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The French Way visits Astorga

Hospital de Órbigo, in the fertile valley of the river Órbigo, is behind to transport us through the region of Maragatería to Rabanal del Camino, at the gates of the Montes de León, before passing through the historic and monumental Astorga. The route transforms from the plain of the leones moor to the rounded shapes of the profile of the first mountains to which we approach in many kilometres. The French Way route will take us through the history, traditions and gastronomy that have shaped these lands for thousands of years.

Stage 19 Hospital de Órbigo-Rabanal del Camino of the French Way

The church of San Juan, in Hospital de Órbigo, is the starting point of this stage 19 Hospital de Órbigo-Rabanal del Camino with 35.7 km. The different alternatives offered by the route continue to be the usual tone and come to our meeting as soon as we begin the day making us choose between the linear andadero next to the national or the hospitality of nearby towns such as Villares de Órbigo or Santibáñez de Valdeiglesias. The Cruise of Santo Toribio acts as a point of union between both options of the French Way and a privileged viewpoint where we lose ourselves in contemplating the unmistakable silhouette of Astorga and the Montes de León in our horizon. But before arriving to the city we must stop to know San Justo de la Vega, that anticipates our arrival to Astorga. Ancient city very united to the Way of Saint James, through which passed different villages that left their mark on it, such as the Walls originally built in Roman times around the third and fourth centuries.

Andadero by the region of the Maragatería

The imposing towers of the Cathedral of Santa María, which attracted our attention before arriving in the city, form part of a complex that includes different architectural styles such as the Gothic or Plateresque on its western façade. Next to it the impressive Episcopal Palace, work of Gaudí, and that nowadays houses the Museum of the Roads, without forgetting us of its city council in whose beautiful facade we will be able to contemplate its traditional clock, they are some of the treasures that next to the cultural or the gastronomic ones Astorga hides. From here begins our journey by the populations that make up this region and that will bring us closer to the not-so-distant mountains. The eighteenth-century Ecce Homo hermitage, located near Valdeviejas, could well mark the beginning of our ascent of Monte Irago, which will last until the following day. Murias de Rechivaldo and the characteristic belfry of its church of San Esteban from the 18th century is a clear example of the typical Maragata population, whose maximum exponent can be found if from here we decide to follow the variant that will take us to Castrillo de los Polvazares.

Mountains of León

This town of cobblestone streets and houses with coats of arms was declared a Historic-Artistic Site and its popular architecture has been preserved in its entirety. Regardless of the route chosen, Santa Catalina de Somoza is the next obligatory stop, given its well-known Jacobean hospitality. The church of Santa María can be seen from before arriving at this cosy town. The untiring ascent takes us to El Ganso, where there are still some teitadas houses with prehistoric covered with rye straw. The church of Santiago houses the chapel of the Pilgrims' Christ. After recovering strength we face the stretch with the greatest distance between towns to reach Rabanal del Camino, but before arriving is the hermitage of Vera Cruz, built in sillarejo and roofed by Arabic tile in the seventeenth or eighteenth century. It is worth mentioning the church of La Asunción, one of the few examples of Romanesque that we will see in this part of the French Way and shortly before reaching it, the hermitage of San José from the 18th century welcomes us to this locality where the route ends.

The Legend

Legend has it that in the hermitage of Ecce Homo a pilgrim saw how her son fell into the well of the temple, this one, fearing the worst, asked for help to Santiago seeing his request for help fulfilled when the waters returned the little one safe and sound.

Pet area, the Way of St. James with my dog

Hard day for the mileage, lack of shade and asphalt that represent a great effort for our friend, so we can not let him add more distance load than necessary. The land is the majority, alternating with the asphalt, so with the appropriate care should not give problems. A lot of attention in the crossroads with the national and in the sections of local road, with more traffic than desired.

The proximity between the towns is an ally that we must take advantage of to cool down and to replenish the water reserves that on the other hand cannot be missing since it is an open terrain and generally without intermediate water points.

To the habitual pets to our step by the different localities we have to add the cattle that if we go by the variant of Santibáñez we will find ourselves. For the rest we pass in great part by low mountain for what we can find with the fauna that inhabits it at any moment.

