As an alternative to the interior Portuguese Route we offer you the Portuguese Route which leads by the Atlantic coast from Porto to Santiago. Magnificent landscapes, undiscovered places, very few pilgrims, so if you would like to escape from more crowded routes, this one should be yours.
The gem of the Northern Portugal, located at the bank of Douro river, gave a name to the kingdom of Portucale which in XII century became an independent country: Portugal. The city of the bridges, the magical place where the sweet Port wine comes from, offers to the visitors many attractions: the Cathedral, Clérigos tower, old-style bookstores, museums, the House of Music and many more, always combining the spirit of decadence with the most modern architecture and arts.
Leaving Porto is not easy. To avoid the struggle to find the way out of the busy city, it would be better to take a metro / quick train to Maia and begin your walk there. This way the first 20 km (13 miles) will be bearable.
First you will follow the yellow arrows till Rates. In Rates pay attention as there the Camino divides itself. The 90% of pilgrims will follow that day to Barcelos, but your goal is to get back to the Atlantic coast, so you must choose the Esposende direction. That beautifully located village offers relax and peace. Many centuries ago that zone was inhabited by Celts. Among the proofs there is a “castro” – fortified Celtic settlement and a menhir in São Paio de Antas.
Viana do Castelo is a Portuguese town of folklore per excellence. The feast time is May and August. Beautiful picturesque processions, women is traditional dresses, real flower carpets decorating the streets… We also recommend taking a lift to Santa Luzia hill to visit a temple and to admire the town panoramic views.
Last day in Portugal. This day will include a ferry transfer through the Minho river. This is the way you will cross the border between Portugal and Spain, or rather Spanish Galicia. We will provide you with the public ferry timetable but remember to not arrive too late to Caminha where the ferry departs from.
This part of the route includes the best landscapes of the Galician seashore. You will be delighted with the immensity and infiniteness of this side of the Atlantic Ocean.
Vigo is one of the 7 biggest towns of Galicia, and currently probably the most populated one. People from entire region and even from other parts of Spain always came here to work in a naval and fishing industry. After the serenity of the isolated Mougás you will experience a life of a busy town. On your way out of Mougás stop for a while to visit Baiona to admire its fortified castle surrounded by a stormy ocean.
The way out of Vigo might be a bit confusing, but once you manage to leave the big town, the path begins to clear out. Now you will leave an open ocean to know “rías” – Galician fiords. Probably the main difference between Galician and Norwegian fiords is that the first ones are extremely populated and built-up.
In Redondela two Portuguese Routes are merging. Now on your Camino you will see other pilgrims who started in Porto or Tui and followed the traditional interior Camino.
Pontevedra is another one of the 7 biggest towns of Galicia. Looking at the streets of its old town you will be already tasting the early flavour of Santiago. The main saint of Pontevedra is St. Mary the Pilgrim Lady and a special week-long “fiestas” are celebrated in her homage every year in August.
The Columbus ship “Santa María”, one of the three ships that leaded him to discover America, was built in Pontevedra’s port. There is even a strong belief among local people thar Columbus himself might have been born in Pontevedra’s neighborhood, not in Genoa in Italy.
The main joy of this stage will be a rural landscape. You will observe how the green grapes are growing to be later turned into one of the most excellent white wines of the world: Albariño wine from Rías Baixas. Caldas de Reis means “kings’ spa” and indeed there are thermal springs in this small Galician town. As every pilgrim don’t forget to try how warm the water is in the public fountain on das Burgas square.
According to the legend, Santiago’s disciples brought the Apostle’s dead body from Jerusalem to Padrón and only few centuries later it got moved to the Libredón forest in the place where today’s Cathedral of Santiago is built. It means that if the body hadn’t been misteriously moved, maybe today everybody would be making a pilgrimage to Padrón instead of Santiago. Today Padrón is a small town famous for its green hot little peppers (“pementos de Padrón”) and for famous writers: Rosalía de Castro – the mother of the Galician poetry and Camilo José Cela – Literature Nobel Prize
On that last day of pilgrimage you will pass through the Escravitude church, which looks like a Santiago Cathedral’s miniature. The Agro dos Monteiros hill is compared to Monte de Gozo on the French Route – from there you will get the first view of Santiago de Compostela. Finally you will access the city through Conxo district where you can briefly visit the magnificent monastery (today adjacent to the hospital). And then… The Obradoiro Square. Congratulations! You’ve just made it!
|Standard Accomodation||May – Sep.||Oct. – April|
|Extras||1 Person||2 Persons|
|Luggage Transfer||Ask us||Ask us|