The Portuguese Way (Portuguese: Caminho Português, Spanish: Camino Portugués) is the name of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage routes starting in Portugal. It begins at Porto or Lisbon. From Porto, along the Douro River, pilgrims travel north crossing the five main rivers—the Ave, Cávado, Neiva, Lima and Minho—before entering Spain and passing through Padron on the way to Santiago de Compostela.
The Portuguese way is the second most popular route after the French Way and the Portuguese coastal way is the seventh most popular route in Galicia, with 19.9% and 4.41%, respectively. The Portuguese way is 227 km long starting in Porto or 610 km long starting in Lisbon. The way from Porto was historically used by the local populations and by those who arrived in the local ports. In the contemporary period, most pilgrims are foreigners, and of the total number reaching Galicia between January 1 and October 6, 2017, only 4.27% were Portuguese. Roughly 30,000 pilgrims per year walk this path. It is growing in popularity, and 81,000 walked the Portuguese way in 2018.
|The Portuguese Way|
|Length||227 kilometres (140 mi) from Porto / 610 kilometres (380 mi) from Lisbon approximately|
|Trailheads||Porto/Lisbon to Galicia|
From Lisbon, the starting point is Lisbon Cathedral, passing the Thermal Hospital of Caldas da Rainha (1485) and heading to the Alcobaça Monastery (1252), which was an albergue (hostel) for medieval pilgrims who could only stay there for a single night.
Using Roman roads, pilgrims headed to Coimbra and had to reach Porto before night fell, as the gates of the city closed. The most notable of the bridges in Porto is Dom Luís I Bridge (1888) replacing the Ponte das Barcas (1842), the barges bridge. Porto is the typical starting point. The ruins from the 14th century city walls still exist including the Postigo do Carvão, the charcoal wicket gate. This wicket provided a link between Fonte Taurina Street to the wharf, where boats anchored in the Douro.
Once in Porto, pilgrims headed to Church of São Martinho de Cedofeita (c. 1087). Porto is a medieval city, showing hints of Romanesque and Gothic, as seen in the Cathedral, São Francisco Church and the city walls, and a strong Baroque and neoclassical periods which shape most of its old town skyline, including the iconic Clérigos Tower (1754–1763), Carmo church (1768) and Palácio da Bolsa (mid-19th century).
There are two traditional routes from Porto, one inland (the Central Way) and the Coastal Way (Caminho da Costa). The Coastal Way gained prominence in the 15th century due to the growing importance of the coastal towns in the advent of the Age of Discovery. Next to Porto, there's the Monastery of Leça do Balio (1180) in Matosinhos, known by the assistance of pilgrims. After leaving Porto, the route splits from the central way in the countryside of Vila do Conde. The rising importance of Póvoa de Varzim imposed this new direction. The coastal way uses the Estrada Nova (the New road), already known to exist in 1568 as a road connection between the towns of Porto, Vila do Conde and Póvoa de Varzim. This road is now mostly known as Estrada Velha (Old road). The older street was Karraria Antiqua (the Central Way) or a probable Roman beachfront way (per Loca Maritima) linking pre-Roman settlements, Roman fish factories and villas that are known to exist.
The Estrada Velha merges with the EN13 highway only before reaching Vila do Conde in the parish of Azurara and splits again just after crossing the Ave river. In that road junction, the late Gothic Azurara Church was rebuilt in 1502 by the people of the village to commemorate the pilgrimage of Manuel I of Portugal. Just across the river, the town of Vila do Conde is still today crowned by the Monastery of Santa Clara (1318). The monastery's Neo-Palladian building (1777) dominates the town's skyline and is one of the pilgrim's first sights. The town of Vila do Conde is noted for the austere Gothic and lavish Late Gothic architecture, with the Matriz Church of Vila do Conde being built by king Manuel I during that pilgrimage.
Vila do Conde riverside was a relevant Discovery Age port. As legacy, it keeps a carrack replica and Socorro Chapel (1559), built by the seafarers and inspired by the novelties they saw in Asia. After crossing the Gothic church of Vila do Conde, in Rua da Igreja, the Estrada Velha is renamed Rua dos Benguiados, Rua das Violetas and Rua dos Ferreiros, reaching Póvoa de Varzim's 18th century fishermen's quarter and heading to the small Saint James Chapel (1582) in Praça da República (traditionally named Saint James Square, Largo de Santiago). The chapel was built by Discovery Age seafarers, honoring Saint Roch, but the Saint James veneration grew stronger due to a 15th-century icon of Saint James found at the nearby beach and kept in there. The way follows west of the chapel to the beach by Rua da Junqueira, heading to Esposende, Viana do Castelo and Caminha before reaching the Spanish border. From Póvoa, a new route to the central way uses a rail trail leading directly to the Rates Monastery and passing throw churches dedicated to Saint James.
