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The Caminho Português

Sur le Caminho Português©Lepère


Starting from Lisbon, the Caminho Português goes through the large cities of Fatima, Coimbra and Porto to get to Galicia via the Ria de Vigo and Pontevedra. The itinerary is a resumé of the history and heritage of Portugal, a country which became independent in the 12th C. when it broke away from the Kingdom of Spain. Portugal owes this independence  to the influence of its first king, Alphonse I the Conqueror, a descendant of the House of Burgundy.


Whereas the great Portuguese mariners looked towards the open seas and set out on the route to discover Africa, Asia and South America, pilgrims stayed on terra firma and headed due north towards the sanctuary in Galicia. In the 14th C., Queen Isabel of Portugal, known as «Saint Isabel » became a famous pilgrim : she donated her crown to the sanctuary in Galicia. She is buried in Coimbra with her pilgrim's staff. In 1502, King Manuel Ist gave an allowance so that a lamp should be kept burning day and night in the Galicia sanctuary. Along the way, walkers will go through Barcelos, famous for its cock which, as in Santo Domingo de la Calzada, crowed to proclaim the innocence of the hanged man saved by Saint James.


Going by what is said by those people who use this Way, this itinerary signposted with yellow arrows is not very busy. You sometimes have to walk on public roads, which can be dangerous (fluorescent yellow jacket recommended). In Galicia, safety and signposting are both better, and there are more places providing accommodation.


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