STAGE 23 - Ponferrada– Villafranca del Bierzo

Villafranca del Bierzo

Villafranca del Bierzo

When you finish today’s stage you will have completely entered into El Bierzo, the last stop in Leon lands before you arrive to Galicia and start the final stretch to Santiago. On the way, you will have discovered the wonderful bercianos landscapes, the mountains bordering the area and also, you will have crossed the river Sil through one of its stone bridges.

The Bierzo is one of the most famous regions of Leon province, which has a great artistic and cultural heritage thanks to the different people who have been inhabiting the region from prehistoric times to the present day. In the Paleolithic, it is known that there were settlements on the slopes of river Cua, although one of the major influences in the area was the Roman Empire. The gold mines of Las Médulas were the largest ones discovered in an open field throughout the Roman Empire. This amazing natural area was declared in 1997 World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

All this cultural mixture has made a unique local cuisine where botillo, peppers, chestnuts, conference pears, reinette apples or cherries are within the Bierzo Designation of Origin. This is also a land of wine. Vast vineyards and many wineries make this area one of the most powerful in what concerns to wine culture. Mencía red grapes and noble white Godello grapes make way to a vast variety of wines: some young, others mature; unique in the peninsula and made all of them with such care, effort and dedication that the national and international market adores them.

Today’s destination, Villafranca del Bierzo, becomes the magnifient end to finish the stage and a place to see great monuments, including Santiago’s romanesque church (a privileged church which has the Forgiveness Door, the only one in all the Camino which allows the pilgrim to win the Jubilee, and this is why Villafranca del Bierzo also is known as “the little Compostela”).

Once you have arrive here (also if you are on the way), we suggest you to be prepared for lunch (or dinner) and enjoy the bercian gastronomy in one of these restaurants where you will be captivated by the local products.


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