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Camino Frances walking stages 2024, PDF and GPX files

The Camino Frances is a 790 km/490 mi pilgrimage route from St.Jean Pied de Port in France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. It’s the most popular Camino de Santiago route followed by the Portuguese Camino. This Camino route is walked by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims every year. The Camino starts in France and on the way to Santiago crosses several regions in Northern Spain; Navarre, La Rioja, Castille and Leon, and Galicia. In this post, you’ll find a detailed day-by-day itinerary for the Camino Francés.

Scenery on the Camino Francés
Typical scenery on the Camino Francés

You can find all our posts on the Camino Frances on our Camino de Santiago resource page.

Table of Contents

Camino Frances walking stages PDF

We’ve created PDF files with walking stages and places to stay on the Camino Frances. You can download them for free and use them for planning your Camino walk.

Camino Frances overview

  • Total distance – 790 km/490 mi
  • Number of days required – 30-34 days
  • Walking on hard surfaces (asphalt, cobblestones, etc.) – 290 km/180 mi
  • Walking on the road – 70 km/43,4 mi mostly very quiet roads with almost no cars
  • Average cost – 30 Euro per person per day
  • Accommodation – public and private albergues, hotels
  • Route marking – yellow shells and arrows

Make sure you don’t pack too much stuff and take only necessary clothing and gear. We have a detailed Camino packing guide with tips on what to pack for men and women for different seasons.

Our YouTube video about walking the Camino Frances

Our detailed guide to the French Way of St.James contains useful information for planning the pilgrimage.

Walking stages GPX files

You can download for free our GPX files for every stage of the Camino Frances.

Travel insurance for the Camino Frances

You can read more information on travel insurance for the Camino Frances in our dedicated post on Camino travel insurance or get an instant quote right now.

World Nomads travel insurance has been designed by travelers for travelers, with coverage for more than 150 activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation and more.

St.Jean Pied de Port the beginning of the Camino Frances

St.Jean Pied de Port has played an important role in the history of the Camino de Santiago as a gateway of the pass over the Pyrenees. It’s a charming town where everything is about the Camino de Santiago. France is noticeably more expensive than Spain don’t worry if everything costs more than you expected once you’re out of France prices on the Camino Francés are lower.

There are many places to stay in St.Jean including one municipal albergue that gets full quickly in the season if you arrive after lunchtime your chances of getting a bed there are quite small.

Getting to St.Jean Pied de Port

You can get there via France or Spain. It depends on where your international flight arrives. We have a detailed explanation of how to get to St.Jean Pied de Port from both countries.

Accommodation in St.Jean Pied de Port

Booking accommodation on the Camino Frances. In the beginning, I didn’t book anything because I walked fast I always arrived early enough to get a bed but after a couple of weeks, I was pretty tired of this bed chase I started booking places. Remember, municipal albergues can’t be booked. Booking over the phone was complicated (though I speak fluent Spanish). You have to phone first to book, then a day before your booking phone again to confirm, etc. I ended up booking places through booking.com (if I could find anything suitable there) it was quick and easy.

Camino Frances walking stages – a 1-month itinerary

Stage 1. SJPDP – Roncesvalles, 25 km/15,5 miStage 2. Roncesvalles – Zubiri, 22 km/13,6 miStage 3. Zubiri – Pamplona, 22 km/13,6 mi
Stage 4. Pamplona – Puente La Reina, 24 km/15 miStage 5. Puente La Reina – Estella, 21,5/13,3 miStage 6. Estella – Los Arcos, 22 km/13,6 mi
Stage 7. Los Arcos – Logroño, 28 km/17,3 miStage 8. Logroño – Navarrete, 12 km/6,4 miStage 9. Navarrete – Azafra, 23 km/14,2 mi
Stage 10. Azofra – Grañón, 22 km/13,6 miStage 11. Grañón – Villafranca Montes de Oca, 28 km/17,3 miStage 12. Villafranca Montes de Oca – Cardeñuela Riopico, 24,5 km/15,2 mi
Stage 13. Cardeñuela Riopico – Tardajoz, 27,5 km/17 miStage 14. Tardajoz – Castrojeriz, 30 km/18,6 miStage 15. Castrojeriz – Fromista, 25 km/15,5 mi
Stage 16. Fromista – Carrion de los Condes, 20 km/12,4 miStage 17. Carrion de los Condes – Terradillos de los Templarios, 26 km/16 miStage 18. Terradillos de los Templarios – Bercianos del Real Camino, 24 km/15 mi
Stage 19. Bercianos del Real Camino – Mansilla de las Mulas, 27 km/16,7 miStage 20. Mansilla de las Mulas – Leon, 19 km/11,8 mi
Stage 21. Leon – Villar de Masarife, 21 km/13 mi
Stage 22. Villar de Masarife – Astorga, 31 km/19,2 miStage 23. Astorga – Fonsebadon, 26 km/16 miStage 24. Fonsebadon – Ponferrada, 27 km/16,7 mi
Stage 25. Ponferrada – Villafranca de Bierzo, 24 km/15 miStage 26. Villafranca de Bierzo – O Cebreiro, 28 km/17,3 mi
Stage 27. O Cebreiro – Triacastela, 20 km/12,4 mi
Stage 28. Triacastela – Sarria, 25,5 km/15,8 miStages 29-33. Sarria – Santiago de Compostela

Stage 1. St.Jean-Pied-de-Port to Roncesvalles, 25 km/15,5 mi

  • Distance – 25 km/15,5 mi
  • Time – 5h30min.*
  • Walking on asphalt – 14 km/8,6 mi
  • Walking on the road – 3 km/1,8 mi over the pass, a very quiet road, there were one or two cars
  • Ascent – 1400 m
  • Descent – 650 m
  • Difficulty level – 5 out of 5

*walking time only. I walk fast, I’d suggest adding 1-2 hours to my time.

