Ourense to Santiago de Compostela – the last stretch

Ourense, once known as Auria, is a city well known for its medieval style buildings, churches and hot thermal waters. The popular As Burgas springs, are within a short walking of Hostal Grelo where I stayed and date back to the era of Roman times. The natural spring waters of As Burgas are reputed to have therapeutic benefits and admission is free.

Fountain of thermal waters

Of course a visit to Ourense would not complete without a visit to the cathedral. Ourense Cathedral The cathedral of San Martino was constructed during the 12th century under the rule of King Alfonso III in late Romanesque style with gothic elements. The cathedral was built in the shape of a Latin cross plan and has three naives separated by pillars in the shape of crucifixes with double arches. The altar of San Martino was consecrated in 1188 and the building became a National monument in 1931. This cathedral is claimed to be strongly influence by the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela from which several of its features can be identified. One of the main features, the Pórtico del Paraíso or door of paradise is very similar to the one found on Santiago’s great cathedral, the Pórtico de la Gloria. There is also the magnificent sixteenth century ‘Capilla del Santo Cristo’ or Christ’s chapel which is in the Baroque style. It should be noted that the cathedral is also an important passing point for pilgrims (peregrinos) on the Christian pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

St John the Baptist
St James

Leaving Ourense As the pilgrim departs Ourense via the Ponta Romana bridge, which spans the River Minho, they have a choice of two routes – left or right. Both routes join up in Casanovas where the pilgrim has only two kilometres left before arriving in the village of Cea. Directions for left and right routes The right route goes via Tamallancos and the left via Canedo. Both routes are adequately waymarked, have their own challenges and very steep. The route via Tamallancos is one kilometre longer than the left route and after reaching Cudeiro the pilgrim is offered some great views of Ourense. Past the chapel of San Marcos, they cross to the area of Outeiros da Forca, and the Camino continues on for approximately five kilometres until the town of Tamallancos. Hete the pilgrim continues through the municipality of Vilamarín, over the medieval bridge of Sobreira, across the River Barbantiño to Viduedo and then Casanovas. The left route via Canedo goes past Ourense’s railway station and industrial area.  After a steep climb up the Costiña de Canedo the pilgrim will reach Castro de Beiro. Here the pilgrim continues on past Reguengo until the La Parada del Peregrino. This path takes them to Puente Mandrás, a medieval bridge over the River Barbantiño. After crossing the Madrás the pilgrim ends up in Casanovas. I took the left route which, by the way I might add, had an incline of 21 percent

21% incline – driver’s beware

and then stopped at Casa Cesar for a break and something to eat

Casa Cesar

before continuing on to Cea.

A Camino waymarker way to Cea

One of the main products of this region is the famous Pan de Cea. This Galician bread is famous for its quality and in 2004 was awarded a Denomination of Origin. Using only raw materials such as flour, water, salt and yeast and applying a traditional process the bread is baked in stone wood-fired ovens. The loaves of wheat bread are easily recognised by their elongated shape with rounded ends and a cut across the centre dividing it into two equal parts. The texture of the bread is soft,  spongy and uneven and the crust is thick and crisp. The origin of this baking tradition is linked to the neighbouring monastery of Oseira, and also to the passage of pilgrims towards Santiago, who during the Middle Ages found hospitality here. I recommend sampling the bread and afterwards visiting Plaza Mayor where you will see a big clock tower which is the main feature of the plaza.

Cea albergue
On the way to Cea

After overnight stay in the municipal albergue in Cea I decided that I would take a short day and visit the monastery in Oseira.

Water on the path – which way do I go?
Waymarker on the way to Oseira

I  also decided to spend the night there and was the sole occupant. It was very creepy.

Lots of beds for one person
Spin the wheel of fortune – this was on one of the tables

The Monasterio de Santa María la Real de Oseira is a Trappist (Cistercian) monastery and is popular with pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago Via de Plata route.

