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Variante Espiritual

Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2016), Camino Portugues (2017)
#1
I am thinking of walking the variante espiritual in a year or two. Is there a book I could order which whould show me maps, distances, places to stay, etc.
 

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A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#2
I stayed in Ponferrada, then the muni in Armenteira, the muni in Vilanova de Arousa and then onto Santiago.

Between Ponferrada and Armenteira is the beautiful village of Combarro which has some hotels at good prices, as long as you are walking off season. Combarro is as expensive as it gets in Spain in July and August.

Between Armenteira and Vilanova is, at the bottom of the Ruata de Piedra y Agua, the bar and pension Os Castanos.

Other than that, nothing.
 
#3
Dont think you need a book, its all waymarket. I didnt do it but i saw this sign just outside Ponferrada. To get your self familiar with the water and stone route i highly recommend Ray Uprichard book Walking the Spiritual Variante of the Camino Portuguese. Its no guide book but an excellent read if you are interested in the route.
 

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jsalt

Jill
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, De Soulac, Norte, Madrid-Salvador-Primitivo
#4
I am thinking of walking the varient espiritual in a year or two. Is there a book I could order which whould show me maps, distances, places to stay, etc.
Yes, A Pilgrim’s Guide to the Camino Portugués by John Brierley 2018 edition has a section at the back on the Variante Espiritual. You will be able to order it from Ivar on this website as soon as he has the latest edition in stock. (See “Services in Santiago by Ivar” and then click on “Camino Store”.)

If you are walking in July-September there is another place to stay in Armenteira besides the albergue, as the new Pousada Armenteira is open in summer:
http://www.pousadadearmenteira.com/EN/hotel.html
Telephone: +34 986 716 372
Email: info@pousadadearmenteira.com

Happy planning!
Jill
 

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Charrito

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés
Portugués
Portugués Var. Esp.
Fisterra
Inglés
Invierno
Norte
Sanabrés
Primitivo
#6
I stayed in Ponferrada, then the muni in Armenteira, the muni in Vilanova de Arousa and then onto Santiago.

Between Ponferrada and Armenteira is the beautiful village of Combarro which has some hotels at good prices, as long as you are walking off season. Combarro is as expensive as it gets in Spain in July and August.

Between Armenteira and Vilanova is, at the bottom of the Ruata de Piedra y Agua, the bar and pension Os Castanos.

Other than that, nothing.
I think you mean Pontevedra, NOT Ponferrada!
 
#8
I am thinking of walking the variante espiritual in a year or two. Is there a book I could order which whould show me maps, distances, places to stay, etc.
You can get this guide on Amazon either in book form or digital Guide to "The Camino Portugués (Part Two from Porto to Santiago de Compostela)" The Variante Espiritual is 3 days. As you are leaving Pontevedra you will see a sign telling you where to turn.
 

KariC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho portugûes (2016)
#9
One word of caution: the usual stages are Armenteira, Vilanova, Padrón. I planned to do it a bit differently, because of being "off stage" and did a long day to Combarro, (which was lovely!) with the intention of getting to Ribadumia the next day, and Vilanova the next. At the tourist office in Pontevedra, they assured me that there were places to stay in Ribadumia. Google said there were places to stay. At the monastery in Armenteira, they said I could find places to stay in Ribadumia. Guess what? Nowhere to stay in Ribadumia. A hotel was built but never authorized by the new gov't to open. A camino angel gave me a ride to Vilanova, because I'd been hiking about 6-7 hours already, and Vilanova was another 4-5 away (if I'm recalling distances right). So Combarro is beautiful and quaint if you get off the main road down by the water in the old city, and I shared a very nice room at a decent price with another pilgrim, but from there, it's either a very short stage to Armenteira or a very long one to Vilanova. Having said that, I HIGHLY recommend the Variante Espiritual - the Camino de Agua and Piedras was hands down the most breathtakingly beautiful part of the camino for me, and I met wonderful people along that path. From Vilanova, it's either a flat long trek to Padron right along the highway or a spectacularly beautiful raft ride up the Río Ulla, following the path that legend says St. James' remains made their way to Santiago. I forget the #, but 23 or 26 stone crosses to the Saint have been erected along the way, and they appear mystically and awe-inspiringly out of the fog as you make your way up in the early morning. Take the river!!
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#10
Kari, what was wrong with Os Castanos in Ribadumia. It has rooms. At least it did in May of 2016.
 

