Vigo to Santiago

Key Facts

Camino: Camino Portugués

Distance: 100km / 62 miles

Duration: 7-8 days

Miles per day: 10 - 15

Dates: 18 June 2023 - 25 June 2023

Price per person: £1,100 / £1,200 (if stay an extra night in Santiago)

Summary

The route follows the final phase of the Camino Portugués through the north-western Spanish region of Galicia toward the city of Santiago de Compostela, where all Caminos converge at the proclaimed resting place of Saint James, for whom the Camino de Santiago is named. From Vigo, our Camino route follows the attractive western coastline of Galicia northeast toward Redondela. From there the route continues following the coast as it goes northward toward Pontevedra, after which the Camino continues due north through the verdant interior of Galicia toward Santiago de Compostela.

Next Camino: TBC (possibly September)

Looking further ahead: 16 Dec. - 23 Dec.: Special Advent-themed Camino, timed to make the most of the Advent season and festive decorations that abound in the cities, towns and villages along the way; and to arrive in Santiago at the start of the final week before Christmas Day.

Itinerary and Route

Day 1: Fly directly to Vigo or to Porto (offering more flight options) and then take a train on to Vigo

Day 2: Vigo to Redondela - length: 16 km / 9.9 miles

Day 3: Redondela to Pontevedra - length: 19 km / 11.8 miles

Day 4: Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis - length: 21 km / 13 miles

Day 5: Caldas de Reis to Padrón - length: 18.6 km / 11.5 miles

Day 6: Padron to Santiago de Compostela - length: 24.3 km / 15 miles

Day 7: Depart Santiago / option to stay another night in city (recommended)

Day 8: Depart Santiago (if opted for extra night in city)

By Adam Dant <em>courtesy of TAGfinearts</em>
By Adam Dant courtesy of TAGfinearts

Highlights of Route

Vigo, where we start, is an attractive coastal city offering both a historic quarter with a strong maritime flavour that honours the city’s fishing origins, alongside the modern facilities of its marinas.

In Redondela, the next stop along the way, there are several attractive heritage sites. These include the Pazo de Vilavella, a former convent and now hotel, and the Parroquia de Santiago church. Just before reaching Redondela, there is an impressive baroque church in the town of Cedeira.

Surrounded by hills, Pontevedra is located on the edge of an estuary at the mouth of the Lérez river by the sea. It contains a charming old town full of exquisite architecture. An important stop on the Camino Portugués, the circular church of the Pilgrim Virgin has a floor plan in the shape of a scallop shell and there are scallop shells sculpted in the arches of the medieval Burgo Bridge.

Caldas de Reis is a delightfully attractive and friendly town. It is known for its hot springs. There is an open-air public bath fed by the hot spring water right in centre of town, where any member of the public or transiting pilgrim can hop in and submerge themselves to rest their weary limbs.

Padrón, the last stop before arriving in Santiago, is where the boat carrying the body of Saint James after his death is said to have moored and where his body remained before being taken on to Santiago. There is also a rocky outcrop on a hill overlooking the town from where Saint James is said to have preached.

In Santiago de Compostela you can savour the unique atmosphere of this city that has been receiving jubilant pilgrims for hundreds of years. The cathedral is a wonder—it was described by the writer Jan Morris as one of the most beguiling in the world. And of course, there is the tomb of Saint James to contemplate. The silver urn said to contain his remains looks suitably mesmerising and straight out of an Indiana Jones film. Beyond the cathedral, the surrounding old town exudes innumerable hints and echoes of this city’s holy past and present that remains inextricably bound up in the Camino pilgrimage.

The first two days of hiking will largely follow the scenic coastline, which is stunning in good weather.

Spain’s northwest region of Galicia that this route passes through remains an enigmatic treat, with a starkly unique and independent character from the rest of Spain. It’s lush landscape calls to mind the hills of Ireland. You often encounter Celtic crosses, and you might even hear the bagpipes being played.

 Eating and drinking in Galicia is a great experience—as well as great value. The regions coastline bequeaths a regional cuisine rich in fish and seafood—the region is famed for its fried pulpo (octopus). The local beer and wine are excellent too and most reasonably priced.

Related Reading


The Curious Rhythm of Life in Spain’s Santiago de Compostela

Surely no other city can claim to have so many backpacks and walking sticks on its narrow cobbled streets.

In Spain’s Santiago de Compostela it always looks like there is a giant hiking convention going on. These aren’t your average ramblers, though. They are pilgrims, as the city marks the end of the famous Camino de Santiago pilgrimage.

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On the monastery’s second floor, I unwittingly strayed from the route laid out for visitors and entered the monks’ private quarters. A young brother approached me to politely point out my indiscretion and guide me back to the official route. He spoke good English and, on the way, as we passed giant stone staircases and hallways, he described that there were nine monks living in the sprawling monastery; there were 150 in its heyday. A 2018 New York Times article notes that the number of Catholic brothers in the U.S. has declined by more than two-thirds since 1965, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. 

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