After the visit to the incredible city of Coimbra, it is time to continue the Camino de SantiagoIf you have taken a few days to visit the beautiful city, you will find yourself full of energy and eager to resume the route.
Many pilgrims choose Coimbra as a starting point, if that's your case, welcome!
The beginning of today's stage is unattractive, like any city exit. However, throughout the day we will cross beautiful landscapes, such as eucalyptus and pine forests and sections flanked by olive trees.
During the tour, we will cross a lot of small towns, but without excessive interest. The stage ends in Mealhada, a peaceful locality on the banks of the river, where we can consider whether to visit Mato de Buçaco or let ourselves be drawn into the quiet pace of the locality.
Itinerary Coímbra - Mealhada
Today’s stage on the Camino Portugues runs for 25 kilometres. Once we have left Coimbra, we are going to advance through, for the most part, dirt tracks and pleasant trails. Only a small stretch of sandstone will hinder our advance, especially for cyclists and people with reduced mobility.
Coímbra (Km. 0). Beginning of stage
Practical tips for this section: those who do not wish to cross the centre of Coimbra, can take an alternative path, walking parallel to the River Mondego. To do this you have to go from Largo da Portaguem to the train station (Estacao Nova) and from there continue along Avenida Cidade Aeminium, parallel to the river.
After crossing the underpass of the IC1 motorway, we can link to the bike path ang which the official route runs. Buen Camino!
The day begins in Largo da Portagem. We descend the stairs of Rua dos Gatos and continue along Rua Adro de Cima towards Praça do Comércio. We cross the square, passing in front of the São Tiago Church, and follow the arrows along the narrow Rua Eduardo Coelho and Largo do Poço.
Turning to the right, we take Rua da Louça, to the Church of Santa Cruz, the Câmara Municipal, and Coimbra Town Hall. We continue along Rua da Sofia and pass in front of the Churches of Nossa Senhora do Carmo, Graça and São Pedro.
Next to the Church of São Pedro we turn left on Rua Dr. Manuel Rodrigues, passing by the courthouse. On the Gran Avenida Fernão de Magalhães, we turn right and continue for 600 metres to a McDonald's (km. 1.6).
At 30 metres from McDonald's, we find a landmark under the motorway viaduct. Here we have to turn left on the pavement, passing under the viaducts and then through a narrow tunnel that passes under the railway tracks. We leave this, arrive at a stop, and cross the avenue, to find a bicycle path.
In the bicycle lane, we find another pillar and arrows, both for the Camino de Santiago and towards Fatima, although evidently pointing in opposite directions. We continue on the right, heading north, advancing parallel to a canal.
Along a pleasant walk, we reach a huge roundabout of the road EN-111, we then cross the roundabout and soon cross the road by a pedestrian crossing, until outdoor parking at the train station Coimbra B (Estacao Velha). We continue along the Red Bike lane for 250 metres more, to a fork at which we will find a marker.
At the fork we bend slightly to the right to take an asphalted road, which advances in parallel to an irrigation channel. After 2.7 kilometres we reach a curve where we leave the road on the right and enter the town of Adémia de Baixo.
Adémia de Baixo (Km. 8)
Practical tips for this section: Do not forget to look at the sculpture of Santiago Peregrino de Trouxemil, it's quite peculiar. Buen Camino!
We cross the road EN-111, again, and continue along the street opposite. Following the stones and arrows of the Camino de Santiago, we reach a small paved road, on which we continue to the left. We enter the town of Fornos by a pleasant stretch of trees (km. 10).
On Rua Nossa Senhora da Esperança and Rua do Poço we get back to the road, which we continue to the right, passing a roundabout. The indications point out that we continue on a street to the left, avoiding a curve and returning, again, to the road.
After 300 metres moving along the road we reach a step under the motorway. Then we embark on a steep slope that leads us to Trouxemil, where we find the São Tiago Church, next to the cemetery, and a sculpture of Santiago Peregrino.
Trouxemil (Km. 11,7)
Practical tips for this section: In this section, you'll cross different locations, all with their white churches. Note that in the upper part of many of them you can see an alarm or siren. This is intended to warn of fires, unfortunately, they are quite frequent in this region. Buen Camino!
After passing a small square with a couple of benches and yew trees, we enter the neighbouring town of Adões (km. 12.4), where we find a newly-constructed white chapel, with a curious vane on the belfry. We continue along the street on the right, advancing for a kilometre between small houses and arriving at the neighbouring town of Sargento-Mor (km. 13.6) and its pristine white church.
Following straight on and on the asphalt, we face an ascent that leads us to the national road. We proceed with caution for 800 metres and arrive at the town of Santa Luzia (km. 15.5).
By a small street on the left, and just before a bar, we leave the national road. Arriving at the town exit, the street becomes a dirt track, which runs between eucalyptus and pine forests. This is one of the most beautiful sections of today's stage.
The dirt track gradually transforms into a path of fine sand, in which our steps lightly sink. After a kilometre and a half of sandstone, we return to a small local road flanked, on both sides, by a forest. We're still on the right side of the way.
About a kilometre and a half later, we get to the first houses in Mala. Here we also find a white church, but with corners and stone finishing.
Mala (Casal Comba) (Km. 19,3)
Practical tips for this section: In this section, you will find several points where you stop to take a break. In Lendiosa you will find a coffee bar and, after Vimieira, you'll pass by a picnic area. Buen Camino!
