Camino Portuguese

About the Experience

The Camino pilgrimage is 71 miles of serene, magnificent beauty. This walk along the Spain-Portugal border is so much more than your average hike – it is a soul journey, where each step pulls you along a magical path of wonder – where you will be equally awed by the splendor of the cathedrals, as you are the tranquil, breathtaking beauty of a quiet riverside stroll.

You will wind your way along the tangling vines of kiwi plantations and vineyards, skirting the edges of azure blue estuaries. And then come to rest in stunning, historic villages, ambling along cobblestoned streets that lead you to jaw-dropping shrines and quaint, rustic fisheries – where salty sardines glitter in nets like piles of precious silver coins.

At the end of this epic journey you will receive the Compostela – an official certificate of completion. Along the way, you’ll also receive stamps as you arrive at various landmarks. These intricate, charming markings are special reminders of your trek…of the feel of dipping your toes into the warm, healing waters of Lavadaro. Of the minty sweet scent of the towering, twisting eucalyptus that formed such lush green tunnels. Of the picture book beauty of a little red boat, bobbing in the waters of the impossibly pretty Pontevedra port. These little stamps are lovely, but in a way unnecessary. For this journey will already be forever stamped upon your heart.

 

 

Click here to see the full itinerary!
Camino Portuguese

About the Experience

The Camino pilgrimage is 71 miles of serene, magnificent beauty. This walk along the Spain-Portugal border is so much more than your average hike – it is a soul journey, where each step pulls you along a magical path of wonder – where you will be equally awed by the splendor of the cathedrals, as you are the tranquil, breathtaking beauty of a quiet riverside stroll.

You will wind your way along the tangling vines of kiwi plantations and vineyards, skirting the edges of azure blue estuaries. And then come to rest in stunning, historic villages, ambling along cobblestoned streets that lead you to jaw-dropping shrines and quaint, rustic fisheries – where salty sardines glitter in nets like piles of precious silver coins.

At the end of this epic journey you will receive the Compostela – an official certificate of completion. Along the way, you’ll also receive stamps as you arrive at various landmarks. These intricate, charming markings are special reminders of your trek…of the feel of dipping your toes into the warm, healing waters of Lavadaro. Of the minty sweet scent of the towering, twisting eucalyptus that formed such lush green tunnels. Of the picture book beauty of a little red boat, bobbing in the waters of the impossibly pretty Pontevedra port. These little stamps are lovely, but in a way unnecessary. For this journey will already be forever stamped upon your heart.

 

 

DAY ONE: VIGO

Arrive At 6 PM, and your Wild Women guide will meet you at our first nights’ hotel in the center of Vigo, a bustling port town in southern Galicia with its own airport. Once you become acquainted with your guide and your new pilgrim companions, we will enjoy dinner together in one of Vigo’s many eateries.

  • Meals: Dinner

 

DAY TWO: VALENCO DO MINHO

We’ll drive south into Portugal where we will begin our pilgrimage walk along the beautiful green paths of the Camino. Our first point of call is Valença, a walled town of Roman origins located on the left bank of the Miño River.  

From the Fortress, we look down on the Tuí (or Valença depending on which side you are standing on) International Bridge which connects Portugal with Spain. Completed in 1878, under the direction of Gustave Eiffel, we can observe similarities in style to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. We will walk across this bridge, which also acts as the border between Portugal and Spain, in order to spend the night in the fascinating little town of Tuí. Positioned in an elevated spot close to the Rio Miño, Tuí offers beautiful views of the luscious river valley and back across the border to Valença.

Wandering the cobblestone streets of the old city is worth its while, for it retains its historic atmosphere. It still has remains of the walled enclosures built for defence. Inside the city are historical sites of interest; most significantly the 12th Century cathedral located in the heart of the medieval center. It is a fantastic example of the wealth of Tuí at that time and of its architecture of Gothic and Romanesque style.

