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Via de la Plata - Advice / Recommendations

Roops

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte (Summer 2017)
Camino a Finisterre (Summer 2018)
Camino de la Plata (April 2019)
#1
Hi all,

After a successful first camino last summer (Del Norte, Bilbao to Santiago) I'm itching to get back on the open road and plan my next Camino.

As a change to the Del Norte route I've gone for the Via de la Plata to experience something completely different. I'm hoping to walk the route in 3 stages totalling 5 weeks (2 weeks in April 2019, 2 weeks in April 2020 and 1 week in Summer 2020).

I wanted to respectfully ask for your advice please :)

  1. Walking this in 5 weeks will mean that I'll have to skip an odd bit of the camino. For those who have walked this camino are there any bits you would recommend to skip if you had to and also is there public transport available in order to do this as this route looks a lot more sparse than the Del Norte route?
  2. On the Del Norte we often tailoured the camino to our own and made days longer and walked firther but this was easy to do as there were more towns and places to stay. It seems from a quick scan read of the route for the Via de la Plata this may not be an option as there are only a few places to stay? Would that be a correct assumption or does anyone have different experiences?
  3. Also what is the majority of the track like on the Via de la Plata? I struggled a bit on the Del Norte with my walking shoes due to the large amount of tarmac. If I did the Del Norte again I would wear trail shoes as opposed to walking shoes so wondered if anyone had any advice for footwear on this route?
  4. I found I never used my water bladder on the Del Norte as there were so many water pumps. Are there water pumps on the Via de la Plata or would you recommend using a water bladder here?
  5. Any particular guides do you recommend to aid with the camino?
  6. Any advice or general recommendations for his route would be greatly appreciated - if any of you are planning to walk in during the same time let me know and our paths might cross :)
As always, buen camino :)
 

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hel&scott

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 Seville - Finestere, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
#2
Okay, as you asked for it...

I am not one for skipping sections and coming from NZ it wouldn't be practcial to do it a few weeks at a time. But it can be difficult to take lengthy breaks so if you have to do it stages then I would start in Merida, 2 weeks should get you to Salamanca, pick up in Salamanca and you should make it to Ourense in 2 weeks, leaving you a final week to make it into Santiago (where walking in Summer shouldn't be an issue as it would be further south).

There is public transport, but it is limited and many of the trains run in and out of Madrid which makes it longer and an odd way to get around, okay to get you to start at major towns or cities, I have heard of taxi use, but it is frowned on, and no baggage transport, this is Camino old school. You may find pensions from nearby towns who will drop you back in the route, useful around Caparra.

If you are fit you can push on in some places and do longer stretches, but it is hard to do short stages as the route is isolated and towns are fairly few, if you have a phone and good Spanish you can try ringing accomodation at towns off route, but most places are small and don't have accomdation.

Route is mainly cross country, dirt tracks and rock, I use tracking sandles and trail shoes. Can get muddy in spring apparently but not a problem we ever struck.

You will defiantly need to use a camel or water bladder, potable water is in short supply on this route, take at least 3 L per day, and drink it, even in spring it is hot out there.

Guides have improved since we did it, I am using Kelly when I rewalk it this year, but then I like maps so this suits me. It is well signposted but cities can be an issue as arrows get removed.

This is the path less travelled, great if you like long distance walking, fabulous if you fancy Roman ruins, but there are less pilgrims so if you are after singing Kum-by-ya around the albergue table at the end of the day then this is not the route for you. Those pilgrims you do find however are likely to be well traveled and interesting. Good luck with it.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sep/Oct 2015
Camino Primitivo Sep / Oct 2016
Portugese Fatima Santiago Sep/Oct 2017
#3
Thanks for the questions Roops and thanks for a really good practical reply hel&scott. I plan starting in Seville late September this year. Kelly 2018 seems pretty good to me as I get into it. Shoes question for me is whether I go with my Boots or runners. At present I am leaning towards runners only and sandals.
 