Sendigrino Ico_Hotel Ico_Albergue Ico_Hostal Ico_Restaurante IcoCafeteria Ico_Supermercado Ico_Farmacia Ico_Cajeroautomatico Ico_Veterinario Ico_Taller_de_BTT
Hospital de Órbigo​​ Ico_Ok Ico_Ok Ico_Ok Ico_Ok Ico_Ok Ico_Ok Ico_Ok Ico_Ok  
Villares de Órbigo   Ico_Ok   Ico_Ok Ico_Ok Ico_Ok Ico_Ok      
Santibáñez Valdeiglesias   Ico_Ok     Ico_Ok        
San Justo de la Vega   Ico_Ok Ico_Ok Ico_Ok Ico_Ok Ico_Ok Ico_Ok      
Astorga Ico_Ok Ico_Ok Ico_Ok Ico_Ok Ico_Ok Ico_Ok Ico_Ok Ico_Ok Ico_Ok Ico_Ok
Valdeviejas Ico_Ok Ico_Ok              
Murias de Rechivaldo   Ico_Ok Ico_Ok Ico_Ok Ico_Ok        
Castrillo de los Polvazares   Ico_Ok Ico_Ok Ico_Ok Ico_Ok          
Santa Catalina de Somoza​​ Ico_Ok Ico_Ok   Ico_Ok          
El Ganso   Ico_Ok   Ico_Ok Ico_Ok          
Rabanal del Camino​​ Ico_Ok Ico_Ok Ico_Ok Ico_Ok Ico_Ok Ico_Ok        

Description of stage 19 Hospital de Órbigo - Rabanal of the French Way

From Hospital de Órbigo to San Justo de la Vega 11,7 Km

The cobbled Álvarez Vega street that brought us to Hospital de Órbigo (0h 00min) will serve as a guide through the town, the square next to the church being the starting point for this long stage.

Crossroads with the road

Soon our straight street is cut by a road that crosses Hospital de Órbigo and that we will be forced to cross to continue straight now by the street Way of Saint James.

The Way continues along the street on the left

We continue advancing leaving to our right a street that deviates of the straight route that we took and that took us out of the locality. At the end of the street, just where the buildings end, we will find ourselves in another of the many places on the Way where we will have to decide which option to choose from those we are asked to choose.

Straight along the andadero and to the right along the variant.

Here we can go straight on in search of the inseparable travelling companions, andadero and la nacional, who have accompanied us from León. On the other hand, if we turn right we will take the variant of Santibáñez de Valdeiglesias something longer but that will take us between fields of cultivation and small hills. The parcelary track that continues the straight run of the street that took us out of the town is crossed with several ways that to left and right give access to the different parcels.

We don't have to deviate from the track at any time.

Without abandoning this track in any of these crossings we see how gradually it is getting closer to the national.

We passed a few unmarked crosses or hidden markings

On reaching its height, the path runs parallel to it for a few metres until it is cut by another track, at which point we lose the comfort of the wide path to travel along a narrow trail next to the national one.

We left the track to walk along the trail next to the national one.

This section of the trail, with hardly any protection against the abundant traffic that supports the national, ends when it meets the road that leads to the nearby Villares de Órbigo.

We leave the trail to follow the road

In front of us we see a service road where, after crossing the one that leads to Villares, we must continue. This section of the old national road has remained as an access road to the farms and to the road that leads to Santibáñez de Valdeiglesias.

We go straight ahead next to the national one.

The national road is now over our heads and almost without realizing it we arrive at the junction with the access road to Santibáñez where we continue straight without deviating.

We're going out on the national stage.

After a short ascent, we come across the national road again, and we are forced to walk a short stretch along its verge, next to some houses.

The short stretch by the national one ends

This section ends shortly after when the old disused section of the national route reappears, for which we continue.

The trail leads to the place where we have to cross the national road.

After a while, this section is cut again by a track, at which point we go again along a narrow path that will take us quickly to the crossing of Estébanez de la Calzada.

Next to the hut of the bus stop continues the Way

It is in this place where we are forced to cross the dangerous national, as it is on the other side where the Way continues.

We follow an old stretch of road

As soon as we cross, we leave in front of us the road that leads to this locality to continue our route that runs again along the old road that runs parallel to the national one.

A long stretch of asphalt awaits us

This part of the route is a continuous and uncomfortable slide that reminds us of previous stages, always protected on one side by the national and on the other by the fields and the ordered trees that mark the route.

We follow the asphalt track at all times

When you reach the top of one of these slides, the route turns gently to the right, leaving behind a dirt track that goes straight on and the bridge that crosses the nearby motorway. A few metres further on we are again forced to cross the cumbersome national road, this time through a much more dangerous place than the previous one.

We cross the national road again.

The route continues along a road in very good condition, now with the national road on our left, until we come across another new road that stands in our way.

