After yesterday’s short stage, today we are full of energy to cope with a day in which we say goodbye to Portugal and we go into Spain, crossing, by boat, the River Miño.
Let’s go on the Camino Portugues coastal route!
From Vila Praia de Ancora to Caminho there is a smooth but boring walk, so some pilgrims opt to follow an alternative route along the coast. In Caminho, we said goodbye to Portugal to take a ferry that will lead us to Galicia, to Pasaxe (Camposancos), from where we will continue walking to A Guarda, where today’s stage concludes.
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Itinerary stage Ancora – Guarda
The Route on the fifth stage of the Camino Portugues coastal route is one of the shortest, just 12.8 kilometres separate Vila Praia de Ancora from A Guarda. Of which, one part we will make by boat.
Vila Praia de Âncora (Km. 0). Beginning of stage
Practical tips for this section: The stretch between Moledo and Caminho on the official route is quite boring, and an alternative is, instead of crossing the railway tracks, to go straight ahead, next to the seashore, crossing Mata do Camarido and a beautiful forest of pines that take us to the estuary of the River Miño. This variant is prettier but involves an additional 1.1 kilometres. Buen Camino!
From the centre of Vila Praia de Âncora we head to the railway tracks, we cross by some level crossings and arrive at the coast, next to the Fort Lagarteira. We follow the coastline, parallel to the railway tracks, passing by the Chapel of Santo Isidoro.
Almost two kilometres later we find an underpass below the railway and we enter the locality of Moledo (km. 4.7). We continue along the sidewalks of Avenida Santana to a roundabout. We cross it by a zebra crossing and follow along the hard shoulder of a secondary road, parallel to the railway.
We Move for 3.2 kilometres without many attractions, until the Town Hall square in Caminho, where we find the beautiful Clock Tower and the entrance door to the Old Town (km. 8.5).
Caminha (Km. 8,5).
Practical tips for this section: we should not worry if we have to wait a couple of hours for the ferry to cross the Miño, Caminho has a nice old town where we can spend a couple of hours entertaining ourselves. Also, today’s short stage allows us to stop to enjoy the last locality in Portugal. Buen Camino!
From the centre of Caminho, we head to the pier, where we take the ferry that crosses the River Miño, to Galicia. The first leaves at 10.00h (at 11.00h on Saturdays and holidays) and then every hour until 19.00h except if there is a low tide. The crossing takes approximately 15 minutes.
After the ferry ride, we arrive at Pasaxe (Camposancos) (km. 9.2). We Leave the port and walk a few metres to the left, passing by the old Jesuit school. We take the first street, which runs uphill, and following the arrows, we border Mount Santa Tegra to the right.
We reach the road to Camposancos and, 20 metres later, next to a bus stop and a transformer, we turn left to start a new climb.
We weave by the houses of the district of Saa and take to a dirt track along the mountain that leads us on the PO-355 road, in front of a football field. We then follow the sidewalk and then onto Rúa Rosalía de Castro and Rúa Galicia, entering the centre of A Guarda.
Guarda (Km. 12,8). End of stage
Practical tips for this section: The Monte de Santa Tegra is home to one of the most interesting Roman Galician Castros in the North of the peninsula. The route is quite hard because it involves climbing 341 metres in height, but those who are encouraged to visit it will enjoy an unbeatable view of the area. See you tomorrow!
In A Guarda, it is worth walking through the streets of the old town, full of colourful seafaring houses, visiting the immigrant’s houses and the Church of Santa Maria. We must not forget to approach the port, where the Plaza de Abastos is located, a market of fresh produce, and where we can observe the work of the sailors.
Between the old town and the port, we will find a steep staircase that will lead us to visit the remains of the medieval wall, passing through the central Plaza do Reloj.
Comments stage Ancora – Guarda
Here are some suggestions for you to successfully complete the stage today and to enjoy the newly-released Galician cuisine.
Precautions stage Ancora – Guarda
This stage does not imply any further difficulty, except to coordinate our arrival in Caminho with the time of the ferry crossing to Pasaxe (Camposancos), in Galicia. The first ferry leaves at 10.00h during the week and at 11.00h on Saturdays and holidays. Then every hour leaves one until 19.00h, except if there is low tide.
Duration: 15 minutes
Price: 1.50€ per person and a supplement of 0.50€ if you are carrying a bicycle.
Telephone Information: + 351 258 092 564/+ 351 912 253 809 (ticket office in Caminho, Portugal), + 34 986 611 526 (ticket office in the part of the Galicia Pier) or + 34 986 614 546 (A Guarda tourism).
