Day twenty on the central route of the Camino Portugués can be very long or very short, depending on your desires. The total distance for the traditional stage from Tui to Redondela, I measured at 32.4 km (20.14 miles). We chose to do the entire stage in one day, but I have split the stage into two articles for ease of writing. Thus, this article will only cover the Way from Tui to O Porriño.
We were able to walk from Tui to O Porriño with our dear Camino friend, Glyvia, who currently lives in Spain and who joined us for this portion. This was to be our third meeting with her on a Camino, in as many years, but it always feels like we have known her for so much longer!
"Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light." ~ Helen Keller
Here is my interactive Google map of the route from Tui to O Porriño. There is a choice of routes in Orbenlle, halfway through the stage. The longer, by 1.22 kms, “Complementario” route shown in blue is in predominantly natural settings. The orange route walks through the heart of O Porriño, with lots of wonderful historic sites, however you will pay the price of walking through a long industrial area to get there.
As you can see, there is a lot of country walking with not very many services between these two cities, so plan your day accordingly. However if you choose the orange, industrial route, there will be plenty of anything you need.
Despite the many kilometers through the countryside on the blue route, this day has a lot of pavement walking! It was great for Magdalena in her wheelchair, but not so great for those of us traveling on foot.
This is the elevation profile for the blue route from Tui to O Porriño. As you can see it is full of little ups and downs with very little elevation change. The 7.4 kilometer orange route is very similar, also with little difference in the elevation change.
While this day can be extended to Redondela, as we actually did, the steep climb after O Porriño makes for a very long and grueling day. The pouring rain that we experienced after O Porriño (see day twenty-one) also added to the difficulty.
It was a Herculean effort for us to make it all the way to Redondela in one day, and most likely, this is true for most pilgrims. Choose your own day's length wisely. O Porriño makes a sensible place to end the day for most pilgrims, after 17.1 kilometers, about half-way to Redondela.
It was raining and bleary-looking, on the morning of our day twenty of the central route on the Portuguese Camino. The question about who was staying and who was walking kept coming up during our breakfast, included in the price of our albergue, and which we had in the lovely kitchen and dining room. There were still a few undecideds.
Matt had only tennis shoes instead of water-resistant shoes and he also had blisters. He did not want to walk in the rain. Magdalena, in her wheelchair, has a much harder time in the rain, due to her hands getting wet and slippery on wet wheels.
All of a sudden, Magdalena says "I am going!" Matt, not wanting to be left behind, agreed to join the group. So, off we all went, not one to be left behind.
If you are starting out from the cathedral in Tui, head north from the cathedral steps on the Praza do Concello, past the town Concello (town hall) building, following a bronze shell on the pavement and find the narrow Rúa das Monxas, walking straight ahead and northward. Take an immediate right hand turn and pass the historic landmark, the Casa dos Capeláns on your left in a few steps and the historic Monxas Encerradas or Mosteiro da Concepcion Santa Clara (As Encerradas), founded in 1524 on your right. This convent would be a wonderful place to tour if you have time. Unfortunately, I did not know about it at the time.
Walk through the convent on a narrow passageway with a high wall on your left, and a long, cloister-like building on your right. This clever passageway ends in a set of steep stairs, that takes you down and through a tunnel, underneath the convent building. At the end of the tunnel, take a left turn onto the Callejón Tyde, continuing down the steep passageway stairs. In a few meters, take the first right turn, down even more stairs and join the Rúa Tide in a few more meters. This narrow road ends in about 100 meters at a T-intersection with the Rúa Antero Rubin. Turn left here.
Here is a photo of the Rúa Antero Rubin as it looked the afternoon of the day before. I wish it looked like this on day twenty!
As we set off down the road, the Igrexa de Santo do Domingo, was immediately on our right, by the convent, shown below.
There was a light drizzle as we turned right on the Rúa San Bartolomeu after only a few meters from the church, shown below. It is about 2/3 kilometer, along the Rúa Antero Rubin until this turn.
In a few more meters we came to this plaza, shown below, and crossed it by this gazebo and cruzeiro, now heading to the right and eastward. The rain was glistening on the pavement. It is beautiful in the photo and I was in good cheer despite the rain, hopeful for a good day.