Approaching the monastery

Founded in 1137 the monastery was destroyed by fire in 1552 and in 1553 the restoration of the monestery began. In 1835 the monks were expelled as a result of the law of desamortización (confiscation) and the building remained abandoned for almost a century. In 1929 the monestery was re-established by French and Spanish cistercian monks and in 1965 became a spanish national heritage site. Today there are approximately 14 monks who reside at the monastery carrying on the tradition of their predecessors by making liquor called Eucaliptine as well as pastries and cookies. Pilgrims who want to stay here overnight are accommodated in an albergue with very limited and basic facilities. The main room is not heated due to a very high ceiling and blankets are provided. Pilgrims who stay in the albergue can also attend Vespers in the evening and Mass and Lauds in the morning. New albergues were opening up enroute offering overnight accommodation to pilgrims. One of these new albergues was named Reina Lupa and only 12 km before Santiago de Compostela so I decided to stay there and have a short walk the next day.

I Image from Albergue Reina Lupa- Queen of the Wolves

Santiago de Compostela is well known for being the final destination of a pilgrimage route commonly known as the Camino de Santiago or the Way of Saint James, which pilgrims have travelled since the Middle Ages. The architecture and atmosphere of this magnificent city are enriched with history and pilgrims may feel like they have taken a step back in time. At the centre of this medieval city lie the majestic cathedral and Praza do Obrodoiro.

Santiago de Compostela cathedral

According to legend the remains of Saint James the Great, one of the apostles of Jesus, are enshrined in a silver tomb within the Cathedral.

Tomb of St James
A couple of really huge bells

For dining you should not pass up trying meals at Casa Manolo for 10 euros. Tucked away in a corner of the 12th century Plaza de Cervantes this restaurant is famous amongst pilgrims for its traditional Galician meals.

First course – Ensalada mixta
Casa Manolo effigy

Albergues and Hostels

Some of the places that I stayed at along the Via de la Plata.
Note: my rating 👍 is based on the location if the albergue and inclusions like breakfast, kitchen and microwave, blankets, hot showers and WiFi.

Sevilla – Hotel Simon. Booked through http://www.booking.com. Free WiFi and breakfast included. Hotel is conveniently located within walking distance to all major sights. For a minimal fee you can also pick up a credential and the Via de la Plata association’s guide book. 👍👍👍👍👍

Guillena – Albergue Luz. Great value. Close to all amenities. Blankets and hot showers. WiFi is available in all areas. 👍👍👍👍👍

Castilblanco de los Arryos – Albergue de Peregrinos. Has an onsite hospitalero. Donativo albergue – give about 10 euros to help maintain the cost of the albergue. Warm to luke warm showers. Two sleeping areas. Upstairs and downstairs. No washing machine so hand washing only. Free WiFi is available and there is a small kitchen with microwave for those pilgrims who want to cook a meal. Close to amenities. Cafe across the road from the gas station does an early breakfast. 👍👍👍👍

Almaden de la Plata – Unfortunately due to a fire in the upstairs dormitory set by a fire bug the municipal albergue was closed for one month . Stayed at El Roble. Small studio type apartment. No bunk beds 😁👍 Small kitchen, microwave and hot showers. No washing machine so hand washing only. DIA supermarket in town centre. Very homely feeling. 👍👍👍👍👍

Monestario – Albergue Las Morenas. About 100 metres from the Camino. Provides lockers and blankets. Does laundry for 6 euros washing and drying. Breakfast not included in the price but has big kitchen area with microwave. Average WiFi available in all areas. 👍👍👍👍

Fuente de Cantos – Albergue Zaguan centrally located. Blankets provided. Also hot showers. Breakfast included in the price. 👍👍👍👍👍

Zafra – Albergue de Peregrinos. Had onsite hospitalero. Small breakfast included in the price. WiFi is available in all areas. Use if kitchen and microwave. 👍👍👍👍👍