We follow the dirt track

After crossing this road, the path we traveled seems to end, at which point it turns back into the old national road for a few metres.

The terrain changes again

The asphalt again gives way to a dirt track that begins to separate from the company of the national road.

We change again

Once again we are forced to cross another local road to follow the track that borders a tidy pine forest.

We approach the Santo Toribio Cruise

In the distance we can already contemplate the Santo Toribio cross, a point of union with the pilgrims who chose the Santibáñez de Valdeiglesias variant.

We start the descent towards San Justo de la Vega

From here and after contemplating the panoramic view of Astorga offered by this privileged viewpoint, we begin a quick descent along a carefully chosen path that leads us to the gates of the next town.

We go out to the access road to the locality

The descent ends in a small park that gives way to the entrance road to the town. Following the straight sidewalk that borders the road and without deviating in any of the different options that we find we arrive until San Justo de la Vega (2h 40min).

We follow at all times the course of the road

Variant of Santibáñez de Valdeiglesias 12,7 Km

If, on the other hand, we dare to cover the approximately 1 km more that the Santibáñez variant represents, instead of going straight on at the Hospital de Órbigo exit, we will have to take the track on our right.

We say goodbye to Hospital de Órbigo

This route takes us between fields of cultivation crossing a real tangle of ways that cross with ours.

We mustn't deviate from any of the crosses we passed.

The plain on which we walk allows us, on days of good visibility, to see in the distance a grove that can serve as a reference since it is to it that we are heading.

The grove marks the proximity of Villares de Órbigo

Without deviating from the main track on which we walked, we soon arrived at this poplar grove that precedes the first locality of the variant.

We go straight on

At the entrance to the village we continue to leave a few crosses on the left and right until we find ourselves forced by some houses to turn right.

We cross without deviation

Shortly after this small turn, the street that we are going down converges with a water channel and a wide street, the Way crosses both of them, leaving on the right the tree-lined street that goes into Villares de Órbigo (0h 25min) and on the left the water channel, to follow its course.

We leave the square to our right

This new street on which we walk meanders between the houses until just before reaching a small square, the Way turns left to continue along the street that serves as the entrance road to the town.

We continue in search of the road

The route always follows the asphalt road, leaving behind all the streets we find. We quickly reach the outskirts of the town, where we come across the road that leads from the national road to here.

We cross over to follow the path on the other side

In front of us, but something to our left begins the path where we have to continue after crossing this road.

The path is well defined

This dirt track, which leaves a pavilion on the right, moves away from the road and then turns left and continues to a small rest area.

The route goes through the rest area

The route crosses this area, leaving on the left a path that comes from the nearby road, to continue with a gentle but continuous ascent.

Be careful not to leave the main track, well defined

The path, which is not in very good condition, advances halfway up the hill, leaving a path that deviates to the right. Following this track at all times we reach its end just when it meets a road that ascends from the one we left behind.

We're back on the tarmac

The route continues the ascent by going up again the little unevenness that we have left to overcome the hill that interposes in our way. This road will take us without loss to our next objective.

We leave behind a crossroads to continue along the road towards the town.

After a comfortable descent we reach the vicinity of the next town, which we enter following the course of the road that brought us here. We will go leaving behind us some street until we see ourselves in the necessity to decide since our guide splits in two.

We follow the street on the right

Following the street on the right we arrive definitively at Santibáñez de Valdeiglesias (0h 50min). As soon as we take this street we find another one on our right, and a few metres further on, leaving behind us an underground fountain, with another street which is where the route continues.

Tanto la primera como la segunda calle se unen a los pocos metros

This street, curiously enough, quickly joins the previous one to lead us to the outskirts of the town. Soon we will see ourselves walking again along a dusty dirt track that leaves pavilions and paths that lead to them.

The wide dirt track takes us away from Santibáñez

The itinerary follows the course of this wide track through fields, ascending little by little and moving away from Santibáñez.

The statue indicates the rest area that we leave on the right hand side, to continue without deviating.

After a while and after crossing some solitary path that comes out to meet us, we arrive at a crossroads where we continue straight ahead, leaving a small and curious rest area on our right.

The itinerary follows the path on the left

Shortly after this crossroads we leave the track on the right that ascends towards the hill to continue along the one on the left that leads us to a gentle descent.

We still don't stray from the path

The track extends into the distance letting us see its route and the new ascent area that awaits us. This part of the route meets again with other paths that we must ignore to continue along the main track well marked.

The large number of junctions with hardly any signage makes it easy to get confused.