Camino Frances stage 1 St.Jean to Roncesvalles
Elevation profile of day 1 on the Camino Francés. Stage from St.Jean to Roncesvalles

It’s one of the toughest days on the Camino Frances, especially considering that for the majority of pilgrims, it’s their first day on the Camino. I’d strongly recommend for inexperienced walkers, booking a bed in Albergue D’Ornisson which is about 8 km/5 mi from Roncesvalles. This way you can split the first day into two and walk half of the ascent on the first day and the rest of it and the descent on the second day. Unfortunately, Albergue D’Ornisson is the only place to stop and it’s not very big definitely book your bed in advance. There are a couple of places before it about 4-5 km from Roncesvalles.

I’d strongly recommend starting walking early especially in summer, to finish the ascent before it gets too hot and to get a bed in the Colegiata (albergue) in Roncesvalles. There are 200 beds here but there are always people who don’t get a spot. For this reason, it’s better to book this place in advance, you can do it online. 70 beds are available for booking daily.

As I said the walk was challenging, the ascent starts right from St.Jean and finishes at 21 km/13 mi, and the last 4 km/2,4 mi it’s a steep descent to Roncesvalles. There were a couple of places to refill water on the way and one food stall at about halfway. 

 Highlights

  • Stunning scenery; mountains, green hills, lookouts, patches of the forest if it wasn’t for the steep climb it would be a very pleasant walking day.
  • Albergue Colegiata in Roncesvalles is a big and impressive old building.
  • Beautiful service at the church of the Colegiata at 6pm. 

Challenges

  • A very long and sometimes very steep ascent, 1400 m over 21 km/13 mi
  • A very steep descent, 650 m over 4 km/2,4 mi

More places to stay in Roncesvalles

Stage 2. Roncesvalles to Zubiri, 22 km/13,6 mi

  • Distance – 22 km/13,6 mi
  • Time – 4h20min.
  • Walking on asphalt – 8 km/5 mi
  • Walking on the road – 500 m
  • Ascent – 443 m
  • Descent – 871 m
  • Difficulty level – 3 out of 5
Elevation profile of the stage 2 of the Camino Frances
Elevation profile stage 2. Roncesvalles – Zubiri.

We were woken up at 6am, the lights went on and the Gregorian Choir music started playing. Everything in the town was closed, no place to stop for coffee or breakfast we had to start walking in the dark, a headlamp here will be very useful. Today’s walk is much easier than the day before but still not very flat with many uphills and downhills. 

Some people keep walking past Zubiri to the next place about 5km away for me 22 km/13,6 mi was a good distance I felt that I needed some rest after the previous intense day. I decided to stop here despite arriving very early at 11.30. I found a nice private room with a bathroom and wi-fi they let me check-in is at 11.30 I was very happy to have the whole day to rest.

Highlights

  • Burgette a small town with a nice church
  • Espinal another small charming town; old houses, flowers, a church etc.  
  • Zubiri – a very peaceful place with the Medieval Bridge, a small square, and a couple of small streets. 

Challenges

  • Many short ascents but nothing compared to the previous day
  • A steep and quite long rocky descent just before Zubiri

More accommodation options in Zubiri*

Stage 3. Zubiri to Pamplona, 22 km/13,6 mi

  • Distance – 22 km/13,6 mi
  • Time – 4h
  • Walking on asphalt – 11 km/6,8 mi
  • Walking on the road – 1,5 km/0,9 mi
  • Ascent – 405 m
  • Descent – 491 m
  • Difficulty level – 2 out of 5
Elevation profile of stage 2
Elevation profile stage 3. Zubiri to Pamplona

It was the easiest day out of three with many small ups and downs in the beginning but in general nothing challenging. My main problem was finding an open place to have coffee or breakfast, the first one I got was at 9km.

Many pilgrims continue walking past Pamplona I was thinking about doing it as well but when I arrived in the city I really liked it and decided rather stay here. I arrived early, get a bed in the municipal albergue and the rest of the day walking around the city and eating a lot of pintxos. 

Highlights

  • A couple of charming towns on the way.
  • Pamplona is one of the most beautiful cities on the Camino Frances. The Historical center is spectacular; the Cathedral, the Citadel of Pamplona, Museum of Navarra, Plaza del Castillo, and so on. 
  • Eating pintxos and drinking local wine is a must here, there are many inviting bars in the center.
The historical center of Pamplona and the Cathedral
The Historical center of Pamplona, a nice stop on the Camino Frances

Challenges

  • Many hills mostly at the beginning of the day

Places to stay in Pamplona

Stage 4. Pamplona to Puente La Reina, 24 km/15 mi

  • Distance – 24 km/15 mi
  • Time – 4h40min.
  • Walking on asphalt – 13 km/8 mi
  • Walking on the road – 500 m
  • Ascent – 477 m
  • Descent – 567 m
  • Difficulty level – 3 out of 5
Profile of ascents and descents on the Camino Frances, day 4
Elevation profile stage 4. Pamplona to Puente la Reina

The day went quite quickly probably because I was woken up at 5am and started walking before 6am, as a result, I arrived at Puente la Reina before 11am which wasn’t bad because the town is very pretty. Most of the day the Camino goes through wheat and sunflower fields I believe in summer it looks really beautiful but in September it was just bare land with dried sunflowers. 

Highlights

El Alto del Perdón is the famous sculpture group representing pilgrims walking the Camino de Santiago. It’s probably one of the most famous photo spots on the Camino Frances.

A couple of nice towns with beautiful churches are on the way.

Puente de la Reina and its atmospherical Church of Santiago which is definitely a must-see here. It’s probably one of my favorite cathedrals on the route. There are more sights to see in the town; the Old Bridge, Plaza de Mena, and a couple of other churches built in the Middle Ages. Walking on the Calle Mayor (Main Street), pay attention to the wooden gates, they are used to cut off the streets for the bull run during the festival.  

