Routes of Santiago de Compostela: Routes in Portugal
Routes of Santiago de Compostela in Portugal is part of the Tentative list of Portugal in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List. It is a proposed extension of Route of Santiago de Compostela WHS.
The Routes of Santiago de Compostela in Portugal or Caminho Português is the Portuguese part of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage routes. It comprises six routes and two extensions to the south, starting in Lisbon or Porto. In total, this road network extends over more than 2000 kilometres.
Map of Routes of Santiago de Compostela: Routes in PortugalLoad map
The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.
Over my two visits of mainland Portugal in August 2014 and July 2020, I visited some of the major monuments/villages along each of the 6 Routes of Santiago de Compostela in Portugal.
The highlight of my visit of the 5 Routes in Northern Portugal (apart from the already inscribed Coimbra) was undoubtedly Viana do Castelo at the mouth of the Lima river (excellent for birdwatching too!). Its port gained great importance as one of the entry points for Portuguese explorers and traders involved in the Portuguese discoveries. Many of the historical buildings originated during this period. You certainly shouldn't miss the Cathedral of Viana do Castelo as well as the Sanctuary of Santa Luzia (bottom photos).
This time round I gladly allowed time for a stopover in Tavira and (Luz de Tavira) along the Eastern Route (top photos) which was definitely worthwhile. Tavira is located on the eastern side of the Algarve, approximately 30 km east of Faro and 25 km west of the Spanish border. This region attracts fewer tourists than the central or western Algarve. The historic centre of Tavira with its Moorish/Almoad elements, bridge, cobbled streets and delightful tiled houses is worth visiting. Apart from a few yellow arrows on a few pavements, the Church of Santiago and the Santiago Bridge, I was surprised to find little information on the Way and on the other hand quite a lot of information of the Islamic/Moorish Route.
Ideally, the Routes in Portugal, in France and in Spain would make much more sense as one extended WHS than separate WHS. If I were to choose one of the 6 Routes in Portugal to walk/cycle to Santiago de Compostela, that would definitely be the coastal route from Viana do Castelo.
Here we go again, trying to inscribe more routes to Santiago de Compostela. I'm not a big fan of these inscriptions, especially when they're separated by national borders because although they definitely are significant in history and culture, it's strange to see all these minor sites inscribed on the basis of simply being in the right place for pilgrims to pass by throughout the centuries and nothing else. I'd prefer a shorter compilation of representative sites and sections of the route that show significance and good preservation of such significance to the route and to human history.
Funnily enough, as of the time of writing this review, I have only been through the French and Portuguese sites on the route, but not the Spanish. Anyway, I visited the Cathedral of Lisbon and Jeronimos Monastery back in May 2017. The cathedral was quite interesting with its Romanesque interior and 'Castelo São Jorge-esque' exterior, but I saw no signs of the route. The monastery, of course being a World Heritage Site in its own right, was truly remarkable, but that's a review for another day. Anyhow, neither visit, just like my visit to the French sites, really gave me the essence of the pilgrimage route to Santiago, as it seemed they were more of pilgrimage centers in their own right.
2017 Added to Tentative List
The site has 6 locations
30 Community Members have visited.