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camino primitivo

Camino Primitivo Guide

Camino Primitivo (or Original Way) is part of the network of Northern Caminos (along with Camino del Norte and Camino Ingles). Through this trail you can reach the final stage of Camino de Santiago. If you want, you can combine Camino Primitivo with Camino Frances or Camino del Norte.

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Camino Primitivo - Way of St. James

Follow in the footsteps of King Alfonso II from the seat of the Asturias and hike the original Way of St. James starting in Oviedo to Santiago de Compostela. Being the original and oldest route, the Camino Primitivo is the more rugged and challenging of the treks available to pilgrims wanting to make their way to the bones of Saint James. Whether exploring the monasteries in Cornellana and Obona, tracing the route through the Cantabrian mountains or visiting the Roman wall in Lugo, the Camino Primitivo does not disappoint with its stream of wonders along the way.

One of the beauties of the Camino Primitivo is that it veers away from paved roads and populated routes and offers a more solitary, and dare we say, spiritual journey. And while it is more intense than the other routes, if you have the right shoes, prepare in advance for the ascent of the mountains, this can be an incredibly rewarding one.

Camino Primitivo stages

The Camino Primitivo is usually walked in 11 stages:

  1. Oviedo - San Juan de Villapanada. Length: 27 km (16,7 miles). Hardness: 3/5.
  2. San Juan de Villapanada - Salas. Length: 18,2 km (11,3 miles). Hardness: 2/5.
  3. Salas - Tineo. Length: 19,8 km (12,3 miles). Hardness: 3/5.
  4. Tineo - Pola de Allande. Length: 26,4 km (16,4 miles). Hardness: 3/5.
  5. Pola de Allande - La Mesa. Length: 21,6 km (13,4 miles). Hardness: 4/5.
  6. La Mesa - Grandas de Salime. Length: 15,2 km (9,45 miles). Hardness: 3/5.
  7. Grandas de Salime - A Fonsagrada. Length: 27,6 km (17,15 miles). Hardness: 3/5.
  8. A Fonsagrada - O Càdavo. Length: 25,4 km (15,8 miles). Hardness: 3/5.
  9. O Càdavo - Lugo. Length: 31 km (19,3 miles). Hardness: 3/5.
  10. Lugo - San Romao. Length: 19,6 km (12,2 miles). Hardness: 1/5.
  11. San Romao - Melide. Length: 28,3 km (17,6 miles). Hardness: 3/5.
  12. Melide - Arzùa. Length: 14 km (8,7 miles). Hardness: 3/5.
  13. Arzùa - Pedrouzo. Length: 19,3 km (12 miles). Hardness: 2/5.
  14. Pedrouzo - Santiago de Compostela. Length: 19,4 km (12 miles). Hardness: 2/5.

Camino Primitivo distance

The Camino Primitivo runs for 318.6 km (198 miles) through the northwest of the country passing by the Cornellana Monastery, the town of Lugo and joining the final stretch of the French Way. It starts in Ovieda and ends in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. The highest point is 3,681 ft (1,122 m).

Camino Primitivo days

The Camino Primitivo is walked in 17 days on average. The Camino Primitivo is a well maintained, well-marked trail though it does get a little wild in the mountains, the most difficult section. Once out of the mountains, the trail does even out. Regardless, most of the trek is well maintained. Though the weather is generally unpredictable in the mountains, it is more likely cold and rainy from November to March. 

Camino Primitivo difficulty

The difficulty of Camino Primitivo is moderate. The only requirement for the Camino Primitivo is to bring good hiking boots and protection against the rain. Otherwise, a 30-40 litre backpack and the bare essentials should be packed. Pack as light as possible.

Walking on Camino Primitivo
Walking on Camino Primitivo

Camino Primitivo forum tips

Here the best tips about Camino Primitivo found in the forums about Camino de Santiago

  • Signage marking the way in Asturia can be confusing.
  • Tap water is safe to drink here.
  • Regardless of the time of year, weather can be erratic. Be prepared to take a short day if necessary, particularly through the mountains.
  • There are some stretches in the mountains where staying at an albergue may not be possible. Plan accordingly.
  • Most guided and self-guided tours include baggage transfers and room and board.
  • Be prepared to deal with blisters and deal with them right away. Tape, band-aids, and other dressings will help when you inevitably get one.
  • While you might get away with more casual shoes on other routes, the Camino Primitivo definitely begs for hiking boots.
  • Break in your hiking boots.

