The Father Sarmiento Route

Discover your path..

We begin The Father Sarmiento Route from the Monasterio De Poio.  You will see this old Benedictine convent, with its church, two cloisters (of the crossing and processions) and the modern monastery, Mercedario, also with two parallel courtyards and a large chapel that stands out from the building.

The 1st stage will take us through Combarra, the perfect combination of blue sea and granite carved land.  The route leads us amongst fishmermen’s houses, granaries and cross symbols making it easy to imagine the history of the mysterious Tambo Island.
The path will amaze us with a coastline that is characterised by secluded coves, inlets and majestic corners that open to the world from the lookout point of A Graxa.  From there, we can enjoy the views of the Pontevedra River while walking towards Sanxexo, the most prominent landmark of Galician tourism.

Enjoy a rest above the sea in the mythological township, the essence of la Madama.

The 2nd stage we leave Sanxenxo along the seashore providing us with a lush, green lookout point at Punta Vicano.  While walking towards Portonovo, we leave a landscape of urban beaches and enter a more natural environment.  From Punta Faxilda, the views of the Ons Island reveal the reason why the sunsets at O Salnes are so unique.  At the hermitage of A Lanzada, the legends and rituals that shroud the historic fortress enhance the spectacular presence of the sea.  The waves of the Atlantic Ocean batter the remains of the tower that the Meirinos constructed for the defence of Compostela.  And here, between Sanxenxo and O Grove, is where we find one of the most beautiful beaches of Galicia, the Lanzada beach.  A magical place surrounded by a dune ecosystem.

By the 3rd stage  O Grove (loop) invites us to enjoy sites where nature, history and gastronomy enable us to discover the astounding aspects of this peninsula.  A 29km circular stage leads us through this town, which is a seafood paradise. The route to the centre of the town shall provide us with some of its best kept secrets – beautiful views of the Salvora Island, archaeological sites, lagoons and an outdoor museum.  These are just a few of its treasures. After the loop of O Grove, we then continue toward the La Toja island, famous for its thermal waters.  There, we shall be able to visit its peculiar chapel, characterised by the fact that it is completely covered with scallop shells. 3km before the end of this stage at the lookout point of the Siradella Mountain, we shall enjoy the spectacular views of the Arousa River.

In the 4th stage we advance towards the heart of O Salnes.  Old tile factories (As Telleiras) add the historical aspects of the area’s day-to-day activities to the landscape.  Marshland and vineyard landscape indicates that we are arriving at Cambados, the home of the Albarino wine.  The seaside town of Santo Tome retains its old charm.  Houses covered with shells and monuments such as the Pazo de Montesacro or the Torre de san Sadurnino, preserve the history of a town that fought against the Normans and the Vikings.  The capital Albarino invites us to take a casual walk through its stone streets, manor houses and squares.  This royal town is one of the most admired historical artistic sites.  We conclude this stage in Fefinans, one of the most beautiful squares of Galicia.

In the first section of the 5th stage we shall come across the Molino de Mareas of A Seca, one of the few seawater mills that exist in Galicia.  It is fully restored and operating as a museum.  We continue the route along the coast until we cross a 2km bridge leading us to the town of A Illa de Arousa.  This is an idyllic place, characterised by fishing traditions and surrounded by beautiful beaches.  The fishing port of O Xufre, the lighthouse of Punta Abalo, the route of Os Cons (large granite rocks sculpted by the wind and waves) and the lookout point of Con do Forno are some of the impressive aspects of this route.The Muelle de Pau and the Conserva museum shall conclude this 21km stage.

We start the 6th stage  from A Illa de Arousa by walking toward the Carreiron Natural Park, a site characterised by its crystal-clear water and white sandbanks.  After crossing another bridge, we continue towards the beaches of O Terron to the centre of Vilanova de Arousa.  This town was home to writer Ramon del Valle-Inclan. In Vilanova de Arousa, the Route of Father Sarmiento joins up with the Variante Espiritual (Spiritual Route), leading us to discover the origin of all routes.
At this point you have the option of taking the boat up the River Ulla.

The 7th stage enables us to discover the ongoing landscape of the river.  From the sandbanks of As Sinas we continue towards the seashore town of Vilaxoan.
The botanical park of Enrique Valdes Bermejo welcomes us to Vilagacia de Arousa.  The city known as Port of Compostela enables us to discover the Pazo de Vista Alegre.  With its convent it forms an impressive architectural National Historical and Artistic Monument.  The most urban and commercial section of our route leads us to the marina.  The Compostela beach leads us to the seashore town of Carril, from where we can explore Cortegada, a green island on which the largest laurel forest in Europe exists, with trees of up to 13 metres tall.

The walk towards Catoira on the 8th stage is characterised by a landscape of forests and marshlands.  The Arousa River joins the River Ulla, creating a natural boundary that separates the provinces of Pontevedra and A Coruna.  The Torres del Oeste remind us of a glorious past in defence of the town of Compostela and help us imagine the final voyage of the remains of the apostle along the Ulla River to Pontecesures, towards Santiago de Compostela.

Our 9th and final stage from Padrón continues the path of the Portuguese Way through Iria Flavia, Esclavitud and small rural towns within the municipality of Teo.  We are now close to the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral where Father Sarmiento completed his journey in 1745  in order to earn the plenary jubilee year indulgence.

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