The Via de la Plata – a detailed guide & walking stages

The Via de la Plata – a detailed guide & walking stages


The Via de la Plata or the Silver Route is considered to be the toughest Camino de Santiago route in Spain due to its distance, over 1000 km, long walking stages with little facilities in between, and extremely hot weather in summer months. The Via crosses four Spanish regions; Andalusia, Extremadura, Casilla y Leon, and Galicia. The route offers a great combination of beautiful countryside scenery, impressive Roman ruins, and spectacular medieval cities and towns.

Practical info for planning the pilgrimage

The Via de la Plata is the longest out of well-established Camino routes in Spain.

It’s the least walked route only about 3% of all the pilgrims arriving in Santiago de Compostela come from the Via de la Plata.

Like on any other Camino route you’ll need a Credential (a pilgrim’s passport) to be able to stay in public albergues and to get the Compostela at the end of the Camino in Santiago.

According to the new rules, pilgrims coming from any Camino have to collect two stamps per day for the last 100 km, I’m quite confident if you complete the Via de la Plata and don’t have two stamps for the last couple of days you’ll still get you Compostela, it’s just something to keep in mind.

Supermarkets and shops are closed on Sundays and public holidays, restaurants and bars are your only food options for these days.

Having a local SIM card is quite handy in case you want to book accommodation or use online maps.

Though the route is quite flat the first part of it from Guillena to Villafranca de los Barros has many ascents and descents something we didn’t really expect to find here.

Our pilgrimage on the Via de la Plata from Seville to Maride

Vía de la Plata route options

The Vía de la Plata has several route options and connections with other Camino routes.

  1. It’s possible to start in Granada or Almería, walk to Mérida following the Camino Mozárabe and from there continue on the Vía de la Plata to Santiago. This route is long, 1200 km.
  2. Another option is to start in Valencia, walk to Zamora following the Camino de Levante, and from Zamora continue to Santiago de Compostela on the Vía de la Plata. This route is very long as well, 1300 km in total.
  3. The Vía de la Plata splits after Zamora; one route goes north to Astorga where it merges with the Camino Frances; one route goes north-west through Ourense following the Camino Sanabrés. If you decide to walk through Astorga, be ready to see many pilgrims, the French Camino is the most popular route, especially the last 200-100 km to Santiago de Compostela.

If you decide to walk the Camino Mozárabe or the Levante it’s important to remember that these routes are not very popular with very few pilgrims walking them. As a result they have less infrastructure than the well-established Camino routes; finding accommodation might be challenging in some parts. You’ll need some basic Spanish to be able to explain simple things both routes go through non-touristy parts of Spain with very few people speaking or understanding English.

Best months for walking

Let’s start with the worst time because unlike with the other Camino routes, summer is the worst time to walk the Via de la Plata; not because it gets too busy like the French Camino or the Portuguese route but because it gets incredibly hot here. July and August are the worst months, 40°C-45°C, no shade to hide on the route, no rain, clear skies, nowhere to get water on the way (sometimes you walk 20-25 km through nothing), and burning sun. All lethal cases on this route were in these months due to heat strokes or exhaustion.

June and September are a close call as well it does get hot and it’s sunny most of the time but by far not as hot as in July and August.

Our favorite time for traveling the south of Spain is spring, I’d say April and May are the best months for this part of the country; it’s warm but not hot, not much rain, fields are covered in flowers, the area is very green, the air is fresh. Weatherwise October is close to these two months just not flowers.

As for walking the Via de la Plata offseason, November – March, it might be a good idea if you want to make sure it’s not going to be hot but it might rain quite a bit in January, February, March (the rainest one) and you might feel a bit lonely as there will be very few pilgrims on the route.

From what we’ve heard from the hospitaleros (hosts) on the Via de la Plata April is usually the busiest month with the most pilgrims on the route but even in this busiest time, you probably will get fewer people here than on the Camino Frances off-season.

Plaza de España, Seville, Spain, Via de la Plata
Plaza de España, Seville, Spain

Via de la Plata cost

Accommodation. Public albergues on this route are more expensive than on the other Camino routes we’ve walked. On the other Camino routes, we usually paid between 5€ 6€, sometimes 7€ per bed in a private albergue. On the Via de la Plata the standard price was 10€. From Seville to Mérida we got only one albergue for a donation and one for 8€, the rest were 10€. Private albergues/hostels cost about the same, between 10€ and 12€.

