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Camino Lebaniego in Picos de Europe

Picos de Europe

Camino Lebaniego

A very old pilgrimage route from the 8th century! For me the route starts in Santillana de Mar (northern Spain) and ends in the middle of Picos de Europe mountain range at the Santo Toribio Monastery (Potes).

Lignum Crucis

In the Middle Ages, many pilgrims walked this route to worship the Lignum Crucis in the monastery. According to tradition, the Lignum Crucis is a part of the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified.

This pilgrim route is separate from the Caminos to Santiago and has its own pilgrim passport and certificate.

Enough reasons to walk this unique camino!

During my pilgrimage along the north coast of Spain I make a surprisingly nice trip to Camino Lebaniego. The first part of the route is equal to Camino del Norte to Santiago de Compostela. Interested in this part of the route? Click on

From the town of Unquera the route bends inland and the area is immediately much greener. I take a nice walk off road along a beautiful river and enjoy the peace and sound of the birds. Soon I see the first mountain peaks, how I like walking!

There is a bed available at the albergue in the small town of Cades and I can also join dinner, which is great because there are no shops nearby. In the morning I have breakfast with coffee from the microwave and off we go for a walk. The weather is great and that’s why the view is perfect, it’s so beautiful, I keep taking pictures!

The second day I start with an easy part but after that there will be a mega climb, I have been warned…

It’s going really well in the end, it’s a big workout so I sweat a lot but I’m not anxious for a moment. After 4 weeks of walking I now have a good walking pace. I have not reserved a place to sleep, but luckily there is a spot available after this work-out and 32 km of walking.

Phenomenal view!

The albergue on top of the mountain has a terrace with a phenomenal view WOW! There is a walking group on the terrace and I join the group for a drink and a chat. 

There is also a nice breeze so the perfect conditions to dry my wet clothes and tent. What a great day!

The last day is very special! After a beautiful sunrise I walk at a relaxed pace on an easy road to the picturesque Potes and celebrate my arrival with coffee and tortilla. Oops, a little too relaxed because the mass in the monastery, in which pilgrims are allowed to participate, starts at 12 o’clock and I have to hurry to be on time.

At the monastery it is suddenly very busy, unlike the other days in nature. The Spanish mass is impressive even though I don’t understand Spanish. I get a stamp for my pilgrim passport, an official certificate and I feel very satisfied I have come this far. For hours I enjoy this moment, the beautiful surroundings and the wonderful weather.

End of the camino Lebaniego

The next day I quickly go to the post office and then I take the bus. Now that my tent is dry, I have decided to send a package of 3 kg to the Netherlands. The bus ride is a beautiful ride along the river through the mountains Picos de Europe to Unquera, here I continue my pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

Would you like to read the continuation of my walking trip? This blog will follow asap!

Overnight places

Cades – Cabanes – Potes.
You can also walk the route in 4 days and spend the night in Cicera between Cades and Cabanes.

Would you like to read the first part of my pilgrimage?

A month later in Picos de Europe: La Ruta del Cares

La Ruta del Cares

In September I pick up my new friend Leo from the shelter in Santiago de Compostela. After 4 days we go for a hike in Picos de Europe. La Ruta del Cares (22 km) is one of the top trails of the Picos. I start in Poncebos and we walk 16 km (round trip) along a deep canyon and the Cares river. Leo and I both love it so this is definitely worth repeating!

If you are not afraid of heights, la Ruta del Cares is a real must-see: in one word FANTASTIC!

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