The Road to Santiago is a journey of faith that is very well-known throughout the world, and that has many routes towards its destination. There are those that travel along the coast, but there is also a path the runs through the interior of the northern region of Portugal.
One of the routes on the Road to Santiago passes through Guimarães, Braga, Barcelos and Ponte de Lima, starting in the city of Porto and ending in Valença, the point of departure from Portugal.
According to legend, the apostle Santiago passed through Guimarães and left an image of the Virgin Mary in an existing temple in the Praça de Santiago. When passing through Guimarães, the birthplace of the nation, be sure to experience the city by taking a walking tour of the city. You can walk through the Historical Center to the Castle with strong, well-preserved walls, where you will be invited to climb the tower.
Next stop: Braga! What can you discover? The Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary, an important pilgrimage site; the Monte do Sameiro, where a colossal statue of Nossa Senhora intently watches over the city; and the Braga Cathedral. The Hospital de São Marcos Church is one of the most important hotels in the Road to Santiago.
Did you know that the iconic Barcelos Rooster is associated with the journey to Santiago through Portugal? Legend has it that a pilgrim who was accused of a crime asked for Santiago’s help. The judge said that he would only believe in his innocence if the roasted dinner rooster crowed three times. The rooster crowed and the pilgrim was released.
Ponte de Lima is iconic for its bridge that provides safe passage for pilgrims heading towards Valença. For nature lovers, it will be quite a treat to pass through the Peneda-Gerês National Park, where the São Bento da Porta Aberta Sanctuary is located. Within the Park area, and along nearly 30km, you will see how the walls, bridges and dozens of landmarks with engravings from between the 1st and 4th centuries are almost entirely intact.