Caminha on the Portuguese Coastal Camino De Santiago has a little of everything: white, sandy beaches, a quaint medieval town, surrounded by a backdrop of lush, green hills, not forgetting the Minho Estuary that begins at Caminha.
Caminha played a historical role in the defence of northern Portugal against Spain. The town is fortified with many of the historical walls and building still remaining today. Thankfully, Caminha is now on good terms with Spain and the town is a popular destination for Spanish people on weekend breaks.
So, let´s take a look at the things to see and do in 24 hours in Caminha.
Town Square & Praca do Conselheiro Silva Torres
The town´s main square is set around the Praca do Conselheiro Silva Torres, a 16th-century fountain that gives the plaza a medieval feel. The town square itself is a delightful mix of cafes, restaurants, and bars to enjoy a meal or drink and watch the world go by.
Other buildings of note in the square are the Palace of Pitas 15th-century Gothic building whose façade, covered in coats-of-arms, boasts accoladed windows. In the north of the square, stands the Clock tower (Torre do Relogio), a 14th-century relic of the fortifications of the town.
Caminha is well known as a dynamic craft centre specialising in leather products. There are many small souvenir shops located in the square and around the town to pick up a special gift to take home.
Igreja Matriz de Caminha & Igreja de Misericordia (Mercy Church)
The Igreja Matriz is Caminha´s main church and retains the status of a national monument. The 14th-century building is part of the town´s fortifications and was built with the riches of the Age of Discovery, which meant that the small town of Caminha deserved the grandest church money could buy.
The Igreja da Misericórdia (Mercy church) was built in the 16th-century and provided spiritual and physical assistance to parishioners and pilgrims en route to Santiago. This church has functioned as both a hostel and hospital at various points.
Photo Credit Journal Terra E Mar
Rua Direita (Renamed Rua Ricardo Joaquim Sousa)
Locals still refer to this ancient street as “Rua Direita” which leads directly from the Clock Tower down towards the Rio Minho.
The street is the focus of the town´s nightlife with the ground floors being the homes of bars and shops. For the younger crowd, the area closest to the Clock Tower is the more lively part of the street with the Rio area enjoying a more sedate feel.
Train Station Azulejos
For those of you interested in the Portuguese tiles called Azulejos a visit to Caminha´s train station is a must.
Portugal is well-known for hand-painted Azulejos and a visit to the train station will give you a colourful glimpse into the history of Caminha.
Beaches Close To Caminha
For pilgrims looking for a beach, there is a wooden boardwalk directly to the river beach at Foz do Minho or visit the ocean beach surrounded by the Camarido pine forest.
Moledo beach is a short walk away from Caminha. In front of Moledo Beach is a small rocky island that can be visited by boat. On the island is the Ínsua Fortress, built in the 15th century as a convent before undergoing conversion work in the 17th and 18th century that transformed the building into a coastal defence post.
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.