Today there is a choice of two routes; both are equally pleasant although the Samos route is quieter. The choice is made as you leave Triacastela. Food and water can be got in very few places today, so fill up with water when you can and carry some snacks, especially if you are walking the Samos route where there is little for the first 9km and the last part before the two routes join at Aguida.
Although the Samos route is longer be 6.5km it is easy walking, unlike the second route which has a 250 meter climb over the first 5km.
On the northern route, outside of the summer, there may be no water or food until Aguiada at 14km, however this changes all the time as snack vans are starting to turn up on the Camino.
If you are walking between May and September after today the atmosphere of Camino Frances changes as well as the terrain. Many pilgrims walk only from Sarria to Santiago as it is the easiest town to get to for pilgrims to cover the last 100km, the minimum required to collect their Compostela.
This is the first route via Samos 25km
San Cristobo 5km
Small village with large stone house, an ancient weir and old mill building. there are reports of a new albergue here, however it cannot be guaranteed or confirmed at this moment.
Lusio 1km, services unknown, reports of the following Albergue, cannot be guaranteed
Albergue Xunta Casa Forte de Lusio, € 6, 60 beds, K, Tel: 659 721 324
Renche 1.6km, water, cafe
This is a good stop for water and food at the small cafe during the summer. A tiny hamlet with a handful of houses and less than 100 inhabitants, which once had a medieval pilgrims hospice and iron foundry.
Samos 3.6km, all services
Albergue Monasterio, Monasterio de Samos, 1, par, €donation, 70 beds, @, Cred, Bike, Tel: 982 546 046, Web: http://www.abadiadesamos.com/, open all year.
Albergue Albaroque, c/ Salvador, 1, private, €9, 10 beds, W, D, V, @, Bike, Tel: 982 546 087,
Albergue Val de Samos, Avenida Compostela, 16, private, €11, 48 beds, W, D, K, B, Bike, Tel: 902 002 460, Web: http://www.valdesamos.com/, open Apr to Nov inc.
Samos is dominated by the monastery founded in the 6th century by Saint Martin Dumiense, also known as Martin of Braga. St Martin was born in Pannonia, modern day Hungary. He became a monk when he traveled to the Holy Lands and then for unknown reasons traveled to Galicica where he spent his life converting the local population to Roman Catholicism, for which he was canonised.
In 922 Benedictine rule was introduced when Ordono II brought monks from San Juan de la Pena, Aragon; during the 12th century it became part of the Cluny abbey network, and later it was so powerful that it owned and controlled 300 monasteries, over 100 churches, and 200 towns.. From the 11th century it ran a pilgrims hospice. The monastery was known for its wealth and one of the results of this was being sacked several times by bandits in the early middle ages. The area attracted and protected Mozarabic refugees from the south.
The current abbey of mostly of 17th and 18th century construction as it was destroyed by a fire in 1536, however some parts of the building still contain building stones from the Visigothic era, including a 7th century Visigothic gravestone. On August 24th 1951 a fire again destroyed most of the library. The small 9th century Mozarabic chapel is about 200 meters from the main monastery building, note the typical horseshoe arch. The front of the monastery was built to exude power and strength, however the entrance in use is at the rear of the building.
Guided tours of the abbey are provided by the monks, some of the sight you can see include: the library, Fountain of the Nereiads in the 17th century cloister garden, 5 historic keystones one in hieroglyphic which says “What are you looking at, stupid?”, inside there are modern murals depicting the life of San Benito, and the church which is an excellent example of Baroque architecture with two domes.
Aguiada is a small village with 42 inhabitants, with no services for pilgrims at present, however in the past it had several pilgrim hospices, (there is a restaurant outside the village at the side of the road called Valle Aguiada, it appears fairly upmarket). Within the village is the small dilapidated Chapel of Our Lady of the Assumption.
San Mamed del Camino 1.2km, water
Albergue Paloma y Lena, private, €10, 32 beds, W, D, V, M, B, @, Bike, Tel: 982 533 248, Web: http://www.palomaylena.com/, open Mar to mid Nov.
San Mamed has 11 inhabitants. A the start of the village is the pilgrims albergue where they serve snack and refreshments to passing pilgrims.
Sarria 3.5km, all services
Albergue Xunta, c/ Mayor, 79, €6, 40 beds, W, D, K, Cred, Tel: 660 396 813, www.xacobeo.es, open all year
Albergue Los Blasones, c/ Mayor, 31, private, €10, 40 beds, W, D, K, Bike, Tel: 982 530 666, Web: http://www.alberguelosblasones.com/, open Mar to Nov inc.
Albergue Casa Peltre, Escalinata da Fonte, 10, private, €10, 22 beds, W, D, K, @, Bike, Tel: 606 226 067, Web: http://www.alberguecasapeltre.es/en, open Mar to oct inc.
Albergue Mayor, c/ Mayor, 64, private, W, D, K, @, Bike, Tel: 685 148 474, Web: http://www.alberguemayor.es/, open Apr to Oct inc.
Albergue Monasterio de la Magadalena, Avenida de la Merced, 60, private, €10, 100 beds, K, V, @, Bike, Tel: 982 533 568, Web: http://www.alberguesdelcamino.com/, open Mar to Oct.
Albergue Oasis, Camino de Santiago a Tricastela, 12, private, €10, 27 beds, K, @, Bike, Tel: 982 535 516, 605 948 644, Web: http://www.albergueoasis.com/, open Mar to Nov inc.