KariC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho portugûes (2016)
#11
Kari, what was wrong with Os Castanos in Ribadumia. It has rooms. At least it did in May of 2016.
I asked two different local people and they both said they knew of nowhere to stay. The first person pointed me to the hotel which never opened, and the 2nd, a local who lived there, is the one who told me that it had never opened and explained it was a problem with the old gov't building it and the new gov't not liking it. I was there in Sept. of 2016. Don't know if it had closed by then or if somehow the locals didn't know it existed.
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Donating Member
#14
Walking Notes from the CSJ Guide - www.csj.org.uk PLEASE ADD ANY OTHER DETAILS

Variante Espiritual
Stage 1
Pontevedra – Poio – Combarro – Armenteira. Approximately 24 kms.

Leaving Pontevedra

Leave Pontevedra from the Praza Peregrina into the neighbouring Praza Ourense. Keep to the Left along the Rúa Soportales and at the next small plaza head over Right to the Rúa Real. KSO towards the river and to cross turn Left, onto the Rúa da Ponte, and then immediately Right and cross the Puente del Burgo.

At the end of the bridge cross straight over the road and shortly turn Left and then Right into the Rúa da Santiña. At the mini-roundabout veer Left then, later, Right onto the Rúa Gandara. From here the route is very straightforward moving through leafy paths and minor roads. Pass a fuente on your Left then, further along, pass under the railway, to your Right. 2.7 kms

Here there is a sign for the “Variante Espiritual”, taking you Left. This is a modern detour based on the legend that the body of Saint James was brought in a stone boat to Galicia, it is claimed, by the estuary of Arousa and the river Ulla to Iria Flavia (now Padrón). Walking notes below. More info:www.osalnes.com/descargas/web/traslatio.pdf.

The stage is well waymarked. First, follow the arrows on minor roads, then through fields and trees, to the Church of San Pedro de Campaño. 3 kms. Here there is a hotel and two restaurants. Continue, through houses and trees, and passing the “Valoriza” factory, till you reach the main road and a large roundabout. 3 kms. On your Left is the Monastery of Poio. In addition to the Church and Monastery, there is accommodation and a cafeteria here.

The route continues on roads and paths through houses and trees, until you pass through a sports complex and head down to the Left, to walk alongside the seafront. Returning to a main road, ignore the arrows across the road in front of you. Instead, turn Left and follow the arrows along the side of this busy road. Just before the road bends Left, follow the waymark down to the Left, to the waterfront again, and continue into the centre of Combarro. 4 kms. In this delightful little seaside town, there are shops, bars and restaurants.

It is a good place in which to stop to eat. Before leaving Combarro, stock up on water, and perhaps an energy bar, for the climb ahead, which is steady mostly, but steep as well at times. Looking back as you climb you will be rewarded with excellent views.

To leave Combarro, cross over the main road and go up through the houses on the other side. Follow the direction of the arrows, climbing steadily, on the Camiño Rodondo, Esperón and Vilar, until you come to a Camino noticeboard. 6 kms. For the next 6 kms you continue to climb steadily, on country roads and wide forest pathways. Eventually, turn Right onto a main road then, after only 200 metres, turn Left off it again. The last 2 kms of this stage goes downhill, partly on a steep, narrow path. At the bottom of the path, follow the road down to the Right and into Armenteira, where there is an Albergue, the Monastery of Amenteira and two bar-restaurantes.

Albergue de Armenteira, Casa de la Cultura. 32 places.

Tel: 670 757 777 (Antonio).

Monasterio Cisterciense de Armenteira, Lugar de la Iglesia, s/n.
Tel: 627 097 696 (Hospedería - Hermana Lourdes).
Email:
info@monasteriodearmenteira.es.


Pousada Armenteira is open in summer:
http://www.pousadadearmenteira.com/EN/hotel.html
Tele: +34 986 716 372
Email
: info@pousadadearmenteira.com


Stage 2

Armenteira – Ruta de Piedra y Agua – Ruta del Rio Umia – Vilanova de Arousa. Approximately 28 kms.

