Camino Portuguese Coastal

Portuguese Way | Spiritual Variant and Traslatio

Tour Description

Discover the Spiritual Variant of the Portuguese Way

The Portuguese Spiritual Variant is an alternative route to the Portuguese Camino. The route follows the same way as the Apostle’s body when it was brought to the peninsula. And it has a very special feature: the Traslatio, a route by boat from Vilanova de Arousa to Padrón, the land where the Apostle’s remains first arrived almost 2000 years ago.

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Experience details

Included Services

Lodging in private room with private bathroom
Luggage transfer between stages
Half board: breakfast and dinner
Travel insurance
Walking notes
Pilgrim passport
24/7 telephone assistance

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It doesn’t matter if you were walking the Portuguese Way Inland or the Portuguese Coastal Way. Both routes pass through Pontevedra, a city known for its historical quarter, will mark the start of the Spiritual Variant.

Pontevedra – Armenteira (23 km)

Finally, the start of the Spiritual Way! We will leave from A Peregrina church in Pontevedra and head towards O Salnés area. In Armenteira we will stop at its monastery, which dates from 1162 and is object of many legends.

Armenteira - Vilanova de Arousa (22 km)

Today we will follow the Ruta da Pedra e da Auga, or Stone and Water route. We will walk through a beautiful riverside full of greenery, leaving behind bridged and old water mills.

Vilanova de Arousa - Padrón (27 km, Traslatio)

The Traslatio, the route’s most remarkable feature, will take us from Vilanova de Arousa, a charming fishing village, to Padrón. Traveling by boat through the Ría de Arousa and river Ulla, we will be following the steps of the Apostle’s body. On our way we will be able to see up to 17 cruceiros, that make this maritime-fluvial route an unique Way of the Cross.

Padrón – Santiago (24,5 km)

From Padrón, we will be back on the tratitional Portuguese Way, so many more pilgrims will accompany us on our last walk! Once in Santiago, don’t forget to get your Compostela at the Pilgrim’s Office. And give the Apostle the traditional hug!

Check out Santiago

Your last day with us.

Standard Category Accommodations on Camino Portuguese Coastal

1* and 2* hotels

These hotels offer private rooms with private bathrooms as well as other additional services that may vary depending on the type of category: restaurant service, television, room service, dry cleaning, ironing service, etc. It is common to stay in this type of hotels in the cities along the Camino.

Hostels and pensions

These accommodations have the necessary services to cover the basic needs of cleanliness and rest at a more moderate price than the hotels . Officially, hostels and guesthouses are 1-star accommodations. However, this rating should not be taken into account when evaluating the level of comfort and quality of their services.

Trip cancellation insurance
Upgrade to superior room
Extra night at the beginning of the tour
Extra night at the end of the tour
Private transfer airport-starting location
Private transfer Santiago-Airport
Other private transfers
Organized visits and excursions
Pilgrim massage

Route map

Touristic information

Discover the hidden gem of the Camino de Santiago: the Spiritual Variant of the Portuguese Way. This unique route offers pilgrims a deeply enriching experience, combining the beauty of coastal landscapes with the tranquility of rural trails. Beginning in Pontevedra, this variant deviates from the traditional Portuguese Way, taking you through serene forests and past ancient monasteries such as Armenteira. The journey culminates with a boat ride, following the legendary route of the Apostle’s remains. For those seeking a spiritual journey full of natural beauty and historical significance, the Spiritual Variant of the Portuguese Way is an unforgettable pilgrimage.

Villages that you will visit on the Spiritual Variant of the Portuguese Way

Pontevedra

Pontevedra

Also known as “Boa Vila“, Pontevedra is a city with a long maritime and mercantile tradition that preserves one of the most important and elegant historical centers of Galicia. With a close relationship with the Camino de Santiago, Pontevedra is considered the capital of the Portuguese Way to Santiago.

Armenteira

This small town located in the province of Pontevedra is known for its Cistercian monastery, the Monastery of Santa María de Armenteira. This historic monastery, founded in the 12th century, is an architectural jewel that offers pilgrims an atmosphere of peace and reflection.

