Doing the Camino Sanabres to Santiago
The Camino Sanabres is the final section of the Via de la Plata. A 366-kilometre route that divides into 15 stages. The stage distribution along the Camino Sanabres gives us an average of 24 kilometres per day, although the longer stages reach more than 35 kilometres.
This route on the Camino de Santiago was travelled mainly by pilgrims from the centre and south of the Iberian Peninsula who travelled the route along La Via de la Plata or from the Camino Mozarabe.
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The Sanabres route has a distance of 366 kilometres starting in the province of Zamora, specifically in the town of Granja de Moreruela. Pilgrims of the Camino Sanabres travel an average of between 24 and 35 kilometres per day, depending on the stage.
The Via de la Plata is a very long route that departs from southern Spain. Arriving at Granja de Moreruela in Zamora, it forks into two variants.
A branch takes us to Astorga, to follow the Camino Frances. The other heads to Ourense following the path that is known as Camino Sanabres. It is this second variant that we will dedicate this article to.
Stages on the Camino Sanabres
In this section we want to talk about the 15 stages that make up the Camino Sanabres, from Granja de Moreruela to Santiago de Compostela. However, many people prefer to start this route on the Camino de Santiago from Ourense, thus reducing the journey time to 5 or 6 days, if done on foot.
First stage on the Camino Sanabres
The first stage of the Camino Sanabres runs between Granja de Moreruela and Tábara. In total, 25.3 kilometres of travel.
This stage is not one of the longest, but it is considered one of the most difficult ones. The route of this is mostly done by dirt tracks. The day is marked by the continuous presence of rivers and streams, such as the Esla.
Before you start walking, in Granja de Moreruela, you can visit the ruins of the Monastery of Santa Maria de Moreruela and the Cisterla Interpretation Centre. In Tábara, you will be received by the altar of Nuestra Señora de la Fuente, a curious mound of stones dominated by an image of the Virgin.
From Tábara to Santa Marta de Tera (stage 2)
On the second day, the 22.7 kilometres separating Tábara from Santa Marta de Tera are completed. The difficulty of this stage is slightly lower than the previous one.
To get to Santa Marta de Tera you will find two options. One crosses Bercianos de Valverde and the other, a little longer, deviates through Villanueva de las Peras.
During the day, you will be able to see several wine cellars that have been excavated in areas of clay soil. At the end of the stage you can visit the Monastery of Santa Maria de Tera and the various marble sculptures that surround the temple.
Etapa 3: to Mombuey
The third stage of the Camino Sanabres joins Santa Maria de Tera with Mombuey. The distance separating the two locations is 36.9 kilometres. This is the longest stage of the entire route.
The good news is that the terrain on the route is quite simple. However, if you prefer you can also divide the stage in two, staying overnight in Rionegro del Puente.
At this stage you will also find two variants to complete the route. One follows a service trail to the reservoir of Our Lady of Agavanzal.
In this section, the surface is more stable. Therefore, we can say that this is the most recommended route for those pilgrims who want to travel the Camino Sanabres by bike.
The other runs along rural tracks to the Shrine of Our Lady of Agavanzal. In this temple, recently, an embedded bullet has been discovered dating back to the Napoleonic Wars.
From Mombuey to Puebla de Sanabria (stage 4)
The 31 kilometres separating Mombuey from Puebla de Sanabria are mostly carried out following forest tracks. The only difficulty in this stage is the low offer of services during the tour, so it is advisable to provision yourself before leaving.
Stage 5 on the Camino Sanabres
The fifth stage runs between Puebla de Sanabria and Lubián. The route is 29.5 kilometres long and faces the ascent to the Alto de Padornela Pass.
The route is characterized by the presence of streams and dirt trails, sometimes interrupted by the appearance of the road and the infrastructure of the AVE. The pilgrim bids farewell at this stage to Castile and León.
From Lubián to A Gudiña (stage 6)
23.8 kilometres separate Lubián from A Gudiña. In this small town, after crossing the A Canda mountain pass, the pilgrim enters the province of Ourense. The Galician lands begin!
A Gudiña is a key point on the route. It not only offers various attractions such as the Chapel of San Martiño, the Church of San Pedro and the Statue of Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio. But in this town you will find the last ATM before the city of Ourense, still 90 kilometres away.
Seventh stage on the Camino Sanabres
On the seventh stage, the pilgrims who make the Camino Sanabres by bicycle are separated from those who go on foot. The first ones will take a detour, passing through Verín, which will allow them to follow the road layout. For them the route is 51 kilometres.
Pilgrims who go on foot will continue their tour through a mountain stage. Along the way you will find many small villages, but they all lack services. Therefore, it is important to stock up well before dealing with the 35 km that separate A Gudiña from Laza by this route.
