Spiritual variant triptych
Take the variant in your pocket, with this triptych
Follow the same route as the remains of St. James on his journey to Compostela and cross a place of great natural beauty. Discover water-mills, fountains, chapelsand monasteries. Walk through forests, vineyardsand beaches. Travel the only maritime Via Crucis in the world, where you can admire the 17 centennial cruceros (calvary) identifying this part of the Camino de Santiago as the "Translatio" THE ORIGIN OF ALL ROADS.
This "Variante Espiritual" (Spiritual Route)" joins two “Via Jacobi”: The Portuguese Trail and the "Sea Trail", the Source of all paths. In 44 AD the estuary of Arousa was crossed by the ship carrying the body of the apostle St. James. His remains were taken by his followers, who ”led by an angel and guided by a star\” arrived at the coast of Galicia and climbed the bed of the river Ulla until reaching Iria Flavia (now the village of Padrón).
After crossing the city of Pontevedra, following the Portuguese Trail 2 km, a detour can be found to the left. At this point the "Variante Espiritual" starts, running through Poio and Combarro until the Armenteira Monastery, located in a quiet rural location in the mountains. Here it's possible to spend the night and rest in the hostel after traveling 21 km.
From Armenteira to Pontearnelas the pilgrim walks the "Route of Stone and Water" which runs through a natural landscape of great beauty. On this trail, walking in the shadow of the trees, old water mills are resting on the banks of the river. Gardens and vineyards indicate we approach the Arousa estuary. After traveling 24 Km the pilgrim reaches the beaches and the town of Vilanova.
Between Vilanova de Arousa and Pontecesures a boat will carry the pilgrim (can also be done on foot traveling 28 km of low difficulty). The boat crosses the Arousa estuary and the river Ulla up-streams, remembering the journey made by the remains of St. James, the Translatio. (approx. 1 hour). During the ride the pilgrim will enjoy the mussel farming in the waters of the estuary and travel the only maritime Via Crucis in the world where 17 centennial cruceros can be admired, identifying this path of Santiago as the ORIGIN OF ALL ROADS. In Pontecesures this trail once again mergers with the Portuguese Trail.
Click on each of the points of interest to see a full 360º panorama
We find ourselves at the point where the Variant splits off from the Portuguese Way. They will rejoin in Pontecesures. This Variant will guide us along the three stages, where monasteries, fishing villages, beautiful natural spots with rivers, mills, vineyards, beaches and marshes await us. The final stage of this Variant gives you the chance to discover the Origin of All Ways, known as the Translatio. Coming back up the River Ulla to Pontecesures, you can follow the same route that the remains of the Apostle James took on the way to Compostela.
We are at the parish church of Campañó. This church is in the Romanesque style, with varied decoration. It is notable for a large altarpiece with the figure of Saint Peter at the back, and one of the most important menhirs in Galicia is found in the surrounding areas. The most important festivity of this temple is the celebration in honour of Saint Peter, which takes place at the end of June.
We are at the Monastery of Saint John in Poio. This monastery forms a notable architectural complex, made up of the monastery, the church and, more recently, the guesthouse, all in a beautiful setting with views of the Pontevedra Estuary. In reality there are two monasteries: the ancient Benedictine convent, with its church, two cloisters and other annexes; and the modern, Mercedarian monastery, which also has two parallel patios and a large chapel that juts out from the building. One of the most notable elements is the monastery’s granary. With an area of 123m2, it is one of the largest in Galicia.
We are in the Parque de la Memoria. This park has spacious green areas where you can enjoy sports or go for a walk. Here you can also find the sports area in the A Seca neighbourhood. On the shore there is a green area with a children's playground where you can practice various activities. Furthermore, there are different collections of sculpture here, the work of Nobel Peace Prize winner Pérez Esquivel.
We are in the fishing village of Combarro. This village is an example of popular Galician architecture, and was declared a site of artistic and picturesque interest in 1972. Combarro is the perfect union between the blue of the sea and the granite of the land. As you walk amongst the fishermen’s houses, granaries and crucifixes, you can admire its seafaring character. Without doubt, the most characteristic feature of Combarro is the granaries on the shore. These constructions are still used, even now, to store grain and other foodstuffs.
We are at the Mirador del Campanario. It is nestled in the municipality of Poio, close to the fishing village of Combarro. From here, you can admire magnificent views of the Pontevedra Estuary and Isla de Tambo. What’s more, we can see the outline of the sandbanks of the beaches lining the Estuary, along with some small towns.
We are at the port of Vilanova de Arousa, the starting point of the Translatio, a Jacobean maritime-fluvial route that is part of the Mar de Arousa and River Ulla Way. The Translatio commemorates the arrival of the remains of the Apostle James and his journey from Jerusalem to Compostela. On this journey, you can see the process of mussel cultivation on the estuary. You will also see the Maritime-Fluvial Vía Crucis, with the 18 crosses that identify the Translatio as the Origin of All Ways.