How long does it take to walk the Camino de Santiago from Ourense? Which Camino de Santiago route passes through this thermal city? Can I get my Compostela certificate if I start my walk from Ourense?
We’ll find out the answers to the most typical questions about the last section of the Via de la Plata (Camino Mozárabe or Camino Sanabrés, we will explain the difference between these terms later). Particularly, its last 100 km: from Ourense to Santiago de Compostela. Let’s start with some basic information.
Which Camino de Santiago route passes through Ourense city?
If you are planning to do the Camino de Santiago from Ourense, you will be walking through the Via de la Plata (also known as Camino Sanabrés, or Camino Mozárabe). But, what’s the difference between these three terms?
Vía de la Plata
It refers to the longest Camino de Santiago route, the one from Seville to Santiago de Compostela, that follows the path used by the old Roman Empire. Although some people use the term “Via de la Plata” when talking about the Camino, just for the section from Seville to Mérida, or from Seville to Astorga. There might be differences depending on where you check, but the common point is that the Via de la Plata starts in Seville.
It is an alternative Camino de Santiago path, that starts in Almería (instead of Seville). It passes through different regions of Andalusia (Guadix, Granada, Córdoba…), follows a parallel path up to Mérida (in Extremadura region). Once in Mérida, the path joins together with the Vía de la Plata.
The Camino Sanabrés
The term “Camino Sanabrés”, refers to the last 13 stages of the Vía de la Plata, from Granja de Moreruela to Santiago de Compostela.
What is the distance from Ourense to Santiago de Compostela?
The distance from Ourense to Santiago de Compostela, through the official Camino path, is 112 km approx. As such, it is possible to get the Compostela certificate once in Santiago, if you depart from Ourense (the minimum is 100 km if you are walking, or 200 km if you are cycling).
But, as we always say, the Camino de Santiago from Ourense is not a rigid path, as it offers shortcuts, scenic detours, etc. For this reason, this number can vary depending on the alternative chosen once on the way.
Where to get the Camino de Santiago Credential in Ourense?
Once in Ourense, it is possible to get the Credential or Pilgrim Passport in several places. This document is needed to request the Compostela Certificate, it is the proof that shows that a pilgrim has accomplished the Camino de Santiago.
The most usual places to get this document are:
Address: Praza do Trigo, s/n, 32005. Phone number: +34 988 220 992.
Vía Plata Ourense (Association of Friends of the Via de la Plata). Address: Praza das Damas, 1, 32005. Phone number: +34 988 391 110.
Address: Rúa Isabel la Católica, 2, 32005. Phone Number: +34 988 788 236.
Please note that if you travel with Galiwonders, your Pilgrim Passport is included on your walking tour. It will be sent to your home address 1 month prior departure approx.
5 recommendations to do in Ourense before the Camino de Santiago
Ourense is one of the most popular cities of Galicia region, and no wonder why. Here you have 5 recommendations of things to do, visit, and try on this lovely city, before heading off.
1. The Cathedral of Ourense
It is located in the heart of the old quarter of Ourense (if you don’t have your Pilgrim Passport with you, it would be a great idea to buy it there). The Cathedral is dedicated to Saint Martin, and it was built between the XII and XIII centuries (Gothic style). The most impressive part of its inner decoration, is called the Pórtico del Paraíso (Paradise Portico); it looks like the Portico of Glory, of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
2. The Roman Bridge
It is one of the symbols of the city, and a must-see in Ourense: the Roman Bridge over the Miño River (known as Ponte Vella), from the Ist century.
3. Tapas tour in the old quarter
We believe that the charm of Ourense lies on its vivid streets, full of small tapas bars, groups of friends, laughs… All these vibes can be experienced in Plaza del Hierro (Hierro Square), Calle Viriato (Viriato Street), San Miguel, Lepanto, La Paz… From the best Spanish omelette, to the best glass of Ribeira Sacra wine. The area is worth the visit!
4. As Burgas thermal spring waters
Ourense is very popular because of the healing properties of its thermal spring waters. These natural pools are located in the surrounding areas of the city, some of them are private, and some of the are public. This is the case of As Burgas, the access is completely free. You will be able to relax on this healing waters, even during winter months (the temperature goes from 64 to 68ºC approx).
5. Outariz thermal spring waters
We have mentioned a public complex of thermal spring waters before, but it is also worthy to visit the private ones. Outariz is a great example (but there are others). Price is quite good, 6€ approx., for 1 hour and 30 min. It includes access to the pools, the thermal circuits, etc. But there are also other treatments available (beauty, relaxation, aromatherapy, massages, etc.).
