american pilgrims  
Camino de Madrid

General Description: The Camino de Madrid is a modern construct laid out to allow madrileños to reach the Camino francés and Santiago on a designated path — 321 km from Madrid through Segovia to Sahagún where it joins the Camino francés.

Waymarking: The route is extensively waymarked throughout with yellow arrows.

Terrain: The Camino de Madrid can crudely be broken into three sections. The first 100 km, from Madrid to Segovia, the route climbs through the Sierra de Guadarrama with at least one 8 km stretch with an 8% grade. From Segovia to the Río Duero the terrain is mostly flat.  From the Duero to Sahagún where the Camino francés is joined, the route is typical meseta. The route is almost entirely on footpaths and along historic sheep driving routes (cañadas), rarely on roads.

When to go: From Madrid to Segovia through the Sierra de Guadarrama the terrain is mountainous with snow possible until May. Elsewhere the weather is like that encountered on he Camino francés between Burgos and Astorg—extremely hot in the summer and very cold in the winter. Climate charts for Madrid, Segovia and León.

Accommodation:  Albergue accommodation is quite adequate, except for the first segment to Segovia. Some of the albergues are actually quite exceptional, particularly the ones in Puente Duero, Castromonte, Villalon de Campos and the convent in Medina de Rioseco. Private accommodations or youth hostels are available in to fill the gaps with the albergues.

Guidebooks: The Confraternity of Saint James Madrid to Sahagún (2013). The Asociación de Amigos de los Caminos de Santiago de Madrid publishes a comprehensive guidebook in Spanish.

Internet links: The Confraternity of Saint James has an overview of the Camino de Madrid. The Associación de los Amigos del Camino de Santiago de Madrid has a huge amount of information on the Camino de Madrid including news and reports on events related to the Caminos in general. (Spanish) Their Boletín is particularly well written and there are archived issues online. The Camino de Santiago forum has a section dedicated to the Camino de Madrid.

Video links: From the Camino video series produced by the Spanish television channel TVE:
     Camino de Madrid, 0:28:10, Spanish, 2004

Other remarks: The Camino de Madrid is a very quiet and peaceful route. The number of peregrinos, as of 2014, was still very small, but you are likely to find others in the albergues. Very little of the route is on paved roads and it affords the opportunity to walk ancient Roman roads and on the medieval cañadas (sheep driving routes). The route can be easily cycled almost the entire distance. It almost defies belief, but within minutes after leaving the Castellana (the very busy Madrid street where the first arrows are located) you are off road and in the countryside. The route will take you through some of Madrid's suburbs, like Fuencarral and Tres Cantos, but there is almost no road walking except for crossing through the towns themselves. Once away from Madrid, the route does not pass through major centers, except for the historical city of Segovia with its Roman aqueduct, cathedral, castle and many Romanesque churches. A detour to visit Valladolid is highly recommended and is easy to accomplish via bus from either Puente Duero or Simancas. 

The RENFE cercanias (commuter) trains run as far as Cercedilla, for those wanting to avoid some early stages. But the entire route from Madrid is walkable and pleasant. You may get a credencial and your first stamp in the Church of Santiago (La Real Parroquia de Santiago y San Juan Bautista) located at the Calle Santiago 23 in central Madrid, near the Royal Palace and not far from the Plaza Mayor and the Puerta del Sol.

Rev 03/08/15

American Pilgrims on the Camino
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