Donna Sch

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdLP-Sanabres-Fisterra (Summer 2015); Future? Levante-VDLP-Invierno (Feb/Mar 2019);
#4
Are you taking the Sanabres or going to Astorga? The Sanabres is a 2 week walk in its own right. What kind of distances do you tend to walk?
You definitely need to carry your water. The fuentes only become common in the North.
 

handzondeck2

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (x2); VdLP (x4); Portuguese (x2); Madrid (x2); S/Salvador, Primitivo, Ingles ('17) Camino 19 tba
#5
Hi all,

After a successful first camino last summer (Del Norte, Bilbao to Santiago) I'm itching to get back on the open road and plan my next Camino.

As a change to the Del Norte route I've gone for the Via de la Plata to experience something completely different. I'm hoping to walk the route in 3 stages totalling 5 weeks (2 weeks in April 2019, 2 weeks in April 2020 and 1 week in Summer 2020).

I wanted to respectfully ask for your advice please :)

  1. Walking this in 5 weeks will mean that I'll have to skip an odd bit of the camino. For those who have walked this camino are there any bits you would recommend to skip if you had to and also is there public transport available in order to do this as this route looks a lot more sparse than the Del Norte route?
  2. On the Del Norte we often tailoured the camino to our own and made days longer and walked firther but this was easy to do as there were more towns and places to stay. It seems from a quick scan read of the route for the Via de la Plata this may not be an option as there are only a few places to stay? Would that be a correct assumption or does anyone have different experiences?
  3. Also what is the majority of the track like on the Via de la Plata? I struggled a bit on the Del Norte with my walking shoes due to the large amount of tarmac. If I did the Del Norte again I would wear trail shoes as opposed to walking shoes so wondered if anyone had any advice for footwear on this route?
  4. I found I never used my water bladder on the Del Norte as there were so many water pumps. Are there water pumps on the Via de la Plata or would you recommend using a water bladder here?
  5. Any particular guides do you recommend to aid with the camino?
  6. Any advice or general recommendations for his route would be greatly appreciated - if any of you are planning to walk in during the same time let me know and our paths might cross :)
As always, buen camino :)
Check out my blog at Handzondeck.wordpress.com for the Albergue listing. I walked this year in Apr/May. PM separately for other information
 
Last edited:

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handzondeck2

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (x2); VdLP (x4); Portuguese (x2); Madrid (x2); S/Salvador, Primitivo, Ingles ('17) Camino 19 tba
#6
@Roops have a look at Gronze website for profiles and Godesalco.com and my favorite http://www.rutasasantiago.com/ to work out stages. The latter one is in Spanish but very easy to use. You'll need both the Via de la Plata and Sanabres section for planning purposes.
 
Last edited:

Roops

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte (Summer 2017)
Camino a Finisterre (Summer 2018)
Camino de la Plata (April 2019)
#7
Okay, as you asked for it...

I am not one for skipping sections and coming from NZ it wouldn't be practcial to do it a few weeks at a time. But it can be difficult to take lengthy breaks so if you have to do it stages then I would start in Merida, 2 weeks should get you to Salamanca, pick up in Salamanca and you should make it to Ourense in 2 weeks, leaving you a final week to make it into Santiago (where walking in Summer shouldn't be an issue as it would be further south).

There is public transport, but it is limited and many of the trains run in and out of Madrid which makes it longer and an odd way to get around, okay to get you to start at major towns or cities, I have heard of taxi use, but it is frowned on, and no baggage transport, this is Camino old school. You may find pensions from nearby towns who will drop you back in the route, useful around Caparra.

If you are fit you can push on in some places and do longer stretches, but it is hard to do short stages as the route is isolated and towns are fairly few, if you have a phone and good Spanish you can try ringing accomodation at towns off route, but most places are small and don't have accomdation.

Route is mainly cross country, dirt tracks and rock, I use tracking sandles and trail shoes. Can get muddy in spring apparently but not a problem we ever struck.

You will defiantly need to use a camel or water bladder, potable water is in short supply on this route, take at least 3 L per day, and drink it, even in spring it is hot out there.

Guides have improved since we did it, I am using Kelly when I rewalk it this year, but then I like maps so this suits me. It is well signposted but cities can be an issue as arrows get removed.

This is the path less travelled, great if you like long distance walking, fabulous if you fancy Roman ruins, but there are less pilgrims so if you are after singing Kum-by-ya around the albergue table at the end of the day then this is not the route for you. Those pilgrims you do find however are likely to be well traveled and interesting. Good luck with it.