Vilanova de Arousa

This charming coastal town located in the province of Pontevedra is known for its beautiful natural surroundings and rich seafaring tradition. This town, which sits on the Arousa estuary, offers a landscape of quiet beaches, marshes and a vibrant fishing port. From Vilanova, it is possible to embark on a boat trip that follows the historic journey that, according to legend, the body of the Apostle St. James made along the estuary to Padrón.

Padrón

Padrón

Located 22 kilometers from Santiago de Compostela, this town is linked to the apostle St. James, as his remains came from Jerusalem to this city. It is also known for being the home of two important writers: the poetess Rosalía de Castro and the Nobel Prize for Literature, Camilo José Cela.

Places of interest in the Spiritual Variant of the Portuguese Way

Ruta da Pedra e da Auga

From Armenteira, follow the Ruta da Pedra e da Auga, an enchanting trail that will take you through lush forests, passing by ancient stone mills. This section of the Camino is ideal for connecting with nature and enjoying the beauty of the Galician landscape.

Most important monuments on the Spiritual Route of the Portuguese Way

Church of the Pilgrim Virgin in Pontevedra

Church of La Peregrina

The church of the Pilgrim Virgin is a masterful example of 18th century baroque architecture. Its design is attributed to the Portuguese architect Antonio Sousa, who created an elliptical scallop-shaped structure, unique in Galicia. The main façade stands out for its sculptural ensemble of the Pilgrim Virgin, patrion saint of the city, flanked by two elegant bell towers.

Monastery of Santa María de Armenteira

Monastery of Santa María de Armenteira

The Monastery of Santa María de Armenteira, founded in the 12th century, is a Cistercian monastery that has been an important center of devotion and contemplation over the centuries. Its sober and elegant architecture, its carefully designed gardens and its serene atmosphere invite visitors to disconnect from the daily hustle and bustle and connect with the divine.

Pontecesures Roman Bridge

This bridge over the Ulla River dates back to the 1st century and gave its name to the place for almost ten centuries. It underwent renovations, the most important designed by Master Mateo in the twelfth century.Its current appearance is due to the works of 1911. It consists of ten arches linking the provinces of Pontevedra and A Coruña.

What to do in the Spiritual Variant of the Portuguese Way?

Taste the local gastronomy

Taste the delicious Galician gastronomy in the different towns and cities along the Spiritual Route. You will be able to taste traditional dishes such as octopus á feira, stew and Santiago cake.

Explore the culture of the Camino

Along the Spiritual Route you will be able to visit a wide range of cultural and historical heritage such as churches and monasteries. Learn about the history, architecture and culture of each region.

Visit the House Museum of Rosalía de Castro in Padrón

Discover the life and work of the famous Galician poet Rosalía de Castro with a visit to her museum in Padrón. Immerse yourself in the world of this authour and poetess as you explore her former home and learn about her literary legacy.

Why is called the “spiritual variant”?

The first time I heard to talk about this route, I wondered: Will be a route to find oneself?
I was almost sure that it should be something magical and spiritual, as the name pointed in that direction. Thus, I started to research and lots of questions came into my mind…

 “Have you ever wondered what is spiritual about this? The truth is all of the ways to Santiago are full of spirituality. All of them change you in some manner, especially if you arrive in Compostela. All the social experience, along with the physical and mental challenge, and the goodwill of the people you meet, allow you to see the present from another point of view.”

Many people tell us that the Camino has changed their lives, the way they see, live and continue their ways, so I wanted to know why is it renowned as the spiritual variant. Would be it more magical than the others?

Rías Bajas Estuary

Well, it’s easy to understand. The name “spiritual variant is, in fact, the result of the proposal that both the Association Amigos del Camino Portugués and the public institutions of O Salnés made.

Eight years ago, they decided to launch a very special project, after realizing about the historical and artistic heritage in the area. This was closely related to the Camino de Santiago.

Due to the beauty of the Galician South Coast (Rías Baixas) and the historical proximity between the River Ulla and the Camino de Santiago, they thought about an extra route to the Portuguese way. This one would be based on the legend that links the Apostle Santiago remains with Compostela city. Can you imagine what it is?