Albergue O Durmiñento, c/ Mayor, 44, private, 210, 43 beds, W, D, V, @, Tel: 982 531 099, open: Apr to Nov.
Albergue San Lazaro, c/ San Lázaro, 7, private, €10, 30 beds, W, D, @, Bike, Tel: 982 530 626, Web: http://www.alberguesanlazaro.com/, open Apr to Oct.
Albergue Dos Oito Marabedis, c/ Conde de Lemos, 23, private, W, D, K, Bike, Tel: 629 461 770, http://www.alberguedosoitomarabedis.com/, open May to Oct inc.
Albergue Don Alvaro, c/ Mayor, 10, private, €9, 40 beds, W, D, V, K, @, Bike, Tel: 982 531 592, Web: http://www.alberguedonalvaro.com/, open Jan 10th to Dec 18th.
Albergue Internacional, c/ Mayor, 57, private, €10, 43 beds, M, W, D, B, @, Bike, Tel: 982 535 109, Web: http://www.albergueinternacionalsarria.es/, open all year.
Albergue Barbacoa del Camino, c/ Esqueiredos,1, private, €8, 18 beds, W, D, K, @, Bike, Tel: 619 879 476, Web: http://www.alberguebarbacoadelcamino.com/, open all year.
Albergue A Pedra, 19 Camino Vigo, private, €10, 23 beds, W, D, K, M€9, Bike, Tel: 652 517 199, 982 530 130, http://albergueapedra.com/, open all year, some double rooms.
Alma do Camino, Rúa de Calvo Sotelo, 199 – Bajo, private, €9, 96 beds, W, D, K, @, Bike, Tel: 629 822 036, Web: http://www.almadelcamino.com/, open Feb to Dec 15th inc.
Albergue Obradiro, Calle Mayor, 49, private, €8, 30 beds, W, D, K, @, Bike, Tel: 647 209 442, Web: http://www.albergueobradoirosarria.es/, Easter to Oct inc.
Albergue Credencial, Rúa do Peregrino 50, private, €9, 28 beds, W, D, V, @, Tel: 982 876 455, Web: http://alberguecredencial.es/, open all year.
Albergue Puente Ribeira, Rúa do Peregrino, 23, private, €9, 50 beds, W, D, @, V, Bike, Tel: 698 175 619, Web: http://www.alberguepuenteribeira.com/, open Mar to Oct inc.
Albergue Matias, Calle Mayor, 4, private, €10, 40 beds, W, D, @, V, Tel: 982 534 285, open all year.
Sarria, with a population of just over 13,000, can feel very busy and noisy after the last few days in remote countryside, though minor compared to arriving in Santiago de Compostela. The town and the route from here is traditionally very busy due to many pilgrims starting at this point, (pilgrims must walk 100km to receive the compostela). Sarria first appeared in records during the 6th century, however there is evidence of an earlier Roman settlement. The town was repopulated by Bishop Odoario of Lugo after the reconquest in the mid 8th century.
From Sarria there are many backpack services until Santiago offering to carry your bag to your next hostel. Beware of feeling superior to all the new pilgrims that start walking here, it is an easy feeling to develope when you have already been walking walking for nearly 700 km – they may need as much help as anyone else. The oldest part of the town is built on the side of the hill and because the railway was built to the side of the town the old quarter has remained fairly intact.
Church of Santa Marina was first constructed in the 12th century, it has however been completely replaced by a large stone modern building with some interesting murals.
The Parish Church of El Salvador dates from the 12th century, with various 14th century Romanesque reconstructions.
The Castle was started in the 14th century, however there is little left as it was destroyed in the 1467 civil wars. The castle was reconstructed in 1670 by the Conde de Lemos, but was abandoned and fell into ruin; the stones from the ruins were used to build streets and sidewalks. However one tower has been reconstructed.
The 13th century Convent de la Magdalena grew from Italian pilgrims who founded a hermitage in the 12th century. During the 13th century it was reconstructed in the Plateresque style as an Augustinian Monastery. However this history is disputed and some believe it was founded by the Knights of St John of Jerusalem, today however it is run by Mercedarian monks
On the way out of Sarria sits the Hermitage de San Lazaro, this was a middle ages leprosarium. However it has been replaced by a modern construction that has some interesting pilgrim mosaics.
Second route direct to Sarria 18.5km. This can be a hard walk uphill at the start with some very steep descents with unstable stones. However in good weather it affords great view down over the valley.
Balsa 2.2km, water
Albergue Ecologico El Beso, private, €8, 12 beds, B, D, Bike, Tel: 633 550 558, Web: https://www.facebook.com/albergue.ecologico.el.beso, open all year.
Small hamlet with albergue. Just north of the village was once a 10th century Monastery however only the ruins of the chapel remain.
San Xil 1.6km – there is a water fountain in the village but it cannot be guaranteed drinkable.
Montan 3.2km, no services. Small Romanesque Church of Santa Maria.
Furela 2.8km, water, cafe
The village contain the Church of San Roque.
Pintin is about 500 meters before Calvor and reputedly has a cafe.
Calvor 2.3km – no services
Albergue Xunta, in old school, €6, 22 beds, W, D, Tel: 660 396 812, www.xacobeo.es, open all year
Church of San Esteban was originally founded in the 8th century, however it has been reconstructed many time and is now a mash of styles. Inside there is an Visigothic capital put to use as a baptismal font.
1.7km to Aguiada and continue above with 1.2km to San Mamed del Camino and 3.5km to Sarria.