Camino Francés from León to Santiago de Compostela
The Camino Francés from León to Santiago de Compostela is the second most popular route of the Camino, after the option that starts in Sarria. It is part of the route that begins in Roncesvalles. It is also the first point on the French way in Spain, where all pilgrims coming from Europe meet.
León, th starting point of the Camino Francés from León to Santiago
León is one of the great capitals of the Camino de Santiago. It retains a rich Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance heritage from its relevant historical role. The cathedral, also called “La Pulchra Leonina”, is one of the most impressive Gothic temples in Spain. In the Romanesque style, the Royal Collegiate Basilica of San Isidoro stands out and Gaudí’s Casa Botines is an inexcusable visit. The main building related to the Jacobean tradition is the Hostal de San Marcos, one of the earliest exponents of the Spanish Plateresque. It was a hospital, later a pilgrims’ home, and the main house of the Order of Santiago. Today it is a Parador de Turismo.
Route and difficulty
The Camino Francés from León to Santiago de Compostela begins in an area of Castilla y León that preserves the plain of the plateau. The first stages are on less difficult terrain. It gets a little more difficult as we approach Galicia when the roads begin. We will have to climb climbs such as Mount Irago, reach Ponferrada, where we can see the mythical Cruz de Ferro. Part of this section is the well-known climb to O Cebreiro. It is a strong ascent, but for many pilgrims the most beautiful stage on the French Way. Arrived in Galicia, we hike through lush forests to Compostela and pass places with an enormous Jacobean tradition such as Sarria, Portomarín, Melide, famous for its “pulperias”, or Arzúa with its delicious cheese.
The last climb we will face is Monte do Gozo, where, as the name suggests, we will have the first glimpses of the cathedral towers and will enjoy the satisfaction of approaching the end of our journey, the Feet of the Apostle Santiago.