After the demanding first stage of the Camino Primitivo, today you will feel a little tired. It is normal the body needs a couple of days to adapt to long journeys. Today, to continue our training, more slopes await us.
The day will begin with the climb to San Juan de Villapanada and continue with the ascent to the Alto del Fresno. Then a steep descent will lead us to the bottom of the Narcea Valley. Here we can detour to visit Cornellana, with the Monastery of San Salvador.
We will continue through small hamlets, such as Llamas, Quintana and Casazorrina. Finally, we will complete the stage in the village of Salas.
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Itinerary etapa Grado – Salas
23.2 kilometres separate Grado from Salas. Today’s route faces steep slopes. Highlights include the ascent to the Alto del Fresno and the subsequent descent to La Doriga.
Grado (km. 0). Beginning of the stage
Practical tips for this stretch: Those of us who slept in Grado start the morning with a double ascent. First, the one that leads to San Juan de Villapanada and then to the Alto del Fresno. We recommend that you have a good breakfast before you leave. Buen Camino!
We start the day crossing Grado on the road, to a petrol station. 120 metres after this, pass a curve on the right of the road, we turn down a street to the left and, immediately, we take a concrete track, which begins on our right and that runs uphill.
The slope is slowly decreasing. We cross one of the accesses to the A-63 motorway over a bridge. Afterwards, another steep climb down a paved track, leads us to a junction that gives access to San Juan de Villapanada (km. 3). To visit the parish church, you have to deviate 800 metres, as the pilgrim path continues straight ahead.
Continuing on the climb, we take on the ascent that leads to the Sanctuary of La Virgen del Fresno. The effort is compensated by the magnificent views, although somewhat spoiled by the presence of the highway.
Collado de El Fresno (km. 5,3).
Practical tips for this stretch: In this section, you will face a descent of more than 200 metres to La Doriga. We recommend using poles on the descent. Buen Camino!
At the top we can visit the sanctuary, located in a place known as Partido de las Montes. The descent gives us a fantastic panorama over the village of San Marcelo, our next stop, and the succession of valleys and hills that are located behind it.
We cross the Meredal Bridge, next to which we find a fountain. Following the route of the main road we enter San Marcelo (km. 6,6), in the parish of La Doriga, in the council of Salas.
At the exit of the town, at the roundabout that accesses the main road, we turn left and continue through a meadow with an abundance of apple trees. Soon, the gentle sound of the Meredal stream is heard, which accompanies us to the hamlet of La Reaz and the Church of Santa Eulalia de Doriga. Shortly thereafter, we arrive in the centre of La Doriga (km. 8.2).
La Doriga (km. 8,2).
Practical tips for this stretch: We recommend detouring and stopping at Cornellana, before continuing the tour. It is the only place with services on this stage. Buen Camino!
To the right of the pilgrim path appears the Palace of Doriga. Behind the bar nearby, we climb to the area known as Veiguina. Next to the pillars on the highway, we take a narrow path, which starts on the left.
On the subsequent descent, you have to pay a lot of attention to your steps, as it is a very slippery stretch. After a dairy, we leave for the N-634 road (km. 6.7) and following the route of this national road, we pass next to La Rodriga. Leaving on the left the entrance to the river park, we reach the bridge over the River Narcea, from where we can access Cornellana (km. 10.9).
If you do not want to visit the town, by a detour located on the left, we can follow the path to the Monastery of San Salvador. If you visit the village, once there you have to turn left, next to the Bazar Cuesta shop and continue along Avenida Jose Maria Caballero. The signage leads to the monastery.
Once at the monastery, we go around it on the left and a few metres later, we take the SL-7, to climb to Sobrerriba (km. 12.5).
Sobrerriba (km. 12,5).
Practical tips for this stretch: After the peak that we reach in this part of the route, we continue our walk along the foothills of the mountain. It is one of the most beautiful stretches of the day. At the entrance of Llamas, in high season, you will find vending machines, with water and soft drinks. Buen Camino!
We cross the centre by road and in the Ramon neighbourhood we take a track to tackle one of the curves in the road. Then we cross the road and, by a path, we go up to the peak (km. 13.7), which gives us superb panoramic views of Cornellana and the confluence of the Nonaya and Narcea rivers.
On a beautiful stretch that runs along the foothills of the mountain, through thick vegetation, we leave, next to the Silicas La Cuesta quarry, before the centre of Llamas (km. 15,4). We continue to walk next to a striking dovecote.
Leaving to our left the detour to Monteagudo (km. 16,2), we continue straight on. 400 metres later, we pass next to La Carril and, just before reaching the River Nonaya plain, we turn left. We follow the walk along a straight, for almost one kilometre, which takes us to Quintana (km. 17.8), where we will find the Church of Santiago de Villazon.
Quintana (km. 17,8).
Practical tips for this stretch: The path that runs up to the Casazorrina Bridge is usually muddy most of the year. Pay attention to this stretch. Buen Camino!
