The Official Start of the Camino Portugués in Lisbon

Lisbon Liam McKay

The Camino Portugués, one of the cherished routes leading to the spiritual heart of Santiago de Compostela, beckons pilgrims from its starting point in the captivating city of Lisbon, Portugal. Contrary to popular belief, the official start of this soulful journey is not at the Cathedral of Lisbon, but at a quaint, lesser-known spot—the Church of Santiago, or Igreja de Santiago as it’s called in Portuguese.

Igreja de Santiago
Igreja de Santiago

The Lesser-Known Beginning

Nestled on the slope of Rúa de Santiago, this charming church lies just four-tenths of a kilometre uphill from the Cathedral, en route to the famous São Jorge Castle—a not-to-miss stop on the Lisbon tourist trail. The Church of Santiago, despite its historical significance, remains a somewhat undiscovered gem. The reason behind its lesser fame might vary with the references used by individuals exploring the path of Camino Portugués.

Historical Whispers

The Church of Santiago holds an aura of historical mystique. Its origins trace back to the 1100s, and over the centuries, it has been rebuilt several times, bearing the brunt of numerous earthquakes. Legend even has it that Christopher Columbus and his bride exchanged their vows within the hallowed walls of this church in 1479, further enriching its historical tapestry.

Lisbon Louis Droege Doqee

Marking the Commencement

By the church doors, pilgrims will find the official placard that marks the start of the Camino Portugués. This Portuguese sign marks a spiritual voyage’s start and signifies the journey’s distance ahead. The Central Route from Lisbon, as stated, stretches over 610 kilometres. For those who choose the Coastal Route, the trek extends to 640 kilometres, provided the pilgrims stick to the official route and not the alternative Senda Litoral.

Embarking on a Journey of Self-Discovery

Embarking from the Church of Santiago, pilgrims begin a voyage of self-discovery as much as physical journeying. The path unfolds through picturesque rural landscapes, quaint villages, and gently rolling hills, each step resonating with the echoes of history and the camaraderie of shared human experience.

Lisbon Raul Escobar

Crossing Cultural Borders

The transition from Portugal to Spain on this route is not merely a physical crossing of borders. It heralds a fresh wave of cultural and historical experiences, deepening the bond among fellow pilgrims. Shared narratives and spiritual quests on the journey forge enduring friendships, transcending its temporal bounds.

The Culmination of a Spiritual Voyage

The sense of anticipation and spiritual aspiration crescendos as pilgrims draw closer to the revered destination of Santiago de Compostela. The final steps into the iconic Praza do Obradoiro embody a profound sense of achievement and spiritual enrichment. The journey, commencing at Lisbon’s historic Church of Santiago, the journey culminates serenely in Santiago de Compostela’s sacred ambience.

Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela

The Camino Portugués is a soulful journey beyond scenic Iberian landscapes, leaving lasting impressions. Starting vibrantly at the Church of Santiago, the Camino Portugués weaves a narrative of internal exploration and shared experiences. It ends spiritually in Santiago de Compostela, connecting deeply with the Iberian Peninsula’s rich cultural and historical essence.

If you are looking to find out more information on the Camino Portugués or the Camino Portugués Coastal, contact us.

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