Shortly after starting the next ascent, still with almost no unevenness, the route leaves on its left a wide track to continue once again without leaving the path we are on.

Although the area seems to be under construction the way forward is clear

The slope gains in inclination without demanding too much effort at the same time that the road increases its firm paving, not losing its well marked line that will serve as a reference in the crossings that we find.

Bifurcation of the road that joins later

The tireless pace of the pilgrims has created some bifurcation that comes together again soon after.

We continue straight on without deviating

When we reach the top of the hill we will have to leave the tracks on the left and right that converge at this point to go straight on and start a new descent.

We don't have to detour at any of the crosses we found.

Once again there are several paths that come to greet us, and we will have to ignore them following our right course.

The somewhat cobbled road in the descent improves again

The gentle toboggans take us from the edges of the forest through fields of crops in a continuous up and down. A typical adobe building towards which our track goes serves as a reference when recovering part of the lost height.

We crossed the road

Shortly after passing this building we find a road that we must cross to continue along the comfortable dirt track.

We turn to the left leaving to our left another way

The route borders a forest of aligned pines until arriving at another crossroads of tracks, it is in this place where of the two tracks that we have to the left, the Way leaves the one of more to the left that continues bordering the forest, to continue by the other one that cuts diagonally the fields.

Reencounter with the other Way

A few metres further on the Santo Toribio cruise awaits us, a place where both options are unified and arrive from Hospital de Órbigo.

From San Justo de la Vega to Astorga 3,7 Km

Without deviating from the road we arrived on, which is a long avenue that runs through the town, we will leave behind a good number of streets.

Following the road we will leave the locality

Almost without realizing it, we already see ourselves outside San Justo walking towards the bridge that will serve us to cross the river Tuerto.

We have to cross the river

The road continues to mark the route, until shortly after crossing the second bridge we find a cement track on our right separates us from the road.

We left the road company

There are many pilgrims who prefer the company of the road, as as soon as you take the detour the track turns left again to continue parallel to the road.

We regained course to Astorga

The Way of Saint James follows the track, now a dirt track, far enough away from the bustling road, towards some pavilions. Astorga has been watching us for some time now and its closeness allows us to discover its charms little by little, while we advance leaving behind us the paths we come across.

Astorga getting closer and closer

The pavilions are definitely behind us, and the track we are walking on, because of the buildings we are passing, zigzags.

We get to the end of the dirt track.

A small stone bridge allows us to cross a stream that cuts our way.

Back to the asphalt

As soon as you cross the bridge, turn left and continue along the asphalted road. This asphalted road quickly takes us to the straight and old route of the road that we left before and which is cut off by the modern railway network that goes as far as Astorga.

The route crosses the catwalk

A metal footbridge allows us to cross the railroads, thus overcoming this obstacle. On the other side, the old road once again marks the course of the Way.

We return to the road cut by the railroad tracks

Just a few metres before the road is cut by the train tracks, we have to turn left to follow the road that starts at that point.

The railroad tracks are forcing us to deviate again.

Here there is the possibility of taking a trail that, bordering a wall and a house, shortens the turn that draws the road. The sidewalk that flanks the road serves as a guide to lead us to the old level crossing where the trail that shortens the obligatory drawing of the road leaves.

We cross the road just as we reach the roundabout

When you reach a roundabout, a pedestrian crossing allows us to cross to the left to follow the street that leads to the town.

The Way arrives in Astorga

Following this street we soon find the first houses. At the end of it, the route turns left again, softening for now the ascent we had started.

At the end of the climb turn left

Soon we arrive at a large intersection of streets where we have to turn radically to resume the ascent by the street that to our right almost forces us to return on our steps.

We turn round to ascend to the center of the town

At the end of this short but intense ramp, the Way turns right again, bordering the church of Nuestra Señora del Castro to continue entering the historic town.

We follow for now the layout of the street

When the cobblestone street turns right, the itinerary continues straight on passing through a narrow street that allows us to see the Astorga square (3h 25min).

We continue towards the town hall square

From Astorga to Murias de Rechivaldo 4,7 Km

At the opposite end of the elongated Spain Square, on its left side begins the street Pío Gullón where the Way continues.

The route continues along the street on the left

This part of the route leaves on both sides the streets with which it crosses. The winding layout introduces us to the heart of the city.

The street turns right

After this route through the streets of Astorga, the itinerary turns to the right, partly forced by the buildings.

We follow the course of the street without deviating

A few meters the street ends in a large square, where the cathedral and Gaudí's palace serve as a reference.

