top of page

Primitive Way

From Uviéu / Oviedo to Santiago de Compostela. 14 stages. 323 kilometers. Links in Melide with the last 3 stages with the French Way


The Primitive Way starts from the city of Oviedo (Asturias) to Santiago de Compostela and is considered the first Camino de Santiago. The Camino Primitivo was the itinerary used in the first pilgrimage to the Apostle's tomb: that of King Alfonso II of Asturias in the 9th century. Hence, this hard but beautiful itinerary to Santiago de Compostela receives the name of Camino Primitivo.

The Primitive Way has landscapes of extraordinary beauty, good signposting and an adequate and continuous network of accommodation along its more than 300 kilometers. However, it is famous for its tough stages, which alternate steep climbs with major descents and typical mountain and inland routes. The Primitive Way can be traveled in about 14 stages, linking the last three with the French Way.


The Primitive Way is considered the oldest of all the Ways to Santiago: it is the first historical route of which references are preserved and that was the one that King Alfonso II the Chaste took in the 9th century, to visit the tomb of the Apostle Santiago, who had just been discovered.

This visit to the tomb of the Apostle marked the launch of the Camino de Santiago and the devotion of Alfonso II, nicknamed the Chaste, helped to establish the cult of the Saint. After this first pilgrimage to Compostela, the monarch ordered the construction of a church, the first dedicated to Santiago, and financed the monastery of San Paio de Antealtares.

To this day, the original layout of this route is maintained, which year after year gains followers. The Camino Primitivo leaves from the Asturian capital, Uviéu / Oviedo, to run through the west of the Principality of Asturias through towns such as Grado, Salas, Tineo or Pola de Allande.

The entrance to Galicia is through A Fonsagrada, in Lugo, after crossing the Acebo, the mountain area that separates Asturias from the Galician community. This step will be one of the hardest stages for the pilgrim who travels this Camino de Santiago.

Lugo is one of the key points of this Route in Galicia, allowing the pilgrim to feel the heritage and history of this city of Roman origin. With just over 300 kilometers, this Primitive Route is usually done in 13 or 14 stages, linking the last 3 with the French Way, specifically in Melide.

One of the hardest Jacobean Routes
The Camino Primitivo is one of the hardest Jacobean Routes, with stages that alternate ascents and descents, passing through mud roads and trails, typical of the mountains and inland. The beauty of the landscape and the existence of a correct and continuous network of hostels and accommodation means that every day more pilgrims choose it.

The Route also has good signage and runs along tracks that cross the green landscapes of this beautiful Asturian-Galician area. There is hardly any contact with roads with high traffic and the day-to-day passes mostly in the middle of nature and through rural and mountain areas.

For pilgrims by bicycle it is one of the most demanding routes and with the worst cyclability. The mountain bike becomes the pilgrim's best friend on this itinerary in which he will encounter a good number of difficulties, especially in the autumn and winter months.

Since 2015, the Camino Primitivo was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO along with the Camino del Norte, thus adding to the historical, patrimonial and cultural importance of the French Way.

Way of San Salvador
The Camino Primitivo has a variant that makes Oviedo a destination point. It is the Camino de San Salvador, which connects León with the Asturian capital through the Cantabrian mountain range.

Its origin dates back to the Middle Ages, when many pilgrims, upon reaching León, decided to deviate on their way to Santiago visiting the relics of the Cathedral of San Salvador, in Oviedo. And, from there, continue through the Primitive Way to Santiago. From those days we have a saying that many devotees sing to travel both routes: "Whoever goes to Santiago and does not go to Salvador, honors the servant and leaves the Lord"


How to get to the starting point

How to get to Uviéu / Oviedo by train

To get to Uviéu / Oviedo by train there are connections from cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Zaragoza, Valencia or León. On the Renfe website you will find all the links.


How to get to Uviéu / Oviedo by bus

The Uviéu / Oviedo bus station is on Calle Pepe Cosmen, in a central location close to the train station. The contact telephone number is +34 902 499 949. Coach companies such as Alsa arrive there from different parts of the peninsula.

How to get to Uviéu / Oviedo by plane

The closest airport to Uviéu / Oviedo is Asturias Airport , located in Castrillón, 47 kilometers from the capital of the Principality. Companies such as Iberia , Iberia Express , Air Europa , Air Nostrum , EasyJet , Evelop , TAP Portugal , Volotea and Vueling Airlines operate in this terminal. To get from the airport to the city, the Alsa transport company offers regular bus lines between both points.


How to get to Uviéu / Oviedo by car

To get to Uviéu / Oviedo by car, keep in mind that the A-66 motorway reaches the city, which connects this city with Avilés and Xixón / Gijón. It connects, for example, the A-8, the Cantabrian Highway.


Credits: The Camino de Santiago with Correos

bottom of page