Portuguese Coastal Way to Santiago de Compostela
Saint James Way. Portuguese Coastal Way 2
Then head north along the coast in the direction Esposende. You cross, Parque Natural do Litoral Norte then fertile,agricultural land and glasshouses as well as Estela Golf Course. Then there’s the windmills at Apulia which are set into the dunes. You soon pass Restaurante A Cabana, where it’s worth stopping for a bite to eat. Try the grilled seafood and local meats which are delicious and real value for money! Then you travel through a beautiful pine forest before arriving at the pretty village of Fao where you see a spectacular bridge over the River Cávado. After crossing this you arrive at Esposende, a charming, fishing village and popular summer resort with kilometres of golden, sandy deserted beaches interspersed with green pine forests.
After walking along the cycle-track passing the Lighthouse you’re soon alone again as you leave the town. You pass close to the beautiful and wild Belinho Beach. Eventually for the first time you leave the coast and start a climb next to a river gorge passing through a village then dropping to cross the river via a lovely, old stone bridge at Ponte Sebastaio, such a peaceful place.
Then turn left and start to climb passing a series of villages before passing a beach-side resort at Amorosa, the perfect place to stop for a drink,some food and rest. Head for a wooden walkway which takes you close to the sea passing wild beaches and dune systems. There’s a path among the dunes which goes through the heart of the Coastal Natural Park before eventually passing a beach-side car park to the right. To the left you can walk along the wooden walkway until climbing to a vantage point where you can enjoy spectacular views : to the north towards Viana do Castelo, the nearest beach, Rodanho Beach, the sea and to the south the camino you’ve walked. Soon after cross Eifell’s old iron bridge over the River Limia to enter Viana do Castelo. Admire the Basílica de Santa Luzía on the hillside in the distance, the sea and river estuary to the left and mountains to the right. Cross the bridge then head left for the banks of the River Limia reaching some gardens next to Alameda 5 de Outubro. Turning away from the river head in the direction of the Old Town of Viana do Castelo which is easy to explore as much of it is pedestrianized. The town is famous for its handicrafts and local costumes.
The Sanctuary of Santa Luzia is particularly worth visiting by taking the funicular with commanding views of the town, the river and sea. Go up to the Tower which is a quite an achievement and you will see one of the best views in Portugal of its coastline! The Republic Square, 25 April Monument and promenade are also popular attractions.
To leave the town you pass a nice fort and soon reach another small windmill. Inland you can see the foot of the mountains where over 2 million years ago the sea had reached so it has retreated alot since. Continuing to follow the coast closely until you see a small hill in the distance which you climb stopping to see the windmills at Montedor. Then head through woodland which at times runs close to the sea, it seems to get quite isolated apart from the occasional bird song. Then you reach a restaurant car park where you start to walk along the most spectacular of all wooden walkways on this camino which is about 1.3km long. The elevated walk takes you above the remarkably high sand dunes, Praia da Ancora and canopy of the coastal forest with breathtaking views.
By Mark Auchincloss for Pplaza