We are facing another of the wonders of Astorga

The French Way continues in search of the main façade of the cathedral, reaching its main front.

The itinerary goes towards the towers of the cathedral

Just in front of it begins the street that we have to continue and that will take us, with the cathedral on our back, until a new crossing.

We continue to leave the cathedral behind us

In it we have to turn right to continue a long and straight stretch.

We leave the historic centre of Astorga

The street on which we now walk leaves a small park on its left to offer us the chance to walk along narrow sidewalks towards the outskirts of the city.

We continue to the end of this new street without turning off at the crossroads.

This street, which we do not have to leave at any of the crossroads we encounter, ends at the old N-VI.

The Way of Saint James crosses the national road

To our right we will see a pedestrian crossing that will serve us to cross the national one since the itinerary continues straight for the highway that in front of us leads to Santa Coloma de Somoza and Castrillo de los Polvazares among others.

We finally say goodbye to Astorga

A relatively long stretch of road awaits us, which fortunately has a sidewalk and a andadero almost the entire length of the route. We say goodbye to Astorga following the course marked by this busy road.

We follow at all times the course of the road

We soon reached the crossroads with Valdeviejas, a town close to the city that also offers its hospitality and services to pilgrims who need it.

At this point we change sides

Leaving behind the detour towards Valdeviejas, the next place to pass is the hermitage of Ecce Homo, when it is better to pass to the right side of the road if we had not already done so.

We follow the road

The road then crosses over the A-6, at which point the pavement ends. As soon as you cross the bridge, you will come to the start of the andadero, which will prevent you from walking along the sometimes very busy road.

We leave the road to continue by the andadero

This andadero runs between the road and a track that gives access to the different farms that border it.

Attention here we have to turn left leaving the road and not go straight on the road as seems to indicate the sign

This first part of the walk ends abruptly on an asphalt track, at which point, leaving the track that goes straight on, we will have to return to the nearby road.

We follow the road once again

On the left side of the road we find a metal bridge that allows us to cross a stream to follow the direction of the road.

The stretch of road is not too long

This stretch without hard shoulder has some short escape and a narrow trail that runs to the edge of it. Luckily we soon arrive at the beginning of the road that will take us to the next town of the day, already nearby. Murias de Rechivaldo (4h 25min) welcomes us when we reach a small square next to a park.

We say goodbye to the road again.

Place where we will have to decide again if to continue straight following the original Course of the Way or against we turn to the right to go for the variant that will take us to know Castrillo de los Polvazares.

The French Way goes straight on, the variant of Castrillo de los Polvazares deviates to the right.

From Murias de Rechivaldo to Santa Catalina de Somoza 4,6 Km

Without further complication than following the straight street that brought us here we quickly reached the boundaries of the locality.

The andadero marks our route

Once again we find the andadero and next to it a dirt track that will accompany us at all times. The plain of the terrain where we are going partly hides the gentle but constant climb that is already beginning to be noticed.

The road crosses our path again

Without abandoning the andadero at the crossroads that leave our path, we arrive at the encounter with the road that we left before. Once again we find ourselves obliged to cross it to continue the march along the andadero, which continues to the other side.

Attention the sign marks towards the left but the Way continues straight for the andadero

This part, with steeper ramps, runs between the inseparable dirt track and the road leading to the next town of the day.

En este cruce se nos une la variante de Castrillo

When the slope softens again we find the crossroads where pilgrims who would have decided to visit Castrillo de los Polvazares will join us. The path will lead us without any possibility of error to the gates of the next town.

We arrive at Santa Catalina de Somoza

A path between the old stone walls that delimit the land of the municipality will guide us to the interior of Santa Catalina de Somoza (5h 25min).

Variant of Castrillo de los Polvazares 5,8 Km

Those who decide to cover the approximately 1.5 km that we do more if we do this variant, and visit the beautiful town of Castrillo de los Polvazares, will have to turn right and head towards the nearby road.

The itinerary follows the road

When we reach it, we have to turn left again and follow it, crossing Murias. Shortly after leaving the town on our right begins the andadero that will avoid us the road.

After leaving Murias there is still a good stretch of road to find the entrance to the andadero.

This andadero, or road, leads us straight without place to loss to the proximities of the population. It ends at the entrance road where we will continue.

We leave at the entrance road to the locality

The entrance to the locality already lets us intuit the careful aesthetics that so much fame has reported to him, the street perfectly paved will do us the times of guide by Castrillo de los Polvazares (4h50min).

