Caldas de Reis is a small spa town in Galicia on the Portuguese Camino de Santiago with a long history dating back to the Bronze Age.
The town which is the next stop on the Portuguese Camino de Santiago after Pontevedra, is best known for thermal spas that have been visited for centuries for the water’s healing properties.
The origins of Caldas de Reis go back to the Bronze age, so the area was inhabited long before the arrival of the Romans. The famous Tesouro de Caldas de Reis (Treasure of Caldas de Reis) was found in 1940 which consisted of items of jewellery that date back to the Bronze Age. The Tesouro de Caldas de Reis is on display at Pontevedra Museum.
With the arrival of the Romans, the town experienced massive growth and explosion of culture, which was further enhanced by the establishment of the medieval Portuguese Camino de Santiago.
Caldas de Reis was given its current name in the 12th century, when Urraca, Queen of León, built a defensive tower where she used to spend long periods with her son Alfonso VII, King of Galicia, Leon, and Castile. The town received the name of Caldas de Rex and became a place of nobility.
Today, the small town acts as a stopping point on the Camino de Santiago, and still receives a large number of visitors seeking the benefits of the thermal springs.
So, let´s take a look at the things to see and do in 24 hours in Caldas de Reis.
Spring waters have been part of the history of this town since Roman times. The Roman people thought that the medicinal properties of these waters were associated with a god, in this case with Endovius, which means “the one who provides heat”.
There is a public fountain with two spouts which were built by the town council in 1881 with a water temperature of around 50 degrees centigrade. Also, there are two spa on each bank of the Ulla River.
The perfect way for the weary pilgrim to soothe their aching feet after a day on the Camino.
Botanical Garden and “Carballeira”
The Botanical Gardens date back to the 16th century and are home to different species from five continents. The highlight is the collection of camellias and the garden’s precious oaks located by the river. There are around 23,000 square meters of nature to enjoy and meander around.
Caldas de Reis has many religious buildings of note. The main Chapel, the Church of Santa María de Bemil is the most well-known together with the Church of Santo André de Cesar and the Church of San Estevo de Saiar. The churches are of a romanesque origin, although they have been remodelled to preserve their old beauty which add to the historical value of this quaint town.
If you plan to walk the Camino de Santiago, check out my book, A Wild Woman’s Guide To The Camino de Santiago. I share everything you need to know before you begin your Camino. Read at A Wild Woman’s Guide To The Camino De Santiago or click the link below.
(c) Samantha Wilson 2019. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Image Credit – Camino Papi