Villafranca de los Barros – Albergue El Carmen. Price includes breakfast. Blankets provided. Use of kitchen in the evening only. Has pellet fire heater for cold days and drying clothes. WiFi in all areas but evening only. 👍👍👍👍👍

Torremejia – Albergue El Rojo. Cramped. They crammed the beds into the room and there is only one exit in the room in case of emergency. WiFi was advertised but non existent. 👎👎👎 Stayed here because the Turistico albergue was closed. Cost 22 euros which included a very average dinner and breakfast.👍👍

Merida – Apartmentos Templos DIana. Everything provided. Close to all amenities. Booked through http://www.booking.com. WiFi is available in all areas. 👍👍👍👍👍

Aljucen – Albergue Rio Aljucen. WiFi is available in all areas. 16 beds provides bkankets. Breakfast included in the price. 👍👍👍👍👍

Alcuescar – Albergue de Peregrinos. Donativo. Communal evening meal provided. Blankets provided and hot showers. No cooking facilities available. No breakfast provided so buy supplies before arriving. Has strict opening times and is closed between 1425 and 1625. So plan your arrival accordingly. 👍👍👍

Caceres – Albergue Turistico Las Veletas. Everything provided except breakfast. Centrally located and within walking distance to Plaza Mayor. WiFi is available in all areas. 👍👍👍👍👍

Casar de Caceres – Albergue de Peregrinos. Cost 6 euros. Two separate dormitories. Old section (a little cramped and close to toilets) 👎👎 and new section.👍👍👍👍 Kitchen and microwave. Use of free washing and drying machine. Hot showers and blankets. 👍👍👍

Canaveral – Hostal Canaveral. Located on main road. WiFi is available in all areas. Hot showers and blankets. Breakfast included in the price and located in the downstairs area. Good value.👍👍👍👍👍

Galisteo – Albergue de Peregrinos Turistico situated 30 metres behind main bar outside the old town. Small breakfast in a plastic container is also provided. Microwave only but has refrigerator. WiFi is available in all areas. Small shop close to albergue. 👍👍👍👍👍

Caparra (Hostel Asturias) – All facilities. Good value for money but a little slow on customer service. Price does not include breakfast but on request they will pick up you from the Caparra arch at a designated time. WiFi is available in all areas.👍👍👍👍

Bańos de Montemayor – Albergue Turistico Via de la Plata. Cost 18 euros which includes breakfast and all bedding except towel. WiFi is available in all areas.👍👍👍👍👍

Valverde de Valdelacasa – Albergue Santiago de Apostol. No WiFi but available in bar. One shop town (buy food at bar). Small dining area downstairs with microwave. No breakfast provided so buy supplies before arriving. Bar does meals for a reasonable price. 👍👍👍

Fuenterroble de Salvertierra – Albergue de Peregrinos. Onsite hospitaleros. Donativo albergue – give about 10 euros to help maintain the cost of the albergue. Good location. WiFi in main building only. Provides a communal evening meal and small breakfast in the morning. Blankets and hot showers. Wood fire heater in main outdoor dormitory. 👍👍👍👍👍

San Pedro de Rozados – Albergue Mutatio Elena. Cost 20 euros which includes dinner and breakfast. Hot showers and blankets no kitchen but has microwave. WiFi is available in all areas. Albergue is located next to bar. 👍👍👍👍👍

Salamanca – Hotel Silken Rona Dalba. Everything provided. Walking distance to all sights. Booked through http://www.booking.com. 👍👍👍👍👍

Villanueva de Campean – Albergue Via de la Plata. No WiFi in albergue but available in bar. Bar closes from 1400 – 1900. Small kitchen with microwave. Hot showers and blankets. No breakfast provided so buy supplies before arriving as bar opens late.👍👍👍

Zamora – Albergue de Peregrinos. Has an onsite hospitaleros. Donativo
albergue – give about 10 euros to help maintain the cost of the albergue. WiFi is available and does not work well in the downstairs area. Breakfast included in the morning. 👍👍👍👍👍