We entered Castrillo de los Polvazares

The Royal Street, which is the one we must follow at all times, will take us all over the town.

Follow Calle Real until you turn left at this point.

A crossroads marks the end of Royal Street, at which point it forks, and you must continue along the street on the left that will take you out of the town.

We leave Castrillo following the road

On the outskirts of Castrillo de los Polvazares we find ourselves at a crossroads where we must turn left and continue along the road that leads us to a solitary football and basketball field.

We leave the road that turns left to follow the path to the right still asphalted

This road we are going along borders a wall of stones turning to the left, while we have to continue on the right. The asphalt quickly gives way to the earth, where we find a fork, in which the Way of Saint James follows the track on the left.

The route follows the path on the left

This part of the route, badly signposted, obliges us to be attentive to avoid unnecessary detours. We begin to gain little by little height leaving to our back the population and the horizontal line that marks the forest. Soon we come across another crossroads where we have to go straight on to get directly to the andadero without loss.

The Way goes straight on

It is here where we will join the usual route of the Way of Saint James that comes from Murias de Rechivaldo.

Point of union of the two paths with the andadero

From Santa Catalina de Somoza to El Ganso 4 Km

The Real street, where we enter Santa Catalina, will lead us in its rectum through the locality.

We're back on the road.

This street takes us back to the road where we have to continue for a few meters until we leave the town definitively.

We return to the andadero

A little further on we find ourselves on our right again with the beginning of the andadero, where we continue. The straight andadero extends until it gets lost far from our sight, showing us the unevenness we have to face. The route combines sections in which it takes more height evidently with smoother areas.

The andadero doesn't leave place to confuse of route

One or another solitary crossing breaks the monotony of the walkway that luckily allows us to enjoy the interesting landscape ahead. The following population of the day is shown in front of us allowing us to intuit at its back the final point of the stage and in the distance part of the next day with Foncebadón and Monte Irago where the Cruz de Ferro is located.

The inseparable road is our companion again

The andadero expels us back to the road to cover the short distance that separates us from the next objective.

We leave the road to enter the locality

Quickly we find the detour that forces us to separate from the road to which we will return a little later. This street on which we walk will definitely introduce us to El Ganso (6h 30min).

Without deviating the Real street will guide us through El Ganso

From El Ganso to Rabanal del Camino 7 Km

Once again the Real street will guide us through the locality without letting us get out of it.

The route leads to the church

Almost at the end, when the houses seem to give way to the fields, to our left we will see the street that leads us to the church where we will follow. This street takes us past the old building back to the road.

We resume the course of the road

The Way of Saint James then resumes its lost course to continue advancing through the locality following the course marked by the road.

Last stretch of the day's andadero

As if it were déjà vu, we will once again find ourselves at the beginning of the andadero shortly after saying goodbye to the town. The stretch that awaits us, one of the longest of the day between towns, is also the most entertaining and demanding, as far as the terrain we will cross is concerned.

As usual we do not have to deviate from the walkway

The andadero loses its straight running to meander between the small hills it runs through. After passing a rest area, next to a crossroads, the slope begins to become more pronounced.

We're definitely out of the andadero.

Soon we reached the end of our companion, being forced to return to the road. This section will take us to cross a demanding ramp, the passage of pilgrims has created an uncomfortable trail at the edge of the road that sometimes invites us more to get out of it than to follow it.

We're off the road to follow the dirt track.

At the end of the straight ascent we find the beginning of a wide path that runs next to the road avoiding us to continue along it. Rabanal del Camino is already clearly visible, although we should not be confused by its false closeness, as we still have a long way to go.

At our choice either by the path or by the track we return to the road

This undulating path will accompany us for a long time until we reach the junction with the Rabanal Viejo road, at which point the track ends and our route returns to asphalt. In this place we should not be confused by the path that borders the road as it will take us to a meadow next to the stream of Reguerinas, the itinerary continues along the road.

We detour to continue on the road

As soon as we cross the bridge over the stream, we say goodbye again to the road to continue along the path that leads into the forest on the right. For cyclists it is better to follow the road as the state of part of the route and its unevenness can force us to set foot on the ground.

The French Way follows the track on the right

Shortly after starting the ascent, as if it were a new opportunity to change your mind, we left on the left a path that would take us to the road if we followed it. After a demanding ascent through a trail with a quite decomposed road surface, the route softens its unevenness, and it joins the road again, giving us more links with it.

Opportunities to return to the road are common

The path, in quite poor condition, continues along the boundaries of the forest accompanied by the nearby asphalt, reaching its final point shortly after the end of the lush forest that surrounds it.