The legend on how the Santiago remains arrived in Galicia:

Covered by a mystical, even miraculous aura, the legend says that back in 41 or 44 A.D. (more than 1975 years ago) some fishermen, which happened to be Santiago Apostle’s disciples, recovered his remains in Jerusalem. They wanted to transport it through the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic coast by boat.

St. James the Great - Jerusalem

Ok, but… What is spiritual about that?

Well, according to tradition, Herodes Agripa I, the king of Judea who was contrary to the Christianity, would have ordered the beheading of Apostle Santiago while was travelling in Jerusalem.  But why?

The Bible says that Jesus Christ would have sent each Apostle in order to preach the Gospel truth around the world. Santiago was told to do it in Hispania, starting from Gallaecia (Galicia nowadays).

One day, the Virgin Mary appeared by divine grace in front of Saint James the Great. She asked him to travel to Jerusalem in order to meet with her before her Dormition (a concept used by Catolicism to refer to the glorification of the Virgin Mary).

Therefore, St. James Apostle would cross a long way from Gallaecia to Jerusalem. Unfortunately, once there he’d have been caught by Herodes, who ordered his decapitation.

But, what is the relation between that fact and the spiritual variant?

Well, in summary, St James’ disciples have stolen Apostle’s remains in Jerusalem in order to move them to Santiago. Why in Santiago? Simply because the Apostle must be buried in the place where he was preaching before his trip to Jerusalem.

Ok, but, what’s the spiritual thing? The mysticism that covers this story is quite evident. The Apostle’s remains travelled in a boat by sea. Was it a wooden boat?

Not! According to legend it was a stone boat and, furthermore, it was sailing without paddles and neither tiller. However, did you know that it seems to be guided by the stars and protected by the Angels?

Thus, St James remains would have arrived in Galicia protected by his disciples, crossing the Mediterranean Sea and bordering all the Atlantic Coast, from the South to the Northwest of the Iberian Peninsula.

Once there, they got off the boat in the Arousa Estuary, where Sar and Ulla rivers join. Then they arrived in Iria Flavia (Padrón), the first place where the Apostle had preached during his mission in Hispania.

Ok, so how did he arrive in Santiago de Compostela?

Some sources tell that once in Iria Flavia his remains would had traverse 12 miles by the air until reaching the square where the Cathedral currently settles. There, he would have been buried in a Roman Mausoleum.

Would you like to know more about it?

A very long time ago after these facts, the Cathedral of Santiago was erected. In fact, the history tells that more than 1 millenium, back in 813 A.D., the hermit Pelayo noted some strange lights. Surprised to see that, he advised to Teodomiro, the bishop of Iria Flavia, who, after confirming the fact, informed the King of Asturias Alfonso II.

Paio Ermitaño - J.L Serrano Silva - Ilustración

From that moment on, the history of pilgrimage began, as this King got to spread the discovery overseas. So thousands of pilgrims cross several routes to reach the St. James Apostle’s grave since then.

There, where the Mausoleum locates, the King Alfonso II had ordered to build a church, the church of Santiago. Many centuries later, it became the artistic and architectural jewel that we all can see nowadays.

What’s the main difference between the Spiritual Variant and other Camino routes?

Starting point

As opposed to the Portuguese and Portuguese Coastal Way, which both share the last stretch with the Spiritual variant, the starting point is neither Portugal or Baiona.

In this case, you can walk from Pontevedra towards the magnificent Monasterio de Armenteira (Convent). Later you will arrive in Vilanova de Arousa, where you will embark into the ship that sails on the Arousa Estuary (Ría de Arousa) and River Ulla, to finally get off in Pontecesures, from where you will continue on foot to Padrón.

Spiritual Variant Map

Sounds good or you don’t like the idea of sailing?

Some people feel dizzy with ease, so when boarding on a boat, the movement caused by the waves can make them feel bad (as the popular Galician song says: ondiñas veñen e van… –waves come and go-). So be aware that,

in case you don’t plan a trip on board, you could continue on foot from Vilanova, following along Carril and Vilagarcía de Arousa. Two fishermen’s villages that you will love

Spirituality?

