The Camino Inglés

Sometimes called in Spanish the Antiguo Camino Real, the Camino inglés provided a short, direct route from Ferrol or A Coruña to Santiago and was therefore used by pilgrims of various nationalities from northern Europe, who had travelled to Galicia by sea.

The tomb of Sir John Moore at la Coruña

The tomb of Sir John Moore at la Coruña

The Route.  The modern pilgrim can start either from the old landing-steps at Ferrol (just below the parador) or from the royal sea-gate in A Coruña now, following land reclamation, left high and dry in a car park below the church of Santiago.  The church is also a recognised starting-point for the Camino inglés.

Length.  From Ferrol it is 118 km to Santiago, and from A Coruña about 75 (too short to earn the compostela*).  These two possible starting points mean that the route is Y-shaped, the two tracks meeting near the atmospheric town of Hospital de Bruma.  The Ferrol route can be walked in five days, and the A Coruña one in three.

* Please note that as of December 2016 the Cathedral authorities in Santiago have indicated that they are prepared to issue a compostela to pilgrims who can evidence a walk of at least 25 – 30km in the UK (or elsewhere) prior to travelling to A Coruña – details here.  Please see Walk Another Pilgrimage for details of UK pilgrim and spiritual routes; at the moment only the Pilgrims Way (Winchester or London to Canterbury), the Way of St Andrews (various starting points to St Andrews) and the St Michael’s Way (Lelant to Marazion) have pilgrim passports and stamps which would provide proof for the Pilgrim Office in Santiago.  The CSJ is actively communicating with churches on various routes regarding the possibility of having stamps available for pilgrims.

Waymarking.  A mixture of yellow arrows and, since 2000, shell tiles and marker stones bearing shells.  The way-marking is generally good.

Terrain.  This is Galicia and the countryside is reminiscent of Brittany, Cornwall and other Celtic regions.  The hardest and steepest day is day 2 of the Coruña route, from Sarandones to Calle de Poulo (or Ordenes).  On the Ferrol route the hardest walking is between Betanzos and Hospital de Bruma.  There is considerable road walking near towns.

Weather.  An Atlantic climate – just like Wales and Ireland. Essential to carry a waterproof but you might just be lucky and have sun.  Some paths can be quite muddy.

When to go.  Walkable throughout the year, although winter (late November to late February) is not really recommended.

Getting there. Vueling fly from Heathrow to A Coruña, there are also internal flights from other Spanish airports, including Madrid and Barcelona. There are flights from Gatwick, Stansted and Dublin to Santiago, also flights from Paris and Spanish airports including Madrid and Barcelona.  Please see our Camino Inglés travel suggestions under Camino Starting Points here and our travel links here.

What to see.  The A Coruña arm: in the city, the Tower of Hercules (Roman lighthouse), churches, especially that of Santiago, and museums. Culleredo: Romanesque church of Santiago de Burgo.  Cambre: Romanesque churches, Santa Maria del Temple and Santa Maria de Cambre.  Hospital de Bruma: medieval chapel of San Lourenzo, remains of medieval hospital next door.  Ferrol arm: Xubia: the monastery church.  Neda: 14th c church of San Nicolis and fine calvary (cruceiro).  Pontedeume: bridge, church of Santiago, Andrade tower, 12th c church of San Miguel de Breamo (a detour).  Lambre: medieval bridge.  Betanzos: churches of Santiago, Santa Maria, San Francisco.

Where to stay.  Variety of cheap and medium-priced hotel accommodation in A Coruña, Ferrol, Pontedeume, Betanzos, Ordenes and Sigueiro.  Six albergues all usually open, at Neda, Pontedeume, Miño, Betanzos, Presedo and Bruma.  On the Coruña arm there is an albergue at Sergude and south of Mesón do Vento hotels can be found on the N550 road to Santiago, which runs parallel to the camino.

Distinctive features of the route.  More suitable for walkers than cyclists.  Not crowded and not too expensive.  In rural Galicia local people often speak Galician rather than (Castilian) Spanish.   Easy to reach: ferries to Santander (from Plymouth) or Bilbao (from Portsmouth), and FEVE (interesting narrow-gauge railway along northern Spanish coast) or bus to Ferrol.  Bus to A Coruña.  Long days can be avoided by ‘shuttling’ in taxi/bus from the day’s end-point and then back to the start point next morning.

Guide books.

  • Camino de Santiago Pilgrim maps: Camino Inglés, Bill Lee & Johnnie Walker,  CSJ 2017/2018, available from our online shop.

This map book depicts the entire Camino Inglés from both A Coruña and Ferrol to Santiago de Compostela. It covers the latest routing from Leiro to Bruma and includes eighteen 1:50,000 scale walking maps and three 1:200,000 scale reference maps.

Pictures. For pictures of the Camino Inglés, visit the Pictures Pages of the Camino .

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

Language. While it is not impossible to take this route without any command of Spanish prospective pilgrims are strongly urged to learn as much as possible before they set out. Please see our FAQ Do I need to speak Spanish or French? for suggested ways of learning.

 

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