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French Way – León to Ponferrada 6/8

Walking Section 6 of 8

  • French Way - Walk & Coach - Ponferrada - Caminoways.com
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Section 6 of the French Way, the famous Camino Francés, starts in the lively city of León and finishes in Ponferrada, home to an impressive 12th century castle, built by the Templars to protect pilgrims on their way to Santiago.

Along the way, you will reach the pretty hilltop city of Astorga, famous for its chocolates and other sweet delicacies, as well as its ‘pink cathedral’ and the fantastic Pilgrimage museum building, designed by famous architect Gaudí. After Astorga, you will start the ascent to the spectacular and unscathed León Mountains, the Montes de León, passing rustic mountain villages and hamlets. Stop to place a memento at the very special Iron Cross, the Cruz de Ferro, before continuing your Camino across the pretty mountain region of El Bierzo. Ponferrada, with its impressive Templars castle is the final destination for this section.

VIEW OUR TOUR OPTIONS

  • Standard:
    • 6 days/ 5 Nights. Stay in our hand-picked accommodation.
    • Split – 8 days/ 7 Nights. This tour includes 2 extra walking days: day 3 is split in two walking days of 17km and 14km to make it easier and you will stay in the town of Hospital de Órbigo. Day 5 is also split in two stages of 16km each, you will stay in the village of Acebo.
  • Superior Collection: Best accommodation available, including Paradors.

Trip highlights

  • Admire the unique architecture of León's Old Town
  • Treat your tastebuds to Astorga's famous chocolate
  • Pause to reflect at the Cruz de Ferro, in the mountains of León
  • Feel like a Templar at Ponferrada's Castle

1 León

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Make sure you explore the historic town in León before you embark on your Camino journey. León was the capital of the kingdom in the Middle Ages, as well as a historic enclave on the pilgrim’s route to Santiago de Compostela. Visit the Pulchra Leonina (the ‘Sistine Chapel’ of Spanish architecture), the old ‘Hospital de San Marcos’ which is today a luxurious ‘parador’ and the Gaudí-designed Casa de Botines.

2 León to Mazarife - 21km

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5h45 | +229 m / -151m
Today’s section of the Camino is pretty flat and easy. You will walk along crop fields: grain, corn, potatoes… and pretty apple orchards.

3 Mazarife to Astorga - 29km

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6h30 | +237m / -256m
After the suburbs of León city, you will start a pretty hike along footpaths and dirt tracks towards one of the prettiest villages on the Camino: Hospital de Órbigo where you will cross the famous and picturesque ‘Puente de Órbigo’ bridge. The Mountains of León can be seen in the distance. When you reach the pretty hilltop city of Astorga, capital of the Maragateria, visit its ‘pink’ cathedral, the Episcopal palace designed Gaudí and home to the Pilgrimage Museum and the city walls. And you can’t leave Astorga without trying the local chocolates.

Easy Walking Option Stay in Hospital de Órbigo - 14km & 17km

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3h15 | +118m / -128m
Split your long walking day above between Mazarife and Astorga into two stages of 14km and 17km, if you would like to walk at a more relaxed pace. You would stay overnight in a charming hotel in the town of Hospital de Órbigo.

4 Astorga to Rabanal del Camino - 21km

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5h | +297m / -35m
Today, you will gradually make your way up towards the stunning León Mountains and the lush Bierzo region, taking paths surrounded by broom, heather and oak trees.

5 Rabanal del Camino to Ponferrada - 32km

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7h30 | +720m / -1328m
This is one of the most rewarding days on the Camino as it climbs to ‘Mount Irago’. Stop at the Iron Cross on top of the mountain, one of the most special places on the French Way, where you can place a memento and visit the St James chapel before descending to the lush area of El Bierzo on your way to Ponferrada.

Easy Walking Option Stay in Acebo - 16km & 16km

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3h45 | +360m / -664m
You can choose to split your long walking day above between Rabanal del Camino and Ponferrada, into two stages of 16km each, if you would like to walk at a more relaxed pace. You would stay overnight in a charming hotel in the pretty mountain village of Acebo.

6 Ponferrada

French Way - Walk & Coach - Ponferrada - Caminoways.com

Once you arrive in Ponferrada, you should explore the old town, visit its impressive 12th century Templars Castle, and make sure you try the local mountain specialities, such as botillo and some of Spain’s most delicious cured meats.

Hotels and country cottages have been carefully selected for their location, comfort, character, food and hospitality. They are subject to availability and if the hotel described is not available, we will provide you with one of the same standard, comfort and price. Please note: Accommodation is subject to availability.

León - Standard / Parador

Standard: For our Standard Accommodation, we have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Camino de Santiago for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the Camino de Santiago trail.
Parador: Full of history, classic ‘Paradors’ or heritage buildings will make your Camino experience extra special.