The truth is that all of the ways are very spiritual, especially if you have decided to start this adventure for this reason.

Spirituality doesn’t have to be strictly linked to a religious cause. In fact, there are people who do the Camino because they are looking for an answer inside themselves.

They may also want to search for some kind of connection with nature, forests, rivers, or the other people who share the Camino with them.

The Camino is a source of fraternity, good moments, solidarity, and rewarding hard work. When you are abroad and your main issue is keeping walking, something inside you will change and allow you to see the things from a different perspective, Isn’t this spiritual? 

The Spiritual Variant of the Portuguese Camino is not more spiritual than other Caminos, but the story around it couldn’t be more magical. Because of this reason, as well as the number of symbolic sites with a close relation to the Camino, it was named as the Spiritual variant.

It is also true that there is a lot of mysticism around the sea. The stories told by the fishermen are sometimes so mysterious that there is no doubt about the power and supernatural force of the sea.

Furthermore, we have to consider that the Apostles and St. James the Great’s Disciples were fishermen as well. So the sea is so linked to the Camino that it would be a pity to miss the opportunity of enjoying this amazing and emotional route.

The Sea Route of Arousa and the Ulla River

The Sea Route of Arousa and the Ulla River is a unique maritime and fluvial itinerary. In fact, it commemorates the arrival of the remains of Saint James the Apostle to Galicia region. After his suffering and martyrdom in Jerusalem, his remains travelled by the sea in the year 44 BC.

The origins of the route

According to the Christian trRoutes of the Camino de Santiago Arousa Ulla Galiwonders Maritimeadition, and many medieval texts (like the Códice Calixtino), the remains of the Apostle were transported from Jaffa Port (in Palestina) all along the Mediterranean and the Iberian coast. And this journey finished by the confines of the Western world, were he used to preach the Gospel. This is known as the Traslatio.

In fact, the remains of Saint James, followed by his disciples Teodoro and Anastasio, arrived into the Estuary of Arousa, and continued through the Ulla River up to Padrón. It docked on the Roman port of Iria Flavia. It was said that it arrived on “Stone Boat”. This is probably a reference to the vessels that used to transport Galicia stone to other places of the Roman Empire.

Traditions of the Estuary of Arousa

The Sea Route of Arousa and Routes of the Camino de Santiago Arousa Ulla Galiwondersthe Ulla River commemorates every year this event. In fact, it recreates the lasts steps of this apostolic journey. Every summer there is a incredible maritime and fluvial procession of beautiful ships. There is a great attendance from a public that comes from the various ports along the Estuary of Arousa. The final destination of this tour is Pontecesures and Padrón.

The first journey upriver took place in 1965, because of the foundation of the Association of the Arousa sea and Ulla river Jubilee route.

Also, many different strategic points started to be created along the banks and various isles of the estuary. Moreover, they were marked with the typical “Cruceiros” (stone-made crosses). Nowadays, it is considered to be the only maritime Way of the Cross in the world. There are 17 artworks made of stone along the route.

The Association of the Arousa sea and Ulla river Jubilee route has 22 members, the municipalities of Pontevedra and A Coruña. All these regions are protected by this “small Ocean”, known as the Estuary of Arousa.

Why is the region so popular?

Moreover, the area offers stunning views and beaches, full of history and ethnography. It used to be the residence of distinguished neighbors like the writers Valle Inclán, Castelao or the Nobel Prize Camilo José Cela. It is also the origin of the most international Galician wine: the Albariño.Routes of the Camino de Santiago Arousa Ulla Galiwonders Albariño

Additionally, the Estuary hosts many unique islands, such as Ons, Sálvora, Cortegada or La Toja, and the genuine “bateas”. This platforms made of wood that float on the sea are used to raise mussels, oysters and scallops.

Also, the Sea Route of Arousa and the Ulla River is an alternative route of the Camino de Santiago. It is part of the Spiritual Variant of the Portuguese Way. In fact, the Traslatio is one of the reasons why this walk is becoming so popular, particularly during summer months.

