Stage 08. Esposende – Caminha
Esposende – Caminha
If we have slept at the Suave Mar hotel, all we have to do is go out in front of the hotel and take the bike path on the seafront.
If we have slept in any other accommodation in Esposende, it will be enough for us to look for the sea and start pedaling along the walk north towards the fort.
At the end of the promenade, leaving behind the fort with its striking red lighthouse, we will arrive at a bar called “DUNAS BAR” and there we will already find sand and some walkways that will make us have the false feeling that we are going to step on it. land and we will go through natural places.
We say a false feeling because this is going to last for a short time and a few meters away we will come across a road that will take us in a straight line to the nearby town of CEPAES, we will go upwards turning to the right along its main street and soon we will reach the N highway. -13 that we must cross to take it to our left (be careful very dangerous crossing)… in this way we will advance to MARINHAS and just as we pass in front of its cemetery we will see on our right a long street with the parish church in the center… on this street we must go up and enter the streets of this town following the yellow arrows.
If in the previous stage someone instead of stopping at the Esposende hotel preferred to sleep in the hostel just to the right of this church is the MARINHAS hostel.
With these and through this little town of MARINHAS, we continue to gain altitude and move a little further from the sea along narrow streets sandwiched between walls and on cobblestone floors. We went up passing in front of its main church and upwards, soon we turned left and now we are parallel to the sea and heading north.
We continue straight on and at the exit of a narrow street we will see a widening and in front of us there will be a fork with a cruise and a church in the background (Capela de Sao Joao do Monte), here we will have to take the street that forks to the right.
We will continue our journey pedaling in the north direction and on cobblestones… we already left the streets of the city to areas that alternate open space and residential houses, always on paving stones and on flat ground. We advance towards OUTEIRO, without losing the continuity of the north direction and the cobblestones. We are relatively close to BELINHO that we cross through its main street and leaving behind its mother church.
More streets with high fences and more sensation of encasing between walls… towards the north, on our left we sense the sea but we cannot see it, on our right some hills with bushes and rocks…
At the end of BELINHO we continue to be sandwiched between walls and for a moment the paving stone will end and the pavement will be dirt until we reach the end of a path where we will encounter the asphalt. In front a small white chapel (CAPELA N. SENYORA DOS REMEDIOS), a yellow arrow on a lamppost shows us orientation to the left, on the asphalt we advance a bit and soon we will take a street on the right… we advance between narrow streets and at a junction boxed in between two stone houses we will enter a narrow dirt road that will take us up into a pine forest where we will enter a narrow box boxed next to a river, a kind of natural gorge in a very dense forest and a rumor of waters.
It will seem that we have been teleported as if by magic to another place… we must proceed carefully (there are dangerous areas with large stones) we will arrive at a narrow and unprotected bridge (without railing) that many will cross on foot and some that another brave person might dare to cross it on the bicycle (the truth is that it is quite a challenge;)).
In this area we will also surely take beautiful photos with the bridge, the river and a large white house in the background that we will have left behind before… also some funny video with the unwary on duty who will cross the narrow and unprotected bridge on the bike.
After this beautiful and idyllic place, a strong cliff will leave us before a road junction where we will find the Capela de Nossa Senhora da Guadalupe, the pilgrim hostel Don Nausti and the hostel Castelo do Neiva, we are in the town which gives its name to this CASTELO DO NEIVA hostel (Km 10 of the stage).
We will continue to climb. We lined up a hard ramp in front, between houses with orchards and by land… we are in a kind of urbanization that at times makes us wander through asphalt and at times makes us go up narrow dirt roads and cobblestones embedded between farm walls.
It will be about 3 kms uphill until we reach the CASTELO DO NEIVA cemetery… this hard climb is enlivened with a Jacobean atmosphere and on the harder ramps we will find a map of the Portuguese road on a stone monolith, later 3 crosses of wood and a little further to our left a makeshift chapel of the apostle Santiago on a slope of the road.
Next to the cemetery is the church of Santiago, which, along with the two shelters we passed before, is responsible for the Jacobean atmosphere in this area with the shelters, the crosses, the Apostle Santiago, the stone plaque with the way… In this church they offer the possibility of putting the seal on the credential.
The path here makes a strange gesture… it makes us skirt the cemetery and the church, it lowers us again to pass the church from behind and through a mountain area and with stones (preferably downhill) it leads us to a Mount area and narrow paths, with a lot of stone and technical trialera… we will cross this difficult and demanding area with some patience (there are not many kilometers).
Upon reaching the asphalt, we come to a landscaped area with many stairs. It is in front of a church with a cemetery and the Mosteiro Beneditino de São Romão de Neiva. Here we will also find toilets with WC and a picnic area in case we want to stop to rest.
