From Ribadeo to Mondonedo, Camino del Norte Stage no. 24




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Basic Details

  • Starting point: The city center of Ribadeo, the town with 2 pilgrim albergues, and a place where you eventually leave the northern coast of Spain, and head southwest, in the direction of Santiago de Compostela.
  • Ending point: The cathedral of Mondonedo, a beautiful “mountain” town with several excellent pilgrim hostels.
  • Availability of alternative routes: No. You do not really have any alternatives here. You just have to get over the hard and long (yet beautiful) day, slowly but certainly entering the rural and hilly part of the province Galicia.
  • Distance: 35 km (download GPS here)
  • Elevation difference: + 1050m, – 950m
  • Link to online map: here.
  • Difficulty score: 5/5, this is a hard stage.
  • Beauty score: 4/5.
  • Terrain/asphalt: 40%/60% . One of the advantages of leaving the coast is that from now on, you will spend considerably less time walking on paved roads. When you walk on the paved roads today, however, they are really quiet with virtually no traffic (the only exception are a few short parts between Vilanova and Mondonedo).
  • Next stage: Camino del Norte, stage no. 25, Mondonedo – Abadin.
  • Previous stage: Camino del Norte, stage no. 23, La Caridad – Ribadeo.


Elevation profile of the route

– As you can see, you have to count with several climbs of considerable steepness and length. Considering the high humidity of the zone, the stage from Ribadeo to Mondonedo is no doubt of the hardest stages of the Camino del Norte.


Advanced info about the stage

  • Trail marking: Excellent, plenty of yellow arrows and other signs for pilgrims. The only problem is the fog, which is common here in any season of the year. Sometimes in the mountain passes it can get so thick that you barely see 10 meters in front of you. In such conditions obviously no marks help you much… Having said that, the orientation isn’t really difficult. Basically you follow small country roads of rural Galicia, always going in the same direction (south-west) and there aren’t really any spots where one can make some terribly wrong turn.
  • Natural places worth seeing: 
    • Miradoro the Santa Cruz: A really nice viewpoint with scenic views, tables, trees, lovely vegetation, some statues and a small chapel. Just outside of Ribadeo, and about 300 meters away from the Camino (a climb up :)). Nice place for a first rest of today’s walk, or perhaps for taking a late breakfast (there is a restaurant in the zone, it opens 10:30 every day).
    • The beauty of rural yet not poor Galicia, that you can observe on many parts of today’s walk (see the gallery below). No need to make any detours, the sign-posted camino will take you to some nice complexes of buildings characteristic for the agriculture and animal husbandry lifestyle that is prevalent in this zone.
  • Historical, architectural, and culinary places worth seeing:
    • Monasterio de San Salvador de Lourenza: A beautiful monastery with the present building dating back to 17th century. Of course the history is much longer, and you can check it on the Wikipedia page if you want. In any case, it is a nice place, on a beautiful square of Vialnova, always with good vibes, several cafes nearby, etc. It is right on the camino, no detours needed.
    • The city center of Mondonedo: A beautiful cathedral from 13th century is the main highlight and the central point of the town. However, there are several other nice spots, fountains, statues, and the town has a completely different vibe that the coastal towns you have passed through on your Camino until now. There are also many explanatory boards in the city, some of them also in English language, so you can also read a bit about these nice places :).
  • Camping/bivouac options on this stage: Wild camping or bivouacking isn’t hard at all. Just remember that you are not on the coast anymore, and the spots won’t be as picturesque. But there are many more trees, mountains, and taking a small detour to any of them, you will find a decent spot to pass the night outside. If I should recommend a spot close to Mondonedo in particular, I would go with the ruins of the Monastery de los Picos, on a hill above the town.  The spot isn’t very touristic, you have great views, level ground, and should be able to find a spot where you won’t be too much on the eyes. If you spend a nice afternoon exploring the town and getting some provisions, and walk to the hill just in the evening, you do not have to worry about meeting anyone there… There aren’t any organized camping places in the zone.
  • Dog friendly score: 4/5. Most dogs will love this part of Galicia. There is always enough water, roads are practically without any traffic, you have always many trees around. The only downside is that none of the pilgrim hostels in Mondonedo accept dogs. However, there is one donation-based pilgrim hostel in Vilanova that accept dogs, called albergue Triskel. If you walk the Camino with a dog and want to sleep inside (and have a nice showed and everything), this is the place that I recommend.
  • Special remarks: What I have noticed while walking in this zone is that the number of pilgrims drops a lot. Many people simply love the coast, and end their walk in Ribadeo. And those who love mountains typically turn to Camino Primitivo before Gijon. It doesn’t mean that there won’t be any pilgrims. There will be some, but since there are more pilgrim hostels and less people, in this zone you virtually do not have to worry about getting a bed whatsoever. Which means you can walk with more freedom, without making reservations, and simply decide on the stop where you want to end your day…