What sites will I find on this route?

As you may already know, the spiritual variant has lots of sites linked to the Camino. Would you like to know more about them?

Spiritual Variant - Portuguese Way

Pontevedra

Pontevedra is a comfortable city for those who want to walk. Regarding to the Camino, it has a very important history. That’s because Pilgrims from the Portuguese Way must cross this village towards Santiago.

Already demolished nowadays, the city used to be home to a pilgrim hospital (hospital de O Corpo de Deus), a chapel in honor to the Virgin of the Way and another to Santiago.

We find here one of the most important sites of the Portuguese Camino: la Iglesia de la Peregrina (the pilgrim’s church).

Iglesia de la Peregrina: its name couldn’t be more connected with the St. James culture. That’s because this chapel, with a scallop shell shaped plant (symbol of the pilgrimage to Santiago), was built in honor to the Virgin Peregrina, patron saint of Pontevedra and also the Portuguese Way.

Iglesia Peregrina - Galiwonders

In the middle of the 18th century, a group of French pilgrims brought the statue of this Virgin, dressed as a Pilgrim, to Pontevedra. They placed it in the old Chapel of the Virgin Way (it was demolished some years ago).

Since then, a brotherhood that was founded in the city in order to worship this Virgin, kept it until nowadays, getting it closer to everyone who wants to visit it.

Moreover, you will find other sites related to the Camino:

The Church of Santiaguiño (Pilgrim) do Burgo: originally located on the Roman bridge del Burgo, was demolished in the middle of the 80’s and later re-built near the bridge, at the same area.

The relation between this church and the Camino is connected to a legend. It says that being the Apostle Santiago preaching the Gospel in this area, he felt tired but found a family who provided him with shelter.

The Apostle blessed their crop as a sign of appreciation, promising them that it would be the earliest one from the area.

Since then, every 24th of July, during the Santiaguiño del Burgo celebration, the devoted carry the statue of Santiago to the door of that family house at the Santiña street, where the Camino passes.

Basilica of Santa María la Mayor: it’s the main church from Pontevedra, and also a great masterpiece from the 16th Century. Incidentally, you can find the dormition of the Virgin Mary sculpted in high-relief, and over the top, you will see some medallions in shell scallop shape.

A visit is worth it, either as a religious or cultural cause, looking at this Gothic construction is truly wonderful.

San Xoán de Poio

Moreover, if you want to discover some places from the Padre Sarmiento Route, you will find several interesting places in this town that you shouldn’t miss, as for example…

Monasterio de San Juan de Poio (Convent): besides its classicist and baroque style church from the 17th century, you will find lots of important works, like a 51 foot stone granary from the 18th Century, and also an amazing 200 meters Mosaic dedicated to the Camino de Santiago. Are you going to miss it?

Combarro: it’s a town with beautiful cobbled streets, packed with stone crosses (cruceiros) and raised granaries (with the particularity that they were used to store the cured sardines instead of the corn). It’s worth to visit this town because it’s one of the most beautiful and picturesque fishermen villages in Galicia.

Armenteira (Meis): the first stage of the Spiritual Variant arrives in Armenteira (Meis council), where you will find a special and peaceful place: el Monasterio de Armenteira (Convent).

  • Monasterio de Armenteira: mainly Renaissance and Baroque style from the 16th and 17th centuries, the first time that its name appeared was in an official document from the Cistercian religious order on the 12th century. It passed through period of striking decline until the Asociación Amigos de Armenteira (association of Armenteira friends) begins its reconstruction in the middle of the 20th century.

Monasterio Armenteira Variante Espiritual

From then on, a group of nuns arrived from other Convent to fill it with life. They farm the land and crafted some handmade products that you can buy in their shop and other convents.

Ruta da Pedra e da Auga: you will continue the Spiritual variant along this astonishing path that crosses Ribadumia and Meis towns.

From Armenteira you will arrive in Ponte Arnelas through a dense centenarian forest on the Armenteira river bank.

It is also surrounded by vineyards and water mills. Did you know that the locals used to take this route to reach the convent in the past?

