After a stop for a tapa de pulpo á feira, we’re back to our series about the different Caminos. This week, I’m writing about the Camino Primitivo.
The Camino Primitivo (Primitive Way) is so called because it’s the first Camino pilgrimage of which there is a written record. It follows the route taken by king Alfonso II of Asturias in the 9th century when he visited the sepulchre of St. James, which had just been discovered.
The Camino Primitivo is one of the shortest Caminos, as it covers around 320km from Oviedo (in Asturias) to Santiago de Compostela. It is a route of amazing natural beauty, but it is also the hardest of the Caminos. That’s probably why only 4.5% of pilgrims chose this route in 2017, according to the Pilgrims office statistics).*
It is well signposted and there are albergues and other services all along the way, but there is a lot of going up and down through mountains on dirt paths, loose rocks and mostly difficult terrain. Sometimes, the albergue is the only available service in town, so make sure you check ahead of time and plan accordingly.
The weather in Asturias and Galicia is quite rainy so there will also be mud much of the time. As well as lluvia (rain), you can also expect viento (wind) and niebla (fog) in some areas. It’s not advisable to take this Camino in winter, due to nieve (snow) in the mountains.
The Camino Primitivo route
- As I just mentioned, the Camino Primitivo starts in Oviedo and crosses the mountains on the western part of Asturias, passing through villages such as Salas and Tineo. For things to do and see in Oviedo, check https://www.turismoasturias.es/en/descubre/ciudades/oviedo
- There is a variation called Ruta de los Hospitales, starting at Borres and so called because of the remains of several old mediaeval hospitals. This is allegedly one of the most beautiful sections of the Camino. It covers around 24km but if you are planning to do it you should be aware that it has no services at all. The weather can also be treacherous. So make sure you are well equipped and stay safe!
The Camino Primitivo in Galicia
- The Camino Primitivo enters Galicia through O Acebo pass (1300m altitude) and from there it descends to Fonsagrada (700m).
- The second biggest town on the Camino Primitivo is Lugo. It was founded in the year 25 b.C and it was one of the most important Roman settlements in the Iberian Peninsula. Its Roman walls are mostly intact and they surround the historic centre. They were added to UNESCO’S World Heritage List in 2000 (see https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/987). Definitely worth a visit!
- From Lugo, this Camino continues towards Melide, where it joins the Camino Francés for the last stages.
Do you think this could the be the Camino for you? If you’ve done it, please share your experience!
Today’s Spanish words
Ruta de los Hospitales
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