We're finally on the road.

Now the road will lead us back to the end of the day. This part of the route does not lose its continuous ascent and once again offers us the possibility of following the h on the edge of the road formed by trail the tireless treading of the pilgrims.

Take the access road to Rabanal del Camino

As soon as you pass the Rabanal cemetery hermitage, you will come across a cement track on your right that will lead you directly to the town. There is a new ascent ramp which, added to the accumulated fatigue, becomes harder than it really is.

We arrived at Rabal del Camino

Without deviating at any time soon the buildings take over the environment indicating that we have reached Rabanal del Camino (8h 20min), where the stage ends.


Technical details of the stage

ico-distancia-totalDistance. 35,7Km

Once again, the itinerary that we follow from the different possibilities that the stage has will mark the distance of the stage.

ico-tiempo-totalTime. 8:20h

The different variants we can choose do not make a big difference in the total time we have to spend, as they do not involve a large increase in distance. Althoug:we must take it into account in case of incorporating bot:variants to our route, since in that case they suppose about 45 min more in total, approximately.

ico-calendarioTime of year

In winter the area usually has heavy snowfalls, so we can find the terrain completely snowed from below. This, added to the low temperatures, forces us to inform ourselves very well of the state of the route and of the places that we will find open. The road then becomes the inseparable travelling companion, since if there is snow it is the only one that tries to keep clean. The rest of the year the lack of shade is the biggest obstacle we will find. The landscape gives us all its spectacular all year round, thanks to its absence of obstacles and the proximity of the mountains, allows us to enjoy magnificent panoramic views.

ico-materialRequired equipment

Comfortable clothes according to the time of the year and the meteorological conditions, besides clothes for rain even being summer. You can not miss the equipped backpack, canes, canteen and food. The camera, sunglasses and sunscreen are good allies. In winter we have to take into account the necessary material for snow or ice. Consult our list of material and equipment to make the Way. Read more

ico-dificultadDifficulty. Remarkable


Demanding stage in the physical thing not only by its long distance, we also have to add the continuous unevenness that practically from Astorga we will find, that althoug:it does not accumulate in great ramps if it accompanies us at all time. In addition, the first part of the stage is a continuous up and down that does not make the first kilometres comfortable. To all this we must add the absence of shady areas that makes the hot days harder. It is important not to be deceived by the apparent lack of unevenness and to dose the efforts well.


The national road crosses several times on the pat:of those who prefer to follow the pat:in the first part of the stage and unfortunately still endures a lot of traffic every day so we must exercise caution when crossing it because, althoug:the steps of pilgrims is signposted and its limited speed vehicles are thrown over faster than it seems. In the sections that we must share wit:the local road should not deceive us its apparent tranquility as it is a road quite traveled to communicate areas of great tourist value. The rest of the route does not involve major difficulties to run on tracks and walkways generally in good condition, except the last section somewhat decomposed. In case of rain, some parts of the stage may be quite muddy.


Well signposted, it's the different possible routes that will create the most problems for us. The itinerary is followed without major complications by walking clearly marked and almost always under the protection of the nearby road. The variant of Santibáñez is signposted, althoug:it is the area where we will find more crossings and worse signposted throughout the stage, especially in the stretc:from Santibáñez to San Justo de la Vega, so we must be careful. The variant of Castrillo de los Polvazares deserves a special mention. Even thoug:there is no loss to this locality, it is from here until it connects again wit:the pat:where the signposting can play a trick on us.

Important places to pass through
1-Hospital de Órbigo 0:00h 825m 0Km 30T 263028 4705272
2-San Justo de la Vega 2:40h 852m 11.7Km 29T 745475 4704531
3-Astorga 3:25h 872m 15.4Km 29T 742311 4704471
4-Murias de Rechivaldo 4:25h 885m 20.1Km 29T 738040 4704876
5-Santa Catalina de Somoza 5:25h 985m 24.7Km 29T 733589 4704243
6-El Ganso 6:30h 1020m 28.7Km 29T 729627 4704946
7-Rabanal del Camino 8:20h 1158m 35.7Km 29T 723165 4706908
1-V-Villares de Órbigo 0:25h 831m 2.6Km 30T 260735 4706016
2-V-Santibáñez de Valdeiglesias 0:50h 855m 4.6Km 30T 259056 4704840
2-San Justo de la Vega 2:50h 852m 12.7Km 29T 745475 4704531
3-V-Castrillo de los Polvazares 4:50h 910m 22.3Km 29T 736055 4705419
5-Santa Catalina de Somoza 5:35h 985m 25.9Km 29T 733589 4704243

