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Camino Francés Stage 4: Sahagún to Ponferrada

Photo by Beebe Bahrami

The Fourth of Six Sections on the Camino Francés

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From Castile’s High Plateau to León’s Hills and Mountains

Stage four covers the last half of the Castilian high plateau, the meseta. It then enters into the beginning of León’s beautiful hills and mountains. (There is also some great wine to sample here, from Castile to El Bierzo.)


Stage Four – Finishing the Meseta

This stage starts in Sahagún deep in the high meseta. Sahagún was once one of the most important towns in northern Spain.

The Camino then passes through San Miguel de Escalada, a rare Visigothic, pre-Romanesque chapel just before the city of León.

In León, pilgrims encounter one of the most beautiful and pure Gothic cathedrals in Europe. Some say it is built of glass, and others of air, its interior lightness is so remarkable.

Leaving León, walkers soon come upon the important miracle-rich local shrine of Santuario de Nuestra Señora del Camino.


Into the Mountains Again

The Camino then makes its way toward Astorga. Near there it enters the hills and mountains that will define most of the rest of the Camino.

It is here that pilgrims often feel a sense of relief at leaving the open exposure of the meseta. At the same time, some also report how profound it was to walk through the open landscape, that it invited them to go more deeply into their interior terrain.

Then, entering the mountains near Astorga, these same trekkers report that the outer landscape now competes with the inner one. But it also invites the experience of yet a new form of beauty.

As with the whole Camino, each section has its gifts and challenges and walkers marvel at how quickly they adapt to the changes.

Pilgrims are also aware of the fact that once they enter these mountains, their pilgrimage is nearing its end.

Just past Astorga, the Camino traverses Rabanal del Camino, Monte Irago and the Cruz de Ferro, Molinaseca, Santo Tómas de las Ollas and Ponferrada.

León’s mountains are a preview of more, deeper, and higher mountains coming soon. You will reach their apex at the frontier with Galicia, in O Cebreiro. To get there, continue here with  Stage Five of the Camino Francés.


At A Glance

Price Range:
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Most Suited to:
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Season:
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Length:
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