A little bit of History
The original route that would later be called "VÃa de la Plata" was a route that linked the Roman cities of Emerita Augusta (present-day MÃ©rida) and AstÃºrica Augusta (present-day Astorga). But it is thought the origins of this route are much earlier, as a traditional trade and cattle route. Despite its name (Via de la Plata can be literally translated as Road of Silver), this route was never a way for silver to be transported. Its name is thought to come from a phonetic evolution of the Arabic word "al-Balat" (the cobblestone path), which was how this road was known in the Andalusian kingdom.
This route does not go directly to Santiago de Compostela but goes to the north of the Iberian Peninsula. It departures from Seville, in the south of Spain, to Astorga, in the North, passing through the provinces of Seville, Badajoz, CÃ¡ceres, Salamanca, Zamora and LeÃ³n.
From the province of Zamora, it is possible to take the Camino SanabrÃ©s to walk towards Santiago.
The stages of this route are not complicated, although the hardness is determined by the length of the stages and, above all, because of the weather, which in summer is very hot, especially in the area of Andalucia and Extremadura.
The orography of this route is not complicated. We will not find great changes of level, except in the area of ââthe Sierra de BÃ©jar, but with smooth ups and downs.
The best season
Undoubtedly, the best time to complete this Way is spring. In summer it is very hot, especially in the southern half, which requires great caution with sunstroke or heat stroke.
In general the signaling of this route is good. Always with the yellow arrows and in the area of ââExtremadura the signaling is done by cubes of granite that indicate the way. Maybe we can find complications in following the route when crossing some large towns and in some stretches that are affected by the construction of a motorway.
Pilgrim hostels and other accomodations
More and more pilgrim hostels are being made that allow us to play a little with distances and be able to do not so long stages. The average distance between towns with pilgrim hostels is approximately 14.7 km.
The continuation to Santiago
To go to Santiago there are 2 options. The first is to deviate at Granja de Moreruelo (Zamora) and follow the Camino Sanabres . The other option is to finish the route of the Via de la Plata that ends in the town of Astorga (LeÃ³n) and where it meets the French Way, which must be continued to reach Santiago de Compostela. See the Camino Frances.
In winter, temperatures are low in the northern half and milder in the southern half. In summer, this route is very hot, having very high temperatures in the southern half, and can exceed 40 degrees Celsius in the central hours of the day. In summer you have to be very careful with heat strokes, sunstrokes and dehydration. It is essential to bring enough water.