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French Way – Ponferrada to Sarria 7/8

Walking Section 7 of 8

  • camino-stats-caminoways-cebreiro
  • French Way - Walk & Coach - Ponferrada - Caminoways.com
  • frenchway-caminoways-Villafranca-Bierzo
  • Herrerías-French-Way-Camino-Ways
  • frenchway-caminoways-san-roque
  • frenchway-caminoways-samos-monastery
  • frenchway-caminoways-sarria

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Section 7 of the French Way, the famous Camino Francés, starts in the city of Ponferrada, with its imposing medieval Templars Castle, and takes pilgrims to the market town of Sarria, in Galicia, the most popular Camino starting point.

You will begin your Camino journey in the city of Ponferrada, where the Templars settled in the 12th century to protect pilgrims on their way to Santiago. From here you will be heading to Villafranca del Bierzo, a gorgeous mountain town surrounded by idyllic countryside. After Villafranca, a challenging ascent takes pilgrims to the mountains of O Cebreiro and into Galicia. O Cebreiro is a quaint mountain village of centuries-old thatched cottages in a region of outstanding natural beauty. After O Cebreiro, the Camino continues across rural Galicia along forest tracks towards Sarria, just over 100km away from Santiago. An alternative route will take you by the impressive Samos Monastery.

VIEW OUR TOUR OPTIONS

  • Standard:

    • 6 days/ 5 Nights. Stay in our hand-picked accommodation.
    • Split – 7 days/ 6 Nights. This tour includes an extra walking day to make your ascent to O Cebreiro easier: you will walk 21km to the village of Herrerías on your second day, stay there and walk the remaining 9km to O Cebreiro the following day.
  • Superior:

    • Superior Collection: Best accommodation available including the Parador.
    • Country Cottages: Boutique properties in rural settings. Pick up included

Trip highlights

  • Feel like a Templar in Ponferrada's Castle
  • Savour 'botillo' and other local flavours from El Bierzo
  • Enjoy the stunning mountain views of O Cebreiro
  • Spot the first 'hórreos' granaries as you enter rural Galicia

1 Ponferrada

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

Your starting point for this section of the Camino is the pretty city of Ponferrada with its impressive Templars Castle. Take time to explore the old town, discover the history of this city built as a stop for pilgrims to Santiago and taste local delicacies such as cured meat, botillo and cheeses before you start your journey.

2 Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo - 23km

frenchway-caminoways-Villafranca-Bierzo

6h | +230 m / -211 m
Today, the Camino takes you across the heart of the lush region of El Bierzo, nestled in the mountains. Take the opportunity to taste the local delicious cherries if you are travelling in Summer, exquisite cured meats and other regional delicacies. In Villafranca, known as ‘little Compostela’, visit the garden of the Iglesia de Santiago, St James Church. The church has a ‘Forgiveness Gate’, Puerta del Perdón, that only opens during Holy Years.

3 Villafranca del Bierzo to O Cebreiro - 29km

French-Way-o-cebreiro-caminoways.com

7h | +1161 m / -526 m
Today you should be prepared for a challenging day, one of the hardest on the Camino Frances: with an ascent of 1000m, you will pass the valley of the Valcarce River before climbing to the picturesque village of O Cebreiro. Located between the ranges of ‘Os Ancares’ and ‘Serra do Courel’, this stage holds a steep climb in only a few kilometres but the views are spectacular.

Easy Walking Option Stay in Herrerías - 21km & 9km

Herrerías-French-Way-Camino-Ways

3h30 | +580 m / -263 m
Split your long walking day above, from Villafranca del Bierzo to O Cebreiro, into two easier stages of 21km & 9km. You will stay in the small hamlet of Herrerías, in a traditional farmhouse with views of the mountains. Let the CaminoWays.com team know.

4 O Cebreiro to Triacastela - 21km

frenchway-caminoways-san-roque

5h30 | +1204 m / -1574 m
From the village of O Cebreiro you will walk the ‘Serra de Ranadoiro’ (Ranadoiro Mountains) and reach Alto do Poio where you will encounter the pilgrim statue and enjoy fantastic panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. From the Alto you will start descending into the village of Triacastela.

5 Triacastela to Sarria - 19km

frenchway-caminoways-samos-monastery

5h30 | +454m / -648m
Of the two Camino options, the ‘San Xil’ Camino offers scenery that will lift your spirits. It has many ‘corredoiras’ (narrow forest tracks) with paved pathways through native Galician oak woods. If you wish to visit the impressive Samos Monastery, you will walk across the valley of the river Ouribio, predominantly following the road.

