Stage 1: Ponferrada-Las Médulas

Stage 1 of the Winter Way, from Ponferrada to Las Médulas, is presented as an exciting start to this winter variant. With a distance of approximately 25 kilometers, pilgrims immerse themselves in a mountainous and forested landscape, standing out for its tranquility and connection with the historical and natural wealth of the region.

Etapa 1 Camino Invierno

The first stage is one of the longest in the Winter Way. The official path runs until O Barco de Valdeorras, but it is about 53 km, so it’s hard to finish it in just one day. That’s the reason why we split it in two stages.

You will find a soft profile, there are not inclines or slopes, so it will be a good form to start the Camino.

Ponferrada is a little city, but it offers all the needed services. In terms of tourism, it’s a great city to enjoy the nature, since it’s like a botanical garden with around fourteen thousands trees.

Concerning the cultural heritage, you will see some typical buildings with a wooden balcony at the façade. They are known as Casas de Priaranza. There are also several churches from 17th and 18th centuries, and ahead, a great castle, called Castillo de Cornatel, which origins seem to date back before the 11th century. This monumental building is set deep in the edge of the hill, in a strategic location.

The relation between the Castle and the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela is due to the Templars, who inhabited it from 1213 and 1312. During this period the order of the Templars provided protection to the pilgrims. Then, it was transferred to a Count who promoted the Camino de Santiago and maintained such protection for pilgrims.

Las Médulas - Winter Way

Following the Camino, we will arrive in Las Médulas, an opencast mine where the romans obtained the valuable gold. The shapes were arisen as a result of the excavations where the water flew. Consequently, due to the pressure of the water, the hill fell down, causing such beautiful shaped hills.

Furthermore, you will discover ahead a great area to stop: el Lago de Carucedo (Carucedo lake). It was formed as a result of the movements of the water that dragged the gold mining.

Towns through which the stage takes place

  • Ponferrada: Starting point, this historic city offers pilgrims the opportunity to explore the Castle of the Templars and the Basílica de la Encina before setting out on the journey.
  • Compostilla: Intermediate town, known for its traditional architecture and cobblestone streets, providing pilgrims with a glimpse of rural life.
  • Las Médulas: Final city of the stage, famous for its cultural landscape, Las Médulas is an ancient Roman mining site declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, notable for its unique rock formations.

Monuments to see along the route

  • Templar Castle in Ponferrada: An impressive medieval fortress that dominates the city, offering pilgrims a glimpse into the history of the Templar Order in the region.
  • Church of Santiago in Columbrianos: On the outskirts of Ponferrada, this Romanesque church is a place of interest with notable architectural details.
  • Las Médulas: The landscape of Las Médulas, an ancient Roman gold mining operation, stands out for its reddish rock formations, creating a unique and fascinating environment.

This initial stage of the Winter Way offers pilgrims a captivating mix of history, nature and unique landscapes, from the imposing fortress of Ponferrada to the extraordinary rock formations of Las Médulas.

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Peregrino en un campo con flores

StagesCamino de Invierno | Winter Way

Etapa 1

Ponferrada - Las Médulas

28 km
Etapa 2

Las Médulas-El Barco de Valdeorras

27 km
Etapa 3

El Barco de Valdeorras-A Rúa de Valdeorras

12 km
Etapa 4

A Rúa de Valdeorras-Quiroga

27 km
Etapa 5

Quiroga-Monforte de Lemos

33 km
Etapa 6

Monforte de Lemos-Chantada

30 km
Etapa 7


25 km
Etapa 8


22 km
Etapa 9


16 km
Etapa 10

Silleda - Ponte Ulla

20 km
Etapa 11

Ponte Ulla - Santiago de Compostela

25 km

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