Leaving Armenteira, following the waymarks, the first part of this stage follows the well established “Ruta da Pedra e da Agua” (the route of stones and water) – a lovely riverside walk. Care needs to be taken initially, as you are sometimes going downhill on stony paths. After 5 kms you come to a wayside Chapel and bar, which does not open early. However, a further 3 kms on, at the main road and roundabout, is the bar-restaurante “Os Castaños”.

Follow the arrows and waymarks across various roads here and, eventually, pass under a bridge to walk alongside the river on the “Ruta del Rio Umia”, the second part of this stage. KSO this riverside path for 3 kms, until you reach a main road. Turn Left along the road, then Right to continue alongside the river for another 3 kms. Come out at the flyover and take the wooden footbridge, Right, over the river. KSO. At a roundabout, go Left, cross a bridge, and then go Left again. KSO at another roundabout then, at the next one, veer Right. Pass a Variante Espiritual information board on your Left, before the road bends round to the Right. These last 2 kms, on roads, have taken you through Ponte Arnelas and Gombra, and towards Mouzas. The bars that you pass here are the last ones till Vilanova.

Shortly after the road bends round to the Right, follow the sign off Left, onto a path which goes round behind houses. Continue on this path. After 2.5 kms you begin to climb steadily, but not steeply, for about 2.5 kms, until you come out at more houses. Go down through the houses, and cross the main road into Cores. Continue on down through houses until you arrive at the seafront, where you turn Right to enter the start of Vilanova de Arousa. 4 kms.

To reach the Albergue and the departure point for the boat to Pontecesures the next day, pass under the bridge and continue walking along the seafront and beach, through trees, until you come to the footbridge. 3 kms. Cross the bridge. The departure point for the boat is on your Left, and the Albergue - which is housed in the Sports Centre - is round the road to the Right.

Albergue de Peregrinos Vilanova de Arousa, José Francisco González San Isidro, s/n (Pabellón de Deportes). 28 places.
Tel: 672 030 815 or 633 906 490.

In addition to the Albergue in Vilanova, there are several hotels, including:

Hotel Arco Iris*, Playa del Terrón, 12.
Tel: 986 555 444 or 986 555 319 or 669 847 643.
Email: h_arcoiris@hotmail.com.

Stage 3

Vilanova – Pontecesures. 1 hour by boat; walking approx 28 kms.

The Albergue in Vilanova has information about the boat and sailing times, which vary according to the tide. You need to consult with the hospitalero there, and make a reservation for a place on the boat, the night before travelling.

The walking route is waymarked, however be aware that walking from Vilanova to Pontecesures involves long stretches alongside main, and at times busy, roads. The distances between the principal towns enroute are:

Vilanova de Arousa to Vilagarcia de Arousa: 8 kms.

Vilagarcia de Arousa to Catoira: 11 kms.

There are trains from Vilagarcia de Arousa to Padrón and, less frequently, from Catoira to Padrón.

Catoira to Pontecesures: 9 kms.

In Pontecesures the trail merges with the Camino Portugués into Padrón and on to Santiago.
 
Last edited:

jsalt

Jill
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, De Soulac, Norte, Madrid-Salvador-Primitivo
#15
Albergue de Armenteira, Casa de la Cultura. 14 places.

Tel: 670 757 777 (Antonio).
Hi, I am pretty sure this albergue has 32 beds now. When I stayed earlier this year there were 16 people staying, and we literally had a full bunk bed (top and bottom) each. (Amazingly, we were all women, so we could use both the male and female ablutions!)
Jill
 

jsalt

Jill
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, De Soulac, Norte, Madrid-Salvador-Primitivo
#17
and towards Mouzas. The bars that you pass here are the last ones till Vilanova.
Hi, not exactly. There is a bar as you cross the main road (the PO-549). And there is a beach bar very soon after you arrive at the seafront – just before you go under the big bridge – about 3kms before you get to Vilanova. (I stop at them all!)
Jill
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#18
1) There is a way to go to Poio via another bridge that makes the day out of Pontevedra shorter. It’s the way the tourism office sends people. As the « real » way is not much to talk about, this short cut may help those wanting to spend the night in Armenteira.

