The Barcelos – Ponte de Lima stage is tough. The long kilometers covered, despite being mostly flat crossings, become tiring – especially after two days walking more than 25 kilometers. It is here that most pilgrims start to feel the first blisters on their feet, making this stage even more difficult.
However, the infrastructure is adequate, and there is always a hostel to end the day and benches and water fountains to cool off. In the small villages we pass through, they may even offer something to stave off hunger.
For those fortunate enough to arrive in the village, take the opportunity to dine overlooking the bridge or stroll through this village that is worth the visit.
On the way out of Barcelos, take the opportunity to visit Avenida da Liberdade one last time. Although you will quickly reach the most rural part of the route, you will find important points for the Santiago path and for the town. If you want to have breakfast, the Arantes Café has a selection of papo-secos (bread) that will give you the energy you need until Ponte de Lima.
Where one of the most frequented hostels for pilgrims, “Casa da Recoleta”, and the village of São Pedro de Fins intersect. There is also a stone cross that symbolizes the way to Santiago, this 17th century space is the ideal place to make the first stop of the day.
Nearby, in Ponte de Tábuas, is a small river beach. It welcomes locals, pilgrims and tourists from all over the world looking to cool off in the waters of the Neiva River. So don’t forget to pack a bathing suit in your suitcase. And don’t worry, time is never wasted. From here to Casa Fernanda it’s only 5 kilometers. If you are tired, you can ask if there is room to stay overnight. However, if you want to rest and have a snack, there’s a wooden table at the entrance of the house with some snacks to ease your hunger. In August there are peaches, even, but it’s better to ask, first.
Just before this monument at the exit of the village of Facha is the “pilgrim’s corner”. A place where you can sit and replenish your energy and, most importantly, water. These two so close together represent the care that the people around these places have for those who make the way to Santiago.
The way to Ponte de Lima. At 9 kilometers from the last stop we are greeted by the image of the river water falling creating a cascade of emotions. This is the second longest stage of the Portuguese central road, so the arrival at the destination is rewarding. Since the stage was a long one, you will want to rest. Right at the entrance of the town, the “River View” restaurant has a pilgrim’s menu. You can eat a full meal overlooking the flow of water. At night, the Residêncial Retiro Sra. da Luz is a cozy space, with people ready to help the pilgrims’ pains as needed. There is even a piano in the living space in case anyone knows how to play.
It depends of course, but it’s a matter of endurance. As it is long, even without much inclination, it can become extremely tiring. But the arrival at Ponte de Lima is worth it.
Yes. Around this stage you will find places where you can simply stop to rest or drink water. Some of the people in Facha even wait for the pilgrims. If you are thirsty, just ask someone on the street for a glass of water.
There are many people who start their journey in Ponte de Lima, making it a very frequented place by pilgrims. In case you can’t find a place to stay, try going to one of the many restaurants, like Fava Contadas, to ask for help. There is always someone who knows someone.