The Spanish path of the Portuguese Camino starts in Tui. From Tui, this Camino is 119 kilometres to Santiago and you will be able to do it in 5 or 6 days. It is a perfect path if you do not have a lot of time. This is the second favourite route to reach Santiago for pilgrims. However, it is not as overcrowded as the French Way.
The Portuguese Camino is a medieval route of the Way to Santiago that goes to the north from Portugal. It goes through Galicia on the banks of the Miño River by Tui.
Saint Isabel of Portugal, the wife of King Don Dinís, after having covered in the year 1325 a first pilgrimage to Santiago, she repeated the experience a decade later and she stayed in a humble lodging for pilgrims in the historic town of Compostela on the Rúa A Raíña. After her stay, the street ended up adopting her name. This story shows the legendary commitment of the Portuguese Crown to the Camino de Santiago (Afonso Henriques arrived to Compostela in 1097 and Afonso II did it in 1220), and it serves as proof of the long historical route of the path. The origin of the Portuguese Camino goes back to the dawn of the Jubilee fervor, when the supposed remains of the Apostle were discovered in the year 813.
The climatology of the Portuguese Camino is characterized by soft and rainy winters and warm summers (without the extreme hot), the temperature seldom goes beyond 35 ºC. The Galician territory has an annual average temperature of 13.3 °C. During the winter the average temperature is 8.5 °C, in spring it is of 15 °C, in summer it is 19 °C and in autumn it is 11 °C.
The Portuguese Camino has countless places with natural heritage and stunning landscapes. Between Tui and O Porriño, you can find the Gándaras de Budiño. It is a marshy area with a size of 700 hectares and a very varied ecosystem. In addition, remains of Palaeolithic settlements have been found here.
In the Vigo estuary you can visit the Island of San Simón. This island is classified as an Asset of Cultural Interest. Throughout its history the island was used as a monastery, lazaretto, prison and home for orphaned children. From this island you can enjoy a beautiful viewpoint and several monuments, such as the bridge that connects it with the island of San Antón.
Between Redondela and Pontevedra, you will find La Canicouva. This is a place where Almanzor army, that razed Santiago de Compostela, went through. Close to here there is a viewpoint, there you will be able to enjoy beautiful views from the Vigo estuary.
In Caldas de Reis you will find the Umia river and a centenary garden on its riverside. This garden is one of the most interesting botanic gardens in the province. This natural place has a waterfall.
The Portuguese Camino has a huge amount of architectural heritage. In Tui, we found the Cathedral of Santa María from the 12th century, it was built following the Romanesque style, to which later Gothic elements were added. You have also to visit in Tui the Church of San Telmo. It is a unique example of Portuguese Baroque style in Galicia. It was built on the house where the saint died, of which there is still a wall of the crypt.
In Vigo you will find the old Collegiate Church of Santa María de Vigo (1816-1836), now the co-cathedral of the Diocese of Tui-Vigo. It is a neoclassical construction erected on the remains of a Gothic church burned down by the pirate Drake. In Redondela, the Church of Santiago of the 11th century, stands out because of its interesting façade and the carved of Santiago pilgrim that has in the altarpiece of the high altar.
In Pontevedra, in the Alonso de Fonseca Square is the Church of Santa María la Mayor (15th century), declared a minor basil by John XXIII. It is one of the jewels of Galician art, in which the Elizabethan Gothic style is mixed with Portuguese styles and some trends of the Spanish Renaissance.
In Padrón, you can visit the Church of Esclavitude, which is a little further away from the old town of Padrón. The Church of Esclavitude is from the 18th century, and its style is Baroque. If you want to access it you have to climb a stone staircase with two lateral accesses. Legend tells that an ill man on his way to the hospital in Santiago de Compostela stopped to drink at the fountain. That fountain had the image of a virgin in stone. Then the sick man asked the virgin for a cure and then he drank from the water. After 72 hours he was cured of the evil he had.
On the Portuguese Way there are historical pilgrimages such as the pilgrimage of King Sancho II in 1244; that of the queen and devout Saint Elizabeth, canonized in 1625, who made a pilgrimage in 1326 and 1335; also the King Don Manuel the Fortunate, who left for Santiago in 1502; the trip of two Jesuit Fathers in 1543 from Coimbra; the pilgrimage of Francisco of Netherlands, painter, humanist and Portuguese architect, in 1549; those of the Bishop of Tui in 1604 and the Viscount of Ponte de Lima in 1610, etc.
