Despite what its name might suggest, the Camino de Invierno is a route for spring, summer and even autumn, but should be avoided in the winter months. It represents an alternative to the French Way and, even if it is one of the most traditional routes of the Camino de Santiago, it started to be popular over the last few years.
It is known by this name because in medieval times many pilgrims took this detour to avoid the area of O Cebreiro, on the French Way (which could be closed due to snow).
The Winter Way (or Camino de Invierno) is the alternative to those pilgrims who want to walk this part of the French Way during this period of the year. The number of pilgrims is low, and climatological circumstances could alter the adventure.
The full Winter Way starts in Ponferrada. This city is also crossed by the French Way, but both routes follow different paths on the way to Santiago de Compostela. The Winter Way moves forward into Galicia region through the vineyards of the Ribeira Sacra and its canyons. To end up in the sacred city of Santiago.
During the tour, you will also see the Miño River and the Monte Faro. Once in Lalín, you will gather with those pilgrims coming from the Via de la Plata (another Jacobean route), and you will walk together through small woods and rural areas.
Finally, right before arriving in Santiago de Compostela, you will see the Pico Sacro, one of the most popular mountains in Galicia region. There are still the Romanesque remains of the Chapel of Saint Sebastian, that was built on the XI and XII centuries. And also the remains of some medieval towers.
The Códice Calixtino is considered to be the first pilgrim guidebook of the Camino de Santiago. Here we can read that the disciples of the Apostle went to see the Queen Lupa. They wanted to ask her for some oxen to transport the remains of the Apostle, but she sent them to the Pico Sacro where, according to the legend, there was a dragon. However, when the disciples arrived there, they did the sign of the holy cross, and the dragon died. The end of the story is that Queen Lupa and her vassals converted into Christianism.
You can choose to walk the full Camino de Invierno, or just its last 100 km, from Monforte de Lemos to Santiago de Compostela. This walk is strongly recommended to those pilgrims who really enjoy walking trails, and discovering some of the most popular areas of Galicia region.
Are you thinking about walking the Winter Way? We will take car of the details: accommodation, meals, luggage transfers, pilgrim passports… just keep reading and get all the information about this lovely walk.