Monument to pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago, Alto del Perdon, Camino Frances
Probably the most famous monument on the Camino Francés and definitely the most photographed one.

Challenges

  • A long ascent to the Alto del Perdón with subsequent steep and rocky descents
  • No shade to hide, in summer it’s better to start walking earlier.

Places to stay in Puente La Reina

Stage 5. Puente La Reina to Estella, 21,5 km/13,3 mi

  • Distance – 21,5 km/13,3 mi
  • Time – 4 hours
  • Walking on asphalt – 4,5 km/2,7 mi
  • Walking on the road – 500 m
  • Ascent – 483 m
  • Descent – 437 m
  • Difficulty level – 2 out of 5
Camino Frances elevation profile stage 5
Elevation profile Camino Francés stage 5. Puente la Reina to Estella

It was a very quiet day with not many people on the way, mostly walking through the fields and hills, past a couple of villages.

Highlights

The Historical center of Estella; the church of Santo Sepulcro, the Convent of Santo Domingo, the Carcel Bridge, Plaza de los Fueros with the street market where you can buy some local specialties like cheese, chorizo, etc. Don’t be lazy the town is beautiful it’s worth spending some time exploring it. You can go to the square drink a glass of wine and eat a couple of tapas.

Challenges

  • Some slight ascents and descents but in general an easy walking day.

Places to stay in Estella

Stage 6. Estella to Los Arcos, 22 km/13,6 mi

  • Distance – 22 km/13,6 mi
  • Time – 4h16min.
  • Walking on asphalt – 5 km/3,1 mi
  • Walking on the road – 0 km
  • Ascent – 435 m
  • Descent – 414 m
  • Difficulty level – 2 out of 3
ELevation profile stage 6 of the Camino Frances
Elevation profile French Way, stage 6 Estella to Los Arcos

Leaving early today was quite a drawback because one of the highlights of the Camino Frances the famous wine fountain is just a couple of kilometers outside Estella. I arrived there still in the dark I managed not to miss the fountain (like some people who I met on the way that day) but to be honest drinking wine at 7am it’s not a great idea, especially considering that you still have about 20km to go. I did have a sip.

Highlights

  • Wine fountain (tap) at about 3km from Estella at Bodegas Irache; one tap is with wine and another one with water.
  • Rolling fields of wheat and vineyards. I walked the Camino Francés in September just before the harvest there was so much grape everywhere it was truly beautiful. 

Challenges

  • Nothing in particular just slight ups and downs all the way

Places to stay in Los Arcos

Stage 7. Los Arcos to Logroño, 28 km/17,3 mi

  • Distance – 28 km/17,3 mi
  • Time – 5h
  • Walking on asphalt – 11 km/6,8 mi
  • Walking on the road – 2 km/1,2 mi
  • Ascent – 488 m
  • Descent – 553 m
  • Difficulty level – 3 out of 5
Elevation profile walk from Los Arcos to Logroño, French Way of St.James
Elevation profile Camino Frances, stage 7, Los Arcos to Logroño

The entire day was through the fields and over the hills with many short but sometimes steep ascents and descents. 

Logroño is a big city and usually finding accommodation in big places is easy but if you arrive here on the weekend and don’t want to stay in the municipal albergue I’d recommend booking a place. Logroño is a very popular place for Spanish people from all over the area to come for the weekend to celebrate Birthdays, weddings, bachelor parties, etc. It’s a very nice vibe in the city but it gets crazy busy.

Some people prefer to stop in Viana which is 18km first because it’s a shorter walk and second because Viana is a smaller town. Considering that the next day I felt a bit tired and walked only 12km to Navarrete I could have stopped in Viana and instead of having 28 km/17,3 mi and 12 km/7,4 mi days I’d had 18 km/11 mi and 22 km/13,6 mi.

Highlights

Olive tree plantations and vineyards – picturesque scenery and very sweet grapes.

Viana – a beautiful town with a beautiful cathedral, cobblestone streets, many restaurants, a good place to stop for lunch.

Just before Logroño, the Camino enters La Rioja the wine country of Spain and its smallest region.

The historical center of Logroño; the Cathedral, several churches, Calle de San Juan (San Juan street) with hundreds of pintxo bars. I tried some delicious pintxos here, the best pintxos on the Camino Frances. I’d recommend skipping dinner here and going out for pintxos and wine.

Beautiful vineyards of La Rioja on the Camino Frances
Grape harvest is one of the advantages of walking the Camino Frances in September

Challenges

  • Long walking day, the longest on the Camino Frances so far.
  • Many ascents and descents in the first half of the day
  • The last 5km of walking on asphalt is tough on your feet especially after walking more than 20km.

Places to stay in Logroño

Stage 8. Logroño to Navarrete, 12 km/6,4 mi

  • Distance – 12 km/6,4 mi
  • Time – 2h30min.
  • Walking on asphalt – 8,5 km/5,2 mi
  • Walking on the road – 300 m
  • Ascent – 194 m
  • Descent – 90 m
  • Difficulty level – 1 out of 5

I decided to take “a day off” so I walked to the next town and checked into a hotel. I felt like I needed some rest.  I must admit it was the right decision. If you have time, I recommend having a short walking day every once in a while, and if you can afford to stay in private just to chill out a bit.

The Camino goes through Logroño for about 3km after that it turns into the fields there are many water taps along the route but no places to stop for coffee or breakfast (everything in the city was closed at 7am). Navarrete was the first place to stop for breakfast.

Highlights

  • Navarrete a small quiet town I really enjoyed staying here after bustling Logroño, it’s a perfect stop for a relaxing day on the Camino.

Challenges

  • Quite a bit of walking on asphalt.
  • Not many places to stop for breakfast.

