The village of Foncebadón is the highest village on the Camino, where pilgrims climb the mountainous path westward from León. The area is known as the Maragatería and in the 1990s its ruined villages became the emblem of the new social problem of empty Spain.
This place is best known for being the home of the hermit Gaucelmo. This hermit cared for pilgrims crossing the often treacherous mountain pass and was protected by King Alfonso VI. This pass was, until the mid-18th century, the preferred route into Galicia and the inhabitants of Foncebadón were dedicated to marking the way and serving as guides.
We recommend having breakfast before leaving for the hike, however, there are places to eat in El Acebo and Molinaseca. There will be fountains during the day to refill your bottles and canteens.
At any time of the year the early start of this stage will be cold, so it is worth having your fleece jacket handy when you start walking. The panoramic views in the mountains are beautiful.
If you leave Foncebadón, the first thing you will find is the Cruz de Ferro. It is an iron cross on a 5-meter wooden pole that is covered with stones brought by the pilgrims. Each stone symbolizes a load that the pilgrim leaves behind.
El Acebo is a great starting point for those looking to explore Spanish culture and history. This quaint one-street village is perfect for pilgrims and tourists alike, offering daytime respite or lunch spots. A short distance from El Acebo is the village of Molinaseca, which boasts an incredible Romanesque bridge across the river. Be sure to bring plenty of water when leaving Molinaseca, as there are no fountains before the hostel in Ponferrada, almost 8 km away. These last 8 km are mostly semi-urban, so much of the hike will be on the side of the road with little tree cover.
|Albergue Compostela||C/ La Iglesia, 39||Molinaseca (León)||622 317 525, 987 453 057||Private||Private||Michele y Marta|
|Albergue Santa Marina||Avenida Fraga Iribarne, s/n||Molinaseca||987 45 30 77, 615 302 390||Private||Private||Cristina|
|Albergue Guiana||Avenida del Castillo, 112||Ponferrada||987 40 93 27||Guiana Hostel S.L||Guiana Hostel S.L||Ana|
|Albergue San Roque- Molinaseca||Avenida Fraga Iribarne, s/n||Molinaseca (León)||600501030||Unknown||Unknown||Primitivo|
|Albergue de Riego de Ambrós||Calle Real. Ermita de San Sebastian||Riego de Ambros (León)||640376118||Junta Vecinal||Unknown||Olivier|
|Albergue Alea||C/ Teleno, 33||Ponferrada (León)||987 40 41 33, 660 416 251||Private||Private||Esperanza y Amelia|
|Albergue de peregrinos San Nicolás de Flüe||C/ Obispo Camilo Lorenzo, s/n.||Ponferrada (León)||987 41 33 81||Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de la Encina||Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de la Encina||Hospitaleros voluntarios|
|Albergue Mesón El Acebo||C/ Real, 16||El Acebo (León)||987 69 50 74, 615 500 408||Private||Private||Unknown|
|Albergue La Casa del Peregrino||Carretera de Compludo, s/n||El Acebo (León)||987 05 77 93||Hospedería Acebo S.L.||Hospedería Acebo S.L.||Claudia y Zoe|
|Albergue parroquial Apóstol Santiago||Plaza de la Iglesia||El Acebo||No information phone||Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de la Encina||Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de la Encina||Hospitaleros voluntarios|