Montamarta – El Molino de Castilla. Cost 20 euros and you have have hot showers, great WiFi, single beds with bedding and towels provided. Use is a kitchen and free laundry (washing machine only). Website: http://www.molinodecastilla.com ph: 655 014 076 or 666 960 887. E: molinodecastillo@hotmail.com. They take reservations over the phone (preferred) as the website has bookings for groups of 4 and up. Great value as there is a Restaurant Rosa Mari only 5 metres away across the street which does a great menu for 11 euros. The local supermarket (small but very adequate) is 5 minute walk from the Casa Rural. The Casa Rural is very easy to locate as it has a big stone mill wheel outside. 👍👍👍👍👍

Granja de Moreruela – Albergue de Peregrinos. No kitchen or microwave. No WiFi onsite but available in bar. Very basic. Blankets and hot showers. Bar does meals and a small shop is located around the corner near the church. 👍👍👍

Tábara – Hostal El Roble. Cost 22 euros which includes dinner. No breakfast provided. All bedding provided and hot showers. WiFi in all areas. There is an albergue in the same place. Cost 15 euros with fair reports. 👍👍👍

Rionegro del Puente – Albergue de Peregrinos. Has kitchen with microwave and hot showers. Blankets and heating provided. Bar across the road does meals. Breakfast not included in the price but bar opens at 0730. 👍👍👍👍

Puebla de Sanabria – Casa Luz. Cost 12 euros. Has kitchen with microwave and hot showers. WiFi in all areas. 👍👍👍👍👍

Requejo – Albergue Casa Cerviño. Cost 12 euros includes towel and blankets. No kitchen but has microwave. Washing and drying machine 1 euro each. WiFi is available in all areas. 👍👍👍👍👍

Lubián – Casa de la Irene. Cost 30 euros which includes breakfast. Everything provided. Booked through http://www.booking.com. 👍👍👍👍👍

A Gudiña – Albergue de Peregrinos. No WiFi in albergue but available in bar. No blankets but has hot showers. Has kitchen with microwave. Centrally located to shops. 👍👍👍👍

Campobecerros – Albergue de Rosario. No kitchen or microwave. Provides blankets and has hot showers. No WiFi in albergue but available in Bar Penaboa10 metres away. Bar Penaboa does meals and breakfast. 👍👍👍👍

Alberguerìa – Albergue de Peregrinos. Donativo albergue – give about 10 euros to help maintain the cost of the albergue. WiFi is available in bar only. Has kitchen with microwave. Can buy food onsite. Hot showers and blankets provided. 👍👍👍👍

Xunqueira de Ambia – Albergue de Peregrinos. No blankets provided but has hot showers. No WiFi in albergue. Albergue is located 300 metres from town. Casa Tomás does dinner and breakfast. Small supermarket located on main plaza. 👍👍👍👍

Ourense – Grelo Hostel. Cost 15 euros which includes breakfast. Everything apart from towels are provided. WiFi is available in all areas. Has microwave and refrigerator. Hot showers and soap is also provided. Within walking distance to all shops. 👍👍👍👍👍

Cea – Albergue de Peregrinos. Cost 6 euros. Has kitchen with microwave and hot showers. Blankets provided. No WiFi available unless register your mobile phone. 👍👍👍

Oseira – Albergue de Peregrinos. 34 beds. Hot showers and blankets provided. No kitchen but has microwave. No WiFi available. Must buy food before staying here. Must register in the main building. Free use of washing machine but no dryer available. Very quiet and clean albergue situated on the grounds of the monastery.👍👍👍👍

Castro Dozón – Albergue de Peregrinos. Situated about 300 metres from town. Cost 6 euros. Hot showers and blankets provided. Has kitchen and microwave. WiFi is available in all areas. 👍👍👍👍

