All About The Camino de Invierno (Winter Way)

Rural scenes of San Pedro de Líncora on the Camino de Invierno (Winter Way). | Adolfo Enríquez
Rural scenes of San Pedro de Líncora on the Camino de Invierno (Winter Way). | Adolfo Enríquez

All About The Camino de Invierno

Our latest Camino tour offering is also the newest Camino trail in Spain: the Camino de Invierno (also known as the Winter Way). In this article, we explain everything you need to know about the Camino de Invierno, the attractions along the way, why you should walk the trail, and how you can complete this beautiful, remote Camino.
 

History of the Camino de Invierno

The Camino de Invierno was created by pilgrims who were walking to Santiago during the winter months and wanted to bypass O Cebreiro. This is a village that has an elevation of 1300m and attracts heavy snowfall. Naturally, pilgrims wanted a diversion and they forged the Camino de Invierno.

It is the only Camino route to pass through all 4 provinces of Galicia, so you get to experience the localities of A Coruña, Lugo, Pontevedra, and Ourense.
 
Beautiful view of Rairos from the Camino de Invierno (Winter Way). |  <i>Adolfo Enríquez</i>
 

When was the Camino de Invierno established?

Although there is nothing new about this route, having been used for centuries, the Camino de Invierno was recognised as an official Camino trail in 2016, making it the newest route to Santiago.
 

Where does the Camino de Invierno route go?

The Camino de Invierno starts in Ponferrada, a city in north-west Spain. It is an interesting launching point for a Camino departure as you can explore the Los Templarios Castle (complete with moat and drawbridge), the local El Bierzo Museum, and Renaissance-era churches. It then follows an ancient Roman road along the Sil River Valley into Galicia. Key towns and villages of the route are O Barco, Quiroga, Monforte de Lemos, Lalin and Galegos, before reaching the iconic Camino de Compostela.
 
Castle in Ponferrada is a feature while cycling or walking along the camino in Spain |  <i>Andrew Bain</i>
 

Why is the Camino de Invierno known as the Winter Way?

In Spanish, Camino de Invierno translates to the Winter Way largely because it was used primarily in the winter months to avoid O Cebreiro.
 

What are the highlights of the Camino de Invierno?

Passing through the Ribeira Sacra region is a highlight, being an important wine growing area with carefully planted vineyards hugging the steep mountainside above the river. An option to hang up your boots for the day and visit a wine cellar and enjoy a tasting lunch and catamaran trip is well worth it.
 
Other highlights of the route include Las Médulas, which is an archaeological park and UNESCO World Heritage Site, the dramatic canyons of the Sil River valley and the solitude a less walked trail offers.
 
Scenes from the Camino de Invierno (Winter Way) |  <i>Adolfo Enríquez</i> Arriving in Santiago de Compostela on the Camino de Invierno (Winter Way) |  <i>Adolfo Enríquez</i> The spectacular Mirador Cabo do Mundo on the Camino de Invierno (Winter Way). |  <i>Adolfo Enríquez</i>
 

Can I get my Compostela (Pilgrim's Certificate) while walking the Camino de Invierno?

You certainly can. This 267km/76 mile route ensures you are eligible for the official Compostela certificate of completion, which is issued by the Pilgrim's Office in Santiago de Compostela. The minimum length to complete to obtain your Compostela is 100km for walkers and 200km for cyclists. Both UTracks trips ensure you are eligible for the Compostela.
 
Passport stamps as we arrive in Sarria |  <i>Edwina Parsons</i>
 

How can I walk the Camino de Invierno?

There are two ways to walk the Camino de Invierno with UTracks. You can walk the full length of the Camino de Invierno, 267km/166 miles from Ponferrada to Santiago, over 15 days. Alternatively, you can start halfway in Monforte de Lemos and walk the 123km to Santiago from there in 8 days. Both are self guided tours that allow you to explore at your own pace.
 
Benefits on both trips include:
  • daily luggage transfers
  • comfortable accommodation in farmhouse B&Bs and hotels with local character
  • breakfasts
  • guidebook and information pack
  • pilgrims passport
  • 24/7 backup and support
 
Enjoy the hospitality of family run hotels on your Camino walk |  <i>Sue Finn</i>
 

Why should I walk the Camino de Invierno?

  • Get off the beaten track and explore the newest Camino trail to be officially recognised.
  • Encounter rural landscapes and quiet townships that do not get the foot traffic of other Camino routes.
  • Your entry into Santiago is from a different and more picturesque part of the city than other routes. 
  • Enjoy the satisfaction and sense of joy on completing the route is still shared by other pilgrims on arrival at the cathedral.
 
Arriving in the beautiful city of Santiago de Compostela after completing the Camino Trail |  <i>Edwina Parsons</i>
 

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Are you interested in walking the Camino de Invierno? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
 
  
 
 
Camino de Invierno, Winter Way, Winter Way Camino, Camino de Santiago, Ponferrada, Monforte de Lemos, Camino Invierno

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