Portuguese Coast Road
El Portuguese Way along the Coast, also known as Camino Monacal, in its Galician section.
Path that begins its journey in Porto, largely, having the Atlantic Ocean as an inseparable traveling companion, giving us breathtaking views, fabulous sunsets and unforgettable sunsets.
In addition to the spectacular Porto, it visits coastal cities as important and full of history as Viana do Conde, Viana do Castelo, A Guarda, Baiona and Vigo, until meeting the Portuguese Central Way, in Redondela, and finish in Santiago de Compostela.
Origin of the Portuguese Coastal Way or Monarcal Way
The Portuguese Coastal Way, which in case you didn't know, is also known as Monarchal Path in the section where it crosses Galicia. This is the Jacobean route that runs along the wonderful Atlantic coast.
It has its starting point in the city of Porto until joins the Camino Portugues Central, in Redondela. According to the documentation found, this route has been used since the XNUMXth century by Portuguese hikers. Today, it enjoys good popularity even by non-Portuguese pilgrims.
A Little History
As we have said, its origins date back to the XNUMXth century. Nevertheless, it was not officially recognized until very recently. Specifically, in 2016. Its interest and boom begins to grow among pilgrims, although it is still a long way from the Camino de Santiago from Sarria, which is the most popular and traveled to date.
In the stretch that runs through Galicia, in fact, there is some historical evidence going back as far as the XNUMXth century (long before). This means that the pilgrims who have crossed this path can be counted in the thousands.
As data, we are going to leave some historical references about its origin and evolution over time:
En Save, the first town in Galicia that touches the Camino Portugués de la Costa, there was a pilgrims hospital, that of San Marcos. Although there is no exact date of its foundation, some sources already mention it in medieval times. It appears in documents from 1458.
Pilgrims in 1450 already crossed the river Miño until they reached A Guarda through the boat of Corpo Santo. He disembarked in A Pasaxe and through the roads of Camposancos they arrived at the hospital of San Marcos.
Another curious fact is that it refers to Saint Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury. During his pilgrimage to Santiago from a monastery in Portugal in the XNUMXth century, he operated the Oia Monastery as a hostel. In 1450, this establishment also had a hospital for pilgrims.
So successively, at different points on this path, hospitals and hostels for pilgrims have been registered around the same dates.
The legend of the shell
As is well known, the scallop shell is one of the most representative icons of the Camino de Santiago and its pilgrims. But, according to legend, its origin comes from an episode that occurred precisely on the Camino Portugues along the coast.
A local gentleman was participating in a game of spear skill with other family members on his wedding day. In the middle of the dispute, he ended up in the water of the Ría de Vigo, horse included. Minutes passed and the young man did not come out, so he seemed to have drowned.
Right now, the ship that brought the remains of the Apostle Santiago arrived. According to legend, at the moment of landfall, the man also surfaced on his horse, but covered in scallop shells.
Starting point and main cities through which it passes
As we have already said, Porto is the starting point of the Portuguese Way along the coast. Has a length of 304 km in total divided into 13 stages. All of them stand out for their great coastal beauty, exquisite cuisine and kindness of those who live in these areas. They are especially receptive to pilgrims.
Among the main cities that are visited on the Portuguese Way along the coast, we highlight the following:
With almost 250.000 inhabitants, Porto, It is the second largest city in Portugal, only after its capital, Lisbon. It enjoys an extensive and impressive historical heritage, as well as a rich culture. Today it is declared as World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Povoa de Varzim
Tourist and traditional, this Portuguese city is part of the Porto district. It is located on the famous Costa Verde, being particularly known for its extensive and varied beaches. Here the promenade and the restaurants will always be protagonists, without neglecting the practice of water sports.
Much smaller, it is 18 km away from Porto. This small town is ideal for resting, but also enjoy its calm environment. Right here are the ruins of Castro de Sampaio, an old fishing village dating back to pre-Roman times.
Belonging to the Portuguese municipality of Esposende, Marinhas, it is small but charming. Developed in an area of beautiful beaches that stand out for their important ecological value. They are part of the Parque Natural do Litoral Norte.
Viana do Castelo
In the north of Portugal, Viana do Castelo It is considered a true jewel of the famous Costa Verde. It stands out for its impressive old town dating back to medieval times. You will see narrow streets lined with Manueline-style palaces and mansions. Without a doubt, the jewel in the crown is the Neo-Byzantine church of Santa Luzia.
On the border, this beautiful villa belongs to the district of Viana do Castelo. It is located in the famous historical area of Alto Minho. He played quite an important role in the different battles between Spain and Portugal. In fact, he still maintains his wall built in the XNUMXth century.
Belonging to the parish of Santa Cristina da Ramallosa, it is a beautiful town that seems to have been trapped in time, with its perfectly preserved buildings. Right here passed the old roman road, between Braga and Astorga. Later it was converted as Camino Real.
This parish belongs to the municipality of Oia. It is a wonderful natural enclave, as well as an old town where you can still see the pre-roman fortifications. You will also find petroglyphs at different points, being the Cabeciña complex, the most famous.
famous for being a Galician town full of bridges, Redondela is a fishing village that is on the Vigo estuary. Here we can enjoy different monuments, both religious and civil. For example, the Vilavella convent or its manor houses. Of course, many of the bridges are listed as historical monuments.
We don't need to do much of an introduction to you. We know very well that It is the most populated city in all of Galicia, as well as an important economic center.
Apart from its industrial importance, in recent years it has been gaining popularity as a tourist destination. This is thanks to its beautiful natural environment, its well-preserved Historical-Artistic Site and its wonderful gastronomy. All this has earned it the title of best destination in Galicia for tapas.
Viajes Mundiplus is one of the main agencies of the Camino de Santiago that we operate this Portuguese Way along the coast from Porto to Santiago.