Towns Along The Way – “F”

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)

SAM_1024La 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!

Ferrerios (map)

elcamino2007stage29th361aOne 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.

Fillobal (map)

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.

Foncebadón (map)

foncebadon-6From 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.

Fonfría (map)

From Leon, we return swiftly to Galicia and not too far from Fillobal. 18045965Fonfria 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!

Frómista (map)

fromista2The 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.

 

9 thoughts on “Towns Along The Way – “F”

  1. Hola peregrino !
    On my Camino back in September 2011 I stayed in both La Faba and Fonfria.The Albergue de La Faba is run by a German Confraternity and I have very fond memories of my stay there.It’s not the fanciest Albergue or the Albergue with the most modern amenities but simply has a special warm and peaceful atmosphere. On rereading my Camino journal from that time I noted that ‘ reaching the Albergue de la Faba after the last tough 2km from Las Herrerias up a particularly winding , rocky path was like reaching an oasis after crossing a desert’ . I was probably exaggerating a little but at the time I remember if felt a tough stretch.There was a small bar in La Faba which did a nice menu peregrino and the Albergue is in a wonderful leafy hillside setting next to a beautiful ancient Church that has evening mass.The walk the next morning to O’Cebreiro was beautiful as the sun was rising and the views stunning with the grey/blue mountains turning a wonderful pinkish colour.

    The walk from La Faba to Fonfria is about 18km and a comfortable days walking allowing a decent stop in O’Cebrreiro for some food and souvenir shopping if inclined ! Back in 2011 I noted in my journal that ‘Fonfria is a one horse village…with no horse !’ But the Albergue a Reboleira was very good.Terrific sturdy bunk beds and an excellent communal menu del dia for peregrinos . There was also a nice sitting area with comfy chairs and sofas. The Albergue is attached to a small bar so plenty of vino tinto and Gallician sidra on offer ! The Lady running the bar/Albergue was dedighted to see my Irish Pilgrims passport and insisted on playing Christy Moore and Planxty in the bar for me. Staying in Fonfria sets you up nicely for a handy 18kms walk to Samos with the walking from Fonfria to Triacastella particurlarly nice. Anyway that was all 5 years ago now so things may have changed along the way,hopefully not too much !!

    Peadar

  2. Hola Peader! Happy New Year!
    I walked through both La Faba and Fonfria in 2012 so my memories are a little vague. I could talk about towns in La Rioja or Navarra until the day ends, but I’m a little hazy on Galician towns 🙂
    I did stop at La Faba for a break and to catch my breath. The climb is something else but the break was just what I needed. I had booked a room in O Cebreiro prior to starting my 2012 Camino and had to stay there, otherwise I would have stayed in La Faba. The little cafe that you passed in 2011 was there when I passed through, however I don’t know if it is there now.
    I am returning in August or September this year from Ponferrada and will walk to the coast so may stop there this time. O Ceb, while a nice town is aimed at the tourist, and doesn’t have a great albergue, so I may skip it and aim for Fonfria.
    You should post your journal online Peader, alot of people would find your notes useful. I often regret not taking notes from my 2011 Camino from Sarria. In many ways, my return to Galicia will be like walking into new territory as my memories have faded. However, I do remember my times in Portomarin and Palas de Rei. I’m sure in those 5 years, there are many new albergues and bars that have sprung up. By the way, there were no pictures attached to your 2nd and 3rd comments, just to let you know. If you could try again, I’d appreciate that.
    David

  3. Adding another vote to stay in La Faba on one of your trips. The town is smal and peaceful, the albergue (run by the German Confraternity) was one of the friendliest, most inviting places we stayed. And as an added bonus, you can make the final ascent into O’Cebreiro at dawn, when the light is beautiful and peaceful.

    We were there in June 2015 and there is still a cafe in town with a good pilgrim menu.

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