Camino Portuguese

About the Experience

There are over a dozen ways to Santiago and the spaghetti trails run from Italy, France and Portugal with a sacred union in Santiago where apostle Saint James lies in wait.

This Camino Portuguese pilgrimage is 114km long and threads through verdant tunnels of eucalyptus trees, tangles of kiwi orchards, century-old vineyards, cerulean estuaries and fishing harbours humming with activity.

Cross over smooth cobblestones pushed by coastal Atlantic winds, soak in the rejuvenating waters of Calads de Reis’ natural hot springs and be sure to pull up a seat to oysters served every which way in Arcade (Galicia’s oyster capital). Marinated, drizzled with lemon or stuffed in a savoury empanada (Galician pie), the “truffles of the sea” are a prerequisite for the miles ahead as is the celebrated local Albariño white wine.

Along “The Way” you will collect Camino passport stamps in your “credencial” at several landmarks (churches, hostels, bars, cafes) that will entitle you to receive the official Compostela in Santiago. Pilgrims who are awarded the Compostela must travel at least 100km on foot (or in the saddle of a horse or bike!). The unique ink stamps will remain in your heart like a tattoo (that you won’t regret!).

Expect Romanesque architecture, savoury Padrón pepper lunches, knock-out views of the Cíes Islands and the reliable Camino camaraderie that makes the pilgrimage route a rare and coveted experience.

 

 

 

Click here to see the full itinerary!
Camino Portuguese

About the Experience

There are over a dozen ways to Santiago and the spaghetti trails run from Italy, France and Portugal with a sacred union in Santiago where apostle Saint James lies in wait.

This Camino Portuguese pilgrimage is 114km long and threads through verdant tunnels of eucalyptus trees, tangles of kiwi orchards, century-old vineyards, cerulean estuaries and fishing harbours humming with activity.

Cross over smooth cobblestones pushed by coastal Atlantic winds, soak in the rejuvenating waters of Calads de Reis’ natural hot springs and be sure to pull up a seat to oysters served every which way in Arcade (Galicia’s oyster capital). Marinated, drizzled with lemon or stuffed in a savoury empanada (Galician pie), the “truffles of the sea” are a prerequisite for the miles ahead as is the celebrated local Albariño white wine.

Along “The Way” you will collect Camino passport stamps in your “credencial” at several landmarks (churches, hostels, bars, cafes) that will entitle you to receive the official Compostela in Santiago. Pilgrims who are awarded the Compostela must travel at least 100km on foot (or in the saddle of a horse or bike!). The unique ink stamps will remain in your heart like a tattoo (that you won’t regret!).

Expect Romanesque architecture, savoury Padrón pepper lunches, knock-out views of the Cíes Islands and the reliable Camino camaraderie that makes the pilgrimage route a rare and coveted experience.

 

 

 

DAY ONE: VIGO

At 6 PM, meet your steely Wild Women guide and girl pack in a central hotel lobby in the beating heart of Vigo, a lively port town in southern Galicia. Tonight the only requirement is to eat, drink and be merry! Learn more about your fellow pilgrims over a shared dinner at one of Vigo’s popular eateries. If you arrive early, be sure to wander down Calle de Las Ostras (“Oyster Street”). You might be shell-shocked!

 

DAY TWO: VALENCO DO MINHO

We’ll drive due south and begin with a dose of history in Valença, a walled town of Roman origins located on the left bank of the Rio Miño (river).

From the Fortress, there’s a bird’s eye view of Tuí International Bridge(or Valença, depending on which side you are standing on) that connects Portugal with Spain. The bridge was completed in 1878 under the direction of Gustave Eiffel (yes, the Eiffel Tower guy!). We will walk in Eiffel’s footsteps across this landmark bridge which does double-duty as the border between Portugal and Spain. Tonight we will spend the night in Tui, close to the Rio Miño, and revel in the river valley’s natural oooh and ahhhs.