Places to stay in Navarrete

Stage 9. Navarrete to Azofra, 23 km/14,2 mi

  • Distance – 23 km/14,2 mi
  • Time – 4h
  • Walking on asphalt – 7,5 km/4,6 mi
  • Walking on the road – 500 m
  • Ascent – 354 m
  • Descent – 316 m
  • Difficulty level – 2 out of 5
Elevation profile stage 9 Camino Frances
Elevation profile stage 9 Navarrete to Ventosa

For the next couple of days the Camino goes through La Rioja the main wine region of Spain. It’s a very pleasant area for walking; vineyards, farms, green hills etc.

Highlights

  • Walking through vineyards most of the day, there are some wineries on the way that probably do wine tasting but everything was still closed when I walked there in the morning
  • Nájera is a beautiful town with cobblestone streets, the Cathedral, the old bridge etc.

Challenges

  • A couple of slight ascents and descents

Places to stay in Azofra

Stage 10. Azofra to Grañon, 22 km/13,6 mi

  • Distance – 22 km/13,6 mi
  • Time – 4h
  • Walking on asphalt – 5,5 km/3,4 mi
  • Walking on the road – 0 km
  • Ascent – 400 m
  • Descent – 234 m
  • Difficulty level – 2 out of 5
Elevation profile stage 10 of the Camino Francés
Elevation profile stage 10 Azofra to Grañon

It was the first rainy and cold day on the Camino Frances due to that I didn’t enjoy it that much. The first place to stop is the strange town of Cirueña. It looks like a ghost town despite most of the buildings being new and there is a huge golf estate in the town. Luckily I had breakfast in Azofra because I didn’t feel like stopping there. 

The second half of the walk from Santo Domingo was almost all the way on the gravel path next to the road.

Highlights

  • A couple of kilometers after Grañon the Camino exits La Rija and enters Castile and León.
  • In the historical center of Santo Domingo de la Calzada unfortunately, many buildings were under renovation.

Challenges

  • A couple of ascents and descents throughout the day.

Places to stay in Grañon

Our YouTube video on the Logroño to Burgos part of the Camino Frances

Stage 11. Grañon to Villafranca Montes de Oca, 28 km/17,3 mi

  • Distance – 28 km/17,3 mi
  • Time – 4h45min.
  • Walking on asphalt – 7 km/4,3 mi
  • Walking on the road – 0 km
  • Ascent – 488 m
  • Descent – 234 m
  • Difficulty level – 3 out of 5
Camino Francés elevation profile stage 11
Elevation profile Grañon to Villafranca, stage 11, Camino Francés

It wasn’t the most impressive day on the Camino Frances, long stretches of walking along the road. Many towns to stop on the way but all are pretty small with one bar and a couple of albergues not much else.

Highlights

  • Sunflower fields though it was September and flowers were dried out but in summer it must look impressive. 

Challenges

  • Monotonous parts of walking along the road.

Places to stay in Villafranca-Montes de Oca

Stage 12. Villafranca Montes de Oca to Cardeñuela Riopico, 24,5 km/15,2 mi

  • Distance – 24,5 km/15,2 mi
  • Time – 4h20min.
  • Walking on asphalt – 4,6 km/2,8 mi
  • Walking on the road – 3 km/1,8 mi 
  • Ascent – 413 m
  • Descent – 456 m
  • Difficulty level – 3 out of 5
Ascents and descents stages 12 Camino Francés
Elevation profile stage 12 from Villafranca to Cardeñuela

I really enjoyed this day the first half was through the forest very nice and quiet. The second half through the fields with many small villages on the way. The first place to stop for coffee or breakfast is 12km after that there will be plenty of places.

Highlights

  • First 13km of walking through the forest
  • A beautiful monastery and church of San Juan de Ortega
  • Nice villages; San Juan de Ortega, Agés, Atapuerta

Challenges

  • 250m ascent right at the exit of Villafranca Montes de Oca. The first 4 km/2,4 mi of the route is up. 
  • Several smallish ascents and descents throughout the day

Stage 13. Cardeñuela Riopico to Tardajos, 27,5 km/17 mi

  • Distance – 27,5 km/17 mi (including 2 km of walking around Burgos)
  • Time – 5h.
  • Walking on asphalt – 20 km/12,4 mi
  • Walking on the road – the first 5 km/3,1 mi if you take the route through Villafría
  • Ascent – 103 m
  • Descent – 193 m. It was a very flat walk (like everywhere in the Meseta).
  • Difficulty level – 3 out of 5

I left early in the morning in the dark with the idea to spend some time in Burgos and continue walking to Tardajos. Walking in the dark I missed the split that is about 2,5 km/1,5 mi from Cardeñuela, just before the airport. The left route goes away from the road, it follows the river almost all the way to the city. The right route continues along the road for 5 km/3 mi and then goes through the industrial area of Burgos. I definitely recommend taking the river route through Castañeres. You can mark it on Google.maps to make sure you won’t miss the turn. Distance to Burgos on both routes is more or less the same.

Two route options on the Camino Frances on the way to Burgos
The split on the Camino Frances after Orbaneja, the red route goes to Burgos following the road and past the industrial area, the right route goes along the river

It was the worst day on the Camino Frances so far, the first 5km walking on the road which wasn’t busy at all but considering that you start in the dark it’s still quite unpleasant. After that, there was about 8 km/5 mi of walking through the industrial area of Burgos. It was one of my least favorite days on the Camino Frances.

The Historical center of Burgos is very beautiful, the cathedral, the square, many churches, the castle, etc. I was thinking of stopping in Burgos but 13 km/8 mi felt too short to stop there. I did spend an hour or so walking around the city. The cathedral of Burgos is not to miss here.

Note! In Burgos on the way to the center, the route marking is not very clear if you don’t see signs just follow Calle Vitoria, and sooner or later you’ll see the arrows and shells again. To walk out of the city after that there was a gravel road through the fields all the way to Tardajos.

If you have time or just want to have a day off you can stay for the night in Burgos, it’s a beautiful city with a lot to see. There are plenty of places to stay here including the Municipal Albergue of Burgos.