Coordinates UTM Datum WGS84

Stage Profile

Profile of Stage 19 Hospital de Órbigo-Rabanal del Camino of the Frenc:Way

ico-desnivel-acumuladoSlope: 617m

ico-desnivel-positivoSlope +: 472m

ico-desnivel-negativoSlope -: 145m

ico-altitud-maximaMaximum altitude: 1158m

ico-altitud-minimaMinimum altitude: 820m

Cartography, maps and tracks

Map of Stage 19 Hospital de Órbigo-Rabanal del Camino of the Frenc:Way

This sketc:of the route is not made to scale nor does it contain all the information relating to the area, it is merely indicative.

Topographical Map Stage 19 Hospital de Órbigo-Rabanal del Camino Frenc:Way


This schematic wit:the pat:is approximate and has been created from the derived cartographic base © Instituto Geográfico Nacional "Cuadrantes 193 y 192 1:50.000".

Senditur has manipulated the tracks to correct the aberrant points that may exist, caused by problems wit:the reception of the GPS signal. In any case the tracks are always approximate. SENDITUR encourages you to use the new technologies within your reach, using them as support and consultation in your activity, not basing the realization and orientation of the same only and exclusively on them, since they may see their functioning altered by very diverse causes, not functioning correctly and their indications may not be precise.

Cruise and views of Astorga
Handcrafted bridge
Maragato Land and Leon Mountains
Pilgrim on the way to Astorga
The long andadero
The Way of Saint James goes towards the mountain
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Listado de experiencias
Fernando Vazquez
Created the 17-03-2016

El cocido Maragato... para no perdérselo!!!

Royal Collegiate Church of San Isidoro
León, León
Royal Collegiate Church of San Isidoro

Sistine Chapel of Romanesque Art, palatine temple of the kings Fernando I and doña Sancha

The Smithy of Compludo
Ponferrada, León
The Smithy of Compludo

Beautiful example of popular medieval industry

Castle of Ponferrada
Ponferrada, León
Castle of Ponferrada

Castle of the Templars, the most representative construction of Ponferrada


¿Did you know that...

Much of the stage passes through the region of Maragatería, inhabited since ancient times and loaded with traditions and history. Its real name is Maragatos Country and includes several sub-regions that share culture and similar characteristics, which make the localities of this land a pleasure for the visitor.

Don't miss out...

The Cocido Maragato, which is one of the most traditional of the region, whose most outstanding characteristics is that this stew is served upside down, ie first the meats of the stew, then the vegetables and to finish the soup. A consistent dish that served to feed in a single meal to the men of the field in their hard days and that feeds the pilgrim in his.


Where the Primitive Way passes through

Go to Material and equipment to make the Way of St. James What to bring?

5 Reasons why you should do the Primitive Way


Respect the Way Keep it clean

From the commitment of SENDITUR with Nature and the respect to the balance of the environment, SENDITUR urges you to travel in a responsible way, with low environmental impact and respecting at all times the Natural, Cultural and Social environment wherever you go.



Besides sharing with all of us your experience on the route we would be grateful if you could write to us to inform us of any erroneous or outdated information you may have found, or simply to let us know what you think at Thank you.

This route has been carried out in the field by SENDITUR on 01-10-2018. The route may vary greatly depending on the time of year, weather conditions and terrain, as well as the actions of third parties and the evolution suffered in the natural environment where it is located. All opinions, advice and/or assessments made by SENDITUR in their descriptions are for guidance only and are subject to and/or refer to the specific conditions of the specific day of the route, referring to that specific day, taken from trained people, with the appropriate experience and with a high level of physical and technical preparation as a reference, as well as correctly equipped.

All the times are approximate and take an orientative character, the stops have not been taken into account, no matter how small they are. All the information related to the route, texts, images, videos, maps, diagrams, tracks, towns, and places of tourist interest are published as a guide, and may not coincide with the current state of each place. Before undertaking any activity, assess your technical knowledge, your physical condition, find out about the weather and the variations that the route may undergo, equip yourself correctly, be prudent and responsible at all times, and do not exceed your capabilities. SENDITUR is not responsible for any misuse or inappropriate use of the comprehensive guides of its routes and/or publications as well as its electronic guides, nor for any variations in their descriptions for the aforementioned reasons, and recommends that everyone be responsible and prudent in carrying out the activity. We also encourage you to read books and specialised guides to complement the information described above.

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