Despite the last two long days, we strangely begin to feel stronger than during the first days of the Camino de Santiago. The worst is now over, for the first four days our body must get accustomed to walking long distances, from now on, we will not fear the kilometres ahead.
Today we will, again, have a very long day, but much more varied, with ups and downs along dirt tracks and some stretches of asphalt. Throughout the day, we leave behind the faithful Ribera del Tejo, which has accompanied us from Lisbon, to enter an environment with a more broken relief and where the eucalyptus forests will be very present.
The sixth stage of the Camino de Santiago in Portugal concludes in Tomar, the historic city of the Templars. A rather touristic locality, where the castle and the famous Convent of Christ await us.
Itinerary Golegã - Tomar
The sixth stage of the Camino Portugues runs just a little over 30 kilometres. For the first time since we left Lisbon, there are ups and downs. After five days walking on flat surfaces, the first climbs will make us sweat a little.
Golegã (Km. 0). Beginning of stage
Practical tips for this section: In this section, we will say goodbye to our loyal companion, the River Tejo. Stop in the bucolic corner located next to La Quinta da Cardiga to record the image forever in your memory. Buen Camino!
Today's day begins at Church Square. Take Rua D. Afonso Henriques, then continue along Rua del Dr. Branco until you leave Golega. We cross the road and go straight ahead, where an asphalt trail cuts our way. We cross it to continue along a dirt track that opens into another road, which we take to the left.
Three kilometres later we arrive at the town of São Caetano. Following the arrows, we pass in front of the Pilgrims' Hostel, located in a traditional Ribatejo house. We then cross a small square with trees and benches and continue towards LaQuinta da Cardiga (km. 5.7), a beautiful palace on the banks of the River Tejo. If we look back and to the left, we'll see an abandoned workers' colony.
In a quiet corner with shady yew trees and overlooking a meandering River Tejo, we say goodbye to the river that has accompanied us from Lisbon. By a dirt track, we go forward to Vila Nova da Barquinha.
Vila Nova da Barquinha (Km. 8,8)
Practical tips for this section: In this section, you should pay special attention to the indications that will come across your path, in many cases, they are arrows formed by branches or stones since the official signs are non-existent or very deteriorated. It is also important not to be confused with the blue arrows pointing towards the Sanctuary of Fatima. Buen Camino!
At Vila Nova da Barquinha, we pass by a public school installed in modern buildings. We continue straight on Rua da Cardiga to cross the train tracks on a level crossing without barriers. After crossing, we take the street to the left that will lead us to a roundabout.
There the arrows indicate us to continue towards Atalaia, by a stretch that runs along sidewalks and asphalt, in a semi-rural environment. So we arrive in front of the Main Church of Atalaia (km. 10.9).
After the visit to the temple, we follow a paved sidewalk, which soon becomes the hard shoulder of the N-110 road. Across our path appears a yellow arrow that indicates that we must turn right to leave the road, in the direction of Grou. We continue along a dirt track, which runs uphill, and we go into a forest of replanted eucalyptus.
We cross a bridge over the motorway A23 (km. 13.4) and continue to the left. First flat, and after turning to the right, in ascent, towards some electrical pylons. At this point we must be very attentive to the marks on the path, there are few indications and the arrows are usually very discoloured.
At some crossroads, we will find stones or branches that other pilgrims have put in order to avoid confusion. Since it is not possible to paint on the bark of the eucalyptus trunk, it is common to find small wooden arrows, placed at eye-level.
In a forest clearing, next to a fence of a waste plant, we will find a white marker painted with a blue arrow, which indicates the direction to Fatima. The arrow indicates that we must turn left, it is important that you do not get confused at this point. Our path continues in the opposite direction, to the right.
We arrive at the urbanization of Grou along some nice paths. Passing by a modern, white church, we continue along the local road to Asseiceira.
Asseiceira (Km. 20,1)
Practical tips for this section: In this section, you will have the feeling of having been given an absurd detour. Avoiding it implies walking on a dangerous road and only saves 1 kilometre on your route. In our opinion, it's not worth it. Buen Camino!