It is important to know that there is no service on Mondays. However, the ferry is the most comfortable option but there are other alternatives to get to Galicia. Some fishermen offer their boat to cross the Miño, they usually ask for 5 euros per person.
Another alternative is to take a 15 km detour, which can be done by walking, by train or by bus, to Vilanova de Cerveira, from where you can link with Goián.
Food stage Ancora – Guarda
Now in Galician territory, the gastronomy changes considerably. Here we give you a few recommendations for today’s stage:
- Prawns from A Guarda
- Sponge ring cake
Services stage Ancora – Guarda
Meet the main health care services, cafes, ATMs, restaurants and are in this stage of the Portuguese Coastal Way.
Map stage Ancora – Guarda
Consult the map with the route, points and towns along the stage.
Profile stage Ancora – Guarda
Consult the profile of the stage: altitude and degree of difficulty of each section.
What to do stage Ancora – Guarda
Below, we give you some information on a few points of interest for today:
Capilla de San Isidro
The Chapel of San Isidro is situated by the sea, in the town of Moledo, at the foot of the Camino de Santiago. The date of construction of the temple is unknown, but there is documentation that shows that it already existed in the 14th century. It is a small chapel with a gabled roof and covered patio. The sacristy is located on the north side.
Playa de Moledo
The Moledo beach as a summer resort is famous since the beginning of the 20th century, being frequented by celebrities and families of politicians.
In front of the beach you can see a rocky island, accessed by boat, where is located the Fort of Ínsua, from the 15th century, which functioned as a convent in its origins, until in the 17th and 18th centuries, it was reformed to transform it into a fortress defence of the coast.
Iglesia matriz de Caminha
The Main Church of Caminho, the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, dates from the 15th century and was built on the remains of an old Romanesque chapel, of which the portico is preserved. It is one of the most important religious temples in the north of the country, declared a National Monument in 1910.
The temple presents a combination of styles and influences, such as the Gothic, the Renaissance, the Plateresque and the Manueline. The building is built with granite stone from the region and features a three-nave plant, separated by entire back arches resting on cylindrical columns.
Above the arches, in the central nave, you can see a frieze of polychromed tiles. On the structure and exterior decoration of the headboard predominate elements of Manueline and Plateresque style. The southern portal, the work of João de Tolosa, presents the sculptural ornamentation and the most elaborate and complex iconography of the church. The interior is covered by a wooden roof covering the three naves, considered a masterpiece in carpentry. It is decorated with Mudejar influences, although it also incorporates Maghrebi and Hindu elements.
You can see different chapels inside of different eras, the Chapel dos Mareantes (1511), located in the left nave and considered the first documented work of the Renaissance in Portugal; the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament (1674), on the right side, where scenes of the Passion and that of Our Lady of the Rosary (1704) are presented, with a Jesse Tree of Baroque style.
From the wall surrounding the church, you can see beautiful views of the River Miño and the neighbouring Spanish town of A Guarda.
Casa de los Pitas
The Casa de Los Pitas is located in the historic centre of Caminho, next to the square. This Is a 17th-century manor house with a late Manueline style. Its façade, decorated with adornments and mouldings, and its beautiful windows, stands out.
La iglesia de la Misericordia
The Church of Mercy is located in the centre of Caminho, next to the Town Hall. The Temple dates from the 16th century, although the main portal is only preserved from the original construction. Its current aspect is the result of the renovations carried out in the 18th century, after which it has not undergone major modifications.
The Renaissance-style church has a longitudinal plant and a single nave. The main gate, with many affinities to the local church, has a half-turn arch, ornamented with grotesque and arabesque figures. This is framed by a Mudejar-style alfiz where you can see two medallions with the busts of San Cosme and Damian in Renaissance style.
Inside the temple there are several altars, highlighting the Santa Rita de Cassia, patron of the town. On the chancel, along the body of the church and in the sacristy you can see a set of tiles, from the 17th century, in a blue hue, typical of the period.
Plaza Consejero Silva Torres
The Counsellor Silva Torres Square is the most central square in Caminho, where emblematic buildings are located such as the Clock Tower, the church or the Town Hall. The centre of the square is presided over by a Chafariz (fountain).
In all Portuguese cities, mainly in the north, all town squares have a Chafariz (fountain) in the centre. The Chafariz de Caminho, known for Terreiro, is a Renaissance work by the Portuguese João Lopes, The Elder, dating from the 16th century.
This is a series of works carried out by the same stonemason that starts in Pontevedra and concludes in Viana do Castelo.