Pedra Auga Path - Spiritual Variant

 Aldea Labrega: along the Ruta da Pedra e da Auga path you will have the opportunity to visit a spectacular sculpture set, including a hermitage recreation, that relates to the rural culture in Galicia.

Pedra e da Auga Route - Spiritual Variant Aldea Labrega Sculpture- OwlAldea Labrega Sculpture - Spiritual Variant

Ponte Arnelas: famous place for its wine, you will find this town before arriving in Vilanova de Arousa, and you will have to cross the river Umia, through the bridge Arnelas.

The bridge is a structure from the 16th century and it is related to a river Umia legend. It seems that the water of the Umia River has some miraculous effects to improve women fertility.

Armenteira Convent, Da Pedra e da Auga Route, the Aldea Labrega as well as Ponte Arnelas are some amazing places that may leave you speechless on your way to Vilanova de Arousa.

Vilanova de Arousa: before arriving in the port of Vilanova de Arousa, you will see several sanctuaries and churches, such the Santo Estevo de Tremoedo or San Roque.

Over the Arousa Estuary, the spectacular marine landscape is very special in Vilanova de Arousa.

Furthermore, you will also find a lot of sites, such the Iglesia de Santa María de Caleiro (church), very interesting due to its artistic and historical importance; the writer Valle Inclán’s Manor House; or the towers Torres de Cálogo (9th century) next to the equally named Convent, in the past they were used to make signals to the ship.

Calogo Torres

A nice sight-seeing boat in Arousa: la Traslatio

You have arrived in Vilanova de Arousa and… it’s time to get on board! As we said you before, if get dizzy easily, you may continue the route on foot through Carril and Vilagarcía towns until Pontecesures.

If you prefer to embark on this amazing Traslatio experience…. Then here we go!

Actually, you can take the ship from other harbours along the Rías Baixas, but, if you prefer to follow this route, you will board on an incredible trip. You can travel the Estuary of Arousa during 26 kms to Pontecesures, going up the Río Ulla.

You will pass by the delicious mussel farms of Arousa, on wooden platforms floating over the water, fishermen and sailors fishing from their boats, and the Cortegada Island (National Park of the Atlantic Islands).

Don’t forget to look at the seashore and the river bank, as you can see several stone crosses, stone crosses?

Cruceiro - Variante Espiritual

Right… it’s no common to see them on the sea, because they used to be placed at the crossroads as a protection from the “Santa Compaña” (Holy Company is a deep-rooted mythical belief in rural Galicia. It is a nocturnal procession of ghosts and lost souls that wander around the streets of a village).

Interestingly enough, councils and individuals donated those Stone crosses in order to mark the Via Crucis (the Camino that the remains of the Apostle St. James did by sea).

When you are arriving in Pontecesures, you will see two poetical towers sited in Catoira. They are known as Torres del Oeste (West Towers) and they served to protect the Archdiocese of Santiago de Compostela from the 12th century.

Every year in Catoira people celebrates a super funny party in which the Viking invasion is reproduced.

Traslatio Variante Espiritual

Disembarking in Pontecesures

You have arrived in Pontecesures, where you can join to the Portuguese Camino in order to reach Santiago de Compostela.

Soon, you will find Padrón (the famous Iria Flavia), where, according to the legend, the Apostle remains arrived by boat.

Nowadays, due to a canalization issue it’s no possible to go up the river to Padrón. Anyway, you will also find beautiful landscapes by walking around.

Pedrón-Padrón

In Padrón you can’t forget to visit the Pedrón. This is the stone where the boat that carried the Apostle’s remains was moored, and the origin of the denomination of the town “Padrón”.

Also in Padrón you can try the famous peppers of Padrón that, actually, come from Herbón (next to Padron).

Almost 25 kms of distance left to get the Santiago the Great tomb, so… are you ready to walk?

Other curiosities about the Spiritual Variant

Do you still want to know more? Here you have some information to go a little deeper into this magical variant.

How long has this routes been done?

Unlike the other Caminos that have been known for more than a thousand of years, this route has been going on since 2011.