A Laxe – Albergue de Peregrinos. Cost 6 euros. A little less than 200 metres off the main road but well signed. Has kitchen with microwave and hot showers. No blankets provided for very cold evenings but has walk mounted heaters. No WiFi available unless register your mobile phone. Ensure you have enough food before arriving as the nearest shop is about 1 km walk away. 👍👍👍

Silleda – Hotel Ramos. Booked via http://www.booking.com. Double room very comfortable but can be cold 👎due to no self controlled heating which you must request to be turned on. Two supermarkets are located within walking distance (DIA and Froiz). WiFi is available but very intermittent in the room.👍👍👍👍

Ponte Ulla – Albergue O Cruceiro da Ulla. Situated up on the main road about 200 metres away from the Camino. Cost is 10 euros for a single room with private bathroom and TV. All meals are in the downstairs dining area, and are very reasonable portions. WiFi is available in all areas. Breakfast not included in the price but from the bar downstairs. 👍👍👍👍👍

Boquexión (Deseiro/Sergude) – Albergue Reina Lupa. New albergue opened recently in late April 2018 and situated 150 metres from the main road. Has 18 beds. Cost 14 euros for bed in dormitory. Breakfast not included in the price. However, blankets, sheets and towel are provided along with hot showers. Double rooms are also available for 20 euros per person. WiFi is available in all areas. For all meals including breakfast Café bar Rosande is situated 5 metres walking distance from the albergue. 👍👍👍👍👍

Santiago de Compostela – Hospedería San Martín Pinario 16th century monastery. Centrally located this is a very popular place amongst pilgrims and tourists alike so I recommend reserving a room well in advance. Price includes a hearty breakfast. WiFi is also available in all areas 👍👍👍👍👍

Of course when in Santiago de Compostela feel free to visit to the Pilgrim House Situated on Rua Nova the Pilgrim House, manned by volunteers, offers the pilgrims a chance to reflect on their journey and relax. 👍👍👍👍👍

Granja de Moreruela to Ourense

After stopping in Granja de Moreruela the choice of going towards Ourense was quite easy due to the weather situation up north on the Camino Francès.

Quintos bridge over Rio Elsa with 9 arches
Map of regions in Spain
Bogeda ‘hobbit style for keeping wine cool

Continuing on my way I passed through many towns including Tábara, Santa Marta de Tera where the albergue was ‘completo’ and pilgrims had to go further and onto other towns including Rionegro del Puente.

Rionegro del Puente albergue
Accommodation Rionegro del Puente albergue

Many small towns were passed by and eventually my travels took me to the town of Puebla de Sanabria.

Church in middle of road
For whom the bell tolls

This town is located on a hill and was once considered an important strategic position between Castilla, Galicia and Portugal.

Puebla de Sanabria

After crossing the bridge there are two routes. Following the main N-525 road to Requejo is a good alternative if the Camino route is flooded after rain.

Sign on the way

Requejo is located at the bottom of Padornelo Pass. Unfortunately due to the extensive road works for the AVE fast train most of the Camino is on the road.

Padornelo Pass

However, the views and passing through the tunnel of Padornelo Pass at a height of 1,260 metres on the way to Lubián are great.

Lubián is a small mountain village situated between Padornelo Pass and La Canada.

Fountain in Lubián

Alberguerìa is another small village that is located at an altitude of 900 metres. Having been founded in the 12th century the hamlet’s own name testifies that its origin may be linked to the Camino de Santiago as it gave shelter to the pilgrims passing through.

In fact it is said the knights of Santiago, who were in the nearby town of Codesedo patrolling the route, once also protected the pilgrims in Alberguería.

At present the small hamlet is almost uninhabited and it is the pilgrims that pass through daily that keep the place alive. For some of them it is a mandatory stop after a long days walking.

A highlight for many pilgrims is the only bar, Rincon del Peregrino, where owner has adorned the walls with shells with all the names of the pilgrims who have passed through.

Departing the albergue
Scallop shells everywhere
Rincon del Peregrino
Shell from my first Via de la Plata
What a coincidence! Look what I found – shell from my 2nd Via de la Plata.

