My 2017 Stages of the Camino

The most linked page on this subsite insists, that your camino is yours. This applies here as well. The, in my opinion, greatest damage done to the enjoyment of the Camino are stage-based guidebooks, which will not only cause massive bottlenecks of pilgrims expecting to follow a prescribed path, they rarely leave room for spontaneous decisions to stop for the day or keep on walking.

These are the stages of my Camino 2017. I walked differently in the years before and after, and this one was a decidedly slow one, taking 44 days for everything. But, as it was the one I documented the best and the one I enjoyed the most, here they are. Not as a prescription but as a conversation.

France

Stage (ends in)KilometerNotes
Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port0Here is where everything will (likely) start. First thing after you arrive is to head to the pilgrim office and get your Credential and a well-meant lecture on being careful on the next day’s hike up the hill.

Navarra

Stage (ends in)KilometerNotes
Roncesvalles24possibility to stop at Albergue Orisson.
Zubiri27steeply downhill
Pamplona20boring suburbia for half of the stage, passing through a magnetite operation, be cautious of trucks.
Puenta la Reina23up to Alto de Perdon (easy), then steeply downhill (be careful)
Estella22beautiful stage with much history and many chances to stop, have coffee, and relax
Los Arcos25stop at Irache for the Wine Fountain
Logroño29suburbia ahead, otherwise a nice walk. Just before Logroño you’ll meet Mari, who offers fruits and love and a stamp. Do not miss her, she is a legend as her mother was.

La Rioja

Stage (ends in)KilometerNotes
Nájera29long but easy stage.
Santo Domingo de la Calzada20super easy stage, short and refreshing. In SDdlC do not miss the church with its depiction of a miracle and the live cock in a cage.
Belorado33I hope you recovered well during yesterday’s stage, because today it’s a long one.
Agés30Another long, but rather easy, leg. Your destination is the amazing small town of Agés.

Castile-León

Stage (ends in)KilometerNotes
Burgos23Short stage that leads past the “Cradle of Mankind” archeological digs in Atapuerca. After that, sadly, the worst suburbian hell you’ll encounter in your travels. In Burgos consider visiting the Museum of Mankind, which is amazing.
Hornillos de Camino25You are now entering the Meseta, and just to prepare you, this stage has no shade so bring lots of water.
Castrojeriz20A very calm and fun stage that ends in a nice town with many bars and restaurants and great albergues.
Frómista20The morning begins with a steep incline. Start very early, so you can see the amazing sunrise from the top, it is more than worth it. After that, it’s one of the easiest stages of the Camino.
Carrión de los Condes20On this stage you absolutely must stop in Villarmentero de Campos and find the bar-restaurant next to the church in the town center. This place can not be missed, it has a life-sized metal pilgrim outside. Try to coffee-liqueur that is only served here, and the garlic soup, it’s a pilgrim tradition.
Terradillos de los Templarios27A medium length, relaxing, stage.
El Burgo Ranero30This is a long stage, complicated by the fact that you’ll be passing the mid point of the Camino and Sahagún, where you can, if you’re lucky and it’s open, get a half-way Compostella at the Iglesia de la peregrina de Sahagún.
Mansilla de las Mulas20The first part of a two-day “booooring” streak. Some pilgrims will try to finish this quickly and do both stages together, which is an (43km) option.
León23A trek through suburbia leading into the massive city, which is so not what you’ve been used to.
San Martín del Camino27Sigh, more suburbian hell. After that, just … nothingness. And little shade.
Astorga26Astorga is a great little town and much cooler than Leon. Visit the Gaudi palace, eat some ice cream, you deserve both.
Foncebadón26Don’t forget to stop at the Cowboy Bar on your way, it’s tradition. Your trek ends in Foncebadón, go to bed early, tomorrow is a very early rise.
Ponferrada29Get up well before sunrise and walk to the Cruz de Ferro. From here await the new day, then continue on, steeply downhill, to Ponferrada.
Villafranca del Bierzo20Under and over highways, this one does not start well.
Las Herreiras20Last stop before O Cebreiro and arguably the hardest leg of your journey. You can make it more unforgettable and easier if you speak to Victor and ride one of his very capable horses up the mountain. In any case, I’d speak to him to have your luggage sent to the next stop.
Fonfria26After O Cebreiro and a stop there to visit Don Elias’ grave and have some food and drinks, you’ll have to climb the Alto de Poio as well, before the way becomes flat and leads you to Fonfria.

Galicia

Stage (ends in)KilometerNotes
Triacastela15Yes, a very short stage, but we’re slowly entering the “Last 100,” which means we’ll now be part of a massive influx of pilgrims. From today we start very early to still get good beds in albergues, and after yesterday you have earned a restful day.
Sarria18Almost all the “Last 100” pilgrims start from here. Come early so you can get a good bed.
Portomarin22It is tradition to run up the stairs that lead into Portomarin. Also this is the stage you’ll find the 100km marker, don’t forget to Selfie.
Palas del Rei26Did the extra pilgrims already make you uncomfortable? Well, the good news is, that albergues here are plentiful and nice.
Arzúa30Despite the 30km, this is an easy leg. Maybe you’ll get a little nostalgic, now that you’re almost done?
Lavacolla20Your last night before the Monte do Gozo, massive iron pilgrim statues, and finally Santiago.
Santiago de Compostela15It is customary to run up the Monte do Gozo and scream for joy. Absent that, you can also have coffee up on the Monte, see the pilgrim statues, and then walk down into Santiago. You have

Onward to the Sea

Stage (ends in)KilometerNotes
Negreira22Beautiful town that slowly gets your mind ready for the ocean and the 0,0km marker.
As Maroñas22The walk is nice and easy, the albergue comfortable.
Santa Mariña23The albergue here is something else and you should not miss it. The walk is a bit boring, especially if you’re doing it alone.
Cee30This is it. Your walk to the Ocean.
Finisterre (Fisterra)12Join a bonfire at night, walk to the 0,0km marker at the light house. You are (almost) done.
Muxia30A day of walking along the coast to Muxia. Here the dark rocks and the angry sea invite you to reflect, cry, laugh, think back, plan ahead, and end your Camino. There are busses to Santiago de Compostela for tomorrow morning.