However, it can be considered as the first way, since it was the one that would follow the disciples of St. James the Great in order to bring his remains from Jerusalem. So… it’s the original Camino!

How many pilgrims have been running the Spiritual Variant?

Well, having in mind that it was launched 8 years ago, there haven’t been so many pilgrims pass through it yet, but every year it gets more famous, as it is growing gradually.

Data from the last year show us that more than 3 thousands of pilgrims have done this variant since it was launched. But there will be more, because it’s a different route, a great example of the richness and natural, cultural and also gastronomic diversity that Galicia has.

What is the Traslatio?

The Traslatio is the maritime path of the Spiritual Variant of the Portuguese Way. Normally, the last walking days of the Portuguese Way pass through the inner side of Galicia region: Pontevedra, Caldas de Reis, Padrón and Santiago de Compostela. However, there is an alternative route from Pontevedra onwards, that deviates from this traditional path, that passes through: Pontevedra, Armenteira, Vilanova de Arousa, Padrón and Santiago de Compostela.

One of this stages, the one from Vilanova de Arousa to Padrón, can be done by boat. And this boat trip is called the Traslatio (or Translatio). It emulates the journey followed by the remains of Saint James the Apostle, from Jerusalem to Galicia region. According to the legend, his remains arrived in Padrón, transported by a boat made of stone (the word “stone” in Spanish can be translated by “pedrón”, that’s how the name of the village “Padrón” was born).

La Variante Espiritual del Camino Portugues Traslatio

In fact, the actual boat tour finishes in Pontecesures (around 3km before arriving in Padrón), so this stage can be finished on foot. There are some pilgrims who decide to continue to Santiago de Compostela this same day and finish their Camino, those who decide to stop in Pontecesures, Padrón, A Escraviture… or any other spot on the way, before reaching Santiago de Compostela. Let’s learn a bit more about all the possibilities.

Informative Pills about the Traslatio

To learn a bit more about all the details of the Traslation, we have interviewed Olga, who is the representative of La Barca del Peregrino (the Pilgrim’s Boat), the shipping company that covers the route from Vilanova de Arousa to Pontecesures.

Barca vikinga traslatio

How has evolved the number of pilgrims doing the Spiritual Variant over the past few years? 

There has been quite an increase on the number of pilgrims walking this route over the past few years. The Spiritual Variant is becoming more and more popular, which has allowed us to offer regular departures to cover the Traslatio. We organize boat tours every day, from Easter to November, which has also encourage pilgrims to do this route. Last year (2019), 82% of the pilgrims where international: Italy, United Kingdom, Portugal and Germany are the most popular countries.

How long does it take the Traslatio?

The boat trip takes around 1 hour and 20 minutes (sometimes 1 hour and 30 minutes). During the tour, we stop at least four times, to show pilgrims some of the highlights of the tour: the “bateas” (the Galician constructions to harvest the mussels), Cortegada Island, the remains of the West Towers (Torres del Oeste), and the crossings. This is the most popular asset of this route, as pilgrims will be able to see the only Via Cruzis  on a river, 17 crossings in total (we can see 12 of them). The most popular one is known as the Calvary (calvario) and it’s composed by 3 crosses, honoring the Apostle and his disciples.

It’s an amazing route, and we offer at least one departure per day (even three during high season).

Barca del peregrino camino de santiago

How far in advance do you recommend to book the tickets for the Traslatio? 

We recommend to book this as soon as possible. Normally, the first departure is complete before the day, but usually this is not really an issue.

The schedule depends on the sea tides, how far in advance is it possible to know this? 

One year prior departure, we get the expected schedule, so it’s possible to book far in advance.

On your website you offer different route, which one is the most popular one among pilgrims? 

The most popular route is the Traslatio, that is the one from Vilanova de Arousa to Pontecesures (Padrón). But there’s a slight increase in the number of pilgrims requesting the opposite route, the one from Pontecesures back to Vilanova de Arousa. Sometimes, when pilgrims have enough time to do so, they request alternative routes to visit the islands, the bateas, etc. But it’s still something to promote.

