Itinerary Terradillos de los Templarios - Bercianos del Real Camino
Today’s stage is 23.3 kilometres long with mainly flat terrain. We will be crossing through small towns, each with its own charm.
Terradillos de los Templarios (Km. 0). Beginning of stage
Practical tips for this section: Moratinos is located less than an hour away. Today you can decide whether to have breakfast in Terradillos de los Templarios or to wait until reaching the next town. Buen Camino!
We leave the town behind on a trail that leads us to the P-905, also marked as the P-937 (km 1.4). After a small stretch of road, we find a trail that makes its way between grain fields and rows of poplar trees, which grow alongside the streams of San Juan and La Huelga. This landscape will accompany us to Moratinos (km 3.3).
In the town of Moratinos, we can visit the church of Santo Tomás de Aquino. Next to the church, turning right, we can get back onto the Jacobean path. After leaving the town, only two and a half kilometres separate us from San Nicolás del Real Camino, the last town in the province of Palencia that we will be passing through.
San Nicolás del Real Camino (Km. 5,8)
Practical tips for this section: In this town you will find a bar that is located in the pilgrim shelter itself. Buen Camino!
When leaving San Nicolás del Real Camino, we cross the Sequillo River and turn right to take the path that leads to the edge of the N-120 road. In 150 metres, the A-231 motorway runs to the north.
Following the trail, we reach the border between Palencia and León (km 7.7). We thus enter the last province of Castile and León. However, we still have 214.4 kilometres before officially leaving the Castilian lands.
We continue to head parallel to the N-120, crossing it and passing over the Valderabuey River on a stone bridge. At this point we will find two marked itineraries, both leading to Sahagún.
We recommend taking the one that crosses the national road and runs perpendicular to it. On this path, we will reach a wooded area and the hermitage of the Virgen del Puente (km 10.3). The other path is half a kilometre shorter, however it is less interesting.
Following the signs for the Camino de Santiago, we meet up with the N-120 once again, however this time we will pass underneath it (km 11.6) and enter the first town in León, Sahagún.
Sahagún (Km. 13)
Practical tips for this section: You have completed more than half of today’s stage, just 10 kilometres separate you from Bercianos del Real Camino, our destination for today.
Take the opportunity to visit Sahagún, since this town is the most interesting of the day, in terms of history and culture. There is no rush to reach the end of the stage. Buen Camino!
After Ronda de Estación street, we go over the bridge that crosses the train tracks, and we continue past the municipal pilgrim shelter on the streets of La Herrería and Antonio Nicolás.
In the centre, we can visit the churches of San Lorenzo and San Tirso, which are the best reflection of Mudéjar art in the town.
You can also visit the churches of San Juan and La Trinidad, as well as the San Benito arch, which is located on Antonio Nicolás street. Or you can go to the museum in the monastery of Las Madres Benedictinas, or visit the permanent exhibition of scale models.
After all these visits, we continue on the trail, heading towards the Canto bridge, which crosses the Cea River, a tributary of the Esla River (km 13.7). The Camino de Santiago trail continues along a tree-lined promenade that runs parallel to the N-120. Before passing the turnoff to Mayorga, the trees disappear and the promenade becomes a walking path.
We cross a small stream and in half a kilometre we cross the national road. After crossing the N-120, in a few metres next to an overhang, we will find a stone marker that tells us of the existence of an alternative route. Heading straight, we continue along the French Way to Bercianos del Real Camino, our destination for today (km 17.4).
The alternative path, which we will not follow, goes off to the right. From here, and after crossing the A-231 motorway on a bridge, it immediately enters Calzada del Coto, from where it continues to Calzadilla de los Hermanillos. There is also the possibility of heading to Calzada de Coto and then returning to the French Way. If you decide to follow the alternative route, it meets up with the French Way tomorrow.
