The Camino de Invierno is the newest oldest road to Santiago de Compostela. The route has been in use since Roman times and many of their original pathways still exist. By pilgrimage standards however it is still struggling to receive official status by the Archdiocese of Santiago; though it is important to note that pilgrims choosing this option have had no difficulty in obtaining their Compostela certificate.
Its name is derived from, say historians, from its function as a wintertime alternative to climbing the pass over O’Cebreiro. It follows the Rio Sil and enjoys the warm microclimate that is created by these warm waters.
Starting in Ponferrada, the trail turns south before reaching the Templar Castle there and continues for some 275km to Santiago de Compostela. For the last 65km or so it is joined by the Camino Sanabres (or the Via de la Plata) from the South.
It is important to note that this route, by modern standards at least, is still in its infancy. Pilgrim centric accommodation is nearly non-existent and one is left to find a pillow in whatever accommodation presents itself. These are growing in number year by year, but ironically enough there is an insufficient amount that remain open in the Winter months, making the Winter Route more suitable to Summer walking.
If you are the kind to choose the path less taken, or have tired of the growing number of pilgrims along the Camino Francés, do yourself the favor of taking this detour. It is not unlikely that you will be the only pilgrim on the trail until you reach Lalín.
“There is a love of wild nature in everybody, an ancient mother-love showing itself whether recognized or no, and however covered by cares and duties.”
― John Muir
Complete & Searchable Accommodation (albergues and others) Directory
Albergues and Alternatives
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Heaps of Points of Interest
- Pleasant detours from the camino
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Includes one long continuously scrolling Elevation Profile
indicating distances between cities with food and accommodation