In the Middle Ages, the Portuguese Camino had an enormous importance, that can be seen in the multiple shields, symbols and Jacobean statues that will be found by pilgrims both in the northern part of the Portuguese country and in Galicia. In addition to that, there are also many legends and traditions in this route. There are popular writings that even place on the coast between Porto and Vigo the origin of the use of the scallop as emblematic Jacobean from an episode starring a gentleman who leaves the sea covered with shells. In the case of Portugal, besides there is the legend about the miracle of the most famous Apostle, the pilgrim was wrongly accused of theft and he was sent to the gallows and the rooster who rises and begins to sing as proof of his innocence, has come to give the country one of its most well-known symbols: the Barcelos rooster, represented in a brightly colored ceramic piece.
In the Spanish part of the Portuguese Camino there are 13 official shelters. Ten of them are public from the Xunta and some from the municipality, two of them are private and the other is owned by the Community of Franciscans of Herbón and it is managed by the Galega Friends of Camiño of Santiago Association. Due to the successful participation on this route, it is logic that more private hostels and shelters opened. When there is more affluence than usual, there are not spots for all pilgrims so temporary buildings are usually enabled as house for pilgrims.
The Spanish section of the Portuguese Camino has a great gastronomy, highlighting above all, the fish and seafood of the Galician lands.
Taking the data collected by the Pilgrims Welcome Office of Santiago we see that the Portuguese Camino is since 2004, the year in which they began to take figures, the second pilgrimage route with the highest affluence just after the French Way. It is ahead of recognized itineraries such as the Northern Camino, the Vía de la Plata and the Primitive Camino. Therefore, on this Path, you will find people, but you will also have moments of necessary solitude.
KEY TIPS FOR MAXIMUM ENJOYMENT ON THE PORTUGUESE CAMINO
From Tui to Santiago it is almost impossible to get lost because, as the other Jacobean itineraries, it is full of the typical landmarks with distance indicator of the Xunta de Galicia. So do not get to worry about it.
El Camino Portugués alcanza España en Tui, población a orillas del Miño y coronada por su catedral-fortaleza.
En el albergue de la Xunta de Tui tienen preferencia los peregrinos que vienen caminando desde Portugal (comprobarán si tenéis la credencial sellada de los albergues anteriores) respecto a aquellos que comienzan la peregrinación en Tui. Los hospitaleros del albergue hablan diariamente con los albergues precedentes y si han estado llenos comentarán al peregrino que aún no ha caminado que se busque otras alternativas.
O Porriño is a town in Pontevedra that it is integrated in the metropolitan area of Vigo. Partly, its development is thanks to the Way to Santiago. In this town there are vestiges of old Palaeolithic settlements in the Gándaras de Budiño.
Despite the fact that Redondelais on the edge of San Simón inlet, at the end of the Vigo estuary, there is only a short stretch of the route where you got to see it. Since the stage is short you can take advantage of the afternoon to visit the estuary (in Redondela bicycles are lent for this purpose).
The last part of the stage to reach Pontevedra is hard due to the kilometres of asphalt without any shade where to shelter, some pilgrims have already taken an alternative route that goes along a path along the Tomeza River and reaches the vicinity of the shelter in Pontevedra. At the Bértola kiosk, a kilometer before reaching the Santa Marta chapel, they can tell us how to get to this path.
Caldas de Reis is a town in Pontevedra. It is crossed by the river Umia. This stop in the Portuguese Camino is known because of its thermal waters whose composition gives them healing properties. Caldas de Reis is the only town with a shelter that has all the services.
Padrón offers all the services you may need. A good Galician cuisine with the famous Padron peppers and interesting places to see as the Rosalía de Castro house museum and the Camilo José Cela Foundation (at a short distance in Iria Flavia).
The end of the Camino as well as the capital of Galicia is definitely worth taking your time to celebrate your pilgrimage and enjoy its numerous attractions. Here is our page about the city.
FASCINATING PLACES TO STAY AND SLEEP ON THE PORTUGUESE CAMINO TO SANTIAGO
We have prepared a page with sections pertaining to local gastronomy and lodging for each town along the Portuguese Camino to Santiago. There are plenty of options for pilgrims who want to sleep near the Portuguese Camino during their journey. These options include hotels as well as rural houses and shelters. The cities appear in order from South to North:
Food and lodging of the Portuguese Camino in Tui:eat and sleep
Food and lodging of the Portuguese Camino in O Porriño: eat and sleep
Food and lodging of the Portuguese Camino in Redondela: eat and sleep
Food and lodging of the Portuguese Camino in Pontevedra:eat and sleep
Food and lodging of the Portuguese Camino in Caldas de Reis: eat and sleep
Food and lodging of the Portuguese Camino in Padrón: eat and sleep
Food and lodging of the Portuguese Camino in Santiago de Compostela: eat and sleep
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