From the Cathedral in Tuí, the Camino meanders its way through the cobbled street to leave the old town behind. The route is blessed with natural woodland paths, and quiet country roads, passing by vines, both grape (for wine) and kiwi, indicative of the fertility of the Minho valley. Part of the path is a 1st Century Via Romana which crossed from Braga to Astorga via León. A beautiful riverside trail leads us to Orbenlle where we will leave the Camino for the day.

Boarding the bus once again, we drive to the southern-most tip of coastal Galicia. Here, we will visit the 1st Century Celtic ruins at Santa Tecla, positioned high above the Atlantic Ocean and the estuary of the River Miño (option to walk downhill to hotel 3.5 km/350m elevation loss) before heading to our hotel for the night.

  • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
  • Distance: 12.5 km / 7.77 miles (optional 3.5 km / 2.17 miles with 350m elevation loss)

 

DAY THREE: O PORRINO

Today we leave the coast behind us and drive inland to the center of O Porriño to continue our journey on the Camino. The town is famous for its pink granite and also home to the stunning edifice of the Casa Consistorial, built in 1919 by the town’s own architect, Antonio Palacios. He is famous for modernizing Madrid with his architectural gems. Leaving behind the bustle of the town, we begin a long climb through the little hamlet of Mos with its impressive Pazo de Marquesas and Church of Santa Eulalia del Monte.

Onwards and upwards we go up to the Capilla de Santiaguiño de Antas on Monte Cornedo (232m). We are rewarded with sweeping views of the valley of Redondela as we descend through rambling vines and charming lanes to the town below. Redondela is best known for its 19th Century viaducts and the beautiful Iglesia de Santiago with its emblematic rose window and Santiago Matamoros statue. If it is open, it has a particularly special stamp. We’ll continue onwards from Redondela, climbing up past beautiful gardens and vineyards to a little bar in Cesantes where we will end our day. Look out for extensive views to the Puente Rande over the Ria de Vigo.

  • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
  • Distance: 18 km / 11.18 miles

 

DAY FOUR: ONWARDS TO PONTEVEDRA

From Cesantes, we walk through a wonderful mix of coastal influence and ancient stone paths – Camino Reales – through the woodlands. We have two significant but beautiful climbs, before and after the small fishing town of Arcade, the ‘oyster capital’ of Galicia. The walk offers plenty of cafés and fountains during the morning. Vineyards play a significant part in our route for the first half of the day, and onwards through the next couple of days, as we are in the Rias Baixas wine producing area. The afternoon is mainly shady woodland of eucalyptus, before the final approach to the wonderful, and compact, city of Pontevedra.

Pontevedra had its golden age during the 15th and 16th Centuries as a port and for sardine fishing. At this point, it became the biggest town in Galicia and then later was named as the capital of the province. In 1951, the historic centre was declared a Historic-Artistic Site. You will know you have arrived in the old city when your eyes cast upon the Shrine of the Virgen Peregrina, a stunning 18th Century ‘shrine’ dedicated to the city’s patron saint. Don’t miss the ruins of the Gothic Santo Domingo, now part of the Museum of Pontevedra, the Real Basilica Menor de Santa Maria la Major, with its stunning plasterwork, the Church and Convent of San Francisco, and the plethora of charming and lively plazas. Tonight, we sleep in Pontevedra so will walk directly to our hotel.

  • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
  • Distance: 17 km / 10.56 miles

 

DAY FIVE: CALDAS DE REIS

As we leave the old town of Pontevedra, keep a look out for the excavations of the foundations of the original Roman bridge and a replica Milário (roman milestone), just before crossing the 12th Century O Burgo bridge. Today is a peaceful day of gentle and isolated countryside following the route of the railway line with minimal services. The forest paths, replete with eucalyptus and pine, are calming places to get into the zone of simply walking….nothing else. We pass by a notable number of cruceiros plus the 12th Century Santa Maria de Alba with its interesting statues and the small chapels of San Amaro and Santa Lucia.

After the village of San Amaro, there is an optional detour to Parque Natural de Ria Barosa to visit the waterfalls. This is particularly recommended if there have been heavy rains or if it is hot and sunny, as the viewing area offers shady picnic tables.

