Vía de la Plata Stage 1: Sevilla to Mérida

Photo by Melanie Radzicki McManus

Roman ruins galore

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The VDLP is not the über-popular Camino Francés. And Sevilla is not St.-Jean-Pied-de-Port or Roncesvalles. When you begin hiking from Sevilla to Mérida, you won’t see evidence of the Camino everywhere you go. And a lot of the locals may not have any idea where the Camino runs. You also won’t find a lot of shops selling Camino-related items. But that’s part of the charm of the VDLP: a lack of crowds and commercialism.

Begin at Seville Cathedral

Start your journey at the Catédral de Sevilla, where employees will stamp your credential. The first leg of your journey will take you over the Isabel II bridge and past the Amigos del Camino de Santiago de Sevilla at C/Castilla, 82. The Amigos have credenciales in case you didn’t obtain one before your departure. They also sell maps and a few other items.

As you head out of town toward Camas, you can walk through Camas to Santiponce, the traditional route. Or you can take a countryside detour around Camas. If you want the latter, follow the “Rio Rio” arrows to the right.

The first Romans in Iberia

Santiponce sits atop Itálica, an ancient Roman city and the first Roman settlement in the Iberian peninsula. Before leaving town, the Camino will take you past an archeological site showing off some of this ancient city’s splendid ruins. Make sure to stop in.

A Natural Park

Another highlight on your hike from Sevilla to Mérida comes up in between Castilblanco de los Arroyos and Almadén de la Plata in the Finca El Berrocal, or Parque Natural Sierra Norte. This beautiful park offers miles of spectacular vistas before rolling you up the steep “Calvary Hill,” where you’ll be afforded even more killer views of both the countryside and town.

A few more interesting spots to note: Monesterio has a famous Iberian ham museum, while Zafra is a city that’s home to one of Spain’s posh Paradors (lodging), this one in an old castle.

Enjoy your entrance into Mérida, which is via a beautiful old Roman bridge.

Sevilla to Mérida by the Numbers

Sevilla’s altitude: 65.6 ft / 20 m
Mérida’s altitude: 662.7 ft / 202 m

Cumulative distance hiked for this leg: 134.9 mi / 217.1 km
Cumulative distance hiked for entire trail: 134.9 mi / 217.1 km

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