Thus we will already be in a friendlier and more cyclable area that will soon leave us in the first houses of CHAFÉ, where shortly after entering we will find the cemetery on our left and just ahead we will meet the road and on the same corner (to on the right) there is a good village bar where we can have a snack (in front of the church) this very well attended bar has a stale and authentic village atmosphere, it is normally frequented by older locals… (BAR SAO SEBASTIAO).
We leave CHAFÉ immediately taking a street to the right from the main road that runs through the town and which comes from the bar where we have advised to stop. Immediately we take a small dirt road that leads us between farms and houses.
We access the scattered houses of ANHA where we will make a climb of about 2 kms. They will leave us on a high with views and close to the great city of today’s stage: VIANA DE CASTELO.
Now it comes down, we have to be careful because at the beginning and down the road signs they will try to get us off the road (to the right), to throw us down a very broken road with big stones (very dangerous)… it is advisable to be vigilant and not to follow the arrows, but to go down the road… after a sharp curve we will again reach our beloved arrows, on asphalt and avoiding a possible fall.
TO VIANA DE CASTELO we approach a strange and strange area as a kind of urbanization project or unfinished industrial estate, some stones on the asphalt bar the way to the cars… we will cross them and we will continue going down towards the river and the bridge through this strange area of abandoned streets and without buildings.
When we get to the bridge, we will have to be extremely careful, we will have to travel along the road between the cars and there is no shoulder. The passage is narrow and very busy. It is recommended to cross pedaling at a good pace and following the traffic of cars (it is safer than doing it walking with the bicycle).
When we are crossing the bridge to our left we will see a marina and next to it also to our left a landscaped avenue with trees… we will not be able to turn immediately as soon as we pass the bridge… but we must orient ourselves and safely try to get to the port.
When we are there we will advance along this tree-lined avenue, downstream until we find an open area with an imposing statue in the center, we will turn right and along Rua Gago Coutinho we will advance towards the historic center of VIANA DE CASTELO and its imposing square .
Following the arrows with attention we will cross its bustling and acclaimed streets.
From the plaza, we take Rua Manuel Espregueira and continue our north course through various crossings and we come across one of the incongruities that most of the roads of Santiago have… and that is that having been traced by walkers They have not taken into account when signaling that cyclists may pass, so here we will find streets in the forbidden direction where we will have to be careful because if we leave them we will irretrievably lose the arrows and road signs.
Through a bustling and commercial street we will arrive at a square with a curious statue of a man on a mule or donkey (Blessed Fray Bartolomé de los Mártires) and there we will have to turn to the right passing in front of Igreja de São Domingos. We will hit a park in front and there we must turn right and up until we find a street in the forbidden direction (Rua do Assento) that will deliver us against a tunnel to pass the train tracks underneath.
We are climbing up and looking for the upper part of the city. Up on the mountain and before us is the imposing Basilica of Santa Luzia that dominates the entire city and is its most representative landscape image.
We continue advancing in the north direction and without many crossings that entertain us on asphalt and on the area of houses and newly built residential we will continue our course parallel to the sea and towards AREOSA for about 3 kms.
When we are used to this road and we are totally unconcerned, a yellow arrow will shoot us down, taking us to the left towards narrow alleys between stone walls and cobblestone pavement in a somewhat labyrinthine area.
If we pass this intersection, do not worry too much… 1 km further on, the same road that we used to take up the arrows again and we will find the way again.
But we will go back through a kind of endless and deep alleys, narrow and stony, winding and twisted… a kind of stone maze that will be the keynote for the rest of the stage.
We will arrive at a stretch of dirt road that in a few meters ends at a small ravine where we will come across some stairs that we will have to save. We are in an area of streams, waterfalls and water mills, which leaves us next to a small yellow painted chapel (capela de boa viagem) and a small palace called “quinta” in Portuguese language and which has the same name as the chapel: Quinta de boa viagem.
We continue on asphalt and cross a dense pine and eucalyptus forest.
A little later we left the forest behind and continued advancing through a kind of trenches, encased between high walls with vines hanging by its walls… we go through a kind of infinite and twisted alley that takes us forward. With these and on this type of tour, we are gradually getting closer to CARREÇO.
At the end of one of these alleys we come across the train tracks, we cross them carefully and we approach the CARREÇO cemetery that we cross with its walls to our left to reach the gate of the church through which we literally pass the door that sweeps the gate and through the church square (Sra. das Graças Carreço) we turn left and advance down through its square leaving the church behind us.
This maneuver to cross the church gardens leads us to a wide street and we finally abandon the transfer through the long alleys with high walls.