Places to stay in Burgos

Highlights

The beautiful historical center of Burgos; the cathedral is stunning from the outside and inside, I definitely recommend visiting it.

The famous Meseta is a long stretch of plains that starts from Burgos some pilgrims like it some don’t but it’s one of the most recognizable sceneries on the Camino Francés. For the next two weeks (basically till Astorga) the scenery will stay pretty much the same.

Challenges

  • 5km of walking on the road (if you don’t take the alternative river route).
  • 8km of walking through the industrial area of Burgos (again if follow the main route).
  • 20km of walking on asphalt. I think on the river route there will be less asphalt.

Places to stay in Tardajos

Stage 14. Tardajos to Castrojeriz, 30 km/18,6 mi

  • Distance – 30 km/18,6 mi
  • Time – 5h.10min.
  • Walking on asphalt – 8,5 km/5,2 mi
  • Walking on the road – 7 km/4,3 mi very few cars
  • Ascent – 331 m
  • Descent – 335 m
  • Difficulty level – 3 out of 5
Elevation profile Tardajos to Castrojeriz Camino de Santiago
Elevation profile stage 14 Tardajos to Castrojeriz

It was a nice walking day mostly through the fields and over the hill with not many towns to stop on the way, make sure you carry enough water.

Highlights

  • A couple of nice towns on the way; Sambol, Hontanas
  • Beautiful ruins of San Anton Monastery 4km before Castrojeriz, there is an albergue next to it for donation but it has very basic facilities (no electricity, no hot water).

Challenges

  • Quite a long walking day with few places to stop in between.

Places to stay in Castrojeriz

Stage 15. Castrojeriz to Frómista, 25 km/15,5 mi

  • Distance – 25 km/15,5 mi
  • Time – 4h.33min.
  • Walking on asphalt – 3 km/1,8 mi
  • Walking on the road – 1 km/0,6 mi, very few cars
  • Ascent – 268 m
  • Descent – 281 m
  • Difficulty level – 2 out of 5
ELevation profile stage 15 French Way of St.James
Elevation profile stage 15 of the Camino Francés, walk from Castrojeriz to Fromista

You start noticing that you’re walking through the Meseta, a flat open area with wheat fields. I think in spring it might be different, green fields and flowers but in fall it looked a bit sad. The Meseta is an important part of the Camino Frances. Some people really like it, some don’t.

Highlights

  • Can’t recall anything specific maybe a small river a couple of kilometers before Frómista.
  • A couple of nice churches in Frómista 

Challenges

  • A steep ascent right at the beginning of the day, about 220m up
  • Not many places to stop, only two villages on the way with one bar and a couple of albergues each.

Places to stay in Frómista

Stage 16. Frómista to Carrión de los Condes, 20 km/12,4 mi

  • Distance – 20 km/12,4 mi
  • Time – 3h.30min.
  • Walking on asphalt – 10 km/6,2 mi
  • Walking on the road – 6 km/3,7 mi along the road
  • Ascent – 110 m
  • Descent – 74 m
  • Difficulty level – 1 out of 5

There is a split on the Camino Frances at Población de Campos, about 3 km/1,8 mi from Frómista; the right route goes through the countryside, and the left route continues along the road. The countryside route is 1 km/0,6 mi longer. Both routes join the first time at Villarmentero de Campos, after about 6km/3,7 mi, and the second time after about 10 km/6,2 mi at Villalcázar de Sirga.

Route split on the Camino Francess stage 16
The split on the Camino between Frómista and Carrion de los Condes

Highlights

  • A nice walk next to the river and through the fields on the alternative route
  • Carrión de los Condes; Monastery Santa Clara, Church of St.Maria del Camino, Contemporary Art Museum etc.

Challenges

  • Last 6km of walking along the road

Places to stay in Carrión de los Condes

Stage 17. Carrión de los Condes to Terradillos de los Templarios, 26 km/16 mi

  • Distance – 26 km/16 mi
  • Time – 4h.45min.
  • Walking on asphalt – 8 km/5 mi
  • Walking on the road – 4 km/2,5 mi
  • Ascent – 216 m
  • Descent – 158 m
  • Difficulty level – 3 out of 5

It was probably the day with the most monotonous scenery, luckily I met a very nice couple from Norway so the first 17 km/10,5 mi went pretty quickly. 

Highlights

  • The main highlight was a restaurant at 17km with cold drinks and some food.

Challenges

  • For the first 17 km/10,5 mi there are no towns on the Camino, make sure to take enough water. In season there is a food truck at about 8 km/5 km and a small bar Oasis at 10 km/6,2 mi.
  • A long and tiring day of walking through the plains with nothing around.

Stage 18. Terradillos de los Templarios to Bercianos del Real Camino, 24 km/15 mi

  • Distance – 24 km/15 mi
  • Time – 4h.
  • Walking on asphalt – 4 km/2,4 mi
  • Walking on the road – 500 m
  • Ascent – 193 m
  • Descent – 254 m
  • Difficulty level – 2 out of 5

At 6,8km there is a split on the Camino Frances, one route continues along the road (it’s a little bit shorter), and one goes through the fields for about 3,5 km/2,1 mi both routes merge in Sahagún.

At 19km there is another split the left route (the official Camino Frances route) goes through Bercianos, the right route (the Roman road) goes through Calzada del Coto both routes join the next day in Mansilla de las Mulas. The alternative route follows the Roman road Via Trajana. I took the official route (like most pilgrims). Some of my friends took the Alternative route and they liked it but some people were complaining that there was a lot of walking on cobblestones that hurt their feet. The distance on both routes to Mansilla de las Mulas is about the same.

A split on the Camino Frances after Sahagún
The split on the Camino after Sahagún; the red route is the official route, the blue route is the alternative route on the Old Roman road

From Sahagún the Camino (the Original route) goes along the road (gravel path) all the way to Bercianos.

