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Ancares - O Courel


Ancares - O Courel

he mountain ranges of Os Ancares and O Courel extend through Lugo, on the border with Asturias and León. They are the largest natural area in Galicia...

Santiago de Compostela


Santiago de Compostela

World Heritage Site since 1985...

The way of Saint James

The Primitive Way in a 4x4

The greatest part of this itinerary is above a height of 800 metres, and continually goes uphill and downhill. But the harshness of the trail is compensated by the beauty of the landscape, for it is surrounded by nature, crossing forests, mountains, rivers, streams, farm fields and charming hamlets.


  • Starting point: Ribadeo
  • Destination: Santiago de Compostela
  • Days: 4
We propose a thrilling experience on a 4x4 to travel the Primitive Way to Santiago, the most ancient and legendary route that leads up to the city of the Apostle Saint James.

We will take the 4x4 through trails that cross pine forests on the high eastern mountains of Galicia, which will treat us to spectacular landscapes. Trails blocked by watercourses will test the driver’s skill at the wheel, increasing the thrill of the experience.

Further information...
-Fonsagrada Regional Museum. Tel.: 982 340 507
-Hostel of O Cádavo. Tel.: 981 354 057
-Museo Vivente do Mel (Live Honey Museum). www.abelleiro.com
-Cathedral of Santiago. www.catedraldesantiago.es
-Fresh Produce Market. www.mercadodeabastosdesantiago.com

Route - Day 1

We set off from A Fonsagrada towards Arzúa



In A Fonsagrada we see what life in a mountain village is like

We recommend arriving the previous evening to A Fonsagrada, Galicia’s largest municipality and also the municipal capital with the highest altitude in the whole autonomous community, standing nearly one thousand meters above sea level. It is located at one end of the province of Lugo, forming a mountain range that constitutes a natural border with Asturias, with which it shares the Biosphere Reserve River Eo, Oscos and Terras de Burón.

Its main access road is the LU-530, which connects it with the province’s capital. In the town there are hotels and lodging houses and a large number of country guesthouses as well as some manor houses (pazos) where you can stay. If you haven’t had dinner along the way, we recommend tasting some of the rich local gastronomy, such as the botelo, delicious traditional sausage made from pork ribs seasoned with garlic and paprika, accompanied by boiled potatoes, which are of excellent quality in this area. And, for dessert, the tasty pie from A Fonsagrada, made with almonds and custard.

We recommend getting up early to stroll through the village before hopping on the 4x4’s accompanied by the guide and driver. You can visit the Fonsagrada Regional Museum, next to the tree-lined avenue known as the Alameda, which offers a good example of the ways of life and labour in a typical mountain county. We will see the reproduction of a cellar, a blacksmith’s forge and a lareira, or traditional Galician kitchen. There is also a section dedicated to popular architecture that uses drawings, scale models and photographs to show the materials, construction features and types of houses typical of the area.

The botelo is a traditional sausage made from pork ribs

We rest in O Cádavo and have lunch in Baamonde

Some time before mid-morning we jump back into the 4x4 and leave A Fonsagrada to tour the territory of this municipality while heading to O Cádavo, always along trails that are authorised for our type of vehicle. The land is hilly with sloping landscapes and contrasting heights between the valleys and peaks.
In this area we can enjoy spectacular mountain landscapes. The roads blocked by the watercourses caused by the water will test the mechanics of our car, adding thrill to the experience. They are not easy to see, but this area is home to wolves, wild boar and deer. It is easier to spot eagles, falcons and other birds of prey.
Our first stop to rest will be in O Cádavo, where there is a modern hostel and where one of the stages of the Galician Primitive Way ends. It is said here that a legendary battle took place where Alfonso II The Chaste defeated the Muslim armies, opening the way to Compostela. Place names such as Campo da Matanza (Slaughter Field) and several findings of swords and armour remains continue to feed the legend. Later, as we descend to the area surrounding the capital of the province, the landscape becomes more humanised. The road continues to border Lugo. We can stop for lunch in Baamonde

We visit Sobrado dos Monxes and end the stage in Arzúa

After a rest we go back on track, passing through trails that cross beautiful indigenous oak and chestnut forests in the area of Friol, on the way to Guitiriz. As we go down to Teixeiro, the pine forests give way to pastures and their inhabitants; cows, for this is a major milk-production area.
In the afternoon, the route, though quiet, is not exempt of thrills, for we shall have to wade across one or two rivers in order to reach our destination. Our first stop will be in Sobrado dos Monxes by mid-afternoon. We can take the opportunity to visit the Monastery of Santa María de Sobrado, a National Monument, founded over a thousand years ago. From here a short walk leads us to the lagoon of Sobrado, surrounded by meadows and dotted with pines and alders in a mountainous and agricultural landscape of great beauty.
At the end of our visit, back in the 4x4, we pass close to Arzúa to complete our journey and stay in any of its hotels, lodging houses, or in the nearby tourist guesthouses, where we can also dine or else we can choose any of the many restaurants that the town has to offer.

My trip

A miña viaxe

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