Two weeks or less to walk the Camino? Sarria to Santiago is an excellent option. There is something for everyone along this section: historic sites and churches, beautiful views, local cuisine and the companionship of other pilgrims, to name a few.
The countryside is beautiful and it is the perfect walk to get a taste of Spanish culture and the rural lifestyles in Spain. There are plenty of villages to stop at along the way, too, so you can walk as little as 10km per day or up to 30km per day. It’s easily accessed by rail from Madrid.
I have many fabulous memories from my Sarria to Santiago Camino walk.
- The scenic lookout which is home to a modern take on the cross at calvary (Miradoiro do Carcera). The views across the whole township and across to surrounding mountain ranges are spectacular.
- The Antiga Prison Comercal. This former prison is now a gallery showcasing local artists and is a great place to add a stamp to your passport.
- The Mirador restaurant and bar has magnificent views of the Mino River and a great menu and wine list.
- The Igrexa de San Juan church. This church was relocated before the original town was flooded with the creation of the Belesar Reservoir. Look out for the numbers on each stone which were used to rebuild.
- An archaeological site here is missed by many pilgrims as it isn’t signed, but it is in John Brierley’s A Pilgrim’s Guide. Take the time to walk through this significant site, where the remains of the castle interior walls are surrounded by several deep trenches used to defend against the Roman soldiers.
- Try the local delicacy of pulpo (octopus) at one of the two famous pulperia (Ezequiel or A Garnacha), which are both on the Camino path.
- This town is renowned for its cheese, so be sure to try Arzua cheese in a deli or with your meal at a local restaurant.
Casa Tia Dolores
- Between Salceda and O’Pedrouzo is a unique beer garden where pilgrims can leave their mark when they have finished their beer. They write on their empty beer bottle and it is placed in the garden.
- Casa de Amancio has a great little cafe where pilgrims over the years have left blessings by way of coins tucked in amongst the stone walls. It is a great place to stop for refreshments before the final climb up to Mt Gozo.
- The Mount Gozo monument to the visit of Pope John Paul II is an impressive monument that is visible from a few kilometres away. Less prominent are the smaller statues of two pilgrims looking towards Santiago which are to the left. Follow the path to the smaller pilgrim statues for uninterrupted views down to Santiago de Compostela.
- Walking through the arch and down the stairs to the Cathedral entrance with bagpipes playing was an emotional experience for me — both for the happiness of reaching my goal and the sadness of my walk coming to an end.
These pop up in random places along the path, some selling crafts, others making traditional wax or jewelled seals for your pilgrims passport.
Sites I missed but don’t want you to:
- Walking the granite staircase (Escalinata Maior) to the old quarter, taking in historic stone houses and views.
Ventas De Naron
- Collecting an emblematic stamp for my passport and ringing the bell at the entrance of Knights Templar Capela da Magdalena, a former hospital.
Vilar De Donas
- On the camino path just after the village of Portos an alternate path takes you to Igrexa San Salvador, a former convent. It houses stone effigies of the Knights Templar, with their expressive faces.
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