Have you ever dreamed of doing a pilgrimage? Join us and walk the Portuguese road to the tomb of Saint James in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
You walk parts of the “Camino Portugés” – the Portuguese road – together with a small group and Swedish tour guide. You live in simple but comfortable hotels and have the package sent between our accommodations to really enjoy the road. In total, you will walk 100 kilometers in five days from the city of Vigo near the Portuguese border to Santiago de Compostela.
It was when the earthly remains of Jesus’ disciple, the Apostle James, were found that the pilgrims began to walk to his tomb. The first to make a pilgrimage was Gottskalk, bishop of Le Puy, in 950. Saint Birgitta also wandered here in the 14th century. The Way of St. James, as it is also called, has many starting points and routes, but all radiate together with Santiago de Compostela as the end point. The apostle’s symbol – the scallop – is used to mark the route of the trail.
To get your pilgrimage certificate “La Compostela” you must have walked at least 100 kilometers of the trail and received daily stamps in your pilgrim pass. This, together with sometimes somewhat sore feet and mostly happy smiles, is proof that one walks like a pilgrim towards the tomb of Saint James in Santiago de Compostela – accompanied by many happy cries and “buen camino”!
What does it take to be able to do the hike?
You walk an average of about 20 kilometers a day. The longest hike you do is 25 kilometers and the shortest 12 kilometers. The surface shifts between sand, gravel, asphalt and cobblestones. There are both uphill and downhill slopes on the road. When you send your luggage, you only need a lighter daypack. This together with well-worn hiking boots and a good mood facilitates the hike and you do not have to be an athlete to both cope with and enjoy the hike.
Day 1: Departure from Scandinavia to the starting point of our hike – the city of Vigo
You fly to Santiago de Compostela where you are met by your Swedish tour guide and beam together with the rest of the group – you then go together by bus to the city of Vigo where the hike starts the next day. After check-in, there is time for questions and reflections before those who want to go out and have dinner together. Here in Vigo you should not miss eating fish or tapas. In addition, the locally grown Rias Baixas wines are advantageously drunk
Day 2: Vigo to Arcade – city, glorious views among oaks and chestnuts
You start the day by having the pilgrim pass stamped. This is done in churches, in some hotels, restaurants, tourist offices and in the town halls. When you are in Galicia, you must have two stamps per day to then be able to receive your pilgrimage certificate. Today the hike goes from Vigo which is a relatively large port city but you are soon out of town and the rest of the day is a quiet and pleasant hiking experience. through small villages. When we pass the small town of Redondela, the two Portuguese hiking trails radiate together, but despite this, there are significantly fewer pilgrims hiking here than on e.g. the French way. Today’s hike ends in the Arcade. If you are unsure of what to eat for dinner today, Arcade is known for its oysters! Today’s hike: About 6-7 hours at a comfortable pace. 23 kilometers. ( F )
Day 3: Arcade to Pontevedra – historic road dating from the 13th century
Today we cross the Verdugo River via the Ponte Sampaio. This is the bridge where Napoleon’s armies suffered their greatest defeats in Galicia. From here we continue on the paved road that the pilgrims walked already during the 13th century. At the beautiful medieval church of Santa María we can enjoy fantastic views over the Gulf of Vigo as we walk on towards Pontevedra. Today’s hike: About 3 hours at a comfortable pace, 12 kilometers. ( F )
Day 4: Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis – chestnut forest, pine groves and eucalyptus trees
Another day of really nice hiking, alternating with forests and villages. we pass the classic grain warehouses – horreos – built in stone or wood on foundations. In the village of Ponte Cabras we stop to admire the rectory Santa María de Alba. At Lombo da Maceira we see a statue of St Jakob with his walking stick showing us pilgrims the way. There are also streams and ponds on the road that are perfect to stop at and cool off before we reach Caldas de Reis where we stay tonight. Today’s hike: About 6 hours, 22 kilometers ( F )
Day 5: Caldas de Reis to Padron – across rivers, past springs and through coniferous forest
Camino Portugués takes us across the river Umia, here were also many hot springs during Roman times and which gave the city its name. Our hike takes us through forest and a slow climb up to the village of Santa Mariña to then go down again over the river Fontenlo. The last bit towards Padron we walk through pine forest on soft paths. And for dinner today, you still have to try pimientos de padron in honor of the city? Today’s hike: About 4-5 hours, 18 kilometers ( F )
Day 6: Padron to Santiago de Compostela – cities, fields and suburbs
We start early with the hope of arriving before the pilgrimage office closes to pick up our compostelor – pilgrimage certificate. If we do not have time, we will not do anything because we have an extra day in Santiago de Compostela. We walk on forest paths, past fields and then notice that we are beginning to approach our final destination. The last bit we walk through the suburbs of Santiago de Compostela before we finally reach the cathedral and can enjoy the view, the atmosphere and the pride. Today’s hike: About 6-7 hours, 25 kilometers (F)
Day 7: Santiago de Compostela – the resting place of the Apostle James and the UNESCO World Heritage Site
If we did not pick up our compostelor yesterday, we will do it today. During the Middle Ages, mussel shells were handed out on arrival and that is why this is the symbol of pilgrims. Now the shells are used as a symbol and signpost on the caminon itself and you see them on all the signs that show the way. Many pilgrims also buy a shell and carry it on their backpack as a sign that they are on a pilgrimage. At 12 o’clock every day, it is then a pilgrimage mass when you, together with other pilgrims, contemplate your walk and feel the joy of having completed your walk and reached your goal. Santiago de Compostela is a lovely city to visit. Unique architecture and charming little streets where you meet other happy pilgrims. The old part of the city enchants with its medieval center. Here are markets, alleys and lots of cozy restaurants serving tapas and ice cold beer or strong coffee. Inside the cathedral, in addition to the tomb of the apostle James, you can see the world’s largest incense burner, which weighs 50 kilos without incense and up to 80 kilos when it is filled and ready to turn over the aisle. (F )
Day 8: Return trip
Today it’s time to go home. A transfer to the airport is included and then you will soon be home in Sweden again.
One night in double room including breakfast in Vigo
One night in double room including breakfast in Arcade
One night in double room including breakfast in Pontevedra
One night in double room including breakfast in Caldas de Reis
One night in double room including breakfast in Padron
Two nights in double room including breakfast in Santiago of Compostela