A contemporary version of the Coastal Way, pushed by German pilgrims, goes through Northern Portugal continuously along the sea, using beach walkways. This version of the Coastal Way is gaining importance, as the traditional route is increasingly urbanized and the new version is considered by some pilgrims to be more pleasant. As a form of respect for pilgrims on foot and local use, the use of bicycles is not allowed in some of these walkways. It follows a trend which started with Hape Kerkeling's book I'm Off Then: Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino De Santiago.
Rates is considered a central site of the Portuguese Way and where pilgrims were most numerous. The way has been used since the Middle Ages and the ancient monastery of Rates (rebuilt in 1100) gained importance due to the legend of Saint Peter of Rates. On the way to the Rates Monastery there is the medieval Dom Zameiro Bridge. It was (re)built in 1185 for an easy cross of the Ave river by medieval pilgrims. It is part of Roman Via Veteris and known in the Middle Ages as Karraria Antiqua (the old way), as such the bridge has Roman origin.
The legend holds that Saint James ordained Peter as the first bishop of Braga in the year AD 44. Peter died as a martyr while attempting to convert local pagans to Christianity. The temple held a cadaver, which people believed was Saint Peter of Rates. The cadaver was transferred to Braga Cathedral in 1552. Rates is also the location of the first modern pilgrim hostel (Albergue) in the Portuguese way, before others opening up in the region.
After leaving the monastery, the crossing of Cávado River was made using barges landing in Barca do Lago, which literally means "Lake's barge". The river was known in antiquity as Celadus. The Brotherhood of Barca do Lago stated in 1635: "this passage is very popular and it is for more than 400 years in our peaceful possession". The Portuguese King Sancho II made the crossing there during a pilgrimage in 1244 and centuries later King Manuel I did the same in 1502. Currently, the crossing which replaces the barges in both the Coastal and the Coastal derivation of the central way is made through Ponte de Fão, built in 1892. A pilgrims' barge in Barco do Lago was recovered for recreational pilgrimages, with a replica of the "Barca de Carga" (Cargo's Barge) being launched in 2017. For pilgrims preferring the inland route, the crossing is made throw the Medieval Bridge of Barcelos, constructed between 1325 and 1328.
From Barca do Lago pilgrims head to the Neiva Castle. Currently lost, the Neiva was a Castro culture hillfort and early medieval castle that already existed when Afonso I of Portugal became king. It was located after crossing the Neiva river, known in antiquity as the Nebis, named after the pagan river goddess Nabia. Today, in the area, there's the Albergue de São Miguel in the locality of Marinhas in Esposende, prior to the crossing and the Monastery of São Romão de Neiva (1022), located after the crossing.
The crossing of the Lima River is made over the Eiffel bridge (1878) in the Coastal way, and previously by barge. The bridge and the town of Viana do Castelo are signed by the sighting of the Monument-Temple of Santa Luzia (1904) over a hilltop. The Lantern tower of the sanctuary is where the pilgrim can see most of one's route in one of the most iconic views of Northern Portugal. Pilgrims were treated in the Old Hospital (Hospital Velho) of Viana do Castelo, an ancient hostel for pilgrims from early 15th century.
In Classical antiquity, the Lima said to have properties of memory loss due to events in an ancient battle there between the Turduli and the Celts. Also known in antiquity as Oblivion, Strabo compared it to the mythological Lethe, the river of unmindfulness. Two ancient canoes found in Lanheses (Viana do Castelo) and the itinerary of the Loca Maritima Roman way suggest that to be the site where the Roman soldiers were fearful of the crossing during the conquest of the region in 136 BC.
For the inland route, Ponte de Lima's bridge is used. The later bridge possibly dates to the 1st century and was rebuilt in 1125. One of the most tiring parts of the Portuguese inland Way is in the Labruja hills in Ponte de Lima, which are hard to cross.