Mazarife - Standard

Standard: For our Standard Accommodation, we have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Camino de Santiago for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the Camino de Santiago trail.

Astorga - Standard / Superior

Standard: For our Standard Accommodation, we have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Camino de Santiago for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the Camino de Santiago trail.
Superior Collection: Stay in the best hotels on the Camino de Santiago: we have selected luxurious 4 and 5-star hotels, boutique guesthouses, relaxing country homes and stunning heritage ‘Parador’ hotels so you can feel pampered.

Rabanal del Camino - Standard

Standard: For our Standard Accommodation, we have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Camino de Santiago for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the Camino de Santiago trail.

Ponferrada - Standard / Superior

Standard: For our Standard Accommodation, we have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Camino de Santiago for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the Camino de Santiago trail.
Superior Collection: Stay in the best hotels on the Camino de Santiago: we have selected luxurious 4 and 5-star hotels, boutique guesthouses, relaxing country homes and stunning heritage ‘Parador’ hotels so you can feel pampered.

León Average Temperature & Rainfall

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Ponferrada Average Temperature & Rainfall

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Flying IN and OUT

How to get to León:
Best Option: Madrid (Barajas) airport (330km)
Madrid international airport is connected with many cities in Europe. Almost all airlines have flights to Madrid. See www.skyscanner.com.
Other Option (a): Asturias airport (160km)
EasyJet has flights to Asturias from London (Stansted) and Lisbon. Paris (Orly) is served by Vueling Airlines. There are also national flights from Madrid or Barcelona. See www.skyscanner.com.
Other Option (b): León airport (8km)
León airport has domestic flights from Barcelona with Iberia. There are 3-4 flights/ week. See www.skyscanner.com.
How to get back from Ponferrada:
Best Option: Santiago de Compostela airport (190km)
Aer Lingus serves flights to Dublin; Ryanair to London (Stansted), Milan (Bergamo) and Frankfurt (Hahn), Vueling to London Gatwick, Paris (Charles de Gaulle), Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Munich, Dusseldorf, Rome and Zurich; Easyjet to Geneva, London (Gatwick), Rome and Basel; Swiss to Zurich; Turkish Airlines to Istambul. Santiago de Compostela Lavacolla airport also has many flights to Spanish cities; with many daily flights to Madrid and Barcelona. See www.skyscanner.com.
Other Option: Madrid (Barajas) airport (400km)
Madrid international airport is connected with many cities all over Europe and the world. Almost all airlines have flights from Madrid. See www.skyscanner.com.

Transfers to and from Airport

How to get to León:
From: Madrid (Barajas) airport (330km)
There is a direct bus from Madrid to León 3 times a day (4h-5h), see: www.movelia.es.
From: Asturias airport (160km)
There is no direct bus but you can take the bus to Oviedo and there take a bus to Asturias airport. There are several buses a day, taking approximately 3h in total. See www.movelia.es.
From: León airport (8km)
Unfortunately there is no public transport from León city to the airport. The best way to reach the airport is by taxi, and the cost from the city centre is approximately 13€.

 

How to get back from Ponferrada:
To: Santiago de Compostela airport (190km)
There is a direct bus (4 times/ day) and a direct train (2 times/ day) from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela (taking 3h-4h), see: www.movelia.es for bus schedule and www.renfe.com for train timetables.
From Santiago city to Santiago airport, there is a shuttle bus departing every 30min; bus stops are the bus station (Estación de Autobuses), train station (Estación de Ferrocarril) and city centre (Plaza de Galicia). See www.empresafreire.com.
To: Madrid (Barajas) airport (400km)
There is a direct bus connection from Ponferrada to Madrid airport twice a day (5h-6h) see: www.movelia.es.

Please select from our available tours below and proceed to booking. Contact the team if you have any special requests.


Select your trip

1. Tour options - Select your trip type

  • Selected accommodation, all rooms are en-suite. Price pp, half board.

    Single Room
    €623
    Double/Twin Room
    €497
  • This tour includes two extra walking days to split the longest walking sections. Price pp, half board.

    Single Room
    €892
    Double/Twin Room
    €715
  • Best accommodation available including the Parador. Price pp, half board.

    Single Room
    €999
    Double/Twin Room
    €775
  • Best accommodation available including the Parador. Price pp, half board.

    Single Room
    €1267
    Double/Twin Room
    €993

2. Select Date

3. No. of rooms

  • Single (1 bed)
  • Twin Rooms (2 beds)
  • Double (1 large bed for 2)

What's Included

  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel
  • Rooms en-suite
  • Half Board
  • Holiday pack: inc. notes & map(s) & pilgrim passport, what to bring, useful info

We also offer

  • Airport Transfers, Hotel Upgrades (where available)