The end of the day brings you to Caldas de Reis, a town that is famed for its thermal waters. The Celts and Romans settled here for this reason and named it ‘Aquis Celenis’. Caldas de Reis has long since been a draw for people to come and ‘take the waters’ and it has always been especially important as a resting place for pilgrims to take advantage of the healing waters. So, join in with the tradition and soak your feet in the lavadero filled with hot water & quench your thirst at the cold spring, just across the Roman Bridge. We spend the night in this pretty spa town and dinner is on your own to explore one of the local restaurants.

  • Meals: Breakfast only
  • Distance: 23 km / 14.29 miles

 

DAY SIX: THE LEGEND OF SANTIAGO

Today is a short and peaceful day of walking with a few hills and forest tracks of eucalyptus and pine along with the ubiquitous gorse and broom. The climb to O Pino is through pretty villages with sweeping views of the surrounding countryside and hills. We pass four churches before Padrón, the most beautiful of which is the complex of Santa Marina de Caracedo, set amongst the fields on the edge of the village of Campo.

Arriving into Padrón is an important stage in your Camino, not just as it is the last town before Santiago, but due to its long association with the legend of Santiago. More is always made of his death but it was here that the Apostle Saint James first preached on the rocks above the town and a miracle occurred; he made a spring appear using his staff. Of course, it was also here that the boat was moored that carried Santiago’s body from Palestine. The town takes its name from the ‘Pedrón’; a stone that the boat was reputed to have been tied to. The original stands beneath the high altar in the neoclassical Church of Santiago alongside the canal.

The town is dominated by the Convent and Fountain of Carmen, both imposing and beautiful. Behind them, and above on the hill, is the Chapel of Santiaguiño and the Santiaguiño do Monte, a shrine formed of the rocks where Santiago first preached. A narrow pathway of 126 steps takes you there…..take the time and make the effort to go to this special place. Padrón is also famous for its little green peppers which are fried whole in olive oil and are highly addictive!  Eating them is a gamble though as one in every five or six has a spicy kick.

We will drive ahead to our beautiful rural retreat where we sleep two nights.

  • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
  • Distance: 18 km / 11.18 miles

 

DAY SEVEN: MOVING ON TO MILLADOIRO

Today, we’ll begin our day by climbing up to Santiaguiño do Monte in Padrón to claim our ‘jubilee’.  Upon return to Padrón, we take to the trail with varied days walking of gentle terrain through the sleepy villages of Romeris, Rueiro, and Villar. This allows our final, up-close glimpse into how the locals live and the simplicity of rural Galician life, before reaching the enormous Baroque sanctuary at A Escravitude.  

Here a climb begins through pine forest on alternating woodland tracks and country roads, with a short stretch of the main road and more rolling hills as far as the beautiful village of Rua do Francos. This village is nestled amongst enormous, ancient oak trees and home to one of the oldest wayside crosses in Galicia. More delightful oak, pine, and eucalyptus woodland routes await before we start our long climb to the modern suburb of Milladoiro, a satellite community of Santiago where we finish our day and shuttle back to our hotel for our penultimate night together.

  • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
  • Distance: 19 km / 11.81 miles

 

DAY EIGHT: SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA

We take to the Camino one last time today. Leaving behind the buildup of Milladoiro, we begin a gentle descent through a scattering of villages. Along the way, we get a brief glimpse of our first views of Santiago de Compostela and its cathedral spires; our final destination.

Eventually, we arrive into ‘civilization’; where we begin ascending our final few kilometres of busy sidewalk before the time comes for the entrance into the medieval heart of this famed city.

Our Camino walking journey ends at the steps of the cathedral today. We will gather for a celebratory dinner together.

  • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
  • Distance: 7 km / 4.35 miles

 

DAY NINE: BUEN CAMINO

After a leisurely breakfast, a local tour guide and historian will show us the main sights on a two-hour guided walking tour of the city and the cathedral. We will finish in time to attend the Pilgrims Mass.

  • Meals: Breakfast only

 

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