In the heart of Galicia, where nature and history weave a captivating melody, is located Caldas de Reis, a corner not yet saturated by waves of mass tourism. 

Imagine a place where hot springs have flowed since Roman times, a haven of peace where every stone and every tree has a story to tell. This picturesque Galician enclave is much more than a simple tourist destination, It is a door to the history, culture and unmatched beauty of northwest Spain.

This picturesque Galician town not only invites you to immerse yourself in its famous medicinal waters. Also to get lost in its alleys, to discover its old bridges and to witness its mills that, stealthily, have defied the passage of time. 

Accompanied by the murmur of the Umia River and the aroma of fresh earth, this place becomes the perfect refuge. Especially for those looking to disconnect and live an authentic experience. Of course, also for all pilgrims who choose to live the adventure of the Portuguese Way.

If you are ready for an out-of-the-ordinary adventure, let yourself be seduced by this picturesque town. Let’s embark together on this journey through the heart of Galicia!

Caldas de Reis and the Camino de Santiago

Caldas de Reis and its unbreakable link with the Camino de Santiago is evident in every corner of this historic Galician town. This town stands as an essential crossing point on the Portuguese route to Santiago de Compostela, offering a warm hug to the thousands of pilgrims who cross it annually.

Since ancient times, pilgrims have found here a refuge where the fatigue of the road is relieved

Known ones hot springs of the town are not only a treasure for their healing properties, but also a gift for exhausted walkers looking for a well-deserved rest. The comforting sensation of submerging your feet in these waters is an experience that many keep in their memory.

In addition to its natural heritage, Caldas de Reis shines for its rich cultural heritage. Historic bridges, ancient churches and picturesque alleys speak of centuries of history and devotion. In this sense, the help of a company to do the Camino de Santiago de Compostela has become increasingly prominent.

These companies offer services that facilitate the pilgrimage experience, from transporting luggage to organizing personalized routes. For those looking to combine the tradition of the Camino with modern comforts, these companies are the perfect bridge.

Hot springs: a gift from nature

Gushing from the depths of the earth, hot springs are a natural phenomenon that is often described as a miracle of nature. In Caldas de Reis, these waters have not only formed part of the geographical landscape, but also the cultural and emotional landscape of its inhabitants and visitors.

History and associated legends

Caldas de Reis, whose name literally translates as “Hot Waters of the Kings”, has been since ancient times a reference point for those seeking healing and rest. It is said that the Romans, known for their love of thermal baths, already used these waters for their cleansing and relaxation rituals.

But beyond recorded history, the waters have given rise to numerous local legends. One of the most popular tells that a king, afflicted by an incurable disease, found the cure by immersing himself in these magical waters. From that day on, the waters were known as the “King’s Gift” to his people.

Therapeutic benefits

Beyond legends, the thermal waters of Caldas de Reis have recognized therapeutic properties. Rich in minerals such as magnesium, calcium and silicon, are believed to help relieve skin conditions, muscle pain and arthritis. Additionally, the act of soaking in hot water alone promotes relaxation, reducing stress and promoting general well-being.

Featured places to enjoy them

Although there are various thermal springs spread throughout the region, there are particularly emblematic places in Caldas de Reis:

  1. The Roman Baths: Restored to preserve their historical essence, these hot springs offer an experience that combines the charm of the past with the benefits of the waters.
  2. The Caldas de Reis Spa: This modern establishment provides spa services, where thermal waters become the protagonist of relaxing and therapeutic treatments.
  3. The Outdoor Pools: Located next to the river, these natural pools allow visitors to enjoy the hot springs in a natural and refreshing environment.

A trip here would not be complete without immersing yourself in the liquid gift that nature has bestowed on this land. It is an experience that connects body, mind and soul in a bath of history, health and beauty.

Architectural Jewels: Witnesses of Time

Cities and towns, over the centuries, become a living tapestry where each structure tells a story. 

Caldas de Reis, with its rich history and strategic geographical position, is no exception. Its buildings, squares and bridges act as silent witnesses to the passage of time, keeping secrets and anecdotes from past and current generations. By entering its corners, one finds oneself in a constant dialogue between the past and the present.

Historic Bridges

The bridges here are much more than just structures that cross rivers. Are connection symbolsNot only geographical, but also historical and cultural. Over the centuries, they have allowed the flow of people, goods and, of course, pilgrims heading to Santiago.

A popular anecdote holds that a prince, fleeing his pursuers, crossed one of these bridges in the deepest darkness of the night, being saved thanks to the guidance of a local elder. This story, although not verified, exemplifies the stories associated with these historical steps.

