Camino Ingles : Stages From Ferrol To Santiago De Compostela

Created by Colleen Sims * 13 May 2024

Disclaimer : Every product we recommend is something we’d use, book or would love to own, and all the opinions are our own. This post may contain affiliate links; clicking a link costs you absolutely nothing but we may earn a small commission.

Nestled on the glorious coast of northern Spain lies the starting point for a much underrated and perhaps forgotten Camino.

Whilst not as well-known as the more popular Frances or Portuguese routes, the Camino Ingles offers history, culture, Galician cuisine, the company of pilgrims and stunning landscapes.  It’s also a route which ends at the iconic Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela and rewards those who walk over 100kms with a Compostela.

If you’re interested in walking the Camino Ingles, read on to learn more of the history, starting points, distances and the stages of this often overlooked Camino.

Camino Shells decorated with Yellow Arrows, the cross of Santiago and the name Camino Ingles

Camino Ingles : The Shortest Camino De santiago

The beauty of the Camino Ingles is that it is a complete route.  You’re not joining a longer trail but you’re starting at the beginning.  Not only is this perhaps a forgotten Camino, it’s also the shortest complete route to Santiago de Compostela.

Top Tip : If you wish to skip the background and jump right into the route details then this post is just one in a series about the Camino Ingles, that I’ve written to help would-be pilgrims plan their own Camino Ingles.  

The English Way And Its Medieval History

As a Devon girl, learning about a documented pilgrimage in 1147 from Dartmouth in southern England piqued my interest but also confirmed that the Camino Ingles is actually one of the oldest routes to the tomb of Saint James.

In the Middle Ages, many pilgrims from northern Europe faced a challenge. Traveling overland through France, following more traditional routes to Santiago de Compostela was dangerous. Alternative routes were found, including maritime routes.    

Ships carried thousands of pilgrims from England, Ireland, Iceland, Scandinavia and the Baltic countries of northern Europe.  Their journeys ended at the new port of La Coruña and Ferrol. From there, they continued on foot along a path that’s still recognisable today; through Bruma and Sigueiro and onwards to Santiago de Compostela.

Whilst many nationalities arrived, it was the English, travelling from over 30 ports in the UK, who made this trail their own and the route became known as the Camino Ingles; the English Way.

However, just as the popularity of the traditional ‘land’ routes waned, by the sixteenth century, maritime pilgrimages also fell into decline.  The blight of the great European plagues, the rise of the protestant faith and King Henry’s Anglicised church all contributed to its demise. 

Monastery of San Martiño de Xubia on the Camino Ingles between Ferrol and Neda

The Modern Camino Ingles

With the rise in popularity of Pilgrimage in the 21st century, many long forgotten routes are being reborn. Galician authorities and organisations such as the Confraternity of St James of England and the Camino Society of Ireland are working together to promote ancient trails like the Camino Ingles.   

In 2018, just over 14 thousand pilgrims walked the English Way. Just a few years later in 2023, over 24 thousand pilgrims qualified for a Compostela after walking this route.  This number is expected to be much higher in 2024.

Pilgrim office in Ferrol provided a map of the Camino Ingles and additional information about the route

How Long Is The Camino Ingles?

There are two starting points for this Camino; both offering a different distance to walk.  The modern Camino Ingles typically begins in the port city of Ferrol but you can also walk from the more traditional A Coruna in Northern Spain.

Starting in Ferrol

We started in Ferrol.  Near the Tourist Office, which doubles as a Pilgrim Office, there is a sign proclaiming 113 kilometres to Santiago. However, I believe the recognised distance is 118 kilometres.  Either way, if you walk from Ferrol your Camino will qualify for a Compostela.

Stages from Ferrol to Santiago de Compostela

Some of the recommended stages from Ferrol are quite long but it is entirely possible to break all of the daily stages into more manageable daily distances.

