On our tenth and final day of the Camino Portuguese, we hiked 16 miles from Padrón to Santiago de Compostela. It was a day filled with excitement and intense emotion as our Camino adventure came to a close. The pilgrimage experience is truly unlike any other, and it was a lot of fun to be able to share it with my wife and son this time around.
On our ninth day of the Camino Portuguese we walked 12 miles from Caldas de Reis to Padron. The day started out with a very pleasant stretch of walking on a dirt path before veering off to a few side roads on the way into Padrón. This would be our final night on the Camino Portuguese before The Way would take us to Santiago de Compostela.
Leaving the city of Pontevedra behind, we hiked 14 miles on our eighth day of the Camino Portuguese. Most of this stage takes place on asphalt and cobblestone, but there were a few natural pathways mixed in to keep our legs from feeling too beat up. As we approached Caldas de Reis, we walked alongside a little farm where Owen got to befriend a horse and a few sheep.
On the seventh day of our Camino Portuguese pilgrimage, we covered 13 miles between Redondela and Pontevedra. This day started out along the Ría Vigo with some amazing views of the Rande Bridge off in the foggy distance. We then completed two seperate climbs totaling more than 1400 ft, with a stop in the beautiful city of Arcade in between. Our day finished at an albergue on the outskirts of Pontevedra, where we got to watch Spain take on Portugal in the group stages of the World Cup!
After crossing the border from Portugal into Spain on our fifth day of the Camino Portuguese, we began our sixth day with a goal of walking from Tui to Redondela. The stretch of trail out of Tui leaves on highway 342 before passing through a major industrial zone. There is a new scenic route that avoids this, but we decided to take a cab and skip ahead by 11 miles to Porriño. The route from Porriño climbs a few steep asphalt roads before descending into the beautiful town of Redondela.
The fifth stage of the Camino Portuguese takes pilgrims from Rubiãs to Tui. This is a very special day, as it includes the border crossing from Portugal into Spain over the Río Miño. Leaving Rubiãs, the first half of this stage is on natural pathways and dirt roads surrounded by woodlands and farms. The second half covers sidewalks and asphalt as pilgrims approach the large cities of Valença and Tui.
The fourth stage on the Camino Portuguese takes pilgrims from Ponte de Lima to Rubiães on 13 miles of mixed asphalt and natural paths. This stage brings pilgrims to the highest point on the entire route, the 1338ft Alto da Portela Grande. The trail to and from Alto da Portela includes some of the harshest terrain on the Camino Portuguese, with ruts and rocks adorning a beautiful path of single track through the woods.
The third stage of the Camino Portuguese takes pilgrims on a 22-mile stretch from Barcelos to Ponte de Lima. This is one of the longest stages on the Camino Portuguese, but is also one of the most beautiful. The majority of this stage takes place on natural pathways and dirt roads that pass by bridges, farms, vineyards, and churches. After arriving in Ponte de Lima, pilgrims are treated to an abundance of historical buildings and monuments. The most popular historical site is Ponte Medieval, a medieval bridge that spans the nearby Rio Lima.
Stage two of the Camino Portuguese Central Route takes pilgrims on an 18 mile stretch from Vilarinho to Barcelos. This section of The Way incorporates natural pathways and mostly avoids the busy roads and highways, unlike the first stage out of Porto. The major highlight of this stage is the arrival in Barcelos, where pilgrims cross a bridge and then approach Paço dos Condes, the old palace of the Dukes of Bragança.