Ponte de Lima Valença / Tui 38 kms
Crossing the Coura River
Today’s journey is the hardest of the Way owing to both its irregularities and distance. Prepare a packed lunch and leave the Matriz (parish) Church at 7.00 a.m. Proceed to Camões Square through the tiny medieval streets, to cross the huge Romanesque-Gothic bridge over the river Lima, with its 22 arches. When passing the Santo António da Torre Velha Church, just notice, between the two spans, a small medieval open chapel devoted to the Guardian Angel. For seven centuries, this chapel has seen hundreds of thousands of Pilgrims passing by, just like you.
After arriving at the other side of the bridge, turn right plunging once more into the rural world, represented by the farming parish of Arcozelo. After Labruja, agriculture is scarce and the landscape until Portela Pequena is the mountain covered with trees. These 1,24 miles of the Labruja slope are the most exhausting ones of the whole Way, making an alternative necessary for the cyclists who can not carry the bicycles on their backs. Halfway, you should recover your breath by the Cruz dos Franceses, where the population ambushed the latecomers of Napoleon’s army in the 1809 invasion. Then, climb to the Forester’s house where you will find a fountain with chilled water.
Using this pass, you will enter the river Minho basin, through the Valley of Coura, its tributary in Caminha. You will start to go down by Agualonga and Rubiães, easily identified by its beautiful Romanesque church. This is a wonderful place to have a rest and your lunch. Then, start your way down to the Romanesque bridge and we warn you won’t arrive there with dry feet as the water flows on the path, even in summer. After crossing the river Coura, you have a mild climb to S. Bento da Porta Aberta, another site for a famous religious festival. Look for the church and have a rest before walking down to Fontoura. After passing Cerdal and getting once more onto N13, a road with dense traffic, you will probably feel the tiredness of the journey… Rejoice, as you are only two miles from Valença. Here you have two possible options – either end your journey and have some time to visit the fortress and to get accommodation for the night or walk 1,24 miles more to Tuy, where you can stay for the night in the hostel for Pilgrims, situated behind the Cathedral.
Places and Informations about the Day