This is one of the most travelled Saint James Way routes that was used in medieval times to get to Santiago de Compostela. From Cedeira, This is one of the most travelled Saint James Way routes that was used in medieval times to get to Santo André de Teixido, we will sail to Ferrol. And from there we will continue the journey to Santiago by bike.

We will experience a fast-paced adventure just like the pilgrims from northern Europe and the British Isles did in the past. Before travelling by land to the holy City of Santiago they disembarked in the north of Galicia.

This coastline boasts some of Europe’s highest cliffs, in the mountain range Serra da Capelada, where the beautiful sanctuary of Saint André de Teixido is located. We will sail to Ferrol, where we will begin the English Way to Santiago de Compostela by bicycle.

More information...
- Tower of Os Andrade (Pontedeume). . Tel_ 981 430 270
- Bruma hostel (Mesía). Tel_ 981 687 001
- Pilgrim’s Office (Santiago). www.peregrinossantiago.es

Day 1

Sailing from Cedeira to Ferrol
  

We recommend staying overnight in the environment of Cedeira to make the best of the following day. The region of Ferrol offers wide range of hotels of up to four stars that coexist with country guesthouses and other charming lodgings.

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Europe’s highest cliffs

After breakfast we head off to a place known as Garita de Herbeira, that we access from Cedeira. Along the way it is common to see wild horses grazing freely on the hills. The Garita is a spectacular lookout point on the north coast of the Atlantic, nestled in the heart of the mountain range Serra da Capelada. The small granite masonry hut offers a magnificent panoramic view of Europe’s highest cliffs, at an almost vertical drop of 600 metres above sea level.

Close by is the sanctuary of Saint André de Teixido. A popular proverb holds that “those who do not go there during their lifetime will do so after their death”. The chapel is in a small white village that stands among the cliffs, in the only point where the mountains are smooth enough for it to fit. Inside the chapel there is an original altarpiece that houses the mannerist image of the Apostle Saint Andrew. Pay attention to the votive offerings left in the chapel by those hoping for the miraculous intercession of the saint; or the sanandresiños, colourful figurines made from bread dough that represent the symbols of the arrival of Saint Andrew to these lands.

We stop along the way to swim in an idyllic beach

We say farewell to this place full of myths, legends and rituals and suggest walking 12 kilometres to Cedeira, along a trail full of magnificent natural beauty. To emulate the ancient pilgrims from the north of Europe and from the British Isles who long ago travelled to Santiago and arrived at this shore by boat, at mid-morning we propose boarding on a sailing boat in the port of Cedeira to sail all the way to Ferrol.

The journey can take from three to four hours, depending on the winds. We will see the rugged and wild coastline that we had previously seen from land and we can participate as novices manoeuvring the sailboat. Weather permitting, we can drop anchor in small coves that are otherwise inaccessible to take a dip, or else we can swim in other more famous beaches such as Pantín, considered a genuine surfing paradise.

A popular proverb claims that to Santo André de Teixido “vai de morto o que non foi de vivo” (those who do not go there during their lifetime will do so after their death)”

Going for tapas in Ferrol’s old quarter

Either on board or at a beach we can enjoy a picnic specially prepared for the occasion. Keep your eyes open at sea because it is not unusual to sight moon fish and schools of pilot whales or dolphins. Leaving behind Punta Frouxeira, Cape Prior and the sandy beaches of San Xurxo and Doniños we enter the narrow estuary of Ferrol all the way to the port of Curuxeiras, in Ferrol Vello (Old Ferrol), which for centuries has welcomed pilgrims arriving by sea. We can also see the non-stop coming and going of vessels from and to Mugardos, a small sea town on the opposite shore.
After landing and settling into our chosen accommodation we can visit the Old Ferrol at a more leisurely pace for the rest of the evening. Just behind the promenade known as Paseo de A Mariña the streets still preserve the typical seaside flavour. At dinner time we suggest that you do as the locals from Ferrol, who love to go tapas-dining in the A Magdalena, quarter, declared a Historic-artistic Interest Site.

