american pilgrims  
 
Vía de la Plata (Sevilla)

General Description: This route was used by Mozárabic pilgrims during the period of Muslim domination of Spain. ~1000 km from Sevilla traveling through Mérida, Cáceres and Salamanca to Zamora then via one of several variants to Santiago. From Zamora the pilgrim can continue directly northward to join the Camino francés at Astorga. An alternative is to turn northwest to reach Santiago directly by traveling either into Portugal via Bragança and Verin (Vía Portugués de la Vía de la Plata, 382 km Zamora to Santiago) or via Puebla de Sanabria (Camino Sanabrés, 400 km Zamora to Santiago).

Waymarking: Well waymarked throughout with yellow arrows.

Terrain: Undulating and not very difficult walking as far as Zamora although some of the distances between settlements are very long. This is a situation that is improving every year with the opening of new refuges. After Zamora all of the variants to the Camino francés or directly to Santiago have many steep climbs and descents.

When to go: Setting out on the Vía de la Plata in late June through August would be nigh unto suicidal. Southern Spain in the summer is HOT! September and October would be reasonable except that you will be walking toward winter weather in the northern reaches. Following spring northward starting in April would be a good choice. Climate charts for Sevilla, Cáceres, Salamanca and Zamora.

Accommodation: There are an increasing number of pilgrim-oriented facilities, some of them albergues as such, others places where the accommodation will be a spot on the floor and roof over your head (e.g., sports halls or parish rooms). There are no longer any stages longer than 25 to 30 km.

Guidebooks: The Confraternity of Saint James: The Camino Mozárabe or Vía de la Plata, Part A, Seville to Santiago. This guidebook encompasses the Via de la Plata route from Seville to Astorga as well as the sanabrés variant from Zamora through Ourense to Santiago. (2011). The Amigos del Camino de Santiago de Sevilla offer a guide book in Spanish and English versions. Unfortunately the do not offer online purchase. Click on the "Tienda" shell button.

Internet links: The Confraternity of Saint James has an overview of the Via de la Plata.There are now a number of good sites covering the Vía de la Plata among which are: La Asociación de Amigos del Camino de Santiago Vía de la Plata has a comprehensive site covering the diatance from Sevilla to Astorga and with additional coverage of the Vía de la Plata portugués and the Ruta sanabrés (Spanish). The Amigos del Camino de Santiago de Sevilla maintain a very extensive site (Spanish). A site maintained by Caroline Mathieson at www.theviadelaplata.com with excellent coverage of the route village by village. The site santiago-compostela.net has a good overview and a huge collection of photographs. And there is a site identifying itself as the Camino Fonseca (Spanish) that covers the routes from Salamanca to Santiago via the Camino Sanabrés and the Vía Portugués de la Vía de la Plata. Finally, Godesalco has a most interesting and useful route planner for the Vía de la Plata. One can download an elevation profile as well as a customized file containing stages.

Video links: From the Camino video series produced by the Spanish television channel TVE:
     Vía de la Plata, part 1, 0:26:55, Spanish, 2004
     Vía de la Plata, part 2, 0:27:04, Spanish, 2004

Other remarks: "Plata" does not mean "silver" as is often remarked but instead derives from an Arabic word indicating a broad, surfaced road. More than any other route, the Vía de la Plata provides an almost continual reminder of the multi-century presence of the Romans on the Iberian Peninsula. The Vía de la Plata remains a little traveled route, at least in comparison to the francés, but its use is increasing yearly.

Rev 03/08/15

American Pilgrims on the Camino
All trademarks, product names, and company names or logos cited herein are the property of their respective owners.