Camino de Santiago: The San Salvador Way

7 days / Self-guided walking

Leon to Oviedo

The San Salvador Way

Tackle one of the most spectacular Caminos as you head into the mountains between Leon and Oviedo. Few people make the journey, but those that do will never regret it. You’ll feel like a pioneer pilgrim as you stride through the Cantabrians with stunning views wherever you look on the San Salvador Way.

TRIP STYLE

Self-Guided Walking

DURATION/LENGTH

7 days/138 kms

DATES

Any date to suit you

START/END POINT

Leon to Oviedo

GRADING

Moderate Walk

PRICE P/P TWIN SHARE

From EURO 780 / AUD 1,370

Make Enquiry SAVE/PRINT ITINERARY

There’s an old saying along the Camino: “he who goes to Santiago and not to San Salvador, honours the servant and forsakes the Lord.” Few people undertake the San Salvador but those that do are richly rewarded. Beginning in Leon and ending in Oviedo, the trail goes deep into the mountains and you’ll often have it all to yourself, save for the small villages dotted along the way.  After 120 kilometres of walking, you’ll end in Oviedo with a Compostela certificate, some tired legs and all the paella you could ever want. An absolute must for Camino fans.

Day 1 | Arrive in Leon

Welcome to Leon, a wonderful city that combines stunning historical architecture with an irresistible energy. Its standout attraction is the cathedral, which is one of the most beautiful in Spain. The Rose Window is simply breathtaking.  While Leon is a modern city, the walled Old Town is very well preserved and the winding alleys and little plazas are incredibly atmospheric. The oldest church in Leon has Vespers every evening and, despite the service being solely in Spanish, it’s worth a visit just to hear the choir made up of nuns.

Day 2 | Leon – La Robla | 27 km / 7 hours

Plenty of pilgrims pass through Leon as part of the Camino Frances, but very few actually walk to San Salvador along what could be the most mountainous Camino of all. And it’s only fitting that we begin the journey with a long, testing day, heading north towards the Cantabrian mountains. We’ll follow the path of the Rio Bernesga, slowly gaining elevation as we travel to the small but charming town of La Robla. Enjoy a hearty meal, a glass of wine and put your feet up for the evening – you’ll have deserved it!

Day 3 | La Robla – Poladura de la Tercia | 25 km / 6–7 hours

The first section of today’s walk is relatively easy, lasting about ten kilometres. As we head into the Cantabrian mountains, both difficulty and beauty await. It’s a steady uphill but you’ll likely have the San Salvador path to yourself, all the while surrounded by some stunning mountainous scenery. You’ll be happy to arrive in tiny Poladura, a remote village with breathtaking views.

Day 4 | Poladura de la Tercia – Pajares | 14 km / 5–6 hours

A shorter day today, but don’t be fooled – you’re in the mountains now. It’s a day of solitude and beauty on the San Salvador Way and it’s well worth leaving early to appreciate the mountains in the morning sun. The terrain is constantly undulating, but don’t be surprised if this is one of the best walking days of your life – it’s truly unforgettable stuff.

Day 5 | Pajares – Pola de Lena | 26 km / 6–7 hours

Coming out of the heart of the mountains, you’ll experience a little more civilisation today as small villages dot the San Salvador Camino. You are, however, still surrounded by exquisite scenery, with panoramic views wherever one looks. Don’t forget to stop and look behind you too. Picnics are, of course, encouraged, and are actually essential in some parts as there are few supply stops along the San Salvador Way.

Day 6 | Pola de Lena – Oviedo | 34 km / 9 hours

The final day of the Camino San Salvador begins with quite a bit of road walking, but your body will appreciate the easy downhill terrain. Conversely, the second half of the walk into Oviedo is very pleasant and showcases Asturias in all its spectacular glory. Mountain views are a highlight, with your destination shining ahead in the distance.

It’s definitely worth spending an extra night in Oviedo, not only to celebrate your Camino, but to also enjoy a well-earned rest and collect your Compostela after a big day’s walk. It’s an absolute gem of a town, dating back centuries. The tapas bars here known as ‘arrocerias’ serve up different types of paella, some with classic squid, mussels and shrimp, while others are more extravagant with scarlet shrimp and lobster. There are plenty of other meat and seafood dishes on offer, as well as local specialities, like Asturian cheeses and ‘cachopos’.

Day 7 | Finish in Oviedo

The Camino San Salvador comes to an end after breakfast this morning and we’re sure that you’ve had a testing but extremely rewarding journey over the past week. You’ve ticked off something that few pilgrims know about, let alone undertake, so there are many reasons to be proud of yourself.

