The Camino Primitivo, or Original Way, is considered to be the very first of the pilgrimage routes to Santiago and is believed to have been the route taken by King Alphonse II in the 9th century. The Camino Primitivo is also the link between the Northern Way, which starts in San Sebastian and ends in Oviedo, and the French Way, which merges with the Camino Primitivo in Melide, after Lugo. So if you want to walk completely off the beaten track and experience only the part of the Camino Primitivo which does not coincide with the final stage of the traditional Camino Frances, this is the itinerary for you.
The Camino Primitivo is a route that is both quieter and more demanding compared to the French Way or the Portuguese Way as it crosses the rugged and diverse landscapes of the Asturias in Northern Spain, where you will witness spectacular views of the Embalse de Salime, the River Navia and the surrounding mountains. It is highly recommended for those who have already completed the traditional Camino routes and a looking for a more challenging and rewarding walk.
This ‘In Comfort’ itinerary includes a selection of hand-picked charming guesthouses and family-run 3- or 4-star hotels. Note that we have chosen not necessarily the most expensive or fanciest places but such with unique character, style and great service.
- Oviedo – Asturias’ capital
- The first and original Way of St. James
- Green throughout the year and impressive landscapes and authentic villages
- Roman Walls of Lugo – part of UNESCO’s World Heritage List
Click to view map
Day 1: Arrive in Oviedo
Oviedo is the medieval capital of Asturias and also a delightful university town. If you arrive early, you can explore its many monuments and churches. Visit the Gothic Cathedral devoted to San Salvador, an important Saint for pilgrims going to Santiago. Enjoy the lively atmosphere in the old town centre with plenty of cafés, restaurants, bodegas and cider houses, just around the corner from your comfortable 4-star hotel.
- Accommodation: 4-star hotel in Oviedo (Campoamor or similar)
Day 2: Oviedo – Grado | 24km
Start your first walk of the Camino Primitivo, following the Jacobean copper shells through the narrow lanes in the city centre, then out into the green Asturian countryside. Tarmac lanes and old footpaths will take you past quiet villages. From Puerma, you continue along the main road to Grado. From there, a short transfer will bring you to a charming rural hotel in Sama de Grado.
- Walking for the day: 24km, 6-7h, ↑250m ↓375m
- Accommodation: 3-star rural hotel in Sama de Grado (Casa de la Veiga or similar), breakfast and dinner included
Day 3: La Espina – Tineo | 11km
Today’s route starts with a short transfer to La Espina. You do a short section on tarmac then the walk to Tineo takes you through quiet woodlands and fields on serene country paths.
- Walking for the day: 11km, 4h, ↑240m ↓240m
- Accommodation: 4-star hotel in Tineo (Palacio de Meras or similar), breakfast included
Day 4: Tineo – Campiello | 18km
After a hearty breakfast in Tineo, you will walk through woodlands to reach the peaceful village of Obona, with its historic Monasterio de Santa María la Real. Then you continue to Campiello and your next accommodation, a welcoming family-run establishment.
- Walking for the day: 18km, 6h, ↑500m ↓300m
- Accommodation: 2-star rural hotel in Campiello (Casa Herminia or similar), breakfast and dinner included
Day 5: Borres / La Mortera – Berducedo | 18-22km
Our driver will take you to Borres or La Mortera to begin your walk along the original high route, or “ruta de los hospitales”, crossing steep slopes to reach the high pass of Puerto el Palo. Pilgrims’ hospitals were built here centuries ago – on either side of the mountain pass – due to the extreme weather conditions in winter. You will enjoy superb views on your way up. From the pass, you’ll continue for another 9.5km – mainly on road – to reach your hotel in Berducedo.
- Walking for the day: 22km, 8-9h, ↑615m ↓450m (from Borres) or 18km, 7h, ↑520m ↓450m (easier option, from La Mortera)
- Accommodation: albergue in Berducedo (Casa de Aldea Araceli or similar), breakfast and dinner included
Day 6: Berducedo – Grandas de Salime | 15km
From the tiny village of Berducedo, the Camino first makes an ascent up to the windmills above La Mesa; then, it makes a steep descent down to Lake Salime. You’ll enjoy superb views for the first 5km, then the lovely shade of chestnut trees as you walk down to meet the road. The last 2.5km follow the tarmac road across the dam and up to your hotel in Grandas de Salime, overlooking the lake.