Camino de Santiago from Ourense: Maps & Stages
After experiencing all the benefits of the city, let’s go back to the Camino de Santiago from Ourense. Now that we know the total number of kilometers, the routes, and what to do before starting, it’s time to discover the details of each stage.
Ourense to Cea → 22 km
We will leave the charming town of Ourense through its popular Roman bridge. As we were mentioning before, the Camino offers alternatives in some stages, and this is the case. You can continue through Costiña de Canedo, following the Miño River, or through the ascent towards Cudeiro village.
The Camino will take us through small hamlets, and a combination of paved roads and dirt tracks. Some of the highlights of this walking day, are the Vilamartín Castle, the old bridge over Barbantiño river or the ethnographic complex in San Cristovo de Cea. And, of course, do not hesitate to try the delicious bread in Cea (Pan de Cea).
Cea to Dozón → 16 km
The second stage of the Camino de Santiago from Ourense, is quite light. It is possible to choose to walk from Cea to Dozón through Piñor, or take a detour that will take pilgrims to Oseira Monastery, from the XII century (Monasterio de Oseira).
In any case, the path will take you through lovely forests, between oaks, valleys… and a wild vegetation. This way, until we reach the centre of Dozón, a small village. Today, we will leave behind the province of Ourense, and arrive into the Province of Pontevedra.
Dozón to Lalín → 17 km
On the way out from Dozón, we will walk mostly through high lands, silent, with very few vegetation. Until reaching Pontenoufe, when we will start the way down in parallel to the Dozón River. The Camino will take you through small hamlets and farmlands, until you reach Lalín.
Lalín is one of the industrial towns of the area, its most popular dish is the “Cocido de Lalín” (traditional stew).
Lalín to Silleda → 16 km
This walking day is one of the shortest and pleasant in terms of terrain. The path will take you through small forests and villages, medieval bridges (such as the bridge Taboada, over the Deza River), etc. Silleda is a small village, but it’s quite popular because of its trade fairs (it has a huge pavilion, to host big business events). The biggest trade fair is called la Semana Verde (the Green Week), and it includes a wide variety of economic sectors: gastronomy, clothing, beverages, tourism, etc.
Silleda to Ponte Ulla → 20 km
The path from Silleda to Ponte Ulla, will allow us to discover the Pazo de Santo Estevo de Oca (Pazo is the Galician word for the traditional palaces of the region). It is also known as the “Galician Versailles”, because of its magnificent gardens. Once in Vedra, we leave behind the Province on Pontevedra, and arrive into A Coruña Province. As you can see now, if you decide to walk the Camino de Santiago from Ourense, you will be walking through 3 different provinces in only 6 days!
One of the highlights? The village of Bandeira, very popular because of its salty pies (empanadas, in Galician).
Ponte Ulla to Santiago de Compostela → 21 km
And finally, the last walking day of the Camino de Santiago from Ourense. The last stage, from Ponte Ulla, will take us to one of the highlights of the Via de la Plata: the ascent towards the Pico Sacro, to see the Ermita de San Sebastián (Saint Sebastian Hermitage) and its magnificent views. Same as happens on the French Way, that the ascent towards the Cruz de Ferro or towards O Cebreiro are some of the emblems of the path, this would be the equivalent in La Vía de la Plata.
We will arrive in Santiago de Compostela through the bridge over the Río Sar (Sar River). After the ascent, we will be in the historical quarter of the city, through the Arco de Mazarelos.
And with this final stage, the Camino de Santiago from Ourense would be finished. If you want more information about things to do in Santiago de Compostela, do not hesitate to click here.
How popular is the path from Ourense to Santiago de Compostela?
Last year (2019) the Via de la Plata was walked by 9,201 pilgrims, it was the seventh Camino, in number of pilgrims (2.65% of the total). For 4,163 pilgrims (1.2% of the total) Ourense was the starting point. Although this path is still far behind other routes, such as the French Way, it is growing every year. See below the evolution of the number of pilgrims starting the Camino de Santiago from Ourense over the last few years (we are not considering 2020, for obvious reasons):
The Camino de Santiago from Ourense is the perfect choice for those pilgrims looking for silent routes. Those who are looking to get away from the crowds, and enjoy the rural areas of Galicia region. For more information about the Via de la Plata, of any other route of the Camino de Santiago, please do not hesitate to contact us through the form below.