Continue along the asphalt, towards Lendiosa (km. 20.9). The pilgrim path begins to descend slightly and then starts an ascent to the first houses of the neighbouring town of Vimieira (km. 22).
After the ascent to the first houses, we detour down a street, slightly to the right. We get to a stop and continue on the right, through an urban stretch without a hard shoulder, or pavement.
At the exit of the urban stretch, we enter a beautiful path of land that runs between olive trees and leads us to a picnic area, located next to the national road EN-1.
We cross a roundabout and 250 metres later, we pass over a bridge that crosses the railway tracks. We continue along a long avenue that leads us to our destination today: Mealhada.
Mealhada (Km. 25). End of stage
Practical tips for this section: The City of Mealhada does not have too many points of interest. If you want to visit Mato do Buçaco you have two options.
Arrive early in Mealhada and be in very good physical form to travel the kilometres that involve the visit to Mato do Buçaco or book a day for the visit. See you tomorrow!
Mealhada is made for rest. Its’ quiet life by the river and its famous Leitão Assado á Bairrada will allow you to recover from today's stage.
Comments Coímbra - Mealhada
Below we detail what you should pay attention to during the day and we suggest some dishes to replace energy.
How to get to Coímbra
Coimbra can be reached both by train and by bus, from any point of the country. If you come from abroad, it is best to fly to Oporto or Lisbon, which are the nearest airports, and from there take a train or a bus.
Lisbon probably has more links than Oporto, however, it is easy, because the link with Coimbra enables you to spend the night in one of the two cities. From France and Spain, you can reach it by train.
However, if you do not want to worry about transfers or accommodation, you only have to contact us and we will take care of everything.
Precautions stage Coímbra - Mealhada
Today's stage is signposted in various ways. Throughout the day, the pilgrim will find arrows, tiles and even adhesives. It is important to pay attention to the indications in this section, especially in the urban sections, since the diversity of signals makes it possible to go unnoticed.
Cyclists or persons with reduced mobility will find it difficult to overcome the one-and-a-half kilometre stretch that is located before the arrival to Mala. The sandstone path that precedes the urbanization can considerably slow down the progress on wheels.
Gastronomy stage Coímbra - Mealhada
Below we suggest some dishes that you can taste in Mealhada.
Leitão assado á Bairrada: (Wood-fired Roasted Suckling Pig)
Arroz á Antiga (Oven-cooked Rice and Meat)
Cavacas (Portuguese pastries)
Wine from the Bairrada region, which has a controlled Appellation of Origin.
What to do Coímbra - Mealhada
Today's day goes through many localities, but they don't have too much interest. Even today's destination is not the most interesting at tourist-level. However, a few kilometres from the locality is Mata do Buçaco, an interesting place to visit if you want to do some sightseeing.
Mealhada is the capital of the Council of the same name, belonging to the district of Aveiro. The locality has 4,500 inhabitants.
The villa, located next to the River Cértima, is famous for its gastronomy and its tranquil lifestyle. It is often visited by tourists who want to explore Mata do Buçao, located about eight kilometres from the town.
Mata do Buçaco
Mata do Buçaco is an enchanted forest, declared a national park. The place is surrounded by large stone walls that awaken mystery and has inspired many writers in their works.
In the forest, you can visit several chapels in ruins, built by hermit monks, as well as ponds and a wide network of trails that run through areas full of exotic trees.
The place dates back to the 6th century when space was occupied by the Benedictine Order. At the beginning of the 17th century, the land passed into the hands of the bishopric of Coimbra, transferring the Barefoot Carmelites. It is this order that built the monastery, in 1628, giving it a period of splendour.
Of the monastery today only the church, the nave and the cloister are conserved. The monks in their efforts to obtain a place of recollection and prayer, also erected a stone wall of almost six kilometres in length, marking the space of the forest.
In 1622, the monks got a papal bull that forbade the entrance to the walled enclosure to women. This fact provoked a situation that when Queen Catherine, widow of Charles II of England, decided to visit Buçao, a new door was opened in the wall. This door is known as Portas da Rainha and constitutes the third entrance to the enclosure.
Between the years 1730 and 1750, the monks built eleven chapels in the forest. Of these, nine still exist. After the expulsion of the religious orders and the continuous confiscations, the space became part of the Portuguese monarchy, which then ordered the construction of a palace in the middle of the forest.
The palace is in a NeoManueline style and dates from 1907. After the First World War, the palace was converted into a hotel, enjoying great fame at European level.
Its façade is made of stone, reminding us of the popular Torre de Belém. Both the south and west façades are ornamented with scenes from Portuguese feats.
The interior is notable for its high ornamentation, among which paintings and pictures stand out, reproducing great Portuguese discoveries; and its composition of tiles. Its furniture, of Chinese origin, Indo-Portuguese and Portuguese, the pavement of foreign wood, the Royal Gallery and the ceiling, of Moorish style, also stand out.
The gardens surrounding the palace are of great beauty. On one side is located a spectacular labyrinth designed with a large number of geometric shapes. After crossing the labyrinth, you reach the rear of the building, where a trail begins, flanked by various tree species.
In the highest part of the Sierra del Buçao, at a height of 547 metres, the Alta Cruz is located. From there you have wonderful views of the city of the adjoining Sierras.