We advance on asphalt and cross the town on a slight upward slope… at the end of the town a curve to the right will present us before a small bridge that saves the train tracks. STOP !!!, here is a place that we strongly recommend visiting. Turning left at that point (we leave the path) and following arrows that indicate “restaurant” we are going to arrive at a genuinely recommended place. A kind of sociocultural center has a restaurant specialized in suckling pig “leitao” they call it for those lands that at a very economic price will allow us to stop to eat very well cared for:
DO SERGIO RESTAURANT
Rua, Tv. Father Domingos Afonso do Paco 18
4900-278, Carreço, Portugal
+351 258 836 507
Once eaten we return to the path and look for the train bridge that we had abandoned before…
Luckily we have recovered our strength… we face the last slopes of today’s stage. We are at km 34 of the stage and therefore we have 20 kms to go.
In a small square of stone walls and with a new and modern house on our left we will take a dirt road that goes through a forest in hard ascent 5 kms up, the hardest ramps begin when passing in front of the CONVENT DE SAO JOAO DE CABANAS, there in the depression formed by a stream begins a complicated path with a lot of stone that will go up the mountain for a short distance until it reaches the asphalt again, we continue up and we will come to a crossroads on the top ( CRUCEIRO DO VALE) where we will have little by little and a descent that first by land and then strolling through houses and orchards will bring us closer to the urbanization of BARREIROS where we will go down a long sloping street towards ANCORA, we leave this town through a small area mountain with a stream and a stone bridge… we access the national road we crossed and thus we already reach the first houses of VILA PRAIA DE ANCORA.
Care and attention again, this city is bustling, with traffic and with crossroads where we can get lost. We will pass under the national highway (bridge with green railings) and if we get disoriented we will have to look for the church where we will find again the beloved arrows. In front of the church a downhill pedestrian street will make us cross the train tracks and will leave us on the beach and on the promenade of VILA PRAIA DE ANCORA.
We advance along the promenade to a small stone fort, the port and the fishermen’s shop. We will advance up to the sea next to an area where the sea delivers against the rocks for a few and placid kilometers… by a concrete bicillway we will arrive at a chapel where we will find an arrow that will make us turn left towards the rocks and the sea.
We continue north and pedaling along the sea… in the background we will see a conical mountain that we will easily recognize on the horizon… there is our destination because that mountain shades the city of CAMINHA.
We continue advancing through that beach area, but we must pay attention so as not to get lost… at one point we will see a tunnel to our right that passes under the train tracks, we must cross that tunnel and exit to the other side of the tracks. We will access the road and through the main street we will cross the town …, we will reach a roundabout where we will have to pay attention… if we continue straight on the indications for the national road (a lot of traffic and cars) it would take us to CAMINHA and that is what they indicate the signs… but it is not where we should go, there is a small road to the right of the national road in the same direction that we must take (Rua de Pombal), it runs parallel to the dangerous national road and here we will go safer.
We already pedal calmly and in a straight line along this secondary road towards the destination city of our stage and we will advance along the street that we will take as the main one, without deviating until we end up in a wide square where the church, the town hall and the hotel are located. We recommend DESIGN WINE & SPA HOTEL.
If we go to the pilgrim hostel we will have to continue straight until we come across the port (from here the ferry sets off that we will have to take tomorrow), to turn right and look for an area with a large park in front of which is the hostel (Avenida Padre Pinheiro).
It would also be a relatively easy option if we did not find accommodation here to be able to take the ferry as soon as we arrived and in a short time pass to the neighboring town (already in Spanish territory, on the other side of the river) where without much effort we will arrive and we can also find accommodation.
Reflection on the Stage
For those who start the journey in Porto this will be an excellent and easy stage to acclimatise to the path and adapt to the bicycle.
For those who come from Lisbon and are already a little bit punished, tired and obfuscated by the previous hard stages, this is an excellent opportunity to rest a little and regain strength.
It is an easy and comfortable stage in every way. Being almost flat, we can move light and without much effort. The proximity of the sea and the beach will make us relax and not having to be so attentive to the signs (you just have to go up the beach), they will also have a relaxing effect on us.
There is a possibility in Porto following the arrows and locating that we are wrong and without realizing it we see ourselves circulating on the road to Santiago but by mistake this is not the path of the coast but that of the interior … (we should be on the river , beach and sea in the first 5 kms.)…, if that happens there is an opportunity for the amendment that we now explain.
In RATES (Km 34 of the stage of the central or interior Portuguese road) there is a deviation indicated by arrows and signposted that will take us to ESPOSENDE with the same mileage proposed in this stage (about 65 kms) but missing the transfer by placid and flat promenades, by the sea.
|Design Wine & Spa Hotel|
|Casa de Esteiro|
|Albergue de Caminha|
|Albergue de Peregrinos A Guarda|
R. Ramalho Ortigão 161
Viana do Castelo, Portugal
+351 258 847 376
R. Conselheiro Miguel Dantas N10
4910-131 Caminha, Portugal
Tlf: +351 962 798 310