We continue straight ahead, along the traditional route of the French Way, following a dirt trail. Next to it, we will find a paved trail that runs parallel, which is used by pilgrims who are doing the Camino de Santiago by bicycle. From this point on, at the end of today’s stage, the path becomes pretty monotonous.
Bercianos del Real Camino (Km. 23,2). End of stage
Practical tips for this stage: In this town you will find basic services and a place to rest, there’s not much more to it. See you tomorrow!
After an hour of walking, on the left, we will find an esplanade where the hermitage of Nuestra Señora de Perales is located (km 21.5). After the visit, we get back on the trail to pass by the cross in memory of the German pilgrim Manfred Kress, and we enter the urban area of Bercianos del Real Camino, where we are welcomed by a fountain decorated with a scallop.
If you have taken advantage of the stop in Sahagún to visit the area, you will not reach this town very early, so use what’s left of the afternoon to wash up and have a good dinner, because this small town is of no significant cultural or historical interest.
Today’s stage is not particularly long, and since the terrain is relatively flat, many pilgrims decide to extend it to El Burgo Ranero, a town with a greater range of services and amenities.
What to do Terradillos de los Templarios - Bercianos del Real Camino
In this stage we will pass through Sahagún, a beautiful town full of cultural attractions. We will also describe the smaller towns that you will be crossing today and the places that await you in the Mudéjar town of Sahagún.
Moratinos is a municipality in Palencia that has an area of 29 square kilometres and a population of 58 inhabitants. It is the second-to-last town in the province of Palencia if you’re following the French Way heading towards Santiago de Compostela.
The town is characterised by its excavated cellars and its adobe houses. Buildings whose walls are made of a mixture of clay and straw. In the village you can visit the church of Santo Tomás de Aquino.
Church of Santo Tomás de Aquino
The church of Santo Tomás de Aquino is located in the municipality of Moratinos. It is a simple but beautiful temple, made of brick.
Its structure consists of a single nave covered with a flat roof and a dome lowered over the presbytery. Inside, there are altarpieces from different eras, as well as a carving of Saint Roch. In the sacristy, you can see the image of Mary and the Christ Child, dating back to the 16th century.
Hours: From July 1st to September 11th, it closes on Mondays. It opens from Tuesday to Sunday (from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, and from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm).
San Nicolás del Real Camino
San Nicolás del Real Camino is a town that belongs to the municipality of Moratinos, where less than 50 people live. It is the last town in Palencia, if you’re following the Jacobean route.
In the 12th century, as written by José María Lacarra in “The Pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela”, the town had a leper hospital run by the canons of San Agustín.
Hermitage of la Virgen del Puente
The hermitage of La Virgen del Puente is the first building that the pilgrims encounter as they head along the French Way, after entering the province of León. The hermitage was an old hospital for pilgrims and was run by the Canons Regular of Trianos for centuries.
The building is in a Múdejar style and consists of a single nave and a very small chevet, with a polygonal apse, a blind arcade and corner friezes.
The apse presents abutments on each of the edges, dividing the wall into sections. Each section is decorated with pairs of blind pointed arches and friezes, typical of the Romanesque brick style. Inside, it houses a carving of Mary.
This is the first town and municipality that the French Way crosses as it enters the province of León. The municipality covers an area of 124 square kilometres and has more than 2,500 residents.
The town’s name comes from the deformation of Saint Facundus or Fagunt, who was martyred on the banks of the Cea River along with Saint Primitivus, around the year 304. Their followers raised a chapel in their honour in this spot, which would then become a monastery in the 9th century.
This hermitage constituted the origin of the town. Later on, in 1085, Alfonso VI, King of León, Galicia and Castile, ceded the monastery along with vast estates to the Order of Cluny. The place achieved great splendour under the shelter of the Benedictine monastery of San Benito.
At the end of the 11th century, the Cluny imposed their brand and model on more than one thousand European abbeys.
Mudéjar art was brought to Spain by artists. This style is characterised by the use of brick instead of stone. This influence heavily penetrated Sahagún, giving it the architecture that we can see today, and making its monuments famous.
