Today we start to prepare ourselves for the final stretch of our journey along the Camino Portugues. Three days before arriving in Santiago de Compostela, pilgrims face contradictory emotions. On one hand, the joy of reaching our destiny: the tomb of the Santiago the Apostle.
On the other, the nostalgia of knowing that soon we will leave a path that has given us many special moments. Fortunately, we still have three days to get the idea that this adventure is coming to an end.
Today we leave the emblematic Pontevedra by the Church of the Pilgrim, cross the Old Town and we will enter many villages and rural hamlets. The only drawback of today's stage is the national road, which crosses the pilgrims' path on several occasions.
Itinerary Pontevedra - Caldas de Reis
Short stage (23 kilometres) and simple, with little unevenness. Today's route advances along comfortable asphalt or dirt tracks, with the national road N-550 as a faithful companion.
Pontevedra (Km. 0). Beginning of stage
Practical tips for this section: As with all city exits, the exit of Pontevedra is not fast, crossing all its historic quarter. If you did not have time or strength to visit, you can devote the first hours of the morning to do it. Buen Camino!
We start the day heading to the train station, next to this we cross on Avenida Eduardo Pondal and we take Calle Gorgullón, where we will find the 65,077 km marker stone, that advises us of the proximity of the tomb of Santiago the Apostle.
Following straight ahead, we end up on Rúa Virxe do Miño, where a hotel with the same name is located. At the end of the street, we turn on the left-hand side by Rúa Sagasta and then by the pedestrian street Rúa da Peregrina, which leads us to the Pilgrim's Square.
We go forward to Porta do Miño and enter the Plaza da Ferreria. Parallel to the arcades, we continue to Plaza Curros Enríquez and then to Rúa Real until we reach Plaza Celso García de la Riega.
On this street, turn left onto Rúa da Ponte, leaving the old town and heading to Ponte do Burgau (km. 2.1).
Ponte du Burgau (Km. 2,1)
Practical tips for this section: Although today's route does not have many refreshment points, in this section you will find various places, both bars and picnic areas, where you can stop to rest. Buen Camino!
We cross the bridge and take Avenida da Coruña. A few metres later, by a street parallel on the left, we take Rúa da Santina. Always going straight ahead, we reach the district of A Gándara and then, the Alba Marshes Observatory, in the Parish of Santa Maria de Alba.
Afterwards, we pass by a discreet picnic area, located in the place of Pontecabras (km. 4.6). After passing under the railway, we continue to Guxilde, where the Church of Santa María de Alba is waiting (km. 5.2).
We leave Guxilde behind, we advance a little less than a kilometre, passing again under the railway, and we enter San Caetano de Alba, where we can visit a chapel that bears the same name (KM. 6.2). Then we enter the parish of Cerponzons, passing through the places of Leborei and O Castrado (km. 7.3).
On arrival at the 56,996 kilometre stone to Santiago de Compostela, we go onto a beautiful path bordered by a stone wall covered with moss and ivy (km. 8.2). By this, we reach the Rego de Pozo Negro, crossing by a rustic walkway to a level crossing without barriers.
After the complicated crossing, we arrive at San Amaro,in the Parish of San Mamede da Portela, entering in Barro (km. 10.3).
Practical tips for this section: If you want to visit the Portela Church, you must ask for the keys from Jorge, the janitor from the Barro Hostel. Buen Camino!
The pilgrims' path continues next to an inn and then passing next to a rest area. In A Cancela We find the detour (km. 11.4) to Portela.
We leave A Cancela by a paved road that leads us to the road. Here, we turn slightly to the left to continue along an agricultural track that leads us to Valbón (km. 12.9), in the Parish of Agudelo, where we find the Amonisa Cross, a wood carving of Santiago the Apostle.
At the exit of Valbón, we advance parallel to a viaduct, crossing the Rego do Areal, along a road that leads us to the provincial EP-9407 road. After the crossing, we find the landmark that announces that we are in the last 50 kilometres of the Camino Portugues (km. 14.9).
By several tracks and passing by a small factory, we arrive at La Seca, located at the foot of the national road, N-550.