  • Stage 1 : Ferrol to Pontedeume – 29 kms (Consider breaking at Neda)
  • Stage 2 : Pontedueme to Betanzos – 22 kms (Consider breaking at Mino)
  • Stage 3 : Betanzos to Hospital de Bruma – 26 kms (Consider breaking at Presedo)
  • Stage 4 : Hospital de Bruma to Sigueiro – 24 kms (Consider breaking at O Outeiro/Ordes)
  • Stage 5 : Sigueiro to Santiago de Compostela – 17 kms

Starting in A Coruna

Starting in A Coruna maybe more historically correct but at only 75 kilometres long, you would not qualify for the Compostela, as you must walk at least 100 kilometres into Santiago de Compostela.

However, in December 2016, the Cathedral of Santiago agreed to grant the Compostela to Pilgrims starting their Camino in A Coruna, but only if they had previously completed at least 25 kilometres of a certified pilgrimage in their own country. 

If you would like more information on how to achieve this certification in the UK then the Confraternity of St James has information on UK Pilgrim Routes.  If you plan to start in Ireland, you can follow the Celtic Camino.

Stages from A Coruna to Santiago de Compostela

I walked from Ferrol and have not walked the route from A Coruna but a pilgrim friend tells me that the way from A Coruna is less well marked and stage one perhaps a little more challenging.

The two routes merge just before Hospital de Bruma making Stage 2 to Bruma short; but you still get to pass by the ever popular Bar Aveline.   

  • Stage 1 : A Coruña to Sergude – 21 kms
  • Stage 2 : Sergude to Hospital de Bruma – 13 kms
  • Stage 3 : Hospital de Bruma to Sigüeiro – 24 kms
  • Stage 4 : Sigüeiro to Santiago de Compostela – 17 kms
official way marker for the Camino Ingles from Ferrol

How long Does It Take To Walk The Camino Ingles?

Many people walk from Ferrol in 5 days but I would recommend allowing longer.  Whilst the recommended route from Ferrol covers 118 kilometres over 5 stages, having walked this, I definitely feel that breaking at least two of these stages allows time to make the most of the glorious route.

I split stage one over two days; Ferrol to Neda and then Neda to Pontedeume.  The next time I walk the Camino Ingles I’ll also split Stage Two and maybe even Stage Three.

Top Tip : If you’d prefer to meander and explore the coastal towns and villages along the way then allow 6 to 8 days to walk the Camino Ingles.

Why Walk The Camino Ingles?

I waited a decade to walk this route; I wish I’d walked it sooner!   It’s the perfect Camino for those short of time but there are many reasons for choosing this route.

  • The Camino Ingles is one of the oldest pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela.  Walking this Camino really does offer a sense of following in historical footsteps.
  • When starting in Ferrol, the Camino Ingles stretches 118 kilometres to Santiago. It is relatively short compared to some of the other routes, making it an excellent choice for those with limited time.  You’re not joining a longer routes but starting from the beginning.
  • The coast of Northern Spain is glorious.  The Camino Ingles leads you along the coast, with impressive sea views, sandy beaches and charming fishing villages before heading inland to green Galicia and the wonderful town of Betanzos.
  • The route is less crowded than the last 100 kilometres of the Camino Frances or the Camino Portuguese.  You’ll experience a quieter atmosphere but still find company when needed.
beautiful morning sun rising above the mist in green Galicia in Norther Spain

Notable Points Of Interest Along The Camino Ingles

The Camino Ingles offers plenty of little gems waiting to be discovered alongside the beautiful Galician countryside.  The route ends in the iconic UNESCO city of Santiago de Compostela but you’ll also discover ancient towns, historical landmarks and of course Galicia’s stunning coasts and natural beauty.

Tower of Hercules

If you visit A Coruna then the UNESCO Tower of Hercules, a Roman lighthouse dating back to the 1st century AD should be on your to-do list. It’s the oldest Roman lighthouse still in operation in the world.