Next major stop Ourense. Situated at an altitude of 103 metres above sea level Ourense lies deep in the valley of the river Miño. It is here that the Romans built a settlement here to take advantage of the natural hot springs along the banks of the river. Many of these thermal baths are still in use today and a great way to relax after a long days walk. One of the highlights in Ourense is the 12th century cathedral.

Zamora to Granja de Moreruela

After a brief stopover in Zamora I passed through the small town of Roales de Pan which has a replica of the Garden of Eden and other biblical characters.

One of the scenes from the garden

Mural on wall – pilgrim rest area Roales de Pan

For accommodation I had the privilege of staying at a great place in Montamarta. It’s a casa rural called El Molino Castilla and a converted flour mill which established in 1914. The Casa Rural is very easy to locate as it has a big stone mill wheel outside.

Casa Rural El Molino
Inside the mill
Mill machinery

From there it was a nice walk to Granja de Moreruela via the Monasterio de Santa María de Moreruela.

Monastery outside of Granja de Moreruela

The monastery is a former Cistercian monastery dating back to the 12th century which was built under the patronage of the Clairvaux monastery in north east France. Nowadays the monastery is mostly ruins but some parts of the Romanesque church are still well preserved.

Interior remains of the monastery

In Granja de Moreruela the pilgrim must make a choice of which path to take. Onwards towards Ouresna on the Camino Sanabres or upwards towards to Benevante and the much crowded Camino Francés.

Tough choice – Which way do I go?

Caparra to Zamora

So far my journey has taken me from Caparra,

Arch of Caparra

Aldeanueva del Camino, a important trade town during the times of the Roman empire,

Aldeanueva del Camino

Baños de Montemayor, well known for its thermal baths,

Almost halfway – Marker stone – Baños de Montemayor
Betty who? – Nice find in an antique shop

Valverde de Valdelacasa, Fuenterroble de Salvertierra

Calendar- Fuenterroble de Salvertierra

and San Pedro de Rozados which gets its name from a nearby meadow where injured people used to walk through in the belief that they would be healed of their ailments and injuries.

The weather is finally clearing up and it looks promising ahead after experiencing almost four seasons in one day. Some of the track is still covered with water and is muddy in some places.

Then it was on to Salamanca, El Cubo del Vino, Villanueva de Campean to Zamora.

After a brief overnight stop in Salamanca at the centrally located Hotel Silken Rona Dorna 👍👍👍👍 it was then on to the ‘meseta’ of the Camino. For those pilgrims who have walked the Via de la Plata before I’m referring to the path to El Cubo del Vino that goes on and on and on.  😲 😲 🤔. The road also bypasses the prison on the ither side but when we knocked to ask for a cup of coffee they wouldn’t let us in. (just kidding Ha, Ha!) 🤣🤣🤣

Cruz de Salamanca – 5km from the city
Roman bridge and cathedral of Salamanca

After making good time it was easy to stop at Villanueva de Campean (litetrally a one bar no shop town) for a partial rest day  for our feet 👣  followed by a nice leisurely walk to to the town of Zamora. Located in a hill and alongside the River Duero Zamora is a walled city that was very easy to defend in medieval times. Hence the name of the city means well defended. An interesting fact is  that in the 11th century the knight El Cid was supplied arms from the Church of Santiago de lis Cabelloros.

Medieval city of Zamora
Zamora Albergue times

A very warm welcome is given to all pilgrims who walked, cycled and even took buses to arrive here. What a great place to stay! 👍👍👍😁

Merida to Caparra

My journey continues along country tracks in the rain and passing through the towns of Almaden, Alcuescar, Valdesalor before stopping in Caceres. In Caceres I stayed at Las Veletes which has small dormitory rooms with 5 beds including with cupboards for backpacks. Bedding is included in the price. Quite a comfortable albergue which is very close to the old town if you want to go sightseeing in the morning.

