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The Camino Lebaniego, what is it?

The pilgrimage to the Monastery of Santo Toribio is done to contemplate the largest piece of the Cross of Christ preserved.

Monasterio de Santo Toribio de Liebana

Monasterio de Santo Toribio de Liebana

The Camino de Santiago is the best-known pilgrimage route in Europe and practically the world, however, it is not the only religious pilgrimage route in Spain. In addition to the Camino de Santiago, the north of our peninsula enjoys another well-known route; In fact, this additional route makes Cantabria the only region in the Christian world that has two pilgrimage routes. We are talking about the Camino Lebaniego, whose history goes back to the Middle Ages.

The history of the Camino Lebaniego

Liébana celebrates its jubilee period since 1512. A route with hundreds of years of history to Santo Toribio de Liébana. In it the pilgrims hoped to meet the greatest relic of the Cross of Christ, the Lignum Crucis. Legend has it that the cross used by the Romans to crucify Christ was divided into several pieces, located at important points such as Jerusalem or Rome.

The pilgrimage to the Monastery of Santo Toribio begins after the bull of Pope Julius II, who in 1512 officially celebrated the Jubilee Year of Lebaniego. From that moment, this enclave becomes an important pilgrimage center thanks to the preservation of the largest piece of the Cross of Christ. The pilgrims who walk to see this relic are known as cruises, and the jubilee year is celebrated whenever on April 16 (Santo Toribio) falls on a Sunday.

Route of the Camino Lebaniego

As we have said, Cantabria is fortunate to be the only region in the world with the passage of two paths of pilgrimage. The fantastic Northern Way, known for its natural beauty, has a route through Cantabria. Why is this information important for the Camino Lebaniego? Both share a stretch and it is separated from the Camino del Norte in Muñorrodero. Shortly before San Vicente de la Barquera, reaching Santo Toribio de Liébana.

For many pilgrims, even, the Camino Lebaniego is a perfect link between the Camino del Norte and the French Way. Generally and for hundreds of years, many cruises went on their way to become pilgrims and reach Santiago. That is, they were complementary routes in a pilgrimage. It consists of three stages:

  • 1 - San Vicente de la Barquera to Cades (28,5 Km)
  • 2 - Cades to Cabañes (30,53 Km)
  • 3 - Cabañes to Santo Toribio (13,7 Km)
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