Pilgrims approaching the village of Palas De Rei, Spain, along the Camino Frances

Camino Francés: Gonzar to Palas De Rei - Stage 23

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Camino Francés: Gonzar to Palas De Rei - Stage 23

Posted: | Updated:
Reading time: 6 minutes

Simon Kemp Camino de Santiago author

By: Simon Kemp, Editor

Pilgrims approaching the village of Palas De Rei, Spain, along the Camino Frances

Route Description: Gonzar to Palas De Rei

The Gonzar to Palas de Rei stage of the Camino Francés , a distance of 28.8 km, carries you from Gonzar through a series of rural landscapes and small villages to the historical town of Ligonde.

The journey then continues through peaceful pastoral landscapes to the village of Eirexe, home to the Church of Santiago. The stage concludes with a pleasant walk to the bustling town of Palas de Rei. Despite being one of the longer stages, it offers a manageable walking experience with moderate elevation changes and several rest stops.

A. Detailed Breakdown of the Route

  1. Gonzar to Ligonde (12.7 km) Setting off from the quiet hamlet of Gonzar, you start by traversing serene rural landscapes dotted with small villages. These traditional hamlets will give you an authentic taste of the local Galician culture and lifestyle. The first leg of your journey culminates in the historical town of Ligonde, famed for its ancient pilgrim hospital, marking the town’s deep ties with the Camino.
  2. Ligonde to Eirexe (9.5 km) The journey from Ligonde leads you through tranquil, pastoral landscapes peppered with charming small hamlets. This stretch provides an enjoyable walk with ample opportunities for reflection and admiration of the beautiful natural surroundings. The destination for this part is the village of Eirexe. Here, you’ll find the Church of Santiago, which houses a unique sculpture of the Apostle, a gem for art and history enthusiasts.
  3. Eirexe to Palas de Rei (6.6 km) The final stretch of this stage is a pleasant walk through more rural landscapes. This section offers a gentle transition from the peaceful countryside to the more lively atmosphere of Palas de Rei, a sizable town that serves as your endpoint for this day.

B. Terrain and Elevation

The terrain for this stage is a diverse mix of rural roads, woodland trails, and farmland paths, providing a varied and interesting walking experience. While there are a few ascents and descents to navigate, the overall elevation changes are moderate, making this stage accessible for most pilgrims.

C. Points of Interest

  1. Ligonde: Noted for its ancient pilgrim hospital, Ligonde gives a testament to the historical significance of the Camino.
  2. Eirexe: Eirexe is particularly notable for the Church of Santiago, where you can view a unique and captivating sculpture of the Apostle.

D. Potential Challenges

This stage of the Camino Francés is quite long, covering a total distance of 28.8 km. It may pose physical challenges for some pilgrims, particularly those who are not accustomed to such distances. It’s important to maintain a comfortable pace, ensure regular rest breaks, and hydrate frequently to manage this challenge effectively.

E. Rest Stops

There are several key rest stops on this stage, including the towns of Ligonde and Eirexe, which provide facilities such as eateries and accommodation options. The endpoint of this stage, Palas de Rei, although bustling, offers a range of services for pilgrims, providing an ideal place to rest and recharge for the next day’s journey.

Departure point: Gonzar

Gonzar, a hidden gem nestled along the Camino Francés pilgrimage route, awaits with its captivating allure and timeless charm. Gonzar stands as a welcoming sanctuary for pilgrims on their sacred journey along the Camino Francés. Its position offers respite and a chance to connect with fellow pilgrims on the path.

Location and History

Set against a backdrop of rolling hills, verdant landscapes, and meandering streams, Gonzar boasts a serene environment that invites pilgrims to connect with nature’s tranquility.

Explore Gonzar’s architectural treasures, such as the ancient Church of San Nicolás, a testament to the town’s spiritual heritage. Dive into cultural events that celebrate the vibrancy of the community and its profound ties to the Camino.

Gonzar provides a wealth of resources, such as information centers and guidebooks, offering pilgrims valuable guidance and assistance for a fulfilling Camino experience.

Camino Francés Diary: Route segment: 23

Saturday 28th October 2000

The bridge over the river at Melide
The Bridge Over The River At Melide

Destination: Palas de Rai

Walking the Camino Frances pilgrimage is a unique experience that takes you through some of the most breathtaking landscapes and charming towns in Spain. Among these, Palas De Rei, a town in the province of Lugo, stands out for its rich history and welcoming atmosphere.

Historical Significance

Palas De Rei , steeped in history, has been welcoming pilgrims for centuries. Its roots can be traced back to the Roman period, making it a treasure trove for history lovers. A visit to the Church of San Tirso, with its stunning Romanesque architecture, is a must for anyone passing through the town.

The Journey through Palas De Rei

Your journey from Portomarin to Palas De Rei is one of the most memorable parts of the pilgrimage. The path takes you through rolling green landscapes, rustic farmhouses, and eucalyptus-scented woodlands. It’s a tranquil and refreshing experience that mirrors the spiritual essence of the Camino.

Accommodation Options

Palas De Rei offers a variety of accommodation options catering to every budget. Albergues, which are dormitory-style hostels, are the most common choice for pilgrims. For those desiring more comfort, there are hotels and rural houses available. The hospitality in Palas De Rei is remarkable, with locals going out of their way to make you feel welcome.


For the food lovers, Galician cuisine is a highlight of the Camino Frances. Palas De Rei offers numerous local eateries that serve traditional dishes like ‘pulpo a la gallega’ (Galician-style octopus) and ’empanada gallega’ (Galician pie). The town is also known for its local cheese called ‘queso de tetilla’, which is a must-try.

Activities in Palas De Rei

Besides walking the Camino, Palas De Rei offers a variety of activities. You can take a leisurely stroll around the town, visit the local markets, or take part in local festivals and events if your visit aligns with them. The town is full of life and activity, providing plenty of opportunities to immerse in the local culture.

Palas De Rei is particularly well-equipped for Camino pilgrims. Recognizing the unique needs of those on this spiritual journey, the town offers a variety of services. Here, you’ll find an excellent Pilgrim’s Reception Centre that offers detailed information about the Camino, route maps, and stamping of the Pilgrim’s Passport.

In addition, there are multiple luggage transfer services available, freeing you from carrying your bags while you walk. For the aching muscles, consider treating yourself to a massage or physiotherapy session at one of the local wellness centres. Pilgrims who wish to send postcards or packages back home can make use of the reliable postal service in town.

If you’re in need of walking gear, footwear or Camino-specific items, there are several stores selling these. Palas De Rei is not only a stop on the Camino, but it also serves as a support hub for the pilgrims, ensuring they have everything they need to continue their journey.

Preparation Tips

As you prepare for your journey through Palas De Rei, remember to pack suitable clothing for the weather, which can be quite changeable. Also, ensure you have sturdy footwear for the terrain, which is a mix of paved roads, dirt paths, and occasional rough patches. Preparation is key to enjoy this part of the Camino to its fullest.

Palas De Rei, with its charming ambiance, rich history, and warm hospitality, stands as a gem on the Camino Frances. Whether you’re there for the pilgrimage or just to soak in the culture, the town is sure to leave you with beautiful memories and perhaps a longing to return. As you consider walking the Camino Frances, remember that Palas De Rei is not just a stopover; it’s a highlight.