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Day 5 of Camino Portugués Central: Caldas de Reis – Padrón (20 km)

Caldas de Reis - Padrón

Distance: 20 km/12.4 mi

The route

Our walk that day was very pleasant, taking us through vineyards, small farms, picturesque villages, and lush forests. We were lucky again and managed to walk between two huge rain clouds. Although we had to keep our rain gear on due to occasional showers, the really scary clouds stayed away. However, the wind was quite strong, blowing our rain clothes left and right. On the bright side, once our raincoats got wet, they dried super fast.

We started encountering even more tourists and definitely more bikes, weaving through the crowd. Honestly, I was glad we weren’t walking in the middle of the peak season, as I can only imagine how busy the trail would be then.

Caldas de Reis - Padrón
Caldas de Reis - Padrón
Caldas de Reis - Padrón
Caldas de Reis - Padrón

During our hike, we stumbled upon the Maio festival, a charming tradition in Galician Spain. Celtic in origin, this festival celebrates the first spring flowers and the arrival of good weather in Galicia. We saw yellow flowers adorning door handles on houses and cars, as well as ‘Maio’—a pyramid structure elaborately decorated and covered in flowers. It was fun trying to figure out what was happening and why!

Padrón

Padrón, our next stop, is mostly known for being on the Camino trail and for cultivating some of the most famous peppers in Spain (and my favorite snack): the peppers of Padrón.

Padrón was a nice, cozy city. After settling into our hotel, we went for a short walk around town. We first headed to a botanical garden—though it felt more like a small park. It wasn’t particularly special, but it was a pleasant place for a stroll. My mom got to see her first sequoia tree in real life and was amazed by its sheer size!

We also visited a couple of churches in the area. The first was the Church of Santiago Apostle, built on the spot where Theodore and Athanasius supposedly moored the boat carrying the remains of the apostle St. James. It houses the stone plinth, called the Pedrón, which, according to legend, was used to tie up the boat. You can find it at the altar or, to be more precise, a little below the altar. We were allowed to approach it, but I’ve read that sometimes access is restricted since it is in the altar area.

Church of Santiago Apostle in Padron
Church of Santiago Apostle in Padron

We then crossed the bridge to check out the church on the hill, Convento do Carme (The Convent of O Carme). It was first inhabited by monks of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites—hence the name. After the confiscations in 1836, it changed hands to the Dominican Fathers, who are still present today. I was impressed by the various altars in the church, and from outside, you can get a perfect panoramic view of Padrón.

Convento do Carme in Padron
Convento do Carme in Padron

Convento do Carme in Padron
Convento do Carme in Padron

Afterward, we strolled a little more around the city and then headed to bed. The next day would be our last and also the longest leg of our journey.

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