Camino de Invierno
The Winter Way is the short path followed by pilgrims during the winter months to reach Santiago de Compostela from Ponferrada and avoid the snow, mud and rain weather. Total distance: 263km
The Winter Way is the short path followed by pilgrims during the winter months to reach Santiago de Compostela from Ponferrada and avoid the snow, mud and rain weather.
Total distance: 263km
- Summer – very warm (between 25° to 30° June-Aug)
- Fall – warm (between 16° to 22° Sep-Nov)
- Winter – cool (from 5° to 13°)
- Spring – warm (average 15° to 19° March-May)
Suitable for cyclists: Not recommendable, temperatures can get too low during winter.
History of the Camino de Invierno
Pilgrims who wanted to complete the Camino during winter used to reach Ponferrada and encounter typical winter sceneries, such as snow-covered mountains and paths full of water and mud. The cold and constant rainy weather, made it very hard to continue the way. These were the reasons why pilgrims wanted to find an alternative way to enter in Galicia. The Winter route is less risk and easier way to complete the way to Santiago.
About the Winter route
The chosen option was to go a little bit to the Southwest after leaving Ponferrada and its majestic Templar castle. The pilgrimage route enters in Galicia through Valdeorras, following an old Roman way. It is not as famous as other routes, although is full of must-see places full of Spanish heritage treasures. Since the Camino has been gaining worldwide followers, the Winter route has now lost its seasonal nature of its name to become a route used during all seasons.
This way is perfect for those who want to escape from the world. It links El Bierzo and Santiago de Compostela through the Sil river’s valley. It is not as famous as the other routes but there are lots of documents found in Astorga’s bishop. These documents show its historical roots and also tell us about the experiences of many medieval pilgrims that reached Ponferrada through the French Way before finding an alternative to the bad weather. It is the sole way that goes through the 4 Galician provinces. It Starts in Ponferrada and goes to Las Médulas, which was declared a World Heritage Site. The Winter Way enters in Galicia through Valdeorras, famous because of its slate and good wine. Then, we cross Lugo through Ribeira Sacra and also through Monforte de Lemos. Then we arrive at Pontevedra, where we go through Lalín as the pilgrims of Vía de la Plata and then go together to Santiago de Compostela.
Why choosing the Winter Way
Although being the chosen way for winter pilgrims, we recommend you to follow this route during spring, as it´s the best moment to appreciate the different sceneries and avoid the overcrowded French Way in Summer. Wine is also a good incentive to make this path, with landscapes full of vineyards where you can recover from long hours of walk with a unique wine tasting. We left behind beautiful places such as the Monasterio de San Vicente, the Roman bridge of Éntoma and Las Médulas (an old mining site). A must see are the Cañones del Sil, the hidden gem of this trip.
Stages of the Camino de Invierno
The old Roman mine is now a natural spectacle of great beauty.
Sierra de Courel
A natural monument where you can enjoy the beauty of the landscape and the important ecological value of the Galician mountains.
Monastery of San Vicente de Pino
Dominating the village of Monforte from the top of the hill of San Vicente do Pino, this Benedictine monastery is linked to the city’s history.
Nosa Señora da Antiga
Monumental neoclassical building of Monforte that houses a spectacular art gallery of sacred art.
9 Stages: 263 km