From Bodenaya to Borres, Camino Primitivo, Stage no. 3




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Basic Details

  • Starting point: The albergue of Bodenaya (one of the most famous pilgrim hostels on all Caminos, donation based).
  • Ending point: Borres, a small hamlet of roughly 90 inhabitants with two pilgrim albergues and a bar. It is the typical starting point for the most beautiful stage of Camino Primitivo that will lead you over the ancient pilgrim hospitals, and to the highest point of this Camino.
  • Availability of alternative routes: No.
  • Distance: 28.5 km (download GPS here)
  • Link to online map: Official camino route: here.
  • Elevation difference: + 740m, – 735m.
  • Difficulty score: 4/5.
  • Beauty score: 3/5.
  • Terrain/asphalt: 60%/40%. Don’t worry too much about the paved roads on this stage. There’s virtually no traffic, and even the paved sections pass through nice nature.
  • Next stage: Camino Primitivo, Stage no. 4, Borres – Berducedo.
  • Previous stage:  Camino Primitivo, Stage no. 2, Grado – Bodenaya.


Elevation profile for the route

– The most tricky part is actually the descent from km 17 to km 21, pretty steep in some sections and it rainy weather the muddy parts can get quite technical for some people. Other than the climb in the middle, today’s stage is a nice succession of many smaller climbs and descent, with climbing gradient just rarely surpassing 6%.


Advanced info about the stage

  • Trail marking: Almost spotless, with each turn marked with yellow arrows and no recent changes to the marking. You can calmly walk this stage without relying on your phone for navigation, since it is almost impossible to get lost.
  • Natural places worth seeing: 
    • The lagoon El Arenao, 1.5 km detour from the Camino. Location on Google maps here. A beautiful place frequented by locals on weekends. Nice green area with picnic tables, trees, definitely a good camping spot too (more in the camping section). In some periods of the year the place is frequented by fishermen, but this really depends on the season.
    • Mirador de Letizia – A scenic viewpoint, right on the Camino, with beautiful views and some messages locals left for pilgrims. It is about 1.5 kilometers after Tineo, you can see the exact location here.
    • Overall as you can see from the pictures below, this is a nice stage nature-wise, with plenty of views on the local mountain ranges, and the beautiful small hamlets of the zone.
  • Historical, architectural, and culinary places worth seeing: 
    • Capilla del Cristo de los Afligidos, right on the Camino, 2 kilometers after Bodenaya. Exact location here. A nice chapel from 15th century with beautiful Hortensia flowers around the walls. According to my information the chapel is only rarely open, but it is worth seeing from the outside as well.
    • The museum of sacred art of Tineo, on the square of Antonion Martinez in Tineo, to get a better idea of the exposition check this link. Opening hours: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays: 3pm- 5pm. Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays: 10am-11:59am. Entrance fee 1 euro, pilgrims may get a free entrance (show them the credential). Definitely worth a visit for anyone into Christian art.
    • Monastery of Santa Maria de Obona, location on Google maps here. The monastery complex dating back to 13th century is relatively well preserved, and the place breathes some history. It is about 500 meters detour from the Camino, uphill., but definitely worth making.
  • Camping/bivouac options on this stage: Decent for camping or even bivouacking. You can try your luck in the zone near the ruins of the monastery of Santa Maria de Obona–if you’re not afraid of the ghosts (see the paragraph above), or even the Lagoon outside of Tineo (see the “natural places worth seeing” section). Or once you reach Borres, you can just take any small path up the mountain, and encountering a flat spot that isn’t inside a fenced zone you can camp there. Once again, there isn’t any official camping ground in the zone.
  • Dog friendly score: 4/5. Worse than yesterday, since we have left the river in the valley bellow, and on today’s stage you won’t find many refreshing spots for your dog, such as river crossing or small creeks crossing your path. Having said that, the terrain is still very pleasant, the road sections have almost no traffic, and while none of the two albergues in Borres accepts dogs, there is a wonderful donativo albergue called Casa Pascual (location on Google maps here), run by an Italian women Silvia, which accepts dogs with no problems. Definitely a fantastic place to stay for a night for anyone walking the Primitivo with a dog.
  • Special remarks: Regardless of whether you spend an evening in one of the pilgrim hostels in Borres, or with Silvia in El Espin, or even in some other place, consult locals for the weather for tomorrow. The way over the ancient hospitals is considered the nicest part of entire Camino Primitivo, but it is on the mountain ridge, and if the weather is stormy or very rainy, you better take the alternative route which avoids the hospitals. Locals (people running the albergues in the zone) know better than anyone what signs to look for and weather services are reliable for the zone, and can give you actual information, to help you with your decision for the next day.


Pictures from the stage

– A typical terrain for the middle section of Camino Primitivo. Wide unpaved routes, not too steep either up or down and not technical, unless you are unlucky with a rather rainy weather when these roads get quite muddy.

– Fog is very common on Camino Primitivo, especially in late summer and early autumn, and especially in the morning :).

– Grass is still pretty green in late August on Primitivo, due to the decent amount of rainfall this zone gets. If you walk Camino Frances in the same period of the year, almost all the way will be super dry already…

– My Italian pilgrim friend Teodoro, next to one of the several resting areas for pilgrims on this stage of the Primitivo.

Tineo (or “Tineu”), the biggest town on this section of the Primitive route, with over 9,000 inhabitants, all services, and three pilgrim albergues. Ideal to buy your provisions for the rest of the stage and for the next day, where you won’t have an opportunity to buy anything during the day.


If you find any information on this page incorrect or outdated, or have a suggestion how to improve it for fellow pilgrims, please let us know. Thank you for helping the pilgrim community, and buen Camino 🙂

Few tips at the end

  • If you’re picky about the food you eat on your way (perhaps trying to lose weight on the Camino), make sure to do your shopping in Tineo, where you will find big shops like Alimerka or Carefour Express with a very decent offer. There is one more small shop in a place called Campiello, three kilometers before Borres, but they offer rather limited selection. There is no shop in Borres (only vending machines) and on tomorrow’s stage you won’t pass along any bars or shops all day long, until you reach Berducedo, the ending point of the stage. Now this doesn’t mean that you have to add 3 kilos of extra food for tomorrow’s walk, or that you cannot stock on some provisions even in the bending machines in Borres… But if you’re into healthy eating, such as some nice fruits, veggies, nuts, good bread, etc, you better do your shopping in Tineo.
  • The total capacity of the albergues in Borres is 32 places. This was  enough just a few years ago, but with the popularity of Camino Primitivo growing each year, it can easily happen that you won’t get a bed, especially if you do not walk that fast. Hence just to be on the safe side, I recommend you making a reservation in the one albergue that offers such an option, called Albergue La Montera. If there’s no space, you can also stay in a great donation-based pilgrim hostel Albergue de Samblismo, which offers a communal dinner with other pilgrims (also donation based), or the albergue of Silvia in El Espin. Plenty of options in this nice zone of Asturias…


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