After the last two stages and yesterday’s short journey, today we are fighting fit. The day will be intense, we expect another rather long stage and full of interesting places to visit.
Let’s go on the Camino Portugues!
Today’s stage runs in part on the old Roman road and crosses enclaves with a multitude of places of interest. First, we go through Rabaçal, with its Roman villa and the majestic Germanelo Castle.
Advancing on dirt tracks, and passing over little asphalt today, we will arrive at the ruins of Conímbriga, whose visit is highly recommended.
In addition to the cultural interest of the day, today we will enjoy one of the most beautiful landscapes since we left Lisbon. Tracks that run between vineyards, paths flanked by moss-covered walls, reminiscent of Galician lands, and country residences of large landowners, will be our company on this stage.
If you are thinking about walking the Camino de Santiago from Santarém tell us what your plans are for the Camino de Santiago and we will contact you to advise you on everything you need.
Itinerary stage Ansião – Condeixa a Nova
The ninth stage of the Camino de Santiago on its tour of Portugal is a beautiful route of almost 30 kilometres. Throughout the day we will have to overcome some unevenness, but nothing that should frighten the pilgrim.
Ansião (Km. 0). Beginning of stage
Practical tips for this section: next to the petrol station, located at 100 metres from Freixo, there is a bar-restaurant, which can be a good point to make a stop. Buen Camino!
We go through the village of Ansião for the last time until the end of the town centre. There we find the Ponte da Cal. By a pedestrian walkway attached to the bridge, we cross the River Nabão.
250 metres later we cross the motorway through an underpass. Afterwards, we pass by the Hostal Restaurante Solar da Rainha and we continue ahead to skirt, on the left, the Ansião football stadium.
Following the yellow arrows by a stretch of land, we return to the asphalt and head to Bate Água and Constantina. Later, by a stretch of tracks and trails, we go towards Netos.
By eucalyptus and pine groves, and following dirt tracks with different slopes, we reach a crossroads, where a petrol station is located. We are located 100 metres from the town of Freixo (km. 6.2).
We advance 150 metres along the road that goes to Santiago da Guarda and turn right on Rua do Comareiro, towards the centre of Casais da Granja.
Following the arrows, well signposted in this section, we go towards the village of Junqueira.
We will see the houses of Junqueira a hundred metres, but we will not go into its town centre. On the left is a pathway. We take it and start a hard ascent to Alvorge.
Alvorge (Km. 8,7)
Practical tips for this section: If at the last crossroads of this section, instead of turning left, you continue straight, you will save 1.5 kilometres on your route but you will not pass by Rabaçal. In our opinion, it is not worth it because it is an interesting town and an ideal place to make a stop. Buen Camino!
Along the main street of Alvorge, we pass in front of the Chapel of Mercy and, at the end of the street, we find its parish church. At this point you have to be attentive.
First, you have to turn left and, 80 meters later, at the end of a parallel parking lot, take a dirt track that runs in descent. Indicating the detour we will find a marker of the GR-26 and a wooden post with an arrow.
We go over a rest area with tables and reach the N341-1 road. 50 metres later, we turn right and take a path of land that leads us to a small road.
We follow the road, to the left, for 300 metres, we reroute to a road that begins on the right. It is a pleasant track that runs between vineyards and olive trees; this leads us to Ribeira de Alcalamouque (km. 12.7)
We leave the town by the road N341-1, by an almost non-existent pavement. 500 metres later, we leave the road on the right, entering by Rua Ribeira da Baixo.
600 metres further on, we turn left on a dirt road of 1.5 kilometres, which leads us to a narrow road. Soon we find a sign that forces us to divert to the left to take another road that, 800 metres later, takes us into Rabaçal.
Rabaçal (Km. 15,4)
Practical tips for this section: Rabaçal has exquisite gastronomy and is famous for its cheese, stop to try it and pair it with a good wine.
Those who do not want to face the long stage, of almost 30 kilometres, can choose to spend the night in Rabaçal, continue tomorrow until Condeixa-a-Nova and make a third stretch to Coimbra, the following day. We do not recommend walking from Coimbra from Rabaçal because you would be exhausted when arriving in the beautiful city, after having walked more than 30 kilometres. Buen Camino!
Rabaçal is known for its Roman villa. In the locality, we can also visit Germanelo Castle.
After the visits, we cross the main street of the Rabaçal and we turn to the right, by a street that corresponds to the narrow road M-563 that leads to Peneda. We follow the road for 850 metres and then turn left on a dirt track that runs between olive trees, vineyards and some fig trees.
The path leads us to the Rua de Santiago, in the town of Zambujal (km 19). We cross the village and leave it on a path of land that crosses the road N347-1 and continues to Fonte Coberta (km. 21).