In Asseiceira we will pass in front of the ruins of the small Iglesia de la Misericordia. In the locality, you can visit the Capela de São Domingos, the Cruzeiro da Capela del Santo André and Merendas (or Pilgrim) Park.
Continue to the national road N-110 and take it to the right. After two kilometres walking along the hard shoulder, we reach a roundabout and continue on to the left.
We pass the A13 motorway viaduct (km. 23.6) and we pass over a second roundabout. 300 metres later, in ascent, we reach an industrial estate. We leave the asphalt, taking a path that begins on the right-hand side and advancing parallel to the train tracks. After 1.8 kilometres on this quiet path, we reach an asphalt junction.
We continue straight on to Rua Casal Marmelo, Casal da Rosa and Casal das Bernardas (km. 26). A kilometre and a half later, we find another crossing that sends us to the left, along a road with a steep ascent. 700 metres later, turn right and follow another road, first in plain and then uphill, until Alto do Piolinho (km. 29).
Once in El Alto, turn right to go down to São Lourenço, where we cross the railway tracks by an underpass. The arrows return us to the road N-110, where we continue with caution to the city of Tomar.
Tomar (Km. 30,5). End of stage
Practical tips for this section: Today's stage has been long and we have faced the first slopes of the Camino Portugues. Tomar is a good city to give a day's rest to our legs. This locality is the closest point to visit the Sanctuary of Fatima, located 30 kilometres to the west, towards the coast.
There are various bus services and the trip lasts an hour. Think well about taking a day off and take advantage to visit Fatima. See you tomorrow!
In Tomar, we continue advancing to its historical centre, a busy tourist area and where we will find all kinds of services. This is a truly extraordinary city and to check it out there is nothing better than to take a little walk through its old town and look up to the sky to see the majestic backdrop that the Convent of Christ gives us.
In the locality, the most popular visits are to the Templar Castle and to the Convent of Christ, where many pilgrims take advantage to seal their credential. However, you can also visit the Mouchão Park, the national Mata dos Sete Montes, the Ermita da Nossa Senhora da Conceição and the São João Baptista Church.
Comments Golegã - Tomar
Below we explain what precautions you should take throughout the day and we suggest some regional dishes.
Precautions stage Golegã - Tomar
In addition to being a relatively long stage, in which the first climbs of the route appear, the stage does not entail great difficulty. It can be completed by cyclists and people with reduced mobility, without any problem.
The pilgrim must be attentive to the signs throughout the whole day. In many places, the arrows are barely visible and in others, they are simply non-existent. It is common to find arrows formed with branches or stones that other pilgrims have left.
Remember that the blue arrows indicate the route to Fatima and must be ignored. In this section the indications to Fatima lead us to the opposite direction to which we want to go.
Gastronomy stage Golegã - Tomar
Then we make some gastronomic recommendations, to recover strength after the gruelling and suffocating day.
Migas de feijão (Beans and Breadcrumbs)
Cabidelas (Rabbit with Rice)
Coelho na abóbora (Rabbit with Pumpkin)
Feijoada Caracóis (Snail stew)
Morcelas ( Black Pudding)
Naco de vitela ( Veal Chunks)
Portuguese beers. The leaders in Portugal are Sagres and Super Bock, but you can also find exquisite artisan beers. In this area of Portugal, if we want a glass of beer we will have to ask for a "fino", the jug is called "Caneca", and between one measure and another, we can ask for a "tulipa". If you want a bottle of beer, just indicate "Cerveja" or directly the name of the brand of beer you want. The 20cl bottles are called "mini".
Sweets from the region: Fatias (Chinese slices), sponge cake or Kiss-me-quick sweets.
What to do Golegã - Tomar
Here you will find information about the tourist attractions you can visit today.
Vila Nova da Barquinha
Vila Noval da Barquinha is a Parish of the municipality that bears the same name and belongs to the district of Santarém. The locality has an area of almost 6 square kilometres and a population of 1,500 inhabitants.
Atalaia is a Parish in the municipality of Vila Nova da Barquinha, belonging to the district of Santarém. The locality has an area of14 square kilometres and in it reside approximately 1,700 people.
