From Grandas de Salime to A Fonsagrada, Camino Primitivo, Stage no. 6




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Basic Details

  • Starting point: The town of Grandas de Salime, with 3 pilgrim hostels and all services.
  • Ending point: A Fonsagrada, a Galician town with the population of roughly 5,000 inhabitants, four pilgrim albergues, many other accommodation options, and all services for pilgrims.
  • Availability of alternative routes: While there isn’t any alternative Camino de Santiago route, you have one option. From Grandas de Salime to Castro, you can follow the combination of regional hiking trail PR-AS-108 and the GR trail of GR-109, avoiding road walking, but prolonging your walk from Grandas to Castro by 4.5 kilometers and roughly 200 extra vertical meters. I have mapped it out for you here. In my opinion, it is a nice walk but nothing super spectacular worth making the detour, unless you have a desire in you to really get to know the local hiking trails, or to be totally alone for a few hours on your Camino. This way is marked with yellow and white stripes (the PR-AS-108) and red and whit stripes (the GR-109). You will eventually connect to Camino in Castro, and from there your only option is to follow the official Camino route.
  • Distance: Official Camino route: 26.5 km (download GPS here)
  • Link to online map: Official camino route: here.
  • Elevation difference: +845m, –430m.
  • Difficulty score: 4/5.
  • Beauty score: 3/5.
  • Terrain/asphalt: 55%/45%. While you will spend more time on the unpaved routes and trails than you will walking on paved roads, the truth is that the trails stick pretty much close to the road for the majority of the day. The good news is that local roads aren’t busy at all, and the noise of cars passing by won’t bother you on this day of your pilgrimage. At least most of the time it won’t :).
  • Next stage: Camino Primitivo, Stage no. 7, A Fonsagrada – O Cadavo.
  • Previous stage:  Camino Primitivo, Stage no. 5, Berducedo – Grandas de Salime.


Elevation profile for the route

– You will climb 650 vertical meters on the first 13 kilometers. Which makes for an average climb gradient of roughly 5%, which is relatively easy. Still, it is a long climb and some sections in the later stages of the climb have a gradient of 12%. In the upper parts of the climb you’ll be in the zone of wind turbines (for producing electricity), and as it likely won’t surprise you–it gets quite windy up there on most days. That’s something to take into account when considering the difficulty of the stage… From the top of the climb (1,115 meters above sea level) you will gradually and pleasantly descend for the next 10 kilometers, but make sure to save some energy, because on the last 1.5 kilometers you will climb 150 vertical meters (average gradient of climb over 10% in this section) again. All in all, it makes for quite a difficult stage.


Advanced info about the stage

  • Trail marking: Excellent, and there aren’t any tricky twists and turns on today’s stage, or problematic places in towns where you could have get lost. The only place to pay special attention to is close to Fonsegrada, in a place called “Paradanova” (a bus stop), exactly here, where an alternative camino route, signposted (more on it in the description of next stage of Camino Primitivo) deviates from the official way. The crossroad is well signposted, and you should take the left turn, heading to the center of Fonsegrada. Don’t worry, you will be able to reconnect to this alternative route from Fonsegrada, should you prefer to do so tomorrow, perhaps to enjoy a bit of solitude.
  • Natural places worth seeing: The stage offers some nice views and places worth taking a picture, but the nature isn’t as green and diverse as it was on the previous two stages. The one point worth stopping for views is the following one:
    • The viewpoint Alto de Acebo, on the border of Asturias and Galicia, right on the Camino, location of Google Maps here. Nice views and one of the highest points (in terms of altitude :), 1,115 meters above sea level) of the entire Camino Primitivo. No benches or tables though.
  • Historical, architectural, and culinary places worth seeing:
    • Castro Chao Samartin museum and archeological site, 150 meters detour from the Camino, exact location here. Entrance fee 4 euro/2 euro (with or without the guided tour to the archeological site), the archeological site can be visited only with a guide, whereas the museum you can visit on your own. Open daily from 11am to 5:30pm with a break for siesta between 1pm and 4pm, closed on Mondays. Definitely worth a visit, especially the guided tour of the archeological site. You will be surprised by some artifacts that archeologists found in this location, some of them over 2,000 years old.
    • The chapel of Saint Barbara, right on the Camino, location on maps here. A very nice chapel dating back to 18th century, two tables with benches outside, good place to stop and relax. The chapel was closed when I passed by on the Camino.
  • Camping/bivouac options on this stage: While the stage doesn’t really offer any good options for the wild camping (the only real possibility is in the zone of wind turbines, around here, it is a decently forested area intersected with many routes and you can find a hidden spot to pitch a tent, the problem is the noise the wind turbines make), there is, quite surprisingly to be honest :), an organized camping right on the edge of Fonsegrada:
    • Camping O Fonsagrada, pilgrim friendly, good price & reviews, outdoors swimming pool, dog friendly, restaurant on site (with organic food from their own farm), plenty of shade, availability to pitch your own tent (not all camping places in Spain allow this), and overall a good choice! Maybe in summer months I’d prefer it even to the albergues in Fonsagrada…
  • Dog friendly score: 3/5. There isn’t as much shade as on the previous few stages, and the water is sparse in the zone. You won’t really cross any creeks or rivers today. On the other hand, the terrain is quite nice for the dog, and the roads you will follow aren’t busy with traffic, any time of the day. When it comes to accommodation options, from the albergues in Fonsagrada open at the moment, not a single one accepts pilgrims with dogs. If you want to sleep inside, you will have to continue for 3 km extra to a place called “Complejo O Pineiral“, which is a decent albergue with good reputation and they have no problem with accepting dogs. Location on Google maps here. Other option is staying in a camping in O Fonsagrada (see the paragraph above).
  • Special remarks: Today you cross from the province of Asturias to the province of Galicia, a place where all Caminos end… It means two things for you. First one, that you have already walked half of the Camino Primitivo. Congratulations! It is the nicer half of the two to be honest :), but some sections ahead of you are still worth passing through. And second one is that from now on you don’t have to worried about getting lost, since in entire Galicia the trail marking is really good, with plenty of stone markers on the side of the route. While a tree with a yellow arrow can be cut down, or the arrow can be covered with brown paint, the stone markers cannot really be moved so easily :).


Pictures from the stage

* I forgot to charge my phone the previous night in the albergue, and ran out of battery soon… Hence I have only the two following pictures from this day on the Camino 🙂. It is a bit of an injustice to the stage, since it isn’t a bad one, but that’s how it is…

– The most beautiful works of art one always finds in nature. Stay present, and walk with both your eyes and heart open. The miracles are right there in front of your eyes…

– Another nice doggie on the Camino.

Few tips at the end

  • There are very few services on this stretch of the Camino. Actually all the way between Castro (km 5 of today’s stage) and A Fonsagrada (km 26.5, final point of today’s walk) there is just one restaurant, called Meson Catro Ventos, on km 20, location on Google maps here (it is right on the Camino so there’s no way to miss it). You should not rely on it in all instances, however, since each Tuesday and Wednesday it is closed (all day). Other than that the opening hours are very generous for Spanish places (from 10am to 1am), and you can have your lunch there or at least a coffee. Anyway, that’s the only stop… There are a couple of fountains with drinking water though, probably the best one in a small place called Penafonte (or Penafuente on some maps), roughly km 11 of today’s walk, exact location here. Water won’t be such a big problem, but make sure to buy enough food for the day, ideally in Grandas de Salime.


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