La Seca (Km. 16,6)
Practical tips for this section: It is worthwhile to deviate 400 metres from the pilgrims' path to visit the waterfalls of the River Baroa, in the River Baroa Natural Park. The access is
between A Portela and Briallos, where the pilgrims' path crosses the road and is signposted. Buen Camino!
Along the hard shoulder of the N-550 road, we cross the River Agra and enter the town of Portas, where we leave by the road that comes from the left, and leads us to the tiny centre of Baroa. Shortly thereafter, the path brings us back to the national road, but for a short time, because then we leave it again to enter Briallos (km. 18).
We leave Briallos and return to the N-550 road, leave it quickly and visit the Chapel of Saint Lucia (km. 18.7). Continuing straight through a track that advances ahead, and flanked by the national N-550 road and the River Chaín, we reach the centre of Tivo (km. 20.8), where a couple of fountains invite us to stop.
About 20 minutes later, we enter Caldas de Reis, passing by the Church of Santa Maria. We descend to the bridge over the River Umia and then turn left onto Rúa Laureano Salgado, where we can visit the Burgas Fountain. By Rúa Real, we go into the centre of Caldas de Reis.
Caldas de Reis (Km. 23). End of stage
Practical tips for this section: The afternoon in Caldas de Reis is to enjoy, visiting a spa can be a great option to reward our body for the effort made over the last few weeks. See you tomorrow!
Caldas de Reis is a classic stage finish, those who prefer to continue walking can lengthen the stage to O Pino, in Valga. That would imply that the next day they could reach Santiago de Compostela. We stay here, and prefer to divide the kilometres, with two stages left and so to arrive early and not very tired at our destination.
In the locality, you can visit diverse places with important historical and cultural value, like the Church of Saint Thomas A Becket, the only temple in Galicia in devotion to this saint, or the Romanesque Churches of Saint André de César, Santa Maria de Bemil, Santa Maria or San Estevo de Saiar.
But you can also relax walking around the beautiful Botanical Gardens or, better yet, enjoying one of the two spas located in the village.
Comments Pontevedra - Caldas de Reis
Here are some recommendations for this stage as well as some culinary suggestions.
Precautions stage Pontevedra - Caldas de Reis
The main precaution that pilgrims should take during this stage is the road crossings, as during the route they will pass through some points of conflict such as level crossings without barriers, as well as entrances and exits of the national N-550 and other provincial roads.
For the rest, the stage is short and the terrain is simple, so it is a stage that can be completed in a comfortable and uncomplicated way.
Gastronomy stage Pontevedra - Caldas de Reis
Three days before arriving in Santiago de Compostela, it is time to go to try all those dishes of Galician cuisine that we have been postponing.
Many of them have already been recommended in previous stages, but the fish and shellfish are classics throughout Galicia.
Trout and Eels
Empanadas (pies)( filled with Lamprey, Cockles, Sardines…)
Vegetables from the Salnés region
Roscón (Sponge Cake) if we do the Camino Portugues in Holy Week.
Wine from the Rías Baixas (Albariño, reds…).
What to do Pontevedra - Caldas de Reis
Below we give details on some places that will you come across during the day, as well as the places of interest you'll find in today's destination, Caldas de Reis.
Iglesia de Santa María de Alba
The Church of Santa Maria de Alba is located in Guxilde and is the heir of a 12th-century temple consecrated by Archbishop Diego. The current construction was carried out in 1595 by Mateo López.
Caldas de Reis
Caldas de Reis is a municipality of almost 10,000 inhabitants, located in the province of Pontevedra. The locality is located in a rural area, where the Rivers Bermaña and Umia converge.
Throughout history, the locality has been an obligatory stop for many pilgrims, as is shown in many documents and writings of the Middle Ages.
Caldas de Reis is famous throughout Galicia for its fountains and spas, in which the hot water emanating from the earth is presumed to have curative properties, both for the mind and for the body.
On its streets, you can visit some constructions of important historical and cultural value, for example, the Churches of Thomas A Becket, Santo André de César, Santa María de Bemil, Santa María or San Estevo de Saiar; also the Segae and Bermaña Bridges. It is also worth a visit to the Botanical Gardens and the Cavalry.