6 Sarria

frenchway-caminoways-sarria

Explore Sarria’s town centre where you will find churches, chapels, monasteries and seven former pilgrim hospitals. The main street, rúa Maior, has a quaint atmosphere and here you can relax in nice little cafes. Visit the Igrexa de Santa Mariña with its evocative pilgrim mural, the Fortaleza de Sarria castle/fortress and the Magdalena Monastery. Sarria is the most popular Camino starting point, as it is 100kms away from Santiago.

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

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.

Villafranca del Bierzo - 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.

O Cebreiro - 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.

Triacastela - 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.

Sarria - Standard / Country Cottage

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.
Country Cottage: ‘Casas Rurales’ are beautifully restored country homes and farmhouses in the heart of peaceful rural communities. Our Country Cottages are renowned for their exceptional food, unique settings and personal touch.

Ponferrada Average Temperature & Rainfall

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Sarria Average Temperature & Rainfall

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Flying IN and OUT

How to get to Ponferrada:
Best Option: Santiago de Compostela airport (190km)
Aer Lingus serves flights from Dublin; Ryanair from London (Stansted), Milan (Bergamo) and Frankfurt (Hahn); Vueling from London Gatwick, Paris (Charles de Gaulle), Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Munich, Dusseldorf, Rome and Zurich; Easyjet from Geneva, London (Gatwick), Rome and Basel; Swiss from Zurich; Turkish Airlines from Istambul. Santiago de Compostela Lavacolla airport also has many flights from 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 to Madrid. See www.skyscanner.com.
How to get back from Sarria:
Best Option: Santiago de Compostela airport
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.
Alternative Option: Vigo Airport (185km)
Direct flights from Dublin, Edinburgh (Ryanair), London-Luton (Air Nostrum), Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, Lisbon, Rome and Paris. See: www.skyscanner.com.
Alternative Option: A Coruña Airport (120km)
Direct flights from London, Madrid and Barcelona. See: www.skyscanner.com.

Transfers TO and FROM Airport

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

How to get back from Sarria:
Best Option: Santiago de Compostela airport (110km)
The best option by public transport is taking two buses: first, you can take a local bus from Sarria bus station to Lugo bus station (30 min). From Lugo city you can take a bus to Santiago airport (1h50). See: www.empresafreire.com. Total cost for journey roughly €10pp.
Alternatively, you can book a taxi transfer from Sarria to Santiago airport approx €120. A taxi from Sarria to Lugo city costs approx €20.
There is a direct bus between Sarria and Santiago de Compostela bus station but only once a day (except on Sunday), approx. 2h30 travel time. See www.monbus.es.
For other connections, it is necessary to change in Lugo city: There is a train connection between Sarria and Lugo (4 times/ day, 30min). See www.renfe.com for train routes and www.movelia.es for buses.
To the airport: There is a shuttle bus from Santiago city to the airport, departing every 30min. Bus stops are: bus station (Estación de Autobuses), train station (Estación de Ferrocarril) and city centre (Plaza de Galicia). See: www.empresafreire.com.

To: Vigo Airport (185km)
You will have to travel to Santiago de Compostela by bus (follow instructions to get to Santiago above). From Santiago you can take a bus (1h) www.movelia.es or train www.renfe.es to Vigo. Buses to the airport depart from Travesia de Vigo.

To: A Coruña Airport (120km)
There is a direct train from Sarria to A Coruña four times a day (2h-2h30). See www.renfe.com. In A Coruña, there is a bus from the train station (Line 443 stop: Avenida A. Molina) to the airport departing every 30 min, see www.autoscalpita.es.

Let the team know if you’d like to arrange a taxi transfer.

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
    €610
    Double/Twin Room
    €487
  • This tour includes an extra walking day to split the ascent to O Cebreiro. Price pp, half board.

    Single Room
    €742
    Double/Twin Room
    €594
  • Best accommodation available, including the Parador. Price pp, half board.

    Single Room
    €858
    Double/Twin Room
    €670
  • Best accommodation available, including the Parador. Price pp, half board.

    Single Room
    €989
    Double/Twin Room
    €777
  • Boutique properties in rural settings. Pick up included. Price pp, half board.

    Single Room
    €685
    Double/Twin Room
    €537

2. Select Date

3. No. of rooms

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

What's Included

  • Luggage transfered 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), Bike Rental