Be sure to poke around the city’s cobblestone streets and yesteryear vibe. Have your camera batteries charged for the 12th century cathedral in the medieval center. Amateur architects will appreciate the Gothic and Romanesque-style design and remains of the impressive walled enclosure.

The Camino Portuguese route is a beautiful balance of woodland paths, and rural roads. The vineyards and kiwi orchards demonstrate the fertility of the Minho Valley. Kiwi production has doubled since the 1980s–don’t leave the area without trying a yellow-fleshed kiwi!

After hugging the riverside trail into Orbenlle, you will board the bus to visit the southernmost tip of coastal Galicia. In Santa Telca, you can explore the 1st Century Celtic high above the churning Atlantic and Miño Rio estuary.

You can opt to walk downhill to the hotel (3.5 km/350m elevation loss) for the night or jump on the bus! Be sure to call shotgun!

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

 

DAY THREE: O PORRINO

Today we will drive inland to the pulsating center of O Porriño to continue the Camino journey. This town is famous for its startling pink granite and stunning Casa Consistorial edifice built in 1919.

After a steady climb, we will linger in the little hamlet of Mos to check out the Pazo de Marquesas and Church of Santa Eulalia del Monte.

Then (insert a big slug of water here), it’s onwards and upwards to Capilla de Santiaguiño de Antas on Monte Cornedo (232m)! The reward is found in the sweeping Redonela valley views before descending to the town below. Redondela is best known for its incredible arteries of 19th century viaducts, Iglesia de Santiago (look for the emblematic rose window) and Santiago Matamoros statue. If the church is open, it has a particularly special stamp for your credencial.

From Redondela, the trail ascends past meticulous gardens and vineyards to a little bar in Cesantes where we will end our day. It’s not an oasis! Drink in the views of Puente Rande over the Ria de Vigo with a Super Bock, from the oldest beer company in Portugal. Felicidades! (Cheers)

  • Distance: 18 km / 11.18 miles

 

DAY FOUR: ONWARDS TO PONTEVEDRA

From Cesantes, the Camino moves seamlessly from a coastal section to the ancient stone paths of the Camino Reales to woodland. There are two significant climbs to challenge your quads. Before and after the small fishing town of Arcade (yes, the ‘oyster capital’ of Galicia), get your heart valves pumping after some bivalves! There are several cafés and water fountains along the morning route to fuel up. The vineyards of Rias Baixas will become a familiar site for the next couple of days.

In the afternoon, the walk is mainly shady under the towering stands of eucalyptus until the compact and enchanting city of Pontevedra. During the golden age (circa the 15th and 16th century) it was reputed for its port and sardine fishing but in 1951, the city centre was declared a Historic Artistic Site. On your to-do list: 18th century Shrine of Virgen Pergrina, the patron saint of Pontevedra, Gothic Santo Domingo (now part of the Museum of Pontevedra), the plasterwork of Real Basilica Menor de Santa Maria la Major, the Church and Convent of San Francisco and lively plazas buzzing with music, locals sharing pesticos (tapas) and bouncing soccer balls. You will be staying in Pontevedra and can walk directly to your hotel after taking in the sights, sounds and perhaps some spider crab croquettes or tempura shrimp?

  • Distance: 17 km / 10.56 miles

 

DAY FIVE: CALDAS DE REIS

After departing the old town of Pontevedra with a sigh, look for the excavations of the original Roman bridge foundation and a replica Milário (Roman milestone) just before crossing the grand 12th century O Burgo bridge. Today’s walk moves through pastoral countryside following the infrequently used railway line. The fragrant forest paths (inhale here: eucalyptus and pine!) are an ideal place to zen-out and tune into the bird life in the treetops. The Camino passes by several cruceiros (crosses) and the 12th century statues of Santa Maria de Alba and charming chapels of San Amaro and Santa Lucia.

After the village of San Amaro, there is an optional detour to chill out by the waterfalls of Parque Natural de Ria Barosa. If there have been heavy rains, the falls will be at a peak. There are also shaded picnic tables and cat nap-friendly spots to recline.

