Camino Portugués (The Portuguese Way)

Viana do Castelo – Caminha / A Guarda

Esposende – Viana do Castelo A Guarda - Oia
Last stage of our Portuguese Coastal Way in Portuguese lands. This fifth day will take us from Viana do Castelo to Caminha, where we can spend the night or take the ferry that will take us directly to A Guarda, the entrance to this Jacobean Route in Galicia.
This stage has two variants: the “official” one, which runs through the interior, or else tour the successive beaches. Vila Praia de Âncora will be the meeting point of both. Both the difficulty and the distance are similar with both options. The only difference is that the "inland" path is marked with yellow arrows and the coastal alternative is not. Anyway, you have no loss. Everything will depend on our preferences.

Viana do Castelo - Vila Praia de Âncora by the coast
. If we choose to travel this first section by the sea, we will do the Way to Vila Praia de Âncora crossing the long sandy areas of the area. From Viana you just have to take Avenida do Atlântico and go to the North beach.

From here it will be about 18 kilometers, approximately, that will pass along the GR-1 and the Ecovía Litoral Norte, alternating sections paved with wooden walkways. The entrance to Vila Praia de Âncora can be done directly by the beach, stepping on sand, or the shoulder of the N-13 road. If you choose this last section, we ask you to take extreme precautions.

Viana do Castelo - Vila Praia de Âncora by interior.
We will find the “official” route of the Portuguese Way along the coast marked with the traditional yellow arrows.
We leave Viana do Castelo and go around the Santa Luzía mountain in an urban section of about 5km that will take us to pass under the train tracks and walk through an underpass on Avenida 25 de Abril, the city's ring road.

Desde Areosa seguimos en dirección a Carreço, un tramo en el que combina bosques de pinos, asfalto y caminos empedrados que, en algún momento, nos dejará estupendas vistas sobre el litoral. Poco después de superar la iglesia de Carreço nos internamos en un tramo boscoso hasta Afife.
The Sao Joao de Cabanas convent is well worth a stop. The old Benedictine convent is located in an idyllic setting, surrounded by lush forest and accompanied by a small stream, perfect for taking a break. A path dotted with crosses will take us to the village of Barreiros.
After crossing the N-305 road and overcoming the N-13, thanks to a flyover, we arrive at Vila Praia de Âncora. After these first 18 kilometers of stage, Âncora is ready to take a break. The town has numerous restaurant services and a long beach that invites you to contemplate the sea or take a bath.
From the fortress of Lagarteira in Vila Praia de Âncora, the Portuguese Coastal Way is once again unified until it reaches Caminha, just 10 kilometers away. We follow the coastline and cross an underpass under the train track to enter the town of Moledo. From here, a secondary road parallel to the train tracks will take us directly to Caminha.
Once here, we can choose between staying the night and touring the charming streets of this Portuguese town or continuing our way to A Guarda. We must bear in mind that, after the boat trip, we still have about 3.5 kilometers on foot to reach the center of A Guarda.
What to see and do in Caminha? If we decide to spend the night in Caminha we can enjoy its beautiful old town. In it, the Plaza del Ayuntamiento stands out, always lively and full of terraces, with its chafariz of Renaissance origin placed in the center. In the same square we can admire the Clock Tower, which gives access to the historic and medieval neighborhood, and the Church of La Misericórdia.
Inside the historic center we find the Matriz church, in the Gothic style, and part of the wall that surrounds Caminha. Next to the temple there is a ramp to climb the wall, from which to contemplate beautiful views of the Miño with Santa Tegra in the background. You cannot leave Caminha without enjoying its gastronomy and giving yourself one last tribute with the excellent Portuguese gastronomy.

Caminha - A Guarda.
In Caminha, a new adventure awaits the pilgrim. To make the route Caminha - A Guarda, the first town on the Portuguese Coast Way, the pilgrim must take the ferry.
The journey takes about 23 minutes to enjoy the beauty of the mouth of the river Miño, the natural border that separates Portugal from Spain.
When arriving at Caminha it is necessary to consult the schedule of the ferries, since they vary according to the state of the tide. If we want and it is possible to continue, after doing the boat trip we have about 3.5 kilometers to A Guarda.
In the Camposancos pass we follow the yellow arrows and go around the Santa Tegra mountain. After the climb we arrive at the Camposancos road and we will follow a route that combines urban areas and dirt roads that will take us to the entrance of A Guarda.
What to see and do in A Guarda? Although the stage has been long, it is worth visiting A Guarda before leaving for Oia. Take advantage of the fact that the next stage is shorter, about 16 kilometers, to make an effort on the day of arrival or delay the departure and get to know A Guarda.
One of the greatest attractions of this Galician town is Mount Santa Tegra. It is the most visited Celtic town in Galicia, dating from the 1st century BC. to the 1st century AD In addition to admiring the forts and petroglyphs, Santa Tegra offers unique panoramic views of A Guarda and the mouth of the river Miño.

Those pilgrims who decide to give up this excursion will have plenty of offer in A Guarda. We recommend taking a walk through Praza do Reló and the Castillo de Santa Cruz, an old fortress on the Miño River, as well as its maritime façade, where its colorful houses attract attention. Nor can you leave A Guarda without visiting its port and trying its star food: lobster.    

Accommodations Viana do Castelo – Caminha / A Guarda

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