El Camino Fonseca

Northwest via Ourense

A Varied Route Through Beautiful Countryside

Next PageNext

General Description and History

Camino Fonseca

It was difficult for me to decide what to call this Camino. In effect it is an alternative part of the Via de la Plata, diverting in a roughly northwesterly direction via Ourense. Another name for this route is El Camino Sanabrés because it passes through the hill town of Puebla de Sanabria. In the end I settled for El Camino Fonseca because that was the title of the guide book I found most useful on my walk.

Don Alonso de Fonseca y Acevedo III was the son of Archbishop Alonso de Fonseca II of Santiago. He was educated in the university of Salamanca and, in 1507, he succeeded his father as Archbishop of Santiago. He founded colleges in both Salamanca and Santiago so, in modern times, this variation of the Camino was named after him.

I walked this route in 2006 but my starting point was Zamora instead of Salamanca so my descripion of the first section is gleaned from guide books and journals of other pilgrims.

Wine CountryTierra de Vino
Salamanca From Salamanca to Zamora the meseta has traditionally been known as Tierra de Vino but nowadays the cultivation is mainly cereals. The route closely follows the main N630 road and can be covered in two long days.
Bread CountryTierra de Pan
Zamora Tierra de Pan from Zamora to Tábara. Once again staying close to the N630 until the route splits from the main Via de la Plata at the village of Granja de Moreruela. The walking is mostly on stoney farm tracks to avoid the main road.
Valley of the Rio TeraRio Tera
Santa Marta From Tábara to Puebla de Sanabria there is a welcome change of scenery as the Camino crosses into the valley of the Rio Tera then follows it up into the mountains.
Over the MountainsOver the Mountains
Padornelo From Puebla de Sanabria to Vilar do Barrio the Camino passes into the Galician province of Ourense through rugged country of mountain passes and steep climbs.
Towards OurenseTowards Ourense
Boveda The countryside here is much flatter, mainly agricultural land but there is an ugly industrial section on the way into Ourense.
Final stage to SantiagoTowards Santiago
Faramontaos The climb out of Ourense is long and steep but then the way is through rolling Galician countryside until the finish in Santiago.