Sign on Camino Primitivo
Sign on Camino Primitivo

Useful Spanish phrases and words

Por favor
Yo (no) entiendo
I (don't) understand
I would like
¿Dónde está el baño?
Where is the bathroom?
Excuse me
¿Dónde puedo encontrar un taxi?
Where can i get a taxi?
¿Quieres algo para comer?
Would you like something to eat?

Camino Primitivo albergues and accommodation

Check here all the albergues and accommodation you can find during your walk of Camino Primitivo

StageAlberguePhone numberPriceBeds
VillaviciosaAlbergue El Congreso985 891 18015€32 beds
VillaviciosaAlbergue Villaviciosa985 891 55513€18 beds
La Ferrerìa - AmandiAlbergue de Peregrinsos la Ferrerìa646 516 846Donation12 beds
ValdedìosAlbergue del Monasterio de Santa Marìa de Valdedìos681 676 3356€12 beds
Vega de SariegoAlbergue de Peregrinos de Vega de Sariego985 748 1205€16 beds
Pola de SieroAlbergue de Peregrinos Casona de San Miguel985 726 4226€18 beds
OviedoAlbergue La Peregrina687 133 9327€32 beds
OviedoAlbergue de El Salvador de Oviedo985 228 5256€50 beds
EscampleroAlbergue de Escamplero985 799 0055€33 bed
GradoAlbergue de Peregrinos de Grado985 752 766Donation16 beds
GradoAlbergue La Quintana640 377 25612€24 beds
San Juan de VillapanadaAlbergue de San Juan de Villapanada670 596 8545€22 beds
CabrunanaAlbergue de Cabrunana985 750 0685€18 beds
DorigaCà Pacita684 613 86112€N/A
CornellanaAlbergue de Cornellana985 835 2395€24 beds
SalasAlbergue La Campa635 150 07210€40 beds
SalasAlbergue de Salas985 832 2795€16 beds
SalasAlbergue Valle del Nonaya626 527 07310€20 beds
SalasAlbergue El Rey Casto985 830 261Donation16 beds
BodenayaAlbergue de Peregrinos de Bodenaya609 133 151Donation21 beds
La EspinaAlbergue El Cruce639 365 210Donation12 beds
La EspinaAlbergue El Texu669 016 66710€16 beds
La EspinaAlbergue Casa Aladino680 163 86510€18 beds
TineoAlbergue de Palacio Meràs985 900 11112€54 beds
TineoAlbergue Mater Christi de Tineo985 800 2325€38 beds
CampielloAlbergue Casa Herminia985 800 01110€26 beds
CampielloAlbergue Casa Ricardo985 800 70910€30 beds
BorresAlbergue Santa Maria de Borres985 800 2323€18 beds
Pola de AllandeAlbergue de Peregrinos de Pola de Allande646 832 4253€24 beds
PenasietaAlbergue de Penasieta985 807 1163€12 beds
BerducedoAlbergue de Peregrinos de Berducedo985 807 0045€12 beds
BerducedoAlbergue Camin Antiguo696 929 16415€27 beds
BerducedoAlbergue-Pensiòn Casa Marqués985 909 82010€15 beds
La MesaAlbergue Miguelìn985 914 35315€20 beds
La MesaAlbergue de Peregrinos de La Mesa633 148 0715€20 beds
Grandas de SalimeAlbergue de El Salvador633 148 0716€48 beds
Grandas de SalimeAlbergue Casa Sànchez626 665 11812€16 beds
CastroAlbergue Residencia Casa Juvenil de Castro985 924 19713€16 beds
FonsagradaAlbergue de Peregrinos Ramòn RodriguezNA6€42 beds
FonsagradaAlbergue Pensiòn Cantàbrico669 747 56010€34 beds
FonsagradaAlbergue Os Chaos660 011 71610€24 beds
Complejo O PineiralAlbergue O Pineiral606 165 75210€44 beds
O Càdavo BaleiraAlbergue San Mateo616 529 51410€40 beds
O Càdavo BaleiraHotel Moneda982 354 0016€22 beds
O Càdavo BaleiraAlbergue-Pensiòn Porta Santa679 828 54010€8 beds
O Càdavo BaleiraAlbergue de Càdavo Baleira636 947 1176€22 beds
CastroverdeAlbergue de Castroverde699 832 7476€34 beds
LugoAlbergue Juvenil Lug2982 220 4509€75 beds