The Camino winds its way inland until it reaches the Portugal-Spain border at the Minho river through Valença, where international bridges exist, heading for a 108 km walk to Santiago, passing through Tui.
In the coastal way, the way from Viana do Castelo leads to Caminha, reaching the town's Gothic keep of former Caminha fortifications and since the 17th century the town's clock tower. The contemporary crossing of the Minho in the Coastal way is done using a ferryboat in Caminha. The ferryboat heads to A Guarda, just across the Minho river, in Galicia. From there pilgrims reach the seaside Monastery of Santa María de Oya (1185), located in Oia. the way follows the coast until it reaches the towns of Baiona, Vigo, and Redondela, where the coastal way merges with the central way. The Portuguese way leads to the medieval town of Pontevedra and, after crossing the Ulla river, there is the town of Padrón. This is 25 km from the final destination, Santiago de Compostela Cathedral (1122), the legendary burial place of Saint James the Great, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ.
|Starting point||Province of Galicia||Distances (km)|
|O Viso (Redondela)||Pontevedra||3||75|
|Tibo (Caldas de Reis)||Pontevedra||16||40|
|Caldas de Reis||Pontevedra||1||39|
|Carracedo (Caldas de Reis)||Pontevedra||6||33|
|Iria Flavia||A Coruña||3||19|
|Church of Escravitude (Padrón)||A Coruña||3||16|
|Rúa dos Francos(Teo, A Coruña)||A Coruña||7||9|
|Santiago de Compostela||A Coruña||9||0|
Baiona is a municipality in Galicia, in the province of Pontevedra.
Baiona is a tourist town with a medieval historical center situated by the outlet of the Vigo Bay. Its population of just over 11,000 rises to around 45,000 in the summer, if one includes tourists. Since it is on the Portuguese Way path of the Camino de Santiago 30,000 hikers also visit every year. Other than tourism the major economic activities revolve around fishing.Barcelos, Portugal
Barcelos (Portuguese pronunciation: [bɐɾˈsɛluʃ] (listen)) is a city and a municipality in Braga District in the Minho Province, in the north of Portugal. The population in 2011 was 120,391, in an area of 378.90 km2. With 60 parishes, it is the municipality with the highest number of parishes in the country. It is one of the growing municipalities in the country, and is well known by its textile and adobe industries.
Barcelos is part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network as a Crafts and Folk Art City.Caldas de Reis
Caldas de Reis is a municipality in Galicia, Spain in the north of the province of Pontevedra.Caminha
Caminha (Portuguese pronunciation: [kɐˈmiɲɐ] (listen)) is a municipality in the north-west of Portugal, 21 km north from Viana do Castelo, located in the Viana do Castelo District. The population in 2011 was 16,684, in an area of 136.52 km².Caminha is subdivided into 14 civil parishes. The parish Vilar de Mouros is well known for the oldest rock festival in Portugal. The seat of the municipality is the town (or vila in Portuguese) of Caminha, with 2,500 inhabitants.
The town is on the Portuguese Way path of the Camino de Santiago.
The present Mayor is Luís Miguel da Silva Mendonça Alves. The municipal holiday is Easter Monday.Camino de Santiago
The Camino de Santiago (Latin: Peregrinatio Compostellana, "Pilgrimage of Compostela"; Galician: O Camiño de Santiago), known in English as the Way of Saint James among other names, is a network of pilgrims' ways or pilgrimages leading to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the saint are buried. Many follow its routes as a form of spiritual path or retreat for their spiritual growth. It is also popular with hiking and cycling enthusiasts and organized tour groups.
The French Way (Camino Francés) and the Routes of Northern Spain are the courses listed in the World Heritage List by UNESCO.Camino de Santiago (route descriptions)
The Camino de Santiago, also known as the Way of St. James, extends from different countries of Europe, and even North Africa, on its way to Santiago de Compostela and Finisterre. The local authorities try to restore many of the ancient routes, even those used in a limited period, in the interest of tourism.
Here follows an overview of the main routes of the modern-day pilgrimage.Cape Santo André
Cape Santo André (Portuguese for Saint Andrew) is a cape located in the Northern coast of continental Portugal, in Santo André, municipality of Póvoa de Varzim. It is the tip of Póvoa de Varzim's cuspate foreland.
