Arzua is the last large town you will pass through before Santiago, (pop circa 7,000). Historically there is little to see apart from the local parish Church of St James and the ruins of the Convent of La Magdalena. The church, rebuilt in 1955, has two statues of Santiago one as a pilgrim and the other as the Moorslayer.
Albergue Xunta, c/ de lugar, 6, €6, 48 beds, W, D, K, Bike, Tel: 660 396 824, www.xacobeo.es open all year
Albergue Via Lactea, c/ de José Antonio, 26, private, €10, 60 beds, W, D, K, M, B, Bike, Tel: 981 500 581, Web: http://www.alberguevialactea.com/, open all year.
Albergue Santiago Apostol, c/ de Lugo, 107, private, €12, 72 beds, W, D, K, V, @, Tel: 981 508 132, , open all year.
Albergue da Fonte, Rúa do Carmen, 18, private, €10, 20 beds, W, D, K, @, Tel: 981 501 118, Web: http://www.alberguedafonte.com/, open Apr to Oct inc.
Albergue Ultreia, c/ de Lugo, 126, private, €10, 39 beds, W, D, K, B, @, Bike, Tel: 981 500 471, Web: , open all year.
AAlbergue Los Caminantes II, 14 Calle de Santiago, private, €10, 26 beds, W, D, @, Bike, Tel: 647 020 600, Web: , open Mar to Nov inc.
Albergue Don Quijote, c/ de Lugo, 130, private, €10, 50 beds, W, D, V, @, Bike, Tel: 981 500 139, Web: , open all year.
Albergue de Selmo, 133 Rua Lugo, private, €10, 50 beds, W, D, K, @, Bike, Tel: 981 939 018, Web: http://oalberguedeselmo.com/, open Easter to mid Oct.
Today’s Walk: 38.7 km (24 mi), 8 hours
While writing this guide I have tried to follow the stages of the first modern guidebook from 1984.
However this is a very long day and if you walk this whole day to Santiago you would likely drop in your accommodation and not move again, while your mind will want to get out and see Santiago, the cathedral, and other pilgrims you have met along the way.
Due to the distance most will stop after 33 km (20.5 mi) at Monte del Gozo, known as Mount of Joy, as this was the first place where it was once possible to view Santiago Cathedral.
There is a huge hostel at Monte del Gozo with modern faculties. Alternatively, it can be much better to stop at Arca where there are lots of sleeping places in the large hostels – however, this does mean missing the pilgrims’ mass which is at noon every day unless you start early and cover the 20 km (12 mi) before noon.
As with the previous few days since Sarria, there are lots of hamlets and villages along the way for food and water.
If you decide to walk to Monte del Gozo it will take about 7 hrs at about 5 km (3.1 mi) per hr, which is not slow, or about 8hs at 4 (2.4 km) km per hr – which is more like my usual hill walking pace when taking it easy.
This is a hard day if you walk the whole day with an elevation gain/loss of nearly 700 meters (434 ft) each way over the day. Underfoot the path is easy.
It is noticeable over the last 10 0km (60 mi) and the closer you come to Santiago the importance of the historic monuments, churches, and architecture lessens, thereby raising the importance of Santiago de Compostela even more.
6.2 km (3.8 mi), cafe, the name of the hamlet refers to its location on the Roman and Pilgrim Roads.
2.2 km (1.3 mi), cafe, water, again as the name says known only as part of the road.
2.7 km (1.6 mi) bar, cafe, restaurant, pharmacy
Albergue de Boni, on the N547, private, €10, 30 beds, W, D, @, Bike, Tel: 618 965 907, Web: https://www.facebook.com/albergueboni, open unknown.
Albergue Pousada de Salceda, 300 metres off route, private, €12, 8 beds, W, D, @, Bike, Tel: 981 502 767, Web: – open all year. Part of a tourist complex, but very nice, individual and twin rooms available in hotel complex at higher cost.
2.3 km (1.4 mi)
Albergue The Way, private, €12, 5 beds, W, @, Tel: 981 502 990, Web: http://theway.org.es/
2.8 km (1.7 mi), cafe, water
Albergue Xunta, €6, 36 beds, W, D, Bike, Tel: 660 396 825, www.xacobeo.es, open all year
Albergue Santa Irene, private, €13, 15 beds, W, D, @, M, B, Bike, Tel: 981 511 000, open Easter to Nov inc
Albergue Rural Astrar, 700 meters off route, private, W, D, @, M, Bike, Tel: 608 092 820, Web: https://www.albergueruralastrar.com/, open all year.