Going onwards, we arrive at a picnic area and a 17th century stone bridge. It is important that we pay attention to the signs at this point, the pilgrim path does not cross the bridge, but continues on the left of a torrent riverbed.
By a beautiful stretch, flanked by small stone walls, fruit trees and figs, we arrive at Poço (km. 22.9), a hamlet with a few deserted houses and some small vegetable plots. Following the indications of the yellow arrows and the GR-26, we take a dirt track that starts in ascent and then turns to the right, ascending the side of the valley.
This stretch is very interesting because we can see how the landscape is changing. At the beginning of the ascent, we are surrounded by olive trees that are giving way to the low mountain. At the end of the ascent, on the flat, we will be surrounded by eucalyptus and pines.
After 2.7 kilometres, the pilgrim path descends, in a pronounced way, to the River Moruos. We cross the river by a bridge and begin an ascent that leads us to the fences of the ruins of Conímbriga (km. 26.2).
Conímbriga (Km. 26,2)
Practical tips for this section: If you want to visit the ruins of Conímbriga you can leave the backpack at the reception, while you visit the excavations and the museum. If you want, you can add to your credential the stamp of this place, as a souvenir. Buen Camino!
Following the arrows of the Camino de Santiago we will end up surrounding the building of the ruins of Conímbriga, however, we can also take a shortcut, crossing the patio of the entrance to the museum and crossing the parking.
We continue along a cobbled pavement, to deviate from the right and cross the underpass of the road. We arrive at a crossroads with a huge aerial, where there is a bar-restaurant. There we take the Rua da Rosa, to the right. We are located at the edge of the urbanization of Valada (km. 27.8)
On asphalt, through a semi-rural landscape we pass through Condeixa-A-Velha and we enter our final destination: Condeixa-A-Nova.
Condeixa-a-Nova (Km. 29,5). End of stage
Practical tips for this section: After today’s intensive stage, Condeixa-A-Nova is designed to rest you and represents a strategic end to reach tomorrow, full of energy, the beautiful Coimbra. See you tomorrow!
In Condeixa-A-Nova there are not many points of interest to visit. Our recommendation is that you take advantage of the afternoon to relax, however, if, after the visit to the ruins you still have energy left, you can visit the Palace of Sotto Mayor or the Palacio Dos Figuereidos.
Comments stage Ansião – Condeixa a Nova
Today’s stage does not imply any difficulty and it is full of places where you can stop to enjoy the gastronomy and the wines of the region.
Precautions stage Ansião – Condeixa a Nova
This is a relatively long stage but does not imply any difficulty. Throughout the day you will find several places where you can top up your supply water and stop to eat something. It’s a stage to enjoy!
Gastronomy stage Ansião – Condeixa a Nova
Below we suggest some dishes that you can taste during today’s long stage.
- Rabaçal cheese. This is a local speciality that is produced in small family dairies. A mixture of goat and sheep milk is used to produce the cheese. The result is an exquisite cheese with a slightly pungent flavour. Note For lovers of pairing: This cheese is usually accompanied with white wine or with soft and fruity reds.
- Fried Sardines
- Goat from Sicó
- Black Pudding with Breadcrumbs
- Cottage cheese with Pumpkin Jam
- Honey from the Sierra del Espinhal, used to produce liquors and other beverages.
- Wine from the region
- Sweets: Lunch sweets or Cottage cheese with Pumpkin Jam
Services stage Ansião – Condeixa a Nova
Meet the main health care services, cafes, ATMs, restaurants and are in this stage of the Portuguese Way of St. James.
Map stage Ansião – Condeixa a Nova
Consult the map with the route, points and towns along the stage.
Profile stage Ansião – Condeixa a Nova
Consult the profile of the stage: altitude and degree of difficulty of each section.
What to do stage Ansião – Condeixa a Nova
Alvorge is a Parish of Ansião. It has a population of 1,200 inhabitants and occupies an area of 39 square kilometres. The quiet town is characterized by white houses and cobbled streets, reminding us of some villages in the Andalusian Sierra (Spain).
The name of the locality comes from Arabic Al Burj, which means “the tower”. The toponym is related to the period of the Christian reconquest since Alvorge was part of the border area of Ladeia, its tower being integrated into the defences that protected the city of Coimbra.
Another function of its tower was to protect the spring of Alvorge, which constituted a rich source for a region poor in aquifer resources. Of this tower, at present only the ruins are preserved.
In its main street, you can visit the Chapel of Mercy, the parish church, as well as other historical buildings, such as the House of the porch that belonged, after a donation, to the Holy House of Mercy.
