Towns Along the Way – “I – L”
We are back! Let’s get right into it! Again, if you have stayed in any of these towns, please feel free to comment and let me know of a good or bad experience.
Itero de la Vega (map)
Yet another small town with just over 200 people living there. It is situated between Castrojeriz and Boadilla del Camino in Palencia and is the first town you will encounter after climbing the rugged Alto de Mostalares. You are on the Meseta plain now. Your feet will thank you if you stop here for a rest. I have passed through this town on a number of occasions and stopped for a bite to eat before stopping in Boadilla del Camino for the night. The town has plenty of albergues (Gronze) and all in all, from my time passing through, it looks like a pleasant place. In 2013, before entering the village, I was greeted by a BBC filming crew who were recording a series about Pilgrimages across the world. While I was asked a number of questions, there were no cameras used. Shame….I could have been famous! 🙂
Laguna de Castilla (map)
The last town in Leon you will pass and the last town before arriving at O Cebreiro. Laguna de Castilla or La Laguna is home to just over 30 people and is pretty rural. There is also a great albergue there – La Escuela (Gronze). This albergue is probably overlooked as most people want to reach the top of the hill and O Cebreiro.
While technically not on the Camino itself, it is listed as an end-stage town in Brierley’s guidebook, causing a bit of confusion. To access Larrasoaña, you cross a gothic bridge aptly named “Puente de los Bandidos“.
It is situated in Navarra between Zubiri and Pamplona and is home to over 130 people. The town has plenty of albergues (Gronze) and many people walk from Roncesvalles and stay the night there. I chose to stay in Zubiri a few kilometres before, in September 2014. The Dutch volunteers in Roncesvalles placed a notice in the albergue that bed bugs were found in the main municipal in Larrasoaña, causing a little bit of panic. However, when I reached Larrasoaña a number of days later, it was discovered that they were in the middle of their fiesta. I didn’t cross the bridge to enter the town that day, but chose to walk on.
When you reach Lavacolla, you will know that you don’t have far to go to Santiago. Home to just under 200 people, it is also home to Santiago airport. Watch out for the planes flying overhead as you pass through this suburb. It is in fact 10km away from the cathedral. Should you wish to stay here, there are a number of hostales (Gronze) although personally, I would be eager to reach my destination! Lavacolla is also where medieval pilgrims used to wash before arriving at Santiago.
Another town within a stone’s throw of Santiago, 60km in fact. It is located between Palas de Rei and Melide and has a population of just over 60 people. There are no listed albergues or hostales in this hamlet so Melide is the next town, 5km further on, should you wish to find somewhere to stay.
Further back on the Camino, Lédigos is located between Carrion de los Condes and Terradillos de los Templarios. It is in Palencia and is home to barely 6o people. It is so small that you can pass through it within minutes.
In 2013, I walked through it, but in May 2015, I stayed in El Palomar albergue. At that time, there was one albergue but now there are two (Gronze). Lédigos is very much a rustic town so if you are looking to stay somewhere that is not an albergue, then Terradillos would be the place.
Back in Galicia, Lestedo is situated just outside Palas de Rei. You will have just over 70 kms to walk when you reach here. It is home to just under 50 people and has a few albergues to choose from (Gronze). My tip – keep walking to Palas de Rei as you will have a greater selection of facilities there.
Ligonde is another hamlet in Galicia, situated between Portmarin and Palas de Rei. You will have just under 80 kms left to Santiago when you arrive here. Not that far to go! It has a number of albergues that are popular (Gronze). This is another town I passed through, the last time I walked in Galicia in 2011.
The final town in Galicia for this post is Liñares. It is the first hamlet after O Cebreiro (3km afterward). It has a population of just over 60 people and has one casa rural to its name (Gronze). It’s not noted as a Camino town but as it is on the Camino, it was best to mention it!
Linzoáin (or Lintzoain) is situated in Navarra, between Roncesvalles and Zubiri. It is home to just over 60 people. While based on the Camino, it does not have any albergues nor does not have any facilities.