We continued on the Rúa San Bartolomeu to pass in front of the chapel of the same name, the Igrexa de San Bartolomeu, pictured below.
Immediately after the church you take a left onto a farmer's lane heading northeast, shown below on day twenty of the central route of the Portuguese Camino.
After about 300 meters on the lane, take a right turn to join a paved road, the Rúa Arraial. Here is Glyvia, our friend smiling for the photo.
In a few hundred more meters, we came to the historic Puente de A Veiga, an original Roman bridge which was a part of the old roman route, the Via Romana XIX. There are picnic tables, if you have the opportunity to rest here.
By the bridge is this sculpture of a pilgrim, below, and to the left of the sculpture on the other side of the road is a small fountain with a scallop shell and a staff (not pictured) where you can fill your water bottles. Here Glyvia and I are posing in the drizzle. If you want more information on this area click here.
The Camino de Santiago does not actually cross the bridge, but travels past it and northward on the Camino Barros, shown to the left side in the photo above.
You continue on the Camino Barros for about 1/2 kilometer on this lovely lane, below...
...turning right onto the Sendo Barros, pictured below, with the waymark indicating that you are continuing to follow the Via Romana XIX.
The Senda Barros is paved, and here I was looking back at Borut and Miriam, all smiles in the rain!
Ahead were the railroad tracks we needed to walk under.
After you cross under the tracks, you come to an intersection with the N-550, after about 2/3 kilometer on the Senda Barros. Here the Camino turns right and stays on the highway only for about 150 meters, taking the first left onto the PO-342. You are now in the town of Virxe do Camiño.
In about 130 meters, you come to the town church. The Camino used to walk behind the Capela Virxe do Camiño, shown below. The wooden sign informed you of your location. Now, it walks in front of it. I do not have a photo of the front. You have completed about 3.2 kilometers at this church.
Just after the church, the PO-342 crosses the A-55 super highway, up and over the bridge shown below. The sign lets you know that you are leaving the town of Virxe do Camiño.
The Way stays on the paved PO-342 for a long two kilometer trudge, or shall I say splash in our case? At least there is a nice, wide shoulder for the pilgrimage traveler to walk upon, and it is through a pleasant forested area, as the sign points you toward the next town of Mosende.
There is a nice Pilgrim's Path along this section of the PO-342, showing some nice planning on the part of the administrators. They made us our own lane for which I was very appreciative!
The forest all around us was fresh and beautiful from the rain. After about 5.0 kilometers, the sun came out! We went by a nice pilgrim's board with information about the surrounding area and a local map of the Camino de Santiago.
Next the PO-342 walks under the E-1, the Autopista del Atlántico, pictured below, on day twenty on the central route of the Portuguese Camino.
The roadway was easy rolling for Magdalena! Not so great for those of us on foot!
Ahead of Magdalena and Matt in the photo below, is the intersection, where we finally left the PO-342 after about a full 2.0 kilometers.
There is another really nice information board at the turn off the highway on the natural features of the landscape. You have reached approximately 5.2 kilometers at this turnoff.
Within a few meters you cross the Autopista del Atlántico again, only this time above it. Storm clouds were brewing again as well!
However, we did get a reprieve when the beautiful sun came streaming through the forest on the lane after the bridge, below.
The next landmark we came to was the Cruz de San Telmo, in about 1/2 kilometer...
...just before the bridge crossing the Río San Simón.
Here is Glyvia and Rich ~ good friends connecting on day twenty of the Camino Portugués, on the central route. While it was no longer raining, and Rich had even taken off his rain jacket, our sunshine was short-lived.
We had fallen behind the rest, Rich, Glyvia and I. Ahead, Team Magdalena was milling about on the road. Were they waiting on us? We were coming into a town, having left the farmer's lane for the pavement after one kilometer on it.
As it turns out, they were laughing and admiring the name of the town! Here is Magdalena in A Magdalena! You can faintly see the name of the town on the wooden post to the right of Magdalena.
And Team Magdalena was all lined up in a row, so I snapped their photo as well in the town of A Magdalena on day twenty on the central route of the Portuguese Camino.
As it turns out the town’s name isn’t A Magdalena, but Ribadelouro! Even funnier! The name is perhaps for a feature of crosses you will encounter ahead, the Calvario de A Magdalena, not the town! Who knows?
