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The Sanabria Way (Camino Sanabrés) is an alternative route to the Vía de la Plata that from the province of Zamora (more specifically at the town of Granja de la Moreruela) deviates through the province of Ourense, instead of continuing to Astorga, where the pilgrims would continue through the French Way.
The origin of this Camino was always linked to the Vía de la Plata, a road of great importance in past times since it linked the south of the peninsula with the north. In this way, it served for the circulation of merchants and farmers during the harvest season, as well as being a glen for those who were dedicated to transhumant herding.
Also known as Camino Mozárabe, the Camino Sanabrés is presented as an increasingly popular alternative for pilgrims who walk the Vía de la Plata. In this sense, it is as if they completed two pilgrimage routes in a single experience.
However, the Camino Sanabrés is also a highly recommended option for those walkers who barely have two weeks to complete the Camino to Santiago and obtain their Compostela. During your walk you will be blessed with the sight of a chain of monasteries and temples of great historical value, as well as a unique natural environment, avoiding the crowds of pilgrims of the French Way.
The Sanabrés Way comprises a total of 13 stages on foot, which will be 7 if we do it by bike. The first of these stages present the typical characteristics of the Spanish plateau: they are mainly flat and without great difficulties, although they can sometimes seem too long. Later on we will find more mountainous landscapes that will undoubtedly make the Camino more entertaining.
The first stage of the Camino Sanabrés makes its way through dirt roads that will take us to the Quintos bridge, to cross the Esla River. From here we will continue our journey parallel to the river, until we leave it at a stop in the mountain from where we will enjoy beautiful views. We will arrive at Faramontanos de Tábara before witnessing the beautiful Romanesque church of Santa María, which will finally welcome us to the town of Tábara.
The unforgettable vineyards and chestnut trees of the area will accompany us on our path, as well as unique wineries, dug out of clay soils. At the height of Bercianos de Valverde we will have two alternatives on the way: we can continue through Santa Croya or pass through Villanueva de las Peras through an enveloping thyme forest. As in the previous stage, another remarkable Romanesque church awaits us at the end of our route. In this case it is the one dedicated to Santa Marta de Tera.
Although this third stage is not very difficult, it is quite long, so some pilgrims prefer to spend the night in the town of Rionegro del Puente. If we decide to continue, we will only have to walk on leaving behind an old Pilgrims Hospital and go on for about 9 km more until we reach Mombuey, where we can enjoy the rich artistic heritage of this municipality.
Another long journey of more than 30 km awaits us. This one begins by passing the magnificent Romanesque tower of the church of Santa María, whose construction is attributed to the Knights Templar. We will have to cross the highway on several occasions during our route, but our efforts will be rewarded as soon as we reach Puebla de Sanabria passing through the Tera River, where we will find all the services we need as well as an unforgettable historic center.
We begin the last stage of Castilla-León, leaving the Plaza Mayor of Puebla de Sanabria, to go down to the Castro river. Here we will have to walk through the national road for some time, but we will alternate our way with dirt paths between chestnut trees and meadows. We will pass the beautiful town of Requejo and continue through oak forests until we can see the town of Lubián in the distance, where we will spend the night before entering Galician lands in the next stage.
We leave the province of Zamora to enter Ourense, climbing the top of A Canda. The hermitage dedicated to the Virgin of Loreto will welcome us a little further on at O Pereiro, getting closer and closer to the final stretch of this stage. Now we only have to cross the train tracks to enter O Cañizo, a town that belongs to the council of A Gudiña, and in a couple of kilometers we will arrive at the municipal capital, where we can see the church of San Pedro, located in the urban center.
In A Gudiña we will be given the option to continue our journey through Verín, a slightly longer option that pilgrims by bike usually prefer, or to do it through Laza. A long and lonely stage awaits us anyway, with very sparsely populated villages in which we will hardly find where to eat or drink. However, the views of the landscapes that we will have at our disposal will compensate for all the effort. We will finally find Laza after a descent that anticipates the end of today's stage, where we can regain strength to continue the next day.
The stage 8 of the Camino Sanabrés is similar to the previous one: a route between very small towns, lacking services, but of great beauty, as it goes through a very natural landscape. The main difficulty of this stage will be the ascent to Mount Requeixada, arriving at Tamicelas. We will continue until reaching the wooden cross of Mount Talariño, at almost a thousand meters of altitude, to go then downhill to Vilar de Barrio. The route now does not present major difficulties until our goal for today, Xunqueira de Ambía.
This is a shorter stage than the previous ones in which we will arrive at the capital of Ourense. On this day we will have to alternate dirt roads with the asphalt of the national highway, in addition to crossing the industrial area that will delay our entry into Ourense. Once we reach our goal, we can get all the services we need, since this municipality has more than 100,000 inhabitants and a beautiful historic center, the perfect closure for this day.
The stage 10 is also short like the previous one, something that is appreciated after completing several long stages. After crossing the bridge over the river Miño, we will have to choose between two variants that will lead us to our destination, Cea. Between the two there is a difference of a couple of kilometers, being the option of Canedo the most traditional and frequented by pilgrims. On our arrival at Cea we cannot forget to taste their well-known bread, made in a wood oven.
We now face a long stage in which we will leave the province of Ourense to enter Pontevedra. Many pilgrims choose to stay in Castro Dozón, thus reducing this stage to just over 20 km. If we choose to continue, we will arrive at the town of Lalín, famous for its stew, and enjoy the magnificent views of the Deza valley before arriving at our destination today.
In the penultimate stage of the Camino Sanabrés, the pilgrims from the Camino de Invierno will accompany us. It is another long stage that runs between pines and eucalyptus. We will also cross small villages where we will hardly have services, but we will finally reach the province of A Coruña after crossing the Ulla river. From here we are separated by just 16 km from our final destination, Santiago de Compostela, which is already awaiting our arrival.
The last stage of the Camino Sanabrés takes us to our goal through a route without complications in which we will pass near the Pico Sacro, which we can climb if we want to have spectacular views. We will arrive at Compostela mid-morning, after passing through the towns of Angrois and El Sar. Here we will have some beautiful views of the Cathedral walking through a Roman road. In the historic center of Compostela we will pass through the Plaza de Platerías, with its horses fountain, to immediately taste our reward by stepping on the Plaza del Obradoiro, located just a few meters away.
Have you decided to do the Camino Sanabrés by bicycle? Or do you prefer to complete it on foot, following the traditional way?
Be that as it may, here we show you the hostels and pensions of the main stages of the Camino Sanabrés until your arrival in the Galician community.
Granja de Moreruela
Puebla de Sanabria
The French Way (Camino Frances) is the most popular one, but there are many other ways you should know.