Food. A good thing about this route that every town we stopped had a least a small shop but usually there was a supermarket we could make our own food. Just remember that here like in the rest of Spain supermarkets are closed on Sundays and public holidays, plus they are closed for a siesta in the middle of the day, usually somewhere between 2 pm and 5 pm. Prices in supermarkets here are similar to the rest of Spain if you buy food for two meals it’ll cost you between 6€ and 8€ per person depending on what you buy, of course.

Eating out. Traditional Menu del Día (a set menu with first, main, drink, break and coffee/dessert) for about 10€ is quite popular here. A cup of coffee and a sandwich with Jamón or cheese and tomato (Tostada) cost about 2,5€ we stopped quite often for those. The coffee here is good and cheap, Americano costs less than 1€, Cafe con Leche (Cappuccino) about 1,2€. A beer or a glass of wine (cheap wine) in a bar is about 1€, it usually comes with chips, olives or peanuts.

Transport. To get to Seville, the starting point of the route you can take a bus or a train from Madrid or other cities/towns in Spain or Portugal. A bus from Madrid to Seville costs from 25€ the journey takes 6h30min. A speed train – from 38€, it takes 2h50min.

Our budget break down (9 days, 2 people)

We stayed in dormitories in public and private albergues, only one night in a private room in a hotel, bought food in supermarkets (most of the time), usually stopped for breakfast and for coffee (one to two times a day), a couple of times went out for a beer or wine.

  • Accommodation – 192€
  • Eating out (food, beer, wine) – 111€
  • Shopping (food) – 90€
  • Transport (bus Madrid – Seville) – 50€
  • Coffee – 20€
  • Laundry – 5€

Total: 468€ or 26€ per person per day.

Packing list for the Camino

It’s important to remember not to overload your pack. It’s a very long route, you’re going to walk for more than one month with your backpack. Depending on what time of the year you decide to walk the Via de la Plata you’ll need different essentials. If you walk the route in fall/winter when it rains quite a lot in Andalusia and Extremadura you’ll definitely need a rain poncho and a pair of good waterproof hiking boots.

For spring/summer season good sun protection is important, make sure to pack a cap or better a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and two water bottles that you have at least 2l of water per person.

We have a detailed Camino de Santiago packing guide where you can find a packing list for men and women for different seasons.

Books and guidebooks to read on the Via de la Plata

On such a long Camino route like this one, it’s great to have a nice book. Most of the time the route goes through quiet Spanish rural villages and towns you’ll have a lot of time for reading after you are done with walking for the day. If you like reading a lot carrying a Kindle might be a good idea. You can upload as many books in your language as you want. It’s not always easy to find books in other than Spanish languages on the route. If you read a lot it might be worth joining the Amazon Kindle Unlimited program that gives you free access to thousands of e-books and audiobooks. You don’t need a Kindle device to use the program with the Amazon free reading app you can use it on your phone or tablet.

The ruins of the Acueducto de los Milagros in Merida
The Acueducto de los Milagros, an old Roman Aqueduct in Mérida, our last stop on the Via de la Plata

Luggage transfer service on the route

It’s possible to arrange luggage transfer on the Via de la Plata. Your backpack or suitcase will be transferred from place to place. You can use it for the entire route (which will increase the cost of the walk quite a bit) or only for longer stages when you have to walk over 30 km through nothing.

There are several companies that offer the service; Correos, Mundicamino, Pilbeo (only from Ourense to Santiago). The price is between 5 and 7 Euro per backpack per stage. It works very easy a company picks your luggage at the reception of your albergues/hostel in the morning and drives it to your next accommodation place. By the time you arrive your backpack is already there. It’s important to remember that public albergues usually don’t allow luggage delivery. Private albergues and hotels usually do.

Accommodation on the Camino de la Plata

Like on any other Camino route the main accommodation for pilgrims on the Via de la Plata is albergues. Albergues can be private and public. Public albergues are run by municipalities and usually are the cheapest places to stay on the Camino. These albergues are exclusively for pilgrims who walk or cycle the Camino. Private albergues belong to a person or a company, they are a bit more expensive than public ones and usually have better facilities. Private albergues are more like hostels anybody can stay there but most of the guests are usually pilgrims. There are hotels and guest houses along the route as well in case you prefer staying in private.

