The South-Eastern Way unites the southern spirit of Andalusia and Extremadura with the

Galician Finisterre. It prolongs the Roman Way called the Via de la Plata, which joined Emérita

Augusta (Mérida) and Asturica Augusta (Astorga). The way was laid at the beginning of

Christianity, taking advantage of older roads. It enters Galicia via A Mezquita, to continue on to

Ourense and then Santiago. With its 241 km if the route is take by way of Verín and 219 km if it

passes through Laza, it is the longest Jacobean route in Galicia.


The term “Via de la Plata” has nothing to do with the mining and trading of this precious

mineral, rather it has its roots in the original etymological meaning from the Arabic Bal´lata,

which the Moslems used to call this wide, solidly-designed, stone-paved public way, leading

north to the land of the Christians. However,this way was indeed used for the trading of

American silver landed at Seville.

This route was used by Almanzor and his infantry against Santiago in August 997. And it would

seem, it was used to return the bells of the cathedral from Córdoba to Compostela taken by

him at that time, and which he had to give back.


In the second half of the 13th century, after Córdoba and Seville had been taken from the

Arabs, this Way began to be used by pilgrims from Andalusia and Extremadura. Some would

continue on to Astorga, linking up with the French Way, while others would take the detour

leading to Puebla de Sanabria-A Gudiña and from here, albeit via Laza or via Verín, on to

Ourense and Santiago. A third possibility takes pilgrims through north-western Portugal in the

direction of Verín.

Among the most famous pilgrims who followed this route were Don Gonzalo Fernández de

Córdoba, the Great Captain, who travelled to Santiago to fulfil a promise, and St. Turibius of

Mogrovejo, who had finished his studies in religious doctrine at Santiago University in 1568,

was to be the future Archbishop of Lima and who was canonized in 1726.

The South-Eastern Way is a route that allows us to enjoy an exceptional natural and

ethnographic heritage: the richness of the province of Ourense and the Deza region, through

which the River Ulla flows, is full of attractions for pilgrims.


As we have said, the way to two alternative routes from a Gudiña to the city of Ourense. The

most traditional and the one used most by pilgrims, is known by the term Verea Sur, passing

through Laza. The other alternative takes pilgrims through the valley of Monterrei and into

Verín. The two ways meet in Ourense and travel on as one to Santiago, via Cea, Dozón, Silleda

and A Ponte Ulla.

If you are interested in this route of Via de la Plata, don´t miss my following posts, in which we

will visit some places or stages of it.

Buen Camino, amigos!

Anxo Saco