DISTANCE: 253 km

The Primitive Way is the Way of Saint James that starts in Oviedo and runs westward across inland Asturias and Galicia regions and joins with the French Way in the town of Melide, in La Coruña, 53 km before Santiago de Compostela.

It is known by the name of “primitive” because it is the first way of which records are kept: the pilgrimage of King Alfonso II of Asturias himself in the 9th century.


The records kept have allowed the current route to reproduce quite fairly the original itinerary covered by the Asturian monarch Alfonso II the Chaste, a great promoter of pilgrimages. This is apparently the first Camino ever, soon to be followed by the king’s subjects.

It begins in the city of Oviedo, seat of the Asturian court in the time of Alfonso the Chaste. After reaching Lugo, it heads towards Palas de Rei, where it joins the French Way. Although it is a minority route, the Camino Primitivo is experiencing great growth in recent years.


A proper physical preparation is a requirement here since one of the characteristics of this way is the hardness of the route, compared to other Ways of Saint James.

The Primitive Way initially offered hardly any accommodation for pilgrims, but a sound network of well-distributed hostels has developed along the route. It also offers conventional accommodation such as “pensiones” and hotels in most stages.

Highways with busy road run in the distance. There are hardly any asphalt sections and the path runs through natural areas where we can enjoy the beauty of the surroundings and the landscape.