Comparing public and private albergues

Features Public albergues Private albergues
Exclusively for pilgrims yes no
Need a Credential yes no
Can be booked no yes
Accept cards no sometimes
Allow luggage delivery no yes
Price 10 Euro 10-14 Euro
Public vs private albergues on the Via de la Plata

How difficult is the Via de la Plata compared to the other Camino routes?

We’ve walked 7 Camino de Santiago routes and I’d say judging on the first part of the Via de la Plata it’s definitely more challenging. The main reason is long distances between towns and villages which means you have to carry a lot of water and some snacks with. There are no steep ascents or descents on this route like on the Camino Primitivo or the Northern Way, but long distances, both daily and the total distance over 1000 km, combined with little infrastructure in between and high temperatures make the Via de la Plata a difficult route.

Any long trekking/walking route is challenging because it takes many days or even weeks to complete, but when it’s more than 1000 km it gets really long. Psychologically it was quite difficult for us when after walking for 9 days we arrived in Mérida and saw on the wall of our albergue “distance to Santiago 800 km”! and it wasn’t our first long Camino route we’d already walked the Portuguese Camino from Lisbon and the Camino del Norte from Irún.

About long stages and walking through nothing we heard a lot but it was sort of difficult to imagine. We had a couple of days on the other Camino routes with no places in between but on the Via de la Plata from the very beginning, we walked for 20-25 km through nothing. Not even a place to refill your water bottle! We stop a lot for coffee on the other Camin routes, it gives you a little break but on the Via de la Plata some days you just walk with no other option to stop than to sit down on the grass or under a tree in the fields.

As for pilgrims, we met on the route many of them walked more than one Camino route but there were some people for whom it was their first Camino. Most of them didn’t plan to walk the whole route and finished in Mérida. If you really want to walk the Via de la Plata and have never walked the Camino before you can do the same start walking in Seville and see how far you get. Once you don’t feel like walking anymore, you can stop there and continue the route sometime later. We’re going to do this we ran out of visa time (we spent a lot of time walking in Spain and Portugal in the last year). We stopped in Mérida and will continue the walk next year.

Travel insurance for the Vía de la Plata

Walking like any other outdoor activity involves a risk of getting an injury or losing some of your gear. It’s always recommended to have travel insurance. The Via de la Plata is not an exclusion, it’s not an extremely difficult trek but it’s a very long and challenging route small injuries and traumas are quite frequent. It’s good to know that your insurance will cover you in case of any unpredictable emergency be it an injury, gear loss or device break down. 

Note! If you have a European Health Insurance card you don’t need any additional medical insurance for Spain.

Seville, the beginning of the walk

Seville is a beautiful city with a lot to see and to do, spending here a couple of days before starting the Camino is a great idea. My favorite time-spending in Seville is sitting at one of the street restaurants near the Cathedral with a glass of wine and a couple of delicious tapas.

Things not to miss in the city: Plaza de España, Royal Alcázar, Cathedral, La Giralda, Torre de Oro, Parque de María Luisa, Santa Cruz barrio (neighborhood), Triana neighborhood, Plaza de Toros, Casa de Pilatos.

Seville tours & activities

There are many great tours around the city and to the nearby attractions.

Places to stay in Seville

There is no public albergue in Seville but there are several hostels and private albergues. They are not exclusively for pilgrims anybody can stay there but most of the people staying at albergues are pilgrims.

We stayed at El Viajero en Sevilla, a small hotel in the historical center. It’s a great place, very neat, comfortable, and cozy. If we go to Seville we’ll definitely stay here again.

Note! Make sure you arrive here not during the Semana Santa (the Holy Week, a week before Easter) if you do, book your tickets and accommodation well in advance. The city gets crazy busy; difficult to find accommodation, bus, and train tickets are sold out, thousands of tourists, etc. Seville is famous for the Semana Santa celebration it’s the top European destination to come for the Easter holiday.

How to get to Seville?

There is an international airport in Seville you can find direct flights from many European countries (UK, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, etc.). As well as flights from several Spanish cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Bilbao, etc. If you buy your tickets in advance you can fly for as little as 20-40 Euro depending on your origin. Ryanair, EasyJet, Iberia Express, and Vueling are the main budget airlines that offer cheap flights to Seville.

Getting from Madrid to Seville

If you come from overseas, Madrid is probably the best city to land in. From Madrid, you can catch a direct flight, a train or a bus to Seville. Flying is the fastest way of getting there. There are regular buses and trains as well.