Church of Nossa Senhora da Consolação
The Church of Nossa Senhora da Consolação is located in Chão de Couce. Of the temple, its main altar that houses the last complete work of José Malhoa, one of the main artists of Portugal, stands out.
Chapel of the Misericórdia
The Chapel of the Misericórdia is located on the main street in the town of Alvorge. The small temple dates from the 17th and 18th centuries, where the Hospital da Misericórdia was formerly located. The building is Baroque-style.
The chapel has a rectangular floor and its main façade constitutes the body of the temple. It is bordered by pinnacles and topped in a clover cross. In the tympanum of the chapel, you can see the royal shield, from the end of the 17th century, with the following inscription “VIVA A FÉ/DE CHRISTO”.
The interior is made up of a single nave and triumphal arch. The main chapel is protected by a barrel vault and the 18th-century high altar is polychromed in gold.
Parish Church of Alvorge
The parish church of Alvorge is dedicated to Our Lady of the Conception. The construction of the temple dates back to the 17th century. Inside it has an altar carved with columns in a Solomonic style, ornamented with vine leaves, bunches of grapes and figures of angels.
Rabaçal is a small Parish of the Council of Penela, belonging to the district of Coimbra. The hamlet has only 300 inhabitants.
The small town is known for its Roman complex of houses and agricultural dependencies that were discovered in its vicinity. In the town, you can also visit Germanelo Castle.
Germanelo Castle is located at 377 metres of altitude, on the top of a mountain in Rabaçal. Its construction took place in the 12th century, after the conquest of Coimbra in 1064.
The fall of the city raised the need to install a defence system that protected the city from possible attacks, considering that the castles of Peneda and Soure were too far separated to guarantee the protection of Coimbra. This is why the construction of the strategic castle of Rabaçal began.
The conquest of Santarém, in 1147, assumed that Alfonso Henriquez moved the defensive line to the River Tejo. At this moment, Rabaçal Castle began to lose its importance.
In the 20th century, the professor of the University of Coimbra, Salvador Dias Arnaut, acquired the ruins of the castle. His intention was to rebuild the line of the castle’s northern wall.
This provoked the beginning of archaeological excavations that allowed the discovery of the old doors in the Plaza de Armas.
The building has a perimeter of 107 metres, although only a piece of its wall has been restored. The restored part has 18 battlements. Only a few ruins are now preserved from the rest of the wall, however, you can see vestiges of the constructions in the weapons yard.
The Roman Villa of Rabaçal is located on one of the mountains of the town. The site dates from the 4th century A.D., although the archaeological works did not begin until 1984.
The villa consists of a farm estate, which occupies a rectangular space, 50 metres wide and 150 long, a rustic villa, used as accommodation of serfs, a cereal store, destined to storage and stables, and an urban villa.
The urban villa served as a stately residence and has an octagonal shape, following the orientation of the wind compass.
The chronology of the villa is based on the study of the dozens of coins that have been discovered and dating from various periods of the 4th century.
Timetable: Closes on Mondays. From Tuesday to Sunday (from 11:00 to 13:00 and from 14:00 to 18:00).
Zambujal is a Parish of the Council of Condeixa-A-Nova. The town occupies an area of 18 square kilometres and there are about 400 inhabitants.
In Fonte Coberta, a place in the locality, you can see a mural of tiles that reproduces the drawing of Pier Maria Baldi, painter and architect of Florence. The artist pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in the year 1669, accompanying the entourage of Cosme III de Medici.
Ruinas de Conímbriga
Conímbriga is an ancient Roman city, occupied by the Roman troops in 139 BC, being strategically located on the military way that joined Braga and Lisboa. The enclave lasted for six centuries until it was razed during the conquest of the Swabians, in 468. The survivors left the village and moved to the neighbouring town of Aeminium (the current Coimbra).
It is the most studied Roman city in all of Portugal. Over the years, several excavations have been made that have discovered a multitude of monuments and remains, very well preserved, of the Roman road. The village consisted of houses, a forum, an aqueduct, public baths, an amphitheatre and even a basilica, located in the centre of the city.
The most outstanding are the houses, which still retain their primitive stones. Of these, the Casa dos Repuxos stands out, which has a beautiful garden and mosaics, which depict scenes of hunting, seasons, mythological environments, etc. We should also highlight the Casa do Cantaber, considered the largest of all.
The museum does not leave anyone indifferent, as it collects objects found in the excavations carried out throughout history.
Timetable of the ruins: from June to September, open every day (from 9:00 to 20:00) and from May to September (from 10:00 to 18:00).
Museum timetable: closes on Mondays. From June to September, from Tuesday to Sunday (from 9:00 to 20:00) and from May to September (from 10:00 to 18:00).
Admission: General (4.50 euros), pilgrims have a 50% discount (2.25 euros).