Camino Primitivo de Santiago (Stage 2) – 5 nights
In the steps of King Alfonso the ChasteBack to Routes
The old road
Grazing in the meadow
Approaching Melide the landscape softens
On the way to Campiello
The bridge at Arzua
Camino waymark at San Jorge
A cross marking 'The Way'
A local grain store - an 'horreo'
I loved engaging with other pilgrims!!! Walking the Camino was such a special communal experience. I found "my people" on the first day - three Italians and three Germans. We set up a WhatsApp group chat and spent every evening together. They talked me into getting up early to catch the sunrise on the Hospitales route. After that I decided to walk every ding dang mile between Salas and Lugo. It was, at times, very demanding, but I am so happy and proud that I walked the entire stretch.
Jeanette Venderly, Fort Wayne, USA - September 2023
The holiday package was perfect and we had the experience of a lifetime. There's really nothing that I can identify that needs to be improved upon.
Trevor Richards, Swanley, UK, July 2023
We used WhatsApp to communicate with Aznar. He was AWESOME. He checked in with us almost daily and helped with a few problems we had along the way. Aznar was an inspirational help and encourager.
Deb O'Connell, Washington, USA - September 2022
Scenery and landscape, walking along ancient green lanes and paths with many wild flowers and mixed woodland.
We appreciated all the accommodation and realise the challenges of booking and organising this. Having our suitcases miraculously appear in each hotel and everything going according to plan. Accurate route notes and maps were appreciated and helped us make decisions about taxis and start times etc.
Keith Harker, Marlow, UK - June 2022
Thanks for the solid support. Everything was professional, and set a high bar for further walks we hope to do around Europe.
John and Joan Dean, Rocklin, USA - May 2019
A group of eight mature ladies walked 142 km to Santiago over six days. We stayed in a variety of local hotels or farmhouses, all with en-suite rooms, within a short distance from the well-marked Camino to Santiago route.
The additional information and local maps provided were clear and well used. Our hosts were all obliging, friendly and offered us different menus for breakfast and dinner. One was helpful and mended a walking pole for us too.
Anon - July 2018
Loved walking the Camino.
Surprisingly liked the insight into pilgrimage we gained at Casa Herminia - we also met people that night who we sometimes walked with on subsequent days, which was great.
Steven and Denise Watson, Chichester - September 2017
I'm still on cloud nine over this holiday.
We loved every bit of it, even the two 33-34 km days which were painful at the time, but the two casas at the end of them made us forget quickly! You've got the range and type of accommodation spot on. The luggage transfer worked well. All arrangements went according to plan.
Lisa Weatherall, Chesterfield - September 2017
At a glance
5 nights (4 walking days - from Lugo to Santiago). For extra nights we recommend Oviedo and Lugo, or maybe starting a stage earlier in Castroverde (comfortable accommodation - supplement). See 'Prices' tab for what's included.
Suggested route pairing: Galicia - Lighthouse Way
How much walking?
Full days: 20-34 km per day, 4-8 hrs walking
Using shortening options: 15-27km per day, or less with local taxi use.
In the steps of King Alfonso the Chaste (760-842 AD)
5-night version (Stage 2 of Camino – Lugo to Santiago).
For general introduction see 14 night version.
The grading of this walk (medium-hard) is more an attestation to the length of the days rather than ups-and-downs; the underfoot conditions are good in the main (prepared path for the final two days) and navigation via the famous scallop shells is easy. You can always shorten days by calling local taxis.
If however you wish to obtain a “Compostela” on completion you need to comply with various conditions, notably that the final 100km must be completed on foot, and that you are walking with a “religious or spiritual purpose”. Walkers who start in Lugo will complete 104km and are therefore eligible for a “Compostela” but don’t forget to pick up the initial stamp in Lugo.
Walked by On Foot staff: Simon, Mary and Debbie
Consider pairing this route with Galicia – Lighthouse Way (included taxi from Santiago to start, easiest if ending in Santiago), or Ribeira Sacra (40 mins by train to Ourense, plus taxi) – for more details click here.
REVIEWS: For independent walker reviews submitted to the Association of Independent Tour Operators visit Aito.com.
TRAVEL ADVICE: To find the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office for UK citizens travelling to Spain, click here. Citizens of other nations will also find it useful, but should always check their appropriate local agency.
- Roman Lugo, its walls, little streets and cathedral
- The Galician countryside
- Santiago – not only the cathedral and the pilgrim atmosphere but the beautiful old town too
This route features the following characteristics and interests: Pilgrimage, Villages and farms, History
Things you should know
- Days can be long, though not unduly arduous. Lifts are sometimes possible.
- As a pilgrim route, it’s about the destination, though the Primitivo is prettier than other versions.
- It can get quite crowded on the last few days as the Caminos converge.
- Accommodation is simple but always with your own facilities (unless we tell you otherwise).
- Don’t expect gourmet meals, and those requiring vegan/coeliac food will find the meals basic.
Attaining the Compostela. Extra nights in Lugo and Santiago. Specially good accommodation in Castroverde may mean starting one stop earlier and converting it into a six-night holiday, while the lovely pension at As Seixas may also make an extra night there worth considering.