2) The monastery in Armenteria was not offering hospederia services on May 2016. Everyone was sent to the muni.

3) Yes, the muni has some 30 beds. 6 in one room, the rest in a common area.

4) While in armenteira, call both captains (numbers of the wall) to find out about ALL the boats leaving from Vilarousa the next day, and the day after. The albergue in Vilarousa only works with one captain only so you may be not be getting all the available flexibility. You may not have to spnd a night in Vilarousa if there’s an afternoon boat.

5) The walk from Armenteria to Vilarouse is 24 km, not 28. See the flyer that advertises the Variante.

6) There are bars and restaurants some 7km or so before Vilanova, after the 2km uphill and alk through the vineyards. One on the street your walk down as you make your way to the coast, others along the coast where there are campings.

7) Combarro is on of the most expensive places to vacation in Spain. In summer finding a bed there may be an issue.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

jsalt

Jill
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, De Soulac, Norte, Madrid-Salvador-Primitivo
#19
3) Yes, the muni has some 30 beds. 6 in one room, the rest in a common area.
I think they may have done some changes / renovations / upgrades ;), as a few months ago there were 16 beds down one side, and 16 beds done the other.
Here are the 16 beds down my side (just for the record :)):
20170605_204911Armenteira.jpg

It was so cool being all women - we could dress and undress in gay abandon!
Jill
(P.S. We had a great evening out in the bar as well :cool:.)
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#20
Wow, they did do some renos. When I was there the bunk bds were lined up one after the other in two rows on the right hand side of the albergue, another few along the partition as you walked in, and the bed room.

The hospitalera popped in and brought us a pound cake she had made.

What I thought was brilliant in that albergue is the faucet under the bathroom sink (ther is no kitchen) so that you can easily fill up a large bottle.

Now, food... restaurant A Fonte has an excellent reputation in the region and beyond. Rumor has it many public figures go eat there when in the area.

As is common, there’s the bar/bocadillo section and also a formal dinning room. I walked in for a late lunch around 4 pm, had zamburinas. The large families at the other tables had bottles of orujo brought to them: clear, honey and coffee. When I enquired, (it was raining after all, I was in no hurry to get back to the albergue) I was also brought such bottles. Home made orujo is those pretty 500ml glass water bottles straight out of the freezer. And then my co-walkers came in for their late lunch. More orujo followed that, and little orujo was left by the time we walked out but that was never reflected in the bill.

A wonderful memory. Oh, we meant to attend vespers after our meal but instead we got treated to a mariage ceremony.

The nuns make a eucalyptus alcohol I think, but I did not taste it. They also make beautiful soaps.
 
#24
I was in contact with Os Castanos recently, with quick replies to e-mails.

Here is the informative reply I received,

El precio por noche de la habitación individual es de 25€ con el desayuno incluido.
Para ese día le podemos reservar una mesa para usted en el restaurante. Podemos hacerle un menú especial de 15€ (entrante, plato principal, bebida, postre y café) o bien platos de nuestra carta. Puede decidir el propio día en el momento.

Booking is confirmed when they receive your credit card number and name embossed on it.

oscastanos@oscastanos.es
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues- May (2018)
Start in Porto with Spiritual Variant
#25
I have been in contact with the Monastery in Armenteira over this past week. People can stay there, but it needs to be for more than one night and they request that you participate in the life of the nuns; prayer, work etc. You wilk most likely need to book ahead as well. This is what I wanted so it works for me, but may not be what other pilgrims desire.
 

Corky54

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pontevedra to Santiago de Compostela (2018)
#26
Does anyone know a safe way of getting from Ponte Arnelas to Cambados (Hotel Casa Rosita) where we are staying before we catch the boat the next day in Villanova?
 

Charrito

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés
Portugués
Portugués Var. Esp.
Fisterra
Inglés
Invierno
Norte
Sanabrés
Primitivo
#27
Does anyone know a safe way of getting from Ponte Arnelas to Cambados (Hotel Casa Rosita) where we are staying before we catch the boat the next day in Villanova?
That is one big detour!
 


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