Many thanks for the advice, appreciate it! Ideally I'd do it all in one go but not possible with a full time job. I was so lucky getting the time off last year for the Del Norte but I wouldn't be able to do that again so I have to do 2 week stages at a time now. I'm actually excited by how different this camino sounds - the quieter route appeals to me to be honest. The water thing worries me a little bit. The Del Norte had a wealth of water fountains so I never ended up using my water bladder and just had a normal sized bottle I would refill each time. I'll definitely take my 3 litre water bladder for this route. Where did you end up filling up with water?

My friend just downloaded the latest Kelly guide, looks very informative so good shout! I won't bother with my hiking shoes this time (I found them a hindrance on the Del Norte) and just take trail shoes and flip flops for at the end of the day. Thanks again for the advice Hel & Scott :)
 

Roops

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte (Summer 2017)
Camino a Finisterre (Summer 2018)
Camino de la Plata (April 2019)
#8
Thanks for the questions Roops and thanks for a really good practical reply hel&scott. I plan starting in Seville late September this year. Kelly 2018 seems pretty good to me as I get into it. Shoes question for me is whether I go with my Boots or runners. At present I am leaning towards runners only and sandals.
Hi James, Kelly 2018 looks good doesn't it? I'm going to go with trail shoes (trail runners). I found my walking boots more a hindrance last year on the Del Norte so won't be using them again for a camino. Best of luck for this September, I hope you get chance to let us know how you are getting on with it :)
 

Roops

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte (Summer 2017)
Camino a Finisterre (Summer 2018)
Camino de la Plata (April 2019)
#9
Are you taking the Sanabres or going to Astorga? The Sanabres is a 2 week walk in its own right. What kind of distances do you tend to walk?
You definitely need to carry your water. The fuentes only become common in the North.
Hi Donna, I'm thinking the Sanabres as probably will be the only time I'll do it as opposed to if I do the French route in the future. To be honest haven't started looking at the logistics of the route just yet. Last year we walked extended days of up to 40km but we also balanced this with short days as well. It appears to be more difficult on this route to shorten or lengthen days due to the lack of services so I guess that is something to bear in mind. Will definitely use my 3 litre water bladder for this camino! :)
 

Roops

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte (Summer 2017)
Camino a Finisterre (Summer 2018)
Camino de la Plata (April 2019)
#10
Check out my blog at Handzondeck.wordpress.com for the Albergue listing. I walked this year in Apr/May. PM separately for other information
Many thanks for this! I've bookmarked your blog to have a read, appreciate the advice :)
 

Roops

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte (Summer 2017)
Camino a Finisterre (Summer 2018)
Camino de la Plata (April 2019)
#11
@Roops have a look at Gronze website for profiles and Godesalco.com and my favorite http://www.rutasasantiago.com/ to work out stages. The latter one is in Spanish but very easy to use. You'll need both the Via de la Plata and Sanabres section for planning purposes.
Hello again :) I found the Gronze website after I'd started the Del Norte last year. Very useful site. Not heard of the rutasantiago site I'll check it out. Any advice is very much appreciated so thanks again :)
 

handzondeck2

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (x2); VdLP (x4); Portuguese (x2); Madrid (x2); S/Salvador, Primitivo, Ingles ('17) Camino 19 tba
#12
Hello again :) I found the Gronze website after I'd started the Del Norte last year. Very useful site. Not heard of the rutasantiago site I'll check it out. Any advice is very much appreciated so thanks again :)
Your most welcome always willing to help a fellow pilgrim. Oh and make sure you get the spelling right for the website www.rutasasantiago.com
 

hel&scott

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 Seville - Finestere, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
#13
Where did you end up filling up with water? :)
We used to get it filled at the nearest bar, often they would add ice which made it really good. Most places didn't charge and were happy to give you water and a sello.
 
Last edited:

Roops

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte (Summer 2017)
Camino a Finisterre (Summer 2018)
Camino de la Plata (April 2019)
#14
We used to get it filled at the nearest bar, often they would add ice which made it really good. Most places didn't charge and were happy to give you water and a sello.
Good to hear :) Thanks again for your help.
 

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