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Interesting sites along the Portuguese Caminos

ElCee

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Porto Sept 2023
Inspired by a thread on the Frances forum, I thought we could share interesting sites - architectural, historical, art, food, culture - that we saw on our Portuguese caminos. Since so many people are doing combined routes, let's not limit this to coastal or central. It might help people choose, as well. Personally, my focus was the camino so I didn't go very far a field or spend a long time. I'll start.

Matosinhos fish market - fish mongers selling every creature from the sea plus prepared food stalls where you can get oysters, snails, etc.
Vila do Conde municipal market (Saturday mornings) - produce, meat, cheese, fish, bakeries, candy, nuts, dried fruit. plants, hardware, textiles
Parque de Merendas da Sra. Das Neves - this is a little park just a few kilometres before you get to Pontevedra. There are benches in the shade, a band stand and stone steps going down to a little river where you can soak your feet in absolute tranquility.
Viana do Castelo, Igreja da Misericórdia - an over the top baroque church with blue and white tiled walls and a million gold cherubs. Small admission fee, maybe 2 euro?
Parador de Baiona - The medieval ramparts that surround the 19th century hotel are open to the public for free. You can walk all the way around. The views over the town and out to the Cies Islands are really lovely. And you can see the camino you just walked in the hills beyond Baiona.
Mosteiro de San Xoán de Poio - On the Variante Espiritual, this is an early stop. It's a working Benedictine monastery with lovely 16th century cloisters and a HUGE granary (horrero). There is also a beautiful modern mosaic mural depicting the towns on the Camino Frances. We didn't do the tour but I've heard it's very good. It was just a few euros to see the cloisters and murals. They also operate a hospederia.
Mosteiro de Santa Maria da Armentiera - This monastery is also on the Spiritual variant. There is a community of nuns living here. They make wonderful soaps and creams with local herbs available in the gift shop. It's only officially open to the public during services but it's a beautiful building even if you just walk around the outside. The church is 10th century, the lovely rose window is from the 12th century and the cloisters, like Poio, are 16th c.

Now your turn. What did you find?
 
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The padron in Padron! It’s located beneath the altar and viewable whenever the church is open and Mass is not being held. It’s interesting to see where the river used to run and the original level of the shoreline.
 
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The albergue in Rates, in addition to having a nice two-toned stamp and claiming to be the first of the Camino Portugues albergues, is situated with a museum to the local linen industry.
Ooo, that sounds so interesting! I'd love to hear more about what areas/towns are famous for. We walked right past Arcade not knowing it is famous for oysters. We did go to Calle de las Ostras (Oyster Street) in Vigo but no one was serving oysters. One place said they'd had an on line complaint about bad oysters so they weren't serving them any more. I have a lot of experience with oysters and it's pretty easy to NOT serve bad ones so we went elsewhere.
 
If you are interested in Spanish literature, the Casa-Museo Valle Inclán in Vilanova da Arousa (on the Variante Espiritual) is a lovely little place to visit with some fascinating artefacts. It's open till 9pm in the summer, so it's a nice activity once you've got in and had a shower. Or in the morning, if you're taking a boat in the afternoon.
https://museos.xunta.gal/en/museos/valle-inclan-house-museum
 
The padron in Padron! It’s located beneath the altar and viewable whenever the church is open and Mass is not being held. It’s interesting to see where the river used to run and the original level of the shoreline.
...and I would add the shrine/park high up the hill across the river in Padron. It is lovely and inspirational. Nice place for a picnic as well. It requires taking a couple of hours away from the camino, but we are glad we did.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
...and I would add the shrine/park high up the hill across the river in Padron. It is lovely and inspirational. Nice place for a picnic as well. It requires taking a couple of hours away from the camino, but we are glad we did.
This is where St. James is said to have preached to the Iberians. Padron is also famous for its peppers.
 
Inspired by a thread on the Frances forum, I thought we could share interesting sites - architectural, historical, art, food, culture - that we saw on our Portuguese caminos. Since so many people are doing combined routes, let's not limit this to coastal or central. It might help people choose, as well. Personally, my focus was the camino so I didn't go very far a field or spend a long time. I'll start.