Madrid to Seville – comparing transport options

Madrid to Seville Flight Train Bus
Daily departures 5 8 3+
Station Barajas airport Puerta de Atocha Barajas T1
Estacion Sur
Time to get 1h10min. 2h30min. 6h20min.
Ticket price from 35 Euro from 45 Euro from 26 Euro
Company Iberia, Iberia Express RENFE Socibus
Comparing different way of getting to Seville from Madrid

Getting from Barcelona to Seville

If you land in Barcelona I’d strongly recommend flying to Seville rather than taking a bus or a train. A direct flight from Barcelona takes 1h45min. Prices start at 25 Euro. Ryanair and Vueling are two budget airlines that offer direct flights. A direct fast train (5h30min.) from Barcelona to Seville costs 120 Euro. You definitely will be able to find cheaper flights. There is a cheaper train, 65 Euro but it takes 11h30min. There are no direct buses from Barcelona to Seville, you’ll have to go via Albacete, the journey takes more than 15 hours.

The old Santa Cruz barrio in Seville
The Santa Cruz neighborhood from the Giralda, the bell tower of Seville Cathedral

Via de la Plata walking stages

We’ve walked only 9 first stages on the Via de la Plata, from Seville to Mérida, here you can find a detailed itinerary for these days. We’re planning to finish the route next year and will update the post after that.

The Via de la Plata (Seville to Mérida part) route overview

  • Total distance – 214 km
  • The time required – 8-10 days
  • Starting point – Seville
  • Finishing point – Mérida
  • Total ascent (in 9 days) – 2976 m
  • Total descent – 2766 m
  • Walking surface – mostly gravel road – 160 km, asphalt – 54 km
  • Route marking – yellow shells and arrows
  • Average cost – 26-30€ per person
  • Accommodation – public and private albergues, hotels
Day 1
Seville – Guillena
23 km/14 mi
Day 2
Guillena – Castilblanco
18 km/11 mi
Day 3
Castilablanco – Almadén de la Plata
28,7 km/ 18 mi
Day 4
Almadén de la Plata – Monesterio
35 km/21,7 mi
Day 5
Monesterio – Fuente de Cantos
20,6 km/12,8 mi
Day 6
Fuente de Cantos – Zafra
24,7 km/15,3 mi
Day 7
Zafra – Villafranca
20,5 km/12,7 mi
Day 8
Villafranca – Torremejía
27,5 km/17 mi
Day 9
Torremejía – Mérida
15,6 km/9,6 mi
Vía de la Plata stages Seville – Mérida

Day 1. Seville – Guillena, 23 km*

  • Time – 4h45min.
  • Walking on the road – 3 km
  • Walking on asphalt – 10 km
  • Ascent – 158 m
  • Descent – 124 m
  • Difficulty level – 2 out of 5

*All daily distances are from albergue to albergue.

Day 1 elevation profile, Via de la Plata, Camino de Santiago
Elevation profile Day 1 Seville – Guillena

The walk starts from the cathedral in Seville, there are a couple of yellow arrows and a shell at the corner of Avenida de la Conctitución and Calle García de Vinuesa. To our surprise it was quite easy and quick to walk out of the city, it took us about 30 min. and we didn’t go through any industrial or residential areas of the city. Most of the day the route went through the fields but there was an unpleasant walking on the road for about 3 km after Santiponce.

Santiponce is the only town on the way, it’s about 9 km from Seville and it’s worth stopping here and visiting the famous Roman ruins; the Roman Therms and the Roman Amphitheatre. The Amphitheater, by the way, was featured in season 7 of Game of Thrones as the Dragonpit. Unfortunately, we couldn’t visit them because it was closed on Monday. For more information on the ruins of Italica and opening hours visit the official website

If you want to visit both ruins I’d suggest to go first to the Roman Theatre and from there to the Therms as you can walk through the Archaeological park and exit on the other side of it right on the Camino.

If you want to stop for lunch Santiponce is the only place on the way, don’t forget to refill your water there will be nowhere to do it till Guillena.

Highlights

  • Stunning Gothic cathedral of Seville
  • Triana district in Seville
  • The Roman ruins of Italica, Santiponce

Challenges

  • 3 km of walking on the road after Santiponce
  • No places to stop or to refill water between Santiponce and Guillena, for 13 km

Guillena

A small town with good infrastructure though we were here on Sunday and everything was closed.