Next to the pilgrim path, we find the Fountain of Santiago and soon after, another fountain with a rest area. We turn left to continue along an ascending track to the Casazorrina Bridge. We cross it and access the centre of Casazorrina (km. 19.5).
Leaving the village behind, we cross the Devesa footbridge. A few metres later we then cross under the highway and the N-634 road. By a path that progresses in a slight ascent, among trees, we reach Mallecin (km. 21.8).
On Avenida de Llaniello, we arrive at the neighbouring Salas, practically in direct contact with each other. The avenue leads us to the Plaza de la Campa, already in the centre of Salas.
Salas (km. 23,2). End of the stage
Practical tips for this stretch: Take advantage of the afternoon to relax your legs, after so many slopes. See you tomorrow!
In the town you can visit the Palacio de Valdes, in whose tower is the pre-Romanesque museum and the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria. Also of interest, are the views of the Church of San Martin and the Maria Veiga mansion.
Comments stage Grado – Salas
Here are some recommendations for the second stage on the Camino Primitivo.
Precautions stage Grado – Salas
Today’s day begins with a steep ascent. First to San Juan de Villapanada and then continuing to the Sanctuary of Nuestra Senora del Fresno. It is advisable to go well equipped for the climb and be cautious in the subsequent descent, especially if it has rained, as it may be muddy.
On today’s route there are several descents where it is easy to slip as they are often flooded, either by rain or by streams that run in the vicinity. Particular attention should be paid to the descent after La Doriga and Quintana.
Food on the stage Grado – Salas
Here are some dishes that you can taste during the second stage of the Camino Primitivo.
- Carajitos del Profesor de Salas (locally made biscuits)
- Red meat, game and ham
- Afuega’l pitu cheese
- Asturian- style Callos (Tripe)
- Stuffed bread rolls
- Fried milk
Services on the stage Grado – Salas
Get to know the main healthcare services, cafes, ATMs and restaurants that are located on this stage of the Camino Primitivo.
Map from Oviedo to Grado
Check the map with the route and locations that the stage runs through.
Profile from Grado to Salas
Find out about the profile, altitude and degree of difficulty on each section.
What to do on the stage Grado – Salas
Below we provide you with information about historical and cultural attractions that will come your way in the second stage of the Camino Primitivo.
Parish Church of San Juan de Villapanada
The parish church of San Juan de Villapanada presents a structure of Latin cross plant and square apse. The highlight of this temple is inside, a marine carving of the Virgin of Loreto, from the 17th century.
Sanctuary of La Virgen del Fresno
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fresno is located on top of a hill. The temple, in the popular Baroque style, was built between the 17th and 18th centuries, although it was renovated later.
Its structure features a Latin cross plant and quadrangular apse with barrel vault. The bell tower is located to the east of the temple. It was rebuilt in 1870, after the previous one was razed by a fire during the Napoleonic Wars.
The interior of the sanctuary shelters several baroque stables, among which stands out the one that is located in the presbytery, with the image of Christ Crucified and our Lady of Fresno.
Useful information:Mass time: Holidays at 11:30.
Church of Santa Eulalia de La Doriga
The Church of Santa Eulalia de La Doriga dates back to the 12th century and is neoclassical in style, although its primitive design was Romanesque. Its structure consists of a Latin cross plant and a tower that tops the building. The main façade is preserved from the original temple. Inside it houses a tombstone of 1121.
Palacio de La Doriga
The Palace of La Doriga is a huge stately-style palace tower that clearly had defensive use. Its construction took place between the 14th and 16th centuries. Initially, it only had the medieval tower and later the house was raised, in a rectangular plan.
The palace is distributed around a courtyard flanked by twelve columns made of stone and with a smooth shaft. The entrance door to the property stands out, consisting of a half-point arch. On it, you can observe the family shield.
Monastery of San Salvador de Cornellana
The Monastery of San Salvador in Cornellana is located between the Narcea and the Nonaya rivers. In its vicinity a settlement from the Paleolithic and another of the Neolithic period is located.
The monastery was built in the 11th century and was founded by the daughter of King Bermudo II of Leon, Princess Cristina. When the king donated the monastery to his daughter, he also included various villages, churches and land in the area.
When she died, all these properties passed into the hands of her descendants. Years later, her great-grandson Suero Bermudez gathered all the properties and donated them to the monastery of the Cluny congregation.
The monastery was re-built in the 13th century, retaining from its anterior structure only the walls of the cloister, the apses of the church and some sculptures. Beginning in the year 1300, the infrastructures ceased to depend on the Cluny congregation, but still survived the difficult times during the late Middle Ages.
In 1536, the monastery passed into the hands of the Benedictine congregation of Valladolid, at which point it again underwent another extensive refurbishment, in order to adapt it to the needs of those times.
Subsequently, the cloister was burned down by the French, who used it as a stable, for several years. The rehabilitation of this space was very expensive and the monks had to sell all their properties to be able to do it.
