The route from Cádiz to Sevilla

A new route, created by the Asociación de Amigos del Camino de Santiago de Sevilla, which starts on the coast and links up with the Vía de la Plata in Sevilla.  The Sevilla Amigos have not only devised the camino, but also painted the waymarks and produced a guide, similar in style to their excellent guide to the Vía de la Plata

The Route     This 173km camino is probably the flattest of all caminos.  Initially coastal, it then goes northeast to the sherry town of Jerez de la Frontera.  For a while it follows a track near the A4 motorway before skirting Lebrija and opting to run alongside irrigation canals across the plains of the Guadalquivir.  It pauses in the attractive town of Utrera and then heads northwest to the city of Sevilla.

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Cádiz

Suggested Stages
1  Cádiz – Puerto Real  29km   Camino starts at Iglesia de Santiago.  4km on prom by Atlantic beaches of Cádiz, then on track between the rail line and the Bahía de Cádiz to cross the isthmus that joins Cádiz to mainland.  After San Fernando, path parallel to motorway through area of water channels, with vegetation from cacti to heather.  Track through pines to Puerto Real.
2  Puerto Real – Jerez de la Frontera  26km   Once away from the roads, a splendid walk through nature reserve and alongside Rio San Pedro.  Pines, marshes and former saltpans now used for farming fish.  Longish pavement section to cross Río Guadalete and pass El Puerto de Santa María.  Minor road and undulating track with good views, cereals and sunflowers, to Jerez.
3  Jerez de la Frontera – El Cuervo  25km   Long straight road from town, then zigzag to cross motorway and follow it for 10 km on track with cacti, oleander, pines and arable fields but little shade.  Later vines and dusty, quarry lorry track to El Cuervo, a large village by the NIV.
4  El Cuervo – Las Cabezas de San Juan  28km   Short stretch of main road then cross-country, gently undulating, to Lebrija.  Broad tracks across plain and past large reservoir before following irrigation canal for several kilometres.  Uphill to cross motorway and reach Las Cabezas de San Juan.
5  Las Cabezas de San Juan – Utrera  32km   Initially on farm track then 9 kilometres alongside Canal del Bajo Guadalquivir.  Zigzag to cross roads and rail lines then second canal path.  Broad tracks through arable land to attractive town of Utrera.
6  Utrera – Sevilla  32km   Good track to Dos Hermanas, accompanied by cacti, oleander, cereals, pines, heath, snails and many a rabbit.  Camino then gets absorbed in massive urbanización development, before passing racecourse with views down to Sevilla.  Descent to busy NIV and motorway, final long avenue past smart houses, embassies and parks into Sevilla.

Waymarking     Well waymarked with yellow arrows.  Extra care needed, as always to follow camino through towns.  Trickiest section is the last, from Dos Hermanas to the NIV on account of building works and the lack of signs from racecourse.

Terrain     Not strenuous as terrain is so flat.  Rare climbs come as a pleasant change and give good views of surroundings.  Amigos have obviously worked hard to find a route that avoids roads as far as possible but some tarmac is unavoidable.  All stages, except 3 and 5, pass towns with accommodation and so could be subdivided.  It would also be possible to cut out the first 40 kms by taking the ferry across the bay from Cádiz to El Puerto de Santa María.

Weather/When to go     This is southern Spain and most of the camino offers little shade, so avoid the summer but otherwise the route is practicable all year.   Weather can still hit 30 degrees even in October.

What to see     Cádiz, possibly Europe’s oldest city, has a long waterfront, beaches, fortifications and narrow streets in the old city, fine squares, interesting museums, cathedral with tall tower to climb…  El Puerto de Santa María (just off camino): castle, churches, mansions.  Jerez de la Frontera: sherry bodegas, cathedral, alcázar, museums and churches including Iglesia de Santiago, currently closed for major renovation.  Las Cabezas de San Juan: hilltop situation, churches.  Utrera: old streets, squares, Iglesia de Santiago.  Alcalá de Guadaira: old quarter and arab fortress.

Accommodation     Hostales/pensiones at end of each stage and elsewhere.  Only pilgrim hostel is at Alcalá de Guadaira, opened in 2011.

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Salt evaporation lagoons

Other features of the route/General     It is early days and very few pilgrims use this route.  However, locals do walk individual stages, especially at weekends.  This is certainly a route where you will need to understand and speak Spanish and as ever, most Andalusians are warm and helpful. If you like flattish terrain or wish to lengthen the Vía de la Plata, making it a coast to coast walk (Cádiz to Coruña or Finisterre, then starting in Cádiz could be rewarding.

Cyclists     Feasible virtually in its entirety.  In a few places the path can be invaded by the vegetation or the track somewhat rutted.

Websites, guides and contacts

  • Asociación Gaditana Jacobea ‘Via Augusta’ formed in 2009, c/ Sopranis, 26, 11006 Cádiz; tel 956 260 028.  For office hours check their website above, the assocation is very welcoming and their president speaks good English.  Their website http://www.asociaciongaditanajacobea.org/ offers a free printable 8-page guide in Spanish (check print preview carefully to make sure you get whole pages), and a free printable leaflet with useful contacts.  Their website gives accommodation details too.
  • Also the Asociación de Amigos del Camino de Santiago en Cádiz, tel: 648 879 322; useful website www.caminosantiagoencadiz.org  gives brief notes, enlargeable IGN maps and Google earth links.
  • Helpful Asociación de Amigos del Camino de Santiago de Sevilla at Calle Castilla 82, 41010 Sevilla, Tel.  95 43 35 274 or 696 60 06 02 www.viaplata.org.  Office staffed Mon-Thurs early evening.
  • English guide (October 2013) covering Cádiz to El Puerto de Santa Maria.. A PDF document (930k) with descriptions and aerial photographs of the route free to download from from CSJ. Click here. This guide is a work in progress and it is intended that it will eventually cover the whole route to Seville. If you have any additions, comments or corrections that you are happy to be included in this guide please let us know.  If you found it helpful please consider making a donation.

Discussion Forum. Visit the Camino de Santiago Forum to join in the current conversation.

Language.  Pilgrims without a reasonable command of basic Spanish will find this route difficult. Please see our FAQ Do I need to speak Spanish or French? for suggested ways of learning.

Notes from Felix Davies, Oct 2012

1 Two options exist for leaving Cadiz but the Amigos are now discouraging use of the C/Gibraltar & Prado del Rey (busy traffic, narrow, dangerous) in favour of the exit on the ocean side of the railway and main road.. If the tide is right a pleasant walk along the beach would be possible, if not it seems to me you have a choice between a very tiring walk among the dunes or along the main road hard shoulder with your back to the traffic. All three end at the military property at Torregorda where a bridge allows crossing the road and railway to join up with the other option.

2 The exit from San Fernando by the Puente Zuazo has effectively been abandoned as a result of engineering works in favour of using the Puente Jesús del Gran Poder to cross the autovia and reach a track alongside the railway. This is a shorter and more direct route to Puerto Real.

3 After leaving Puerto Real the route provides a very pleasant park-like walk until, at a T junction,  the flechas point both left and right.  I took the left which leads to an interesting wooden footbridge over the river, stays among the marshes behind the beach and joins the other route for the urban trek into Puerto de Santa María.

4 On the approach to Dos Hermanos the track ends at a road. Instead of turning right here it is perfectly possible to continue straight ahead on a quiet country road signed ‘Dos Hermanos 8’.  This leads directly to the Cerro Blanco barrio of Dos Hermanos and straight ahead to the town centre.

With thanks to Michael Gaches, September 2011 and Felix Davies, Oct 2012

Updated RA, 2014

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