About us

The Friends of the Camino de Santiago Association “Pulchra Leonina” is, as its name indicates, an association of friends, who are also friends of “El Camino de Santiago”, and share the spirit of St. James. It takes its name Pulchra Leonina from the Latin nickname by which the beautiful Cathedral of Leon is known, an iconic Gothic cathedral on the Camino, world-wide known by its stained-glass windows.

Our Association is part of the Spanish Federation of the Friends of the Camino de Santiago and, as such, it delivers official credentials and collaborates with Albergues and public institutions. Our main motivation is the promotion and care of the pilgrims and the Pilgrims’ Ways to Santiago in the province of León, which boasts as many as seven different ones that cross, end or start in various parts of the province: the French Way, San Salvador Way, the Forgotten Way or Old Way, Vadiniense Route, the Winter Way, Via de la Plata and Camino de Madrid.

These are our main aims, as stated in our statutes.

Come meet us! And if you would like to become a member, please contact us and we will provide you with a calendar of the activities we conduct and the aims of our association. To join, it is necessary that two current members endorse you, and thus, you can collaborate and participate in our pilgrimage activities, becoming part of this great family whose goal is hospitality and love for the Camino de Santiago.

In our province, there are other associations that carry out similar work to ours. These are the ones belonging to the Federation (but there are more):

AACS in El Bierzo

AACS in Astorga and surroundings

AACS de Mansilla de las Mulas.

Asociación Leonesa del Camino Olvidado a Santiago (Viejo Camino)

For the full list of associations, visit: https://www.caminosantiago.org/cpperegrino/asociaciones/asociaciones.as

Our Aims:

We inform and support the pilgrims who arrive in the province of León while on their journey to Santiago de Compostela or prior to the start of their pilgrimage.

We collaborate with Albergues, provide pilgrims with credentials, with our own and the Federation’s magazines, and with as much help as possible.

We work with organisations, institutions, entities and individuals, both public and private, for the defence and conservation of the cultural heritage of the Camino de Santiago. And in this sense, we maintain relations with other entities or people who pursue similar goals.

In addition, we promote studies and research on the Camino de Santiago and its surroundings, as well as all kinds of cultural activities, trips, conferences, exhibitions, etc.

Our Actions:

  • Collaboration and support to the different pilgrim Albergues, as well as with the public or private institutions that promote or manage them.
  • Handing out credentials and information to pilgrims at our headquarters.
  • Signposting of the Camino, from Puente Villarente to Hospital de Órbigo, and on the urban route of León.
  • Pilgrim activities on the different Pilgrim Ways to Santiago, with the organisation of trips in stages throughout the year, promoting the less common ones and even collaborating in the recovery of some of them, such as the Old Way.
  • Annual cleaning of a section of the French Way in the province of León.
  • Shade tree planting days along the Way.
  • Organisation of “Jornadas Jacobeas”. These are held once a year and consist of conferences related to St. James’s world, music concerts and a photography exhibition. Additionally, in collaboration with public administrations, other sessions of talks related to St. James.
  • Workshops on painting, making medieval pilgrim costumes, presentation of books on the Way, cinema on the Way … and any other interesting proposal.
  • Disinterested collaboration with entities and associations, in the promotion of the Pilgrim’s Way or in any cultural field in which we can be of help.


In the year 1994, León was the only major city on the Camino that did not have one single Albergue. Throughout the year, numerous letters of protest against this situation were published in the local press. The association Iniciativa Social Leonesa, in collaboration with the Youth Council, set up information points for pilgrims during the summer months and collected signatures to ask the City Council to provide a place for pilgrims to stay.

In the spring of 1995 a group of former pilgrims from León, connected through the magazine Peregrino, together with Iniciativa Social Leonesa, began to look for a place to house pilgrims during the summer. The aim was to avoid what had happened the previous year, that is, that the pilgrims to Santiago did not have an Albergue here to spend the night. Back then it was enough with an Albergue in summer since pilgrims did not tend to pass León during the rest of the year.

At the same time, the Organisation of Volunteer Hospitaleros, which had just been born and was beginning to organise itself, decided to come to León that summer to help host pilgrims. That is how, encouraged and supported by the Spanish Federation of Associations of Friends of the Camino de Santiago, the search for a permanent Albergue began. Eventually, the M.M. Benedictines offered a space inside the Monastery of Santa María de Carbajal to be used as accommodation. Throughout the summer of 1995 we collaborated with the Volunteer Hospitaleros and the Benedictine Sisters in the provisional Albergue, installed in the school gymnasium.

On 15th January 1996, the Association was registered in the autonomous government (Junta de Castilla y León). It officially joined the Spanish Federation of Associations in the Assembly of March 1999, after a period of mutual collaboration.

The first offices of the Association were located in the Benedictine Monastery of Santa María de Carbajal, and for several years there was also an information office in Panaderos St., in premises belonging to the Brothers of San Juan de Dios.

The “Pulchra Leonina” Association, which was set up to welcome pilgrims, has had excellent collaborators in the Brothers of San Juan de Dios, the Benedictine M.M. and the Voluntary Hospitaleros.

In the beginning, the main activity of the Association was almost exclusively information and help in the pilgrims’ Albergue. To have a better knowledge of the Camino de Santiago, activities began to be carried out to get to know the Camino as it passes through the province and to signpost the conflictive areas, repaint arrows, clean the way, inform about the orography and facilities along it, etc. This has also served to claim before the administrations the problems of the Camino as it passes through our area and to seek solutions.

In September 2011, the Association moved to its current location, at 2, Independencia Av., on 5th floor, a larger and much-needed space for meetings, cultural activities, comprehensive care and information to pilgrims, credential delivery …

Currently, and as successors to the traditional St. James’s Hospitality along the Camino, this Association has a Board of Directors formed by a president, a vice-president, a treasurer, a secretary and five representatives, who, assuming different responsibilities, work for the Camino de Santiago with the collaboration of its members; they promote the different ways to Santiago, keep St. James’s spirit alive, show their commitment to the Camino, work for the benefit of the pilgrims, denounce damages caused to the Camino, signpost our part to the route (at present, from Puente Villarente to León and up to Hospital de Órbigo)…

A group of our members belong to the Voluntary Hospitaleros, which depends on the Federation, and practice hospitality for 15 days a year in the Albergues to which they are assigned.

The Association is part of the Spanish Federation of Associations of Friends of the Camino de Santiago representing the French Way in the Federation’s Board.