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Via de La Plata
March 25 - March 31€495
1.) Summary | Contribution
Via De La Plata (Oursense to Santiago de Compostela) 110km | A non-refundable deposit of €145 is requested to reserve your place. The total contribution per XirCammini member (including the deposit) is €495 and this covers the local transport from Porto Airport to Oursense and, vice versa, from Santiago de Compostela to Porto Airport, daily baggage transfers (max 10kg cabin bag per person), daily accommodation in a variety of hotels, pensions, a monastery on a bed & breakfast basis where available. Thank you.
Please follow this link to register your interest and to pay the deposit.
For the Maltese Members: the flights that you need to book are as follows:
- 25th March 2023: Malta – Porto (Portugal): Ryanair FR7643 leaving Malta at 10:45 and arriving in Porto at 13:05
- 31st March 2023: Porto (Portugal) – Malta: Ryanair FR1510 leaving Porto at 16:50 and arriving in Malta at 20:55
The land transit (we will provide coach transport) from Porto Airport to Ourense and from Santiago de Compostela to Porto Airport is under 3 hours each way.
2.) Important Notes
XirCammini is not a tour operator or travel agent. We are a not-for-profits, membership-based association registered in Malta with the Office of the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations (VO: 1646). This explains why our pricing is some 15% – 30% lower than that of other organisations and generally offers more, i.e. our walks are not self-guided (although one can walk part or all of the way on their own). We set off as a group with a group leader from among our members who is an experienced Camino afficionado. This means that, at all times, you have someone to assist and, if required, trouble-shoot. Even with very well planned an executed itineraries, occasionally there could be a last minute issue with, say, accommodation or land transport, a mis-directed baggage that does not arrive at a particular accommodation, an injury etc. So, having the support of a group and a group leader can be a relief. In terms of accommodation we tend to choose varied accommodation (i.e. a monastery, a hotel, pension and where available, a casa rural etc.) almost without exception on a twin room basis. From the baggage that arrives at our daily destination we can also safely assume that our accommodation is generally the same as the ones used by more established Camino tour operators. What we try to achieve is that pilgrims travelling with us have all the essentials catered for while in Spain, leaving you to concentrate on the spiritual journey, social interaction and camaraderie. Being in a group also means that you will make new friends from different walks of life but who share the same passion for the Camino.
Since we are a membership-based association, people travelling with us would need to be members of XirCammini.
4.) Camino de La Plata: Introduction |Length | Terrain
The Camino de La Plata is the longest Camino on Spanish soil, starting from either Seville or from Almeira (called Mozarabe). The last few etapas (stages) of it, i.e. from Granja de Moreruela, are also called Camino Sanabres. We will be walking the last 6 stages of the Camino de La Plata or the Camino Sanabres i.e. from Ourense to Santiago de Compostela. The distance is of around 110km, making it eligible for the Compostela for walking pilgrims from the Pilgrim’s Office once you reach Santiago. The Via de la Plata currently attracts around 1% of all Camino Pilgrims applying for the Compostela in the Pilgrim Office in Santiago. Most of these would also only be walking the last 5 days from Ourense (6 days if pilgrims break the Ourense – Casarellos in 2 etapas).
The Camino is a scenic one which means, there will be some elevations and distances may vary on a daily basis due to ruta complementarias. You will be crossing 3 provinces in 5 days of walking. Below are our indications of km and elevations. In terms of terrain this is generally mixed, i.e. urban/paved roads and country/forest paths and soil/gravel paths. None of the days are particularly taxing for a seasoned hiker. Of all, Day 1 is the most arduous both in terms of length and elevation. The rest then all seem to be more palatable after walking the first day:
- Ourense to Casarellos: 33 – 35km with a net elevation of < 610m over the whole day. There is a relatively steep ascent in the beginning of the day and the rest of the day offers a gradual ascent.
- Casarellos – Estacion de Lalin: 18 – 20km. you start the day with a gentle ascent reaching 900m above sea level and the rest of the day (approx the last 12km or so) are a descent to < 500m above sea level.
- Estacion de Lalin to Silleda: 15km – 18km. This is as series of gentle ascents and descents (little net gain or loss on this day) reaching a hight of < 550m above sea level and a depth of <400m above sea level at your lowest.
- Silleda to Ponte Ulla: This is an 18km – 20km descent from <500m above sea level to the River (Rio) Ulla at >60m above sea level.
- Ponte Ulla to Santiago de Compostela: This is a 20km – 22km gradual ascent from <61m above sea level to Santiago de Compostela at >250m above sea level .
5.) What to see on the way?
The following are some sights worth including on the way:
- The Roman Bridge over the Rio Mino and the old city quarter. The bridge is known as the ‘old bridge’ or ‘Ponte Vella’. The Camino will start over this bridge.
- Cathedral of Ourense. Note: These generally do not open for the public before 10:00, a to dedicate time to it one would need to arrive the night before.
- Thermal waters in As Burgas This is a free, public space but one can also visit private thermal baths in Ourense.
- Along the whole path there are various river crossing some with medieval bridges and several hamlets. Between Silleda and Ponte Ulla there is also a beautiful galician palace with gardens called Pazo de Santo Estevo de Oca.
- When traversing Bandeira make sure you savour their empanadas because this village is renown for its pies.
- The Pico Sacro and the Hermitage of St Sebastian offers a magnificent view of Santiago de Compostela before starting the descent to our Loca Sancta. Entry into Santiago is over River Sar and through the Arco de Mazarelos into the old quarter of Santiago de Compostela.
6.) Some other practical matters
For members joining us from overseas (any one interested in membership please follow this link), the Malta group will probably fly into Porto (Portugal) and we organise a coach from there to Ourense. You can either meet us at the airport or we can agree to meet at the first accommodation in Ourense the evening before we start walking.
Well before the Camino we also set up a WhatApp group for the pilgrims on the Camino so that you start interacting beforehand with questions, practical advice, food or medicine intolerances etc