Lorca (or Lorka in Basque) is also based in Navarra, close to Estella. It has a population of just under 150 people and has a number of albergues (Gronze). I have stopped off here for a cafe con leche in 2014 and again in 2018. The stage from Puente la Reina to Estella hugs the main road so the stop off here provides some light relief. The albergues have received some good reviews so I will pencil in a stop the next time I walk through this area.
León is the capital of the province of the same name and one of the most important cities on the Camino. It is situated between Sahagun, to the east, and Ponferrada, to the east. It is also the place where the Camino del Salvador starts. Over 131,680 people call this city home. It was originally founded as a Roman city, and their walls still stand to this day (below). I passed through in 2013 and witnessed a celebration of this Roman heritage. Actors celebrated the past by role-playing combat, just outside the large Cathedral de Santa Maria.
León’s historical and architectural heritage make it a destination of both domestic and international tourism. Some of the city’s most prominent historical buildings are the Cathedral (below), the finest example of French-style classic Gothic architecture in Spain, the Basilica de San Isidoro, one of the most important Romanesque churches in Spain and the Hostal de San Marcos.
One of my greatest memories of León is from 2013. I had finished my Camino for that year and was due to travel back home to Ireland the following day. I had said my goodbyes to my fellow peregrinos who were staying in the main albergue. I was downbeat. I decided to visit the Cathedral. While inside, I spent a good 30 minutes listening to a choir sing. They lifted my spirits. I later learned that they were also pilgrims who were travelling on to Santiago. That memory will stick with me.
On reaching León, you will have over 300km to walk before arriving at Santiago de Compostela. Many pilgrims use León as a starting point to Santiago and gain their compostela. Here you can find plenty of albergues and hostales, as with all major cities (Gronze). In 2012 and 2013, I stayed in the very comfortable Posada Regia and in 2015, I rested my weary head and feet in Leon Hostel, which is just beside the Cathedral.
If you have a few hours to spare after your walk into León, talk a walk around the small streets and plazas and soak up the atmosphere. This video shows you some of this fine city.
Logroño is the capital of the La Rioja province in northern Spain. The population of the city is just over 150,000 and is the largest city you will walk through after leaving Pamplona 3 to 4 days earlier. The city is the centre of trade in Riojan wine. You should arrive in Logroño in 7 or 8 days if you follow Brierley’s guide.
Walking into Logroño is far from attactive as the Camino hugs the main road. Some choose to by-pass the city as a result and walk to Navarrete. You will spot the large green “Comunidad de La Rioja” sign before you enter the city and later on the “Puente de Piedra” bridge over the Ebro river. Logroño awaits you at this stage.
There are plenty of places to stay (Gronze) also. There are over 50 “taperías” located near the town centre. The traditional tapas restaurants often serve only one tapa, meaning one serving, or media ración (half portion), a small plate of tapas. Calle de Laurel, known as “the path of the elephants” is the main street where restaurants and tapas bars offer some of the best pinchos and tapas in northern Spain. Calle Portales is the main street in the old town, where people like to walk and sit in the terraces to eat a meal or drink wine. Finally, make sure you visit the Co-catedral de Santa María de la Redonda close to Calle Portales. It is also in the old town and was designated a protected building in 1931. The cathedral, while not as large as Leon or Burgos, is a fine work of art.
And here is Logrono in 5 minutes:
Los Arcos (Map)
Los Arcos (meaning The Arches in English) is a town in Navarra, much smaller than Logroño, with over 1,000 inhabitants. It is situated between Estella and Logroño. It has a number of albergues, all of which have received good reviews (Gronze). The town has a large main plaza which always seems to be filled with pilgrims. The church of Santa Maria is worth a visit for its exquisite design. I managed to stay in Los Arcos in September 2018 on my way to Burgos. The albergue Casa de la Abuela is one of the best and I loved my time there.