French road guide: from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela


In May 2018 I made the Santiago's road. This time we made the classic path par excellence: the last stretch of the French Way: from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela. A trip that I shared with my friend Sonia, with whom I had traveled the Kumano Kodo in Japan. In this guide I detail all the steps we follow: itinerary, the time and the accommodation at Santiago's road. I already tell you that it was not a "pilgrim's way", since we slept in private rooms, we sent our backpacks and ended up in a spa in Finisterre. An itinerary to enjoy this unique and wonderful experience in a slightly relaxed way.

Day 0: night train from Barcelona to Sarria
Day 1: Sarria to Rente (5.3 km)
Day 2: Rent to Gonzar (24.7 km)
Day 3: Gonzar to Palas de Rei (16.5 km)
Day 4: Palas de Rei to Castañeda (24.3 km)
Day 5: Castañeda to Salceda (15.3 km)
Day 6: Salceda to Santiago (27.5 km)
Day 7: Cee to Finisterre (18 km)
Day 8: Finisterre and flight to Barcelona

How to get from Barcelona to Sarria

We who live in Barcelona have it very easy, since there is a train hotel It connects the two cities. It leaves at 20: 20h from Sants station and arrives in Sarria at 9h. There are two categories: great comfort armchair and car bed. The great comfort armchair if bought with time (tickets are on sale 3 months before) cost € 28, but we pay € 56.70.

Send the backpack on the French Way

Unlike when we did the Portuguese way, this time we chose to send the backpacks. There are numerous backpacking companies on the Camino. You can hire the service once there and all charge the same, more or less. We prefer to hire it before going as we wanted to send the suitcase as soon as we got off the train in Sarria. We hired Jacotrans services, because they were also one of the few that covered the delivery of Cee to Finisterre. The price is € 6 per backpack / stage and the backpack cannot weigh more than 10 kg. On the way you will find shipping companies at cheaper prices (€ 3 or € 3.5 and Correos sends it for € 4 / stage). The reservation must be made the day before and the backpack will be picked up at 8 am. Once in Cee, we discovered two companies to send the backpack to Finisterre: Loncho and Camino Comfortable.

What backpack to take to the Camino de Santiago

If you decide carry with the backpack Keep in mind that it should not weigh more than 10% of your body weight. To give you an idea, on the Portuguese Way I carried a 25 l backpack and Xavier a 40. This time, as we sent the backpack I carried a larger one: 40 l and I put a spare shoe and clothes for 3 days.

Foot care on the road

The issue of foot care is very particular and each person is a world. Therefore, the fundamental thing is to observe along the Way how the feet react to the accumulated kilometers and act according to the needs of each one, with some simple guidelines and according to your own experience.

Before walking

You have to prepare your foot well by smearing it with moisturizer (Nivea blue boat, petroleum jelly) or oil (Mephentol).

During the stage

It is very important to carry a proper sock, which is not too large to avoid wrinkles, as this increases friction and the risk of chafing. At the stops, go checking that there are no wrinkles or stones or sand inside the footwear.

In areas where one has appeared redness, before starting and during the stage you can use Cutimed or protective stick (there are several brands) that creates a protective film to prevent it from becoming a blister.

At the end of the stage

At the end of the stage and after the shower, it is important dry your feet well and take bare footwear type flip flop, crocks, or trekking sandal for the foot to breathe, and in case it has come out blister, dry.

And if any blister, when you finish the stage and after washing and drying your foot well, you can take some needle and make a small hole to release the liquid. The skin should never be torn off! Always use iodo to disinfect well and dry and try to leave the wound outdoors as long as possible without putting dressings type Compeed, adhesive tape or others. Use them only during the stage when you wear the usual footwear to prevent the wound from rubbing and becoming infected.

Finally, the most important advice they gave us during this Way: the HYDRATION. Before, during and after the stage, both outside (creams) and especially inside (water). Is necessary to drink in the day at least twice what you normally drink, and a minimum of 2 or 3 liters of water per day. It will prevent the appearance of annoying blisters. It is also recommended use at least 2 times a day some moisturizing foot creamIn our case, the Nivea cream, that of the blue boat, the one of a lifetime, worked great before starting the stage and after the shower. Before starting the stage and during it we applied Mepemtol.

He footwear, as you know, it has to be worn, never wear unused shoes. The type of footwear and how many pairs to wear is a personal choice, but our recommendation is low footwear (leave the high boots for mountaineering). When we send the backpack we have two walking shoes: the Merell that I used in the Camino de Santiago Portuguese, which are summer and the foot perspires a lot with them, and the North Face of Goretex that I used in the Kumano Kodo, in case we had rainy days. In the end it didn't rain and it was hot, so I used the Merrell. At the end of the stage we let our feet breathe with some flip flops.

Where to get the pilgrim credential in Sarria

It is credited that the Santiago's road when walking on foot or on horseback the last 100 km, by bicycle the last 200 km or 100 nautical miles and traveling the last kilometers on foot to the cathedral of Santiago. The accreditation must have at least two stamps per day that accredit the step with the corresponding date. The stamps of the churches are valid as of lodgings, hotels, etc.