LugoHostel Roots & Boots Lugo620 260 95110€40 beds
LugoAlbergue Casa da Chanca648 574 30015€15 beds
LugoAlbergue de Lugo618 425 5786€42 beds
CastreloAlbergue O Càndido637 563 75510€21 beds
CastreloAlbergue de Peregrinos de San Romàn de Retorta628 173 4566€12 beds
FerreiraAlbergue A Nave de Ferreira616 161 59411€14 beds
FerreiraAlbergue Ponte Ferreira982 036 94911€22 beds
FerreiraAlbergue Cruz Ferreira618 597 82210€22 beds
As SeixasAlbergue de Peregrinos de As Seixas609 669 0576€34 beds
MelideAlbergue O Candil639 503 55015€12 beds
MelideAlbergue Vilela616 011 37510€28 beds
MelideAlbergue de Melide660 396 8226€156 beds
MelideAlbergue Montoto981 507 33712€50 beds
MelideAlbergue Pereiro981 506 3148€40 beds
MelideAlbergue Arraigos646 343 37010€20 beds
MelideAlbergue O Cruceiro616 764 89610€72 beds
MelideHotel Pousada Chiquitìn981 815 33370€16 beds
MelideAlbergue San Antòn981 506 42712€36 beds
MelideAlbergue Melide981 507 49110€57 beds
MelideAlbergue O Apalpador679 837 96910€30 beds
MelideAlbergue Alfonso II981 506 45410€34 beds
MelideAlbergue O Apalpador II981 506 26610€32 beds
BoenteAlbergue El Alamàn981 501 98410€40 beds
BoenteAlbergue Os Albergues981 501 85311€30 beds
BoenteAlbergue Boente981 501 97412€40 beds
CastanedaAlbergue Santiago981 501 7111€6 beds
Ribadiso Da BaixoAlbergue de Ribadiso da Baixo981 501 1856€70 beds
Ribadiso Da BaixoAlbergue Los Caminantes981 500 29510€56 beds
Ribadiso Da CarreteraAlbergue Milpes981 500 42510€24 beds
ArzùaAlbergue Don Quijote981 500 13910€50 beds
ArzùaO Albergue de Selmo981 939 01810€50 beds
ArzùaAlbergue Da Fonte981 501 11812€20 beds
ArzùaThe Way Hostel Arzùa680 969 69717€40 beds
ArzùaAlbergue Los Caminantes981 508 12710€28 beds
ArzùaAlbergue Santiago Apòstol (Arzùa)981 508 13212€72 beds
ArzùaAlbergue de Arzùa660 396 8246€46 beds
ArzùaDe Camino Albergue981 500 41510€46 beds
ArzùaCasa del Peregrino686 708 70412€14 beds
ArzùaAlbergue Ultreia981 500 47110€38 beds
ArzùaAlbergue O Santo981 500 95712€22 beds
ArzùaAlbergue Via Lactea981 500 58112€120 beds
PregontonoAlbergue Camino das Ocas648 404 78010€30 beds
SalcedaAlbergue Alborada620 151 20912€10 beds
SalcedaEl Albergue de Boni618 965 90710€30 beds
SalcedaAlbergue Turistico de Salceda981 502 76713€36 beds
BreaAlbergue El Chalet659 380 72312€14 beds
EmpalmeAlbergue Andaina981 502 92510€14 beds
Santa IreneAlbergue de Peregrinos de Santa Irene (privado)981 511 00013€15 beds
Santa IreneAlbergue Rural Astral981 511 46313€24 beds
Santa IreneAlbergue de Peregrinos de Santa Irene (municipal)660 396 8256€36 beds
O PerdouzoAlbergue O Burgo630 404 13810€14 beds
O PerdouzoAlbergue Porta Santiago981 511 10310€60 beds
O PerdouzoAlbergue Otero671 663 37410€36 beds
O PerdouzoAlbergue O Trisquel616 644 74010€68 beds
O PerdouzoAlbergue Edreira981 511 36512€40 beds
O PerdouzoAlbergue Cruceiro de Perdouzo981 511 37110€94 beds
O PerdouzoAlbergue de Arca do Pino660 396 8266€120 beds
O PerdouzoAlbergue Rem981 510 40710€40 beds
LavacollaAlbergue Lavacolla981 897 27412€32 beds
Monte Del GozoAlbergue de Monte de Gozo660 396 8276€400 beds
Monte Del GozoCentro Europeo de Peregrinaciòn Juan Pablo II981 597 222Donation68 beds

Camino de Santiago tours & reviews

Camino de Santiago Information

  • How can I get to Camino de Santiago?