In the locality, you can visit a necropolis of the Bronze Age and the Main Church declared as a National Monument in 1926. The Parish Church of Atalaya dates back to 1528 and its construction was carried out by the mandate of Pedro de Meneses, Count of Cantanhede. However, the building we observe today is not the original, as it was restored and refurbished in the 1930s.
The temple is consecrated to Our Lady of the Assumption and presents a Manueline architectural style. It is probably the first Portuguese temple to use a new spatial image.
Particularly noteworthy is its façade, made up of four bodies. In the first one opens the main portal, the second has a window and the last two make up the bell tower.
Asseiceira is a Parish in the Council of Tomar. The locality has an area of 29 square kilometres and a population of 3,200 inhabitants. The Parish was founded in 1984, however, the locality has some centuries of existence, appearing in previous writings like Aceiceira.
In the village, you can visit the Capela de São Domingos, the Cruzeiro da Capela del Santo André and Merendas (or Pilgrim) Park.
Capela de São Domingos
La Capela de São Domingos is located in the Parish of Asseiceira. The temple dates back to the 17th century, although it was the subject of several renovations in the 18th and 20th centuries. In the picturesque chapel, the bell tower, the classic decoration of the main door and the Cross of Trifolio arms all stand out
Inside, on the main altar, since 1728, it has housed an interesting wooden baroque cross and the image of the patron of the temple: Santo Domingo, who appears depicted with a branch of flowers in one hand and the Bible in the other. At his feet, a dog is observed resting on a terrestrial balloon.
Mass time: The third Sunday of each month, at 16:30.
Tomar belongs to the municipality that bears the same name, located in the district of Santarém. The beautiful city located on the banks of the River Nabão, and has a population of more than 40,000 inhabitants. The river crosses the town, leaving the historic quarter to the west and the new part of it, to the east.
Its peaceful streets bear witness to the long history of this medieval city and there are several monuments of various styles: Gothic, Renaissance and Manueline. The city, surrounded by green hills and characterized by white houses, is especially well-known for its 12th-century castle and the famous Convent of Christ, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
In addition to its heritage, Tomar is famous for being a historic city of the Order of the Templars. In 1159, Afonso Henriques, first King of Portugal, donated the locality to the order to thank them for the help that the warrior monks had given during the reconquest of the region. In 1319, after the dissolution of the Order of the Temple, the Order of Christ was installed in the locality, hence the name of the convent.
Other points of interest in the locality are the Parque de Mouchão, the national Mata dos Sete Montes, the Ermita da Nossa Senhora da Conceição and the São João Baptista Church.
The Templar Castle of Tomar was built by the command of the Order of the Temple in the 12th century. It is considered one of the most important fortifications in Portugal and from its position, dominates the whole city. Inside it houses the Convent of Christ. The architectural collection, formed by the Castle and the Convent, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, in 1983. However, since 1918, the castle already had the cataloguing of National Monument.
The construction has undergone numerous reconstructions and extensions throughout history, due to various attacks. It is not until the cataloguing as a National Monument, that began the procedure to restore the castle completely, prioritizing the conservation of the original structure. Because of this, in the construction that can be observed today, both Romanesque and Gothic and Renaissance styles are appreciated.
The castle is surrounded by two walls. The first encloses the cistern and the tower that rises imposing itself on the rest of the construction. The second, protects the village originally from the early Middle Ages.
Timetable: From June to September (from 9:00 to 18:30), from October to May (from 9:00 to 17:30).
Entrance: General to the whole (Alcobaça, Batalha, Convent of Christ) (€15), General Castillo (€6). Those over 65 years old and youth cards are discounted. On Sundays and holidays, until 14:00, the entrance is free.
Convento de Cristo
The Convent of Christ is located inside the Templar Castle of Tomar, on the top of a hill, dominating the whole city. Both the castle and the convent were the headquarters of the Order of the Temple until its dissolution, in 1314. The Order of Christ, after which the convent is named, was its successor, from 1357.
