Vía de la Plata

On the way to Fuente de Cantos, Extremadura, Spain
On the way to Fuente de Cantos, Extremadura, Spain

To literally walk in the footsteps of the Romans, this is what the Vía de la Plata is all about. It is one of the main Roman connecting roads on the Iberian Peninsula. Known as the Silver Route, it goes from Seville in the south of Spain towards Astorga in the north — about 70 to 150 kilometers east of Portugal's border, passing through the autonomous communities of Andalucía, Extremadura and Castilla y León.

 

Pilgrims from the southwest of the country have always used the Vía de la Plata on their way to Santiago de Compostela. In order to reach the place of pilgrimage in Galicia's center, pilgrims take the Camino Francés in Astorga at the last section of the Silver Route or choose the Camino Sanabrés / Mozárabe Norte,  as a popular alternative starting a few kilometers north of Zamora.

 

The trade routes of ancient times have long since turned into well-paved roads and highways. Therefore, you sometimes cannot avoid hiking on or at least along some road sections. Nevertheless, the Vía de la Plata is known for its seclusion, tranquility and its scenic beauty. Characteristic features are the almond and olive groves, cork oak forests and vineyards that delight pilgrims for miles along the way. It is a vast flat land, with fields and meadows as far as the eye can see, and the occasional flock of sheep, or pig and cattle herds close enough to touch. Tracing the routes of the Roman Empire, the Vía de la Plata leads through former Roman centers as well as on lonely paths through boundless nature — and here and there, modern pilgrims walk on cobblestones from ancient times ...

 

Distances

Vía de la Plata and continuing on Camino Francés (via Astorga)

Vía de la Plata:  Seville — Astorga, 710 kilometers

Camino Francés:  Astorga — Santiago de Compostela, 270 kilometers

Both caminos in total:  Seville — Santiago de Compostela, 980 kilometers

 

Vía de la Plata and Camino Sanabrés / Mozárabe Norte (via Ourense)

Vía de la Plata:  Seville — Granja de Moreruela, 610 kilometers

Camino Sanabrés / Mozárabe:  Granja de Moreruela — Santiago de Compostela, 370 kilometers

Both caminos in total:  Seville — Santiago de Compostela, 980 kilometers

Photographs taken in 2018. © Donald Walter.