Tourism Leon.es

Ponferrada - Villafranca del Bierzo

Length: 23,5 Kilometres

We start near by the Basílica de la Encina to cross through the street calle Mateo Garza. Then we go on through the Paseo Huertas del Sacramento, towards Compostilla and its church Nuestra Señora del Refugio.

Ponferrada - Villafranca del Bierzo
Ponferrada - Villafranca del Bierzo

We cross Columbrianos, a village that had an Hospital in days gone by and still keeps the traces of a Roman road. The next village is Fuentes Nuevas: the traveller crosses it through the street calle Real and, after 2 more km, the pilgrim finds Camponaraya, with the Hermitage Nuestra Señora de la Soledad.

The street calle de los Peregrinos, in Cacabelos, welcomes the traveller. This was an important city during the Roman Empire. The cradle of El Bierzo is not far from Cacabelos, concretely in Castrum Bergidum.

We leave Cacabelos behind across the bridge, dated in the XVIIIth Century, that crosses the river Cúa. We leave on the right the Sanctuary Nuestra Señora de la Quinta Angustia, known as la Virgen Negra (the Black Virgin) because she represents Mother Earth.

In some 3 km we reach Pieros. Its parish church was devoted to San Martín in 1086.

After another 3 km, we leave the road and walk trough a path that, after 2 more km, will take us into the well known Camino de la Virgen, which leads us straight to the Ermita de Santiago, built during the XIIth Century.

This Romanesque hermitage, with Jubilee’s priviledge –as said by the Abbot from the Colegiata de San Isidoro de León, Antonio Viñayo, in his guide about the pilgrimage to Santiago- announces us that we have reached the end of the stage. We have reached Villafranca del Bierzo.

Ponferrada - Villafranca del Bierzo
Ponferrada - Villafranca del Bierzo

Villages

Compostilla

It is a suburb attached to Ponferrada. Compostilla owes its development to the Power Station built 1949, the first along the Spanish territory.

Columbrianos

There is evidence about a pre-Roman fortressed settlement. The vineyards envelop a landscape presided by the hermitages of San Juan and San Blas.

Fuentes Nuevas

Located 4 km away from Ponferrada, may be considered as an extension of the capital of El Bierzo, a residential area. The village hold the hermitage Campo Divino Cristo.

Camponaraya

Capital of Camponayara’s municipality. It was always a key point in the pilgrimage to Santiago, because there were 2 hospitals for the pilgrims there in the past: Hospital de la Soledad and Hospital de San Juan de Jaberas.

Cacabelos

Capital of municipality, remarked in every guide about the pilgrimage to Santiago, because in the vicinity of Cacabelos we can find the Roman site of Castro Ventosa, linked to the city of Bergidum Flavium, supposed cradle of El Bierzo. We will also find in Cacabelos the sanctuary Santuario de la Quinta Angustia.

Pieros

This village keeps in a memorial tablet the date of consecration of its parish church in 1086, under the protection of San Martín. The festivities of Pieros take place in November 11th.

Villafranca

The origin of Villafranca del Bierzo is associated to the monastery of Santa María de Cluniaco. This village, always cosy with the pilgrims, had 5 hospitals in the past. At the church door of Santiago de Vilafranca, Puerta del Perdón, the pilgrims can earn their Jubilee.

The Castillo de los Marqueses de Villafranca (castle of the Marquises of Villafranca), dated on the XVIth Century, was built by Pedro de Toledo and keeps the shields from families such as Valcarce, Pimentel and Álvarez de Toledo. The Marquis of Villafranca founded, in 1606, the convent of the Clarisses nuns, La Anunciada.

The Colegiata de Santa María, built over the ancient monastery of Cluniato, has a Gothic trace. Another exceptional buildings are the Convent of San José –founded in the XVIIth Century-, the church of San Francisco, San Nicolás el Real, a convent of the Jesuites dated on the XVIIth century.

But the village has much more than monuments. It is also well known for its street calle del Agua, an unavoidable place for those who enjoy gastronomy and drinks, and for those who want to walk between country houses and stone palaces. The writer Gil y Carrasco was born in Villafranca. The village, faithful to its Jubilee’s tradition, celebrates its festival on July 25th, the Day of the Apostle.