The construction of the convent, in which took part the famous architect João de Castilho, was completed between the 12th and 17th centuries. This time delay explains the presence of the various architectural styles that the building presents: Gothic, Manueline and Renaissance.
Today this convent constitutes a whole museum of the Portuguese architecture and is considered, together with the Monasterio dos Jerónimos in Lisbon and that of Batalha, one of the most important Manueline monuments of Portugal.
The nucleus of the temple is La Charola (Ambulatory) of the Church, the Oratório dos Templários. Its construction dates from the 12th century and was carried out following the model of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
It is an octagonal construction, formed by two floors and supported on eight pillars. An ambulatory with annular vault separates the octagonal structure from the outer polygon formed by sixteen sides. The interior is decorated with paintings by artists from Portugal and with polychrome wood carvings.
The convent is composed of several cloisters. The oldest is the cemetery cloister. This, like the da Lavagem Cloister, has an arch structure pointed on clustered columns. Both are square-floor. The cemetery is formed by a single floor of five sections and that of Lavagem by two floors.
The most emblematic and important cloister is the main one. Its construction was carried out between 1557 and 1566, it is the work of Diogo de Torralva. This space is known as Cloister dos Felipes, in homage to Felipe II, who here took the crown of Portugal, in the year 1588. The structure is made up of two floors. On the ground floor, you can appreciate Tuscan columns and in the upper, ionic style. Its scant decoration stands out, which contrasts with the abundant Manueline decoration of the nave.
The cloister has three windows, although you can only see two. The first one is on the right, entering the main cloister. To see the most famous window, the chapter window, it is necessary to go down to the Cloister of Santa Bárbara.
The chapter window is the most amazing Manueline work in Portugal. Sculpted between 1510 and 1513 on the roots of cork oak, it is the work of Diogo de Arruda. The roots are held by the bust of a captain and the ornamentation, with marine motifs, climbs along two masts.
The collection finishes off with the emblems of King Emmanuel II and the Cross of the Order of Christ. The window is tied with some ropes to two towers. One of them surrounded by a chain that represents the order of the Golden Fleece and the other, by a ribbon that symbolizes the order of the Garter.
Mata Nacional dos Sete Montes
The Mata Nacional dos Sete Montes, in Tomar, is a small walled forest that was founded by the Order of Christ flanking the convent. Hence it is also known as Cerca do Convento.
The place is, at present, is the real heart of the city and constitutes an idyllic place to walk and to enjoy the architecture of the complex formed by the castle and the convent.
Chapel da Nossa Senhora da Conceicão
The Chapel da Nossa Senhora da Conceição is located at the top of the city of Tomar, next to the Templar Castle. This is a Portuguese Renaissance-style chapel. This unique construction was declared a national monument in 1910.
The capitals of the temple were sculpted by João Castilho, although it was Diogo de Torralva who topped the construction in 1573.
Timetable: daily (from 10:00 to 12:30 and from 14:00 to 17:00)
Admission: 1 euro.
Church of São João Baptista
The São João Baptista Church is located in the heart of Tomar. The temple is well known in the country for its involvement with the Order of the Templars and was declared a national monument in 1910.
The building is of late Gothic style and its construction date is not exactly clear. Nevertheless, there is data that document a great renovation of the church during the 15th century, by order of the priest Dom Manuel I.
Of its structure, its flamboyant Gothic style portico stands out and has a bell tower in Manueline style that has been attached to the main construction. The tower is distributed in a rectangular floor pattern divided into two floors. The second floor has an octagonal base and is finished in a pyramidal shape.
Of the interior, the decoration of vegetal type is striking, as well as small altarpieces in which the Last Supper is represented, the baptism of Christ and the decapitation of Saint John the Baptist.
Timetable: Closes on Sunday afternoons. The rest of the week (from 8:00 to 12:00 and from 15:00 to 19:00).
Mouchão Park is located on the banks of the River Nabão as it passes by Tomar, forming a small islet with many natural resources. The small island is equipped with various walks, playgrounds and benches.
It also has a large wood-built mill, whose purpose is to evoke the irrigation traditions of the areas near the river.