Portuguese Way of St. James – Central Route

Ponte das Táboas, Barcelos
Place: Ponte das Táboas, Barcelos
Photo: Amatar
Photo: Amatar

The most frequently used Portuguese Way of St. James is the Central Route, which passes through Lisbon, Coimbra and Porto. It is fully waymarked from Lisbon with the unmistakable yellow arrows that mark the Ways of St. James, and sometimes with a yellow scallop shell on a blue background, the official symbol.

But there are several Ways of St. James in Portugal, all running south to north, as Santiago de Compostela is in Galicia, 120 km from the border at Valença in the north of Portugal.

South of Lisbon, the Way is not systematically waymarked yet, but it is known that it was also walked by pilgrims in the Middle Ages, in particular from Cape Saint Vincent to Santiago do Cacém, along a stretch that is today known as the Historical Way of the Rota Vicentina. The Rota Vicentina is part of the GR11/E9 route, which passes through Lisbon.

The Central Route passes through the following places (approximate distances):


1. Lisbon > Alhandra, 33km
Lisbon > Sacavém > Alpriate > Póvoa de Santa Iria > Alverca > Alhandra 

2. Alhandra > Azambuja, 24km
Alhandra > Vila Franca de Xira > Carregado > Vila Nova da Rainha > Azambuja 

3. Azambuja > Santarém, 32km
Azambuja > Aerodrome > Reguengo > Valada > Porto de Muge > Omnias > Santarém 


4. Santarém > Golegã, 30.5km
Santarém > Vale Figueira > Pombalinho > Azinhaga (birthplace of José Saramago, winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Literature) > Golegã

5. Golegã > Tomar, 22km
Golegã > São Caetano (Quinta da Cardiga) > Vila Nova da Barquinha > Atalaia  > Grou > Asseiceira > Santa Cita > Tomar

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