Albergue Luz del Camino

The Public albergue costs the same we came across the private one first, the lady in charge was very nice and friendly so we decided to stay here. The albergue is nice, clean and comfortable. They try to give pilgrims more privacy we got a dormitory only for us though there were beds available in the other dorms. Price 10€  per person, 12€ with breakfast.

Facilities

  • Kitchen – yes
  • Hot shower – yes
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Power sockets in the room – yes
  • Blankets – yes
  • Washing machine – yes
  • Extra – washing lines, terrace
A typical scenery in Andalusia and Extremadura with fields and olive trees
A typical scenery on the Via de la Plata; fields, olive tree plantations, and a gravel road

Day 2. Guillena – Castilblanco de los Arroyos, 18 km

  • Time – 4h12min.
  • Walking on the road – 0 km but the last 3 km are on the footpath next to the road
  • Walking on asphalt – 2 km
  • Ascent – 386 m
  • Descent – 91 m
  • Difficulty level – 2 out of 5
Day 2 elevation profile, Via de la Plata, Spain
Elevation profile Day 2 Guillena – Castilbalnco de los Arroyos

We didn’t pay for breakfast in the albergue we stopped on the way at one of the locals bars S.C.A. Kibarpe, next to the supermarket Dia, they have good coffee and sandwiches, we paid 5 Euro for both.

It was a relatively short and easy walking day with a slight ascend about 386 m throughout the day. In the beginning, you walk through Guillena town till the bridge, then cross the bridge after that turn right, away from the road, there will be a Camino sign. The route through the town is not marked very well, here and there you see an arrow but it’s not difficult you basically just follow the main street from the albergue all the way out.

At about 3 km after crossing the road you get to a very muddy path through the olive tree plantations. At about 8 km a beautiful forest substitutes the plantations. There are no villages on the way no places to stop for coffee or food. At 10 km there is a place to refill water you won’t miss it there is a big sign on the righthand side. The last 3 km before Castilblanco are on the footpath along the road.

Highlights

  • Walking through the forest and the fields
  • Castilblanco – a cozy white town with a nice church and many starks around it.
  • Communal dinner at the albergue

Challenges

  • A very muddy and slippery path between 3 km and 5 km
  • Nothing between Guillena and Castilblanco

Castilblanco de los Arroyos

A nice small town several bars and restaurants on the main street and a beautiful church with many storks’ nests on the roof.

Albergue de peregrinos de Castilblanco

Located at the entrance to the town, next to the petrol station. The albergue is nice but quite small, there are only 18 beds and two bathrooms. People who arrived later had to stay in a private albergue. Price – donation. The Italian couple that was volunteering there made a communal dinner (3,5€ per person), it was great to sit at the same table with other pilgrims and get to know each other right at the beginning of the Camino.

Facilities

  • Kitchen – yes
  • Hot shower – yes
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Power sockets in the room – yes
  • Blankets – yes
  • Washing machine – no
  • Extra – washing lines, terrace, communal dinner – 3,5 Euro

Day 3. Castilblanco de los Arroyos – Almadén de la Plata, 28,7 km

  • Time – 6h.
  • Walking on the road – 16,5 km
  • Walking on asphalt – 16,5 km
  • Ascent – 649 m
  • Descent – 521 m
  • Difficulty level – 3 out of 5
Day 3 elevation profile, Via de la Plata
Elevation profile Day 3 Castilblanco de los Arroyos – Almadén de la Plata

I’d suggest making sure you have enough water before you leave Castilblanco as well as to take some snacks with and to have breakfast in the town before you leave. There is literally nothing on the way; no place to refill water, no place to buy food till you reach Almadén de la Plata.

It was quite a long day of walking. The first part was on the road after an hour or so it got quite monotonous but it wasn’t as bad as we thought, the road was not very busy. The second part, after 16,5 km, is through Natural Park Sierra Norte. The scenery in the park is beautiful; green hills, trees, many flowers (in spring) and a couple of smallish rivers. Unfortunately, we couldn’t really enjoy the scenery as it was raining non stop all the time we were in the park.

Highlights

  • Natural Park Sierra Norte

Challenges

  • Walking on the road for the first 16,5 km
  • No place to stop for food or water for 28 km
  • Steep but not long ascent just before Almadén de la Plata

Almadén de la Plata

This town is smaller than Castilblanco, it has a couple of restaurants and shops, a square with a church and a Jamon factory.

