If you are considering the Camino of Santiago from Madrid, you will not only have multiple options to travel to the capital of the Spanish country: you will also enjoy the perfect combination of solitary days, walking alone with your thoughts, and the final stages of the French Way, where other pilgrims will keep you company during your experience.
Here you have all the information you need to walk the Camino of Santiago from Madrid. And if you want us to help you during your pilgrimage, just let us know and you will never walk alone!
Image: Walls of Segovia
423 miles (680 kms) / 29 days on foot
The origin of the Camino de Madrid actually took place from the hand of the transhumant shepherds and Galician reapers, who came down from the north of Spain to the Castilian lands during harvest time. Despite not being as popular as the always crowded French Way, the Camino from Madrid is gaining more followers year after year. One of the main reasons for this is its starting point, both for pilgrims from other countries and for locals themselves.
In the case of foreign pilgrims, being Madrid the capital of the country we can count with the best international communication, which makes this city accessible to begin our way to Santiago de Compostela. And in the same way, Madrid inhabitants can do the Camino straight from their homes, as in the old days when this was considered crucial to get the Apostle’s approval.
Being the capital of Spain, it seems logical that we can have a Camino de Santiago that takes us from the center of the peninsula to the Galician capital. Not only it will be the most comfortable option for the inhabitants of Madrid themselves, but we can also have multiple options to travel to this starting point, both from other parts of Spain and other countries.
The Camino de Santiago from Madrid is also an ideal route to do in spring time or fall, since temperatures will be moderate. This way we will avoid the extreme heat of the summer season or the frequent snows in the inland during winter months.
The Camino de Santiago from Madrid goes through 29 stages on foot, being half of them part of the French Way. This Camino offers us typical landscapes of the peninsular plateau, during a lonely route in which we can enjoy peace and tranquility. This, until we reach the French Way, where other pilgrims will share their same experience with us until arriving at Santiago de Compostela.
The Camino starts, as expected, from Santiago Square, located between Mayor Square and the Royal Palace. From here we will head north, until we leave the urban center to continue through an old ravine. From here we will cross dirt roads among beautiful holm oaks, until we reach the train tracks, which will accompany us almost to the end of the stage, where we will arrive at Tres Cantos.
We will cross over the highway following the signs that lead us to some dirt roads. From here the Tejada stream will follow us, and we will have to cross over it several times. We will then continue down to Manzanares el Real while we can see the Sierra de Guadarrama in the distance. Our reward at the end of the stage will be the pretty village of Manzanares, with its imposing castle and the views of the Sierra de La Pedriza.
Today we will have a gentle ascent to Navacerrada, an advance of the climb that will await us tomorrow. All the time we will be surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes, in a mountain environment that will prepare for the next day: more than 30 kms to Segovia will await us.
The harshness of today's stage is offset by the beauty of its landscapes, including the beautiful center of Segovia at the end of the day. Until today’s goal, we will have to go up to the Fuenfría mountain pass, the highest point of the Camino, and then descend several miles until our expected arrival in Segovia. Do not forget to bring everything you need for this stage, including food, since there will be no place where you can buy anything until the end of the day.
Another long stage with hardly any intermediate populations awaits us, in which we will enjoy a beautiful Castilian landscape. Today's prize will be the monastery of Santa María la Real de Nieva: its cloister is a mandatory stop, so we can admire the rich capitals of its columns, full of images that reflect what life was like in the Middle Ages.
Unlike the two previous stages, today we will have a shorter route with hardly any difficulties. However during this stage we will find some sandy terrain that can sometimes be hard to walk. It is therefore convenient that we do not force the pace to avoid possible injuries: as it is a short stage it is not necessary to hurry up. We will get out Santa María de la Real leaving behind its bullring to finally reach Coca, an ancient Roman city of great importance.
The shadow of the pines will continue with us in this stage, in which we will walk near the Eresma river. We will enter the province of Valladolid through sandy roads again to continue through the old ravines that served as means of communication centuries ago for transhumant shepherds and Galician day laborers in times of harvest. As in this stage we will walk about 20 kms without intermediate towns, it is better to be provided with food, drink, and everything we may need until we reach Alcazarén.
Another stage that does not entail difficulties since it passes through flat surfaces. However, there won’t be many places again on the way to get supplies for the road. Although this Camino de Madrid does not pass through Valladolid, we can take a bus to get closer and enjoy this city, since it is just 12 km away from Puente Duero.
The stage 9 of the Camino de Madrid presents some slopes, although without too much complication (except for the last slope, just before reaching Peñaflor de Hornija). On this journey we will cross the Pisuerga river through a beautiful medieval bridge that will take us to the town of Simancas, where we can admire its castle. In Wamba, a town with a curious name, we cannot miss the monastery ossuary, the largest on the peninsula, with its surprising collection of skulls and femurs.
In this stage without difficulties, we will walk along dirt trails and will be presented with two options a few kilometers after starting: we can continue through Castromonte to gather strength in the village bar, or take the alternative path that It will take us to the monastery of La Santa Espina. This last option won’t count with so many arrows to lead us and will lengthen the stage by almost 10 km, but it will be worth it if we want to enjoy the architecture of this monastery and its collection of insects from all over the world.
The first part of this stage takes place among green poplars that will give us shade, making our path easier. We will also walk next to the Canal de Castilla, to end up crossing one of its locks. From here, we will change the green landscape that accompanied us for another more typical of the Spanish plateau. This environment will be the predominant one from now on, until we finally reach Cuenca de Campos, where we can recover ourselves for the next day.
In the last stage of the Camino de Madrid before joining the popular French Way, we will continue our route along lonely dirt roads. We will notice the contrast between the solitude of this stage and that of the next day, in which we will meet other pilgrims who will make us company until we arrive in Santiago de Compostela. In Santervás de Campos we can visit the museum dedicated to Juan Ponce de Léon, since this is the birthplace of the famous discoverer.
In addition to saying goodbye to the province of Valladolid, at this stage we will leave the Camino de Madrid to join stage 18 of the French Way. From here on, we will continue to our goal, Santiago de Compostela. To start the French Way with enthusiasm, this stage will be short and easy until Sahagún, where we can visit its churches of Mudejar architecture.
Until its junction in Sahagún with the French Way, the Camino from Madrid runs through some of the main towns in our country (something that could be expected, being Spanish capital its starting point).
Although until not long ago it was a path not very frequented by pilgrims, there is no shortage of accommodation options at each stage, especially hostels, hotels and pensions. Here we show you just some examples.
Manzanares el Real
Medina de Rioseco
The French Way (Camino Frances) is the most popular one, but there are many other ways you should know.