This week-long adventure begins in Tui. At O Grove we will go on board a catamaran to travel the sea-river route along the Ría of Arousa and river Ulla, paying homage to the arrival in Galicia of the Apostle Saint James’ body. From Padrón, we will continue the Way to Santiago

We will come across towns bathed by sweet and salt waters that house a cathedral-fortress, medieval bridges and even a set of raised stone granaries standing by the sea shore.

We propose discovering the suggestive path of the Portuguese Way from Tui to Santiago. in a week. During the journey will we recreate the legend of the “Translatio Sancti Jacobi” (the transfer of the remains of the Apostle) on an attractive sea-river journeythat includes the largest estuary in Galicia and goes up the river Ulla. We will come across towns bathed by sweet and salt waters that house a cathedral-fortress, medieval bridges and even a set of raised stone granaries standing by the sea shore.

More information...
- Provincial Museum. www.museo.depo.es
- Monastery of San Xoán de Poio. 986 770 244 (Monastery)/986 770 000 (Hospedería)
- Museum of the Galician People. www.museodopobo.es
- Galician contemporary art centre (Santiago): www.cgac.org

 

Day 1

The charming villa of Tui welcomes us at the start of our journey
  

We recommend arriving in Tui, early in the afternoon, through the AP-9, A-55, the N-550 or PO-552. It is a beautiful villa enriched by the river landscape of the Miño, that serves as the natural frontier with Portugal.

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It was one of the capitals of Galicia until 1833 and boasts the only cathedral in the whole province of Pontevedra. These are more than enough reasons for us to wander along its streets, after having checked-in to our chosen accommodations chosen from among a wide range of possibilities, including the Parador, (state-owned hotel) located one kilometre from the town’s centre, opposite the International Bridge designed by Eiffel, that connects with Portugal.

We begin the visit by going up to the promontory which is the villa of Tui. We will feel as if time had stopped in the Middle Ages as we go up the streets Rúa Canicoba, Entrefornos, do Corpo Santo or when we pass through the tunnel de Encerradas. This is a vaulted passageway that runs below the convent of the Claire Nuns and that connects the high part of the villa with the area inside the walls. The hands of the nuns that inhabit the convent knead the dough for the “pececitos” (little fish), delicious almond pastries. Their recipe is a secret that is well-kept within the walls of the convent, but this does not stop us from tasting them, for they can be purchased at the convent or in pastry shops.

The walls of the convent of the Claire Nuns
hide the secret of the recipe for “pececitos”
delicious almond pastries typical from Tui

At the top of the villa we can visit the Cathedral of Tui, a beautiful building that is a mixture of temple and fortress. Its western gate is famous for being among the most beautifulof Spanish Gothic architecture and provides unusual images such as that of the Virgin Mary lying on a bed, representing the Nativity. From this point we can see the basin of the Miño river with all its luxuriant vegetation, with its river forests and fertile valleys, dotted with orchards and large vineyards.

Eel or lamprey, accompanied by wines from O Rosal

At dinner time, bear in mind that Tui is known to be the capital do meixon (eel capital), with a gourmet food festival on Easter Sunday. This delicacy is served in small clay pots with the typical mollo (spicy sauce). The Miño estuary also provides its famous lamprey or shad. The wines of O Rosal, with Designation of Origin Rías Baixas, are ideal companions for these dishes.

Day 2

From Tui to Redondela
 

After breakfast we begin to walk the first stage in Galicia of the Portuguese Way, between Tui and Redondela, consisting of a gentle path that follows the course of the river Louro, alternating asphalt roads with paths.

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We begin at the exit of Tui, next to the imposing 18th century stone cross of Rebordáns and its Romanesque church, whose capitals show scenes from Herod’s dinner.

The route moves on toward the chapel of the Virxe do Camiño, after crossing Ponte da Veiga on the river Louro. Farther on, along a forest track, we reach Ponte das Febres on the river San Simón. The bridge gets his name because it is said that here Saint Thelmo became fatally ill. You can read the reference to the event on a plaque.