Albergue Casa Clara

We were planning to stay in the municipal one and even went there but didn’t like the location too much it’s far from the shops and restaurants so we went back to the private albergue that has a restaurant and located on the main square, near the supermarket, and right on the Camino. Price 12€ pp. per bed or 20 Euro with Menu del Dia (complete lunch). The public albergue costs 10 Euro so not a big difference. Casa Clara is a small albergue with only two rooms with 4 beds each more like a shared apartment than the albergue.

Facilities

  • Kitchen – yes but very few utensils for cooking
  • Hot shower – yes
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Power sockets in the room – yes
  • Blankets – yes
  • Washing machine – yes, free of charge
  • Extra – washing lines
The green scenery of the Sierra Norte Park in Andalusia, Spain
Sierra Norte Natural Park, a patch of a green forest on the Via de la Plata.

Day 4. Almaden de la Plata – Monesterio, 35 km

  • Time – 7h45min.
  • Walking on the road – 2 km short bit here and there on the last 8 km
  • Walking on the asphalt – 4 km through the towns and a little bit along the road
  • Ascent – 850 m
  • Descent – 575 m
  • Difficulty level – 4 out of 5 it was a long walking day
Day 4 elevation profile, the Silver Route of the Camino de Santiago
Elevation profile Day 4 Almadén de la Plata – Monesterio

Option! If you think walking 35 km in one day is too much you can always split this day into two; walk 13,5 km to Real de la Jara and the next day 21 km to Monasterio.

A second long day in a raw, most pilgrims we started with walked 13 km and stayed in Real de la Jara, many people split this day into two. At the beginning of the day, we continued walking through Natural Park Sierra Norte with beautiful scenery and many smallish ups and downs.

Luckily, today there are two stops on the route so you can put down your backpack and sit down, drink coffee, eat something and refill your water. At Real de la Jara you leave the region of Andalusia and enter Extremadura.

The last 8 km are next to the road mostly on the footpath crossing the road here and there.

Highlights

  • A beautiful walk through the countryside and forest
  • The castle in El Real de la Jara

Challenges

  • A long walking day, 35 km and it did feel long and tiring.

Monesterio

Don’t be confused by the name, the actual monastery is 5 km outside the town you won’t see it unless you walk there or take a taxi. The town itself is quite big compared to most towns on the Via de la Plata.

Albergue Las Moreras

We stayed in the municipal albergue Las Moreras, it’s located a bit away from the town center but close to the supermarket and a couple of bars/restaurants. The rooms are small, only two beds which is great we had our own room. There is a bathroom for every two rooms which is another great thing as you don’t have to share one shower/toilet with 10 other people. Fellow pilgrims stayed in albergue Parroquial de Monesterio and really liked it as well, it looks like both albergues in Monesterio are great, both charge 10€ pp.

Facilities

  • Kitchen – yes
  • Hot shower – yes
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Power sockets in the room – yes
  • Blankets – yes
  • Washing machine – yes, 3 Euro
  • Extra – dryer – 4 Euro, washing lines, TV, fireplace
Ruins of an old fortress in the fields
Ruins of a castle just outside El Real de la Jarra on the border between Andalusia and Extremadura

Day 5. Monesterio – Fuente de Cantos, 20,6 km

  • Time – 4h20min.
  • Walking on the road – 0 km
  • Walking on the asphalt – 2 km through the towns
  • Ascent – 291 m
  • Descent – 432 m
  • Difficulty level – 2 out of 5
Day 5 elevation profile, Via de la Plata, Spain
Elevation profile Day 5 Monesterio – Fuente de Cantos

We started the day quite late, it took us about 10 min. to walk out of the town, at the exit there is a restaurant that opens at 7 am, they have coffee or hot chocolate with churros for 1,5 Euro. Make sure to have enough water with there will be nothing on the way. The walk was easy and nice with light ups and downs, through a very quiet countryside with olive tree plantations, wheat fields, cows, sheep, etc. far from the road and any other disturbing noises.

Highlights

  • Very peaceful area with no people, cars, houses only fields and nature.

Challenges

  • Nothing on the way for 20 km you have to carry enough water with for the whole day.

Fuente de Cantos

A cozy little white town with a small square and a church on it and narrow cobblestone streets.

Hotel El Zaguán de la Plata

An amazing old house with several rooms, a lovely garden, a swimming pool, and an awesome shower – one of our favorite places on the Camino. Price 15€ per person for private, 12€ per bed in a dormitory.