Connoisseurs of On Foot Holidays should know that this walk is atypical in several ways. Firstly, by following an established route we have little control of scenery and accommodation, though in the former case you will enjoy the grandeur of the Asturian Hills and prettiness of the Galician countryside. However the choice of accommodation in some villages is very restricted, but where we can offer an upgrade (often involving a short transfer) we do.
Secondly, the route finding offers no challenges so our route notes are short (mercifully, some might say) and concentrate on the things to see about you. There are unfortunately some sections on asphalt, a few busier than one would wish; console yourself with the knowledge that the Camino Primitivo has the smallest percentage of asphalt of all the Ways.
Thirdly you will not be alone. While the Asturian section is not overly-used, after Melide (two-and-a-half days out from Santiago) the route merges with the Camino Frances and you will be with many others. Here is your opportunity to find out about what makes the other pilgrims do the Way (there are many different reasons); solitude is not an option.
How much Walking?
Using shortening options: 15-27km per day, or less with local taxi use.
Long days, but on well-marked paths and excellent signage. Highest point on route: 750m. No vertigo issues.
Medium: Average cumulative uphill stretches (CUSs) 400m (350m-450m) per day (medium hard if full day from Lugo to As Seixas walked)
Shortening options always available with local taxis (travelling with luggage not an option as these transfers are by carrier).
GPX file available for handheld GPS or smartphone App for complete route.
Important note: Times given for each day are walking times for an “average” walker and exclude stops. “CUSs” stands for “Cumulative Uphill Stretches” and measures the aggregated ascents in each day, expressed in metres of climb. See “Walk Grading” for more information.
When to go?
Best months to walk: May, June, September, October
Other possible months: April, July, August, November
The shorter option from Lugo to Santiago can be done into the middle of November; the weather in the Asturian Hills limits the walking season for the rest of the walk as shown below. We recommend May-June for flowers and October for autumn colour and pleasant walking conditions. July and August should be avoided as it can be very hot and the crowd of boisterous pilgrims may overwhelm. Try to be in Santiago on a Friday evening to enjoy the pilgrims’ service in the cathedral, and when the Botafumeiro might be in full swing. Use the calendar below to see in more detail the best times to walk.
Temperature and rainfall chart for Lugo
Day 1 - Arrive in Lugo
Arrive and settle into your hotel, have a look around this lovely Roman-walled town and choose one of many possible restaurants for dinner.
Day 2 - Lugo to As Seixas
This long day will be attempted in full only by those anxious to gain the Compostela, as the first half is almost entirely along unremitting asphalt, and occasionally busy too. For ordinary mortals a taxi to San Roman (pay locally) is best, from where the walking becomes more varied and there is still a good 16 km to go. (San Roman to As Seixas – Medium: 4 hrs walking (allow 5¼ hrs), 16 km (10 miles), CUSs 450m. Complete walk – Hard: 8 hrs walking (allow 10¾ hrs), 34 km (21¼ miles), CUSs 800m.)
Day 3 - As Seixas to Arzua
Gentle walking, for the first half to Melide on quiet asphalt, thereafter on well-prepared track. Although the day is long, the walking is very easy and the kilometres take care of themselves. At Melide (approximately half way) the popular Camino Frances joins, so be prepared for your peace to be broken, but also enjoy the opportunity to swap valiant pilgrims’ tales at the many bars along the way from now on. (Medium-hard: 6 hrs walking (allow 8 hrs), 27 km (17 miles), CUSs 500m OR with local taxi to Melide start easy-medium: 3½ hrs walking (allow 4¾ hrs), 13 km (8 miles), CUSs 400m)
Day 4 - Arzua to A Rua or Pedrouzo
The penultimate day and an easy one at that so take your time to savour the walk and to stop at the many bars you will pass by today. The route manages to avoid a great deal of the main road but inevitably meets it from time to time, though never for very long. (Medium: 5¼ hrs walking (allow 7 hrs), 26½ km (16½ miles), CUSs 450m, maximum – less if starting from Arzua and/or ending in A Rua)
Day 5 - Journey's end - A Rua or Pedrouzo to Santiago de Compostela
So… take time to consider what brought you here today as you follow in the footsteps of countless pilgrims. The modern outskirts of Santiago de Compostela (and its noisy airport) arrive fairly swiftly, and the road then leads you into its medieval heart and, of course, your goal, the cathedral of St James. (Medium: 4½ hrs walking (allow 6 hrs), 20 km (12½ miles), CUSs 250m)
An extra night in this extraordinary pilgrim destination seems a must. Despite its fame the town is extraordinarily pretty and there is a wealth of fine buildings, many visitable. Take time also to wander the old streets and do some shopping!
The end must come, and it is time to say goodbye to your fellow pilgrims.
