Camino de Santiago: The Portuguese Way of Santiago from Viseu to Chaves

Caminho Português de Santiago Interior - todas as etapas.
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Last Updated on 2022-11-04

Camino de Santiago: Portuguese Interior Saint James Way from Viseu to Chaves.

The Portuguese Way of Santiago crosses the municipalities of Viseu, Castro Daire, Lamego, Peso da Régua, Santa Marta de Penaguião, Vila Real, Vila Pouca de Aguiar, and Chaves.

It is in Vilarelho da Raia (Chaves) that it crosses the border into Spain and joins the Via da Prata to Santiago de Compostela.

It was the second Portuguese Way to Santiago to receive certification, the first being the Central Portuguese Way.

To obtain this certification, it was necessary, among other things, to guarantee the authenticity of the itinerary.

Eleven stages cover 214 km of rural paths, eco ways and paved roads, which can be covered on foot, by bicycle, or on horseback.

I imagine there are few pilgrims on horseback these days, but the journey promises on foot or by bicycle the journey promises to be a challenge.

They say it is, in the strictest sense of the word, the old medieval path of the interior of Portugal.

I can’t say if this is the most beautiful Way to Santiago, but it is a less popular way and maybe more personal.

Camino de Santiago (Portuguese Interior Saint James Way) – Step by step

Although the official route of the Portuguese Way starts in Farminhão, in Viseu, because of logistic reasons, most pilgrims start the Camino near the Cathedral of Viseu.

If each stage corresponds to a day of walking, you will need 11 days to complete the Portuguese Interior Saint James Way.

At each stage described below, you will find points of interest and suggestions on where to sleep.
Please keep in mind that the information on km, time, and difficulty are indicative, and that the pilgrim’s physical condition, possible deviations, and the weather can influence these data.

If you are thinking of taking this route, then “Bom Caminho!”

Stage 1: from Farminhão to Fontelo (Viseu) 16 km, 471 m/433 m, 3h30, difficult

Igreja da Misericórdia em Viseu.
Igreja da Misericórdia in Viseu.

The first stage of the Portuguese Camino starts next to the AHPV Centro Hípico Montebelo, in Farminhão. It continues through the pine forest, then agricultural areas, until it joins the Dão Ecopista. Walk toards Sarzedelo, Póvoa de Medronhosa, S. Salvador, Vildemoinhos and, finally, the historic center of Viseu. You should follow the yellow arrows to Albergue do Fontelo (the GPS shows Albergue dos Peregrinos de Santiago – Viseu).

In Viseu, take the opportunity to buy groceries or try the local cuisine. In the famous “Terra de Viriato”, replenish your energy with the Viseu-style ranch, the goat from Gralheira, the Veal from Lafões, or the simple but very aromatic Arroz de Míscaros.

Points of interest on the first stage

Observe the manor houses and the simplicity of the souls and cruises you find along the Way. The section of the old train line is beautiful, as is the proximity to the River Paiva.

Everything changes when you reach the road and enter the hustle and bustle of the city of Viseu, which is not exactly a bad thing.

Pay attention to cars and always stay safe, as vehicles circulate in the city center.

Admire the architecture of the Viseu Cathedral and the Misericórdia Church, and if you have time, spend a few hours exploring the Grão Vasco National Museum.

Stage 2: from Fontelo to Almargem (Viseu)15.6 km, 370/336 m, 3h, medium difficulty

Sinalética Caminhos de Santiago em Viseu.
Viseu historic center.

Take the Camino back on Rua do Arco, following the yellow arrows towards Casa da Ribeira, which is an informative post about the Ways of Santiago.

If you have any questions, this is a good time to do so. Say goodbye to the city of Viseu and continue on your Camino.

Pass by Quintãs and, further on, enjoy the privilege of stepping on the Roman Road, which used to connect Viseu to Braga and Astorga.

Cross the mythical EN2, and don’t be distracted by the Igreja Matriz and the cruise until you reach the Albergue do Almargem, where you can stay overnight.

Points of interest on the second stage

The Roman Road is one of the most interesting points on this hiking day. About 700 meters of beautiful stones and stunning scenery.

Imagine the number of people who have traveled this road in past centuries and you, as a pilgrim, have the opportunity to take a historic and meaningful way to Santiago. It makes you think, do you agree?

Stage 3: from Almaragem (Viseu) to Ribolhos (Castro Daire) 23.3 km, 1122/1020, 5h50, very difficult

Caminho de Santiago Interior.
Camino de Santiago: Portuguese Interior Saint James Way.

On the third day of the walk, prepare yourself as you have a challenging walking ahead.

The yellow arrows are still your best guide, so be careful not to miss them. The small village of Cabrum has a water source if you need to fill up your bottle.