Ferrol

The Camino Ingles starts in the historic town of Ferrol, once a major naval base for the Spanish Armada. The city is steeped in naval history and boasts a charming old town, impressive fortifications and the San Felipe Castle.

Walking from Ferrol you’ll also walk by the 10th-century Monastery of San Martiño de Xubia.  (We started our Day 2 here, crossing the estuary on the footpath beside the church)

You can also explore the Co-Cathedral of Ferrol and the Church of Santa Maria at Neda.

Pontedeume

Pontedeume was founded in 1270 and reminded me very much of a Cornish fishing village.  The town was a highlight for me and offers the visitor a great deal; indeed, I could imagine spending a week exploring here. 

  • Apart from the stunning Magdalena beach, Pontedeume retains narrow medieval streets lined with traditional stone houses.
  • The town is home to a collection of churches, dating back centuries.  The most notable perhaps the Church of San Francisco, a 13th-century gem, showcases a unique blend of Romanesque and Baroque styles.
  • And beyond the historical attractions, Pontedeume offers a very active culinary scene where you can sample traditional Galician cuisine such as pulpo a la gallega (octopus) or empanada gallega (a savory pastry)

Betanzos

The medieval town of Betanzos is another hidden gem on the Camino Inglés and one of Galicia’s best-preserved medieval towns.  Crossing the Mandeo river into the town, we were surprised at the scale of Betanzos, once we were inside the city walls. 

We walked from Pontedeume and whilst not a particularly long stage, this was a hard day and I’d definitely break the stage in two when I walk next, to allow more time to explore this fabulous little town.  

Betanzos boasts two impressive churches:

  • San Francisco: This 14th century Gothic church features a cross-shaped layout and houses the tombs of medieval knights.
  • Santa María del Azogue: Built between the 14th and 15th centuries, this church has a basilica layout with three naves. Look out for the beautiful main altarpiece and the unique capital with a farming calendar (the only one of its kind in Galicia).

Top Tip : When leaving Betanzos, on the Hospital de Bruma section, San Estaban at Cos is a nice little church.  A recommended route variation comes just after this little church.

lovely old church door along the Camino Ingles in Spain

FAQ : Walking from Ferrol to Santiago de Compostela

I read so much conflicting advice about this route before walking it myself.  Having completed the trail, I’ve been asked many questions, the answer to the most commonly asked are below :

How difficult is the Camino Ingles compared to other Camino routes?

The Camino Ingles is interesting because whilst short it wasn’t necessary easy.  I am comfortable walking 25-kilometre days but the elevation and descents, especially on paved surfaces, made this route feel a little harder underfoot.

I am glad that I broke stage one into 2 days. When I walk this route again I will break other days too; if for no other reason than to allow time to explore.

There are no sections that are technically difficult to navigate and I whilst there is a lot of road/paved walking, it is a beautiful Camino and suitable for most.  And as you can shorten every stage it’s a great walk for those who like to take their time.

However, regardless of the total distance or the terrain, this route still requires a moderate level of fitness and good preparation and training.

What is the average time it takes to walk the Camino Ingles?

Most guides suggest 5 stages over 5 days. The Camino Ingles typically takes around 4 to 6 days to complete, depending on your pace and starting point.

However, I would recommend that you allow at least 6 days but if you really wish to take your time allow 8 or even 9 days.

What are the best months to walk the Camino Ingles?

The best months to walk the Camino Ingles are generally spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October) when the weather is milder and there are fewer crowds compared to the peak summer months; when you’re competing with tourists for beds, services and attractions.

I walked at the end of April and both April and May were very wet.  Galicia is known for its glorious green landscapes and this is because of it’s climate; it rains often. 

I have found that autumn is a great time for walking as the temperatures are good with less chance of rain.  But Spring is beautiful and green and alive with wild flowers.

Can you walk the Camino Ingles in winter?