ARRIVING BY TRAIN OR BUS
Nearest railway stations:
Start: Oviedo (for Oviedo or Salas), OR fast train to Leon (2 hrs) then regular bus (1.5 hrs) to Oviedo; Lugo (for Lugo/Castroverde)
Finish: Lugo (for Lugo end), Santiago de Compostela
Madrid to Oviedo – 4½ hrs (nb only two a day at the time of writing)
Madrid to Leon – 2 hrs then bus as above to Oviedo
Lugo to Madrid – 4½ hrs
Santiago to Madrid – 3½ hrs
Santiago to A Coruña – 1 hr
Santander to Oviedo – 2½ hrs (bus)
ARRIVING AND DEPARTING BY AIR
If starting in Oviedo or Salas the best local airport is Asturias/Oviedo – non-daily flights so choose your start date with care (short shuttle to Oviedo town, or taxi transfer). Europe-wide and internal Spanish flights available.
The most convenient departure airports for Lugo finishers are Santiago and A Coruña – Santiago finishers can additionally check Vigo flights.
Intercontinental flights use Madrid or Barcelona – take internal flights from there (or transfer by train/bus – see below).
OVIEDO (for Oviedo starts)
Land by: 16:30 if using public transport (later arrivals possible, missing supper).
SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA (for Lugo/Castroverde starts, all finishes)
Land by: 13:00 if using public transport to Lugo
Return flight earliest: No limit
A CORUNA (for Lugo/Castroverde starts, all finishes)
Land by: 13:00 if using public transport to Lugo
Return flight earliest: 13:00
Land by/return flight earliest times not applicable if using a pre-booked taxi
Flight information can change rapidly and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner (see below) before finalising any booking with us. Do not book your flights until we have confirmed that we have provisionally reserved accommodation for you.
For up-to-date schedules and flights from all airports check Skyscanner.
See “Getting to the start of the walk” below for transfer information.
Getting to the start of the walk
Start points are Oviedo (full route) or Lugo (5-night route – Castroverde for 6-night Compostela version). 12- and 8-night routes can start optionally at Salas (missing Oviedo).
OVIEDO starts: infrequent but timetabled shuttle bus from Oviedo airport to Oviedo bus station (45 mins, ~€8) plus local taxi to hotel OR pre-booked taxi transfer from airport to first hotel. OR transfer from Oviedo train station: local taxi.
SALAS starts: Prebooked taxi transfer from Oviedo airport or train station.
LUGO or Castroverde starts: Direct bus from Santiago airport approximately every 4 hours (takes ~2 hrs), or from A Coruña airport (every 2 hrs, one change, ~3 hrs), then local taxi to hotel OR pre-booked taxi transfer from either airport to first hotel. OR transfer from Lugo train station: local taxi.
End points are either Lugo (8 or 10-night routes) or Santiago de Compostela (5/6, 12, or 14-night routes).
LUGO finishes: Local taxi to bus station, then bus to Santiago or A Coruña airports OR pre-booked taxi transfers to either airport.
OR transfer to Lugo train station: local taxi.
SANTIAGO finishes: regular shuttle to Santiago airport. A Coruña airport can be reached by either train or bus, both involving change in A Coruña to local bus or tax OR local taxi/walk to Santiago train station.
For all pre-bookable taxi prices, see “Prices”/contact On Foot.
Full transfer advice, including timetables, is provided in your Walkers’ Pack. Contact us if you would like additional pre-booking information.
Where You'll Stay
A wealth of different styles of accommodation from basic to more sophisticated, but all with en-suite facilities. Staying close to the Camino inevitably restricts choice and the only upgrade possibilities are in Lugo, Arzua and Santiago, although you would be welcome to book your own hotel in Oviedo.
Lugo – Hotel Pazo de Orban (B&B)
Set in an 18th-century baroque manor house and a 3-minute walk from the Roman Walls of Lugo.Website
Palas de Rei – Casa da Ponte (dinner, B&B)
Simple accommodation in a lovely old farmhouse, quietly situated.Website
Arzua – Pension Domus Gallery (B&B)
An example of the many small pensions we use in this town - we will pick the best available.Website
Arzua – Pazo Santamaría (B&B)
Originally built in 1742, this manor house is set in the peaceful location just on the outskirts of town.Website
Total 5 nights in double/twin room, all breakfasts, 1 evening meal, luggage transfers between all hotels on walking route; full Walkers Pack with route directions, maps, transfer and background information; local telephone support.
All prices are per person unless otherwise indicated, and are based on a standard booking in May. Prices may vary seasonally and a fixed price will be given to you before you commit.
Single Room Supplement (SRS): From £195
Lone Traveller Additional Supplement (LTAS): From £100
Maximum party size: 10
Extra nights in Oviedo (not 5 night version), Lugo, Longarela (not 5-night unless adding on), As Seixas or Santiago: Enquire – seasonal pricing
Taxi from Oviedo airport to Oviedo hotel or to Salas (all versions except 5-night): £85-100 up to 8 people (depends on party size, time and day)
Taxi from Santiago to A Coruña airport: Enquire
Sending Walkers Packs to addresses outside the UK: £20-£60 (per pack, location dependent)
Our local team
Aznar Fernandez de Pinedo
Aznar was born and grew up in Bilbao, where he soon developed his love for nature (he is a keen naturalist), hiking and the rural environment in general. He studied Business and has worked for many years in multinational corporations in the IT sector, living in both Barcelona and Madrid. But in 2014 he decided to change his career to work on what he loves most.