The Portuguese Way is the second most important route of the Camino, in number of Pilgrims that walk it every year, just surpassed by the French Way.
Actually, during some specific months, the French Way can be quite overcrowded, and finding accommodation becomes a real challenge, particularly on the last 100 km. Good luck to those looking for a room on the first or second weekend of September, in Sarria or PortomarÃn!
We need to say that the Portuguese Way has nothing to envy to the French Way regarding landscapes, tradition and culture. Moreover, some of the stages go all along the coast, with the views of the Atlantic Ocean on the left of the Pilgrim. Except for some specific dates and villages, looking for accommodation is not difficult at all, and, even if it is not as sociable as the French Way in terms of number of walkers, it is usual to meet other Pilgrims on the way.
Please find below a couple of plans to do on the Portuguese Way, besides walking:
-The Cathedral of Tui:
This impressive construction, built by the end of the XI century with a Romanesque style, is located in the highest part of the city, and it is the artistic emblem of Tui. It is worthy to visit the cloisters, or wander around at night, with the moonlight lighting it up.
-Excursion to Mondariz Spa:
It is not really on the Camino, but 18 km awat from O PorriÃ±o, and a bit more from Redondela; but there are direct buses on both stops (although not very regular) or it is possible to take a taxi. It is the most popular Spa in Galicia, nothing better than relaxing a little bit on its pure water, after a long walking day.
-Visit San SimÃ³n Island:
From Redondela, there are guided tours from June to September to see this small treasure in the middle of the Stuary of Vigo. You will be able to enjoy, not only a small piece of paradise, but also discover its patrimony, culture and history, and all the details of the Battle of Vigo Bay.
-Stop on the Barosa River Natural Park:
The signs to go to this Natural Park with waterfalls and mills, are right on the Camino, a couple of kilometers before Caldas de Reis. Youâ€™ll just need to walk for about 5 minutes, and is totally worthy to have a break there (it is one of the most popular and remembered stops for Pilgrims). There is also a picnic area, very comfortable to have lunch.
–Try the water of Fuente de las Burgas:
Caldas de Reis is a very popular stop because of its miner-medicinal water, that have healing properties for breathing illness, rheumatism, skin issuesâ€¦ in the public fountain of Las Burgas, you will be able to enjoy all these beneficial properties, for free!
-Taste the â€œPimientos de PadrÃ³nâ€:
We know what happens with the Pimientos de PadrÃ³n, â€œuns pican, e outros nonâ€ (this Galician maxim means: some of them are hot, and other are not). Which means that, we take our chances on every bite of this tasty delicacy. These small peppers are available in all Galicia, Spain, and even the whole world, but it is a good thing to try them where they are originally from, PadrÃ³n.
The Portuguese Way is, therefore, a really good option to get to Santiago, that we would always recommend to anyone.
What about you, have you already done this part of the Portuguese Way? Which other plans would you recommend?