Coastal Route – Baiona
Baiona with the Spiritual Route
As the name suggests, The Caminho Portugués goes to Santiago de Compostela from Portugal.
This route has over the years become quite popular and is seeing an increase in pilgrims annually. The Caminho Portugués Coastal Route starting in Porto passing through Caldas de Reis, is 251km from Santiago de Compostela.
Your starting city is Porto, home to the Port Wine, this city is full of rich history and true tradition. Visit the Porto Cathedral, it’s a Roman Catholic church located in the historical centre of the city of Porto. It is one of the city’s oldest monuments and one of the most important local Romanesque monuments. Here you will be able to get your first stamp in your pilgrim’s passport.
The route leads to Cruzeiro do Padrão da Légua (a large stone cross), where you may choose to follow the “Coastal Way” turning west at the cross, or follow the “Central Way”.
The next stop Vila do Conde has always had close ties with The Camino de Santiago, primarily due to the strong tradition of pilgrimage in the region since the Middle Ages. It is also known for its ship yards dating back to the 15th century.
Following the coastal route you pass Póvoa de Varzim the biggest maritime fishing market in north and central Portugal, and then reach Esposende (Marinhas). Take note that Esposende Centro is 4.3km before Marinhas.
The following morning approximately 9km outside Esponsende Centro you will find a quaint coffee shop with a small supermarket called Gabriela, make sure you stop for a well-deserved coffee and cheese roll.
In the region of Viana do Castelo the route of ancient roman roads has remained unaltered. At this point you will have the choice of walking on the beach or on the ancient merchants’ paths.
We invite the pilgrim to enter the Caminha region through the village of Âncora making their way through the forest paths and over Ponte da Torre, an ancient bridge dating from the end of the 17th century made of stone slabs.
0.5km from the town centre in Caminha we get a ferry to cross the Minho River into Spain. The ferry runs from Tuesday to Sunday until 15H00.
Please note that there are no facilities between A Guarda and Oia so stock up on snacks and liquids.
From Mougas to Baiona you walk across fields and among scattered houses at the foot of impressive cliffs until reaching the Lighthouse of Cabo Silleiro, then you cut across the mountains. Your final descent through the countryside brings you into the medieval centre of Baiona, passing by two ancient churches. Baiona was the first port in Europe to receive the news of the discovery of America.
As you leave Baiona it becomes even more rural with villages and patches of woodland. There is a brief section along a busy road after which you’ll be back among villages on the approach to Vigo. The Camino takes you through Castrelos Park so you can avoid walking through the city.
Walk along Vigo’s main shopping street and out of the city onto a long road that connects a string of peaceful hillside villages with views across the city, estuary, and port. Around halfway into the journey you’ll exchange houses for trees before the steep descent towards Redondela.
Arcade is a small coastal town famous for its oysters. Every year, at the beginning of April, Arcade celebrates an oyster festival.
Pontevedra has one of the most important historical centres in Galicia, after Santiago de Compostela. Most of the city centre has been pedestrianised and Pontevedra has become an internationally acclaimed city.
After spending the night in Pontevedra Poio which is the starting point of the Variante Espiritual; a very recent route connecting places that were historically related to The Camino, you walk a stretch along the coast of the Ría de Pontevedra before you reach Combarro.
The starting point for the Variante Espiritual is clearly marked with two big signs.
After spending the evening in Pontevedra Poio, you walk down to sea level where you will walk a stretch along the coast of the Ría de Pontevedra before you reach Combarro.
You enter Combarro through the beach. Combarro is a beautiful fishing town, famous for its hórreos (granary), a typical Galician construction. Hórreos are used to store grain, they are built on a flat stone supported by pillars to elevate them from the ground thus preventing access by rodents. They are made of stone or a combination of stone and wood.
The section of the route from Combarro to Armenteira, is mainly quiet rural forest in the mountains. The climb is hard, but the views of the Ría are amazing. You will reach the Monasterio de Armenteira, where you will spend the night.
Armenteira has great natural beauty. It’s also known as Ruta da Pedra e da Agua (route of stone and water), you walk along the river where you will be able to see the remains of many old water mills.
This stage ends in Vilanova de Arousa after a very long walk.
The next day you have two options. One comprises taking a boat up the Rio Ulla to Padron and the other walking an additional 28km to Padron
Along the river you will see the only maritime Via Crucis in the world, 17 stone crosses identifying the way followed by St. James’ remains.
After this stage, you join the traditional Camino Portugués.
In Padrón – you will find the Church of Saint James of Padrón, where you will see a roman stone altar, a very important element in the Jacobean tradition. This is believed to be the place where the boat which carried the body of the Apostle was moored. It is also the home of the famous Padrón peppers.
The final stage to Santiago de Compostela takes you through the city. You will be approaching from Santa Susana park by Capilla Pilar and then make your way up the Porta Faxeira (traffic lights have replaced the historic south gate into the city).