Sheltered by the riverbank vegetation of the river Louro we arrive at the village of A Madalena. As we leave we find a calvary consisting of five stone crosses and then a beautiful slab bridge on the Louro. We continue toward Ribadelouro leaving Gándaras de Budiño, a wetland of great ecological and archaeological value to the west.

We stop for lunch in O Porriño

And finally we reach the town O Porriño, where we are met by the chapel of San Benito, the church of Santa María and the town hall,am astounding, capricious and huge work by the architect Antonio Palacios, a native of the town.

We stop for lunch in the town, famous for its bread with thick crust and abundant crumb that makes the perfect companion for a dish of tripe, whose culinary festival is held here at the end of summer.

We pass through Mos and have a cuttlefish (chocos) stew for dinner in Redondela

After lunch and a rest we continue our route to the centre of Mos, that we cross passing by the church of Santa Eulalia, the iglesia de Santa Eulalia, el Pazo of the Marquesses of Mos and the and the polychrome stone cross of Os dos Cabaleiros (the two knights) decorated with two lanterns.

Then the road climbs up to the Alto do Inxertado, passing next to the Roman milestone of Vilar de Infesta and crossing the plateau of Chan das Pipas.

From here onwards the itinerary coincides with the N-550 road until we enter Redondela, where we find the convent of Vilavella and then we pass under the eye-catching viaduct Pedro Floriani.

For dinner we can try the cuttlefish (chocos) stewed in their own ink that are so popular in the town, which also offers good accommodation, either in hostels, hotels or lodging houses, or in excellent pazos and country guesthouses.

Day 3

From Redondela to Pontevedra
  

After rising early and having an energizing breakfast we are ready to begin a new stage of the journey, which connects Redondela with Pontevedra.

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We leave the town by passing under the viaduct of Pontevedra, which follows one of the models made popular by Eiffel. Not in vain is Redondela known as the “villa of the viaducts”, that add to its charm and that have seduced many illustrious figures; including Lorca, who once said: “I have travelled through a village that fell out of heaven”. After observing the baroque façade of the chapel of Santa Mariña and with the town behind us, our path enters a forest and goes down to Setefontes.

We taste the oysters of Arcade

We walk into the municipality of Soutomaior through Arcade, a town famous for the quality of its oysters,where we can stop to taste them, accompanied with a few drops of lemon. After a rest we go back to our path, that further on crosses the historic bridge of Ponte Sampaioon the river Verdugo, where a battle was held that caused the French to retreat during the War of Independence. At A Canicouva we cross an evocative cobbled path towards Pontevedra and its sanctuary of the Pilgrim Virgin, where this stage ends.

The old quarter of Pontevedra is one of the best preserved in Galicia.

You will see that Pontevedra has plenty to offer and we encourage you to stroll through the streets of its old quarter, which boasts being amongst the most beautiful and best preserved in Galicia. Its inns, taverns and restaurants provide good products from the ria and wines with Rías Baixas Denomination of Origin.

If it’s a nice day we recommend you take a stroll along the banks of the river Lérez that will lead you to the marshes of Alba, catalogued as a Community Interest Site, or up to the island of sculptures, or Illa das Esculturas, that can be accessed through a number of bridges and walkways. Here you will not only find works of art with the common denominator of granite, but you will also mingle with the locals, who enjoy this area to play sports, read, walk or have picnics. The water games of ducks, swans, herons and kingfishers will entertain you during your stroll.

But if the weather does not permit it, nothing beats finding shelter in the Naval Rooms of the Provincial Museum. In the Numancia Chamber you will be surrounded by the life like feeling of being in Spain's first armoured ship..

We can have dinner and stay the night at the monastery of San Xoán de Poio

Another essential place to visit is the monastery of San Xoán de Poio, about three kilometres from the city, in the nearby town of Poio and located on a beautiful hill that dominates the estuary. There are many art and bibliographic treasures kept in this building, whose origins date back to the 6th century. As pilgrims, do not miss the huge mosaic The Way of Saint James, by the Czech artist Antoine Machourek. Also, the monastery has a hostelry where to dine and sleep.