Accommodation options on today’s stage

* The infographic displays the number of pilgrim hostels (only pilgrims allowed), hostels (anyone allowed, shared rooms), and other accommodation options (hotels, pensions, etc, private rooms) in each point along the route, together with price range. For exact explanation of the pictograms we use check the explanations page. Below the infographic you will see our recommended picks (up to 3 pilgrim options and 1-2 “privacy” options, maximum five) for the stage, together with important information (but not too much info, just what you need :-)).

Recommended places to sleep along this stage

Pilgrim options:

  1. Albergue a Pena, Vilela (km 6). 17 beds, 12 euro/night. Location and reviews on Google maps here. An albergue in the premises of a restaurant. Good reviews across all pilgrim platforms. A nice alternative for those who either want to avoid Ribadeo, or do not get a bed in town. Has mixed reviews from regular guests, but good reviews from pilgrims. Obviously everyone eats in the restaurant belonging to the same owner (there is no kitchen or anything), and that’s why the price is so affordable (they make extra money from the dinner you have). Anyway, definitely a good place for one night. Check-in from noon, you can reserve your bed on a phone number +34 982 137 629.
  2. Albergue Triskel, Vilanova de Lourenza (km 27). Location and reviews on Google maps here. 12 beds, donation-based. A nice albergue in a traditional camino style. Very clean, fully-equipped kitchen, and a nice host. Good reviews on all pilgrim platforms. Check-in from 2pm to 10pm, recommended way of making a reservation: phone call, +34 696 570 192.
  3. Albergue del Montero, Mondonedo (km 35). Location and reviews on Google maps here. 38 beds, 18 euro/night. In my opinion the best albergue in Mondonedo. It forms a part of a hotel (can be used as a “privacy” option too, you can get a private room from 50 euro/night), but one can feel from attention to detail and the communal zones that the owners care for pilgrims, and did not make this extension just to make money from pilgrims passing through the city. Check-in from noon, recommended way of making a reservation:


Privacy/luxury options:

  1. Santa Emilia Bed and Breakfast, Mondonedo (km 35). Location and reviews on Google maps here. A true luxury in Mondonedo. Location, atmosphere, elegance, garden, attention of the host–everything is spotless. Rooms start at 100 euro/night. The host speaks well English. Check-in from 3pm to 6pm. Recommended way of making a reservation:

Pictures from the stage

– The sheer beauty of rural and foggy Galicia. This part of Spain one cannot mistake with any other part of the country.

– The core of Galician production are crops and animal products. You will pass next to many fields on your way towards Santiago.

– A pleasant path among fields and little hills, it sort of characterizes today’s stage (of course the hills are not that pleasant, but at least nice scenery helps to get over them in good spirits).

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 🙂

– The stage offers plenty of shade and trails, and hence it is great to walk also with a dog.

– The chapel of San Paolo, on your final descent to Mondonedo.

– The center of Mondonedo, with an ancient “lavadero”, or a place where local women went to wash the clothes back in the day, when washing machines did not exist and people lived a much more simple life as we live today…


Few tips at the end

  • Fog and high humidity is very typical for this zone. Even if the weather is pleasant, you will easily get wet from head to toes on one of the climbs of today’s stage. If you have a tendency to get sick in such a weather, make sure to have a dry t-shirt at hand, so you can always change at the top of the hill.
  • If you’re not sure whether you will manage the 35 to Mondonedo, you can give it a shot and if you actually do not feel that well, you can end your day in a small town called Vilanova de Lourenza, 27 kilometers from Ribadeo. The small town has a stunning number of pilgrim hostels, because there’s not much else going on in town, and locals try to make some money while offering bed to the pilgrims. There are so many beds that you actually do not even have to book in advance. Just try to go to Mondonedo, and if you feel it is too much during the day, or the weather isn’t favorable, you can just stop in Vilanova and get a bed in one of the hostels for pilgrims.


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