Here we are, walking through Ribadelouro, below left. There is a café at the Pensión Ponte das Febres, not pictured, about 100 meters after the pavement begins at the first Y-intersection if you need a break. There is also the new, Guest House Clarevar at the same intersection. And at the next left, a few meters later is the Casa Celia.
These services are just shy of 7.0 kilometers for the day. Next, you wind around and through the town, following the waymarks, for about 2/3 kilometer.
For some reason, the Camino planners take you left, just after the café, on a loop through town. For the life of me, I can't figure out what they want the pilgrim to see. There is a small church and a cultural center on the western side of town, but if it were up to me, I would walk straight north through town and not take the detour.
Instead of turning left after the café, keep straight on, and then again at the next intersection, until you come to a row of crosses, called the Calvario de A Magdalena (not pictured) and you see a small park after only 300 meters, shown in the photo below. The Camino joins here at the crosses and the park, so you will have saved yourself at least 1/3 kilometer - important if you plan to go all the way to Redondela!
After the park, you can see the intersections ahead, where you take a hard right and onto another farmer's lane.
Below is Matt performing the tipping technique with Magdalena's chair on the rough areas. He had become quite a pro by now.
Within 200 meters or so, you meet the Río Louro again and cross it on the charming Roman bridge, the Puente de Orbenlle, below.
This lane continues to wander through the forest for about another 1/2 kilometer before coming a T-intersection, below. This is the town of Orbenlle's greeting to the pilgrims. There is a mural depicting the very famous Portico da Gloria from the cathedral entrance in Santiago de Compostela. Pause for a minute and look at the artistic depictions. Then you turn left here onto the street called the Polígono das Gándaras.
Pay close attention to the next instructions! After only about 150 meters past the mural, you come to a double waymark, shown below, that seems to be very confusing! I have marked this decision point with a big orange star on the map above! It is located about 8.5 kilometers into the stage.
(A special shout out to my Camino Forum friends, who helped me re-configure the route and John Gilliland for allowing me to use his photo!)
The way down the hill and to the left takes you on a lane that leads you back into the forest, over another old bridge and on secondary roads. This way to the left is labeled "C. Complementario." This may be the way that you want to go!
The way to the right, will conveniently take you through the next town, Os Eidos, and the Albergue Casa Alternativo. This is all fine and good if you want to go to these establishments. Unfortunately, this Way also takes you onward into an ugly industrial area for many kilometers towards O Porriño, if you don’t return back to the Complementario Route!
The way the markers appear, you may have the tendency to take the right path, believing this looks more like the "official" way! While the way to the right is actually the official route, it is not perhaps your personal best route.
These double waymarks were not there when we first walked this way in the prior spring. It seems that there has been a war of many years, at this very intersection, where paint is removed, yellow arrows changed, wooden signs taken down, all in the attempt to get the pilgrimage traveler to go to the right, through town and by the local proprietors' establishments!
Who knows what you will find when you walk through here, as the route wars may continue! But at least, now you know!
This is not totally a bad thing, if you wish for a stop at the nearest café. We did exactly that, but looped back to the Camino Complementario. But at that time, we were still following the yellow arrows as they used to be!
It is also not a bad thing, if you wish to take the absolute shortest way, if you are planning to walk through to Redondela. The industrial route is shorter by a full 1.22 kilometers, not an insignificant amount. Plus, as stated above, you will have many more services, and after walking through the five kilometers of industrial ugliness in As Gándaras, you will enter the outskirts of O Porriño and pass by many attractive churches, a hermitage, cultural buildings and a pedestrian shopping street as you walk into the heart of the city. This could be a very enjoyable portion of the route.
Make your own choice, which route is best for you!
Since it was starting to drizzle again by the time we reached this decision point, we were grateful to walk the additional 2/3 kilometer to the one and only open café we had encountered thus far, the Café Chimay, in Os Eidos after about 9.4 kilometers more or less into day twenty on the Camino Portugués along the central route. Consult the interactive Google map above for its exact location.
When I was writing this information, I noticed the loop detour to the café that you can see on the map above. I laughed when I realized that indeed we had been walked around to the café. I thought it was the Camino planners who did this, but I should have known better. In fact, I even called it the "Conspiracy Detour" in my original writing! In fact, there are now three eating establishments within this loop!