The pilgrim's credential, which is where the stamps are placed, can be obtained in hostels, hotels and churches in the city. We bought the accreditation at the Matias Locanda for € 2.5, but also sold it at the Church of El Salvador for € 2, which opens at 11 am. Also, I carried the dual credential that I used in the Kumano Kodo. Only one is necessary, but I was excited to seal the two.

Day 1: from Sarria to Rente (5.3 km)

The night train arrived in Sarria at 9: 10h. The first thing we did was leave backpacks at the agreed point of shipment and go to breakfast. We had breakfast near the station, in the Polo coffee shop. Mixed sandwich (€ 1.5), fresh orange juice (€ 2.20) and coffee with milk (€ 1). Then we went to the Pallares bakery, an entire institution in Sarria. It dates from 1876 and has a bread museum next to it. We bought 1/4 of meat pie, 1/4 of tuna pie (€ 4.5) and some sweets (6 units, € 3).

We visited the city of Sarria, starting with the church of Santa Mariña de Sarria where we wanted to buy the credential, but it only opens in the afternoon. We headed to the historical Center from the city. In the Casa del Consello is the tourist office, but it is not open on the weekend. Then we went to the Church of the Savior and there they informed us of the opening hours of the main churches of the Camino.

In front of Church of the Savior is he Castelo de Sarria, but the access was closed and we could not visit it. Seen the success, we begin the Way without more.

When we left the church and when we went up the hill we found the Salvador crossing, we continue a few more meters until we reach the Monastery of Madalena. You can visit the cloister (10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.) by calling the bell. The cloister is very beautiful and deserves a stop. In front of the monastery is the cemetery, and from the corner follows the
Way to Santiago. From that point there is no bar in the next 4 kilometers.

This mini stage is very beautiful, almost everything goes through forests and small villages. And most of the time the terrain was quite flat. Leaving Sarria we cross the Aspera Bridge.

In Bearded We found several accommodations, we looked at the Hostel Casa Barbadelo It had a bar and pool, to which we would return in the afternoon for a drink. On the outskirts of Barbadelo is the Santiago church. This only opens when the pastor goes, does not have a fixed schedule. Luckily, at that moment the neighbor who had the key came out and opened us. The chapel is small but it has a lot of charm.

From Barbadelo to Rent We took a short walk on a secondary road little traveled between meadows and pastures.

Where to sleep in Rente

A little past one at noon, we arrived at our accommodation: Nova de Rente House. A rural house located in the small town of Rent. The double room with shared bathroom cost us € 31. We recommend you to have dinner there, which is served from 7pm. The two-course menu, dessert and drink costs € 10. Homemade and delicious food. We recommend Galician broth, veal and curd. The full breakfast is € 4 per person.

Stage 1: from Sarria to Rente (5.3 km)

Sarria station: 9: 10h
Cruceiro Salvador 11: 30h (start of the road)
Km 112.44 -12: 08h
Km 111.57 - 12:25
Km 110 - 12: 35h Barbadelo
Km 109.95 -12: 47h Santiago Barbadelo church (open when the pastor is)
Km 109.59 -13: 05h
Km 109,13 -13: 11h Rent
Km 108,84 - 13: 17h Casa Nova Rente

Day 2: from Rente to Gonzar (24.7 km)

This was the first long stage we did. We get up at 7 a.m. to have breakfast at 7:30 a.m., when breakfast starts at Nova de Rente House. Breakfast consists of fresh orange juice, toast, coffee and pastries.

We leave the backpacks prepared at reception to send them to our next accommodation and start the road from kilometer 108.84. The morning rose covered with fog and with eight degrees of temperature. The weather forecast was a sunny day with highs of 24 degrees. The first section of the road was very pleasant, we passed through districts and much of the road passed through forests covered with fog that gave it a lot of mysticism.

We continue for Morgade and we passed through a beautiful chapel at the foot of the Camino, but it was closed. At ten o'clock in the morning at kilometer 102 a lady opened the gate of her house to sell cheese and homemade sweets in exchange for a donation. We ate some donuts and some donuts, super good!

At 10:22 we arrived at the base of the kilometer 100, a milestone on the Camino. Unfortunately, the base was all full of graffiti with inscriptions, stones, etc. And I was sovereignly outraged at the little consideration and the incivism of some pilgrims.

At 11 we made a technical stop at the bar Mercadoiro to have a drink (Coca-Cola € 2) and go to the bathroom. We took the opportunity to put some Mepemtol on our feet and take out the sand that had gotten into the footwear. The bar was very nice and the bathroom was super clean, but it was a bit expensive for Camino prices.

A few minutes later we met an endearing gentleman in his sixties who was returning from grazing the cows, with the hoe on his shoulder. Mr. Whiskers, as he said to call him, was glad to hear someone speaking in Spanish. The truth is that in May the majority of pilgrims were foreigners (Americans, Italians, Japanese, etc).

