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Camino Lebaniego: Stages, Credential, Jubilee Year and Map

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

Although most of the routes in the Iberian Peninsula go in the direction of the Cathedral of Santiago, there are many other religious pilgrimage routes in Spain. One of them is in the northern part of the peninsula and links San Vicente de la Barquera with Santo Toribio, as is the Camino Lebaniego. 

History of the Camino Lebaniego

Liébana has been celebrating its Jubilee period since 1512. A route with hundreds of years of history to Santo Toribio de Liébana, where pilgrims hoped to find the largest 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 in important points such as Jerusalem or Rome.
The pilgrimage to the Monastery of Santo Toribio began after the bull of Pope Julius II, which in 1512 made official the celebration of the Lebaniego Jubilee Year. From that moment on, this enclave became 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 crucifixes, and the Jubilee Year is celebrated whenever April 16 (Santo Toribio) falls on a Sunday.

Stages of the Camino Lebaniego

Camino Lebaniego

Camino Lebaniego

Despite being one of the most popular pilgrimage routes in Spain, the Camino Lebaniego is not exactly a very extensive route, especially if we compare it with some of the most important Jacobean routes. In total there are 72.73 kilometers that pilgrims must travel to complete the Camino Lebaniego, which are divided into 3 stages.
  • Stage 1: San Vicente de la Barquera - Cades (28.5 kilometers)
  • Stage 2: Cades - Cabañes (30.53 kilometers)
  • Stage 3: Cabañes - Santo Toribio (13.7 kilometers)

Stage 1: San Vicente de la Barquera - Cades

The Camino Lebaniego begins its journey in San Vicente de la Barquera, more specifically from the church of Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles. We will continue the route passing through Serdio at about 8km; continuing with Muñorrodero with a route of about 8km. The next point during this stage will be Cabanzón and finally arriving to Cades. 

Stage 2: Cades - Cabañes

The second stage of the Camino Labaniego is not at all complicated, although there are certain aspects to take into account. Starting from Cades our goal is to reach the town of Cicera where we can find several points of interest. We are talking about the Picos de Europa or the Desfiladero de la Hermida, imposing enclaves of Cantabria on the Way of St. James. 

Stage 3: Cabañes - Santo Toribio

The last stage of the Camino Lebaniego starts in Cabañes, traveling to Pendes and concluding in Tama. From Tama our next objective will be Potes, a town where we will find many points of interest, especially and once again highlighting the Picos de Europa. Here we can also find other popular areas such as the Torre del Infantado or the Church of San Vicente. 

The Camino Lebaniego ends leaving from Potes to the Monastery of Santo Toribio and the most important enclave of the entire route. The building has two doors, being the Door of Forgiveness the most important of them. It opens every Lebaniego Holy Year, or in other words, every year that April 16 falls on a Sunday. This date is very important, since it is the anniversary of the monk Santo Toribio, who brought to Liébana the largest remains of the cross of Christ, the Lignum Crucis.

Peregrino | Envato

Peregrino | Envato

Differences between the Camino Lebaniego and the Camino de Santiago

As is also the case with the Camino de Santiago, the Camino Lebaniego has its own credential. Pilgrims will be getting stamps in different hostels and establishments located along this route to finally get the Lebaniega, a document similar to the Compostela, for the Camino de Santiago.

In the case of the Jubilee Year, you should know that the Camino Lebaniego has its own. The Jubilee Year for the Camino Lebaniego is any year in which April 16 is a Sunday and covers the following 365 days, until April 15 of the following year. In 2023 the 75th Lebaniego Jubilee Year will be celebrated, since the first one was celebrated in 1512.

Generally, pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago use the different routes of the Camino Lebaniego as a link due to its great connection with the French Way and the Northern Way. On the other hand and as we have already mentioned, the Camino Lebaniego has its own credential, but also indications along the stages. Pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago have yellow arrows to reach the Cathedral of Santiago, while pilgrims on the Camino Lebaniego have red arrows to reach the Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana.

How to walk the Camino Lebaniego?

In the same way as the Camino de Santiago, the Camino Lebaniego does not put any kind of obstacle to the pilgrims who want to make the different stages either on foot, on horseback or by bike; even on horseback. However, as we have already mentioned above, it is important that you take into account everything related to signage. The red dates will indicate the route to follow for the Camino Lebaniego, while the yellow ones will do the same for the Camino del Norte in the direction of Santiago de Compostela.

Peregrino | Envato

Peregrino | Envato

The Jacobean routes closest to the Lebaniego Way

As we have said, Cantabria is fortunate to be the only region in the world with the passage of two pilgrimage routes. The fantastic Camino del Norte, known for its natural beauty, has a route through Cantabria, in addition to the Camino Lebaniego, which begins and ends in this community.
In addition to the Camino del Norte there are many other Jacobean routes that are quite close to the Camino Lebaniego. This route coincides in part with the Camino Vanidense that joins the Camino del Norte with the Camino Francés, as well as being close to others such as the Camino de El Salvador or the Camino Olvidado.
  • Camino del Norte
  • Camino Vanidense
  • Camino Francés
  • Camino Olvidado
  • Camino de El Salvador
  • Tips for the Camino Lebaniego

    To successfully complete the Camino Lebaniego you should take into account the same tips that you will find for the Camino de Santiago; nothing complicated, although as we said at the time, it never hurts to have some preparation. 

    Physical preparation is a very important aspect, regardless of the type of Camino chosen. Keep in mind that you are going to cover dozens and dozens of kilometers, so being well prepared is of vital importance to endure the different routes and stages without fainting. Our best advice in this regard is to prepare yourself physically, getting your body used to long walks and increasing the distance as far as possible week by week. 

    Hand in hand with the previous advice, it is inevitable to talk about footwear. A good pair of hiking boots or sneakers will be, without any doubt, our best ally during the Camino Lebaniego. Another important detail that you must take into account with the footwear is to look for boots or sneakers that are waterproof, able to withstand rain and low temperatures. 

    Although very few people dare to do the Camino de Santiago without a backpack, if it is your first time doing the Camino Lebaniego we recommend that the backpack does not exceed 10% of your weight. Keep in mind that there will be several days of walking so we do not want to load your back unnecessarily. 

    Botas de peregrino | Envato

    Botas de peregrino | Envato

    Where to eat and where to sleep?

    You will have no problem finding hostels on the Camino del Norte or the Camino Lebaniego. During the stages you will find a multitude of hostels where you can rest and spend the night. While it is true that you will not find problems to stay, it never hurts to be cautious and call in advance given the influx of pilgrims. 

    As far as gastronomy is concerned, there is little to add. Cantabria is one of the Spanish areas where you can best enjoy a hot dish. You will find on your pilgrimage dozens of restaurants on the Camino del Norte and the Camino Lebaniego, all of them directly related to the most traditional cuisine of the area. One of the typical dishes is the cocido lebaniego, as well as the cocido montañés or the quesada pasiega.

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