Here is a photo of when it was the Bar Laguna, now the Café Chimay. It was a well-timed stop for us. It is about 650 meters off-Camino, and the loop back for a total of about an additional one kilometer if you choose to detour here. Hopefully the café in Ribadelouro will be open for you. It’s a lot of extra walking added to the day!
If you decide you don't need a pit stop, take the left hand turn onto the path at the double waymark. In only about 300 meters, come to an intersection, go left and come to this bridge, the Puente de Baranco, that crosses the Río Louro. The loop route we took, joins the Camino here at the bridge.
This area must have already received a lot of rain, as evidenced by these muddy ruts in the road after the bridge. Perhaps this is a frequently occurring phenomenon, as there was a nice stone path to the right of the road to walk on!
Where there was no standing water and mud, the lane looked very lush and inviting.
After 600 meters on the lane, the Camino de Santiago briefly joins the pavement to walk through a cluster of homes...
...before turning onto another path, below, that follows a canal. The Camino follows the path for about an additional 600 meters.
The path turns into a forest road again, for 1/2 kilometer more.
Once again you join the pavement, below and walk under the E-1, the Autopista del Atlántico.
Continue through the tunnel and walk up the hill on the other side, reaching the small town of Quintenla. At the top of the hill, stay straight at the intersection in town, and then in only a few meters, stay to the right to take the pavement down a hill and back into the woods.
This paved road is very quiet, first walking through the forest and then through the fields, in the direction of the next town of Centeáns for about one kilometer.
The road takes a strong bend to the north, as the Camino walks you through the town of Centeáns for about 2/3 kilometer.
On the north end of town, you turn right to go eastward again. It is easy to recognize this turn, as the sidewalk is now green as shown, below. If you need a break, there is a café, just one block north of the Camino, at the first left turn on the green sidewalk, by the Ermita de San Campio.
Cross the Autopista again. You have reached a total of 13.0 kilometers for your day at the overpass.
You continue to follow the green pathway on the Rua Guia for about 1.30 kilometers from the highway crossing, where the Way becomes more industrial looking as you near O Porriño.
Come to a small roundabout, where you turn right toward the city, continuing on the green beltway.
Here is a photo of Glyvia, Borut and Rich approaching the roundabout. It was raining quite nicely at this point, and I was eager to get into town to have a cup of hot coffee and to dry out!
Next, you come to an overpass of the A-55 after about 1/3 kilometer. Walk under this highway and immediately look for a path left and to the north along the Louro River. This photo below, shows the turn and the small yellow arrows on two blue signs. This turn is easy to miss and we had a hard time spotting it. And now, everything has changed. There is now a concrete mojón, guiding you to go straight!
The Camino de Santiago is a very fluid thing, and it is being constantly changed to improve it, by walking the pilgrim through more historic areas, by restaurants and other establishments, or for reasons that are not always straightforward!
Such is the case with the approach into O Porriño. The turn shown above is now an alternative route into town. I have chosen to keep the final segment in blue, that shows the path along the lovely Louro River on my map, because this is the route that we walked and in my humble opinion a wonderful alternative, especially on a hot day!
The riverwalk is only 400 meters longer than the official route, so if you wish to have as few steps as possible, stay straight after walking under the A-55. If you are going to the municipal albergue, the riverwalk is definitely the shorter route, so take this into consideration when you make your decision. You can always see the town after your arrival.
To follow the new official routing, please see farther below. I will continue the brief narrative for the riverwalk to the municipal albergue next.
Turn right again almost immediately, to find the final segment to O Porriño along a lovely river walk following the Louro River. This river walk is about a full 2.0 kilometers. On a clear day, it would have been an extremely nice, shady and cool walk.
Our walk was wet and sloppy. If it is raining, the official route would be the better choice.
Turn right on the Avenida Buenos Aires to head to the center of town. If you go to the left on the Avenida you will see another albergue, the Alojamiento Camino Portugués, another option if you are staying in O Porriño. As you walk down the Avenida, you will see a sign for a right turn towards the Albergue SendaSur a few meters off Camino. Next pass the large supermarket and the Hostal Louro on your left.