At day’s end, you will land in Caldas de Reis, prized for its thermal waters. Caldas de Reis would have been on Tripadvisor back in the day if there were such a thing. Celts and Romans instinctively knew long ago to come and ‘take the waters’. Pilgrims know of the healing powers too and we encourage you to rest and restore in the natural bathtub. The tradition involves soaking your weary feet in the lavadero filled with hot water. Across the Roman bridge, quench your deep-down body thirst at the cold spring. The group will spend the night in this tranquil spa town so enjoy the om to the fullest. Dinner will be wherever you choose and there are many tempting options from gastrobars to cafes.

  • Distance: 23 km / 14.29 miles

 

DAY SIX: THE LEGEND OF SANTIAGO

Today is short and sweet on the walking front with a few hills to conquer and mesmerizing forest tracks of eucalyptus and pine, ubiquitous gorse and broom. The climb to O Pino is through sleepy countryside villages and hills that offer views to distract! The Camino passes four churches before Padrón, the most remarkable one being the Santa Marina de Caracedo on the edge of the village of Campo.

Arriving into Padrón is a monumental stage as it is the last town before Santiago. The legend of Apostle Saint James suggests that he first preached on the rocks above the town and a miracle occurred; a spring appeared using his staff. It was also here that the boat that carried Santiago’s body from Palestine was moored. For trivia junkies: 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 magnetic. 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 will take you there and it’s way more rewarding than 30 minutes on the Stairmaster!

Padrón is also famous for its little green peppers which are fried whole in olive oil. Like Doritos, you can’t stop at one. Eating them is a gamble though, much like wasabi peas as one in every five or six has a spicy kick that will reignite any dull taste buds!

After a short shuttle, you can kick off your boots and unpack at the rural retreat where you will stretch out for the next two nights.

  • Distance: 18 km / 11.18 miles

 

DAY SEVEN: MOVING ON TO MILLADOIRO

Today, we will set our focus on Santiaguiño do Monte in Padrón to claim our ‘Jubilee of Compostela’ as 2021 is a Holy Year. The Camino’s gentle terrain will then guide us through the tiny, rural Galician villages of Romeris, Rueiro and Villar before visiting the Baroque sanctuary at A Escravitude.

Continuing on through mystical woodland tracks and country roads (with a short stretch of the main road) the trail ribbons over rolling hills to the village and ancient oak trees of Rua do Francos (home to one of the oldest wayside crosses in Galicia). After emerging from the woodland wonder of eucalyptus, pine and oak canopies, there’s a long climb to the modern suburb of Milladoiro, a satellite community of Santiago. Can you feel the pulse of being so close to the epicentre? Jump on the shuttle back to our hotel for a penultimate night together with the group on the cusp of reaching hallowed Santiago.

  • Distance: 19 km / 11.81 miles

 

DAY EIGHT: SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA

Wistfully, join your fellow pilgrims on the Camino one last time today. With Milladoiro over our shoulders, begin a gentle descent through petite villages. Scan the horizon for Santiago de Compostela and its cathedral spires–the final destination! Insert the Chariots of Fire theme song here! Or, whatever puts a charge in your step. The final few kilometers and signature scallops and yellow arrows follow sidewalks (look for the cat crossing signs!) into the medieval heart of Santiago.

Our Portuguese Camino ends on the steps of the cathedral. Tonight, we will celebrate over dinner and revel in the accomplishment and feat of our feet!

  • Distance: 7 km / 4.35 miles

 

DAY NINE: BUEN CAMINO

After a leisurely breakfast (don’t forget to get your sweet fill of the regional tarte de Santiago!), a local guide and historian will enlighten the group on a two-hour tour of the city and cathedral. We will finish in time to attend the Pilgrims Mass which is an emotional event of redemption and reflection. The tour will conclude around 2PM so we recommend that you spend another night in Santiago (not included in the trip package) or choose an evening flight departure. The afterglow is the best! Wander with other pilgrims in the revelry and relief of the kilometers behind you.

 


ITINERARY ROUTE

 

 

 

 

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