The town of Sarria, in the province of Lugo, is for many the starting point of the French Way or Camino Francés, as this town marks the 100 kilometres needed to attain the Compostela certificate. To exit you have to cross the bridge of A Áspera and walk parallel to the railway tracks for 1 kilometre towards Barbadelo, up the most difficult hill of the day.
With over 4 kilometres now behind, the route continues towards an area with creeks and passes through the villages of Peruscallo and Lavandeira, and then ascends another, gentler hill at Ferreiros. You are now in the heart of the so-called Ribeira Sacra after some 13 kilometres. Once you are in the municipality of Paradela, there will be many ups and downs, but the surrounding landscape makes up for any difficulties. The scenic Belesar.Dam especially stands out.
When the dam was built, the old village of Portomarín was flooded, so the church and other buildings were moved, stone by stone, to their present location. In times when the rainfall is low, you can still see the ruins of the old village and the bridge on the bottom of the reservoir.
You enter Portomarín by crossing the long bridge and climbing the stairway of As Neves, leading to the chapel of the same name. The chapel is located on an arch of the old medieval bridge. The staircase is a favourite place for pilgrims to take a picture when they arrive in the village to celebrate the end of the day’s journey. One can spend a pleasant afternoon or evening in this village on the main square, by the church, where there are many lively establishments with a wonderful atmosphere where locals and pilgrims meet. There is also a leisure area by the dam.