Aguas termales de Caldas de Reis
The water that springs up in the fountains and spas of Caldas belong to the complex of Hyper thermal waters. It is presumed to have highly curative properties and are considered very beneficial to treat diseases related to the airways, skin, bones or even gynaecological conditions.
The public fountain in Burgas is specialized in hydroponics, a treatment that involves drinking water frequently for therapeutic purposes. Besides this fountain, the locality has two spas, the Acuña Spa, located in a Galician-style building, and the Dávila Spa, which has a wonderful bamboo cane construction.
Iglesia de Santo Tomás Becket
The Church of St. Thomas A Becket is located in Caldas de Reis. It is the only temple in the Galician community that venerates Saint Thomas A Becket, an English saint killed in his own cathedral by the subjects of King Henry II.
Its construction was carried out at the end of the 19th century and the remains of the stones from the Torre de Doña Urraca were used.
Mass times: From 1 July to 30 September, weekdays and Vespers (20:00) and public Holidays (12:30 and 20:00). From 1 October to 30 June, Labor and Vespers (19:00) and Holidays (12:30 and 19:00).
Puente de Segade
The Segae Bridge of Caldas de Reis is formed by a unique, Roman-style arch from the 1st century. The road that communicated Tui with Caldas passed over this bridge.
In 1729, the construction was subjected to a large renovation, thanks to a local priest. This date is inscribed on a cross that was originally located next to the foot of the bridge and is currently located in the Church of San Andrés.
Puente de Bermaña
The Bermaña Bridge is located in the middle of the Camino de Santiago in Caldas de Reis. The construction, of Roman origin, dates from the 1st century. The bridge is made up of three half-point arches and is made of ashlar. In the central part, there is a balustrade and a 17th-century cross.
The Botanical Gardens in Caldas de Reis has had great importance since the 1970’s and is catalogued as a Picturesque Spot and Historical Garden, as well as of Cultural Interest (BIC).
The space constitutes a meeting place in the locality, where every year various events are held, like the festival of Music Culture Quente and Kaldarte and the local festivities.
Fuente de las Burgas
The Burgas Fountain was built in 1881 and has neoclassic style ornamentation. Its two conduits are decorated with the head of a lion, and is located at the exit of the spring at a lower level, to achieve more pressure.
Water emanating from the source is known to have medicinal properties
Iglesia de Santo André de César
The Church of Santo André de César is located in the town of Caldas de Reis. It is a Romanesque temple that was restored, presenting today a Baroque style.
From the Romanesque period, only the semi-drum apse of the church is preserved. This is built in ashlar blocks and held by four pillars with chancels, where one can appreciate some historic corbels.
Iglesia de Santa María de Bemil
The Church of Santa María de Bemil is located in Caldas de Reis. This Is a Romanesque temple, although from this period, at present, you can only appreciate the rosette of the western façade, the apse and a branch of the south wall. Of the temple, the bell tower also stands out, built during the Baroque period.
The Church of Santa María in Caldas de Reis is a temple of Romanesque origin that has undergone various reforms and extensions. The most striking of the construction are its two doors, one of them consists of two archivolts of half point and an eardrum, subject by two double columns.
In the tympanum, you can see a relief of a lamb that supports, with one of its legs, the Agnus Dei. A baroque-style belfry is located at the western gate.
Mass times: From 1 July to 31 August, Monday, Wednesday and Vespers (21:00) and public Holidays (9:30 and 11:30). From 1 September to 30 June, Monday, Wednesday and Vespers (20:00) and Holidays (9:30 and 11:30).
Iglesia de San Estevo de Saiar
The Church of San Estevo de Saiar is located in the town of Caldas de Reis. Like other temples of the locality, it is of Romanesque origin although it has undergone several repairs. From the Romanesque period, the structure of the nave and the two covers are preserved, much simpler than the other.
The ornamented door has a lowered tympanum and two double columns that hold it, which are topped with capitals decorated with vegetable motifs. The other door, much simpler, presents a unique archivolt held on two columns.
Paseo de Segade y cascada
The Segae Promenade and its waterfall are located next to the road leading to the town of Cuntis. In the vicinity of its beautiful waterfall were discovered traces of an old electrical construction, called the Factory of Light.