    This, of course, depends on the route you’re taking. Flying to the city closest to the trailhead is certainly preferable if you’re coming in from Australia, USA and the UK. However, UK travellers may travel by bus or rail to the towns of Ferrol, Oviedo and St. Jean Pied de Port. Learn more.
  • When should I walk the Camino de Santiago?

    The absence of extreme weather changes in the area makes Camino de Santiago’s routes walkable year-round. Though June through September may be its busiest months, more than one thousand people still make the hike during the cold winter months of December, January and February. Learn more.
  • What permits, visas, vaccinations and insurance do I need?

    Though a permit isn’t necessary, you must obtain your Credencial del Peregrino or Pilgrim Passport at the start of your trip and get it stamped along the way. The stamps are proof that you walked the 100 kms necessary to obtain the completion certificate in Santiago de Compostela. Learn more.
  • Do I need a guide to walk?

    While you don’t need a guide to hike any of the Camino de Santiago routes, having one will reduce the burden of planning. Going on a guided hike would give you the benefits of having experienced trip planners arrange things like accommodation, food, luggage transport and airport transfers. Learn more.
  • What should I pack and what equipment do I need?

    Along the way, you'll be able to stop in towns to refuel. Carrying a day pack of your personal essentials, change of clothes, a two-litre water bottle, a first aid kit, and your passport and Pilgrim Passport will suffice. Invest in a good pair of hiking shoes and walking poles. Learn more.
  • How do I prepare for Camino de Santiago?

    Do your research to choose the best route for your skill level and study the rules and etiquette on the trail. Purchase and read a guidebook for your chosen route. Finally, train for several months prior and push yourself to hike farther every day until you’re fit to do 26- to 29-kilometre days. Learn more.

Camino de Santiago Routes & Maps

  • Camino Portugues

    The Portuguese Way, the second most popular route, starts in either Lisbon or Porto and takes hikers from Portugal to Spain. Considerably longer, the Lisbon hike starts at the Lisbon Cathedral and passes through Caldas da Rainha, the Alcobaca Monastery and Porto before crossing several rivers on its way north to Spain.

    Distance: 610 km (380 mi)
    Average duration: 21-30 days 
    Average difficulty/success rate: The Portuguese Way is relatively moderate. Minor elevation gains work to your advantage, though concrete and cobblestone roads, which it has its fair share of, can put a strain on the walk. The success rate is high.
    Read more
  • Camino de Finisterre

    Once you’ve reached Camino de Santiago, you might continue on to the “end of the world”. Cape Finisterrae is one of Europe’s westernmost points, thus the name. Adding 90 kilometres to the trip along an ancient route, perhaps even another 29 to Muxia, might just be an epic way to wrap up the journey.

    Distance: 90 km (55 mi), 117 km (73 mi) to Muxia
    Average duration: 2-4 days
    Average difficulty/success rate: Because it’s a shorter hike and offers spectacular views, the road to Finisterrae is a moderate route to take on. The success rate is certainly high, even if fewer people traverse it, choosing to end their trip at the cathedral.
    Read more
  • Camino Frances

    Is it a wonder why the French Way is favoured by most Camino de Santiago pilgrims? It’s not just the most traditional route, with a lot of history surrounding it. It also boasts lush landscapes, charming towns and great infrastructure along the way, taking travellers through the beautiful Iberian Peninsula for a month. 

    Distance: 772 km (480 mi)
    Average duration: 4 weeks
    Average difficulty/success rate: Due to the excellent infrastructure and facilities along the way, not only is Camino Frances an enjoyable hike, it’s also a fairly moderate hike. So long as you take a couple of days to rest along the way, you are guaranteed to make it to the end.
    Read more
  • Camino del Norte

    For 827 kilometres, Camino del Norte stretches from the town of Irun in Basque Country to Santiago de Compostela, following Spain’s northern coastline. It’s not only the longest route in the network, it is also the least travelled and has fewer facilities, making it ideal for thru-hikers who prefer solitude and a challenge.

    Distance: 827 km (514 mi)
    Average duration: 36 nights
    Average difficulty/success rate: A little more than a month and a more rigid schedule could be challenging for less experienced hikers. The success rate is generally good, so long as you train beforehand and can tackle more than 21 miles a day.
  • Camino Inglés

    A favourite among hikers arriving from the British Isles and northern Europe, the English Way starts from the City of Ferrol and runs straight south to Camino de Santiago. Though short, it does boast longer sections and major elevation changes, making it a challenge for the more casual walkers.

    Distance: 119 km (74 mi)
    Average duration: 6 nights
    Average difficulty/success rate: This ranks as medium to high in difficulty, though chances of completing are very good because of its short distance.

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