Vía de la Plata Stage 5: Zamora to Puebla de Sanabria

Photo by Melanie Radzicki McManus

A little bit of everything

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Get ready to enjoy a little bit of everything when you hike from Zamora to Puebla de Sanabria. You’ll be treated to beautiful views, an old Roman bridge, a modern bridge atop a hydroelectric bridge, scenic singletrack trails and the splitting of the VDLP, which offers you two different routes to Santiago de Compostela.

Choose your route carefully

The trail out of Zamora can be a bit confusing. The path intersects with the Camino Portugués a little northwest of Plaza Mayor, when you’re on C/Feria and approach a roundabout. At this roundabout, N-122 runs both south (left) and northwest (straight). If you turn left at the roundabout, where there are Camino signs, you’ll be on the Camino Portugués. You don’t want to do this. Walk straight ahead through the roundabout, as this is the VDLP.

Through golden fields

As you begin winding your way north, you’ll walk along a gently undulating path through golden fields dotted with sheep. There are some intriguing monastic ruins just outside Montamarta. There is also a beautiful stretch near the vast Embalse de Ricobayo. But a re-route of the Camino is in the works that, unfortunately, might affect this vista.

Decision time

Once in Granja de Moreruela, you have a decision to make. If you head north along the final few miles of the VDLP, it will merge with the bustling Camino Francés at Astorga. A better choice is to head west to Santiago via the Camino Sanabrés, which passes through the city of Ourense, famed for its hot springs. (This route is still signed as the Vía de la Plata.)

Just outside Granja de Moreruela on the Sanabrés spur — that is, heading from Zamora to Puebla de Sanabria — you’ll be led across the river Esla via a photo-worthy Roman bridge. Once across you can opt to continue on a paved road or take the steep singletrack trail on your left. Opt for the singletrack if you’re able, as you’ll be afforded killer views once you climb to the top.

Casa Anita stopover

The next major stop will be Santa Croya de Tera, home to the popular Casa Anita albergue. It’s also a stone’s throw from Santa Marta de Tera and its local church. Santa Marta’s church is important as it features the oldest stone representation of Santiago as a pilgrim.

The segment between Olleros de Tera and Villar de Farfón is the spot where, at one point, you can choose to continue along the road or take a barely-there path through the woods. Again, opt for the latter if you’re able. Shortly after you emerge from the woods and back onto the road, you’ll cross an immense hydroelectric dam (great views), then stroll along the water beneath it, where there are several little spots where you can stop and soak your feet if you wish.

Villar de Farfón appears nearly abandoned, but is home to a tiny-but-nice refugio. An albergue and restaurants lie just ahead in Rionegro del Puente. From here you’ll wind through a bevy of small towns, making a few steep climbs and descents, before arriving in Puebla de Sanabria, a small city filled with treasures galore. Congrats! you’ve just made it from Zamora to Puebla de Sanabria.

Zamora to Puebla de Sanabria by the Numbers

Zamora’s altitude: 2,106.3 ft / 642 m
Puebla de Sanabria’s altitude: 3,070.9 ft / 936 m

Cumulative distance hiked for this leg: 101.2 mi / 162.9 km
Cumulative distance hiked for entire trail: 464.1 mi / 746.9 km

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