Continue your journey through the rural paths and pine forest, and in a short time you will enter the Castro Daire municipality.

Visiting the Igreja de Mões is usually a good excuse to take a break, and if you need to buy groceries, go to Pastelaria A Sineta and buy “Bolo Podre” (a local sweet bread).

Keep your energy up and continue the journey passing the Church of São Pelagio towards the Albergue de Peregrinos de Ribolhos.

Take the opportunity to rest your legs and remember that walking the Camino de Santiago means suffering and overcoming. If it were easy, it wouldn’t have the same value.

Points of interest on the third stage

Despite the hardness of this route, don’t forget to enjoy the simple landscapes that the Camino de Santiago provides.

The village of Mões is closely linked to the Portuguese Crown, as Ega Moniz owned a lot of land in this region.

Stage 4: from Ribolhos (Castro Daire) to Bigorne (Lamego) 19.9 km, 852/460m, 5 h, very difficult

Albergue de Peregrinos da Moura Morta.
Albergue Moura Morta.

You should feel tired, as it’s the fourth day of walking, and the day before was intense.

Accept what the Camino gives you and take the opportunity to evolve as a human being.

So, leaving the Ribolhos hostel, head to Vila Franca or, if you prefer, take the alternative route that passes through Castro Daire. Both paths meet at the intersection of Rua do Cruzeiro and Rua Forno da Telha with the CM1144.

A little further on, you will find the Capela de Santiago and the Capela de São Palágio, which prove the legitimacy of this ancient Camino.

At this point, the Camino de Santiago takes National Road 2 until it diverges to Moura Morta, where is the Albergue de Moura Morta.

If you are tired, stay overnight at this hostel, or continue your journey towards Mezio and then Bigorne.

Points of interest on the fourth stage

Moura Morta is an enigmatic place.

According to an ancient legend, a Moorish woman was attacked by young Christians, and where she died became Moura Morta.

The mysticism felt here may be related to the strong heritage of the name, but I believe that the inhospitable location in Serra de Montemuro will also have something to do with it.

Remember this story when you cross the Roman Bridge of Moura Moura over the clear waters of the Vidoeiro River.

Stage 5: From Bigorne to Lamego 16.4 km, 3h15, 400/764, medium difficulty

Caminho de Santiago em Lamego.
Santuário de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios (Lamego).

Passing the Ponte de Reconcos, continue to Maqueijinha, where is located the Parish Church dedicated to Santiago.

Follow the yellow arrows until you enter Lamego.

Allow yourself to take a few detours to see the city and find a place with the Jacobean Hospitality seal in Lamego, as there are currently no hostels for pilgrims.

If you’re in the mood, surrender to the hospitality of the famous Caves Raposeira and taste one (or more) sparkling wines from the region.

Points of interest on the fifth stage

Try to find the spicy images on the facade of the Cathedral of Lamego.

Then go up to the Castle to see the city, and learn about the legend of Princess Ardinia.

The steps of the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios are a must see, so if your legs still hold up, go on a pilgrimage there.

Stage 6: from Lamego to Bertelo (Santa Marta de Penaguião) 27,2 km, 1052/1365m, 6h45, very difficult

Pequeno-almoço dos trabalhadores em Santa Marta de Penaguião.
Traditional breakfast in Santa Marta de Penaguião.

The Camino de Santiago continues along the road to Resende, passes through the Miradouro de Sôuto Covo, passes through Sande, crosses the Varosa Hydroelectric Power Station, and follows the curves of the Varosa River until reaching Régua.

Next to Cais da Régua, you will find the Douro Museum, which you should include in your itinerary.
Leave Lamego early if you have to, but don’t miss the opportunity to visit this museum.

Continue towards Santa Marta de Penaguião and admire the terraced slopes (socalcos) with rows of vines as far as the eye can see.

The final destination is the Albergue do Caminho Interior Português de Santiago in Cumeeira, where you can stay overnight.

Points of interest on the sixth stage

The Régua Pedestrian Bridge is a paradise for photography enthusiasts who, scrutinizing every centimeter of the bridge, seek the perfect framing and angles.

There is a lot to see at this magical point of the Inner Way… the presence of the Douro River, the other two bridges, the people walking from one side to the other, the symmetrical metal lines, and the position of the sun that recreates new shadows every day.

Stage 7: from Bertelo to Vila Real 11 km, 650/510 m, 2h50, very difficult

Sé Catedral de Vila Real.
Sé Catedral in Vila Real.

In today’s stage, there is another difficult journey, but by now you should be used to the hardness of the way.