Highlights

  • Sahagun; Church of San Tirso and Church of San Lorenzo.

Challenges

  • Not many places to stop on the way, between Sahagún to Bercianos for 10 km/6,2 mi there is nothing just fields.

Albergue Bercianos 1900 is a good place to stay in Bercianos.

Stage 19. Bercianos del Real Camino to Mansilla de las Mulas, 27 km/16,7 mi

  • Distance – 27 km/16,7 mi
  • Time – 4h30min.
  • Walking on asphalt – 2,5 km/1,5 mi
  • Walking on the road – 500 m
  • Ascent – 141 mm
  • Descent – 194 m
  • Difficulty level – 2 out of 5

Most of the day the Camino just followed the road though it wasn’t busy at all hardly any cars mostly cyclists.

Highlights

  • Beautiful sunrise, actually in the Meseta every day if it’s not cloudy you can see the sunrise, don’t forget to look back from time to time. 
  • Mansilla de las Mulas – a nice town with a beautiful church and a couple of restaurants.

Challenges

  • Not many places to stop on the way

Places to stay in Mansilla de las Mulas

Stage 20. Mansilla de las Mulas to Leon, 19 km/11,8 mi

  • Distance – 19 km/11,8 mi
  • Time – 3h30min.
  • Walking on asphalt – 7 km/4,3 mi
  • Walking on the road – 600 m
  • Ascent – 164 mm
  • Descent – 140 m
  • Difficulty level – 1 out of 5

The day was better than I expected there wasn’t a lot of walking through industrial areas, next to the road etc. like it usually is when you approach a big city. At 3,8 km/2,3 mi, there is a split, the right route continues along the road (not recommended), and the left route goes through the fields and small towns. The day was short and easy with a couple of ups and downs. You walk about 4km through León before you reach the historical center. 

From León, it’s possible to walk to Oviedo following the Camino de San Salvador, a 5-day lesser-known Camino route. From Oviedo continue to Santiago following the Camino Primitivo. It’s not very popular but some pilgrims do combine the Camino Frances or the Camino del Norte with the Camino Primitivo.

Highlights

The historical center of León; the Cathedral, the Basilica of San Isidoro, La Plaza Mayor, La Plaza San Martín, several churches. If you happened to be in León in September-October don’t miss the Organ Festival in the Cathedral, the concerts take place several times a week at 9pm. For me, it was the most impressive Cathedral on the Camino Frances.

A Pilgrims’ Mass takes place every day in the Basilica of San Isidoro at 7pm. at the end of it, you can get a blessing and a stamp.

Going out for tapas is another must-do activity in León, El Barrio Húmedo and El Barrio Romántico in the center are famous for their tapas bars. 

Challenges

  • Short parts of walking next to the road
  • Walking through the outskirts of Leon (nothing bad or ugly)

Places to stay in León

Stage 21. León to Villar de Mazarife, 21 km/13 mi

  • Distance – 21 km/13 mi
  • Time – 3h45min.
  • Walking on asphalt – 12,5 km/7,7 mi
  • Walking on the road – 3 km/1,8 mi (very few cars)
  • Ascent – 276 m
  • Descent – 232 m
  • Difficulty level – 2 out of 5

The beginning of the day (walking out of Leon) wasn’t as bad as I thought, it took quite a while to walk out of the city but it wasn’t really an industrial area more a residential area. At 8 km/5 mi after the church of Virgen del Camino, there is a split (well-marked); the right route (the Official Camino Frances route) goes along the road to San Martín del Camino. The left route (the alternative route) goes through the countryside and fields to Villar de Mazarife. The scenic route is 5 km/3 mi longer (over two days), and both routes merge the next day at Hospital de Órbigo. I don’t like walking next to the road if there is an option I always take an alternative route.

Split on the Camino Francés after León
Split on the Camino at La Virgen del Camino, 7km from León

Highlights

  • Church of Virgen del Camino

Challenges

  • The first 8km walking through the populated area of the city

Stage 22. Villar de Mazarife to Astorga, 31 km/19,2 mi

  • Distance – 31 km/19,2 mi
  • Time – 5h45min.
  • Walking on asphalt – 7 km/4,3 mi
  • Walking on the road – 0 km
  • Ascent – 293 m
  • Descent – 329 m
  • Difficulty level – 3 out of 5

A long walking day through the fields and hills from now on the Meseta part is over, the Camino Frances is entering green and rainy Galicia, from Astorga on there will be more mountains and forest. Two very nice stops along the route helped to make this day less tiring and more fun though, to be honest by the end of it I was quite tired.

The Via de la Plata or the Silver Way, one of the longest Camino routes in Spain merges with the Camino Frances in Astorga.

Highlights

This day was full of highlights and unexpected meetings.

Hospital de Órbigo – a beautiful little town with cobblestone streets, old houses and an impressive Medieval bridge Puente del Paso Honroso.

Villares de Orbigo – it would be just another small village on the way if it wasn’t the 22nd of September. The village celebrated the First day of harvest as a part of the celebration they invite pilgrims who walk through the village for breakfast in the Pilgrim’s House. Unexpected moments like these become some of the brightest memories of the Camino.

Another very interesting encounter on the way, the famous David’s place; a great stop on the route about 5km before Astorga. David is a Spanish pilgrim who’s been living on the Camino de Santiago for the last 7 years, he’s walked many different routes. He lives in a small house and every day puts food, fruit, water and cool drinks for pilgrims who walk by. It’s a donation place. The money that he gets from donations he uses to buy more food for pilgrims. David is an interesting person to talk to but even if you don’t feel like talking, it’s a great rest stop on the way in the middle of nowhere. There are chairs and benches with shadows to sit down and rest.

The historical center of Astorga; the Cathedral, the Gaudi Palace, the Plaza Mayor, Old Roman Walls, etc. The city is not big all the main sights are close to each other. 

