The origin of the Portuguese Camino, like other routes of the Camino de Santiago, dates back to the discovery of the remains of the Apostle Santiago el Mayor, in the year 813. Although during the high Middle Ages other routes, such as the French Way, lived its moment of splendor, the Portuguese Way had a more hesitant start.
After the discovery of the remains by Bishop Teodomiro, from the diocese of Iria Flavia. King Alfonso II ordered the construction of a church on the site where the discovery was made, where the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela stands today.
From that moment, numerous Christians from Europe and Portugal began their pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Although the Portuguese Way was not the most traveled road at that time, from the 10th century some of the most devoted parishioners began their journey on the Portuguese roads to reach Galician lands.
As in other routes of the Camino de Santiago, the layout of the Portuguese Way was formed from old roads and paths that had been inherited from the Romanesque era. An example is via XIX, created in the 1st century AD. to unite Braga and Astorga, and known as Antonio’s Itinerary.
Origin of the Portuguese Camino
This route began to have importance in the 12th century. As we always remember, the different routes of the Camino de Santiago are not just pilgrimage routes. They are also important trade routes connecting points of special vitality for medieval commerce and production. Thus, they also served to establish cultural exchanges between Portugal and Galicia after independence.
King Don Manuel I of Portugal was one of those who made this Portuguese Way from Lisbon. Specifically, it did so in the early 16th century.
Other historical figures also joined him later and contributed to making this route one of the most important for understanding Europe’s own history. A route that, due to its charm, its gastronomy and the points of interest it has, you cannot miss.
The consolidation of the Portuguese Camino
The importance of the Portuguese Way became latent from the 12th century, after the independence of Portugal led by King Alfonso I. Since then, a dense flow of people towards the city of Compostela has been established, without being affected by the reforms and counter-reforms that the country went through.
During the 12th and 13th centuries, pilgrims who crossed the Portuguese lands to the north of the Iberian peninsula did so for various reasons, beyond religious ones. The geographical proximity between two neighboring territories that belonged to different countries, one of them recently independent, generated economic and cultural ties that fed the route.
It was in the 13th century that Afonso II (1186-1223), king of Portugal, completed this historical journey to Santiago de Compostela. The monarch was known as “El Gordo” due to an illness he suffered from.
The pilgrimage of Queen Elizabeth of Portugal in the 14th century is the milestone that has just consolidated the Jacobean tradition in the Portuguese country. This visit and the pilgrimages of numerous other characters of the nobility, kings and clergymen are those that allow, at present, to have numerous documented reports of the history of the Portuguese Way.
The wonders of the Portuguese coast route
This route of the Camino de Santiago crosses three districts of Portugal and two Galician provinces. The pilgrimage through this Jacobean itinerary is carried out surrounded by an extraordinary environment, accompanied by the beauty of the Portuguese north coast and its magnificent cliffs.
Of course, this route also has enigmatic monasteries and surprising legends. And, like the Central Portuguese Way, it ends with magnificent views over the Galician estuary.
The coast of Portugal is quite touristy and since this Camino de Santiago runs parallel to it, the pilgrim will go through a succession of fishing villages, with a Portuguese traditional air.
The route and stages
The Portuguese Camino de Santiago along the Coast is the route that begins in Porto and goes to Compostela bordering the Portuguese coast. Of the Jacobean itineraries, the Camino de Santiago that follows the coast of Portugal is one of the least popular but is one of the most beautiful.
The Portuguese route along the coast consists from Porto to Santiago in 175 miles (280 kms). With our tour we will walk 86 miles (137 kms) in 9 Stages with an average of 9,5 miles (15,2 kms).
Here’s an outline of the 3 stages of the Portuguese Camino Coast Path and 6 on the Interior Path :
- Stage 1: Aldeia Nova-Vila do Conde – 10,6 miles (17 kms)
- Stage 2: Povoa do Varzim- Esposende –11,25 miles (18 kms)
- Stage 3: Antas-Viana do Castelo – 9,37 miles (15 kms)
From here we go to the conventional Camino in the interior path with 6 stages:
- Stage 4: Ponte do Lima-Rubiaes – 8,75 miles (14 kms)
- Stage 5: Rubiaes-Tuy (crossing to Spain) – 9,37 miles (15 kms)
- Stage 6: Tui-Porriño –11,5 miles (18.5 kms)
- Stage 7: Redondela-Pontevedra – 8,25 miles (13 kms)
- Stage 8: Pontevedra-Caldas – 10 miles (16 kms)
- Stage 9: Iria Flavia-Santiago – 6,6 miles (10.5 kms)