Some pilgrims, even if they walk, will want to deviate through Verín to have the opportunity to visit the Los Remedios Sanctuary and the La Merced Convent. For them, the tour will become too long, but you will find the option to divide the stage in two, staying overnight in Campobecerros.
Stage 8: Laza – Xunqueira de Ambía
The eighth stage of the Camino Sanabres faces 33.2 kilometres. This day is characterized by the presence of Mount Requeixada. The stage faces various ascents that will test the resistance of the pilgrims.
From Tamicelas to Alberguería faces a slope of 425 metres, distributed in just under 6 kilometres. However, the effort has its reward and the intense green of the Galician landscapes will open before your eyes.
Stage 9: Xunqueira de Ambía – Ourense
From Xunqueira de Ambía to the city of Ourense there are 22 kilometres. This is a fairly short stage compared to the rest and faces a little unevenness. The tour leaves enough energy for the pilgrim to visit Ourense on arrival.
The beginning of the day runs close to the OU-102 road. Then, as you approach Ourense, the path is shrouded in urbanization and industrial areas.
In Ourense, a city of Roman origin, you will find many places to visit. Some of the highlights are Ponte Vella and the Cathedral of San Martiño.
Stage 10: The Camino Sanabres from Ourense
At this stage, the influx of pilgrims increases because, as we mentioned at the beginning of the article, many decide to complete this route of the Camino de Santiago from Ourense. However, given the tranquillity of this route, this greater influx will not be a problem for those seeking tranquillity.
The tenth stage of the Camino Sanabres faces 22.1 kilometres. Again the Camino de Santiago offers two variants. The one that passes through Tamallancos and Canedo, which shortens the route by one kilometre.
Both variants are similar in difficulty. The two routes are made on a continuous climb, although without facing great slopes. The main difference is that the Tamallancos variant has fewer kilometres of asphalt.
The stage concludes in Cea. The town is also known as “the village of good bread”, so you can’t leave the village without trying some of it.
Stage 11: From Cea to Casarellos
This is the shortest stage of the Camino Sanabres. Only 8.1 kilometres separate Cea from Casarellos. In fact, many pilgrims prefer to continue walking to Laxe, thus completing the next stage and reducing the route in one day.
The 11th day on the Camino Sanabres is a relaxing stage. Not only is the distance low, but the route is done along a good surface in good condition and facing few climbs. To the above, it should be added that the stage runs through a rural environment of intense green landscape.
One of the alternatives offered by this stage is to take the detour that passes through Oseira. This option is preferred by many pilgrims, as it allows you to visit the majestic Monastery of Oseira, of the Cistercian order.
Taking the detour involves increasing the stage by 5 kilometres. If you want to use this variant, at the exit of Cea, you must continue straight ahead, towards the town’s football field.
Stage 12: Casarellos – Lalín
At this stage the province of Ourense is abandoned to enter the province of Pontevedra. The route faces 27.1 kilometres and ends in Lalín (Laxe).
The day runs mostly on asphalt and faces several moderate descents. However, it cannot be considered a difficult stage, the biggest drawback are the continuous crossings with the road.
Stage 13: From Lalín to Silleda on the Camino Sanabres
At this stage they join the pilgrims of the Sanabres Way, those who have been following the Winter Route, a variant of the Camino Frances. If you want to know more about this route, you can consult our guide on the Camino de Invierno.
Like stage 11, this stage runs over a low distance. Only 9.5 kilometres separates Lalín from Silleda. The tour is quite easy; it does not face much unevenness. The most uncomfortable thing is the continuous presence of asphalt.
On the final stretch of this stage, the signage is somewhat lacking. We must pay close attention to the indications and in case of doubt, always continue straight on.
Stage 14: Silleda – Ponte Ulla
The penultimate stage of the Camino Sanabres is carried out along trails, bordered by pine trees and eucalyptus trees. The route between Silleda and Ponte Ulla crosses many charming villages, although without services.
Last stage on the Camino Sanabres
The last stage of the Camino Sanabres to Santiago is more pleasant than that of other pilgrim routes. Generally, the entrance to the cities is marked by the presence of industrial environments, here, the Camino Sanabres is an exception.
The initial stretch of the stage runs through a wooded environment, then crosses rural areas, dotted with small villages. In this section you will have the opportunity to see the Pico Sacro, the scene of multiple pilgrim legends.
The final straight on the route is made through streets and avenues in Santiago de Compostela, until reaching the Plaza del Obradoiro. In total 20.9 kilometres separate Ponte Ulla from the Cathedral of Compostela.
Once there, take your time to discover all the corners in the Cathedral de Santiago. We also advise you to book 1 or 2 days to visit the city if you have time. If you want you can check our guide to Santiago de Compostela to discover everything you can do and see in it.
We hope that our guide to the Camino Sanabres will be of use to you. Remember that if you want, you can contact us to help you organize your trip on the Camino Sanabres.
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