Leaving the Albergue de Bertelo, head towards Santa Bárbara, cross the bridge over the Sordo River, continue towards Relvas, Parada de Cunhos, and, finally, the city of Vila Real.

Once in Vila Real, take some time to explore the historic center and the magnificent Cathedral.

You should pay attention to cars, as part of the path coincides with the national road, and in some cases, the side of the road is not suitable for walkers.

Points of interest on the seventh stage

Entrance to monumental cities is a highlight on the Interior Way, and Vila Real could not be different.

If you like to taste the local cuisine you will feel in paradise in Vila Real.

Covilhetes are puff pastry pastries filled with veal, and if you like sweets, the traditional rooster combs (cristas de galo) promise to sweeten the Pilgrims’ Way.

Stage 8: from Vila Real to Parada de Aguiar (Vila Pouca de Aguiar) 25.9 km, 749/505 m, 5h45, difficult

Ecopista do Corgo.
Ecopista do Corgo.

Say goodbye to Vila Real and continue towards Vila Pouca de Aguiar. Pass through small villages and if you are lucky enough to meet someone, start the conversation with a simple good morning!

You will see that people are curious to know what you are doing there, and where you are from, and quickly the dialogue flows as if they were great friends.

This time part of the route is on the Ecopista do Corgo, so you will have to share the Camino de Santiago with lovers of two wheels.

Almost arriving at the Albergue de Parada de Aguiar, look to the left and see the ruins of Pena de Aguiar Castle on the horizon.

Points of interest on the eighth stage

The people you meet along the way will influence your experience.

When crossing the farming fields you will have the opportunity to come across workers.

Take every opportunity to talk to those who pass you by.

Stage 9: from Parada de Aguiar to Vidago (Chaves) 22.5 km, 229/571 m, 4h05, easy

Águas das Pedras em Pedras Salgadas.

I imagine you need an easy trail, so you will be happy to know that although this stage is relatively long, the route itself is easy.

Your legs will thank you, and if you’re interested, you can explore the region’s thermal baths.
The Camino de Santiago passes through two important spa centers in Portugal: Pedras Salgadas and Vidago.

In Pedras Salgadas, the primitive Way crosses the interior of the park.

Points of interest on the ninth stage

I imagine you need an easy trail, so you will be happy to know that although this stage is relatively long, the route itself is easy.

Your legs will thank you, and if you’re interested, you can explore the region’s thermal baths.
The Camino de Santiago passes through two important spa centers in Portugal: Pedras Salgadas and Vidago.

In Pedras Salgadas, the primitive Way crosses the interior of the park.

Points of interest on the ninth stage

Pedras Salgadas Park is a treat for the eyes and the mind.

The tree houses, designed by the architect Luís Rebelo de Andrade, are a must see.

Take a break next to the Pedras Salgadas Spring and taste the water for free while listening to the explanations of Ms Goreti.

Stage 10: from Vidago to Chaves – 17.7 km, 445/431 m, 3h30, medium difficulty

Ponte de Trajano em Chaves.
Trajano Bridge in Chaves.

Leaving Vidago, continue towards Pereira de Selão, known for the lake in an old quarry, Redial, Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Saúde, in São Pedro de Agostem, Vila Nova de Veiga and Outeiro Jusão, before entering National 2.

Watch out for cars until you reach km zero of the EN2 and turn right towards the center of Chaves.
Note the details of the facade of the Church of São João de Deus and the Trajano Bridge over the River Tâmega.

As there is no official pilgrim’s hostel in Chaves, choose accommodation with the Jacobean Hospitality seal and enjoy the rest of the day in Chaves.

Points of interest on the tenth stage

The Roman Baths of Chaves were, for me, one of the great surprises of this Camino de Santiago. It’s just that despite having visited Chaves several times, I still didn’t know this unique space.

And there are several superlatives when talking about this museum: the biggest Roman baths in the Iberian Peninsula and the most important Portuguese Roman thermal complex.

I loved the architecture and excellent state of conservation of the spa, which despite being over 2000 years old, is still working!

Stage 11: from Chaves to Vilarelho da Raia (border with Spain) 14.5 km, 229/195 m, 2h50, medium difficulty

Museu da Região Flaviense (Chaves).
Região Flaviense Museum (Chaves).

It’s not long before completing the Portuguese Way to Santiago Interior. In the last stage, you will travel the route between the center of the city of Chaves and the small town of Vilarelho da Raia, on the border with Spain.

A little further, the Camino Interior joins the Via de la Plata, which begins in Seville, Andalusia.

Map of the Portuguese Way to Santiago Interior (Camino de Santiago: Portuguese Interior Saint James Way)

Mapa do Caminho Português de Santiago Interior.
Map of the Portuguese Way to Santiago Interior (Camino de Santiago: Portuguese Interior Saint James Way).