My personal highlight staying at a spa hotel in Astorga, it was absolutely worth the money.

The Plaza of Astorga, a nice stop on the Camino Frances
The main square in Astorga, one of the main towns on the Camino Frances

Challenges

  • Long walking day, 31 km/19,8 mi
  • A couple of ascents in the second half of the day

Places to stay in Astorga

Stage 23. Astorga to Foncebadón, 26 km/16 mi

  • Distance – 26 km/16 mi
  • Time – 5h.
  • Walking on asphalt – 6,3 km/3,9 mi
  • Walking on the road – 800 m (few cars)
  • Ascent – 642 m
  • Descent – 100 m
  • Difficulty level – 3 out of 5
Elevation profile stage Astorga to Foncebadón
Elevation profile Camino Francés stage 23, Astorga to Foncebadón

I decided to enjoy my hotel and sleep late (first time on the Camino Frances), I already had an albergue booked so I didn’t have to worry about arriving in time to get a spot. I started walking only at 10.30am. I did it a couple of times when I stayed in private I booked a place for the next night so that I didn’t have to get up early and start walking and could enjoy a nice sleep.

It was a very nice walking day with beautiful scenery I was pleased to see different landscapes, some hills and a little bit of forest, especially in the second half of the walk. Finally, I was out of the Meseta!

Highlights

  • Rabanal del Camino – a beautiful little village
  • Different scenery; green hills, forest, mountains.

Challenges

  • A long ascent in the second half of the walk, 600m up

Places to stay in Foncebadón

Stage 24. Foncebadón to Ponferrada, 27 km/16,7 mi

  • Distance – 27 km/16,7 mi
  • Time – 5h
  • Walking on asphalt – 7,5 km/4,6 mi
  • Walking on the road – 1,7 km/1 mi
  • Ascent – 308 m
  • Descent – 186 m
  • Difficulty level – 3 out of 5
Elevation profile stage 24 of the Camino
Elevation profile stage Foncebadón to Ponferrada, Camino Francés

The first 17km till Molinaseca were absolutely spectacular, one of the best views on the route so far. Right in the beginning at about 2 km/1,2 mi from Foncebadón, you reach the Cruz de Ferro a symbolic place on the Camino Francés where people leave rocks, shells, letters, etc.

Highlights

  • El Cruz de Ferro
  • Spectacular mountain scenery during the first 10 km/6,2 mi
  • A couple of small beautiful towns; El Acebo, Riego de Ambrós, Molinaseca
  • The Historical center of Ponferrada; the castle, the
Molinaseca, French Way of St.James
Molinaseca a pretty little town on the Camino Francés

Challenges

  • Steep and sometimes rocky and slippery descent for 1100 m
  • Walking on the asphalt for the last 5 km/3,1 mi

Places to stay in Ponferrada

Stage 25. Ponferrada to Villafranca de Bierzo, 24 km/15 mi

  • Distance – 24 km/15 mi
  • Time – 4h30min.
  • Walking on asphalt – 18 km/11 mi
  • Walking on the road – 2 km/1,2 mi (on a gravel path along the road)
  • Ascent – 316 m
  • Descent – 351 m
  • Difficulty level – 2 out of 5
Elevation profile stage 25 of the Camino Frances
Elevation profile stage Ponferrada – Villafranca del Bierzo

The beginning of the day was a little bit disappointing though walking out of Ponferrada wasn’t a big issue, it didn’t take long. Once out of the city the route goes through suburbia areas, next to the road not really spectacular scenery compared to the previous two days but the second half was much better and more scenic.

Highlights

  • Beautiful vineyards for the last 10 km/6,2 mi.
  • Villafranca; the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria, the Convent of San Nicolás El Real, the Church of Santiago with its Puerta de Perdón (the Gate of Forgiveness) that get opened only in Holy Years.

Challenges

  • First 11 km/6,8 mi the Camino goes next to the road with the not very impressive scenery.
  • Walking surface, most of the day you walk on asphalt.

Places to stay in Villafranca

Stage 26. Villafranca de Bierzo to O Cebreiro, 28 km/17,3 mi

  • Distance – 28 km/17,3 mi
  • Time – 5h.
  • Walking on asphalt – 18 km/11 mi
  • Walking on the road – 16 km/10 mi along the road with very few cars
  • Ascent – 905 m
  • Descent – 138 m
  • Difficulty level – 4 out of 5
Elevation profile stage 26 of the Camino Frances
Elevation profile stage Villafranca del Bierzo to O Cebreiro

From Villafranca there are two different route options from Villafranca; the main route follows the road from time to time you get to walk on or next to the road, it’s easier with not many ups and downs, and most pilgrims choose it. The second route Camino de la Montaña (the mountain route) goes over the mountains and has more ascents and descents, it’s about 1,5 km/0,9 mi longer as well. Both routes merge 10 km/6,2 mi later in Trabadelo. I took the main route since it’s walked by most people.

Split on the Camino after Villafranca
Two route options on the Camino Francés after Villafranca; the official route (red) and the mountain route (blue).

The day was quite long and tiring especially the last part to O Cebreiro which was the pure ascent to 700 m over 6 km/3,7 mi. The ascent reminded me of the first day on the Camino Frances from St.Jean to Roncesvalles. For some people, it might be very challenging to stop before O Cebreiro is an option. There are really many nice small villages on the way. You can split the day into two and walk 20 km/12,4 mi to Las Herrerias which is just before the ascent and the next day walk 9 km/5,5 mi to O Cebreiro or continue walking past it to the next place.

Highlights

  • Many small cozy villages are on the way; Trabadelo, La Portela de Valcarce, Las Herrerías, La Faba etc.
  • Stunning views on the way from Las Herrerías up to O Cebreiro.
  • Beautiful sunset from the viewpoint in O Cebreiro. 
O Cebreiro view point, Camino Frances
Stunning view from O Cebreiro, Camino Frances

Challenges

  • A lot of walking on the asphalt and along the road.
  • A very steep and long ascent for about 700 m over the last 6 km/3,7 mi, the ascent starts at 21 km/13 mi after Las Herrerías. One of the toughest days on the Camino Frances.

