WALK THE CAMINO

Via de la Plata - Silver Route

Once a Roman causeway running between south and north Spain, the Via de la Plata or Silver Route crosses a more varied terrain than the Camino Francés and is also less frequented making for a tranquil and rural route. Accommodation features charming country manor house hotels where the excellent hospitality awaits.

Our Via de la Plata tour crosses Galicia from south-east to north-west finishing in Santiago de Compostela. From your start in Ourense, you will walk a scenic quiet route with superb all round views of the Galician countryside. A delightful route through wooded rolling countryside and countless hamlets, the Via de la Plata is also ideal to witness a rural Spain still largely unchanged by modern times.

Walk the Via de la Plata: an ancient pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela

As early as the 10th century, Christians living under Muslim rule in the south of Spain were allowed to travel to Santiago de Compostela along the Via de la Plata.

The Via de la Plata runs through a natural corridor connecting north and south of Spain. Its history long pre-dating its use as a pilgrim route. Early farmers used the route for the seasonal shifting of grazing herds from the cooler north to the temperate southern pastures. Phoenicians and Greeks used it as a trade route, but it was the Romans who converted this route into one of their main Spanish roads.

There has been a revival in popularity of the Silver Route and every year thousands of pilgrims walk from Seville or Granada to Santiago de Compostela. Yet, it is still a quiet Camino when compared to the busy Camino Frances, making the Via de la Plata ideal to witness a rural Spain still largely unchanged by modern times.

Delicious Galician gastronomy and Ribeiro wines

Galicia is a land with Celtic roots and some have highlighted similarities with Ireland. From hearty food to fruity wines, there is an abundance of small inns and bars along the way allowing many opportunities to enjoy the local gastronomy.

The local wine speciality is the Ribeiro, which was one of the first wines in Spain to be awarded the Designation of Origin standard. Mainly white and fruity, Ribeiro wines were enjoyed by the pilgrims passing through the region on their way to Santiago de Compostela.

The Trappist Monastery of Oseira

The largest and grandest monastery in Galicia, Santa Maria de Oseira is sometimes referred to as the "Escorial of the North". The original construction dates back to the 12th century, but the buildings were later rebuilt in Gothic and Renaissance styles. Guided visits are available.

Santiago de Compostela, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Galicia's capital city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985, Santiago de Compostela is the destination of the Way of St James pilgrimage, one of the major themes of medieval history in Europe.

From Scandinavia to the Mediterranean, millions have walked to Santiago along many Caminos. Around the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, a masterpiece of Romanesque art, the city boasts a magnificent old town worthy of one of Christianity's greatest holy cities.

Also called "The Quiet Camino", the Via de la Plata is much less busy than the Camino Frances and is ideal to witness a rural Spain still largely unchanged by modern times

Once a Roman causeway running between south and north Spain, the Via de la Plata (Silver Route) crosses a more varied terrain than the Camino Francés and is also less frequented.

Our Via de la Plata tour crosses Galicia from south-east to north-west finishing in Santiago de Compostela. From your start in Ourense, you will walk a scenic quiet route with superb all round views of the Galician countryside. A delightful route through wooded rolling countryside and countless hamlets, the Via de la Plata is also ideal to witness a rural Spain still largely unchanged by modern times.

Crossing Galicia from south-east to north-west, the The Via de la Plata follows a delightful route through wooded rolling countryside passing through countless stone built villages

The following is our most popular 7-day itinerary starting at Ourense, Galicia's third largest city (pop. 96,000). The old town has the 12th century Romanesque Cathedral amongst many other monuments. There is also an abundance of bars and small restaurants where to try the delicious tapas and the local Ribeiro wines.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like us to create a longer or shorter, personalised itinerary designed specifically around your needs and interests.

Day 1 - Ourense and ascent out of the Miño Valley, 11.5 kms

A short ascent out of Ourense and the Miño valley to your overnight stop at the superbly converted Galician country house Pazo San Damian.

Day 2 - The Trappist Monastery at Oseira, 21 kms

Walk to the Monastery of Oseira via Cea, famous for its hand made sour dough bread, still baked in wood fired ovens. Sometimes referred to as the "Escorial of the North", the Trappist Monastery of Oseira is the largest and grandest in Galicia. Guided visits are available. There is also an interesting museum displaying traditional household and agricultural tools. The charming country house of Casarellos, set in beautiful wooded grounds and with its own swimming pool, which will be your base for two nights.

Day 3 - Pass of Santo Domingo, 13.5 kms

Starting back at Oseira, you will climb gently uphill through windswept moorland to the Pass of Santo Domingo, one of the highest of the walk at 819 metres, passing the scenic villages of Outeiro and Vidueiro. Overnight back at Casa Casarellos.

Day 4 - Woodland landscape, 20 kms

A slow descent through mixed woodland of oak, chestnut and pine, takes you to Bendoiro and its stately mansion or Pazo.

Day 5 - Rolling countryside, 15.5 kms

To Bandeira through rolling countryside filled with hamlets and quiet lanes.