- Walking for the day: 15km, 6h, ↑330m ↓970m
- Accommodation: 2-star rural hotel in Grandas de Salime (Hotel Las Grandas or similar), breakfast and dinner included
Day 7: Fonsagrada / Poboa – Paradavella | 14.5km
Today you begin with a 30min transfer to avoid a long section on the tarmac. As you drive to Fonsagrada, you cross over the border and into Galicia. Your walking route starts in the village of Póboa de Burón and takes you past the old pilgrims’ hospital at Montouto to Paradavella. Short transfer to a beautifully restored old manor house outside Castroverde.
- Walking for the day: 14,5km, 5h, ↑400m ↓650m
- Accommodation: rural house in Castroverde (Casa Rural La Longarela or similar), breakfast and dinner included
Day 8: Castroverde – Lugo | 22km
Today, you will enjoy the beauty of Galician countryside as you walk on quiet tarmac lanes and dirt tracks from one hamlet to the next, passing gorgeous examples of traditional architecture. Finally, you reach Lugo, where you will spend the last overnight.
- Walking for the day: 22km, 6h, ↑150m ↓220m
- Accommodation: 4-star hotel in Lugo (Hotel Mendez Nunes or similar), breakfast included
Day 9: Departure
Arrange extra nights in Lugo or enjoy breakfast and then make your way to the airport.
What to expect
Accommodation is in charming rural hotels and guesthouses and 3/4-star hotels located close to the Camino route. They all have private en-suite rooms and offer a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food. Some have a swimming pool. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. Note that we have chosen not necessarily the most expensive or fanciest places but such with unique character, style and great service.
Click to view default hotels
- Campoamor (Oviedo)
- Casa de la Veiga (Sama de Grado)
- Palacio de Meras (Tineo)
- Casa Herminia (Campiello)
- Casa de Aldea Araceli (Berducedo)
- Hotel Las Grandas (Grandas de Salime)
- Casa Rural La Longarela (Castroverde)
- Hotel Mendez Nunes (Lugo)
*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal or higher value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.
Breakfast is included (usually buffet breakfast/coffee and toast/bread/croissant) on all days, as well as 6 dinners. When no restaurant location is available on the route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. Where no dinner is included, most places serve hearty and reasonably priced pilgrim menus.
Difficulty and terrain
This walk is graded moderate and includes walks of 18 km per day on average (the longest one is 24km); the terrain is flat or hilly (read more about difficulty grades) without steep ascents or descents. You will follow a mixture of dirt roads, woodland paths, minor roads and some busier roads close to the bigger towns and cities. The routes are generally well waymarked, and the itinerary is relatively easy to follow, but please take care at intersections. There will always be other walkers around in case you are looking for help. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.
When to go
This trip is available from mid-April till the end of October. The best months to visit are April – June and September – October as in summer months it may become too hot (and crowded). The flexibility of self guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates, and you can start your trip on any date during the season.
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Our recommended arrival airports for this holiday are Asturias Airport (OVD), Santander (SDR) and Bilbao (BIO).
By train or bus
Arrival in Oviedo
If you are flying to Asturias Airport-Ranon (OVD), there’s a regular shuttle bus service to Oviedo city centre. Departures every hour on the hour. Travel time is 45min.
If you are flying to another airport (Santander-SDR, Bilbao-BIO or Valladolid-VLL), there are good bus connections to Oviedo from those cities. For up to date timetables and reservations, go to www.alsa.es.
Departure from Lugo
If you’re travelling back to Asturias airport (OVD), Santander (SDR) or Bilbao (BIO), there are regular buses from Lugo. Bus tickets can be booked online at www.alsa.es.
- 8 nights in charming hotels and rural houses in private en-suite rooms
- 8 breakfasts
- 5 dinners
- Detailed digital holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions, road notes and maps. Please note that the info pack is emailed to you prior to departure and no printed documents are mailed or provided on-site
- Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days (up to 20kg per person) incl. transport to Santiago
- Private transfers as per the itinerary (day 2, 3, 5, 7, 8)
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative
- Airfare and connecting land transfers
- Lunches and 3 dinners, drinks and snacks
- Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
- Personal expenses
- Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘Included’ in the programme
Options, extras and supplements
- Supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room / single use of a double room
- This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
- Extra nights along the way (we recommend the rural hotels in Sama de Grado, Tineo, Castroverde)