Places to stay in O Cebreiro

Stage 27. O Cebreiro to Triacastela, 20 km/12,4 mi

  • Distance – 20 km/12,4 mi
  • Time – 4h.20min.
  • Walking on asphalt – 2 km/1,2 mi
  • Walking on the road – 0 km
  • Ascent – 305 m
  • Descent – 1063 m
  • Difficulty level – 3 out of 5
Elevation profile stage 27 of the Camino Frances
Elevation profile of the walk from O Cebreiro to Triacastela

It was a very long and tiring day. At 22 km/13,6 mi after Triacastelo there is a split one route goes through Samos a small town with a beautiful monastery it’s the original route, the second route is 6 km/3,7 mi shorter and it goes through San Xil.

Highlights

  • Great views on the way down to Triacastela

Challenges

  • Several ascents and descents in the beginning
  • A long and steep descent to Triacastela

Places to stay in Triacastela

Stage 28. Triacastela to Sarria, 25,5 km/15,8 mi

  • Distance – 25,5 km/15,8 mi
  • Time – 5 hours
  • Walking on asphalt – 11 km/6,8 mi
  • Walking on the road – 6 km/3,7 mi, quiet road, not many cars
  • Ascent – 210 m
  • Descent – 320 m
  • Difficulty level – 2 out of 5

Another split on the Camino Frances at the exit from Triacastela; the right route goes to Sarria through San Xil, the left route goes through Samos. Both routes merge at Aguada, about 5 km/3,1 mi before Sarria. The route through Samos is about 7 km/4,3 mi longer than through San Xil, 26 km/16 mi versus 19 km/11,8 mi. It would be an obvious easy choice (I mean the shorter route of course) if it wasn’t for the spectacular Monastery of Samos an active Benedictine monastery whose history dates back to the 7th century though it was rebuilt quite a few times since then. I really wanted to see it and didn’t regret this decision, a 19-kilometer day sounded too short for me anyway.

Highlights

  • An incredible Galician forest from about 5km after Triacastela, a very peaceful walk with no towns, roads or people.
  • The Monastery of Samos – a beautiful and huge complex if you have the time it’s worth visiting the church.
Monastery of Samos, Spain
Impressive monastery of Samos, Camino Francés

Challenges 

Quite a long stretch in the beginning right after Triacastela along the road, about 4 km/2,4 mi but there were practically no cars.

Arriving in Sarria might be a bit challenging due to the overwhelming number of pilgrims there, Sarria is located just over 100km from Santiago which is the required walking minimum for getting the Compostela. There might be twice as many people on the Camino Frances from Sarria. Don’t worry there are many albergues, restaurants, and hotels on this part of the route.

Places to stay in Sarria

Camino Frances stages 29-33, from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela

A detailed itinerary for the last 5 stages of the Camino Frances from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela can be found in our post “Walking the Camino Frances from Sarria“. As an option after finishing in Santiago, you can continue walking to Finisterre, it’ll take 3-4 more days.

Camino Frances planning resources

Questions or Comments?

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Bill Joyner

Thursday 22nd of February 2024

I appreciate the detail in your 1 month summary and will be using that as part of my planning. I plan on taking several break days and would like a comfortable accommodation and a town with things to see and do. What are your suggestions?

Stingy Nomads

Saturday 24th of February 2024

Hello Bill. Thank you for the comment. I'd suggest spending an extra day in major cities along the Camino Frances e.g. Pamplona, Logroño, Burgos, Leon, and Astorga. These are the main cities on the route and there are many things to see there. Buen Camino

Alan Landy

Wednesday 30th of August 2023

Hi

Can you let me know what equipment you used to capture time and elevation, I assume it has distance as well. I want to make my own maps, I've walked the Camino Frances 4 times, and I like your time and elevation approach. If you are willing to share your raw data with me I would really appreciate it as it would help me do a rough draft. Your elevation profiles look very realistic. Thanks

Alan

Stingy Nomads

Thursday 31st of August 2023

Hello Alan. We use Garmin GPS watches on our hikes and walks. Unfortunately, I can't share with your raw date as it means I have to give you an access to my Garmin profile. Moreover we use our data for creating posts, PDFs, and GPX files on our site. Cheers

Bill Mohrmann

Monday 22nd of May 2023

We are walking the route right now and have found your site to be helpful. However, we have found that many more people than normal are walking so finding a place to stay is very challenging. We had to set up reservation thru the end of the route to confirm that we had a place to stay. Several other people we met have had the same experience. Also, you need to be aware of cyclists. They do not announce their approach and do not respect those walking. It makes for a somewhat dangerous situation.

Eileen Fraker

Saturday 13th of May 2023

I would love the off of your itinerary for the Camino Francés. Thank you Eileen

Stingy Nomads

Monday 15th of May 2023

Hello Eileen. You can find a downloadable PDFs with walking stages and places to stay for the Camino Frances in the second paragraph of this post. Buen Camino

Maria

Friday 14th of April 2023

We are traveling in Europe after we walk from Leon to Santiago. Does anyone know of a way for us to get a piece of luggage from Leon to Santiago? Thank you

Stingy Nomads

Saturday 15th of April 2023

Hello Maria. Thank you for the comment. Just to let you know it's not a forum so anybody is us (Campbell and Alya the owners of the website) answering our readers' questions. As for luggage transfer on the Camino Frances, I'd suggest using Correos (https://www.elcaminoconcorreos.com/en/transfer-luggage), a Spanish post office that offers luggage delivery on the Camino de Santiago. They can deliver stage by stage or all the way to Santiago de Compostela from Leon. They have luggage storage facilities in Santiago close to the Cathedral. Buen Camino

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