In 1931, the monastery was declared a National Monument, thanks to the pressure exerted by locals. After the end of the war, the architect Luis Menendez Pidal restored the temple of the monastery, with pieces found in it. Subsequently, and despite being a National Monument, the monastery underwent various remodelling phases, of dubious criteria.
Some buildings are preserved from its Romanesque structure: the cloister, the bell tower and the Puerta de la Osa, an old access to the monastery. A Baroque-era façade is also maintained.
Hours: Closed on weekends. Monday to Thursday (9:00 to 14:30) and Friday (9:00 to 11:00).
Church of Santiago de Villazon
The Church of Santiago de Villazon is located in the town of Quintana, dominating the Vega de Villazon. The temple was erected in the 12th century, although it has undergone several subsequent modifications.
Its construction was carried out in stone from the area. Its main façade is quite simple, with a door and a window on each of its sides. On it is a cross and on it rises a triangular pediment that tops the façade. It also features a tower.
Its structure consists of three naves and a tower. Inside, it guards a carving of the Romanesque style of Santiago and another of Christ Crucified, dating from the 13th century.
The municipality of Salas has a population of just over 5,500 inhabitants. The town, located at the confluence of the Narcea and Nalon rivers, is known for its salmon.
The most interesting element in the town is the Palacio de Valdes, in whose tower the pre-Romanesque museum is located. However, other places of interest are also the Collegiate Church of Santa María la Mayor, the Church of San Martin and the Maria Veiga mansion.
Palacio de Valdes and the Tower
The Palace of Valdes in Salas was built in the 16th century, although its tower was built in the 14th. The palace and the tower are linked by a half-point arch in which you can appreciate the shields of the Valdes-Sala family lineage. Its owner was the founder of the University of Oviedo and its remains rest in the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria la Mayor.
The tower is square in plan and consists of a basement and three upper floors, with a spiral staircase. The tower is considered as a place of Cultural Interest and a National Monument. Today, it is the headquarters of the Pre-Romanesque Museum.
The palace is made of masonry and stonework; and has a portico within the inner courtyard, surrounded by a railing of turned balusters. It also has a rectangular chapel and barrel vault. It is currently used as an exhibition hall, while the rest of the palace houses a hotel, the Tourist Office and the Cultural Centre.
Hours: From 16th June to 21st September, Monday to Sunday (10:00 to 14:00 and from 17:00 to 20:00). From 15th March to 15th June and from 22nd September to 31st October, it is closed on Mondays. It is open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday (10:00 to 14:00 and from 16:00 to 18:00) and Wednesday and Sunday (from 10:00 to 14:00). From 1st November to 14th March, it is open from Thursday to Saturday (11:00 to 14:00 and from 16:00 to 18:00) and Sundays (from 11:00 to 14:00).
Museo del Prerrománico
The Museum of the Pre-Romanesque in Salas is located in the medieval tower of the Palace of Salas. The space was founded in 1998, and houses a large collection of pieces and tombstones of the Church of San Martín, elaborated during the 10th century in Asturian workshops.
Hours: In summer, it is closed on Mondays and is open from Tuesday to Sunday (10:30 to 14:00 and from 16:30 to 20:00 and Wednesdays from 11:00 to 14:00). In winter, it is closed on Sundays and Mondays and is open from Tuesday to Saturday (9:30 to 14:00 and from 16:30 to 19:00).
Admission: General (2.20€), groups of more than 15 people (1.70€), children under 8 years old (free).
Colegiata de Santa María la Mayor
The Collegiate Church of Santa Maria la Mayor was founded in the 16th century, by the Valdes-Sala family. Originally it was a family pantheon. In 1894 the building was donated and constituted as a parish church.
The temple consists of a single nave, to which chapels were added throughout history. Inside a wonderful decorated vault and two impressive altarpieces stand out, from the 17th century. The main altarpiece houses a biblical staging of the wise men, baptism and St. Martin yielding his cloak. The other altarpiece is located in the Chapel of the Malleza family.
However, the highlight of the church is the mausoleum that is housed inside. It was built with Renaissance influences by the Italian sculptor Pompeyo Leoni. Here lie the remains of Fernando de Valdes-Salas.
Hours: From 15th June to 15th September, Monday to Sunday (11:00 to 14:00 and from 16:00 to 20:00).
Church of San Martin
The Church of St. Martin in Salas was built between the 8th and 9th century, although it was rebuilt in the 10th century, later, in the 15th century, it was completely rebuilt and then underwent various renovations.
The temple consists of a single nave that is entered through an ojival Gothic gate. Inside, it houses a Rococo style altarpiece in homage to Saint Martin. The town’s cemetery is located in the surrounding area.
Casa María Veiga
Casa María Veiga is a house in Salas, built in the 17th century. The construction stands out for the imposing shield on its façade. It currently functions as a country house.