Day 4

We go out to sea in O Grove
  

On this day we will experience one of the oddest stages of this pilgrimage; the one that reproduces the “Translatio” of the Apostle Saint James.

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As it begins at the ría de Arousa and follows a sea-river route, we will spend the morning on a fun tour along the coast until we reach O Grove, the boarding port for this maritime route.

We visit the charming town of Combarro, carved out of the rock

To reach O Grove we recommend taking some means of public transport that will take us closer to the main points of interest on this stretch of coastline of the Pontevedra estuary. he first stop will be in Combarro . It is a captivating town due to its  fishing village architecture, its stone granaries, stone crosses and its interesting location, sloping on the ria of Pontevedra and carved out of the rock. We suggest following an itinerary that leads from the Praza de San Roque square, in the old quarter, up to the beach of Padrón. From there we get a breathtaking panoramic view of the town, where we will see about thirty raised stone granaries standing right by the sea.

O Grove, the seafood capital

After the visit we continue along the same road toward O Grove, known as the “seafood capital”, where we will arrive at lunchtime. The seafood restaurants that are gathered around the harbour all display the delicacies in their “natural” state or cooked, in pies, served in cocktails, paellas or accompanied by juicy sauces.

We imitate the “Traslatio” on board a catamaran, from O Grove to Pontecesures

The catamaran that travelsThe Way of Saint James Route of the Sea of Arousa and River Ulla, emulating the “Translatio” leaves the port in the afternoon, recreating a legendary journey like the one carried out by the disciples of the Apostle Saint James, transporting his remains in a stone boat from Jaffa (Palestine) to Iria Flavia (Padrón).

We sail the wide ria of Arousa, with varied landscapes that provide stunning views of beaches, coves, capes, islands, towns and fishing villages. Towards the mouth of the Ulla we graze the banks of the archipiélago of the Malveiras, where we find the first of the stone crosses that constitute the marine Via Crucis to Pontecesures, the town located upstream, while we leave the pastures of Lestrove and the meadows of Laíño behind us.

We continue following the trail of this legend in Padrón

On the other side of the great stone bridge of Pontecesures is Padrón. Here you will be able to follow the trail of this legend in the neoclassical church of Santiago, whose interior houses the “Pedrón”, an ancient Roman altar that, according to legend, the stone boat which carried the remains of the Apostle Saint James was moored to. In the area of the Paseo do Espolón you must find the fountain of O Carmo to discover a beautiful stone relief of the “Translatio”.

In Caldas de Reis we can enjoy its thermal springs

If you still have some time left in the evening we propose taking some means of transportation to Caldas de Reis, famous for its thermal springs. This is a good way to round off the day by relaxing in its spas, enjoying the benefits of its mineral-medicinal waters or signing up for a repairing massage.

If before returning to Padrón to spend the night you decide to dine at Caldas de Reis, try its exquisite lamprey pie or the trout from the river Umia, with a roscón (sponge cake ring) for dessert.

Day 5

From Padrón to Santiago de Compostela
  

After breakfast we begin the final stage of the Portuguese Way between Padrón and Santiago de Compostela.

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At the exit of the villa a sculpture represents a pilgrim walking. This is the starting point for a stage that leads almost in a straight line to A Escravitude where its magnificent baroque sanctuary with artistic towers and staircase are worth highlighting. Inside is an altarpiece painted in gold with images and murals.

After a stretch of forest the route crosses the railroad tracks at the hamlet of Angueira de Suso and we head down to the street Rúa de Francos, decorated with a gothic stone cross A detour leads to the ruins of Castro Lupario, home to the legendary Queen Lupa (the Wolf queen) who, according to the tradition of The Way, offered the oxen to pull the cart carrying the remains of the Apostle to his place of burial.

We pass a series of little villages such as Osebe, Casalonga, Pedreira, each increasingly more populated, until we reach O Milladoiro, a town that provides a wide range of services and where we can stop for lunch. After resting we continue our journey towards Agro dos Monteiros, from where we get the first glimpse of the towers of the Cathedral of Santiago.