Day 6 - River Ulla, 19 kms

Ponte Ulla -Bridge of Ulla, the river marking the border between Pontevedra and Coruña provinces- is your next stop after a day of gentle undulations. Continue by climbing to your farmhouse at Casa Casal.

Day 7 - Santiago de Compostela, 11.5 kms

Near the start of the walk, you may take a detour to the summit of the Pico Sacro, a peak with links to the legend of Saint James. From here, pilgrims had their first sight of Santiago de Compostela and a wonderful panoramic view of the countryside.

The final leg to Santiago approaches the city from one of the quietest directions; no busy motorways or modern housing estates. Before you know it you descend on a cobbled track through the only remaining medieval gate into the heart of Santiago de Compostela's old town and on to the tomb of St James, housed in the stunning Cathedral.

From hearty food to fruity wines, there is an abundance of small inns and bars along the way allowing many opportunities to enjoy the local gastronomy

The main highlights of our independent walk of the Via de la Plata are:

Walk an ancient pilgrimage way to Santiago de Compostela

As early as the 10th century, Christians living under tolerant Moorish rule in the south of Spain were allowed to travel to Santiago along the Vía de la Plata. But this natural corridor connecting north and south of Spain has a history long pre-dating its use as a pilgrim route. Early farmers used this route for the seasonal shifting of grazing herds. Phoenicians and Greeks used it as a trade route, and the Romans converted it into one of their main Spanish roads.

A quiet Camino when compared to the busy Camino Frances, the Silver Route is ideal to witness a rural Spain still largely unchanged by modern times. You will encounter local people in rural areas continuing to farm and herd as they have for generations. From your start in Ourense you will find yourself walking a delightful quiet route with superb all round views of the Galician countryside.

Delicious Galician gastronomy and Ribeiro wines

You will have many opportunities to enjoy the delicious Galician gastronomy. There is an abundance of bars and small restaurants along the way serving delicious snacks or tapas, as they are locally called.

The local wine speciality is the white and fruity Ribeiro wine, one of the first wines in Spain to be awarded the Designation of Origin standard. Ribeiro wines were enjoyed by the pilgrims passing through the area on their way to Santiago.

The Trappist Monastery of Oseira

The largest and grandest monastery in Galicia, Santa Maria de Oseira is sometimes referred to as the "Escorial of the North". The original construction dates back to the 12th century, but the buildings were later rebuilt in Gothic and Renaissance styles. Guided visits are available.

Santiago de Compostela, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985, Galicia's capital city Santiago de Compostela is the world-known destination of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route. Around the Cathedral of St James, a masterpiece of Romanesque art, the city boasts a picturesque old town worthy of one of Christianity's greatest holy cities.

Guided Tour of Santiago de Compostela

As an optional extra, we can arrange a guided tour of the city's extraordinary ensemble of distinguished monuments grouped around the tomb of St James the Greater, the destination of all the roads of Christianity's greatest pilgrimage.

Day Excursion to Finisterre

As an add on to the tour, we can take you to Cape Finisterre in the Atlantic Coast, the final destination for many pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago. We also organise four day walks on the Camino de Finisterre. A walk on the beach, searching for your own scallop shell makes for a superb ending to the whole experience.

Delightful Galician country houses set in beautiful surroundings

Our Bed & Breakfast accommodation includes a variety of family run traditional farmhouses, historic homes, and two and three star hotels. All rooms have en-suite facilities.

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Via de la Plata Landscape

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The Emblematic Scallop and Sword of St James

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Trappist Monastery of Oseira welcome visitors with a guided tour

  • Date

    All year availability

  • Cost

    8 nights B&B with baggage transfers - 6 nights Half Board from £815 pp sharing double / twin rooms

  • Accommodation

    A mix of hotels and charming country manor house hotels, some of which have swimming pools in Summer. All private rooms have en suite facilities. Breakfasts included and evening meals included on the Camino. B&B as standard in Ourense and Santiago.

  • Grade

    Moderate

  • How To Get There

    Fly to Madrid or Santiago de Compostela and then by rail to Ourense. Private transfers also available.

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We enjoyed our holiday very much - it was a wonderful experience. Something completely different! The organisation of the holiday was spot-on. You really couldn't have done a better job. The whole thing was perfectly tailored to our needs. It's hard to express in an e-mail how good it all was.

Anne Corrigan, UK, walking the Camino Frances

We thoroughly enjoyed our holiday and found the organisation excellent. We were also impressed by the friendliness and welcome we received everywhere. The information pack was useful and contained all the information we needed. So many, many thanks again for your kindness, efficiency and help in giving us such a good holiday.

Anne and Brian Harris, UK, walking the Camino Frances from Sarria to Santiago

We had an amazing time on the Camino... I would recommend this 6 day walk to anyone. All in all a memorable trip, and you guys did a great job in planning, arranging and organising it.

Chris and Davina, Australia, walking the Camino Frances from Sarria to Santiago