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Day 1 of Camino Portugués Central: Valença – Tui – O Porriño (17km)

Valença – Tui

Distance: 17km/10.5 mi

Valença

Valença was easily one of the prettiest stops on our hike. Nestled in northern Portugal, this town is famous for its beautifully preserved medieval structures and the stunning vistas across the Minho River.

Valença

The standout attraction here is the Fortaleza de Valença, an imposing fortress that dates back to the 13th century. It boasts thick walls, detailed ramparts, and quaint cobblestone streets. With only the evening and the following morning to explore, we wandered around the fortress walls, soaking up the views. To one side, dark, looming clouds over the Portuguese landscape threatened rain, while on the other, the sunny Spanish town of Tui smiled back at us.

Valença
Valença
Valença
Valença

We meandered along the cobblestone paths, visiting local churches before making our way to the Valença-Tui International Bridge. This historic bridge, opened in 1885, still serves cars, trains, and pedestrians, linking Spain and Portugal with old-world charm.

Valença
Valença
Valença

Tui

Right across the river, we explored the enchanting city of Tui. It’s home to an impressive 13th-century cathedral. True to the character of all medieval cities, it sits atop a hill, so after a short hike up through charming narrow streets, we reached the summit to enjoy some lovely views. We stepped inside the cathedral, received our pilgrim stamp, and continued on our hike.

Tui

Tui
Tui

The route

Our day’s hike was quite pleasant, featuring relatively few hills. We spent a good portion of it wandering through serene forests and nature areas, mostly on our own with just a few other pilgrims spotted occasionally. Along the way, we crossed small streams over ancient bridges from Roman and medieval times.

Day 1 of Camino Portugués Central: Valença – Tui – O Porriño
Day 1 of Camino Portugués Central: Valença – Tui – O Porriño
Day 1 of Camino Portugués Central: Valença – Tui – O Porriño
Day 1 of Camino Portugués Central: Valença – Tui – O Porriño
Day 1 of Camino Portugués Central: Valença – Tui – O Porriño
Day 1 of Camino Portugués Central: Valença – Tui – O Porriño

After passing a mural, the road branched into two, and we faced a decision about how to proceed to O Porriño. The right path was shorter but ran through a more industrial area, while the left path, marked as “Complementario” on the way marker, promised a scenic stroll along the river and was only slightly longer. We opted for the scenic route and were delighted with our choice. It was even less traveled by pilgrims, and the views were absolutely charming.

Right before the split
Route markers
Day 1 of Camino Portugués Central: Valença – Tui – O Porriño
The Camino Portugués Central
As we neared the outskirts of O Porriño, we encountered a bit of confusion. Arrows painted on the ground suggested we turn left towards the river, while more official-looking markers indicated a route continuing towards the industrial part of town. I consulted my app, which confirmed that the left route would take us along a meandering river, so we decided to follow it. It seemed like the majority of pilgrims chose the industrial trail, as we didn’t meet anyone else on our path. But I’m really glad we took the river route—it was peaceful, the water was clear, and we could see lots of fish swimming around. It was definitely more appealing to walk in nature than through the city.

O Porriño

The city we visited was the least interesting stop on our journey. Not much was happening there. The Casa Consistorial (the town hall) was one notable building in the town center that really stood out. We wandered around a bit, trying to find a place that was still serving food, but quickly learned that my hopes for indulging in Spanish tapas were dashed—it was siesta time, and most kitchens were closed.

O Porriño
O Porriño
O Porriño

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