Yes, it’s possible to walk the Camino Ingles in winter, but be prepared for colder and wetter conditions.  And more importantly, many services and accommodations may have reduced availability during the winter months; Xunta albergues tend to stay open year round.

I strongly recommend you check beforehand that you will be able to find accommodation before starting your walk.

How do I get my Camino Ingles credential (pilgrim passport)?

You can order these in advance from your own local Camino Associations, or from sources such as Casa Ivar online.  You can also purchase these at the Tourist Information in Ferrol. The Pilgrim Albergue in Ferrol and the Co-Cathedral can also supply Credential and I believe the Café close to the Tourist/Pilgrim office also holds a supply.

Top Tip : You will need to collect at least two sello (stamps) every day that you walk the Camino Ingles if you wish to obtain your Compostela.

What luggage transfer services are available for the Camino Ingles?

There are luggage transfer services available, where your bags can be transported from one accommodation to the next.

You can use the Spanish Postal Service to arrange luggage forwarding but my personal preference is a company called CaminoFacil. You can arrange transport the day prior to your walk, or if you know in advance where you’ll be staying, you can pre-book all of the service via their website.

What albergue and accommodation options are there?

Accommodation on the Camino Ingles includes albergues, hostels, hotels, guesthouses, and occasionally camping.  Albergue are often the most budget-friendly option and are specifically for pilgrims.

I stayed in a mix of albergue and hotels and I’ve listed all of the options that I know myself or have been personally recommend to me, in my posts for each stage :

How well-marked is the Camino Ingles?

I was pleasantly surprised by the excellent way marking along the route.  There are a few route variations) which I discuss in more detail within the individual stage posts. A few proved a little trickier but if you simply wish to follow the arrows then the Camino Ingles presents no difficulties.

If you’d like to be sure that you stay on the trail, I always recommend Wise Pilgrim Apps.  They are up to date and offer maps with GPS tracking and are very inexpensive to purchase.

harbour boats along the beautiful Camino Ingles in northern Spain

Walking The Camino Ingles From Ferrol To Santiago De Compostela

I had wanted to walk the Camino Ingles for many years but never made it a priority as I had heard conflicting reports; some not so positive.  Having discovered the route for myself I very much regret not walking sooner and I know that I’ll walk the route again.

The Camino Ingles is a fabulous little Camino.  It offers the pilgrim so much. It’s short and compact, has lots of history, stunning landscapes, a variety of accommodation and enough pilgrims to ensure you have company if needed.

It’s true that there is a lot of road walking but if you break a few of the longer stages this is not a problem. And there are some glorious towns to discover, so shorter days ensures time to explore.

The English Way may sometimes be forgotten or overlooked but it’s one of the oldest routes to Santiago de Compostela and I have already earmarked dates to revisit and spend longer on this wonderful Camino.  If you’re like me and unsure about the route; heed my advice and go now before too many others discover the charms of the Camino Ingles.

Top Tip : This post is just one in a series about the stages of the Camino Ingles, that I’ve written to help would-be pilgrims plan their own Camino Ingles.  And if you have any questions about the Camino Ingles then do reach out either from my facebook or Instagram pages.

Colleen (with her sister in the background) walking the Camino Ingles just outside of Neda

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Whenever you travel overseas it’s imperative to travel with a good travel and medical insurance policy.  None of us expect anything bad to happen, but in the event of an incident, you want to be sure that your insurance will be there for you.

I’ve had the mis-fortune to end up in hospital in Peru, Indonesia, Portugal, Japan and Ireland; every time my insurance took care of everything. I would never leave home without full and comprehensive insurance.

Globelink : We have used and recommended Globelink for years and we’ve not heard of any issues. They are a great choice for European and UK Residents.

TrueTraveller : We have this policy now for an extended global trip and we are very happy with the cover, especially considering our ages and pre-existing conditions

Safety Wing : Many of my travelling buddies from the USA have recommended this company to me, although we’ve not used them personally.

Scroll to Top