It is probably the old Roman Avarius, Auarius Promontorium or Auaron Promontorium (In Ancient Greek, Αὔαρον ἄκρον) referred by Ptolemy, geographer of Ancient Greece, in the territory of the Callaici Bracares, between the river Avus (Ave River) and river Nebis (Neiva River).Dragoon
Dragoons originally were a class of mounted infantry, who used horses for mobility, but dismounted to fight on foot. From the early 18th century onward, dragoons were increasingly also employed as conventional cavalry, trained for combat with swords from horseback.Dragoon regiments were established in most European armies during the late 17th and early 18th centuries.
The name is derived from a type of firearm, called a "dragon", which was a handgun version of a blunderbuss, carried by dragoons of the French Army.The title has been retained in modern times by a number of armoured or ceremonial mounted regiments.Esposende
Esposende (Portuguese pronunciation: [(ɨ)ʃpɔˈzẽd(ɨ)] (listen)) is a city and a municipality in Braga District in Portugal. The population in 2011 was 34,254, in an area of 95.41 km². The city itself (the parish Esposende, Marinhas e Gandra) had a population of 9,197 in 2001. It gained city status on 2 July 1993. The present Mayor is Fernando Couto Cepa, elected by the Social Democratic Party. The municipal holiday is August 19. It is located on the Portuguese Way of the Camino de Santiago.Ourense
Ourense ( oh-REN-say, Galician: [owˈɾɛnsɪ]; Spanish: Orense [oˈɾense]) is a city in northwestern Spain, the capital of the province of the same name in Galicia. It is on the Portuguese Way path of the Road of St James, the Camino de Santiago.Padrón
Padrón (Galician pronunciation: [paˈðɾoŋ]) is a concello (Galician for municipality) in the Province of A Coruña, in Galicia (Spain) within the comarca of O Sar. It covers an area of 48.4 km², is 95 km from A Coruña and 23km from Santiago de Compostela. As of 2009, had a population of 8968 according to the INE.
Padrón is divided into five parishes:
(San Pedro de) Carcacía
(Santa María de) Cruces
(Santa María de) Herbón
(Santa María de) Iria Flavia (or Iría Flavia)
(Santiago de) PadrónPonte de Rubiães
The Ponte de Rubiães is a Roman bridge in the civil parish of Rubiães, Paredes de Coura municipality, northern Portugal. It crosses the small river Coura. It is part of the Portuguese Way of St. James. The bridge was constructed in the 2nd century.Pontevedra
Pontevedra (Galician: [ˌpontɪˈβɛðɾɐ], Spanish: [ponteˈβeðɾa]) is a Spanish city in the north-west of the Iberian Peninsula. It is the capital of both the Comarca (County) and Province of Pontevedra, and of the Rias Baixas in Galicia. It is also the capital of its own municipality which is, in fact, often considered as an extension of the actual city.
In 1999, Pontevedra pedestrianized its 300,000 square meter medieval center by banning all but the essential automobile traffic. Pontevedra's car free center helped transform it into one of the most accessible cities, leading to awards for its urban quality: the international European prize, "Intermodes" in Brussels in 2013, the United Nations Habitat prize in Dubai in 2014 and the "Excellence Prize" of the Center for Active Design in New York City in 2015.Surrounded by hills, the city is located on the edge of an estuary at the mouth of the river Lérez by the sea, at the bottom of the Ría de Pontevedra, in the heart of the Rías Baixas. An economic centre and tourist destination, with a population of 82,946, it is at the head of an urban area around its Ria of more than 200,000 inhabitants comprising the municipalities of Poio, Marín, Sanxenxo, Bueu, Vilaboa, Cotobade, Ponte Caldelas, Barro and Soutomaior.
Pontevedra is the second city in Galicia for its rich heritage, only after Santiago de Compostela. A city of art and history, the city is known as "The Good City" or "The City of the Lérez". Pontevedra is the seat of the General provincial Council and the provincial district court as well as the provincial police station and the provincial administrative offices. The city is an important stopover on the Portuguese Way path of the Camino de Santiago that bears witness to the circular church of the Pilgrim's Virgin with a floor plan in the shape of a scallop shell.Porto
Porto, also known as Oporto in some languages, is the second-largest city in Portugal, one of the Iberian Peninsula's major urban areas. Porto city has a population of 287,591 and a metropolitan area with 2.3 million people (2011) in an area of 2,395 km2 (925 sq mi), making it the second-largest urban area in Portugal. It is recognized as a gamma-level global city by the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) Study Group, the only Portuguese city besides Lisbon to be recognised as a global city.