Matosinhos fish market - fish mongers selling every creature from the sea plus prepared food stalls where you can get oysters, snails, etc.
Vila do Conde municipal market (Saturday mornings) - produce, meat, cheese, fish, bakeries, candy, nuts, dried fruit. plants, hardware, textiles
Parque de Merendas da Sra. Das Neves - this is a little park just a few kilometres before you get to Pontevedra. There are benches in the shade, a band stand and stone steps going down to a little river where you can soak your feet in absolute tranquility.
Viana do Castelo, Igreja da Misericórdia - an over the top baroque church with blue and white tiled walls and a million gold cherubs. Small admission fee, maybe 2 euro?
Parador de Baiona - The medieval ramparts that surround the 19th century hotel are open to the public for free. You can walk all the way around. The views over the town and out to the Cies Islands are really lovely. And you can see the camino you just walked in the hills beyond Baiona.
Mosteiro de San Xoán de Poio - On the Variante Espiritual, this is an early stop. It's a working Benedictine monastery with lovely 16th century cloisters and a HUGE granary (horrero). There is also a beautiful modern mosaic mural depicting the towns on the Camino Frances. We didn't do the tour but I've heard it's very good. It was just a few euros to see the cloisters and murals. They also operate a hospederia.
Mosteiro de Santa Maria da Armentiera - This monastery is also on the Spiritual variant. There is a community of nuns living here. They make wonderful soaps and creams with local herbs available in the gift shop. It's only officially open to the public during services but it's a beautiful building even if you just walk around the outside. The church is 10th century, the lovely rose window is from the 12th century and the cloisters, like Poio, are 16th c.

Now your turn. What did you find?
Thank you for posting these highlights! I will be walking the coastal and spiritual route in May and will definitely put these on my itinerary options.
 
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On the central way, in Conimbriga, there is a nice roman site (Museo Monografico). The ruins are not the most impressive, as they aren’t big monuments but this is the biggest roman site in Portugal and the mosaics are superbs.
It’s on the camino, at the end of a great stage, and the albergue is only a kilometer away. The next day will get you to Coimbra.
 
In Viana do Castelo:
1. Hospital Velho - medieval building originally built to house pilgrims (peregrinos) in the 1400s, once again serving peregrinos as a place to relax. You can tour the original rooms on the second floor, too. Located in center of historic district.
2. Cidade Velha or Citânia de Santa Luzia - located on that big hill behind the historic center, behind the church and the pousada/hotel. Bit of a walk to the entrance but a fascinating view of a prehistoric settlement (castro).. Basically "just" the stone foundations of a small village from the Iron Age. Brilliant reminder that Portugal has been continuously inhabited for a very long time. (There's also a tiny museum related to this Castro and early Viana history back down in the historic center: Casa dos Nichos. Small stone building from the 1400s, free entrance.)

Central Portugal: Others have already mentioned Conímbriga, once a major Roman town in central Portugal.
 
Self-guided 4-7 day Walking Packages, Reading Abbey to Southampton, 110 kms
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
If one is not staying at the Hebron Monastary, is it still work a visit just to see it?
It’s a beautiful place with a lovely pilgrim’s mass in the evening. There is sometimes a tour for pilgrims staying there—who knows, maybe they’d let you tag along. I’d highly recommend staying there if you can. One of the best pilgrim experiences of my three Caminos.
 
It’s a beautiful place with a lovely pilgrim’s mass in the evening. There is sometimes a tour for pilgrims staying there—who knows, maybe they’d let you tag along. I’d highly recommend staying there if you can. One of the best pilgrim experiences of my three Caminos.

It does sound enticing but because we're doing a winter camino, we decided to stay in private rooms and aren't bringing backpacks, towels, etc. I am thinking about going back in a different season in order to do the spiritual variant, and if so, I'll definitely plan on staying there.
 
A Treasure Trove Of Interesting Pilgrim Hacks! Learn & Share Your Own Too!
That’s so wonderful to know! I’m trying to marry the Senda Littoral + Spiritual maybe with some of the central? No idea what I am doing LOL.
This site has some good information about the different routes in Portugal and how to connect them.

 
It does sound enticing but because we're doing a winter camino, we decided to stay in private rooms and aren't bringing backpacks, towels, etc. I am thinking about going back in a different season in order to do the spiritual variant, and if so, I'll definitely plan on staying there.
It does sound enticing but because we're doing a winter camino, we decided to stay in private rooms and aren't bringing backpacks, towels, etc. I am thinking about going back in a different season in order to do the spiritual variant, and if so, I'll definitely plan on staying there.
The albergue isn’t open in winter, and I’m not sure about the rest of the monastery. You might want to check with the Tourist Office in Padron to see if they’re doing tours in the winter before heading out there.
 
A Treasure Trove Of Interesting Pilgrim Hacks! Learn & Share Your Own Too!

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