPX. Buen Camino.
 
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For some time, I've thought that the most important undeveloped Camino in Spain is the full Via Augusta/Via Aurelia from Cádiz to Rome.

Call it the Hispanigena ?
 
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I wonder if the Via Augusta suffers from being judged against the nearby Via Serrana. It's usually the geography that is cited for both routes as the distinctive flaw/selling point.

But the Serrana is almost twice as long, and the last few days on that (which would make up nearly half of the number of stages on the Augusta) are also flat and boring (judging from report, haven't walked either). It also has no albergues at all, and aside from Ronda the accommodation options appear to be quiet limited and somewhat expensive for most stages.

If you added on some or all of the Estrecho (say starting from Tarifa) so that both had an equal number of stages, then day-for-day would it be as bad?

Coastline vs low mountains
Tarifa vs Jimena/Gibraltar
Baelo Claudia vs Acipino
Cadiz vs Ronda
 
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Concur with your account. I walked it in April continuing on to Astorga and then backtracking to the Sanabres finishing in Muxia so got in my coast to coast. Huge amount of negative viewpoints ironically a lot from people who hadn't walked it ! I had rain for most days and strong cold northerly headwinds having picked up the effects of that late spring snow dump on the Pyrenees but still really enjoyed the walk. I walked following the arrows in all but the towns, which were not marked, and then resorted to google maps. My distances also didn't match the official distances. I think some of the stages were certainly not the most direct especially the day into el Cuervo and a completely unnecessary (new ?) detour to Trajno but again that is not an uncommon Camino experience. I saw no other pilgrims, not even a footprint (or worse tyre mark) and don't speak Spanish. My stages were the same 6 but I got 29, 25, 30, 32, 34 and 35.
Slightly off topic but in hindsight when I got to Astorga I should have walked to Leon and onto the San Salvador and then a final day north to the coast before heading to SDC on the primitivo to complete a south-north traverse but didn't think of it till committed to the Sanabres 🙄
 
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Concur with your account. I walked it in April continuing on to Astorga and then backtracking to the Sanabres finishing in Muxia so got in my coast to coast. Huge amount of negative viewpoints ironically a lot from people who hadn't walked it ! I had rain for most days and strong cold northerly headwinds having picked up the effects of that late spring snow dump on the Pyrenees but still really enjoyed the walk. I walked following the arrows in all but the towns, which were not marked, and then resorted to google maps. My distances also didn't match the official distances. I think some of the stages were certainly not the most direct especially the day into el Cuervo and a completely unnecessary (new ?) detour to Trajno but again that is not an uncommon Camino experience. I saw no other pilgrims, not even a footprint (or worse tyre mark) and don't speak Spanish. My stages were the same 6 but I got 29, 25, 30, 32, 34 and 35.
Slightly off topic but in hindsight when I got to Astorga I should have walked to Leon and onto the San Salvador and then a final day north to the coast before heading to SDC on the primitivo to complete a south-north traverse but didn't think of it till committed to the Sanabres 🙄
I'd highly recommend the San Salvador - I did it after completing the Camino de Madrid at Sahagun and then walked to Leon to start the San Salvador.
 
Hi, I am currently on the Via Augusta and at Las Cabezas, is the Compestela on arriving at Seville collected in Seville or Santiago?
Thanks, for any replies to this.
Mark
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
I'm not aware of any Compostela being available for completing the Via Augusta. If there is one I missed out!
 
I'm not aware of any Compostela being available for completing the Via Augusta. If there is one I missed out!
@Calisteve thanks for the reply, I've not seen any information to the Compestela to this either, so thought I'd ask the question, it is an official route by the look's of it so maybe will get clarification when arrive at Santiago Pilgrims office eventually in May.
Regards, Mark
 

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