Where is O Cebreiro on the Camino?
Look at the map and you will find out that O Cebreiro is the starting point in Galicia. O Cebreiro is about 155 kilometres to Santiago
The pastoral village of O Cebreiro marks the start of the final leg of the Way of St. James, through Galicia as we have already said. This is a nice picture of the village.
What can you see from O Cebreiro?
O Cebreiro is a small village of Prehistoric origin located at 1,300 m altitude. From the summit, and towards the north, it is possible to admire the rich forest and chromatic landscape of the Navia valley and the peaks of Ancares, and towards the south, the sierra of O Courel.
What can you see in O Cebreiro?
You can visit amazing villages and monuments in this area of Pedrafita do Cebreiro:
- Santa María do Cebreiro Sanctuary
Built in mid-9th century, it is a beautiful example of high mountain Pre-Romanesque architecture. It is the oldest temple preserved along the Way of St, James, it keeps some interesting pieces such as a crucifix, a chalice and one paten from the 12th century and the Reliquary donated by the Catholic Monarchs.
- In San Estevo Liñares,a location referred by the Codex Calixtino as Linar de Rege (Linar of Kings), whose name comes from the ancient flax plantations in the area, here hikers will find some services, such as a fountain, a shop or a bar. Once in the centre you climb between the houses to the pre-romanic church dedicated to San Esteban (VIII century), of similar workmanship as Santa Maria of O Cebreiro. With a single rectangular nave and a square tower, inside a Baroque altarpiece stands out.
- Piornedo village.
Piornedo is on the so-called “Ruta das Pallozas”. The road winds through meadows and forests, where you can spot the typical alvarizas – round stone walls that protect beehives from marauding bears.
Of special interest are the pallozas, traditional thatched roundhouses that date from pre-Roman times and are very similar to the dwellings found in the ancient Celtic castors.
To get a feeling for what it must be like for people living high up in the mountains visit one of the many privately-owned pallozas in Piornedo which are open to the public. There is also a Palloza museum and places to buy honey and sausages – typical food from the Ancares mountains.
- Ethnographic Complex of O Cebreiro
Declared National Historical Heritage Site, it is one of the few hamlets that preserves its Pre-romanesque “pallozas” (traditional thatched houses), one of which is the “Ethnographic museum of O Cebreiro“.
- Nature after centuries. After admiring in Pasantes , a chapel, the path continues via Ramil, an enclave of emblazoned buildings, close to the target, here hikers can stop in front of a centennial chestnut.
- Time passes slowly in this area and you can feel pure nature in rural lanes.
Cebreiro pass. At the hamlet of O Cebreiro a mysterious legend says that the Holy Grail is hidden and many miracles are said to have taken place.
- Queimada (burn drink)
Celtic rituals appear to inform Galicia’s queimada, or “burn,” which refers to both an alcoholic drink and the ceremony around it. In the town of Piornedo, I watch as the drink — made with a liqueur, sugar, lemon peel, and coffee beans — stews in a clay pot. It then is set on fire. As flames leap into the night, an incantation is read: “Demons, goblins, and devils, spirits of misty vales…howl of the dog…omen of death…maws of the satyr…” Finally, the steaming brew is ladled into cups. I drink. No witches; I have a good time. Though I wonder what older Galicians make of such Celtic throwbacks.
When should we walk on O Cebreiro?
If pilgrims come here in winter they should be prepared to face the harsh climate, with constant snowfalls and ice. However,in this season it is never crowded and you can enjoy solitude and quietness. In summer, however, the main problem encountered by pilgrims is the excess of tourists, especially given that it is a very popular end of stage for walkers. O Cebreiro has one of the busiest public albergues on the route as well as various catering establishments. However, in times of greater affluence, there can be an insufficient number of beds, thus, forcing walkers to look for alternative accommodation. The months of May, June and September are the most ideal times to visit and enjoy this place of great tradition and mythic and symbolic weight that keeps the memory of Elijah Valiña, a local priest and key figure in the renaissance of contemporary pilgrimages.
See you on the Cebreiro, peregrino!
Amazing photos, they brought back lots of memories. Would you allow me to reproduce some of them as paintings for my Camino book?
Each mile of the Camino has so many stories to tell, and yours about O Cebreiro brings the route to life. I’m writing an article about the Camino for Blue Hare, and olnline magazine for women over 60. Would you permit me to use your photo and story about the Queimada? I want to highlight the Celtic ties to this region of Spain.
I too would like to include the incantation said over the Queimada in my novel about the Camino during the 12th century. May I use it?