We went onward to look for a café for a break. Our plan was to take a long rest and continue onward to Redondela. We stopped at the first place we came to, the Restaurante Paso a Nivel in the center of town, just before the rail tracks. Here we are in the photo below. It was fabulous to finally get out of the rain!
The economical Pensión Cando is just around this restaurant to the left (north) if you need a break from the albergue grind.
Here is a photo of the center of O Porriño, as the street crosses the railroad tracks.
After the railroad tracks you come to a roundabout where the official route now enters this section of town.
In the roundabout and to your right is the Apartamento Centro Porriño and the private Albergue Camino Santiago Porriño. The Hotel Parque Porriño is just south of the roundabout, in the Plaza del Cristo, right beside the chapel of the same name and a bit farther south, the Casa Lolita. The Hotel Azul is farther along the Camino to the north, but still in town. There are several more options that you can click here to see them.
Reaching this restaurant was a double edged sword. While I was ecstatic to get out of the rain, this would be the final stop with our friend Glyvia.
It was here in O Porriño that we had to say goodbye to, Glyvia. Perhaps she was able, but she was definitely unwilling to continue onward to Redondela for the entire 33 kilometers, most especially not in the steady rain! She lives in Spain and she walks sections of the Camino whenever she wants.
It was still hard to put her into a taxi that would take her back to Tui, where she would collect her car, and drive home to the coast. We reluctantly said good-bye, until our next Camino!
I currently have no photos of this route, but I hope to change that soon! From the overpass, continue straight and onto a new pilgrim’s footbridge to cross the Río Louro. At the next roundabout, less than one hundred meters later, take the second left, to climb up and over the railroad tracks, on the same green sidewalk you have been following!
Walk down the other side and come to a T-intersection with the N-550. Turn left onto the N-550 and join the Camino route coming from the south and the double waymarks that led you through the industrial zone. By walking this way, you can get the best of both worlds, avoiding the industrial area and still approaching O Porriño through the best of its historic district.
Heading north on the N-550, in about 400 meters you will encounter the wonderful little Ermita da Virxe da Guía.
You will need to walk another 1/2 kilometer on the N-550, before leaving it to the left and onto the Rúa Manuel Rodríguez. Just before this turn is the Pensión Restaurante Puente (+34 986 34 80 94), about one kilometer from the center roundabout described above.
Walk only about 100 meters on the Rúa Manuel Rodríguez and take the first right turn onto the Rúa San Sebastián. The Camino stays to the left at the next Y-intersection, to continue on the Rúa San Sebastián. The Camino follows this street through the next roundabout and for about 1/3 kilometer until it comes to a T-intersection. Take a left turn here and head towards the church you can see ahead. This is the Parroquia de Santa María da Concepción.
One block to the south and west of the church is the private albergue Rincón del Peregrino. This accommodation is only about 1/3 kilometer south of the main roundabout in the center of town.
Cross over the plaza of the Parroquia de Santa María da Concepción, to the western side and pick up the Rúa Manuel Rodríguez once again. This street eventually becomes a pedestrian shopping street in the next block and changes its name to the Rúa Ramón González. All the services that you could possibly want are along this way.
Pass a government building on your right in a small plaza at the next intersection, and onward on the Rúa Ramón González. In a few meters come to a monument with an octagonal base, right in front of the Parque do Cristo and its Capella. The Hotel Parque Porriño is in this square as previously noted above. The roundabout in the center of town is steps away to the north.
And now, you know the whole truth and where your choices lie!
Rich and I had a long and wonderful 18 kilometer walk with our Camino friend Glyvia, chatting merrily as we slopped through the on-again, off-again rain. I have been so lucky on all of our Caminos, meeting very little rain. I am most grateful for this! Day twenty on the central route was my first in which a steady rain was the norm for the day.
While the rain was tolerable for the trip to O Porriño, if you read on to day twenty-one, you will see that the weather conditions were going to deteriorate.
Team Magdalena was still together, working and walking as a group. Thus far Matt's feet held up and Magdalena was happy, focused and her hands were holding up as well.
May your own day twenty on the Camino Portugués, via the central route be filled with growing friendships that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Walk together with your friends, in the dark, lifting each other higher and higher. E ultreia e suseia!
Skip to Central Route Below, for Final Days 22-25 to Santiago
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