The first “Towns Along the Way” post of 2016 will be about towns beginning with F. Let me know if you have stayed in any of these towns. For more in this series, check out my Archive.
La Faba (map)
La Faba, meaning The Beans in Spanish, is a small mountain town between Villafranca del Bierzo and El Cebreiro. It has a population of just over 30 people. While the name of the village doesn’t stand out, it has one of the best albergues on the Camino Frances; Albergue de la Faba. I have not stayed here myself, prefering to walk on to O Cebreiro, another 5km on. Once you reach La Faba, and it’s a long climb, you won’t have far before arriving at the Galician border. I found this stage particularly tough and couldn’t move that much on waking the next morning!
One of many many small Galician hamlets that you will pass through while on the Camino. This particular town has 50 or so inhabitants and is approximately 14km from Sarria. There is nothing very eye catching in this town however, keep an eye out for the Iglesia de Santa María de Ferreiros which has an unusual cemetery. The scenery is very shire-esque and when passing through, make sure you stop at Casa Cruceiro for a cafe con leche and sello. There are a number of places to stay there also (gronze.com). Just another 104km to go to Santiago.
Another Galician town and one so small I almost considered leaving it out from the list. Fillobal is situated some 4km before Triacastela and has a population of just 9. The town does hold a cafe and an albergue for pilgrims however at Albergue Fillobal. On walking through here in 2012, I was so focused on arriving at Triacastela, I passed Fillobal in the blink of an eye.
From Galicia, we move to Castilla and the Leon hills. Like Fillobal, it has a tiny population, possibly 20-30 people. It is situated between Rabanal del Camino and Molinaseca if you were to follow Mr Brierley’s bible. More and more people, however, are choosing to finish walking for the day in Foncebadon. It is very near to the Cruz de Ferro and watching the sun rise from there is pretty special. The climb up to Foncebadón can be tough but the views are ideal. There is evidence of an empty town with plenty of abandoned houses. But the Camino is bringing growth to the area. During the summer months, it can be busy and there are accommodation, albergues and bars (gronze.com). I haven’t stayed there myself, choosing to stay in the town beforehand, Rabanal del Camino. Maybe next year.
From Leon, we return swiftly to Galicia and not too far from Fillobal. Fonfria is some 9km from Triacastela. Again, it is a typical Galician town with green the predominant colour and many of the buildings are made of stone slabs. This is rural Spain at it’s finest. The town does have a selection of albergues and pensions also (gronze.com). On leaving Fonfria, you have a steep climb to Alto do Poio and then a further 150km to Santiago!
The final town beginning with F and close to 450km to Santiago is Frómista. It is situated in the province of Palencia and has a population of just under 1000 people. It has plenty of amenities that a large town would have so many people choose here to lay their head for the night (gronze.com). One of the main attractions of the town is the Iglesia de San Martin (pictured). I prefer to stay in Boadilla del Camino, the previous town, although the next time I pass through Fromista, that may change. You will be close to the half way point at this stage on reaching Fromista, although the official half way point is just before Sahagun.