 

Visit www.wanderingtheworld.com.au for more information.

Inclusions

  • 6 nights accommodation, all carefully selected to enhance your Camino experience
  • Private en-suite facilities
  • Daily luggage transfers from hotel to hotel (1 x 20kg bag unless indicated otherwise)
  • Daily breakfast
  • Information packs with route maps and instructions on how to locate hotels
  • Luggage identification tags
  • Pilgrim’s passport
  • Emergency contact details and 24/7 local on-the-ground support
  • Pre-departure and ongoing support from Australian office

Optional Inclusions

  • Three-course dinners with local wine
  • Suggested rest days as outlined in itinerary or if required
  • Upgraded accommodation including paradors, country properties and premium/high-end styles
  • Private vehicle transfers to the trip’s starting point
  • Single supplement for your own room
  • Additional night’s accommodation before or after trip (please advise at time of booking)

Not Included

  • Flights
  • Travel to trip’s starting point
  • Transfers not already outlined in detailed trip itinerary
  • Lunches

Accommodation

We know from personal experience that a good night’s rest can make or break a trip, which is why we carefully hand-select all our accommodation. We ensure that our knowledge and firsthand experience of the best places to stay is passed on to all our walkers.

Your accommodation along the Camino is booked in advance, on a twin-share basis with private facilities, and chosen to make your pilgrimage experience as rewarding as possible. You may be staying in a refurbished farmhouse, some of which have been in the same family for centuries, or perhaps a boutique hotel with a chef who would not be out of place in a Michelin-starred restaurant. There are unique properties scattered throughout the different routes including converted monasteries, lighthouses and tiny B&Bs with the most generous hosts you could possibly imagine. Best of all, you’ll always have private en-suite facilities. Wherever you end up, you’ll be well looked after, warm and comfortable and, most importantly, ready to tackle the next day’s walk.

Single supplements are also available so you can enjoy your room with private en-suite. This supplement will apply if you are travelling alone or if there is no gender-share option. You can request a shared room through Wandering the World at the time of booking, however this is not guaranteed.

There are opportunities to upgrade to more luxurious lodgings in many places along the Camino. These are perfect for celebrating special occasions and milestones, or even to enhance your entire journey. We can recommend some very special, unique places to indulge in the Camino hospitality in spectacular style, so please ask us about these options when booking.

Food & Dining

The local cuisine is a definite highlight of your walk. The Camino regions are famous for their culinary delights, and you’ll end up exploring the destination using not only your feet, but also your taste buds.

Breakfast at your place of accommodation is usually continental style and may include cereals, yoghurt, bread, pastries, ham, tea, coffee and juices.

Lunch – at your own expense – will depend on where you are on your walk and what is available. It’s often purchased at a local café or bar, with choices along the trail perhaps including Spanish omelette (tortilla Espanola), tuna empanadas, soups or sandwiches (boccadillo). Alternatively, you may wish to enjoy a picnic in a perfect spot along the path.

Evening meals are a hearty, three-course affair known as the ‘pilgrims’ menu’. These usually consist of a salad or soup to start, followed by a choice of a meat or pasta dish, then finishing with a dessert. This is always accompanied by a bottle of local wine, of course. On occasion, the owner of the accommodation may be in the kitchen preparing the house special, which will not disappoint.

Most evening meals are included on guided group trips, and for self-guided itineraries Wandering the World can include as many evening meals as you wish. We may strongly recommend this in some places because it’s either been a long walking day or there are limited choices available in certain destinations. We can share our advice and talk to you about this at the time of booking. We can accommodate most dietary requirements, so please let us know in advance.

THE WALKING

This trip is a self-guided itinerary, ideal for groups and independent travellers who prefer to navigate in their own way and their own time.

You will be provided with an information pack including easy-to-read maps and instructions, complete with directions to guide you on the well-marked paths and tracks. On the Camino, you will be following the yellow arrows and Camino scallop shells, while the Chemin is marked with red and white stripes. This information pack will be available at your joining hotel on the first day of your trip.

TRIP GRADE

Moderate – This itinerary is carefully designed for easy-to-manage walking days that generally average less than 20 km, or approximately 4–6 walking hours. The surfaces are fairly even with moderate ascents and descents. A reasonable level of fitness is recommended.

Given you only need carry a lightweight day pack, this trip is very manageable for those who are new to walking holidays. Whatever your previous experience, preparation and training make all our walks more enjoyable.