We slowed down while walking next to mr. Whiskers, chatting. When we arrive at Vilacháwhere he lived, he recommended the best place to Portomarín to eat

Thirty minutes later, we crossed the Miño River and entered Portomarín. Portomarín is a main city where many pilgrims finish the stage of the day. Therefore, there are many accommodations and restaurants. We went to the church to try to get the seal. But we arrived at 12:45 p.m. and they were doing Mass, so you couldn't visit. It reopened at 4pm, so we gave up.

We went to him Casa Pérez restaurant that we had recommended mr. Whiskers. We did not know where it fell, so we asked a civil guard: "Of course I know him, he eats very well there." We doubt between the pilgrim menu (€ 9) or ask for a ration to not entertain us much. In the end we opted for a octopus ration (€ 12) and two glasses of albariño (€ 2.20 / cup). The octopus was delicious, the best I've eaten to date. On the terrace we chatted with some pilgrims from Granada who had just retired and were doing the Camino.

We left Portomarín at 1:30 p.m., it was a bright sun and a temperature quite high to be May. 8km left until Gonzar and that section was very tedious. We walked for an hour along the road with zero shadow, and then, when we reached Toixibo, we walked inside with the bad fortune that the forest was burned. Those two hours were made heavy by the heat and lack of shade.

We arrived at 3:30 p.m. Gonzar, a small town with more cows than houses. On this trip we were looking for rural Galicia, but if that is not your case, better stay in Portomarín.

Where to sleep in Gonzar

We stayed in the Garcia house, a hostel that also has double rooms with shared bathroom (€ 35). Serves the pilgrim's menu (€ 10) although the food is more battle. Open from Easter and until October. Call by phone to reserve (+34) 982 157 842. Breakfast is served after 6am and consists of toast (or muffins) with coffee with milk, all for € 3. They open from Easter and until November.

Day 2: from Rente to Gonzar (24.7 km)

108.84 km- 8: 25h Casa Nova Rente (departure)
106.85 km - 8: 51h Molino de Marzan (bar)
105.31 km - 9: 10h
104.23 km - 9: 23h
102.66 km -9: 42h
101 km - 10: 02h there is a house that sells food
Santa María de Ferreiros -10: 16h
100 km -10: 22h
97.66 km -10: 58
Mercadoiro hostel - 11: 03h technical stop - cocacola 2 € 11: 15h departure
95.65 km - 11: 37h
93.74 km - 12: 09h
92.23 km - 12: 31h Portomarín
13: 00h Casa Pérez, technical stop (octopus)
13: 35h departure Portomarín
88.87 km - 14: 19h
87.16 km - 14: 41h Toixibo
85.46 km -15: 03h Gonzar
84.64 km - 15: 14h
84 km 15: 22h Casa García Hostel

Day 3: from Gonzar to Palas de Rey (16.5 km)

That day played a shorter stage than the previous day, but we still get up soon. In the morning you want to walk more and the landscapes full of fog are magical.

We leave the Garcia house hostel at half past seven in the morning, already having breakfast. We started the day at kilometer 84. We walked a couple of kilometers between forests covered with fog. Soon, the road began to climb, it was not a very sharp inclination, but it was a constant throughout the day.

Arriving at kilometer 82 we found a sign that indicated that a few meters beyond was the castromaior castro, one of the most important archaeological sites in the northwest of Spain. This site dates from s. IV BC and it is said that it was inhabited until the s. I d.C. We climb the small hill to see this enclave of the Iron Age. In addition to being able to see a panoramic view of Castromaior, from the top we could see the sea ​​of ​​clouds that stretched through the nearby valleys.

We continue for him French way in direction to King's Shovels. From that stage, what stands out the most is the constant rise and lack of shade. So we were glad to get up early that day, since we had a day of sun and heat, to be May.

At kilometer 78.81 km we pass by the Chapel of the Magdalena. Fortunately it was open, so we went to seal the accreditation. There we found a blind man who wore several crosses hanging from his neck. I was struck by a picture of him on a shelf in the tiny chapel: he was dressed in the Templar order. When asked about the photo, he explained to us with joy that he had studied a lot about the Templars and that Pope Francis had ordered it two years ago knight of the order. We chatted with him for a while and he explained many things about the order and the meaning of the crosses he was carrying.

At kilometer 76.78 we had traveled almost half of the stage. So we made a technical stop at the bar Trisquel: an Aquarius and a package of nuts (€ 3.20). We spread our feet with the Mepentol and continue walking.

It was only 11 am but the heat began to tighten and the little shade that did not help. We keep walking until we reach Lestedo, a beautiful town where we would not have cared to spend the night, so it is aimed for the next occasion.

The good smell that gave off the inn in Breda it almost makes us stop there to eat, but we decided to continue the remaining three kilometers until we reached King's Shovels. In that last section the shadow was more abundant and became less heavy.

At half past twelve we arrived at the church of San Tirso de Palas, just in time to seal (close at 1pm) and end the stage of the day at kilometer 67.

Where to sleep in Palas de Rey

We stayed at the Zendoira hostel, a hostel that has double rooms (€ 35) and a hostel area with capsules (€ 10 / person). It offers single-use sheets, but you can rent cloth sheets for € 3 and towels for € 3. It also has double rooms for € 35 a night. It has a washing machine, a dryer (€ 4 each) and indoor drying area.