Facilities

  • Kitchen – yes
  • Hot shower – yes
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Power sockets in the room – yes
  • Blankets – yes
  • Washing machine – yes, 2 Euro
  • Extra – dryer – 3 Euro, washing lines, swimming pool, garden

Day 6. Fuente de Cantos – Zafra, 24,7 km

  • Time – 5h15min.
  • Walking on the road – 0 km
  • Walking on the asphalt – last 4 km to Zafra
  • Ascent – 212 m
  • Descent – 288 m
  • Difficulty level – 2 out of 5
Day 6 elevation profile, Camino de Santiago
Elevation profile Day 6 Fuente de Cantos – Zafra

It was an easy walking day through the countryside most of the time make sure to have enough water with from 6 km to 20 km there is nothing on the way except a shelter at 15 km where you can stop and rest, drink water or eat something.

Highlights

Peaceful scenery; olive tree plantations, vineyards, pasture fields, etc.

The historical center of Zafra; Plaza Grande, Plaza Chica, Convento de Santa Clara. If you’ve happened to be here on weekend definitely go to one of the squares and drink a glass of wine or beer, there are many restaurants and bars here, on weekends they are full of locals, it has a great holiday vibe.

Challenges

  • 14 km in the middle of the day with nothing on the way

Zafra

It’s more of a city place, much bigger than other stops on the way. The historical part of Zafra is really nice; cobblestone streets, two beautiful squares, a cathedral, a fortress, and several smallish parks.

Albergue Vicente Van Gogh

It’s the only albergue in the city (there was another one Albergue Convento de San Francisco but it was closed in 2018), the place is nice and spacious, it´s located close to the historical center, shops, restaurants and right on the Camino. Price 12€ pp. including breakfast. The owner was a bit obsessed with everything being the way he wants or used to but it´s manageable. Breakfast wasn´t amazing we stopped on the way for a proper coffee with a Tostada.

Facilities

  • Kitchen – yes
  • Hot shower – yes
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Power sockets in the room – yes
  • Blankets – yes
  • Washing machine – yes, 2 Euro
  • Extra – dryer – 3 Euro, washing lines, terrace
Alya surrounded by endless golden fields of wheat
Alya in the wheat fields, the dominating scenery on the Via de la Plata in Extremadura

Day 7. Zafra – Villafranca de los Barros, 20,5 km

  • Time – 4h20min.
  • Walking on the road – 400 m
  • Walking on asphalt – 8 km; first 7 km from Zafra and last 1 km to
  • Ascent – 246 m
  • Descent – 339 m
  • Difficulty level – 1 out of 5 a short and easy walking day
Day7 elevation profile, Via de la Plata
Elevation profile Day 7 Zafra – Villafranca de los Barros

It was an easy walking day except the very beginning, the route through Zafra is not marked very well, everybody got a bit lost (we left first and stopped at a bar for breakfast and could see other fellow pilgrims wandering around in search of yellow arrows), in the end, we had to ask locals. We followed the arrows till the Plaza Grande and then lost them, the same happened to everybody. I’d suggest once you’re on the Square ask around will point you the right way. You walk out of the town following Calle San Francisco you can find it on the map.

The rest of the day was very similar to the previous two walking days. After 4,5 km there is a small town where you can stop for coffee, it’s the only stop on the route.

Highlights

  • Cathedral and cobblestone streets of Los Santos de Maimona
  • Olive tree plantations and vineyards

Challenges

Nothing on the way for 15 km between Los Santos de Maimona and Villafranca de los Barros, make sure to carry enough water with the route goes through the fields with no shadow.

Villafranca de los Barros

A typical town with the main square a couple of churches and many restaurants and bars. We were here on Sunday everything was closed even restaurants didn’t serve food between 4 pm and 8.30 pm because kitchens are closed at this time of the day.

Albergue Las Caballeras

It’s right at the entrance to the town, most of the other pilgrims walked on to Albergue Carmen (10€ pp.), we paid 12€ per person per bed. Tip! If you’re a couple ask for a double bed there is one on the upper floor you get more privacy.

