When we think of the epic pilgrimage in Europe, probably a few names come up like the very popular and social Camino Frances, the scenic Camino del Norte or even the beloved Camino Portugues. All these roads are the most well-known routes, but certainly not the only ones in the large network of pilgrimage roads. Camino De Invierno is one of those you probably have never heard of, and if you didn’t, you might want to hear more about it, as it is a beautiful alternative to reaching the iconic Santiago de Compostela city.
Introducing Camino De Invierno
To this day, Camino De Invierno (Winter Way) is waiting to be discovered by more people, as the French Way still dominates the selection of modern pilgrims.
It is a last portion of the most popular route, the Camino Frances which will become 250km instead of having 200km while staying on the French way.
The name of the route indicates its connection with the winter season. According to history, it was primarily used to avoid snowy mountains and difficult mountain passes in the El Cebreiro mountains during winter season.
What To Expect
Camino De Invierno just might surpass the expectations for those who opt out for this off the beaten path experience.
Expect the road to be much quieter and serene with lesser crowds and more tranquility along the way. The elevations gains and steeper parts will come with great rewards of beautiful landscapes and ancient sites.
Discover UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Las Medulas and historical castles such as Castle of Cornatel perched beautifully on a hill. Besides that, travelers will enjoy rural parts of Galicia, charming rivers as their companions and soothing natural surroundings.
For those who wonder about marking shall have no worries! The trail is well marked with a handful of pilgrim facilities like albergues along the way.
Why Take It
Not only the French Way is already clogged with pilgrims all the way, but the last portion of it can become a highway of hikers with very high traffic and sometimes overwhelming crowds as many people come to walk the last 100 kilometers to Santiago De Compostela.
Camino De Invierno is for those who are looking to avoid huge crowds, have an authentic experience, discover the parts untouched by tourism and have a moment of solitude in the last parts of this unbelievable journey.
How To Find It
Once you reach albergue in Ponferrada two options will be available – either continue on the French Way or take a chance with this mysterious and unheard path.
Soon after leaving the albergue there will be a visible and well-placed sign with a ceramic conch shell that will indicate the start of the Camino De Invierno. Enjoy!