american pilgrims  
Camino Portugués de la Vía de la Plata

General Description: The Camino portugués de la Vía de la Plata is one of the two routes that branch from the Vía de la Plata at or near Zamora and that lead directly to Santiago thereby completely bypassing the Camino francés. 382 km from Zamora northwestward into Portugal via Bragança and Verin to Santiago. The first two-thirds of the Camino portugués de la Vía de la Plata parallels the Camino sanabrés, the two rejoining at Ourense.

Waymarking: The waymarking is very uneven. In some sections, such as from Alcañices to Quintanilha, the marking is excellent. In other sections, such as from Campillo to Muelas del Pan, or segments between Bragança and Vinhais, the marking seems to simply disappear for lengthy stretches.

Terrain: Not particularly demanding from Zamora to the Portuguese border but once in Portugal and the Parque Natural de Montesinho it becomes extremely strenuous and this continues until the route re-enters Spain. There are stretches where one does not see a house or person for up to an hour at a time. After this the route is relatively flat to Ourense.

When to go: July and August will be hot and should be avoided. April into May and September into October are recommended. Climate tables for Zamora, Ourense and Santiago de Compostela.

Accommodation: (Summer 2015) There is a new albergue for pilgrims in Fornillos de Aliste, adding to a very short list that includes albergues in Alcañices and Verín (Spain) and Quintanilha (Portugal). Between Zamora and Muelas del Pan there is simply nowhere at all to stay overnight—no albergue, no hostal, no casa rural. In Bragança there is an excellent albergue juvenil. In Edral (Portugal) there is reportedly a Casa del Día where pilgrims can stay. In Vilardevós (Spain) one can sleep in the Casa de Cultura for free.

Guidebooks: Confraternity of Saint James: The Camino Mozárabe or Vía de la Plata, C: Zamora-Braganza-Santiago (2005 with free 2007 update). Camino Portugués de la Via d la Plata (2002), Alfonso Ramos de Castro, Zamora: Fundación Ramos de Castro but covers only the segment from Zamora to the Portugues border. (Spanish) Basically there is no up-to-date guide book.

Internet links: The Confraternity of Saint James has an overview page on the Camino portugués de la Vía de la Plata. Peter Robbins has a page with Google Earth kml overlay files.

Other remarks: The Camino portugués de la Vía de la Plata is at present a very solitary route with few pilgrims. Much of the terrain is uninhabited, resulting in a number of stages of 30 to 35 km. Pilgrims without a reasonable command of Spanish and Portuguese will find this route difficult. Lack of current, reliable resources and references will make planning problematical..

Rev 08/27/15

American Pilgrims on the Camino
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