Stops And Side Tours You Can Check Out When Walking The Camino De Santiago
The Camino de Santiago or The Way of St. James is a 100-km pilgrimage for forgiveness and contemplation that ends at the Santiago de Compostela. 300,000 pilgrims do the walk annually, making it one of the biggest tourism drivers in this area of Spain.
There are many different routes to the pilgrimage, depends on what you can do and want to see. This time, our EIC on the Move Raul Manzano takes the Portuguese Way, where he starts his pilgrimage in Portugal’s fortress border town of Valenca, and takes different scenic and mainland routes to get to Santiago.
While you can keep your walk a full-pledged spiritual pilgrimage, it’s also nice to sneak in some tourist spots and destinations along the way to make your trip fuller and more culturally rich. Here are some of the stops that Raul made on his way to Santiago, which you can explore, too, if you’re planning to walk the Portuguese Way.
Bodegas Terras Gauda
Bodegas Terras Gauda at O Rosal manages three wineries across Ponte Verde, combining rich wine making traditions in the region with the latest in production and technology. Terras Gauda is home to some of the finest wine in the area, offering winery tours and wine tasting throughout the year.
One of the things that make Terras Gauda unique from other vineyards and wineries is the attention they put to producing their quality wines. They are the first in the area to use trellis in their vineyard, which they found produces grapes that are sweeter and less acidic. Their vinification process is also very specific for each plot of their grapes, because they take into consideration the kind of soil in each plot that may affect the flavor.
Raul tries four of their most famous wines, from the lightest Abadia de san Campio, which is made with 100 percent Albariño grapes; to the more complex Terras Gauda Black Label, which is fermented in French oak label for 5 and half months to develop a deeper and more velvety texture.
Castro de Santa Trega
Castro de Santa Trega is a Roman settlement built on Celtic grounds way back in the 100 B.C., located on the hillsides of Mount Santa Trega. This is a nice side trip if you want to be treated to a phenomenal view of the beachside town of O Rosal and Portugal. Imagine standing 341 meters above sea level, overlooking the sky, sea, and houses down below.
For more information about the Castro complex, there is also a visitor centre and museum, plus trinket shops for memorabilia.
Caravel Pinta Museum
In 1493, Baiona became the very first port in the whole of Europe to know about the discovery of America when one of the ships from Christopher Columbus’ expedition docked there. The ship was called the Caravel La Pinta and was commanded by Martín Alonso Pinzón. The ship brought metals, food plants like corn and peanuts, spices like chili and cinnamon, and many other trinkets for trade from America.
Image from Baiona.org
To date, a replica of the La Pinta stands at the harbor in Baiona, where people can go inside the ship and check out the reconstruction of its rooms and decks.
The Pontevedra is the capital city of the Rias Baixas region that was able to preserve medieval structures and squares from its olden times. And the real beauty of Pontevedra is that there are no revving engines and honking cars in this old city center: because up to date, they have kept the area purely for pedestrians and bikes only, with no motorized transport allowed in its streets.
And at the middle of Pontevedra stands the Capela da Virxe Peregrina or the Chapel of the Pilgrims, a fusion of baroque detailing and neo-classical design elements, shaped like St. James’ scallop shell. The chapel is deemed a fixture in the Portuguese Way, where pilgrims stop to pray.
Torre do Rio
Once an 18th century factory along the Umia river, the Torre do Rio is now a magnificent and lavish boutique hotel in a tranquil rural setting. The rustic buildings featuring bare stone walls are framed nicely by the lush greens surrounding it, whisking you to a place far from the Spanish streets.
If you’re walking the Camino de Santiago for some peace of mind, staying at the Torre do Rio is perfect because it gives you the opportunity for quiet moments of contemplation and relaxing strolls amidst nature.
Join Raul as he walks and complete the Camino de Santiago on EIC on the Move, airing Sundays, 8:30 p.m. on Metro Channel, channel 52 on Sky Cable and channel 174 on HD. Catch replays throughout the week or watch it now on demand on iWant.