The Chapel of Santa Irene dates from the 18th century and has a small Baroque retablo. Nearby the fountain has a statue of covered Saint Irene from 1692.
O Pedrouzo / Arca do Pino
3.2 km (2 mi), all services
This is a modern satellite town of Santiago and from this point on, during the summer, the path can be very busy especially in the morning. It is common for visitors to Santiago to travel by bus, taxi, or tours to join the last part of the Camino Frances and walk back into Santiago.
6.6 km (4.1 mi), cafe
Here there is a small rectangular Church of San Payo de Sabugueira with a small plaque dated 1840. There was once a 12th-century monastery on the site which belonged to the cathedral.
2.3 km (1.42 mi), cafe
Just after Lavacolla there is a river. This river is mentioned in Picaud’s pilgrim guide as follows:
“and there is a river called Lauamentula, because in a leafy spot along its course, two miles from Santiago, French pilgrims on their way to Santiago take off their clothes and, for the love of the Apostle, wash not only their private parts, but the dirt from their entire bodies.”
As well as being a hygienic necessity, this was a pilgrim ritual to cleanse and purify themselves before reaching the cathedral.
1 km (0.6 mi), bar
Monte do Gozo
5.5 km (3.4 mi) cafe, water, 1 hour to the cathedral
Albergue Xunta del Monto do Gozo, €6, 400 beds, W, D, K, M, B, Bike, Tel: 660 396 827, www.xacobeo.es, open all year
It is worth taking a minute or two here to think how you got here. What you accomplished, how far have you walked. This might be the last point of silence and peacefulness for the next few days.
Four miracles are associated with the Mount of Joy. The most well know is about a group of 30 pilgrims that set out from Alsace-Lorraine. Twenty nine of the thirty swore they would help each other along the route. One refused to take the oath. In Gascony one of the twenty nine fell ill and he was carried by horse for 15 days by his companions until he could go no further at Pyrenean Puerto de Ciza. He was abandoned here by all except the one who refused to take the oath.
After praying all night he tried to help the sick pilgrim across the pass, however that evening the sick pilgrim died on the freezing heights. A passing knight offered to help and took the dead pilgrim in his arms and the one who stayed on the back of his horse. The three of them rode all night and as dawn broke they found themselves on Monte do Gozo. The dead pilgrim was buried in Santiago and the friend finished his pilgrimage with the help of Santiago.
Santiago de Compostela
3.9 km (2.4 mi), all services, pilgrims office – http://peregrinossantiago.es/eng/
More about Santiago de Compostela here.
During the busy times of July and August, it is advisable to book a hotel in advance, especially during any of the main Spanish public holidays of Easter, the Feast of St James on the 25th July, August 15th Assumption of Mary. All the albergues in Santiago de Compostela allow you to stay for multiple nights.
The pilgrims’ mass is each day at noon and during the summer will be busy. The best time to visit the cathedral is early in the morning.
I read an account of a pilgrim who walked in 1974, he was interviewed at length to certify his legitimacy as a walking pilgrim. Today it takes minutes to be given your Compostela certificate, though the queue can take hours in the summer. There is now also more than one type of certificate.
There is something very special about walking into Santiago whether you are religious or not.
I believe now in the full experience and I am not religious; you just don’t know where it will take you, so I do my best not to be closed to spiritual matters – bear in mind once you have visited the cathedral, prayed, collected your certificate you undergo a transformation that happens to all pilgrims – you become a tourist.
Key: W = Washing, D = Drying, M = Menu, @ = Internet, K = Kitchen, B = Breakfast, V = Vending, Cred = Credential
Does this page need any updates or new albergues added? Please let us know in the comments below.
I love hiking, backpacking, and camping. From the Camino de Santiago to the West Highland Way in Scotland or simply a great day hike on the weekend. Hiking refreshes me, my mind, and keeps my body reasonably fit. So far I have walked three Camino routes and many other long distance hikes in the UK, Canada, and around the rest of Europe. One of the best was my hike up Ben Nevis.