Its architecture combines this Mudéjar influence with contemporary styles such as the Romanesque or Gothic. The best example of this are the churches of San Tirso and San Lorenzo.
However, you can also visit other temples in the town, such as the church of Trinidad, the chapel of San Juan, the Virgen Peregrina sanctuary, the San Benito arch and the museum in the monastery of Las Madres Benedictinas.
In the town there is also a permanent exhibition of scale models, and the Canto bridge, which you must cross to leave the town, heading in the direction of Bercianos del Real Camino. On the outskirts of the town, seven kilometres away, you can find the Julio Crespo winery, which can be visited by appointment only.
Church of San Lorenzo
The church of San Lorenzo is located in Sahagún and dates back to the first half of the 13th century. The building is made of Moorish brick and is the Romanesque highlight of the town.
Its geometric structure has three naves, a basilica plan, three curved apses decorated with blind arches and brick, and a large four-story tower. This brick building is currently significantly deteriorated and plans for restoration work are underway.
Church of San Tirso
The church of San Tirso is located in Sahagún. Its style is very similar to that of the church of San Lorenzo, but older. The building is in a Romanesque style and its construction began at the beginning of the 12th century using blocks of stone, however brick ended up also being used.
Its structure is formed by a basilica plan, three naves with apses in a Mudéjar style, and an emblematic tower formed by three sections.
Hours: Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. From October to March, from Wednesday to Saturday (from 10:30 am to 2:00 pm, and from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm) and Sundays (from 10:30 am to 2:00 pm). From April to September, from Wednesday to Saturday (from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, and from 4:30 pm to 8:00 pm) and on Sundays (from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm).
Museum of the Monastery of Las Madres Benedictinas
The museum in the monastery of Las Madres Benedictinas is located in Sahagún, and contains various exhibitions on goldsmithing, sculpture and stone. In the goldsmithing area, you can visit a large collection with the 16th-century silver monstrance attributed to the master goldsmith Enrique de Arfe, along with the Sun monstrance, in golden silver, among other valuable objects.
In the part dedicated to sculpture, we can point out the altarpiece in a Churrigueresque style. This carved altarpiece from the 17th century was to be taken to the Dominican convent of Trianos, but it was then moved to the church of La Trinidad in the town. Later on, it was placed in the church of Santa Cruz. It is one of the most remarkable altarpieces in the province of Leon.
In this area, we can also highlight the Pilgrim Virgin statue, which is well-known among residents in the area. This was the work of María Luisa Roldán from the second half of the 17th century, from the Sevillian school.
As for the works of art in stone, there is a huge marble bathtub that was moved here from the monastery of San Benito.
Telephone: +34 987 780 078
Hours: From June to September 11th, it is open every day (from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, and from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm). The rest of the year, visits are only offered to groups who have made a reservation in advance.
Church of La Trinidad
The church of La Trinidad in Sahagún dates back to the 16th century and is in a Neoclassical style. The building is made of brick, and the temple is currently used as a pilgrim shelter.
Permanent Exhibition of Scale Models
The Permanent Exhibition of Scale Models is located inside the church of San Tirso in Sahagún. This centre was created at the initiative of Valentín Mon Aláez with the purpose of highlighting the town’s architectural heritage through scale models. The exhibition includes six scale models with very detailed reproductions of buildings in the town.
Chapel Church of San Juan
The chapel church of San Juan in Sahagún was built in 1635. The temple was built on the site where the house of San Juan de Sahagún was located.
It has a Latin cross plan and is formed by a single nave with a transept. The church has five altars. According to legend, it was the central altar where the Saint was born. Inside, there is an altarpiece in a Neoclassical style, where an urn is located with the remains of the holy martyrs, Facundus and Primitivus.
Hours: from June to September 11th, it closes on Mondays. It opens from Tuesday to Sunday (from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, and from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm).