Queen Lupa
offered the oxen to
pull the cart that would
transport the remains of the Apostle

We reach Santiago de Compostela

The old medieval road leaves the ruins of the archiepiscopal castle of A Rocha Vella on one side and then reaches the neighbourhood of A Choupana, now near the chapel of Santa Marta, in the centre of the city of Santiago de Compostela.We continue along the avenue of Rosalía de Castro and Xoán Carlos I, leaving the Alameda to the left. We enter the old quarter through the Porta Faxeira, one of the seven gates to enter the city’s medieval wall that today no longer exists.

We cross the Rúa do Franco, one of the most lively streets in the old quarter, where a large number of restaurants are located and that show the good quality Galician products, mainly meat, fish and seafood by the entrance in fish tanks and refrigerated showcases.

We end the journey at the Praza do Obradoiro, square, seeking the rewarding sight of the cathedral's façade and its towers in all their splendour. The evening light will give a special aura to the snapshot that no pilgrim should miss taking with the majestic temple in the background.

For dinner we recommend checking out some of the many nearby restaurants. In addition to hostels, Santiago also offers a wide range of quality accommodation.

Day 6

A day in Santiago, among stones and gardens
  

The cathedral and its spectacular surroundings

After breakfast we will first explore the historic old quarter,declared World Heritage Site in 1985.

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We recommend you postpone the visit to the interior of the cathedral until the hour of the Pilgrim’s Mass. Meanwhile, you can take some time to carefully observe the various facades of the temple and visit its surrounding squares and streets to better appreciate their beauty and artistic value.

At the stroke of noon with the deep “C” tone of A Berenguela, the largest bell of the cathedral tower housed in its Clock Tower, we will head to the interior of the temple. In order to embrace the Apostle we must climb up to the shrine of the main altar, where his effigy is located. Then we can go down to the crypt and stop for a moment before the silver urn where the remains of the Apostle and his disciples Theodore and Athanasius are said to be kept.

On certain liturgical dates the botafumeiro, a giant censer, swings in the transept of the cathedral, almost touching the vault. Thick incense mist floods the atmosphere with its scent and magic and provides images and sensations that we will not easily forget.

The park of Bonaval with its desecrated cemetery will astound us

At lunchtime we can choose a restaurant, inn, steakhouse, seafood restaurant or tavern, for Santiago has all this to offer. We will spend the afternoon strolling through the city’s green areas. We recommend heading up to San Domingos de Bonaval, from where we’ll get fantastic views of the city and where we find a desecrated cemetery whose charm and special acoustics make it an ideal stage for occasional musical performances.

Tradition and modernity face-to-face

On one side of the way up to Bonaval Park is the Museo do Pobo Galego (Museum of the Galician People), which houses the most important collection of Galician culture and ethnography. Inside you can marvel at the famous triple spiral staircase, designed by Domingo de Andrade, a masterpiece of harmony and balance. On the other side is the Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, which in addition to its content is also interesting because of the building, by the Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza.

After dinner we must not miss Santiago’s nightlife. We can have a quiet drink in one of its classic pubs and stroll along its streets, which are captivating when the yellow light of the streetlights caresses the stones on the pavement and buildings.

Day 7

The fresh produce market and its “paisanas” (peasant women)
  

We cannot say farewell to Santiago without visiting its fresh produce Market in action.

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It is the city’s main market and the most traditional. We encourage you to explore all the aisles of this magnificent stone building, where your senses will be flooded by countless aromas, colours and sounds. The shopkeepers will continuously invite you to check the quality of their products.

One of its most unusual features is the figure of the “paisanas” (peasant women) that still survives, selling the products from their vegetable gardens, honey from their hives, eggs from their hens and even live chickens from their coops. The most famous are the pementeiras (green pepper sellers) from Padrón.

In addition, within the market premises some restaurants prepare the products we have purchased for us to eat.

Arriba