Stage 20: León – Villar de Mazarife / Villadangos del Paramo Distance: 22km
From the cathedral, follow the scallop shales along the Calle San Pelayo and the Calle Fernando González Regueral to the Basilica de San Isidoro. Head past the church and down some step, carry on right along the town wall then turn left on to the Calle de Renueva.
You’ll come to a crossing, on the other side is the Avenida de Suero de Quiñones and the plaza in front of the Parador de León Hostal de San Marcos.
Cross over the Río Bernesga via the onto the Avenida de Quevedo. Follow this road until you come to footbridge over the railway line into Avenida del Párroco Pablo Díez where the camino rejoins the main road at Trabajo del Camino passing the Ermita de Santiago with it’s statue of Saint James.
Trabajo del Camino
The route heads through the Plaza Sira San Pedro back to the main road passing some bodegas on the way.
From here as you head uphill you get a good view of León behind. Proceed along the Calle Camino de la Cruz through an industrial estate and rejoin the main road into La Virgen del Camino
La Virgen del Camino
It is said that in the 16th century the Virgin appeared to a local shepherd, Alvar Simón, and invited him to throw a stone with his sling, making him promise that a sanctuary be built where the stone fell.
The current Iglesia de la Virgen del Camino was built on the site of the former one in 1961 and is managed by the Dominique Order.
This sanctuary was built by the Dominique architect Fray Francisco Coello from Portugal, and the sculptor José María Subirachs erected thirteen statues in a clear Modernist style. The 12 Apostles stand above the west door with Saint James looking towards Santiago.
The Baroque altarpiece of the temple with it’s depiction of the Virgin Mary is dated around the middle of the 16th Century.
After the church go left across the main road (N120) and then pass a small park and fountain. After about 100m you;ll come to a fork in the road where the camino to Hospital de Órbigo splits.
The Alternative route takes you along the road through Valverde de la Virgen into Villadangos del Páramo.
At the sign post head straight on along the road onto a track that leads underneath a road bridge and then runs parallel with the main road into Valverde de la Virgen with it’s Iglesia de Santa Engracia
Valverde de la Virgen
Continue through Valverde de la Virgen and carry on alongside the main road into San Miguel del Camino.
Carry on the route alongside the road passing an industrial estate into Villadangos del Páramo
Villadangos del Páramo
At the entrance of the Iglesia de Santiago you can admire two polychromed Baroque reliefs that represent the mythical victory of the Leonese King Ramiro I over Abderramán II in the fields of Clavijo, thanks to the help of Santiago Matamoros.
The altarpiece in the centre of the church depicts Santiago Matamoros, with a sword and a three-cornered hat.
From the Virgen del Camino take a left at the split, away from the main road. Cross a bridge over a small road taking a right on the other side into Fresno del Camino and it’s Iglesia de San Andrés.
Continue along a quiet country road down through a wooded area into Oncina de la Valdoncina which has a fountain and Iglesia de San Bartolomé
Take the track out of the village climbing slightly back out into the open countryside of the meseta.
The track leads through the countryside until you reach Chozas de Abajo where you’ll find a shop and bar in the Plaza San Martín.
On the way out of Chozas de Abajo follow a quiet country road all the way into Villar de Mazarife. Check out the medaeival style mosaic on the way into the village.
Villar de Mazarife
The parish Iglesia de Santiago has several images of the Saint inside and many storks on the roof.
Opposite the church is the local bar.
There’s also a museum and an art gallery for you to wander around.
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