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The pilgrims that want to walk more than 190 km / around 9 or 10 walking days, should start from Ponferrada.
Fly to the capital of Spain and take the train. In 4 hours and 30 minutes you will be in the Templar city of Ponferrada.
The old part of the city is a bunch of stone streets, pedestrian zone only. Taverns, tapas bars and restaurants offer homemade food for less than 15 euros per person. It is the well-known Menu del dia. To enjoy the Ponferrada gastronomy, ask for the Godello white wine or the Mencia red wine.
The Templar Castle is the symbol of the city. The visitor can also check out the Radio Museum and the Train Museum, memories of the mining past of the city.
If you are lucky to be in the city on Wednesday or Saturday, at the Plaza de Abastos, there is a huge farmers market with seasonal and local product. Flowers, species, vegetables, fruits, marmalades … The best: huge tomatoes from the Galician gardens.
This marketplace has more than 100 years of history.
Ponferrada is a good starting point because is well connected by train and it is less popular than Sarria and Leon. Also, from there, you have 9 wonderful days to enjoy and discover the Camino. It is special to get into Galicia; you will see the differences between Castilla y Leon region and the Galicia region.
At the first walking day you will end in Villafranca del Bierzo.
At Water Street or Calle del agua, bars and restaurants welcome the pilgrim with a huge diverse cuisine. Don’t miss the garden of the “Iglesia de Santiago”.
Be prepared for a challenging second day with an ascent of 1000 m.
You will pass through the narrow valley of the river Valcarcel before tackling the ascent of O Cebreiro. Situated between the ranges of “Los Ancares” and “La Sierra do Courel”, this stage involves a steep climb in the course of only a few kilometers.
After that , from O Cebreiro the trail passes through the “Sierra de Ranadoiro” (Ranadoiro Mountains) and, after crossing the Alto do Poio, it descends into the valley to the village of Triacastela.
Keep walking Peregrino, the Camino just start for you.
In this link you can see a list of all the steps of the Camino Frances from Saint Jean Pied de Port to Finisterre.