Day 2

We bike out of Ferrol and head towards Miño
  

We visit the castle of San Felipe, built by order of Phillip II

Before setting off on the English Way on our mountain bikes, either our own or leased, we cannot leave Ferrol without visiting the majestic Castle of San Felipe, in the narrowest part of the estuary. It was one of the points of a triangle that defended the city against enemy attacks, together with the castles of San Martín and A Palma, located to the other side of the estuary. That was king Phillip II’s idea when he ordered it to be built. Visits start at 10:00 am and its interior reveals the 32 most interesting points of this enormous building, while we can also learn the military terminology as we observe batteries, hornworks or caponiers.

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From Ferrol to Pontedeume

After the visit we are ready to begin the first stage of the English Way on two wheels that will lead us to Miño. We leave from the port of Curuxeiras, where we landed the previous afternoon. This Way of Saint James route is perfectly signposted in all its stages and also in the city, so we will easily find our way through the streets and squares to the neighbourhoods of Recemil and Caranza, in the outskirts.
From here we reach the industrial park of A Gándara, very close to Narón. Then comes Neda, after passing the tide mill and the Bridge over the river Xubia.

The itinerary continues through Fene and Cabanas. In the estuary of the Eume, passing the beach of A Madalena, we follow the seafront promenade to Pontedeume, which gets its name from the 14th century bridge one of The Way’s symbols that we will be crossed. The bridge originally had, in addition to a pilgrim’s hospital, a total of 68 arches, of which today only 15 remain.

We have lunch in Pontedeume and stay the night in Miño

In Pontedeume we stop to explore the centre and have lunch. In the main streets of Santo Agostiño, Os Ferreiros and Real you will find restaurants to satisfy your appetite. Do not forget to order some of the typical desserts, such as the cake from Pontedeume, melindres (pastries), sponge cake (proia), or the sponge cake ring (manguito eumés).

The Praza do Conde square, the tower of Os Andrade, that completed part of the town’s wall, the church of As Virtudes and of Santiago are some of the town’s key sightseeing points. We get back on the road and, leaving Pontedeume, we recommend taking a detour to the church of Breamo, where in addition to visiting this Romanesque temple we can get a splendid panoramic view of the rias of Betanzos, Ares and Ferrol.
Farther on, an unusual medieval single-span bridge over the river Baxoi will lead us to the final stage in Miño, where we find inns, lodging houses and rural houses where to dine and spend the night.

Day 3

From Miño to Ordes
  

After a good breakfast we leave Miño through the street Rúa Real where we are once again come across the sea. Following the coast line, we continue on to the medieval bridge of O Porco, which crosses the river Lambre. At the foot of the bridge you will see the carved sculpture that represents the wild boar, symbol of the noble house of the Andrade family. Crossing the hills we will pass Paderne, followed by O Porto and Chantada.

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We visit Betanzos and its unusual squares and parks

Here we begin a downhill stretch towards Betanzos, capital of one of the provinces of the ancient Kingdom of Galicia. This descent offers beautiful panoramic views over the estuary and marshlands until we enter the villa that was formerly one of Galicia’s main towns in the era of the Catholic Monarchs.

The road enters San Martín de Tiobre, where Betanzos o Vello (“the Old”) is located, passing the area of Os Remedios, and from there we enter the old quarter through one of the gates of the medieval wall. that is still standing. It is well worth visiting the churches of Santa María do Azougue and, especially, the San Francisco to see the medieval tombs which it houses.

The Encyclopaedic Garden of Betanzos had statues of 265 Popes, literati and emperors

The road crosses the Praza dos Irmáns García Naveira square, which can be considered the centre of the town. A regal fountain stands in the centre, with a bronze sculpture of Diana The Hunter made at a Parisian workshop in the 19th century. We suggest you visit the Park of O Pasatempo, not far from the town centre and that will surprise you with its tremendous originality. You can see the ruins of the Encyclopaedic Garden, consisting of mazes, fountains, canals and statues of up to 265 Popes, literati and emperors. It was built between 1893 and 1914 as required by the brothers García Naveira, the town’s Spanish colonial benefactors, as a pioneer theme park that was already mentioned in the travel guides of the period.

We stop for a bite in the hostel of Bruma, in Mesía

We leave Betanzos taking a picnic lunch with us in our bike saddlebags so that we can stop for a bite whenever we get hungry along The Way. The trail goes uphill to the town of Abegondo, where it is crossed by the bridges of Limiñón and Presedo and continues towards Francos, Bocelo and Valardel. The itinerary enters the hills and reaches A Malata. Eventually we reach Bruma, where there is a hostel for pilgrims and we can stop to rest and eat.