Mass hours: Holidays (12:30 pm and 7:00 pm), and the eve of holidays (8:00 pm).
The Canto bridge is the best example of civil architecture in the town of Sahagún. Of Roman origin, it was built in the 16th century. The structure crosses the Cea River and the Camino de Santiago goes across it.
The bridge has been restored several times. The first restoration was part of a project that aimed to restore all stone bridges over the Cea River. And the second, in 1880, was executed by the architect Eduardo Galán Mendizábal, which involved an expense of 28,278 pesetas.
It was during this last restoration that the blocks of stone from the abbey of the Abad Fray José Velázquez monastery were introduced, each of which have a value of one ounce of gold, according to some authors.
Sanctuary of La Virgen Peregrina
The sanctuary of La Virgen Peregrina is located on a hill outside of Sahagún, overlooking the town. The building dates back to the end of the 13th century and is built in a Mudéjar-Romanesque style, although it does have some characteristics from the Gothic style as well.
Originally, the temple was inhabited by the Community of the Franciscans. A century ago, the Pilgrim Virgin was worshiped here in this place, however today the carving of the Virgin dressed as a pilgrim, who is the patron saint of the town, has been moved to the monastery of Las Madres Benedictinas, in the same town.
In 2010 and 2011, restoration work was carried out on the church, and the site became home to the Documentation Centre of the Camino de Santiago. Pilgrims who visit the facilities can get their pilgrim passport stamped and receive the Pilgrim Card, which is a certificate of having passed through this place.
Hours: From July to September, it is open every day from Monday to Sunday (from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, and from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm). From November to February, it closes on Mondays and opens from Tuesday to Sunday (from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, and from 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm). The rest of the year it is closed on Mondays and opens on Tuesdays (from 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm), and from Wednesday to Sunday (from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, and from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm).
Mass hours: Every day (7:45 pm).
Admission: General (€3), groups (€2).
San Benito Arch
The San Benito arch in Sahagún dates back to the 17th century and is in a Baroque style. It was built to replace the Romanesque gateway from the now-disappeared monastery of San Benito. Only a few architectural elements remain from the old monastery, along with a few sculptures, which allow you to get a sense of the magnitude of the monastery back in the day.
The arch is located by the southern façade of a church built by Eduardo Saavedra, in 1662. The road that accesses the town passes under the arch. Its structure emphasises the quality of its heraldry, as well as its inscriptions and sculpture.
Next to the San Benito arch, part of the same ecclesiastical complex, is the chapel of San Mancio, which has only managed to preserve fragments of the transept and some remains from its apsidal chapels.
There were also two towers in the old monastic complex. Today only one has been preserved, the so-called “Clock Tower”, but it is believed to have originally had two twin towers, placed one on each side of the entrance. One of them was devastated by a fire while the other survived, which today bears the Sahagún clock.
Hermitage of Nuestra Señora de Perales
The hermitage of Nuestra Señora de Perales is located before entering the town of Bercianos del Real Camino, on the left side of the walking path. The hermitage is commonly known as “La Perala”.
An inscription found here recalls that whoever recited a Salve Regina to the Lady of Perales would get 40 days of indulgence. During the 12th century, it was linked to the O Cebreiro Hospital.
It was built with brick and has a very simple structure. The element that stands out the most is its bell tower with a single wall. Inside, there is a Renaissance carving of John the Baptist, along with the tomb that houses the remains of Leonor de Quiñones, Lady of Bercianos.
Hours: From June 15th to September 30th, it opens every day from Monday to Sunday (from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, and from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm).
Bercianos del Real Camino
This municipality is in the province of León and covers an area of 34 squares kilometres with almost 200 inhabitants. Its name comes from when the town was repopulated with people from the Bierzo region.
The town doesn’t have any major cultural attractions, except for the hermitage of Nuestra Señora de Perales, which is located before the entrance to the town, and the Romero fountain, located in the town centre.