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walking summer 2011 limited time


New Member
I am in desperate need of some advise. I have about 10 -12 days available to walk and am wanting the best of both worlds ie wanting to get to santiago but also want to walk through the scenic areas of the camino - this is where i am getting stuck - please can i have some suggestions as to what is the most scenic / interesting section of the camino (obviously this does come down to personal taste) but i would like to see some old castles / monestaries / beautifull country side etc and get a feel of the real spain. I have looked at the blogs and see that it is possible to do one section catch and then catch a bus to sarria and then do the last section.
Thank you for your time :D


Active Member
Hi newwalker,

The most scenic areas--as you said--obviously depend somewhat on your tastes. I can only think of two castles on the route: the ruins of one above Castrojeriz, and the Templar castle in Ponferrada. There's a monastery at Samos, and the Monasterio de Irache by the Fuente del Vino (just after Estella). There are probably more, but I can't think of them right now.

Really, you might enjoy just doing the last part of the Camino without skipping parts by bus (wherever you think you have the time and stamina to start from--Astorga might work). You'd get some beautiful mountain scenery, walk through the vineyards between Ponferrada and Villafranca, more mountains, and then the countryside/eucalyptus forests of Galicia. You'd get to see the Cruz de Ferro (the cross in the mountains where pilgrims leave rocks), the Templar castle in Ponferrada, the monastery at Samos (if you took that variant), the submerged remains of the old Portomarin (which were flooded by a dam), and some really beautiful towns.

The main thing you'll be missing is the large cities and their cathedrals (but then again the large cities don't tend to be nice to walk into). You'd also be starting with some fairly steep ascents and descents--but lots of people survive that when they cross the Pyrenees on their first day.

Of course, I walked in late fall, so I don't know what things are like in summer.

Just a thought. I hope this helps.



Veteran Member
Astorga to Santiago is 259 kms. A very manageable distance to walk in 10 to 12 days.
26 kms per day is achievable, but perhaps a little faster than most.
Getting to Santiago in 10 days will leave you time to explore the Cathedral in Santiago... Hug the saint, visit the crypt, get your Compostela...

Having a couple of extra days if you need it will take the pressure off the goal of 26 kms per day.

If I could only walk one segment, I would walk from Astorga to Santiago.
And having a continuous uninterupted walk is most condusive to the pilgrim experience.

You describe your wishes and desires as a tourist... seeing the sights.
The alternative is to travel as a pilgrim, on an inward journey, learning about yourself... are you flexible with your time and other people? Do you set goals for yourself and achieve them? How do you feel when you don't achieve your goals?

Most walkers are a mixture of tourist and pilgrim.

Enjoy your planning and preparation
and buen Camino for your journey in 2011

David, Victoria, Canada.


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
I agree with Anna Maria and David. Start in Astorga. The jumping off and on buses means that you loose the friends you meet all the time. Walk the last part, meet people that walk the same distance that you. beautiful sights and places over the mountain from Astorga to Ponferrada and up to O`Cebreiro. There is a nice cathedral in Astorga too.


I just finished walking the Astorga to Santiago segment (took me 14 days, but I had bad blisters & walked slowly anyhow since I take a lot of photos). I found it beautiful & am really glad to have chosen that part. You can see my blog at http://dustyscamino.blogspot.com to see some of my photos & read about the walk.
Good luck & try not to rush if you can avoid it.
dusty from texas


New Member
Thank you for all your help. I had been thinking along the lines of starting at Astorga as I was abit unsure of breaking the walk and taking public transport to get across to Sarria and your answers have helped me finally make up my mind. Now i can concentrate on buying the right hiking boots and pack and getting walking fit. Dusty how did you carry your camera - i have been wondering what would be the easiest way to take mine other than going out and buying a small point and shoot camera. :D


Active Member
Hi newwalker,

What kind of camera do you have? I reluctantly decided to leave my SLR at home before my Camino. I carried my point-and-shoot (which I actually used in manual mode, and which is on the large side) in a small-ish photo bag that attached to my backpack's waist belt. In the evenings, I reattached its removable strap and used it as a purse. When it rained, I stuffed the whole thing in my backpack, which was protected with a rain cover.

I looked rather ridiculous, but it was nice to have my camera so accessible.

Hope this helps! I'm not sure what you'd do with an SLR to keep it accessible while you walked.


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