Facilities

  • Kitchen – yes
  • Hot shower – yes
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Power sockets in the room – yes
  • Blankets – yes
  • Washing machine – yes, 2 Euro
  • Extra – washing lines, breakfast – 3 Euro, coffee 1 Euro

Day 8. Villafranca de los Barros – Torremejía, 27,5 km

  • Time – 5h24min.
  • Walking on the road – 0 m
  • Walking on the asphalt – 3 km in the towns
  • Ascent – 105 m
  • Descent – 221 m
  • Difficulty level – 3 out of 5, a long walking day with no places to stop for food or water
Day 8 elevation profile, the Silver route, Camino de Santiago
Elevation profile Day 8 Villafranca de los Barros – Torremejía

Note! There is a town Almendralejo about half way with a couple of hotels but it’s 4 km off the route in order to get there and then back on the Camino you’ll have to walk 8 km extra.

The walk wasn’t difficult but it’s quite long we’d strongly recommend starting walking early in order to skip the midday heat. We walked the Via de la Plata at the end of April and it was already quite hot after 10 am. Make sure you have enough water to last you the whole day there will be no place to refill it. The scenery was very similar to the previous days; vineyards, olive trees, fields and not much else.

Highlights

  • Beautiful sunrise on the way out of the town (if start early enough).
  • Vineyards and olive tree plantations, to be honest after a couple of days this scenery started to get quite monotonous.

Challenges

  • Quite long distance with no places to stop or to refill water on the way.

Torremejía

Another small white town with a couple of hotels, one albergue, restaurants, and supermarkets.

Albergue Rojo Plata

The only budget place to stay in the town, nice place with several rooms with bunk beds but only one shower/toilet for men and one for women so if it’s full you’ll have to wait in the queue. Price 12€ per bed or 22€ including lunch or dinner and breakfast. The location is quite good, on the route, close to the supermarket and restaurants.

Facilities

  • Kitchen – yes
  • Hot shower – yes
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Power sockets in the room – yes
  • Blankets – yes
  • Washing machine – no
  • Extra – AC, breakfast – 3 Euro, washing lines

Day 9. Torremejía – Merida, 15,6 km

  • Time – 3h10min.
  • Walking on the road – 2 km
  • Walking on the asphalt – 5 km
  • Ascend – 79 m
  • Descend – 175 m
  • Difficulty level – 1 out of 5, short and easy walking day
Day 9 elevation profile, Via de la Plata
Elevation profile Day 9 Torremejía – Mérida

To walk out of the town you can go left from the albergue and follow the gravel road for a little bit or go right towards the restaurant and follow the road, both routes join after about 500 m. It wasn’t the most beautiful walking day, the first half was along the road, sometimes on the road, the second half past some sort of industrial area or factories. And again nowhere to stop on the way we’d recommend to have breakfast in Torremejía and carry enough water.

Highlights

  • The Roman bridge at the entrance to Merida
  • Several Roman ruins in Merida; aqueduct Los Milagros, Roman Theatre and Amphitheatre, Circo Romano, Alcazaba.

Challenges

  • at the beginning of the day 2 km of walking on the road out of 7 km of walking next to the road.

Merida

It’s a World Heritage city with several impressive Roman sights. If you have time I’d suggest stopping here for 2 days if not try to start walking early in the morning in order to have more time to explore the city. We stayed for 2 nights here; first night at the municipal albergue Molino de Pancaliente and second in a guest house. Merida seems to be quite a popular place to start the Camino there are more pilgrims here than in the previous towns on the way. It’s another reason to start earlier to get a spot in the albergue, there are only 16 beds and it’s the only budget accommodation in the city. Like in any other public albergue you can stay here only for one night.

Albergue de peregrinos Molino de Pancaliente

It’s the cheapest albergue we got on the whole way (except the donation one) and it was quite basic, the only albergue we stayed on this route that didn’t have wi-fi, blankets, and anything in the kitchen. Price 8€.

Facilities

  • Kitchen – no, only microwave & fridge
  • Hot shower – yes
  • Wi-fi – no
  • Power sockets in the room – yes
  • Blankets – no
  • Washing machine – yes, 3 Euro
  • Extra – washing lines, dryer – 2 Euro, breakfast – 3 Euro

We finished the Via de la Plata in Mérida where we stayed for 2 days in order to have time to explore the Roman ruins. From here we went to Portugal where we spent two weeks walking the Rota Vicentina. We’re planning to finish this Camino route next year and walk from Mérida all the way to Santiago de Compostela and from there continue walking to Finisterre.

A big old Roman bridge at the entrance to Merida, a Spanish city on the Via de la Plata
Campbell on the Puente Romano, an old Roman bridge at the entrance to Mérida

Vía de la Plata route planning resources

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