Although less known, the Ruta de la Lana is one of the most historic routes of the Camino de Santiago. In addition to its religious connection, it was a commercial route that linked two distant regions within the peninsula. Since medieval times, this route has been vital for the wool trade, an essential resource that gave this path its name.

In this article, we will explore its origins and evolution, discovering how it has transformed and enriched the regions it passes through. We will discuss its historical and cultural significance as well as its current relevance in the context of modern tourism and pilgrimage.

Would you like to know more about this route full of history and traditions? From Mundiplus, your agency for organized trips on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, we tell you everything about this journey, one of the longest to reach the Cathedral.


Origins of the Ruta de la Lana

As we have mentioned, this is one of the lesser-known Jacobean routes, but no less important. It connects Levante (Valencia or Alicante) and Castile with the Camino de Santiago, crossing diverse landscapes rich in history. To begin, we will delve into the historical aspects that shaped this unique route.


Historical context of the Ruta de la Lana

In the Middle Ages, the European economy was deeply influenced by the production and trade of wool. Spain, and particularly Castile, was one of the main regions producing high-quality wool. It was not only a consumer good but also a vital export product, which fostered the creation of specific trade routes.

The connection between wool and the Camino de Santiago was established due to the need to transport this valuable resource to major European trade centers. Merchants and pilgrims often used the same routes, allowing the spread of products, ideas, and culture.

This path served as a commercial axis connecting producers with markets and also as a spiritual path for pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela.


Early records and historical documentation

The earliest records are found in documents and chronicles from the Middle Ages, which mention the existence of paths used for transporting wool from Castile to northern Spain. These documents detail not only the routes but also the key towns and cities involved in the wool trade.

Historical chronicles and municipal archives preserve testimonies of the importance of this route. For instance, in the 13th century, the Council of Cuenca already mentioned the relevance of wool routes in its economic development. Additionally, records from la Mesta, a powerful organization of livestock farmers, document the transit of wool and the use of specific routes.


Development and Evolution of the Ruta de la Lana

Over the years, it experienced significant development and evolution through the centuries. From its consolidation in the Middle Ages to its transformations in more recent times, it has witnessed countless economic and social changes. We will explore how these changes have shaped the route in different historical periods.


Expansion and consolidation during the Middle Ages

As mentioned, the growing demand for high-quality Spanish wool in European markets, especially in Flanders and Italy, drove the development of this route. Additionally, support from the Crown and the organization of la Mesta facilitated the expansion of livestock and commercial activities.

The trade routes that formed the Ruta de la Lana connected important production centers in Castile with key ports and cities, such as Cuenca, Burgos, and Medina del Campo. These meeting points were vital not only for commerce but also for cultural and social exchange.

Transformations in the Modern and Contemporary Ages

In the Modern Age, it underwent significant transformations due to changes in trade and industry. The emergence of new maritime routes and the rise of other industries reduced dependence on wool trade. However, the route continued to be used, adapting to new economic circumstances.

The impact of wars and historical events (War of Spanish Succession and Napoleonic Wars) also affected the Ruta de la Lana. These conflicts altered commercial dynamics and led to the reorganization of routes.

Today, the route has resurfaced as a cultural and tourist path. Its connotations are similar to taking the journey on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela from Sarria, although in this case, you will have to walk much more.


The Ruta de la Lana Today

Today, it is a route of great interest for pilgrims and tourists. Its rich history and the attractiveness of its landscapes have led to various initiatives for its revaluation and promotion. Next, we will explore how efforts have been made to preserve and promote this route, and what infrastructure and services are currently offered to pilgrims.

The revaluation has been possible thanks to multiple conservation and promotion initiatives. Local organizations and regional governments have collaborated on projects to restore and mark the path, as well as promote its history and heritage.

The infrastructure for pilgrims has significantly improved in recent years. Along the Ruta de la Lana, numerous accommodations have been established, from traditional hostels to rural hotels, offering options for all budgets.

Signposting the path has been a priority in its revaluation. Clear and well-placed signs guide pilgrims along the route, ensuring the path can be followed easily and safely. Additionally, informational panels have been installed that provide details about the history and culture of the areas the route crosses.


Itinerary of the Ruta de la Lana

Below is a detailed itinerary of the different stages of the Ruta de la Lana starting from Alicante (It can be done from Valencia, but we prefer to discuss that point of origin in the context of the Camino de Levante).

You will cover nearly 700 kilometers across six provinces until you reach Burgos, where you will connect with the French Camino.

  • Stage 1: Alicante-Orito – 23 km
  • Stage 2: Orito-Petrer – 20 km
  • Stage 3: Petrer-Villena – 21 km
  • Stage 4: Villena-Caudete (now in Albacete) – 15 km
  • Stage 5: Caudete-Almansa – 26 km
  • Stage 6: Almansa-Alpera – 22 km
  • Stage 7: Alpera-Alatoz – 26 km
  • Stage 8: Alatoz-Casas Ibáñez – 30 km
  • Stage 9: Casas Ibáñez-Villarta (now in Cuenca) – 27 km
  • Stage 10: Villarta-Campillo de Altobuey – 30 km
  • Stage 11: Campillo de Altobuey-Monteagudo de las Salinas – 31 km
  • Stage 12: Monteagudo de las Salinas-Fuentes – 23 km
  • Stage 13: Fuentes-Cuenca – 22 km
  • Stage 14: Cuenca-Bascuñana de San Pedro – 24 km
  • Stage 15: Bascuñana de San Pedro-Villaconejos de Trabaque – 27 km
  • Stage 16: Villaconejos de Trabaque-Salmerón (now in Guadalajara) – 28 km
  • Stage 17: Salmerón-Viana de Mondéjar – 22 km
  • Stage 18: Viana de Mondéjar-Cifuentes – 20 km
  • Stage 19: Cifuentes-Mandayona – 26 km
  • Stage 20: Mandayona-Atienza – 36 km
  • Stage 21: Atienza-Retortillo de Soria (now in Soria) – 22 km
  • Stage 22: Retortillo de Soria-Fresno de Caracena – 24 km
  • Stage 23: Fresno de Caracena-San Esteban de Gormaz – 19 km
  • Stage 24: San Esteban de Gormaz-Quintanarraya (now in Burgos) – 31 km
  • Stage 25: Quintanarraya-Santo Domingo de Silos – 25 km
  • Stage 26: Santo Domingo de Silos-Mecerreyes – 23 km
  • Stage 27: Mecerreyes-Burgos – 35 km



The Ruta de la Lana offers a variety of landscapes that change as you travel through these provinces. Along the way, you will traverse from the plains and vineyards of Alicante to the rolling hills and forests of Castilla-La Mancha.

Pilgrims will enjoy the tranquility of the manchego fields, passing through historic villages and towns, many of which retain the essence of past eras. Compared to the Northern Camino, this route is less mountainous, offering a more relaxed walking experience, although with long distances between some points.

Likewise, it differs from the Portuguese Camino and the Portuguese Camino from Tui by staying away from the sea, crossing instead the agricultural and livestock heart of Spain. The natural landscapes, such as the Cabriel River Natural Park and the Caracena River Canyon, provide spectacular views and moments of connection with nature.