We end the day in Ordes

After a rest we hit the road again towards the town of Ordes. The route passes through O Seixo, Carreira, Mámoas and A Carballeira, where there begins a stretch through rolling hills that leads us to the hamlet of A Rúa. Here there is a country guesthouse, an example of the traditional farmhouses from the region of Ordes, where we can have dinner and spend the night. Its origins are thought to be linked to the nearby church of San Paio de Buscás, that we can visit. Another option is to take a detour toward the town of Ordes, right on the crossing of the N-550, which offers all the services necessary to dine and relax.

Day 4

From Ordes to Santiago de Compostela
  

We recommend getting up early and after a hearty breakfast continuing the route from A Rúa. We leave the mill of Trabe and the bridge of O Cubo behind us and then continue toward Outeiro de Abaixo, where we take a tree-lined path that leads to the church of San Xulián de Poulo and then to A Senra.

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The Way reaches the towns of Carballo, Casanova de Pereiro and crosses the bridge of Ponte Pereira, that could be of medieval origin, and leads to Carrás, an area of springs that can sometimes make crossing rather difficult. We then continue toward Baxoia and arrive at Sigüeiro, where we cross the bridge over the river Tambre. Its blend of styles is unusual, for it has four Romanesque arches and a gothic one, due to repair works carried out in the 14th century. Currently the N-550 makes uses of it to cross this river, which is famous for its trout.

We reach Santiago de Compostela

From here onwards the trail runs almost parallel to the N-550 until it reaches the industrial park of Tambre. Then we enter Meixonfrío and shortly after we find the beautiful park of Pablo Iglesias, now in the city of Santiago.
We are getting closer and closer to the cathedral and only have to follow avenue Xoán XXIII. Under a large canopy held up by large pillars shaped like inverted cones stands the north campus of the University and its parks; behind it is Monte Pío, and behind it, Monte do Pedroso. This communications network links the outskirts of Santiago with its old quarter.

The historic Praza do Obradoiro square and the cathedral

In the monument area the first majestic building that we get a glimpse of is the convent of San Francisco, and on its right, the Faculty of Medicine followed by the Hostal dos Reis Católicos. Between this old pilgrim’s hospital, to the right, and the magical arch of Pazo de Xelmírez, to the left, we behold the Praza do Obradoiro square.

“We approach Compostela as if we were approaching a miracle.”.
Álvaro Cunqueiro

Now we can finally celebrate the successful completion of our pilgrimage before the breathtaking façade of the cathedral, a magnificent baroque backdrop for this Romanesque temple. Under the gaze of the Apostle Saint James, who stands dressed as a pilgrim with staff and cape, flanked by the great 74 metre-high towers that stand sky-high, we can share the excitement along with many other pilgrims.

Before entering the temple we recommend you visit the Pilgrim’s Office in Rúa Carretas 33. It provides a baggage locker, bike parking and bike forwarding service. Our credentials will be sealed and we will be given the “Compostela”, a document of medieval origin that certifies having completed The Way.

At twelve we can attend the Pilgrim’s Mass in the cathedral, embrace the Apostle and visit his relics by going down to the crypt below the Main Altar. We can contemplate the Pórtico da Gloria, the Romanesque masterpiece carved by Master Mateo, showing us the apocalyptic vision of the heavenly Jerusalem.

The street Rúa do Franco owes its name to the fact that in the past it was where the French pilgrims lodged

Time to have lunch. Almost directly linked to the Praza do Obradoiro is the street Rúa do Franco, that gets its name from the fact that in the past it was the place where the French pilgrims lodged. Today its culinary offer is enormous, with signature restaurants and tapas bars. It is interesting to note that many show their products off by their entrance in fish tanks and refrigerated showcases.

Guided tour or audio guide

If you spend the afternoon in Santiago de Compostela, walking around all the squares and streets of the old quarter is a must. In the street Rúa do Vilar there are two tourist offices that provide useful material and guidance and where we can request a guided tour or an audio guide, which enables us to discover the city at our own pace without missing a single detail, anecdote or legend.

Arriba