Variante espiritual traslatio

The day of the Traslatio, do pilgrims continue their walk, or they just enjoy the boat trip?

Normally pilgrims depart in the morning. Most of them walk a bit, and there are those who continue all the way to Santiago de Compostela.

What stands out about this route? 

Everything, pilgrims fall in love. This route reunites the sea (the Estuary of Arousa, or Ría de Arousa) and the river (Ulla River). And we’ll discover unique views, that wonder all travelers (particularly international pilgrims). We explain them all the details of process to harvest the mussels, the history of the West Towes and the replica of Drakkar de Viking, etc. We always highlight the crossings, as this is unique and provide history and mystery. Sometimes we find dolphins along the way, and this really amazes all passengers.

We encourage all pilgrims to choose this route, as it combines both beauty and history.

The Traslatio is just for pilgrims, or are there other tourists on board? 

We receive more and more calls from other tourists, and even people from the area, to ask about the Traslatio. However, most of our clients are pilgrims. It is also possible to do this Camino with bikes and pets, as both are allowed on board.

Catoira Barca peregrino

Do pilgrims usually know the history of the Traslatio, before doing the route?  

Most of them don’t. A lot of pilgrims choose the Spiritual Variant because they learn about it on the Camino, and they decide to do it spontaneously. Once they are here, they are surprised by the boat trip. Those who had planned the Spiritual Variant from the beginning, they usually know the history, etc.

Any anecdote related to the Spiritual Variant?

We have been operating for 8 years, as such, there are lots of anecdotes. The last one? A couple of days ago. While on the boat, we had to slow down (and almost stop) because we saw a big wild board swimming very close to the boat. He was probably heading to Cortegada island. We were stunned! It is possible to see the video on our Instagram.

For more information about the Traslatio, the Spiritual Variant of the Portuguese Way, or any other Camino de Santiago route, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will send you a tailor-made itinerary, so you can enjoy all the magic of the Camino.

Frequent questions

From Vigo Airport

  • Car or cab: It is 30km with a duration of approximately 25 minutes.
  • bus/train: Take the bus (LINE A) from Vigo Airport to the Urzaiz stop (Estación / Cotomondongo wall). 30′ journey and frequency every 30′. Another option is to take a cab to the station, with an estimated duration of 10′. Once there, we can take a bus or train to Pontevedra (journey time between 13 to 30 minutes). For schedules and more information visit: www.vitrasa.es, www.monbus.es and www.renfe.com 

From Santiago de Compostela Airport

  • Car: It is 75km with a duration of approximately 50 minutes.
  • Bus/train: Take the bus (LINE 6A) from Santiago de Compostela airport to the bus station. Frequency every 15′ and with an approximate duration of 45′. Another option is to take a cab to the station, with an estimated duration of 15′. Then, we must take a bus (monbus) or train (renfe) to Pontevedra (journey time between 40 minutes to 1 hour). For timetables and more information visit: https://tussa.org/, www.monbus.es  and www.renfe.com

From Porto Airport

  • Car or cab: It is 170km with a duration of approximately 1h 45 minutes.
  • Bus: Take a bus from Porto to Pontevedra (Alsa or Flixbus) (2h 40 minutes). For timetables and more information visit: www.alsa.es and www.flixbus.es

Our costumers reviews

TOUR SUMMARY

DISTANCE: 86 Km
STAGES: 4 Stages
DURATION: 5 Nights
DIFICULTy: 1/5
START: Pontevedra
PRICE: desde 656€

Why book with Galiwonders?

Taylor-made Camino

We will design an itinerary tailored to your needs, preferences and budget and book all services for you. You enjoy the road.

We are on the Camino

Galicia is our home. We have traveled all the routes of the Camino and we have direct contact with the service providers on the Camino.

We are also travellers

We speak several languages, have lived abroad and have years of experience organizing trips for people from all over the world.

An unforguettable experience

Hundreds of pilgrims repeat year after year the experience of traveling with us. We want you to be one of them. And that is why we will strive to make your trip unique and unforgettable.

If you have any questions or want to plan your Camino de Santiago trip, our team will assist you in a personalized way!

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