The 5 most interesting personalities of the Portuguese Camino of Santiago

The Portuguese Camino of Santiago is more than the millennial-old cities we cross, magical mountains we climb, or pain endured by all pilgrims. In reality, this is a route made by people. That’s why this article is about them. You’ll meet legends, hospitable people, and soulful walkers. Read on to meet 5 inspiring personalities of the Portuguese Camino you’ll only find on the millennial route.

The 5 most interesting personalities of the Portuguese Camino of Santiago (or were) people of flesh and blood. Although each one is different in their own way, their stories always have something in common: the millennial trail. To honor these human beings, we write a little about them, what they mean to us, and where you can find them.

Barbosa, from the Barbosa café. 

Whoever leaves Vairão has to pass by its lounge. Impossible to miss, although small, it seems to hold the entire community of pilgrims who pass through here. The contagious energy, often helped by people singing and playing music from all over the world, forces us to stop and experience it.

However, the real magic happens when we meet Barbosa, owner of the café with the same name. With a friendliness and admiration for the hikers, he makes you feel at home right from the first moment.

A conversation with this gentleman is a world-winner. From the art festival he created in Vila do Conde to his many adventures around the world, we have, in human form, a representation of the Camino de Santiago.

Be sure to visit it and tell him you came from the Portuguese Way to Santiago.

Dom Pepe

We are lucky that our crossing goes through Padrón, because then we can meet Don Pepe. This is a haven for hikers from all over the world. Pilgrims give so many gifts and scarves to the house that they line the walls.

But, as in all establishments, the decoration is just a way of showing the nature of the person who runs it. In this case it is Pepe. One of those people who, at first sight, disarms us with his kindness, with an enthusiastic greeting.

You can thank him for his kindness by writing in one of his notebooks that are already full of the signatures of people who walk the path, just like you. According to him, going to Padrón and not meeting him is like traveling to the Vatican and not seeing the Pope. So, you know, on your last stage take the opportunity to make a friend for life.

Carlos Rios

We haven’t had the chance to meet him in person yet, but anyone who has spent time in our Facebook group knows who he is at first sight. His figure resembles the idea we all have of a pilgrim. And for good reason, since he’s been walking the Camino de Santiago for 30 years, even going as far as Vatican City and back.

He is not only a connoisseur of our favorite trail, but also someone who protects it every day. Being already one of the best known personalities of the Portuguese Camino to Santiago, he participated in an article about it.

Here he revealed that in order to walk the Way we cannot see it as a simple journey or entertainment. We must respect the various paths that each pilgrim who has ventured to Santiago de Compostela is walking.

The millennial stretch is a time of self-knowledge. Therefore, it is necessary to give up some comfort. Nobody knows this better than Mr. Carlos Rios, whom we hope to meet one day on one of his crossings.

The Two Marias. 

Now let’s go to the history of the city that always awaits us: Santiago de Compostela. Although these people are not directly connected to the Way, they are part of the Galician Capital and are a way of remembering the recent past of this country.

Anyone who has ever strolled through the city’s Alameda Park has seen a statue of two women, arm in arm and dressed up in showy colors. They are the “Dua Marias”. Sisters, as different as they are inseparable, in the 50s and 60s of the last century were a social phenomenon in the streets of this town.

Santiago de Compostela, Spain; march 3, 2021: Statue of Las dos Marias at Alameda park, Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Their attire and the way they interacted with their students, often with flirtations, made them stand out in the crowd of the always busy Galician capital.

However, their story is one of violence. During a time of dictatorship, authorities persecuted part of the Two Sisters’ family for their involvement in anarchist movements. Authorities tortured and sexually assaulted our protagonists to discover the whereabouts of these people. For many people, this was the cause that explains the behavior of the two sisters who today can walk freely around their city without fear.


We could not end our article without the person after whom it is named: the Apostle James. Brother of the also Apostle John, they were named as sons of thunder, thanks to their impulsive and warlike nature.

According to some traditions and legends, this follower of Jesus chose the region of Galicia to preach the gospel and seek followers of Christ’s word. However, the mission did not go as expected, ending with only 9 disciples and a few followers. Thus, he left two of his closest followers with the responsibility of spreading Christianity and returned to Judea, where he was killed.

You can read that story here, where we talk about the Catholic traditions that created the Camino de Santiago as we know it today.

You are also part of the personalities of the Portuguese Camino to Santiago.

As you have seen, people and personalities also make the Way, marking us daily and enduring in our memory. To get to know more, don’t forget to join our group on Facebook. The Portuguese Way to Santiago is a community of more than 60 thousand people who share with you the immense passion for this millenial-path.

You can join here:

Leave a Reply