Located along the Douro River estuary in northern Portugal, Porto is one of the oldest European centres, and its core was proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996, as "Historic Centre of Oporto, Luiz I Bridge and Monastery of Serra do Pilar". The historic area is also a National Monument of Portugal. The western part of its urban area extends to the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean. Its settlement dates back many centuries, when it was an outpost of the Roman Empire. Its combined Celtic-Latin name, Portus Cale, has been referred to as the origin of the name Portugal, based on transliteration and oral evolution from Latin. In Portuguese, the name of the city includes a definite article: o Porto ("the port") which is where its former English name "Oporto" comes from.Port wine, one of Portugal's most famous exports, is named after Porto, since the metropolitan area, and in particular the cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia, were responsible for the packaging, transport, and export of fortified wine. In 2014 and 2017, Porto was elected The Best European Destination by the Best European Destinations Agency. Porto is on the Portuguese Way path of the Camino de Santiago.Redondela
Redondela is a town in the province of Pontevedra, Galicia, northwestern Spain. The most famous icon of the village is its sky chaired by two major railway viaducts built in the nineteenth century. Due to these infrastructures Redondela is known under the nickname "Village of the viaducts." The town lies on the Portuguese Way path of the Camino de Santiago.Santarém, Portugal
Santarém (Portuguese pronunciation: [sɐ̃tɐˈɾɐ̃j̃] (listen)) is a city and municipality located in the district of Santarém in Portugal. The population in 2011 was 61,752, in an area of 552.54 km². The population of the city proper was 29,929 in 2012.
The mayor is Ricardo Gonçalves (PSD). The municipal holiday is March 19, the day of Saint Joseph (São José). The city is on the Portuguese Way variant of the Way of Saint James.Viana do Castelo
Viana do Castelo (Portuguese pronunciation: [viˈɐnɐ ðu kɐʃˈtɛlu] (listen)) is a municipality and seat of the district of Viana do Castelo in the Norte Region of Portugal. The population in 2011 was 88,725, in an area of 319.02 km². The urbanized area of the municipality, comprising the city, has a population of approximately 36,148 inhabitants, although the extended densely populated region reaches surrounding municipalities like Caminha and Ponte de Lima with a population above 150,000 inhabitants. It is located on the Portuguese Way path, an alternative path of the Camino de Santiago, and at the mouth of the Lima river.Vigo
Vigo (, Galician: [ˈbiɣʊ], locally [ˈbiħʊ], Spanish: [ˈbiɣo]) is a city and municipality adjoining the Atlantic Ocean in the province of Pontevedra in Galicia, northwest Spain. It is the capital of the county of Vigo and Vigo metropolitan area.
Vigo is the most populous municipality of Galicia, the 14th in Spain, and the most populous Spanish municipality that is not a provincial capital. It has an area of 109.06 km2 (42.11 sq mi) and had a population of 292,817 in 2016. According to the National Statistics Institute of Spain the city itself has 198,537 inhabitants, the rest belong to a high number of rural and suburban population living in its parishes, being the municipality of Spain with a higher percentage of rural population.
The city is located in the southwest of Galicia, in the southern part of Vigo Bay, one of Europe's rainiest areas. In the northeast, it borders the municipality of Redondela; in the east, Mos; in the south, O Porriño and Gondomar; and in the southwest, Nigrán. On the other side of its bay are the municipalities of Cangas and Moaña. They are all part of the southern Galician region called Rías Baixas. Vigo is just north of the border with Portugal; its nearest larger city is Porto, Portugal's second-largest city and the most important city in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula.
Vigo and its metropolitan area are one of the region's primary economic agents.Vila do Conde
Vila do Conde (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈvilɐ ðu ˈkõdɨ] (listen), locally [ˈbilɐ ðu ˈkoŋdɨ]; "City of the Count") is a municipality in the Norte Region of Portugal. The population in 2011 was 79,533, in an area of 149.03 km². The urbanized area of Vila do Conde, which includes the parishes of Vila do Conde, Azurara and Árvore, represent 36,137 inhabitants. Vila do Conde is interlinked to the north with Póvoa de Varzim, forming a single urban agglomeration. The town is on the Portuguese Way of the Camino de Santiago.
Ways of Saint James in Europe