It consists of three superimposed cups arranged in a vertical axis and ornamented with mythological figures and geometric elements. In 1835, the fountain was displaced to allow the alignment of the streets of St. Juan and Las Flores, since then it is also known as the Fountain of D. Pedro.
Castillo de Caminha
The Castle of Caminho dates from the 4th and 5th centuries, or at least its foundations. Its construction was carried out in response to the Roman invasion of the Iberian Peninsula. Later, during the Christian reconquest of the peninsula, its defences were enlarged and reinforced.
The remains of walls that are preserved were declared Property of Public Interest in 1967. It presented an oval plant and in it were located three doors, each one defended by a tower. Puerta del Sol, to the east; Puerta del Mar, to the west; And Puerta de Viana, to the south, the latter being the main access to the town.
The towers defending the door to Viana were the most robust, with a square plant. It shows the local coat of arms. With the restoration, Don Juan IV placed in this door a stone image of Our Lady of Conception. In the 17th century, the town’s public clock was installed in the tower and the latter became known as the Clock Tower.
Torre del Reloj
The Clock Tower is located at the South Gate of the town wall, known as Puerta de Viana. In The 17th century, it received the town’s public clock, and the tower became known with this name. Since 1951, it has been classified as a National Monument.
The bell in the Clock Tower was fused in 1610 and is housed in the tower’s pyramid. In 2008, the tower underwent a restoration so to be open to the public and to be adapted as a museum space.
In each of the spans visitors can appreciate various objects. These include the model that reconstructs the fence of the village, the stone of the time of Alfonso II of Portugal and the clock’s mechanism that worked for more than 100 years.
Castro de Santa Trega
Mount Trega is located in A Guarda and is an obligatory visit for its interesting archaeological, religious and landscape sites. On the mount is the Citania of Santa Trega, one of the most important examples of Roman Castreña culture in the Northwestern peninsula, a Via Crucis, the stone Cross of San Francisco and the Chapel of Santa Trega.
In addition, the peaks of O Facho (328 metres above sea level) and San Francisco (341 metres), offer magnificent panoramic views of the mouth of the River Miño, the ocean and the valley of O Rosal. A network of seven paved roads, with an extension of 7 kilometres, allows to visit the mountain.
The Citania of Santa Trega is an archaeological site that occupies about 20 hectares. The origins of the place are documented in the 4th century BC, reaching between 3,000 and 5,000 people.
On the peak of San Francisco, the Chapel of Santa Trega is located, its existence is already documented in the 12th century, although its current aspect is the result of the reforms made during the 16th and 17th centuries.
In front of the Hermitage stands an interesting 16th century stone cross in honour of San Francisco, which reminds us of the presence of the religious order in Ínsua, a small Portuguese island located off the coast of Moledo (Portugal).
Monumento al marinero
The monument to the sailor is located on the street of the Port of A Guarda, a few metres from the pier. The sculpture is from 1991 and is the work of José Pousa. The monument is a tribute to the tough profession of the sailor and the work of elaboration and maintenance of networks, carried out by women.
Monumento al marinero desaparecido
The monument to the missing sailor is located in the old Ribeira de Guarda, a few metres from Mateses Street. The sculpture is from 2004 and is the work of Magín Picallo. The monument reflects the pain and loneliness of women when they lose a loved one at sea.
The immigrant’s homes are distributed throughout the city centre. They were a construction of the mid-19th and early 20th century, made by the locals who emigrated to Puerto Rico, Brazil and the Dominican Republic.
This type of dwelling is characterized by the use of quarrying, tile and forging, being quite striking. The biggest example of Indiana construction can be found in Rua Rosalía de Castro, a building from 1921 built as a Hospital Asylum. However, in 1990, it was reformed to convert the facilities into the current Cultural Centre.
A route can be made by visiting other examples of Indian houses, starting at Puerto Rico Street, where several of them are located, passing through the old town, and concluding in Galicia Street.
Iglesia Parroquial de Santa María
The Parish Church of Santa Maria is located in the town of A Guarda. The main façade is in a Baroque style with white murals and the south façade is renaissance. On one side is a rectangular-shaped tower topped by a 19th-century dome.
Inside, an 18th-century altarpiece, of Borrominesco style stands out, dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The different images of Christ that can be seen inside the temple. Also of interest: the Recumbent Christ or the Crucified Christ.
From the medieval wall of A Guarda, there are few references and documents. There are still some discontinuous sections of the building in the Ireira and the Wall streets.
Plaza del Reloj
The Clock Tower Square is one of the most emblematic squares of A Guarda since it houses the offices of the Town Hall and the Clock Tower, of medieval origin. From the square, a lattice of narrow streets begins that allows us to know the oldest part of the locality.