LUGGAGE TRANSFERS

Wandering the World arranges a daily luggage transfer to maximise your comfort and enjoyment, so all you need to carry is a day pack. Luggage allowance is one bag per person of no more than 20 kg (13 kg on the Chemin). Your luggage must be left in the reception of your hotel before breakfast (8 am) each day.

Please note:

  • It is essential to attach the bag tag provided to ensure your luggage is delivered to your next accommodation.
  • Only one bag will be moved each day and additional charges will apply if your bag is heavier than 20 kg (13 kg on the Chemin).
  • Should you require special arrangements for additional luggage transfers, these can be made ahead of time and must be paid as part of your final payment to Wandering the World.

GROUP SIZE

Wandering the World’s guided groups have a maximum group size of 12 participants. This small group size means that we have the flexibility to stay in a wider range of accommodations, can dine together in the evenings, have the freedom to walk alone or together, and there are more opportunities to get to know your travelling companions.

TRANSFERS/TAXIS

If, for any reason, you wish to shorten your walking day, there are options along the Camino and in the villages to arrange a taxi.

On some itineraries, there are times when Wandering the World may arrange a transfer for you or can do so at your request. This might happen where small villages do not have accommodation with private facilities, for example, or when we want to take you to a special country property that we know you are going to love. In this case, Wandering the World will either arrange a transfer for you or suggest a taxi.

Transfers on the Camino are common in parts. A simple procedure is outlined in your trip notes explaining the details of your private transfer, the designated meeting point and the agreed transfer time.

WEATHER

The weather and climate on the Camino can vary from country to country, region to region and, of course, from day to day. Each season has its own benefits, with long, warm and sunny days in spring and early summer, while early spring and late autumn tend to enjoy cooler walking temperatures. Some sections may be too hot for walking mid-summer, while others are more likely to be wet at certain times. The experts at Wandering the World can discuss your preferences and guide you when you are planning your trip.

Once you’ve started your walk, the weather can play an important role in your overall enjoyment of the journey. Checking the forecast can be a great help when planning your days. If you do strike hotter weather, leaving early to avoid the warmest part of the day will make a huge difference.

24/7 SUPPORT & CARE

Your information pack will include details of local emergency contacts and international contacts. We have local, on-the-ground support to provide any assistance you may require and we’ll also check-in with your hotel at the end of each day to ensure that you’ve arrived safely.

GETTING THERE / GETTING HOME

This itinerary begins in Léon and ends in Oviedo.

The closest airports to Léon are Madrid or Oviedo.

From your airport of choice there are bus, train and flight options as per the links below.

Madrid airport is the best airport if travelling from outside Europe. Connect to Leon by train (approx 3 hrs – timetables and tickets at Renfe) or bus (approx 4 hrs – timetables and fares at Alsa) from Madrid.

There are 8 buses a day from Oviedo to Leon (approx 1.5 hrs – timetables and fares at Alsa.

Leon is also well connected by train to Oviedo (approx 2.5 hrs – timetables and tickets at Renfe

Train bookings are recommended.  Please note you can only book two months in advance of the date of travel.

 

Bus:

ALSA

Train:

The Train Line

Rail Europe

RENFE

Bus/Train :

Rome2Rio

omio.com

Flights:

Vueling

Ryan Air

Iberia Express

Iberia:

TAP

BA

Easyjet

Alitalia

Also, check out: Skyscanner OR Spanish Airport Guide 

 Getting from Oviedo

Leon is well connected by train (approx 2.5 hrs – timetables and tickets at Renfe)

There are also several buses a day to Leon (approx 1.5 hrs – timetables and fares at Alsa)

INSURANCE

Insurance is compulsory for everyone who travels with Wandering the World. The insurance policy must include cover against personal accident, medical expenses, emergency repatriation and personal liability. Wandering the World recommends insurance coverage for cancellation to be taken at the same time your deposit is paid, as no exception to the cancellation provisions can be made.

BOOKING AND TRAVEL TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Wandering the World’s full booking terms and conditions are available upon request and will also accompany your initial invoice for deposit.

“I loved the challenge and the toughness of this remote Camino, I felt like a pioneer, there was only 4 pilgrims to be seen on this entire stage back in 2018.  This is the Camino you hear about when you have walked many Caminos, in my case this was my 19th! I dedicate this walk of incredible beauty to Stuart, an English guy I met in Spain when we were teaching English to the Spanish pupils just near Madrid.  Stuart inspired me to walk this path, sadly he lost his battle with cancer last year and he didn’t get to walk his 12th Camino, one of his favourites was the San Salvador and I can see why”.  Glenyce, Founder of Wandering the World.