Symbols of the Way and what they mean: the gourd – canteen dug in a gourd to be hung on the staff; the stick – to lean on when tired, helps to move forward and ward off danger; the scallop – a sign of life, rebirth, and purification, but also a receptacle from which you can drink along the way; the cross – an inverted sword that can be stuck into the ground like a cross so you can pray.

Taken from the European Guide to the Camino de Santiago.

What to carry in your Camino de Santiago backpack

Caminho de Santiago.
Camino de Santiago: Portuguese Interior Saint James Way.

When preparing your backpack for the Camino de Santiago, think of minimalism.

You will have to carry the backpack for several days.

So choose a backpack with padded belts, a ventilated back, and a pocket to put your reusable water bottle.

Hiking boots should be waterproof and molded to your feet. Don’t make the mistake of taking new shoes for the Camino de Santiago.

Choose seamless socks and layered breathable clothing, including a windbreaker, which will provide shelter from the rain.

A first-aid kit is essential, as well as water and snacks to replenish energy throughout the day.

Where to sleep along the Camino de Santiago?

Albergue de Peregrinos de Santiago.
Pilgrims Hostel.

Have you ever heard of the Jacobean Hospitality seal?

Throughout the article, I have already indicated some hostels for pilgrims to stay overnight, but you should know that in addition to these hostels, several accommodations have received this distinction.

Having the Jacobeia Hospitality seal means that the accommodation values ​​products and services to support pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago.

So when you’re looking for places to sleep, ask if you have this distinction.

Sites and Resources for the Pilgrim

Cidadelha de Aguiar (Vila Pouca de Aguiar).
Cidadelha de Aguiar (Vila Pouca de Aguiar).

Although the information available about the Portuguese Way to Santiago Interior is not always up to date, I should include some reference sites in this guide.

Therefore, I recommend consulting the website of the European Federation of Saint James Way, with interactive maps, 360º virtual tours, audio guides, and other relevant information.

Furthermore, to have the information available on your mobile phone, I suggest you save this article for later reference (send, for example, to your email, WhatsApp, … using the buttons at the end of this article).

By the way, share it with your friends, challenging them to do the Camino de Santiago!

All this may seem confusing, with several places to consult, but trust me, on the ground it is simpler.

You need to have an idea of ​​each step to prepare (for this, you have this article to help you) and follow the yellow arrows on the Caminho.

The signs of the Camino de Santiago are not supposed to be all over the place, so you will find them in walls, on the ground, and in other creative places.

Be alert, be present and accept what the Camino de Santiago gives you.

The Pilgrim’s Credential and how to obtain the Compostela

Caminho de Santiago Interior.

The Pilgrim’s Credential is the document that identifies the person making the journey, that is, the pilgrim.

With it, pilgrims can access public hostels and, as long as they have two stamps a day, they can ask for Compostela when arriving in Santiago.

The simplest way to request the Pilgrim Credential is online on the Espaço Jacobeus Association website, and the cost is €3, which already includes shipping

Latest recommendations on the Camino de Santiago (Portuguese Interior Saint James Way)

Pessoas ao longo do Caminho.
Camino de Santiago: Portuguese Interior Saint James Way.

Go with a light backpack and an open mind, as you need less than you think.

I really enjoyed the moments of silence in which I could let ideas flow, as well as tasting the typical dishes of each place.

Although I don’t remember the names of all the people who passed on my Path, the truth is that I keep to myself the smiles and the words of surprise when I said I was walking the Path.

To see more photos about this Camino de Santiago, please check out the blog’s Facebook and Instagram, where I’ve shared a lot of additional content that isn’t in this article.

I hope that in the near future, there will be more pilgrims who venture through the lands of the Douro and Alto Tâmega towards Santiago. Here’s the invite! Buen Caminho!

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*I went to discover the Camino de Santiago (Portuguese Interior Saint James Way) in a blog trip organized by the Municipalities of Viseu, Castro Daire, Lamego, Peso da Régua, Santa Marta de Penaguião, Vila Real, Vila Pouca de Aguiar and Chaves. I did not walk the entire Camino de Santiago nor sleeped in hostels, so it was a partial experience. Nevertheless, I was completely surrendered to the pilgrim’s spirit, and I intend to head to Santiago soon.

We are a Portuguese Family traveling around the world and sharing our journey and experiences at passaportenobolso.com. Here you can find plenty of family budget travel tips as well as practical information about numerous destinations in Europe, Africa, Asia and America. We have visited 30+ countries and we don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Follow our adventures on Instagram / Facebook / YouTube / Pinterest / Twitter.

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