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You are now very close to Galicia. Today you will be leaving the arid and monotonous plains and welcoming vineyards and also abundant vegetation. You will go through villages deeply linked with St. James at the end of today’s stage you will get to Villafranca del Bierzo.
Leaving Ponferrada won’t be as easy as getting there. You will have to border the Castillo de los Templarios castle through the Calle Gil y Carrasco street, where cyclists and walkers take different ways for a while. Walking pilgrims will go through the left and cyclists will go through the right to get to the Plaza de la Virgen de la Encina square. Then you will turn lefts and go through the Calle Rañadero street, next to the Sil river. You will cross this river after going through the Avenida de la Puebla avenue. On the other side, you will turn right through the Calle Río Urdiales street to the Avenida de las Huertas del Sacramento Avenue and a little bit after through the Calle de la Libertad street. You will get to a neighborhood called Compostilla that is deeply linked with St. James
We will leave this neighborhood behind, which was practically made for the old thermal power station workers, after passing by a football pitch. After taking a paved road and crossing the N-VI through a tunnel, we will reach San Esteban de Columbranos church.
Then we will arrive at the center of this village that belongs to Ponferrada. Before leaving it and find again vegetation, we will pass by San Blas and San Roque shrine, following a path between fields to reach Fuentes Nuevas, another small village where we can also find establishments and rest for a little.
Just a kilometer and a half away we will find again another small village who was divided in the past into two: Campo and Nayara. Here we can taste any of the original products of El Bierzo’s region, such as wine or peppers. We say goodbye to Camponaraya crossing the A-6 motorway and pointing to Cacabelos.
After crossing Cúa river, we find Quinta Angustia Sanctuary, close to the pilgrims hostel of this small town. After descending from Camponayara, we will now ascend walking parallel to the national road to Pieros, where we will have two alternatives to reach our goal today. When approaching a crossway, on Pieros top, a yellow arrow will show us a diversion to the right that will lead us to Valtuille de Arriba, among easy paths surrounded by vineyards that will add a few more meters to the original way. Instead, if we move forward, a few meters after we will have to take the diversion to the right through a path that will take us to Villafranca del Bierzo.
After passing a famous sculpture study, we can visit Santiago’s church, which is popular for its Puerta del Perdón (Forgiveness Gate). This gate is only open during Saint James Holy Years, as the Cathedral of Santiago, offering the “jubileo” to those who cannot reach Santiago de Compostela for health reasons.
What to see
Many monuments or places of interest are a few kilometers away of the main towns of the French Way, so we will need to take diversions if we want to visit them. For instance, if you want to see the biggest open gold mine of the Old Roman Empire in Las Médulas, get in touch with Pilgrim so we can organize your visit or schedule your trip to Villafranca. We walk by your side! If you have any doubts about this stage or about other stages, please contact us, we will help you. Have a nice Way, Pilgrim!
What to eat
- Typical cold meat
- Empanada (a kind of pie)
- Typical peppers
- Cocido Maragato stew
Bear in mind
Cyclists won’t find too many difficulties except to leave Ponferrada that will be a little bit dangerous. We recommend you to wear a reflective vest and always being careful with the traffic and also cross always through the pedestrian crossing. We recommend you to be equipped with a reflective vest and to respect traffic rules.
The way that goes from Camponaraya to Villafranca is impossible for people with reduced mobility, so they should go through the national road N-VI. As in other occasions, you must follow N-VI road.What to see
|Towns||Public Hostel||Bike rental||Medical assistance||Coffee bar||Teller||Pharmacy||Hotel||Touristic Information||Guesthouse||Restaurant||Supermarket||Veterinarian|
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