hidden europe 2

The Caminho Português

by Nicky Gardner


the market at Barcelos: a stopping off point on the pilgrim trail from Portugal to Santiago

There are many roads to Santiago. The famous pilgrim camino that crosses northern Spain from the Pyrenees to the Galician city of Santiago de Compostela is just one of a dozen or more established trails that converge on the great cathedral with its supposed shrine of St James the Apostle. The route from the Pyrenees is called the Camino Francés and that is followed by the great majority of pilgrims to Santiago. Much less well known is the Caminho Português that approaches Santiago from the south. The route from Porto at the mouth of the Rio Douro to Santiago de Compostela is some 230 km long. Modern pilgrims along the Caminho Português follow in the footsteps of many illustrious predecessors. This was the route taken by Queen Elizabeth of Portugal, who, following the death of her husband in 1325, made the pilgrimage to the shrine of St James, a milestone in the journey that ended in her canonisation three hundred years after her death.

The Caminho Português is a nice enough route, crossing through some of northern Portugal's most seductively beautiful landscapes, and then on through the forests and wooded valleys of Galicia.

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