Churches and sacred buildings

The churches of this emblematic place are not just buildings, they are monuments to the faith and devotion of its inhabitants. Every carved stone, every colored stained glass window, speaks of centuries of reverence and celebration. Many pilgrims who choose the Portuguese Way pause in Caldas de Reis, finding in its churches a place of reflection and prayer before continuing their spiritual journey towards Santiago de Compostela. 

Alleys and squares

The narrow streets and squares of Caldas de Reis are not just places of traffic. Are scenarios where everyday life unfolds, showing the very essence of local culture. Here, children play, elders share stories, and families celebrate.

Every square and every corner hosts festivities throughout the year. From traditional festivals to modern celebrations, these spaces become the beating heart of the town, where the community comes together in celebration and camaraderie.

Local gastronomy

The soul of a place is palpable not only in its landscapes or architecture, but also in the essence of its flavors and aromas. In Caldas de Reis, gastronomy is a window to the Galician heart, a reflection of its rich history, its diverse geography and its passionate culture.

Every bite is a trip, a memory, a celebration. From dishes that have survived generations to the corners where they are served, the culinary experience is an adventure that captivates both the palate and the spirit.

Traditional dishes from Caldas de Reis

Caldas de Reis prides itself on its traditional dishes, many of which have their roots in old family recipes. He “Lacon with turnip tops“, a succulent pork dish accompanied by turnip sprouts, is a classic not to be missed. The “Galician Empanadas”, filled with different ingredients depending on the season, are a testament to the versatility and richness of local cuisine.

What to do in Caldas de Reis?

The green and undulating landscape, crossed by rivers and adorned with lush forests, invites the visitor to lose themselves in the magic of Galicia. Here, the air is a whisper of freshness and each step is a discovery. 

Whether you are looking for the serenity of a walk along the river or the excitement of a path that takes you to hidden viewpoints, Caldas de Reis offers you that “Galician respite” that renews the spirit.

Hiking trails

This place is a paradise for hiking lovers. Its routes wind through forests of eucalyptus, oak and chestnut trees, offering spectacular panoramic views of the Galician landscape. The Water Route, for example, is a route that follows old water mills, taking the walker on a historical and natural journey simultaneously.

Picnic areas along the Umia River

El Umia River, with its crystal clear waters, is the perfect place for a comforting break. Along its course, there are numerous areas prepared for picnics, where families and groups of friends often gather, especially on sunny days.

Viewpoints and secret places to contemplate the landscape

Galicia is a land of viewpoints, and Caldas de Reis is not far behind. El Miradoroiro do Río Umia, for example, offers unparalleled panoramic views of the region, making it a perfect place for reflection and admiration. 

Additionally, for those willing to explore a little further, there are secret corners, known mainly to locals, that offer unique perspectives and moments of absolute serenity.

Tips for the traveler

If you’re planning a visit, here are some tips to get the most out of your stay:

  1. Best time to visit: Although beautiful any time of year, spring and fall are particularly attractive for their mild weather and the natural splendor of the seasons. Summer is ideal if you prefer warmer temperatures, but it can be busier for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago.
  2. Suitable footwear: If you plan to enjoy hiking trails and explore the natural environment, it is essential to wear good, comfortable and water-resistant mountain shoes.
  3. Visit the hot springs: You can’t go to Caldas de Reis and not enjoy its famous hot springs. Bring a swimsuit and relax in these healing waters that have been prized since Roman times.
  4. Holidays and festivals: Educating yourself about local festivities can enrich your experience. This town usually celebrates gastronomic, cultural and religious events throughout the year.
  5. Respect for nature: If you decide to venture into natural spaces, remember to take your trash with you and respect protected areas. The conservation of these spaces is essential to maintain their beauty and biodiversity.
  6. Shipping cost: Although Caldas de Reis is accessible by car, you can also get there by public transport from the main Galician cities. Once in the town, it is easy to get around on foot or by bicycle.
  7. Accommodation: From pilgrim hostels to charming hotels, there are options for all budgets. It is advisable to book in advance, especially in high season.
  8. Meet the locals: The inhabitants of Caldas de Reis are friendly and welcoming. Don’t hesitate to strike up conversations, ask for recommendations, or learn more about local traditions and history.

As you can see, the Camino Portugues is a wonderful alternative to the French Camino de Santiago from Sarria organized. And within this route, one of the most obligatory steps is Caldas de Reis. Here, not only will the natural beauty captivate you, but its hot springs will allow you to gain the necessary energy until you reach Santiago.