Lodges

Hostel de Cacabelos

  • Address: Plaza del Santuario (on the way out of the town)
  • Place: Cacabelos
  • Phone: 987 546 011
  • Property: Municipal
  • The Hostel is kept in a very good condition.

    There is room for 70 people, all in beds.

    Available from April to October at a price of 4 €.

    The Hostel opens from 12:00 to 22:30.

    Services:

    • Washbasin
    • Washing machine
    • Fridge
    • Hot water
    • 8 shower cubicles
    • 8 toilets, including one for the disabled
    • Lockers or wardrobes
    • Sickroom/first-aid box
    • Vending machine for water and fizzy drinks
    • Coffee machine, portable
    • Clothes line
    • Dining room
    • Outdoor seating area
    • Public phone
    • Room to keep the bicycles
    • Signal for mobile telephony available
    • Sockets available for battery chargers

    Services in the vicinity:

    • Information for the pilgrim
    • Phone box
    • Cash dispenser
    • Chemist’s
    • Repair shop
    • Grocery stores
    • Medical assistance
    • Butchery
    • Bakery
    • Snack bar-Restaurant
    • Internet, inside a communication centre

Refuge Ave Fénix de Familia Jato

  • Address: Calle Santiago nº 10
  • Place: Villafranca del Bierzo
  • Phone: 987 540 229
  • Email: refugioavefenix@wanadoo.es / jjato@latinmail.com
  • Property: Asociación Internacional de Peregrinos Ave Fénix
  • There is room for 77 people, all them in bunk beds.

    There is an open garden for camping 400 metres away from the church. Besides, a marquee with 20 bunk beds and toilets is going to be placed there as well.

    E-mail address: jjato@latinmail.com.

    It is kept in pasable condition.

    Available all year.

    Price: a 6 euro-contribution, although it is free for the needed pilgrims.

    Open from 12:00 to 23:00 (there is not closing hour during the summer).

    Services:

    • 5 Washbasins
    • Washing machine
    • Heating
    • Hot water, with solar energy and gas
    • 11 shower cubicles, one of them adapted for the disabled
    • 11 toilets, one of them adapted for the disabled
    • Both sickroom and first-aid box
    • Vending machine for water and fizzy drinks
    • Vending machine for coffee
    • Clothes line
    • The Hostel cooks food only for the pilgrims
    • Meeting room
    • Dining room
    • Outdoor seating area
    • Public phone
    • Room to keep the bicycles
    • Signal for mobile telephony available
    • Sockets available for battery chargers

    Services in the vicinity:

    • Information for the pilgrim
    • Phone box
    • Cash dispenser
    • Chemist’s
    • Repair shop
    • Grocery stores
    • Medical assistance
    • Butchery
    • Bakery
    • Snack bar-Restaurant
    • Internet (inside the Hostel)

Hostel Municipal Villafranca del Bierzo

  • Address: Right turn from the Iglesia de Santiago, first building of the town.
  • Place: Villafranca del Bierzo
  • Phone: 987 542 680 - 987 540 089 - 987 540 028
  • Property: Town Hall
  • The Hostel has room for 73 people, 62 in bunk beds and the rest in mattresses. During the summer, a camping zone is installed in Villafranca del Bierzo, all with camping tents and a camping station and toilets to hold 200 pilgrims.

    The Hostel is kept in good condition.

    Available from Easter to the beginning of November, at a price of 4 €.

    Open from 12:00 to 22:30

    Services:

    • Washbasin
    • Washing machine
    • Fridge
    • Hot water
    • 4 shower cubicles
    • 4 toilets
    • Sickroom/first-aid box
    • Vending machine for water and fizzy drinks
    • Vending machine for coffee
    • Clothes line
    • Kitchen
    • Meeting room
    • Dining room
    • Outdoor seating area
    • Public phone
    • Room to keep the bicycles
    • Stable (able to hold 5 horses)
    • Signal for mobile telephony available
    • Sockets available for battery chargers

    Services in the vicinity:

    • Information for the pilgrim
    • Phone box
    • Cash dispenser
    • Chemist’s
    • Repair shop
    • Grocery stores
    • Medical assistance
    • Butchery
    • Bakery
    • Snack bar-Restaurant

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