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Camino Primitivo

Primitive Way | Camino de Santiago

The Original way ,Primitive way or Camino Primitivo is the oldest route of the Camino de Santiago, from Oviedo (North Spain) to Santiago de Compostela.

  • Short route to rejoin the Camino Frances after visit the Holy Chamber in Oviedo Cathedral.
  • One of the most challenging ways, crossing high and low regions where the weather can go from hot and dry to cold and misty.
  • Since it is harder than the others, this way has less pilgrims.
  • Breathtaking views from the difference in altitude and weather along the way.
  • Main cities & towns - Spain: Oviedo, Grandas de Salime, A Fonsagrada, Lugo, Melide, Santiago de Compostela

Total distance: 313km


  • Summer – very warm (between 23° to 27° June-Aug)
  • Fall – warm and rainy (between 20° to 25° Sep-Nov)
  • Winter – cool (average 14°)
  • Spring – rainy (average 17° to 20° March-May)

Suitable for cyclists: The Camino primitivo is not suitable for cycling the whole route, there are constant ups and down hills.

History of the Camino Primitivo

In 813, just after finding St James grave, Alfonso II King of Gallaecia walked to Galicia starting his way in Asturias. He went through some Asturian villages before getting to Lugo, then he continued to Santiago. When arriving in Santiago, he ordered to build a church to house St James´ mortal remains, known today as the famous Santiago´s Cathedral or Catedral de Santiago. Alfonso´s steps were followed by many people. The Primitive Way is the first pilgrimage route.

About the Primitive route

It is one of the hardest Caminos as the path goes through hardly populated mountain passes and rainy stretches that make barely touched green landscapes. The main issue with his way is the small amount of pilgrim hostels (albergues). Although there is a great amount of private accommodation, it doesn’t have too many specialized services.

The Camino primitivo starts in Oviedo and crosses Western Asturias to get to Galicia through Lugo. From Melide it follows the same route as the French Way. The Way goes through mountainous areas hardly populated, beautiful landscapes and paths. We have to highlight Oviedo, Lugo and also Santiago de Compostela. It is a hard Way because of a number of rises that it has such as the Palo mountain pass (before Grandas and Salime). Some stretches are complicated when it rains. Asturias is better indicated than Galicia but it is easy to walk through the Way.

The Primitive Way is 321 kilometers long (199.5 miles), 170 kilometers (105.6 miles) go through Galicia after entering in Lugo through A Fonsagrada. Normally, there are 13 or 14 stages that have between 20 and 30 kilometers (12.5 and 18.6 miles) each one. The biggest problem with this route is that offers a small amount of public accommodation.

Why choosing the Primitive or Original Pilgrim Way

The Primitive Way is great to discover the Camino´s true roots. If you enjoy peaceful walks surrounded by green mountains, and you don´t mind getting a bit wet, this way is for you. It is a hard route, but it is really lovely. It goes through two of the most striking autonomous communities in Spain. This region is famous because it rains a lot but it doesn’t matter when you are enjoying of one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, following the steps of King Alfonso II the Chaste.

Stages of the Camino Primitivo

Stage 1
Oviedo - San Juan de Villapañada27
Stage 2
San Juan de Villapañada - Salas18,2
Stage 3
Salas - Tineo19,8
Stage 4
Tineo - Pola de Allande26,4
Stage 5
Pola de Allande - La Mesa21,6
Stage 6
La Mesa - Grandas de Salime15,2
Stage 7
Grandas de Salime - A Fonsagrada27,6
Stage 8
A Fonsagrada - O Cádavo25,4
Stage 9
O Cádavo - Lugo31
Stage 10
Lugo - San Romao19,6
Stage 11
San Romao - Melide28,3
Stage 12
Melide - Arzúa14
Stage 13
Arzúa - Pedrouzo19,3
Stage 14
Pedrouzo - Santiago de Compostela19,4
Show More

San Miguel de Lillo

Visigothic temple of century IX, is one of the most outstanding exemplars of pre-Romanesque Asturian.

Monastery of Santa María de la Real

Cistercian monastery whose Romanesque church has its origins in the 13th century.

Doriga´s Palace

Palace built in the town of Salas between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, with an impressive defensive tower.

Lugo Cathedral

It begins to build in the year 1129 but is reformed successively, showing a great variety of architectural styles.

Walking: 11 Stages / 313 km

Stage 1

Etapa 1 Camino Primitivo
  • Length: 27.0 km (16,7 miles)
  • Hardness: 

Stage 2

Etapa 2 Camino Primitivo
  • Length: 18.2 km (11,3 miles)
  • Hardness: 

Stage 3

Etapa 3 Camino Primitivo
  • Length: 19.8 km (12,3 miles)
  • Hardness: 

Stage 4

Etapa 4 Camino Primitivo
  • Length: 26.4 km (16,4 miles)
  • Hardness: 

Stage 5

Etapa 5 Camino Primitivo
  • Length: 21.6 km (13,4 miles)
  • Hardness: 

Stage 6

Etapa 6 Camino Primitivo
  • Length: 15.2 km (9,45 miles)
  • Hardness: 

Stage 7

Etapa 7 Camino Primitivo
  • Length: 27,6 km (17,15 miles)
  • Hardness: 

Stage 8

Etapa 8 Camino Primitivo
  • Length: 25.4 km (15,8 miles)
  • Hardness: 

Stage 9

Etapa 9 Camino Primitivo
  • Length: 31.0 km (19,3 miles)
  • Hardness: 

Stage 10

Etapa 10 Camino Primitivo
  • Length: 19.6 km (12,20 miles)
  • Hardness: 

Stage 11

Etapa 11 Camino Primitivo
  • Length: 28.3 km (17,6 miles)
  • Hardness: 


Stage 31

Etapa 12 Camino Primitivo
  • Length: 14.0 km (8,7 miles)
  • Hardness: 

Stage 32

Etapa 32 Camino Francés
  • Length: 19.3 km (12 miles)
  • Hardness: 

Stage 33

Etapa 33 Camino Francés
  • Length: 19.4 km (12 miles)
  • Hardness: 

Cycling: 7 Stages / 322 km

Stage 1Oviedo - Salas50
Stage 2Salas - Pola de Allande48
Stage 3Pola de Allande - Grandas de Salime37
Stage 4Grandas de Salime - O Cádavo53
Stage 5O Cádavo - San Romao da Retorta51
Stage 6San Romao da Retorta - Arzúa44
Stage 7Arzúa - Santiago de Compostela39

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