After a day of sight seeing the sun has finally come out. Hooray no more rain for the moment. The weary traveller continues on to Casar de Caceres, past road works and some distance on the asphalt to Embalse de Alcantara (checked out the Albergue but didn’t stop) before finally reaching my destination in Canaveral.

Water fountain

A nice early morning stroll and continuing on my way I made it up the steep hill some 3km out of the city before walking through some nice flat pastures on my way to Galisteo. I successfully attempted the river crossing where the water was quite low and on a very hot day it was quite refreshing.
A little further on after the river about 1.5km the right of way through the farmer’s land is no longer a problem and the Camino winds through the fields pasdimg a canal on the way to Galisteo.

Is this the way to Galisteo?

After Galisteo the Camino follows the road for 11km so if you like ‘pounding the pavement’ then you’ll probably enjoy this part of the camino. Unfortunately walking on the road is unavoidable as there is no marked dirt track. For this road walking section I recommend investing in a light weight hi-vis safety vest and wearing it.


Upon reaching the town of Carcaboso the Camino follows the familiar well travelled dirt path that pilgrims are accustomed to walking on. Once the pilgrim passes the three stone crosses or las tres cruces, there are a choice of two paths.

Las tres cruces

I recommend taking the left route as it is scenic and a little shorter than the right.
After following in the footsteps of the Roman legions, who once travelled this way many centuries ago, you will reach the Roman ruins of Caparra.
Built in the 1st century the arch of Caparra is a majestic feature of Roman architecture.

Ruins of Caparra

Sevilla to Merida

The path out of Sevilla is very well waymarked with the familiar yellow arrows which guide the pilgrims on their journey northwards.

Sevilla to Guillena

Walking along country tracks and passing through the quiet towns of Guillena, Castilblanco de los Arryos, Almaden de la Plata (16km on road before walking through natural forest), El Real de la Jara , Monesterio, Fuente de Cantos, Zafra, Villafranca de los Barros and the 27km straight lonely dirt road into the small town of Torremejia the pilgrim has travelled far.

Only 927km to go
La Dehesa

With over 200km walked the weary traveller is now resting in the ancient town of Merida. Full of Roman history dating back to 1st century B.C Mérida is considered by many to be the capital of western Spain’s Extremadura region.

The city of Mérida was founded in 25 BC, with the name of Emerita Augusta (meaning the veterans – discharged soldiers – of the army of Augustus) and by order of the ruling Emperor Augustus, soldiers had to protect the 792m Puente Romano bridge over the Guadiana river.

Puente Romano

It is over this bridge that the pilgrims make their way into the city in search of a place to eat and rest.

After crossing the Puente Romano is the Alcazaba, a 9th-century Islamic fortress built over the Roman walls.

Sevilla at a Glance

Just a quick fleeting visit to Sevilla before starting out on the Via de la Plata.

For 8 euros you can join a guided tour of the famous maestranza bull fighting museum. The price also includes a free audio guide in all languages. However, no flash photography permitted in the exhibition halls.

Another must place to visit is Plaza Espana to experience the history of the counties that make up Spain and for a small donation one can enjoy the free local entertainment.
For those who enjoy coffee and free WiFi there are many conveniently located bars and coffee shops throughout the city.

Overview of Camino Via de la Plata

Known as the Silver route, the Via de la Plata is over 1000km and full of Roman history  that can be found in cities such as Sevilla, Merida and Salamanca. Following an ancient trade route of Roman pathways, pilgrims from all walks of life travel from Sevilla in the south towards Santiago de Compostela in the north-west.

The Via de la Plata is well waymarked with yellow arrows, signs and granite blocks which makes the routes easy to follow. The route also allows the pilgrim to change direction at Granja de Moreruela where they have the choice of continuing on towards Astorga in the north and on the Camino Frances. Alternatively they can continue westward on the Camino Sanabres. Pilgrims travelling on either route will end at one destination – Santiago de Compostela.

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